Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankfully Reading Weekend

This year, Hubs and I find ourselves alone for Thanksgiving.  That's not a complaint - merely how things fell.  Our son and his fiance have to work; our daughter went to help a friend move from New Mexico to Kansas; I offered to cook for a friend who has been in the hospital, but doctors decided she should stay a few more days, so she and her husband will be sharing a hospital cafe meal.  

So I will be putting my feet up and reading, along with Jenn at and others who are thankful for some time with books. Thankfully Reading Weekend is a four day reading event that Jenn has been hosting for quite a few years now. 
There are no rules to the weekend, we’re simply hoping to devote a good amount of time to reading, and perhaps meeting some of our reading challenges and goals for the year. We thought it’d be fun if we cheered each other on a bit. If you think you can join in, grab the button  and add your sign up post to the link-up below. If you don’t have a blog, you can sign up the comments or sign up using a link to your Twitter account or Facebook page.  We’ll also be checking in on Twitter using hashtag #thankfullyreading. Join in for the weekend or for only a single day. No rules, no pressure!

There will be challenges throughout the four days - including one right here.  If you have some time - any amount of time - to spend reading in the next four days, join in the fun and conversation.

I'm going to get a little jump start and read till I fall asleep - which will be a maximum of three pages.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Going Tiny?

When this tiny cabin made the rounds on Facebook and Pinterest a couple years ago, I saw it as the perfect hide away - a place to retreat from the world temporarily.   It was the first I had heard of the oncoming trend toward full-time tiny house living.  

Now that there are so many options for affordable, available small homes, I'm fascinated with the idea of downsizing.  I'm probably not ready for life with Hubs and two dogs in a house this small (or white), but I could learn to love the tiny house life...couldn't I?  The biggest attraction is simplicity.  

Less space requires less stuff.  Less stuff takes less time to clean and maintain.  Less time on housework means more time to do the things I enjoy.  But where?  Does my tiny home have room for a sewing machine or an artist's easel?  And what about my books?

One solution is to make use of outdoor living space.   Reading or hosting a dinner party on a patio or rooftop deck sound so inviting, but only in temperate weather - which happens approximately 30 days/year in Kansas and Nebraska.  Could I move to a state that doesn't have four distinct seasons?  

Speaking of less stuff, I have gone through my current home, which isn't exactly huge, and culled out everything I considered excess, but there's still a lot of stuff that isn't used daily.  I struggle to let go of the "good" dishes or the "good" table linens.   What do tiny-home owners do with Christmas decorations?  

Maybe my perspective on "stuff" is what really needs to be purged.  Maybe that al fresco dinner party would be just as enjoyable if served on the same dishes I use every day - or paper plates.  If I could remove the sentiment from objects - see them as tools to accomplish the necessities of life rather than having intrinsic value - the downsizing process would be easier.  

Living in a tiny home would be financially rewarding.  The cut in mortgage/rent, utilities, upkeep and insurance would make funds available for travel, charity and upgrading our remaining possessions.  If I only have space for dinnerware for 8, make them good quality and beautiful.  

Then there's the issue of guests . . . 

We probably won't start tiny-house hunting today, and "tiny" is relative - but it's an idea I can't completely escape.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Puzzling Challenge

Welcome to "Just One More Thing..." 
and my mini-challenge for Deweys 24-Hour Readathon.  



Our son is getting married in just five weeks, so my mind is focused on all things wedding.  I'm even seeing wedding plans in book titles. The book covers below are  all missing one or more words.  Each missing word is something associated with weddings.  Can you replace the missing words?  (Hint: One missing word is in the author's name rather than the book title.)

List the thirteen missing words in the comments, or leave a link to where I can find your list.   You can also tweet the list or link to me (@mrschupa).  Please use the hashtag #RATpuzzle. 

A winner will be chosen by random drawing from all correct entries, and will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes and Noble or The Book Depository.  The challenge will remain open until the beginning of hour 8 (2:00 p.m. central time) and the winner will be posted by the start of hour 9.  Check back here at 3:00 p.m. central time to see if you're the lucky bride, or if you're a bridesmaid once again.

Click to enlarge

Readathon Day!

It's Readathon Day again!  Dewey's 24-hour Readathon is a semi-annual day of reading, games, prizes and more reading.  Here's what I have lined up for the day:

"The Tavern on Maple Street" by Sharon Owens - This is a book club selection and I'm about 2/3 through it.

"The Secret Garden" by Francis Hodgson Burnett - Another book club selection.  I can't believe I have never read this classic.

"Audacious" by Beth Moore.  I love everything Beth Moore writes, so I'm excited to get into this for my non-fiction selection.

"Love Has It's Reasons" by Earl Palmer.  This was a gift and recommendation from my cousin and dear friend, Arlene, the last time she purged her bookshelf.  

I have an Ellery Queen magazine for when I need a short-story break.  I haven't bought - or even seen - an EQ since high school.  And that's been a year or two (or 35) so I'm excited for that.

And the most anticipated book of the readathon:  "The Undoing of Saint Silvanus" - Beth Moore's first novel.

Hope you have a great lineup.  Stop back here at Hour 5 - 11:00 a.m.  in my area (Central Time) - for A Puzzling Challenge.  

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

That's Progress!

When I was a child, one of my favorite things was to visit the "Variety Store" while my mom was at the grocery store down the street.  Mom handed out three nickels to three little girls and we slowly perused the candy choices in the glass cabinet.  Snickers, Reeses Peanut Butter Cup, Milky Way, maybe a chewy Bit-O-Honey, or M&M's.  Or how about licorice sticks, Tootsie Rolls and Bazooka Bubblegum - two for a penny.  The choices seemed infinite.

A few days ago, I browsed a convenience store candy aisle for a little treat with my gas fill-up.  The choices weren't infinite, they were overwhelming!  Snickers, Snickers Bites, Snickers Almond, Snickers Peanut Butter Squares, Snicker's Ice Cream Bars, Snickers Eggs, Snickers 2 Go, Snickers Fun Size, Snickers Miniatures, Snickers King Size.  And that was just one brand.

The same comparison can be made with television channels.  In the 60's and 70's we had four channels (if the weather was clear) - ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.  When we got married in the early 80's, we got cable and expanded our lineup to about twenty channels.  Today we have hundreds of channels.  The time required to sift through them all uses up all of our viewing time, so we usually just watch the same four or five channels.

Eating out used to mean visiting a locally-owned restaurant.  Today, every city has block after block of franchised eating choices - from burgers to steak to pizza to sushi.  Children no longer go home from school to play with the other kids in their neighborhood.  They choose from sports, martial arts, music,  gymnastics, dance and dozens of other activities.  The expansion of options also applies to gas stations, car manufacturers, and even beer.

I didn't need shelf after shelf of sweets at the convenience store.  To me, it was "noise".   The volume and pace of life has increased a hundred-fold in the last fifty years.  And so has the accompanying  exhaustion.  Stress relief has become a mammoth business. 

Ironically, one of the newest trends in stress management is to simplify - downsize, live smaller, have fewer choices.  Maybe progress isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Whole Picture

I have posted dozens of times about my quilting and sewing projects.  Even though the things I sew aren't elaborate, I know there are a lot of other beginning sewers out there looking for similar projects, so I have no problem posting what I've made.  I have even shown pictures of some not-so-successful items.  So why is it difficult for me to post pictures of my paintings?  I've been painting, off and on, for almost two years but, other than my long-suffering husband and sister, most of my work has been for my eyes only.

Last week I was visiting with a lady from church who I heard, through the grapevine, had done some painting and even won an award in a competition.  She admitted that, yes, she had won an award but she quit painting after only four pictures  "There was no joy in it."  The next year, she started making ceramics, and entered her creations in the same competition.  Because there weren't enough entries in that category, they got lumped into a broad "crafts" category.  In her words, "I didn't stand a chance against the elaborate entries because the judges couldn't see my joy in my ceramics."  Cue the bells, whistles and flashing lights -- this was an "aha" moment for me!

I don't paint to make money or win awards - although I wouldn't mind those things.  I paint for fun, for the challenge of creating something without instructions or a pattern, for making something unique.  I admit up front that my paintings so far are not totally unique - they are my take on photos or images I've seen elsewhere - but I'm working on a couple pictures that, as yet, exist only in my head.

In the mean time, I'm going to display a few of my paintings at home and post them here.  What if everyone who sees them thinks they are amateurish, or ugly, or just plain bad?  It's ok!  It really is ok, because no matter who is viewing and judging my paintings, they can not see the joy I feel while painting them.  They aren't seeing the whole picture!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Now What?

Over the winter, I spent more time in book stores than fabric stores.  Cold weather found me curled up with a book, or knitting in front of the TV.  But warmer weather - and a good bargain - have lured me back to the sewing room.  

A local lady advertised a huge lot of quilt kits for sale.  I have no idea where or how she came to own so many kits, but I went to check them out.  Most were wall-hanging size with  "primitive" applique or embroidery - not really my thing - but I did find two Moda charm packs.  I had no plan in mind, and to be honest, they aren't even colors/patterns that grabbed my attention, but I'm a huge fan of pre-cuts (because  I don't care for cutting) and they were less than half the sticker price, so I hoped that they would inspire me.  Not so far!  That's where you come in.

The first pack is "Plum Sweet" by Blackbird Designs.  I actually had a few fat quarters of the darkest florals at some point.  I have no memory of how I used them, but I remember having them in my stash.  The shades of purple are pretty and I like the variety from large flowers to simple polka-dots.  I would probably leave out the center row.   It seems to have too much yellow/gold to blend with the others.  

The second pack is "KT Favorites" by Kansas Troubles Quilters.  When I laid them out, the colors struck me as odd - for lack of a better word.  There are dark blues, greens, browns, reds, neutrals that run from barely-off-white to an orange-beige, and four purple/blues straggling along at the end.  The whole thing is a bit boring.  It needs either a fun application where the individual fabrics blend into a neutral background, or it needs to be mixed with other, more interesting, fabrics.  

So, ideas?  They can always become doll quilts for the kids in foster care, but neither pack screams "little girl".  I found ideas on Pinterest for charm pack tote bags and table runners - neither of which I need.  For the moment, they will go into the stash, but I am trying to use what I buy, so someone help me with this impulse purchase.  What would you make?