Tuesday 17 July 2012

Ready, Set, Read!

image by Patina Vie

I made a post on my Facebook page yesterday that asked:

I'm headed to the library tomorrow. I'm looking for suggestions but not interested in newly popular titles because I don't want to sign onto a waiting list. I'm wondering, what has been your favourite book ever?

My Facebook friends came up trumps in their replies.  The titles ranged from childhood favourites to adult non fiction, and all are interesting.  I'm looking forward to reading my way through the list.  

Would you care to join me?  

I don't want to form a formal book club where we all read the same things at the same time, but I do think it would be fun to share our opinions of these books.  Your comments and book reviews can be posted on the wall on my Facebook page.

I'm looking forward to hearing about what you're reading, if you enjoyed it, and to receiving your title suggestions, but please remember: 
  1. My page is a positive place where manners are valued.  It's okay not to like a book, or a part of the book, and to express that opinion, but please be polite.
  2. This is intended as a forum for discussion, not advertisement.  Comments containing uninvited links or product promotions will be deleted.
  3. Posts containing profanities will be deleted.
Here's the list.  I've highlighted the titles I've read in yellow.  Enjoy!

  • The Box Car Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • The Virgin River Series by Robin Carr
  • Cinderella
  • Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry
  • The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  • The Girl Who Hung the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Daughter by Sarah Douglass
  • God’s Concubine by Sarah Douglass
  • Darkwitch Rising by Sarah Douglass
  • Druid’s Sword by Sarah Douglass
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ© by Fanny Flagg
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges
  • The Color of Water by James McBride
  • Oil by Upton Sinclair
  • Anything by Dorothea Benton Frank   (I've read all of her books)
  • Anything by Celia Rivenbark
  • Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kitt
  • Letters to Nicholas by James Patterson
  • Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson
  • Anything by James Patterson
  • The Martha Series of Little House on the Prairie Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • Anything by Carolly Erickson, but especially the books about Catherine the Great, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, or the Tudors
  • The Princess Books trilogy narrated by Princess Sultana Al Sa'ud to Jean Sasson
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
  • Any of the Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Anything by Steven King
  • Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Anything by Thomas Hardy (I've read all of his books)
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • A Child Called It by David Pelter
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
  • Anything by Agatha Christie
  • Anything by Rosamunde Pilcher (I've read all of her books)
  • Anything by Maeve Binchy (I've read all of her books)
  • The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  • The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
  • Anything by Debbie McComber
  • Anything by Nora Roberts
  • World Without End by Ken Follet
  • The Foxfire Books 
  • Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet
image source:

Tuesday 10 July 2012

News of the Day

If you follow my Facebook page, you'll have noticed that I'm obsessed with ice cream lately.

I could blame this obsession on the arrival of warm summer weather but the truth is that I love ice cream all the time, even in the middle of winter.  

There's something about ice cream that just makes me happy.  I love to eat it, and to make it; trying new recipes like the Rhubarb Custard Ice Cream pictured here.

I do love the arrival of summer because my blogging friends share their ice cream recipes on line.  Pinterest is an ice cream wonderland these days, and a great many ice cream posts are showing up in my RSS feed.  Nirvana for a girl like me!

My afternoon has been spent quite enjoyably, reading ice cream recipes from far and wide and trying to narrow down my choices to a few I can feature here.  It hasn't been easy to make these choices, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!  ;)

I can see I'll be getting the ice cream maker out again very soon!

Sumptuous Spoonfuls has been thinking ice cream too and has shared several interesting links on their Facebook page today.  Two, in particular, caught my eye:

The first was this Sweet Corn Ice Cream With Salted Caramel Sauce.
I imagine it would taste like Poppycock.  I love Poppycock!

The second was this one:  Creamy Dark Chocolate Milk Stout Ice Cream.
I mean, really, how could that be bad?

The photo of this Berry Cheesecake Ice Cream by Call Me Cupcake had me before I even read the recipe.
Isn't it beautiful?  

I can hardly wait until our wild blackberries ripen.
I plan to use them to make this.  

I'll be visiting this blog again, just because of the photos.

This strawberry sherbet from She Wears Many Hats isn't ice cream
but it's close enough for me.

I can just imagine how fresh this flavour must be!

If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can still make ice cream.

This recipe has been making the rounds on line lately.  I'm seeing it everywhere but Kevin and Amanda have made the best post about it I've seen so far

Kevin and Amanda offer not only the basic recipe but a number of interesting variations on the theme.  

Any of the variations could be adapted for use in a more conventional ice cream too

and, of course, all of these ice creams could be made into ice cream sandwiches, like these beautiful treats from Annie's Eats.

Do you scream for ice cream?

I do!

Monday 9 July 2012

News of the Day

When I was a school kid, they made us draw maps.

Do they still do that?

We drew, freehand, the outlines of our island, our province, the country, the continent, the world. As our knowledge of geography expanded, we added in national borders, capitals, mountain ranges, lakes, and rivers. 

I loved to draw so I looked forward to geography lessons with some enthusiasm.  And because I drew those maps, I carry an ingrained understanding of my geographical place within the greater whole.  It was only as an adult that I came to understand how valuable that knowledge really is.

I still love maps and globes, both for the knowledge they impart and for their beauty.

Greece map 1869 from

A few days ago, Rebecca from Chow and Chatter shared a link to 40 different creative world maps from on her Facebook page.  Some were quite beautiful, others thought provoking.  I enjoyed them all.

I buy old National Geographic magazines whenever I find them in thrift stores, just for the maps, and I pick up old globes too.  It's fun to make things out of them,
like these pendant lights I found at Inspired Whims,

I'm fascinated by these white city map quilts by Haptic Labs.  
The one shown in the picture is a map of London.

They also make coloured baby quilts, including this one with a map of Chicago.

I think I need to give this idea a try myself!

There's a whole world of inspiration out there!

Do you craft with maps or globes?
I'd love to hear about or see your projects.

Thursday 5 July 2012

News of the Day

I'm a woman "of a certain age." 
I grew up before the internet, 
before personal computers,
before cel phones.

 I'm the little girl second from the left.

Heck, I remember the excitement of seeing my first ever colour TV!
I remember the entire neighbourhood gathering to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. And I remember watching the Andy Griffith Show after school.

image: Andy Griffith and Ron Howard 1962 - P 2012. Getty Images

I was saddened by Andy's passing this week, and from the comments on my Facebook page, I know I'm not the only one to feel that we've lost an icon.  Mrs. Happy Housewife wrote about it too, and about how her PawPaw Al (pictured below) told her that "If everyone all carried a little Mayberry with them, the world would be a much better place."

Remembering Andy sent me off searching for other memories from times gone by. 

The best stove I ever owned was a 1956 Moffat range with 5 burners, 2 ovens and a rotisserie.  I bought it second hand, for $100, and it was mine until an electrical short melted all the wiring a couple of years ago.  I miss it still, so I spent some time today daydreaming in the antique stove gallery at Dream Stoves

Check out this 1947 Roper Town and Country range.  It has 8 burners and 3 ovens!  
I think I'm in love!

I spent some time window shopping on Etsy and was delighted to find some modern dresses sewn from vintage patterns by Sally Sweetlove.   Sally's inspired me to hit the thrift shops in search of some patterns of my own.

Then I wandered over to visit Canning Granny on her Facebook page and stopped to look through the photos. I found these wonderful summertime images.

(Clicking on any of the images will take you to a gallery of the post's photos, in larger form.)

1910, Bathing Beauties
image source:

1923, Girl Scouts Making Ice Cream
image source:

1927, Children and Watermelons
image source: 

1948, Cooling Off in a Washtub
image source:

1951, Alemany Farmers Market, San Francisco
image source:

1954, Cooling Off With a Newspaper
image source:  Brooklyn Collection, Brooklyn Public Library

1961, Kids on a Diving Board
image source:

1966, Children and Fire Hydrant
image source:

Wasn't that fun?
I hope you enjoyed this bit of nostalgia.
I certainly did!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

News of the Day

I read a lot about the Fourth of July today.

We Canadians enjoy our national holiday, but our celebrations tend to be low key in comparison to those of our American neighbours.  Folks in the US really do it up big! 
It's fun to read about it.

Rebecca Subbiah, of Chow and Chatter, has a Tuesday Market Pinterest board, on which she invites people to post market photos from around the world.  I check it out every week and always find some interesting images.  

Today this one caught my eye.  I'm always both charmed and astounded by how creative people can be, with the simplest of materials.

The Fourth appears to be a grilling occasion for many people.  

This unique grill, featured at Design You Trust, appealed to my sense of humour.  What a perfect conversation starter it would be!

Of course, you'd need something to cook on the grill.  

It's salmon season and this maple glazed grilled salmon from looks awfully good.

This grilled lemon butter zucchini recipe by Tori Avey, for Zabars, would pair well with that salmon, and it's simple to make too.

If you prefer beef, this grilled balsamic flank steak from Point-less Meals might be just the ticket, 

There were lots of Fourth of July themed desserts out there too.

Red, white and blue is a combination easily achieved with berries, like these parfaits from Better Homes and Gardens 

or you could get really ambitious and make a flag cake like this one from Secret Life of a Housewife.

My goodness!
Just thinking about all the cooking has tired me out!
It sure is inspiring though.  
I think I may have to break out the grill tomorrow.

Sunday 1 July 2012

News of the Day

Happy Canada Day!
Isn't this photo great?  It was taken by Randy Hall - a Vancouver Island photographer - at Parksville's Canada Day celebration.  You can find more of Randy's work on his website.

I was at work today.   

My office is located in the village center of a retirement community.  
Their Canada Day began with a veterans' parade and salute to the flag. 
I'd hoped to share photos of the ceremony but, unbeknownst to those of us in the office, the community plans for the ceremony included four songs from the choir, who used our front porch as their stage!  I couldn't get out the door, so I viewed what I could of the ceremony through our office windows.

The square remained active throughout the day, with residents coming and going.  There were flags everywhere, and lots of red and white outfits.

I usually spend my on line time exploring along a theme of some sort, but today my internet adventures were quite random.

I was honoured to find that my Rhubarb, Orange, and Ginger Muffins had been featured by Heatherly Loves on her Sunday Round-Up

and flattered that my friend Rebecca from Chow and Chatter chose to share a link to a B-attitude post I wrote back in February, about our beautiful Vancouver Island shoreline.

I was very interested to read that Tori Avey of The Shiksa has started a new blog called The History Kitchen.  Our culture is often very much defined by our food and, likewise, our food by our culture, so I'm looking forward to looking back with Tori.  
She writes very well. 

I always enjoy looking at really good food photography so I spent some time exploring  
The Little Red House

Then, with both photos and Canada Day in mind, I visited the Your Canada Photos gallery on National Geographic.  There are some amazing images in the gallery, all taken by National Geographic readers, including this beautiful photo of the Juan de Fuca trail, located here on Vancouver Island. 

We wrapped up the day with hot dogs on the grill and a walk by the river.
Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of my evening!
I hope your weekend has been a pleasant one too.