Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

Pssssst. . . . wanna’ buy a cheap recipe binder?

Okay, one final comment on soap making. After using a small bar for a week I recently read how one can test a batch to see if it’s ready. All you need are PH strips, shaved soap, hot water and a reading of between 8 and 10 on the strip. My bars are at 7. . .

Pity.

Patience.

Pah!

Meanwhile, because I enjoy reading the Cook’s Illustrated magazine, I was thrilled to learn they had a cookbook  so I requested a copy from the library.  .

cooks illustratedHoly Crap on a crayon—talk about a behemoth of a book! I should have read the fine print at the bottom of the cover —where it said 2,000 recipes from 20 years. . .

Opening this cookbook is like walking into an oversized big box store without a list and standing there staring at what must be twenty-five aisles and each one is a mile long.

Where to start??

But, once you get the mojo moving, you realize there are sooo many things you didn’t know existed until you saw them. And, because the child in us is never far away, every recipe in the book is like a bag of candy.

The thing with recipes is I tend to collect them. Sometimes when I’m hungry reading recipes is as good as eating. Sometimes, when it’s time to cook a meal, and I haven’t a freaking clue what to cook, I hunt recipes, and sometimes I come across a recipe that is so off-the-wall I simply have to save it. Doesn’t matter if I have to hike into deep woods to kill something, or gather buried roots—when I’m in a ‘mood’ I believe I might just do that.

In other words — I gather recipes to my bosom like a shiny new baby.

And, that’s why the over-grown king-sized binder holding my recipes recently threw its locking rings wide open like a cowboy leaping on a horse and dumped the roughly six trillion plastic sleeves (each containing at least four recipes) across our slippery ceramic tiled floor. As I watched the ocean of pages sliding in all directions like greased bananas I knew it was time to get ruthless with them. Time to cull the beast!  But first—that beautiful cook book had to go back to the library. I have to go cold turkey. NO. MORE. RECIPES. At least until the binder beast is under control.

So, hey — if you see the Cooks Illustrated book please give it a cuddle for me. And, whatever you do, don’t try to pick it up by yourself . . .

Books on my ‘right now’ reading pile

The War on Art by Steven Pressfield

war on Art  It is described as nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. (Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who lived in ancient China. He is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, an influential book on military strategy.

This book takes the reader on a trip through the hows, whys, and ways of the evil genius called Resistance that lives within us and he shows us how to beat it. It’s an easy, interesting read and intriguing layout of a battle plan for defeating this enemy. Great read and it does give the reader’s brain interesting nuggets to think on.

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The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick by Gene Stone

0761165819 Here we’re shown twenty-five different remedies from people who swear by each method. Did I believe everything in it? No. But there are sections I want to know more about. Topics include:people living in Blue Zones, people who eat dirt, swear by chicken soup, have daily encounters with H202(hydrogen peroxide), who run, who do yoga, them that detox by various methods, and a ton more. A book worth reading.

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Book Art Studio Handbook by Stacie Dolin and Amy Lapidow

1592538185  Like to make your own books? Every so often I give it a try because the idea of creating something to create in is an urge too big to ignore. This book shows you how to set up a studio with good descriptions of each tool needed (lots of pictures). It shows you how to make some necessary (good step by step and picture instruction). It takes you through planning a book (materials) with chapters on different style of books, albums, and containers for books. It’s a picture book for those interested in book-making methods and definitely a few steps beyond creating books from cereal boxes (which are fun to do too!).  If I had to use one word for this book, it would be yummy. But then that’s not a proper book word so I won’t. . .

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Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory

1452135479 I love this guy! When he writes a book, his voice is all over it—you read and it’s as if Danny is over your shoulder talking out loud to you. He makes art so simple, so joyful it’s impossible not to just do it. I credit this artist, along with Cathy Johnson, Brenda Swenson, (okay, we can’t forget Kooje Koene and her  ‘quickie’ art lessons on YouTube), and Liz Steele with pushing my art to a more comfortable level inside my head and on the paper.

Listen, in my opinion—anything Danny produces is worth reading or watching.

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Secret Garden by Johanna Basford

1780671067  Like to draw? Like to doodle? Like to Zentangle? This ‘coloring book’ is bursting with images and ideas. When it’s doodling time, this is one of my mainstays to pull close. And, it’s not just for drawing. I’ve found some of the pictures excellent for transfer to fabric to embroider. It’s a shelf have-to-have for me.

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Vintage Trailer Style by Lisa Mora

1446304523  I’ve probably mentioned this one before but, somehow, it always seems to take itself off the shelf and insert itself into my ‘at the moment reading’ pile. Love, love, love this book! The travel trailers in this book are joyful and from page one you feel the burn to hit the open road. I mean – from trailers for girly girls to an airstream called Mimsy’s Trailer Trash Tattoo Studio—from Gypsy romance to the Wild West—what’s not to love about this book?

Excuse me—I have to get a napkin for the drool. . .

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Buddhism plain and simple by Steve Hagin

buddhism plain and simpleI think the title says it all. I have had a burning curiosity about Buddhism for a long time but always shied away because, well, for one, I couldn’t see myself in an orange wrap, with a fuzzy head and meditating twenty-five hours a day (okay truth—I LIKE the fuzzy head part). Thank God for this book is all I can say.

I’m reading it in slo-mo because it’s a pondering book chockfull of AHA moments.

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SKULLS by Simon Winchester   (subtitle—An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection)

0999730444  Now here’s a Picture Book!  Over 300 different pictures of animal skulls with information about each skull, plus a listing of what kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and behavior they belong to. Turning the pages it hit me — suddenly I could see where so much of our local, and stunningly beautiful Native Art originates from. I think this could be a valuable book for many artists in many different fields.

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And, to end my list, are my at-this-moment favorites in the who-dun-its—Ellery Adams, Molly MacRae, Kate Carlisle and Laurie Cass

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Book Review or Two

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Sarah Jio – Goodnight June

June Anderson, the main character, is a self-described highly trained, (emotionless)  ‘ax-person’ for a foreclosure department of a large bank when her beloved aunt dies and June finds herself the new owner of a much-loved bookstore from her childhood. But she hasn’t just inherited Bluebird Books, she’s also inherited a lot of problems. Serious problems.

June is suddenly faced with decisions; Quit her highly successful job and do everything she can to breathe life back into the bookstore, or try to sell it and go back to her own successful life.

To further complicate things, she is led to discover years of friendship letters between her aunt and Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon—the beloved children’s classic book. Letters which cause her to turn around and take another look at everything she believes to be true.

This book I could not put down. I tried. But I just seemed to end up with my bum parked and my eyes rapidly moving from left to right.

This is one big heart-tugging/heart-warming book from start to finish and it closes with a long satisfying sigh.

Good stuff!

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The second book I was planning to review will have to wait. At least until the deliriously-happy drool has dried.

Good thing it’s not a library book!

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Words to Ponder

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While at my favorite bricks and mortar book store the other day I was rooting around in the ‘sale’ bins like a pig in pen when I came across a Reader’s Digest  ‘Quotable Quotes’. Pure Gold! Because—next to who-dun-its, art how-tos, herbals, cottage picture books, etc., etc., quote books are a passion. Here’s a few I’ve stopped to ponder over:

 

“A peacock that rests on his feathers is just another turkey.” – Dolly Parton

You know—beneath all that hair and hooters Dolly is one smart chickie.

 

“When in doubt, look intelligent.” – Garrison Keillor

I know this to be true. Just try looking over the top of your glasses at someone. It’s a thinker’s pose man. An action which always creates a niggle of squirm and doubt in others.

 

Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” – Jimmy Johnson

Well, duh. Any wife/partner/female half of a duo knows that.

 

“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” – Richard Carlson

Yeah, and sometimes I feel like there is evil in those two words—socially acceptable.

 

“When you finally accept that you’re a complete dork, your life gets easier. No sense in trying to be cool.” – Reese Witherspoon

Okay, move over Martha I think I’ve just found my new hero!

 

“Happiness hides in life’s small details. If you’re not looking, it becomes invisible.” – Joyce Brothers

Now that is something we know as children but forget through the major part of our lives only to become re-acquainted  with it as we become older. I guess there is something to be said for not being able to run too fast.

 

“Good taste is the enemy of comedy.” – Mel Brooks

Amen. I wonder if Mel and Reese know each other?

 

Now, if you will excuse me, I hear some unread pages calling my name.

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Shedding the old me

Lately I’ve been wallowing in a truck-full of whodunits (especially those in Kerry Greenwood’s two series). In between I’ve wandered through a herd of non-fictions about other people living their lives, good and not so good.

Reading has always been my preferred method of escapism. Whenever I wake up to the fact that I’m reading till my eyes feel like they are shooting blood, I know I need to look inside the book of me—just for a bit.

And that’s where I’ve been recently.

I learned I’ve been escaping from my life again. Mostly because as Mom’s health and life declines my world grows tighter. And I find I’m resenting the things that don’t fill me with passion. Too often I begin one long-loved craft or another only to realize I’m rushing through it; impatient to be finished.

So — what is the point?

The point is admitting I’ve changed. I no longer want to continue doing what I’ve done for so many years. The very tightness I’m finding so strangling is teaching me about waste. I’m finished with time-wasters. They are going, going. What’s left won’t be much, but it will be important.

It’s been uncomfortable — this emptying of who I figured I was. But, if I’m going to be honest, the hardest part was owning up to how much money I’ve been wasting over hunting for something to distract me. It’s kept me hanging onto way too much and way too long. There there’s admitting to the cost of mentally hanging onto the stuff. After the pain of disconnection came the joy.  As box after box, after box of things left, I found room to breathe. I found relief. And I know for sure what’s important now.

Writing and drawing.

I’m not willing to give them up. Everything else is history.

Even if I never grow to excellence within those fields I will be excellent doing them.

And all it took was shining a light over the dark spots. Huh. Who knew?