Audiobooks · Books

From The Reading Table: Twenty-One Days

Twenty-One Days by Anne Perry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven’t read anything from Anne Perry in a very long time. Thanks to a sale over on Audible, I discovered this book and decided to give it a try.

I’m glad I did!

I’m not a fan of cookie-cutter books; they seem a bit lacking when it comes to substance. Perry always provides interesting characters, settings, and situations that provide a lot of food for thought and a mystery that will keep you wondering.

Daniel is 25 and still wet behind the ears and a little unsure of his footing. This is both interesting and a tad annoying.

The client is a pompous [ fill in the blank ] and the first case is relatively straightforward. Or is it?

I found myself thinking I knew the solution, but by the time I got there, I knew I’d been brought along by a master storyteller.

I like Daniel. I like the time period. I like the masterful way Anne Perry asks the questions that make the story exceptional.

View all my reviews

Around the House

Clean Up, Fix Up, Replace and Repair

Or, everything seems to be falling apart at the same time.

I recently underwent one of those phases where everything seemed to be self-destructing or falling apart all at once. Have you had one of those?

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that my 25+ year old shredder decided it had had quite enough, thank you. Add to it the appliance timer that had kept my small light in the window going for years decided that it, too, was ready for permanent retirement.

When I ventured online to see what was available, I discovered a few other bits and bobs that I decided to add to the order. <shrug> I was on a roll. 🙂

I’m a firm believer that many things fall into place when they are ready. Which is to say, not necessarily when I am ready.

I’ve spent a Very Long Time trying to decide on updates to my window treatment in the living room. I have had a set of ivory lace damask window panels waiting patiently for the new window curtains or drapes to go on the new two track window rods. (Do you get a sense of a theme here?) New as in ‘I haven’t found exactly what I wanted and am also debating about mini-blinds in addition to the curtains.’

Well, thanks to replacing jeans that had self destructed, I got a catalog from BryLane that included some items that I simply could not pass up. They had curtain panels in a color I rather liked (even though I did cross my fingers a bit) at a price I simply could not ignore. So, I ordered them.

Turns out the color was Exactly Right and the right size, etc. They also work beautifully with the damask panels.

Over at Amazon, I found the dual curtain rods I wanted – also at a price I couldn’t ignore – and I took the leap and ordered two. I finally gave way to leave the mini-blinds behind which allowed me to move forward and just get it done.

I have been contemplating a gallery wall for longer than I care to admit, and added the frames to the cart along with some picture hanging hooks. The frames came with all the necessary hanging materials, but I had decided I would rather use the hooks.

I’ve had some beautiful scrapbook/card making papers in my stash that I really wanted to use as part of the gallery wall. Both the frames and the papers are 12 x 12 inches, so the fit was perfect even with the 2 inch mats.

The frames and mats focus attention on the beautiful papers and allow the colors to shine. I can’t wait to use the guide to setting up the gallery wall and hanging these beauties!

As for the shredder and timer, I replaced both with updated models that work better, are easy to use and allow me to return to my regularly scheduled clear out, clean up, etc. LOL!

I won’t lie, it has taken a very long time to pull all of this together. I had thought I would like to make my own curtains, but that never gained any traction. I’m a quilter, not a sewer. Being able to use the papers in my stash to add color, pattern and texture to what is likely to be more than one room is exciting and very pleasing.

All in all, it has been a busy few days and gives me room for thought about more changes and updates.

Can’t beat that, right?

Musings · YouTube

Interesting People: Morgan Donner

I would like to say I was introduced to Morgan Donner via the YouTube Costume Community and their holiday Secret Santa Videos. This would be back in 2019, I think. Either that or via Bernadette Banner and one of her videos.

What I would like for you to know about her is that she is an interesting person who has lots of unusual knowledge used for out of the ordinary tasks, tools, and things.

She is, in many ways, a lot of fun to keep up with.

Check out her latest video:

What I find most interesting about this particular video venture is the way Morgan weaves coffee, pottery and history into something interesting, informative and, potentially, enjoyable. That coffee thing is quite interesting… and if you have Rakuten, you get a further discount. Just sayin’

I enjoy people who are not cookie cutter versions of other folks and Morgan certainly fits that bill. While she does delve into things that don’t always particularly grab my interest, she often provides a view at topics or projects that capture my attention.

Don’t take my word for it – check out her YouTube channel. Let me know what you think!


What’s Am I Missing?

If you are relatively new here, you might want to consider signing up for our free monthly newsletter. Each newsletter contains a new edition of The Magic Pantry which is usually a collection of recipes.

June’s Magic Pantry, however, is a collection of tips and tricks for the kitchen.

The newsletter is sent out to your email In Box on the first of every month. If you want to be on the list for June, click on the Newsletter tab and follow the instructions. Don’t wait too long! In order to get on the list, sign up on or before the 29th of the month.

Questions? Email me at

Cord Cutting · Media · TV

Streaming Options: How to Pick A Device

For many people streaming has become a way of life. I, for one, have had some version of a Roku device for years. Why? I wanted flexibility and options in my viewing and didn’t want to be locked into a contract with a cable/satellite provider that set a price (that usually kept increasing) included channels I never watched, and routinely had carrier arguments with major networks that kept me from getting access to local news and weather.

Where I live, it is Essential to have access to the latest weather. Having my access tied to a cable system that might, or might not, be working just isn’t feasible. And, to be clear, I live in the middle of a metro area where such access shouldn’t be an issue. Some would say, just use your cell phone. Well, if that service isn’t working, either, then what?

I still use an over the air antenna for a lot of my viewing. Why? For many years it was an easy way to get local feeds – not to mention those extra digital channels – that hadn’t yet made the upgrade to a streaming feed. That being said, I spent decades having access to local PBS feeds only to lose it years ago when, for some inexplicable reason, all the PBS signals evaporated. At least my local PBS affiliate had no clue. I found my best access was either via streaming the PBS apps or subscribing to channels through Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon, their channel offerings are astounding. And the prices are usually quite competitive, too. Keep in mind, some think they are providing super luxury high end programming when really all they are doing is increasing price to keep the illusion of luxury. It works only if the consumer wants to pay for it. I don’t.

For some folks, however, cord cutting (getting rid of cable) and diving into streaming can be confusing and a bit scary. I’ve got articles on the blog about this, so be sure to check them out for more information.

As for finding a new Streaming Device, check out this article from TV Insider: How To Pick a Streaming Device. Good information with a tip or two that us long time users can find handy.

Things To Think About

As you consider making the change, take a few minutes to think about the following:

  • What network (ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.) do you primarily watch?
  • What types of programming do you prefer? Sports, cooking shows, documentaries, etc.
  • What networks from cable do you want to continue to use? Do they have their own streaming channel? Do they require a cable subscription?
  • Are you a binge watcher? If so, you might consider subscribing to a channel/network only long enough to catch all the episodes of a series that are currently available and then resubscribing when the next batch is available.
  • Are you a major fan of a franchise? Check out their home bases. Disney+, for example, has tons of material including Marvel, Star Wars, Muppets, in addition to the regular Disney fare. That service alone will keep many people happy for months just catching up, revisiting or exploring.

I’d suggest browsing the channel stores at Roku, Amazon, Google, and Apple+ to see what they offer and what is required. You will be surprised.

Around the House · Crafting · Food · Media · Musings

When Was The Last Time You

Thanks to a comment by Jackie Bolhuis recently, I replaced my stamp pads which brought me up to date and allowed me to get rid of old, well used pads. This got me to thinking about all the other things that tend to get put off until ‘later’.

Quilters / Sewers
  • Changed the needle in your machine
  • Gathered all your notions and put them in their assigned spots.
  • Sharpened scissors
  • Replaced blades on rotary cutters
  • Checked your UFOs and decided which to work on and which to discard
  • Updated your inventory
    • What needs to be used in the freezer or fridge?
    • What needs to be replaced?
  • Checked the expiration dates on your spices
  • Reviewed those recipes you’ve saved ‘until later’
Media Review
  • Reset your modem
  • Reviewed the streaming channels you subscribe to
  • Checked those subscriptions you have but might not keep up with
  • Reviewed your calendar(s). What needs to be changed or removed and what can be added?
Holiday Preparation

Hard as it might be to imagine, now is the time to start thinking and planning for the Winter Holidays. Some projects that a lot of time while others might be managed at the last minute. Things to think about:

  • Sewing or Quilting Projects
    • Gather patterns, fabrics and notions
  • Paper Crafting
    • Holiday papers and inks are starting to appear
  • Homemade Gifts
    • Collect the recipes and put together a shopping list
    • Start collecting the necessary dry goods now
    • If you are planning on making fruitcakes, now might be a good time to start them.
Have I missed anything?

Let me know!

If this has been helpful, please let me know by clicking on the “Like” button! Thanks!


Shopping Tips & Tools

If you are like most folks these days, you do a lot of shopping online. One friend of mine mentioned that she had the same $20 in her purse today as she did a year ago. I can go one better; I’ve had the same $5 bill in mine for over 2 years.

My mom was a blue ribbon Window Shopping Super Shopper. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend when I was little and often we found ourselves walking through downtown (aka: Main Street) and checking out the window displays. Mom also took advantage of the newspaper circulars, catalogs and magazines to find ‘just the right thing’ she was looking for before she ventured into shops.

Granted, that was a few decades ago, but she taught her girls well and I, for one, love to take advantage of online shopping.

Online shopping has evolved quite a bit in the past 20 odd years. Stores have taken advantage of a lot of tools that search engines provide and have embraced what I refer to as a sharing network. You might think of eBay or Facebook Marketplace, but I look at Google, Yahoo, and Rakuten to find things – not to mention stores – that have the items I’m looking for.

Looking for Coupons or Deals?

I’ve never been much of a couponer, but years ago I was introduced to eBates by a friend and have used the service often over the years. eBates is now knows as Rakuten.

Rakuten was founded in 1997 and has evolved to work with hundreds, if not thousands, of brands and stores to create a one-stop-shopping experience that provides a variety of cash back offers, deals and shopping rewards on products and services you use. Click on the link for more information and to sign up – it is free. Hint: Go to the bottom of their webpage and check out the lists of stores and brands they work with.

The best part about shopping with Rakuten is the money they return to your pocket!

Your New Shopping Best Friend

We all have those friends who love to shop, right? They always find the best deal and the best price and love to share their finds.

A year or so ago, Hermione Chantal talked about an app she has used for years called Shoptagr and I immediately checked it out. Shoptagr has become Karma and provides similar cashback and coupon tools as Rakuten but Karma has the additional feature of allowing you to keep track of things you are looking for, be notified when they go on sale or are once again available and allow you to shop directly from their site.

Looking for that perfect sofa? Want to update your wardrobe? Your favorite whatsit out of stock or not yet on sale? Karma will notify you using the settings you create in your free account.

Not Just For Shopaholics

Online tools like Karma and Rakuten help you save more money while you shop for the things you need and/or want. They also have buttons (or widgets) to add to your browser that will alert you when you are in a store they support. They are easy to use and, best of all, free.

Check them out – you will be amazed at the stores and merchandise you will find!

Do me a favor, okay? If you found this post helpful, please click the “like” button and tell a friend. Thanks! 🙂


The Big Book Of Amazing Cakes

I love to bake from scratch and I’ve been a fan of The Great British Baking Show. When I discovered the following it was a match made in Heaven.

The Great British Baking Show: The Big Book of Amazing Cakes by The Baking Show Team

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a long-time fan of the show, I have been looking for something like this book for years. The recipes are well written – and converted for us non-Brits who have issues using their processes. My absolute favorite thing about the book, however, is that several base recipes are set up with different measurements depending upon the size of the bake you want to make. This means if you want to make a different size version, the measurements are provided for you. Genius!

From what I’ve seen, no matter your skill level there is something in the book you can make.

View all my reviews

Around the House · Musings

Taking A Breather

Or I might have overdone it a bit yesterday.

Much to my amusement, Saturday once again turned out to be a Busy Day. I don’t know why, but even though I’m retired I seem to get more done during the weekend than during the week. Truly, it makes no sense to me. A friend mused that it is a result of all those years when the only time to do housework, etc., was on the weekend.

The lawn guys came and mowed the lawn – and I can not tell you how thrilling it is to realize that I actually have a lawn after a few too many years of too much shade and too little grass. After all the rain we’ve had they had a bit of a clean up to do, but it still is beautiful!

I turned the telly on to “The Lawrence Welk Show” and went into the Library/Craft Room to start in on a clear out. I’d been working on it for a while; getting rid of old magazines and catalogs, sorting through the papers that needed to be shredded, collecting the no longer needed cardboard and started hauling it all to the trash/recycle bins. I even managed to kill my 25+ year old shredder. And I wasn’t even trying! LOL!

Clutter not only takes up space physically but it crowds out creativity, too. I recently splurged on replacement ink pads since my old one are a bit old. I also picked up a couple of paper packs that I really liked. After the major clear out, I sat down and put the color/name labels on the ends of the pads and set them up for storage. I drooled over the new papers, too. Why not!

I’ve been bingeing on card demonstrators to see new ideas for the new papers. Stampin’ Up’s new catalog goes live on Tuesday, May 4th so there are a lot of new ideas out there!

Paige over at Farmhouse Vernacular has introduced The Vernacular Society, which I think is brilliant. She has all the information on her website. I will be looking into joining.

The Garden Adventure continues. I have a window full of planters all with at least one seed that has sprouted and is in some level of growth. Many have 4 leaves or more!

Weather-wise we’ve gone from cold to wet to hot to cold to wet to …

My U.K. folks – Mr. Carrington, Hermione Chantal, and Luke Catleugh, posted recently about their adventures now that the charity shops are once again open and people are able to get out and about for a while. I honestly don’t know which I like most; the opportunity to do some armchair traveling or checking out the hauls.

DIY Danie has done some great projects around her house, too. All of them give me some inspiration as I work to update my home.

I’m thinking that it is probably time to get back to what I had planned before the shingles came to visit back in March. That being said, don’t be surprised to see some updates.

If you like what you’ve seen and read, please click on the “like” button below and please share us with your friends. I’m always amazed that there are so many folks who come by to see what Bella Cat and I are up to. We appreciate your including us in your own adventures.

That being said, if you have comments or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

In the meantime, I’m off to put my feet up a bit. 🙂