Browsing The Shelves

Figuratively Speaking

Once a month my Audible credits restock and I have the ability to find new books to listen to. Some months the process is easy while other months it can be a long, tedious, frustrating, interesting experience.

I love being read to! I have enjoyed it since I was a very small child. When I was older and learned to read, I loved the foray to the local library or ordering the latest publisher’s catalog to find printed treasures. Tack on a few decades with eyesight that doesn’t always enjoy the printed word and audio books came to the rescue.

Don’t mistake me; I’ve had printed, electronic and audio versions of the same books for years. A good book is a good book no matter the format!

Anyway, this latest browse took me down the ‘BBC’ section of Audible’s catalog where I found a plethora of BBC productions covering a huge array of genres. I could dive into a variety of versions of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Who, Tolkein and the like. I could find anthologies of authors like Christie and Wodehouse, to name a few. There was a selection of those tongue in cheek antidotes to game shows like ‘I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clue’ or ‘Just A Minute’, too.

I don’t know what it is about the BBC, but they have produced some interesting, if not downright hilarious, shows over the decades. And I’m just speaking about the comedies or game shows, they have an equally impressive collection of dramas, too.

As we edge into Summer with the potential for beach reads, why not investigate beach listens, too? If this is your first venture into audio books, look for either a favorite author or a shorter book to dip your toe in.

There is something indulgent and comforting about being read to. It hearkens back to our younger years. Or, thinking slightly differently, why not check out one of the children’s books? No matter what your age, you can indulge in something you haven’t read in a long time or you can see what you might have missed.

Don’t overlook the impact audio books can have on the little ones, either. It is an excellent way to increase vocabulary and build imagination.

Now, back to my Audible Wishlist to see what might be in my next book run…



Inspiration or Eye Candy?

Mr. Carrington recently visited the Chelsea Flower Show and brought us along for the ride.

What a great visit!

I have to give credit to Mr. C for reigniting my interest in plants. Thanks to him sharing is roof garden with his viewers, I found myself captivated by the possibilities and potential of my own deck area.

Not everyone is born with a green thumb. I have a friend who seems to have 10 of them (even though I’d bet she would deny it). Her gardens are always beautiful and well cared for. Me? I do well to keep plants alive and I have no interest in digging up my yard. I have often had planters filled and kept them content, but other than that…

The Chelsea Flower Show is an iconic item on many gardeners To Do Lists. I’ve seen a few professional gardeners visit the show and bring us along. Somehow, though, I never really experienced it as I did when Mr. C took us along. Perhaps it is because he focused on those exhibits that he found more interesting.

What I can tell you is that even if you are not a gardener, but enjoy a bit of plant therapy, it is worth checking out – even if you only do so via video.

Card Making · Crafting · Craftroom

Watercolor Pencils

Finally a decent tutorial!

I’m a long time fan of Pootles Papercrafting on YouTube and I am also one of those folks who really isn’t good at coloring on cards. I’ve had a set of Stampin Up watercolor pencils that have languished in my drawer. I am so glad I saw this video showing how to use them!

Everything I Wish I Had Known A Long Time Ago

I’m inclined to add the latest set of pencils to my wishlist.

Crafting · Craftroom

From The Craft Room: Updates

There has been a little activity in the craft room recently. Some is better than none, right?

I’ve begun the process of pulling out stamp sets I don’t use. I will be donating them with papers I no longer want later. This culling process has given way to engaging the creative side of my brain. You know what they say, out with the old and in with the new! New ideas, that is.

The new Stampin Up catalog will jump start my creativity…I hope. I love seeing new products no matter whose they are, but sometimes that doesn’t make me want to dive in to my craft room. Surely I’m not the only one …

The Idea Book Has Grown

A few years ago I took an old 3 inch 3 ring binder and some dividers and created my first paper crafting Idea Book. I set up sections for the monthly Crafty Al Sheetload of Cards as well as the weekly card projects from other card makers.

Believe it or not, I have had to split that book because it was getting too full!

Crafty Al has her own book now. What I did is get a set of numbered dividers to use as the months (1, 2, 3 etc.) and punch some color paper to use as dividers in between the printed card sketches. This last bit is not necessary but does help me when I flip through each month.

The second book has a collection of basics (color wheel, tips and tricks, etc.) in addition to sections devoted to a collection of card recipes from various designers. I love how some are getting on the bandwagon and making free downloads of their card projects and I especially love it when they get really good at creating these helpful tools.

Each book has lots of room for growth and the ability to clear out and change when necessary. If you have collected similar materials, why not make your own Idea Book?

I’ve also been checking my supplies to see if anything needs to be replaced or updated. Blades get dull, ink pads dry out and often those most used items seem to have found a way to hide when you need them most, right?

Are you getting your craft room (space) ready for more adventures, too?

Cooking · Food · YouTube

Not Your Ordinary Cooking Show

If you have been around here for any length of time, you know I love cooking shows. I love to discover new (to me) recipes while learning new tricks to the trade. A few years ago I happened across a show on YouTube that I kept returning to watch. It is a great mixture of good food, interesting commentary, and a huge assortment of recipes going back…quite a long time. And that doesn’t include the videos.

Canadian Glen Powell and his wife, Julie, invite people to visit at least once a week where Glen tries out recipes, talks about the research he has done on the recipe, walks us through the process, and Julie joins to taste test and adds her comments.

It might sound a bit dry, but it is really quite interesting stuff if you like to cook and/or eat. Glen has covered quite an array of foods but there is more, a lot more, on his YouTube channel, Glen and Friends.

I found out more about Glen by reading this article: How a Canadian Depression Era…

I tried to find just the right teaser for you to visit Glen’s YouTube Channel but truthfully, there are just too may temptations.

Check out Glen and Friends Cooking on YouTube to see what delectable treats might tempt you.


Cooking · Food

Getting Out of The Rut

I recently checked out a local grocery store that I haven’t visited in a Very Long Time. Why did I do it? I wanted to see if the grass was greener over there, so to speak.

It started because I didn’t need a lot of my regular stuff. That’s the standard fare I get every month. I did, however, need a couple of things that couldn’t wait until I was ready to do the Big Shop. So, I thought I would try my luck at this other store.

What I found surprised me. While they do carry some big name brand items, when I looked at their store brand items, I saw pretty much the same things I would find under Big Name Brands under a different brand name. Same item, lower cost.

Now, to be fair, this is nothing new, but I think we tend to forget that manufacturers often create goods for multiple brand names and price points. We really can save some cash by getting out of the rut of always buying the same brand names.

Anyway, I found items that I would not have found in my usual market. Little things like empanadas and premade salads. While this might not sound like a Big Deal, when you are craving a bit of something new these things can be quite a nice change of pace.

I also found lower priced fresh fruits and vegetables. As Summer moves in and we look for lighter fare, these items will be more prevalent on our menus.

At the end of the day I think my experiment was a success. I found a good resource for a variety of items I couldn’t find in my regular store. When added to the regular items on my shopping list the lower cost has had a positive impact on my budget.

While it is often easier to hit the larger markets or big box stores, perhaps it is worth trying your own experiment and checking out markets in your area that you haven’t visited before.

Books · Movies · TV

The Full Circle

Or the potential joy of ending a series.

One of the recent conversation strings in my house lately has been focused on the ending of a series. This refers to books, movies, and even TV shows.

For those of us who have been followers of television series, this time of year can be tricky. If there is a potential for the series to be cancelled, what happens to bring the story to a close? If the series has been cancelled or decided not to come back for a new season, does that mean they have time to create an ending that will tie everything up?

For example, The Big Bang Theory was able to bring the series to a satisfactory close after 12 seasons. On the other hand, Star Trek, The original series, was canceled after 3 seasons leaving Kirk, Spock and McCoy, along with the rest of the Enterprise crew, out exploring the galaxy. One can’t help but wonder what we might have seen if the series had been given a last season to tie up loose ends.

Movie series don’t seem to have the same issues, mainly because there is often no guarantee that a studio will plan ahead to produce the next film in a potential series. We have seen some attempts at that, however, usually ending with questionable results.

Book series can be tricky, too. Writers dealing with boredom can kill off a series faster than a speeding rabbit. One of my favorite authors has produced a series where a new book was released about every 3 years without fail. Imagine the frustration when the latest book came out 4 years late. Yes, 7 years between books. No matter how dedicated the fan might be to the series, it is almost impossible to keep interest and enthusiasm going with such a delay.

What brought all this to mind recently was the release of the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard. Now, I could expound on the fabulous production values and the fabulous cast – and season 3 has had an amazing cast – and all of that would be an honest POV. What stand out, for me at least, was the amazing amount of work that went into writing the season’s storyline.

This was a labor of love produced by people who have been involved in Star Trek in one form or other for decades. The end product gathered together stories, characters, situations from a variety of Star Trek series (and I do mean series plural) to create an end of series show that was unexpected and engaging.

This was a rarity for any medium.

This particular cupcake came along after a couple of years where favorite authors seemed to forget what they were writing and it showed. Where series galumphed along not really attempting to reach even the more modest levels of quality we had seen in earlier seasons. Where a big studio was advised that if the star they were willing to toss aside didn’t return to a big ticket movie series, don’t bother making the next installment.

If you are committed to a book, movie or television series, things matter. Consistency, timing, commitment, and as much transparency as possible between creators and consumers are important from all sides.

What it all boils down to is simply this: without an audience it doesn’t matter if a book, movie or TV show is available. Keeping that audience is important.

Around the House

Tastes Change

Recently several of my favorite YouTubers commented that their tastes have changed/evolved over the years and it sounded like they were a little surprised by that. Another stepped right up and said that she was no longer decorating her home based on what her followers might want to see, but on what she wanted for her home.


You often hear about trends changing or how idea boards have shifted from one ‘ideal’ to another, but it is rare that you hear from folks – especially content creators – that their personal tastes have changed.

Realistically, everyone’s preferences shift over time. On pretty much everything. Some folks find their dietary preferences change as flavors and different foods become popular…or not. The same goes for clothing and home decor. It is a major factor in what drives in colors and out colors, too.

If you look at Pinterest you will see a lot of shift in what folks think is ‘In’ or ‘Out’. The same goes for any magazine or decorating show.

Many times this shift is unconscious in that the consumer finds an aesthetic s/he prefers over what is already in the home. Sometimes the shift is deliberate. Call it the Intentional Home.

Whatever your preferences, I think it is a good thing to find ways to up your style. Sometimes that unexpected color choice or fabric addition can add to a room. It doesn’t have to be permanent.

The only thing I would add is that I believe your home should reflect you, not Pinterest or some content provider’s version of what is ‘in’. To my mind, that is the only way you will be comfortable in your home as opposed to feeling as if you are in a temporary spot. And if it matches the latest version of what is trendy, fine as long as you are comfortable living there.