The Newest and the Greatest … Stuff

Or I will pass, thanks.

There is something about a new release of craft materials (any kind of craft you please) that can be exciting, stressful and depressing at the same time.

It doesn’t matter if it is a new catalog or a new sale or a new monthly subscription box or a new tool or a new [ fill in the blank ], once you get past the initial interest and excitement you come face to face with that touch of painful reality…

There is the limited release frustration.

If you are a quilter or a card maker you know the frustration of the limited release for fabric lines, paper lines, holiday or seasonal lines. The biggest is the June/July Christmas hurdle. That’s when all the holiday themed stuff hits the shelves so you can get an early start on your holiday crafting.

This stuff isn’t around long so if you don’t get in quick enough or don’t purchase enough you run the risk of a partially done project or two or three…

There’s the new gadget, tool, ink, what-not frustration.

That’s when the new stuff arrives and your creative juices start flowing before you check your bank balance.

Now, I love my toys but I have come to realize that there just isn’t enough space in my home, let alone cash in my bank account to accommodate some of this stuff. And then there is the reality that some of this stuff will just sit tucked away and ignored until ‘later’ which never seems to come along.

I love unboxing videos as much as anyone else but I have often seen folks who do those videos tuck the stuff aside or gift it. I have rarely ever seen them actually do the projects. Time limitations are real things. Sad, but true.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at what we already have. Is it something we want to use? If not, why not send it to a new home? The one thing about ‘stuff’ is the more you have of it, the less your creativity. Once you start making room for the things you want to use or projects you want to do, the more you will do them.

And if the new stuff still intrigues you and you have the room and the budget to bring them home, go for it! You might find that you love stencils or hand work or whatever and do more of it than you ever thought you would. The trick is to be sure you are not stressing out over the acquisition of these new items so you can enjoy the creative process.


Audiobooks · Books

From The Reading Table: The Good, The Bad and The History

The Good, the Bad and the History by Jodi Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are those few and far in between authors that continue to amaze me as I read (listen) their latest works. Jodi Taylor is at the top of that list. No matter if I’m catching up with the Time Police or endeavoring to keep up with Max and St. Mary’s I never, ever, read the end of the book without shaking my head, chuckling a lot, and wondering how she does it. How does Jodi Taylor keep all those plot strings organized?

This latest visit has kept me up at night, required a rewind (I listen to the audio version), made me stop and get reacquainted with what happened in the last book, move forward and … start all over again to listen straight through.

Visiting St. Mary’s is like the yearly family union or visit to camp. There is that time spent with old friends, favorite relatives, all while enjoying the catch up with all that has transpired since the last visit.

This latest visit picks up right where the last one left off (with Max in trouble…again) and moves forward in its’ usual fast pace. While gathering the threads of the latest crises, the reader is also treated to a collection of threads from older books in the series.

NOTE: If you are new to the series, I would caution diving in in the middle as there is a lot you will have missed. You’ve been warned.

One of the pleasures of a long running series is the fact of the long run. There is a lot of character development. There is a lot of long running plot development, and there is the pure pleasure of the short term travels through time. Time as in time spent with the series and time as in time travel.

Max has undergone a lot of growth and it shows in her choices. She has also avoided growth in some areas, and that, too, pops up to create issues. It will be interesting to see how she moves forward.

In the meantime, buckle up and enjoy the ride!

View all my reviews

Audiobooks · Books

The Southern Sisters Mysteries

I discovered Anne George’s Southern Sisters Mysteries a couple of decades ago when I was embarking on audio books. Set in Alabama roughly in the 1990s, the books focus on two sisters; Patricia Ann and Mary Alice who are in their early to mid 60s.

The books are a wonderful cozy mix of humor and mystery spiced with that illusive addition of location and time period.

Read by Ruth Ann Phimister, who does an admirable job creating characters that are beautifully distinctive and well executed, the audio version of the series is a joy to listen to.

Check out this link to learn more about the books.

If you are looking for a great summer read or just need a change of pace from your usual read or listen, check out this great series.


Around the House

The Weekend Schedule

For years I was a PBS Weekend junkie

My Saturdays were filled with DIY shows that covered quite a range of topics. Sundays were catch up days or out of the ordinary show days.

That was my reality for decades until I could no longer get PBS or PBS Create over the air. Once that access was lost (and please don’t tell me that I could watch on the Internet…as long as I sat at my computer) it took a while before I found an equitable replacement. YouTube provides an enormous quantity of material but I have found a lot of similar material on a variety of streaming platforms. So, what is my Weekend Schedule?


DIY Danie drops her weekly video on YouTube while I am zoning on MeTV’s Saturday Morning Cartoons. Danie does some seriously amazing DIYs! I would call her fearless but I’m sure she would say otherwise. Want to learn how to build a table or design a dressing area? Looking for ideas to renovate a bathroom…or an entire house? Have a passion for [ fill in the blank ] and want to create something connected to it? Check out Danie’s channel. She can be quirky and a bit silly, but don’t overlook her attention to detail, determination, and the passion she has for the process.

Next up is Salvaged by Katie Scott. I have no idea how I found her but I love watching her take a piece of furniture that was headed toward a landfill and turn it into something beautiful. This lady has some serious design chops but she really shines as she teaches how she works through a project.

For a long time Entertaining With Beth has been a weekly staple. Beth takes the time to make sure her videos are not only fun to watch but easy to follow. Her food is not always geared toward entertaining as she adds in some great weekly recipes, but when she produces a meal plan geared toward a holiday, she always provides the time line and information so you can follow along.

The Domestic Geek is another great place to find healthy, easy meal ideas geared toward folks with limited time. Sara Lynn has been providing interesting, quick, easy, and healthy recipes for quite a while and I always enjoy her smiling welcome.

When I look for something a bit different…or not, I look for Cheryl over at What’s For Tea? Cheryl is a home cook in Scotland who shares her weekly shop and the meals she has made for her small family. She often does videos showing how she created a particular recipe, too. It might not sound like much, but I love the down home simple approach to a weekly meal shop and prep. And the food… Yum!

Maymay Made It is a Saturday staple. Maymay always has a crafting project to share. If she is working on a long project, we might be seeing a part of the process. The best way to see what might be coming is to check out her channel and pay attention to her schedule. She does a live show on Thursdays but posts several times during the week. You might find a product review, a stamp set reveal, or the latest project.


Sundays mornings are devoted to breakfast with the UK folks. Both Mr. Carrington and Luke Catleugh drop new videos each week. Each has a different focus, often they team up. You never quite know what to expect. Travel, DIY, cookery, movie reviews, pets, hauls, gardening. The guys provide a quiet, easy entry to the day that always brings a smile and at least one chuckle. I credit Mr. C for reviving my interest in plants.

Glen and Friends drops videos at different times during the week but the Sunday show (the Old Cookbook Show) is a favorite. Glen could be focusing on a process rather than a recipe or he could be doing some experimentation with a variety of recipes. If you check out his channel you will find a plethora of material that reflects an interest in a wide variety of foods.

These are some of my go to folks. I learn a lot, I have fun watching, and often I am inspired. Check them out, if you like what you see, don’t forget to subscribe.

Which reminds me, if you like what you find here, let me know by clicking that ‘like’ button.



Adding A Bit Of Spice To Your Cooking

Or How About Those Cooking Contests?

For many, many years cooking contests have graced the pages of magazines, provided content for specialty publications, and even managed to add items to our favorite meal rotations.

With the advent of the cooking competition shows, however, I think that the contests themselves have been overshadowed by bigger productions with more exuberant flashes in the pan. So to speak. Hey, if you like watching professionals run around with temper tantrums, go for it. I’ll pass.

Back to contests. The annual state fair recipe contests are a staple but so are the contests held to bring attention to a brand or group. Magazines regularly hold contests to not only encourage readership but to add excitement for upcoming issues.

Some of those recipes become family favorites. Some become springboards for new ideas. Some are just … astounding. Check out the Pillsbury Bake-Off site. They have every single winning recipe from the beginning of the competition, too!

If you are interested in learning more about cooking contests, you can check out the latest by clicking on Calling All Contestants.

There is more to these contests than just reading about the results. There is money to be made. If you love to cook or bake and have had some success at home, it is worth thinking about participating in contests. Click here for information and guidelines.

I love watching the Great British Baking Show and I often learn about food items I’d never encountered before. I find myself curious to try my hand at some of the treats, too. For years I loved learning about the latest Pillsbury Bake Off winners. These folks create amazing and delicious food using items we can find at our local markets.

No matter if you are a happy amateur who loves to try new recipes or a happy creator who loves to live a bit on the wild side and create your own recipes, cooking contests might be something you will enjoy.

Happy cooking!


Jeopardy! Who Would Have Thought?

The iconic game show is undergoing an evolution.

I was the kid who loved game shows that encouraged me to actually think. For me those shows were more interesting and captivating than any sports event. If you want to learn vocabulary, Password was your show. If you like learning things, or had a background in trivia, Jeopardy! was your show. It did not hurt that both shows taught a lot about language and culture, too.

I have been a fan of Jeopardy! since Art Fleming was at the podium. That was way back in 1964. Whew!

When Alex Trebek helmed the return of the show in 1984 little did we know how the game, and the show, would evolve.

For many years, Jeopardy! was the daily to go for families who spent time together watching (and playing) the game. Alex was the familiar face of the guide to the game. Sadly, when he passed away the game not only needed a new host, it needed a bit of a boost.

There are several new tournaments as part of the refresh to our old favorite. The latest is Jeopardy Masters. I have to admit I enjoy watching all of these incredibly talented players do their thing and watching Masters has been the equivalent to the Super Bowl.

Now I’ve known about for a while now and find the site a great collection of information. You can catch up on the latest news, find out about today’s players, do the Anytime Test, check out merchandise, and dive into two podcasts about the show. Yes, two!

It is the result of listening to the Inside Jeopardy! podcast that has brought me to this post. One of the topics of discussion has been the evolution of the game to what might be considered a sport status. WTF?!

Jeopardy! as a … sport?

High level competition. Earnings potential.

I get it. I think. If you are interested in learning more, check out the podcast and see what you think. If you are interested in learning more about the history of the show, check out Buzzy Cohen’s This is Jeopardy! podcast. Both are available on the site.

I enjoy settling down every evening to see who is playing and play along. The daily games are often quite captivating and I can usually manage not to totally embarrass myself. Too much. LOL! When the championships come along I enjoy watching my favorite players return to compete. I never walk away from a game where I did not learn something new. To me that is the greatest gift of these shows.

Classic Game Shows
  • Jeopardy!
  • Password
  • Match Game
  • To Tell The Truth
  • What’s My Line?
  • Concentration
  • Let’s Make A Deal
  • Wheel of Fortune