Noner Says

Kids, Coffee, Crafts, and Chaos

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On Turpentine Lane

Book 2/60 – On Turpentine Lane

On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman is a little different than many books I would pick on my own, but is the 2nd book I chose to read in my quest to reach 60 this year.

What is On Turpentine Lane About?

Faith Frankel has returned to her hometown and bought a quirky little house on Turpentine Lane.  Her life is peaceful except that her fiance is on a crowdfunded cross-country walk.  He won’t return her calls but has no problem using her credit card.  Then there are the problems at work, her parents problems, oh, and the creepy photos she found in her attic.

As things start to fall apart around her Faith hangs in there as best she can.

What Did I Think?

Its a CUTE book.  Really.

Stories where a female MC randoly buys a house and tries to change the tides of her own life appeal to me. (I reccomend Anybody Any Minute by Julie Mars in that vein)

On Turpentine Lane is not exactly that kind of book.

While she does buy a house on a whim, at first it seems like everything in her life starts going wrong.  Her traveling fiance wont return her calls, her job is in serious trouble, and her parents marriage is on the rocks and there are photos of dead babies in her attic!  Her whole life turns topsy turvy on Turpentine lane.

There is an element of mystery, a good bit of humor, and just a tinge of romance in this novel.

Recommended for a quick and fun read.

Absolutely Adorable Valentine Wreath Made With Coffee Filters

Valentine Wreath DIY

Heart Shaped Wreath for Valentine's DayFebruary is right around the corner.  Friends and lovers are scrambling to find the perfect way to say “You Complete Me” to the special person in their lives.  This Valentine Wreath DIY is a simple and inexpensive way to show the world your home is ready for a little love too!

Chances are good that you have everything you need to make this wreath in your home right now.  If not, everything is simple to get your hands on

Looking for a good project to keep little hands busy?  This craft is great for the whole family to participate in, with adult supervision of course.

You can hang this Valentine Wreath on your front door, or use it for Valentine’s Decor inside your home too.  Make more than one to spread the love to every room in your home.

Just how easy is it?  Keep reading to find out!

Valentine Wreath Supplies

Like I said, so many of these supplies, if not all of them, are already laying around your house!

  • Foamcore board or heavy cardboard
  • Strong scissors or craft knife
  • Red and/or Pink paint (acrylic or watercolor)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Coffee filters
STEP 1
Dye Your Filters

The first thing you should do is dye your coffee filters.  I recommend doing this FIRST because your filters will need time to dry before you can apply them to your wreath form.

Take a large bowl and put a SMALL amount of the paint color you want in the bottom of the bowl.  Pink or Red are good Valentine’s Day colors, but you can make it any color you please.

Remember, a little paint goes a long way.

Add about half a cup of water to your paint in the bowl.  Using a paintbrush stir until all the paint has dissolved in the water.

Coffee Filters in Pink Dye

Filters are “thirsty” and will quickly suck up the colorful water.

Once your paint and water are well mixed, take some of the filters and dip them, open side down, into the bowl.

The filters will very rapidly suck up the tinted water. The longer your leave it in the stronger the color will be. The color will travel UP the filter, even after you have taken it out of the water. If you dip and remove the filters very quickly from the water, then you’ll have a neat ombre effect to your filter.

After you have dipped all of your filters, set them aside on a towel to dry. This process can take a while, so you might want to dip your filters the day before you assemble your wreath.

After the filters have dried, take a paintbrush and paint the top edges with undiluted paint.  This gives it an extra POP of color.

Crafty Tip

You can speed drying time with a heat gun or hair dryer. But be careful. Coffee filters are thin, and can burn!


STEP 2
Cut Your Valentine Wreath Form

Valentine Wreath Form

Again, you can make a heart shaped wreath form from items in your own home! There is no need to go out and buy an expensive heart shaped wreath form. You can easily cut your own from a piece on inexpensive foam core board ($1 and up). Or, if you have a heavy cardboard box around the house that is large enough, even that will work just fine!

You will want to use something thick and sturdy though. Shipping boxes or Corrugated cardboard will work best. Cereal boxes won’t hold up so well.

Draw your heart on whatever material you use, and cut it out with a strong pair of scissors or a craft knife. Then draw a second heart inside the first and cut it out. That will be the center of your wreath. The dyed filters will be attached to the remaining cardboard.

I did this craft using foam core board. You could also use some sturdy cardboard if you have some around your house.

If you’re not crafty enough to get a good heart shape out of foam core or cardboard, there are heart shaped wreath forms you can purchase.

STEP 3
Assemble your wreath.

Now that you have your wreath form ready, and your coffee filters dyed and dried, its time to put your wreath together.

Plug in your hot glue gun, you’ll be using it a lot. (Unless you’re letting the kids do it, then get the tacky glue ready.)

Take one filter, and fold it in half to make a semi-circle. Fold that in half to make a triangle shape. Then twist the pointy tip into a flat base while crumpling the top part into a crunch ball. Glue it to the outer edge of your wreath form.

Repeat with the next filter, and the next, until the outer edge is filled in. The closer together you put them, the fuller your wreath will look in the end. (and the more coffee filters you will need. My wreath took 160 filters)

Continue gluing filters to the form, working from the outside inward, until the whole thing is full of the filters. You will cover from the outer edge to the inner edge, but will not be gluing any filters to the back.


STEP 4
Hang Your Wreath

Now you get to hang your wreath and enjoy it!

Take a matching ribbon and hot glue, staple, or pin it to the back of your form. The Length here is up to you. I kept mine hidden behind the wreath itself, but you could make a longer ribbon with a nice bow at the top to hang it from as well.

The possibilitys are endless.

Once you’ve attached your hanger, take a moment to fluff out those filters that you crunched up while gluing them down. They should look like lovely flowers now!

An adorable heart shaped Valentine Wreath that looks like its covered in carnations, made from cardboard and coffee filters.

Have fun!  Let me know if you make one.  I would LOVE to see it.

(I first posted this article on Squidoo an automatically moved to Hubpages. I’ve removed it from the site to post it at its new home here.)

All the Little Liars Aurora Teagarden Book 9

Book 1/60 – All the Little Liars

All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris is book 9 in a series of books featuring Aurora Teagarden.

Newly married Aurora (Roe) has her pregnancy confirmed.  Not long after that her fifteen-year-old brother goes missing.  Worse than that he’s not missing alone.  Two of his friends are also gone, as well as an eleven-year-old girl.

During this time she takes a leave from her job at the library, and tries on her own to figure out what happened to her brother and his friends.

To her it seems to keep circling around to a group of bullies at the local middle school.  But how could they be connected?

Aurora Teagarden Mysteries Book #9

I picked this up knowing full well that it was a part of a series.  Anything tagged with “A So-n-So Mystery” usually means it is part of a long series, but that it can also be read as a stand alone novel.

This is the case here too, to an extent.  It gives some backstory on how Roe’s brother came to be living with her.  It doesn’t tell you exactly why the mild mannered librarian is also a super sleuth (sort of).

I am a fan of Charlaine Harris, if only a newbie fan.  I read and loved all 3 of the Midnight, Texas novels, and the 1st book of the Sookie Stackhouse series, along with one of her short stories in an anthology.  I had a good feeling I’d like this book, and I did.

I was a little taken aback, however, by the random characters that seem to drop in or call for no real reason whatsoever with information that just so happens to be exactly what she needs to figure out the next piece of the puzzle.

Her husband is also too good to be true.  A real, “I’ll agree with whatever you decide to do even if it makes no sense” kind of guy.

A Movie Series!

Since All the Little Liars is new novel it has not been adapted into a movie, but 6 other of the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries have.  They star the lovely Candace Cameron Bure, who often acts for Hallmark, and you can get them in one convenient box set.

Charlaine Harris s a New York Times bestselling author who has been writing for over 30 years.  Aside from the Aurora Teagarden books she also has 3 other Mysteries seires as well as the popular Sookie Stackhouse novels.

The Author is no newcomer to having her books turned into visual works either.  Her Sookie Stackhouse novels were made into an HBO series called True Blood.

More recently her Midnight, Texas novels were made into a series as well (which has not yet been renewed for a 2nd season).

A Candid Look at my Mental State

Let Me Be Candid

I keep trying to write a blog post, and keep not posting anything except for book reviews, because my life is falling apart around me.  Let me take a moment and let you know what is going on.  Let me be candid with you.

I am failing in every aspect of my life.

This morning I got up, and for breakfast I thawed out an ate a pack of meat that should have served me for 4 different meals.

I hated myself even as I did it because I knew exactly why I was doing it.  I wanted to feel good.  I wanted to feel enjoyment.  I wanted to be….damn it….HAPPY for a little while.

Food makes me happy, at the same time it makes me hate myself even more.

Depression

I’m depressed right now.  This is nothing new.  I’ve been fighting depression as long as I can remember.

Right now I wish I was well off, so I could just give up and give in to the depression.

I struggle to get out of bed in the mornings even as my children are calling for me, asking for breakfast.  I want to hunker down, back into the black nothingness of sleep.

When I am awake I float from one form of escapism to another.  Facebook games, youtube videos, books, food.  I grasp like a drowning woman for anything to get me out of my own head.

Not long ago I was demoted from a full time position to a part time spot at my job.  I went from getting 40 hours a week to getting 16 hours a week.  I’ve not been able to find a second job, and as I get fewer and fewer hours every week our future is looking bleak.  We’re talking about cutting off both our phones, our internet, our cable.  Having nothing left for enjoyment.  Will soon be applying for food stamps, and when my facebook friends post lovely memes about food stamps and welfare receipients being a “burden on society” they’ll be talking about me.  About my family.

After that? Get rid of my dog? Lose our house?  Move our family of 4 into my mother in laws house?

Meanwhile I’m still where I was working, watching my “replacement” be held to a different standard than I was.  All the things I was expected to maintain are allowed to go by the wayside under her.  My 12 years of experience are nothing compared to her 2 years of being a special snowflake.

At Home Too

While my lack of work is one thing, my home life is another.  Because of my depression, every little thing my children do bothers me.  I have turned into the angry, snippy mommy.  “Stop.  Be quiet.  Stop.  Stop.  I SAID STOP!!!”  Over and over and over again while I am home.  Every time I leave the room, the madness followed me.  Squealing, screaming, poop jokes, until I feel like I’m going to lose my mind.

Then my youngest child refuses to potty train.  He’s 4 now, and siting on the toilet sends him into screaming hysterics.  Nothing I’ve tired is working and none of my other family members are helping.  He also keeps asking to drink from sippy cups and chewing on his “rag-rags” which are cloth diapers he’s always had in his mouth instead of a pacifier.

So, not only am I failing in my work life, I’m also doing a really crappy job of being a mom.

Fail.
Fail.
Fail.

Nothing, Just Nothing

I saw a quote today that said something like, “If it is raining, look for the rainbows.  If it is dark look for the stars.”

I posted on facebook, “What if it is raining in the dark.  WTF are we supposed to look for then?”

Usually I can get through a bad depression because I know sooner or later its going to end.

This time I don’t feel like there is an end in sight.

Long Black Veil Review

This year I have set myself a goal for reading 60 books in 2018.  I’m using Goodreads to keep track of this goal.  After finishing Long Black Veil I’ve read 4 books this year, and it tells me that I am 2 books ahead of schedule.  Yay me!

Book 4/60 – Long Black Veil

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan is the 1st review I’m doing for 2018, but it is the 4th book I’ve read this year. (reviews of the previous 3 novels to come)

The back cover of this novel promised me this:

On a summer night in 1980, tragedy strikes six friends.  Thirty-five years later, the consequences o that night threaten to pull them back in. New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Finney Boylan delivers a powerful thriller that asks: In any life that contains a “before” and an “after,” how is it possible to live one life, not two?

The Large Bathers by Cezanne

None of this would have ever happened if Rachel hadn’t insisted on Quentin seeing this painting. (Get a Print)

What Is Long Black Veil About?

The first  it looks like it is going to pay out on the promise of a thriller!

Our characters are: newlyweds Casey and Wailer, with Maisie and her brother Benny,  Rachel and Quentin. They had gone to see a painting called The Large Bathers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  An old German professor is with them as well, seemingly a good friend of Quentin’s.

Since it was close by, Tripper convinced the group of 6 to walk to Eastern State Penitentiary which had been closed and empty since 1972.

Of course the gate was unlocked and of course they friends all went in despite most of them thinking it was a bad idea.

Once inside Benny, who is on the Spectrum, runs off in pursuit of a cat.  While the friends separated in search of the child, someone locks them in.

I settled in thinking I’m about to have a good “lets explore the abandoned creepy place while some killer inside stalks us” read.

Well, that didn’t happen!

One of “Those” Books

Poof, suddenly its 7 years in the future and I was going, “Ohhhhh.  It’s gonna be one of THOSE books.”

When I read a story I prefer a linear tale.  When the time starts hopping back and forth and sideways and between different characters it gets to be a bit much for me.

Anyway, I resigned myself to reading one of “those” books.

The trapped stay in the empty prison only lasted a few hours, but during that time one of the members of the party disappeared.  While that is thriller-esque the group moves on with their lives.  They don’t even go all Scooby Gang and try to find out what happened to the missing party.  No amateur sleuthing for this group.

Then we get to the REAL story in the book.

One of our cast of characters is transgender.  They feel trapped in their life and can only think of ONE way to change that.  They fake their death, move to the other end of the continent and transition into their mental sex.  The real story of Long Black Veil is that of Judith living her second life.  She finds herself in the position of telling her husband and adopted son the truth that she had been hiding from them all this time.

My Opinions of Long Black Veil

Okay, I liked the story enough to read it in just a couple of days and rate it 4 our to 5 stars.

This is not  a thriller or a whodunit.  That part of the story is almost inconsequential to the rest.  You could get rid of the whole, “Lost in the Prison” part of the story while still having a whole tale.

I would have preferred this to be two different novels.  The Eastern State Penitentiary tale could have been creepier and better.  The friends should have worked hard to figure out the mystery and it could have all played out the same way.

The story of Judith could have been a sequel which intertwined itself with the first story.  I actually feel a bit cheated that I didn’t get to see more of Judith’s transition.  Her struggles with how she came into her new life,  her early life with her husband and son would have been a good read.

In the end I sort of felt cheated.  The author wanted to tell Judith’s story, so she baited a literary trap with the promise of  haunted prison shenanigans.

About the Author

Some people may be outraged at the though of an author portraying a trans person BUT, Jennifer Finney Boylan was previously James Boylan.  She made her own male to female transition in 2000.  You can read more in her autobiography She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Long Black Veil from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions in this review belong to me.  This review contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase from one I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

2018 Resolutions (finally)

You’ll notice that we are several days into 2018 and I’ve not popped in and shared my 2018 Resolutions with you all.

That is because I’ve not been able to SET resolutions for myself.  I’ve been in one of my deep blue funks, and being depressed is not condusive to setting goals.  It is more likely to make me hide my head under a pillow and try to wait for the next New Year to roll around.

However, after drafting, writing, re-writing

2018 Word of the Year

I am a quitter.

That’s right.  I’m not a person who keeps fighting against all odds.  When the going gets tough I stop going.

That is probably why I never have kept many of my resolutions, or other life goals.

So, after several weeks of thinking on it I decided that my Word of the Year should be something to keep me on track, to help remind me to stop giving up so easily.  So I chose:

PERSIST

1.
to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance,etc.:

2.
to last or endure tenaciously:

3.
to be insistent in a statement, request, question, etc.

Since the Word of the Year is supposed to be sort of a signpost, a guiding factor in the decision you make.  I need to not give up so easily.  I need to Persist instead of throwing in the towel at the first sign of anything less than success.

2018 Resolutions Major

  1. Lose 70 Pounds
    Weighing in at 227.8 at the time of writing this, and being only 5’3″ I am easily 100 pounds overweight.  In the past I’ve only said that I want to “Lose weight” or “get healthy.”  So this year I’m setting a solid goal.  70 pounds.  That rounds up roughly to 6 pounds a month.How:
    I’ve got to keep an eye on my calories, and exercise more.
  2.  SELL MY CRAFTS
    This is one goal that I set every year and keep not doing.How:
    Well, this one is a 2 step process.
    Step One: Make something!
    Step Two: Post it online for sell.Okay, maybe its a 3 step process.
    Step 3: Convince someone to buy something.
  3. Focus on my Blog
    I finally convinced my husband to invest a little into a wordpress domain for me.  Now I need to put some effort in it.  It’s mine for 3 years.  In 3 years I hope to be able to earn enough so that it will at least pay for itself when it comes time to renew.
  4. How:
    Well, stop letting it sit for weeks or even months without posting anything.
    I’m going to set up a posting routine.  It might take a while to get the bugs worked out.  I want to post my book reviews on a certain day every week.  Share a craft on a certain day every week, and post other things in a more timely manner.On top of affiliate sales via amazon, I also plan to use my blog to share my items from Resolution #2 that I’m trying to sell.  Hopefully if I tend it well my blog will help drive traffic to my online store which will help me be able to keeping buying books and craft supplies.Dear Reader, what would YOU like to see me write about in 2018 and beyond?

2018 RESOLUTIONS MINOR

These are “Minor” resolutions not in that they are less important, but in that they are more easily achievable.

  1.  Start Keeping a Journal
    The only resolution I ever kept was as 1999 turned into 2000 and I said I wanted to keep a daily journal.  And I did, for YEARS.  Then I met my husband who read said journals and went nuts on what was in some of them and then…..I slowly stopped writing.Keeping a journal is good for mental health.  I have bad mental health, so I need to start journaling again, so I am.
  2.  Get More Nature
    I love the outdoors.  I hide in my house because I live in a neighborhood where the houses are pretty close together.  I have a backyard but I don’t spend time there much other than playing ball with the dog.  I need more nature in my life.  Not sure how I’m gonna get this in but…..

So, there is a look inside of my plans for myself in 2018.  Lets see how long I can keep them up, considering it took 2 weeks to write them.

Snow Fall in the South

Frozen Red BerriesThe people from the Northern realm have been laughing at us silly southerners for the past few days.  But, give us a break.  How often does snow fall in the south?

Sure, an entire city shut down because of a few inches of white stuff fell from the sky, but it was probably for the best.  Most of us can’t even walk in the stuff, most less drive in it.

Right about now you’re probably asing yourself, “What is she yammering about?”

Well, its like this.  I live in Savannah, GA.  Last month I was complaining because it was too warm for Christmas.  So, what happens on January 3rd?

IT.
FREAKING.
SNOWED!

That’s right.  It snowed.  And it stuck.  Our streets disappeared.  Our bushes and trees were covered in ice.  Our children (and our husbands.  Okay, and ourselves) built snowmen.

Snow Fall in the South

Yes, he has no eyes, and he has no mouth, and he has no nose and no arms and….well…just keep reading.

Well, some of us built snowmen.  Others of us *cough*me*cough start building snowmen, then fall down on our rears in the snow and give up the process.

The children were ill-equipped to play in this winter wonderland themselves.  Unused to below freezing temperatures, they could only stand a few minutes at a time before coming in with soaking wet gloves and cold hands.

Oh, but the joy of seeing their little faces light up when the prospect of snow became a reality.  They may never see an event like this again until they are adults with kids of their own.

So, those of you who are jaded by yearly snowfall, those of you who have it often enough to hate the fact that it is a thing, you just keep on laughing.  Because on January 3 and January 4th of 2018, our world turned white and memories were made.

Year in Review: 2017 Resolutions

2017 Resolutions in Review

When it was time to set my resolutions for 2017 I chose a “Word of the Year” for the first time ever.  The word I chose was “Cleanse”

With that word I had 3 very basic and wide open “resolutions, plus one more specific one.

Decluttering my home of the stuff I don’t want/need/love
Letting go of negative emotions, grudges, sorrows of the past.
Treating my body better, cleansing it of the fat that is making it sick.

On top of my ONE word of the year, I would also like to learn some new words this year,

So, how did I do?

Decluttering my home of the stuff I don’t want/need/love

Well, I threw some things away.  Mostly magazines.

Unfortunately I have just as much crap because I keep bring things back in.  So you cant really tell that I got rid of anything.

I did just empty 2 trash bags of stuff just this month.  I may end the year up in a junk deficit after all.

Letting go of negative emotions, grudges, sorrows of the past.

Well, this was one of my resolutions that I can call a COMPLETE fail.

My depression is still untreated, which leads to a lot of late night attacks of negative thougts.  Every single “what if” in my life floats to the front.

Related, I started taking St. Johns Wort and have seen some improvement in my mental stability.  So there’s that.

Treating my body better, cleansing it of the fat that is making it sick.

To “get healthy” is one of the most common resolutions.

I did manage to drop 2 pant sizes, from a 22 to an 18.  But the weight loss stopped, as it always does.  I like food.  I don’t like exercise.  I pretty much set myself up to fail.

I managed to NOT regain everything I lost though, so that’s a plus.

Still Morbidly Obese though.  And have developed Hypertension (high blood pressure.)  While getting my gall-bladder removed I was informed I have a fatty liver, so there’s that.

On top of my ONE word of the year, I would also like to learn some new words this year,

As far as resolutions go, you would think this one would be easy.

Chances are good that I DID learn some new words this year, but I couldn’t tell you what they are right now.  I didn’t make an effort to read and learn a new word every day though.

I should have gotten that Word a Day callendar instead of my Zen one I suppose.


So, how did you do on your own resolutions for 2017? Are you planning any for 2018? Do you do a “Word of the Year?”

Oscar Ponders His Ball: Wordless Wednesday

Oscar Plays Ball

My labradoodle is very ball oriented.

We adopted a dog in June.  We also adopted his ball addiction.  If there is a ball nearby nothing else is important.  At all.  Ball trumps all.

Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child: Book Review

Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child

Has enigmologist Jeremy Logan finally met his match?

Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child is a book I picked up off the NEW shelf on my last library trip.

I’ve never read anything by Lincoln Child before, though the cover proclaims him to be a New York Times #1 bestselling author.  Speaing of the cover, it is the reason I picked up the book.  It boasts a spooky cabin in the middle of nowhere, similar to the cover of The Hexed.  I guess I had a theme going on during that trip.

Jeremy Logan is an enigmalogist –an investigator who specalizes in analyzing unnatural phenomena.

He travels to an isolated retreat deep in the Adirondacks in an attempt to finish his monograph.  However, he’s approached by an old friend on his very first night at the retreat and finds himself investigating a series of deaths in the area, as a favor.

Every time he tries to tell himself he’s finished with the investigation he finds some other small tidbit of information that draws him back in.  He has seen a lot of strange things in his investigations, but could there possibly be an actual werewolf hunting the Adirondack Mountains?

What I Liked about Full Wolf Moon

You don’t see many werewolf novels.  At least not ones where the werewolf is a killer animal and not some hot guy for the female protag to fall in love with.  I’m a sucker for a good old fashioned monster story.

While most of the book is following the investigation and you don’t know who/what the killer is until the climax, I like that you do get to see some of the action from the POV of the victims.  Again, I’m a sucker for a monster story and they are much more fun when you see the monster.

What I Didn’t Like About Full Wolf Moon

Its part of a series.  AGAIN.  What is it with series these days?

Again, similar to The Hexed, the story seems to stand alone.  There is mention of  Jeremy’s wife, and his losing her.  You don’t get that whole story but none of it seems to pertain to the story in this novel.

Other than being book #5 follow Jeremy Logan on his adventures I can’t think of much I didn’t like about the tale.

Over all I give Full Wolf Moon a 4 out of 5 star rating.  It was a captivating read that kept me turning pages until the end.  Once the momentum kicked in it never slowed down enough to dull the story.  It’s certainly not “keep you up at night” horror, but its a good story.  I’d recommend it to anyone who loves horror/thriller reads.

 

Full Wolf Moon is available on Amazon in Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, audobook and Audio CD formats.
Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices
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If you don’t want to start in book five, you can pick up any of the first 4 novels below:

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