Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Royal Dover Tea Cup and Saucer

This week I'm showing off this lovely tea cup and saucer by the Royal Dover China company.

The background is slightly off white with white flowers and a plethora of colored leaves (aqua, gray, brown, gold and blue).

The tea cup is ribbed about three-fourths down toward the bottom. It was very sunshiney when I took these photos! The saucer is ribbed all around its edges.

The backside of the cup.

The cup and saucer are both trimmed in gold trim.

For some reason, the handle only has gold trim on one side.

The cup and saucer are both marked on the bottom: Royal Dover China, Bone China, Made In England.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit!

I'm linking up to:
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday,
Terri at Artful Affirmations and Martha at Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to cook, but I love, love, love to bake! I can easily spend hours in the kitchen either cooking or baking, especially during November and December. The only thing I don't like is the clean-up!

Way back in the 1990s, I made countless chocolate chip cookies in my search for the perfect recipe and never found one I truly liked. So I played around in the kitchen and came up with my own recipe.

I've been sharing this recipe for years with family, friends and co-workers. If you decide to make these, I hope you enjoy them!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 bag of chocolate chips
hot water*

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together the two sugars.
3. Add butter and mix until smooth.
4. Stir in the flour.
5. Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
6. Stir in vanilla
7. Stir in baking soda and salt.
8. Add chocolate chips and mix well.

Round the cookie batter into desired sizes and place on an ungreased cookie/bake sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Let the cookies sit for about 1 minute after removing from oven.
Move cookies from hot sheet to cooling rack.

*If the dough becomes too dry, add 1-2 teaspoons of hot water to the mix.

I get about 4 dozen or so cookies from this recipe. If you enjoy a nutty kind of cookie, then don't be afraid to add walnuts, macademia nuts or pecans to the mix. If you like salty cookies, then increase the amount of salt. Don't go too crazy on the salt, though, as a little goes a long way.  

Thanks for your visit!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Literary Friday~Fifty Shades of Grey

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is the first book in a trilogy by E L James. The other two books are "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed".  I read the first one and about half of the second one in this series.

These books read like badly written Harlequin Temptations. This trilogy started out as fan fiction for the Twilight series, entitled "Master of the Universe", with the names of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan as the main characters. Under the 50 shades umbrella, the names were changed to Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.

Ana is a college student, near graduation, when she meets Christian Grey, a billionaire at the age of 27. Christian has her sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. After she signs the NDA, Grey gives her a contract to sign. He wants her to be his submissive, which means during their sexual encounters, Ana would be obedient to Grey, her Dom. So if she's disobedient, then she'll be punished as he sees fit. Grey wants to do things to Ana like tie her up, blindfold her, spank her, etc,  during their encounters. This is where all the book's hype comes into play. Some people may be offended with these descriptive encounters, but it's hardly anything more than what you may find in a Harlequin romance novel.

In book two, "Fifty Shades Darker", I only made it about half-way through. It's horribly written, worse than the first book. If possible, the heroine, Ana Steele, becomes even more wishy-washy.

Paraphrased examples of sentences from EL James: 
Example 1:  He takes off his shoe, he takes off his sock. He takes off his other shoe, he takes off his other sock. He takes off her shoe, he takes off her sock. He takes off her other shoe, he takes off her other sock. And these sentences do not occur just once, but almost before every sexual encounter.

Example 2:  Ana's inner goddess: I don't know why, but anytime Ana is experiencing an emotion, her inner goddess pops up into the moment, which does nothing but distract the reader from the action (such as it is). Ana's inner goddess sits up on her chaise lounge and takes note. Ana's inner goddess' mouth falls open. Ana's inner goddess starts dancing. Then somewhere along the way, "inner goddess" gives way to "my sub-conscious".  Quote from book II: "My sub-consicous stares at me over her half-moon specs."

In addition to the bad writing, there are far too many ridiculous, unbelievable things happening to the characters.  I don't want to spoil the story for someone who may want to read this series, so I won't go into detail. I did like the flirty exchange of emails between Ana and Grey. However, in today's age, I believe text messages would've worked better.

If interested in this series, here are the links to them on Amazon:
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed

Many thanks to Ricki-Jill for hostessing Literary Friday at Art@Home.

Thank you for your visit!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Vintage Thingie Thursday- Reversible Jumper

Welcome to Vintage Thingie Thursday hosted by Suzanne at The Colorado Lady.

A few weeks ago, my mom gave me some clothing that she'd kept from my birth through my toddler years. This delightful jumper was one of the items.

My grandmother made this for me when I was a toddler.

This little dress is a reversible jumper. It's fully lined between the two designs. And very heavy!

For the front, my grandmother cut out the boy and girl characters from the printed material and then sewed them onto the yellow fabric.

This jumper is definitely a keepsake that I'll always treasure.

Thank you for your visit!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taylor & Kent Tea Cup and Saucer

I've been glued to my TV all morning watching the reports on New York and New Jersey. My thoughts and prayers are with all those people affected by Hurricane Sandy and the super storm it turned into as it hit land. The wind, here in NKY, really picked up last night around 6pm and it's been raining non-stop today. 

Here's one of my favorite tea cups for fall, but the funny thing is the scene on the cup and saucer is summer. However, I like to think it's more like early fall before the leaves start to change. The main reason I like this cup and saucer for fall are the colors.

The tea cup and saucer are both trimmed in gold. The background on the china is cream with a yellowish tint, while only brown is used to depict the scene.

The interior of the cup features a second rim of gold.

The trees are in full bloom on this "Fall" cup and saucer.

Today's tea cup and saucer is bone china and made by Taylor and Kent of England.

Thanks for visiting today.

I'm linking up to:
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Terri at Artful Affirmations for Tea Cup Tuesday
Martha at Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Autumn's Floral Bounty

Today's theme for Pink Saturday is Autumn Flowers & Foliage.

These daisies grow wild just around the corner from me. They're so gorgeous with their white petals and egg-yolk middles.

I photographed these yellow flowers at the beginning of October. I believe they're evening primrose. Do you see the cross in the center?

Pokeweed grows wild, too. These red-stemmed berries look so delicious. Alas, they're quite poisonous, so you can't eat them. Back in the old days, Pokeweed berries were used for dying textiles, making ink and increasing the color of red wine.

Here's a Pokeweed bush with some of the berry output shown.

 How lovely to have roses in October and pink ones, too! I don't think the buds will bloom, though. The temperature today was about 55 degrees with lots and lots of cold rain, hence the wet roses in the pictures. Tomorrow's forecast is more of the same.

Thanks for visiting today!

Linking up to How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Drop by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly writes this great series about an LAPD detective named Harry Bosch. In this book, The Drop, Harry Bosch is called in to investigate what looks to be an apparent suicide. However, the dead man's father is Irvin Irving, a city councilman and Harry's former boss in the department.
Harry and Irving have disliked each other intensely for many years, so Harry is confused by Irving's request that he work the case. Irving doesn't think his son, who made his living as an attorney, would kill himself. Some internal politics pop up, among them companies who've hired the councilman's son to win contracts from the city of Los Angeles, which Harry investigates because Irving is on the city council.
The second storyline running through The Drop is a rape and murder case from 1989. New DNA evidence emerges, but points to a guy who's only 29, which makes him 8 years old at the time of the crime. Harry re-opens the case and begins to chase down new leads not only for this case, but for the councilman's case as well. 

I wish Michael Connelly had given the second storyline more pages in his book. I found it to be, not only the more interesting, but the better of the two stories. As a sidenote, the author doesn't write well for female characters. Some of the things the female characters say sound more like what a guy would say to a woman, instead of the other way around.
I love Michael Connelly's books. They're gritty and they have a sense of realism to them. Of couse, I've never worked in law enforcement or a related environment, so this is just my opinion :)   Harry Bosch is most definitely one of my favorite characters in literature.
Maybe one day they'll make a Harry Bosch movie like they did for Mickey Haller, Connelly's other character series.
Thanks so much for dropping by!
Be sure to pop over to Ricki Jill's blog for Literary Friday at Art @ Home.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tea Cup Tuesday, Autumn Style!


Fall is here, so this week I thought I'd share my favorite autumn tea cup. This is fine bone china made by the Rosina China Co. Ltd.

I love all the colors used in this design. On the front of this tea cup is a wooded scene featuring a red bridge over a gurgling brook.

Here's the backside of the tea cup. As you can see, it's just as lovely as the front. It features a little house nestled alongside the brook.

The cup and saucer are trimmed in gold. The handle also features gold trim on both sides of it.

The right side of the saucer carries the same scene as found on the backside of the tea cup. The left side of the saucer is a sweet farming scene with cattle grazing. The photos don't really capture how vibrant the colors are on the china.

Both the cup and saucer carry the backstamp.


Thanks so much for dropping in today!

I'm linking up to:

Terri for Tea Cup Tuesday at Artful Affirmations and to Martha at Martha's Favorites
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tueday

Friday, October 12, 2012

Archie Sheridan-Gretchen Lowell Series

A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing at my local bookstore and found a book that looked interesting. Then I read on the cover that it was part of a series. I made a note of the author, Chelsea Cain, then trotted off to the library to begin the series from the beginning.

So far, there are five books in the series. The first book is Heartsick:  Archie Sheridan, our hero, is a Portland detective and Gretchen Lowell, is the serial killer, he tracked for 10 years. Gretchen says she killed close to 200 people, but the police have only connected her to a few murders. She cuts a deal and gets a life sentence, instead of the death penalty. In return, she'll reveal the names of her other victims to Archie as long as he visits her every week. Before Gretchen was arrested, she kidnapped Archie, torturing him for ten days.

When the book starts, it's been two years since Archie was tortured by Gretchen. He's been on medical leave, but now there's a new serial killer terrorizing Portland and he joins a task force to help hunt the new killer down. Due to Gretchen's torture, which is told in flashbacks, Archie becomes addicted to painkillers, specifically Vicodin.

Out of the two plot lines (new serial killer story and Gretchen & Archie's story) the Gretchen and Archie story is the most interesting. There are also two other main characters in the book: Susan, a newspaper reporter who is constantly changing her hair color-- pink, turquoise, berry; and Henry, a Portland detective and friend of Archie. Henry and Susan are in all the sequels as well.

Sidenote: I love the TV show Grimm. It's set in Portland and it's main character is Nick, a Portland detective. Since Archie is also a Portland detective, I keep picturing Nick, the actor, from the TV show as Archie, in the books, while reading.

David Giuntoli as Nick in NBC's Grimm
The second book in the series is Sweetheart and takes place about two months after Heartsick ended. Gretchen's escaped from prison and is on the loose. For a sequel, it's not too bad. However, for a series, with a detective as a main character, there certainly isn't any real detecting going on. Susan keeps having epiphanies about dead bodies the coroner hasn't identified yet, such as their identities. Plus, the plot literally becomes ridiculous in places. Susan: slams her head on the bathroom sink; almost dies due to carbon monoxide poisoning; is in a car wreck but isn't injured; walks a gizillion miles in only a few minutes and so on.

The third book is Evil at Heart. This book starts with Archie at a mental hospital. He's trying to kick his painkiller habit and Gretchen addiction. Gretchen is still on the loose. Dead bodies start turning up. There's either a copycat killer or Gretchen is killing again. This is an OK read.

The fouth book is The Night Season. Portland floods and dead bodies surface. I'm having trouble reading this one. The plot line is already ridiculous and I'm not even past page forty.

The fifth book is Kill You Twice, which came out in August. I haven't read this one yet.

Thanks for reading!

I'm linking up to Ricki Jill for Literary Friday at Art @ Home.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Syroco Wall Plaques

Last month, my sister convinced me to go with her to an antique mall about an hour south of us. I expected to find a rinky dink, kind of place, with nothing good. Wow, was I ever wrong! Good stuff abounded everywhere!

I found these two wall plaques that I thought would look great hanging in my bedroom.

They're approximately 15 inches long.

The Victorian styled plaques are molded from plastic. They're made by the company, Syroco, originally based in Syracuse, NY. I'd probably date these to the late, late 60s - mid 70s.

Another item that I found was this scrap of material. I love fabric with vintage themes and people scenes.

The colors are a perfect match for my living room, so I'll be turning this into a pillow for the couch or one of the chairs. I just need a quick trip to the fabric store for the backing and then I'll be all set!

Thanks so much for visiting today!

I'm linking up to The Colorado Lady for Vintage Thingie Thursday.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"The Gilly Salt Sisters" by Tiffany Baker

From the Publisher:
The author of the New York Times bestselling The Little Giant of Aberdeen County returns with a magic-tinged tale of dreams, family secrets, and betrayals on a New England salt farm.

In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be. Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's salt farm, while Claire is popular, pretty, and yearns to flee the salt at any cost. But the Gilly land hides a dark legacy that proves impossible to escape. Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches, it doesn't stop Whit Turner, the town's wealthiest bachelor, from forcing his way into their lives. It's Jo who first steals Whit's heart, but it is Claire--heartbroken over her high school sweetheart--who marries him.

Years later, estranged from her family, Claire finds herself thrust back onto the farm with the last person she would have chosen: her husband's pregnant mistress. Suddenly, alliances change, old loves return, and new battle lines are drawn. What the Gilly sisters learn about each other, the land around them, and the power of the salt, will not only change each of their lives forever, it will also alter Gilly history for good.

At the start of this book, I had a hard time connecting with the narrative. What threw me the most was the book is set around 1980, but the author doesn't own up to that and leaves it to the reader to figure this out for herself. Nothing would've been lost, if the "present" year of 1980 was given to help the reader connect more quickly to the events as they unfolded.

In the beginning of the book, it's mentioned how the Gilly women are outcasts, yet that concept is never fully explained. Is it becasue they're poor? Is it because they work on a salt farm? This line is not addressed either, "Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches," . To say the salt is magical and predicts the future isn't enough.

On the plus side, the book is well-written and the main characters are fully developed. The author explores the bonds of family very well: there is the relationship of the two sisters, Jo and Claire; the relationship between the two sisters and their mother; and the bond between the Gilly women and the land.

My biggest issue is that the author loses track of the information she provides to the reader. She seems to have the most problems in remembering the ages she gave her characters when certain events happened in their lives.

The ending was a little weird. I know you should suspend your disbelief when reading fiction, but I found the end too unprobable and too easily tied up into a bow.

I'm linking up to Ricki at Art @ Home for Literary Friday.

Thanks for reading!