Friday, June 26, 2015

Literary Friday: Little Beach Street Bakery

Happy Friday, My Lovelies!  After last week's literary disappointment, a friend recommended a cozy little chick lit book entitled Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan. This book is a very fun lake/beach read, and it even has a few fantastic recipes in the back which is another plus!

What would you do if everything in your life went to hell in a hand basket: You lose your company, you lose your upscale apartment, you are forced to declare bankruptcy, and your boyfriend and business partner runs home to his mommie?  

Jenny Colgan states in her blurb about the book that the story isn't simply about a girl who opens a bakery.  To her, this book is really about "being brave; about striking out on your own when everything's against you.  It's about daring to drop out of the rat race; about the satisfaction of making things by hand; of sharing with friends and neighbors; and how a simple creative act with a touch of flour and yeast can produce something quite magical."

I rarely quote a book's jacket cover description in my posts, but Colgan really sums up the book quite nicely in hers.  Polly is brave.  Not only does she set out on her own to get her life back in order, but she moves far away from the support of family and friends to a tidal island named Mount Polbearne off the coast of Cornwall.  Residents of the island must plan their outings to the mainland around the tides because the causeway is covered twice daily!

Colgan based Mount Polbearne on St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall.  In the above photo you can see the causeway at low tide.

When the tide is high, the causeway disappears!

Polly leaves Plymouth behind and rents a drafty apartment above an abandoned bakery in Mount Polbourne because that's all she can afford.  Her friends think she's daft, and several do try to be supportive of her dire circumstances after the bankruptcy and liquidation of all assets.  Her boyfriend Chris has become withdrawn and abandons her. Soon she gets into a routine on the island not strictly based on the tides, but on baking.  Polly loves to bake, and the local fishermen love her creations. Unfortunately her landlord Gillian Manse owns the only working bakery on the island, and her bread is as nasty as her personality.  Mrs. Manse hates the competition, and she strives to make Polly even more miserable than she already is.  Out of the pot and into the fire!  I love Polly's personality, and I found myself pulling for her even though she isn't perfect and makes mistakes.  

This cute little book isn't quite your typical chick lit book.  It does have tragedy, romance, quirky characters, and a magical setting.  But it also has a pet puffin named Neil and as I mentioned before recipes that the author has tried and some are family favorites.  Colgan also recommends music:

The Fisherman's Blues by The Waterboys

Yesterday I promised to share one of Jenny Colgan's recipes from the book with you, but since this post is already so long I'll share it next Thursday along with another recipe from the sequel (which I started last night).

Have you read any good books yet this summer?  If so, please share!  This is a link party!  Don't forget to grab one of my Literary Friday buttons from my sidebar!

Until next time…

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What Do You Do When There's No Electricity?

Hello, My Lovelies!  Lately we've been losing power.  A. Lot…..So I haven't been cooking much, and normally I try to share something delicious on Thursday.  Come back tomorrow for Literary Friday for a recipe from the cute little book I just read.

Losing power is annoying.  Very, very annoying because we have underground utilities in our neighborhood.  We can have the slightest little thunder shower and BOOM!  No power.

Usually it goes off in the early evening and stays off until around midnight or later.  Then our alarm system goes crazy when it comes back one and wakes everyone up.

So…..since I can't do much of anything else, I've been drawing.  By flashlight.  :D

I'm starting a new series based on some of my favorite fictional heroines.  The theme is hard to put into words, but basically the heroines I've chosen all have one thing in common:  circumstances/fate cause them to have a much different home than the one they have at the beginning of the book.  I really need to figure out how to better state it, but here are a few of the characters I'll be painting:

Tessa from The Infernal Devices series
Claire from the Outlander series
Adelia from The Mistress of the Art of Death series
Jane Eyre
Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice
Katherine from The Tenth Gift
Darcy from Something Blue
Mac from the Fever series
Diana from the All Souls Trilogy (A Discovery of Witches)
Bethany from Styx
Katniss from The Hunger Games

I guess if you've read any of these books you'll get the point.  My only worry is that I don't want it to look like fan art.  I want them to look very nice!  Anyway….here is my first study from my art journal.  It's Tessa Gray from the Infernal Devices series from Cassadra Clare.  It's one of two YA books I have on the list.

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Normally I share my art journals on my art journal blog, but I might share my studies from this series over here, too. Did you even know that I have another blog?  Yep, I do. You can visit it by clicking on the link in my sidebar.

Also, I'm open for any and all suggestions for this series.  

So what do you do when the power goes out?  And keep it clean…..or PG-13 anyway!

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Monday, June 22, 2015

Shoeless Joe Jackson McClean

Happy Monday!  I hope y'all had a wonderful Father's Day Weekend.  Mr. Art @ Home had a great one, the lucky duck!

My best friend Ainslie recently lost her beloved Portuguese Water Dog Joe.  He was the cutest dog, and I really loved him, too.  Whenever I'd go to her studio for Pilates, he'd put his favorite tennis ball in my shoe!  {so cute}  Joe became ill with a very aggressive lung cancer that killed him within a week.  Ainslie and her family have since adopted a new little PWD named Percy.  He is very different from Joe, but I know they have plenty of room in their hearts for little Percy.

When I lost Bonnie Blue and my sweet friend Ellen painted her portrait for me, I can't tell you how appreciative I was (and still am).  It's the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for me, so I wanted to pay it forward and paint a portrait of Joe.  You can see my post about Ellen's portrait of Bonnie here.

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8" X 8"
oil on artist board

Did I tell y'all that I'm taking a portraiture class this summer?  I've learned so much after only three weeks.  I'll share my painting from the class when it's finished.

Until next time…

Ricki Jill

Friday, June 19, 2015

Literary Friday: The Buried Giant

Happy Literary Friday, y'all!  This week I read The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I confess that I bought into all the hype about this book, and I was very disappointed.

Axl and Beatrice are an elderly Briton couple who set out on a quest to find their long lost son's village.  Set in England during the Dark Ages shortly after Arthur's demise, the Saxons are arriving by the boatloads.  Yet Briton and Saxon are living in peace partially due to a mysterious mist that makes everyone forget....everything. This makes for a difficult plot point because characters forget from one minute to the next what they were previously doing. 

SIDEBAR:  Has this ever happened to you?  You open your pantry, become distracted for one reason or another and forget why you opened the door in the first place?  That's The Buried Giant.  The frustrations of the characters set my teeth on edge!

Where was I?  The mist seems to have overtaken my brain...oh, yes!  Axl and Beatrice set out on a quest from their burren/village to find their long lost son's village.  They are eventually joined by a Saxon knight who luckily seems to be immune to the effects of the mist, a  young Saxon boy with a sketchy backstory, and Sir Gawain from Arthurian legend. There is little plot, the point of view is unclear, and if the point of the book is the retelling of an Arthurian legend, well it falls way short. Maybe the book is an allegory on the sad and depressing devastation of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in general.  I haven't read any interviews with the author yet, but I'm planning on getting to the bottom of the purpose of this book.  Maybe it's just me: I didn't get it!

There are many magical and fantastical elements to the story, but the characters are unreliable so you really don't know if the magic is there or not.  What kept me reading it (and yes I read the entire book....I wanted to be proven wrong) is Ishiguro's masterfully written prose.  The language is lyrical and lovely.  

What have you been reading?  Please share and link-up below!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Enjoying Our Deck and Patio

Happy *pretty* Wednesday!  We've been enjoying our deck and patio/courtyard so much this spring, and although it's been hot this week, the evenings have been nice.  You might recall that we lived in our home for twelve years with nothing but a small deck to enjoy as our backyard was a 45 degree angle full of moss.  You can see the patio/courtyard/deck reveal here.

I want to show some photos of our containers that are filling-in nicely:

Mr. Art @ Home installed a drip system for all my containers.  I've also been feeding them a couple of times per week.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Please leave a comment.  I want to read your tips for pretty containers.  I'm new to having so many, especially the two really large ones, although I'm beginning to believe that bigger is better when it comes to containers.  Our two large ones are looking the best in my opinion.

Until next time…

Ricki Jill