Sunday, September 30, 2012

We only hit Ikea during the week

Duane, Linda and I love going to Ikea.  However, we've all decided that weekends are out of the question.  We don't go very often and have no desire to fight the weekend crowd.  So, Linda usually takes either all or half of a Friday off from work.  For this trip we figured we only needed half a day so we met at Duane's (since she lives the closest to Ikea) and set out from there.  Each of us had a specific list of items we were looking for either to buy or just to get a better look. 

The Ikea here is in the middle of a renovation so parts of it were closed off which made getting through it a little quicker than usual.  The remodeling should be finished by early November.  We did have to search and/or ask about certain items because they weren't in their usual places.  But our mission was a success.  You'd be surprised what you can fit into the back of a Mini Cooper with just one of the backseats down.  (We still needed room for the three of us.)  The photo below shows boxes containing a chair, a large cushion for the chair, a floor lamp, several other lamps, and various kitchen and household items.  

I knew we could do it!  Here are some photos of what Linda and I purchased and assembled over the next couple of days.  I bought this skinny white reading lamp for my home office to replace the one I gave  to my nephew.   Love the small footprint for this lamp!

I also bought a very pretty lampshade to use for a hanging lamp on the opposite side of the futon shown above.  I wanted something decorative for the corner.

Now, here's the picture of Linda's chair with cushion and a small lamp that she bought.  The chair had to be assembled but it wasn't too bad.  I'd like to buy two of these for my family room to replace a loveseat.  All three of us bought a lot of tiny things, too, but they didn't require any work once we got them home.  Now I just have to convince George about the chair...  Another of our friends, Shirley, has had two of these Poang chairs for several years and said they've held up really well. 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Wednesday Estate Sale

I couldn't believe when I saw an ad for an estate sale to be held today (Wednesday) and tomorrow.  Usually, they are almost always on Fridays and Saturdays.  Even better, this house is on the same street that Duane lives on so Linda and I made our way over bright and early this morning.  Unfortunately, the person who posted the sale didn't say anything about a starting time so we figured 8 am.  The ad basically stated that the person had lived in the house for 70 years and there was lots of stuff.  Before this sale, I had driven by this house but hadn't noticed it -- mainly because the entire front of the house was hidden behind overgrown trees, shrubs and weeds.                                                     
At least the abundance of greenery had been  removed enough to see that there was actually a house there.  The daughter and son of the owner (a lady in her 90s who is deceased) weren't very organized but they had been working.  This was apparent from the
large dumpster sitting in front of the property already partially filled.  Apparently, there was a termite problem.  Definitely ruled out any furniture possibilities.

When we pulled up, there was no sign of anyone at the house.  A couple of other customers drove up, too, and we got out of our cars and discussed the fact there was no time given and no one in sight.  A neighbor across the street heading out to work told us that the family members sorting out the items had been working until very late last night.  Hmmm...  not good.  We got back in the car to wait awhile due to the mosquitoes.  By 9:15 am, we decided to drive back down the street to Duane's house to see if the ad had been updated with a time and so that I could once again email the poster and let them know that people were waiting (tapping of feet) in the driveway for someone to show up and let them (and us) in.  We drove back to the house and two of the other buyers were still there.  At this point, a neighbor volunteered to call the family member(s).  We decided to make a quick trip to Starbucks for take-out.  All three of us needed caffeine and sugar.  By the time we got back to the house, the owner's son and daughter were finally there. 

I wish I could have gotten some photos of the inside of the house but I'm kind of chicken about pulling out my camera.  NOTHING in that house had been changed.  The same tile, cabinets, paneling, carpeting, linoleum, etc., along with the old style jalousie windows on the front porch.  It was pretty dusty and dirty inside, too, but this lady did have nice things.  I suspect that it had become too much for her to keep up by herself after her husband died.  I wish that the daughter and son had been better prepared -- they had not even gone through much of their mother's belongings and so they were running around covering things with blankets and sheets that they hadn't gotten around to sorting yet.  However, we did score really big in the yarn department.  Anything that one of the three of us doesn't use will go straight to The Humble Stitch Project for others to make into hats, scarves, gloves, etc. 

Duane made a really nice score on a Hull vase.  She was almost afraid to ask how much because the vase is sizable and in perfect condition.  The lady asked $1.  Duane was a happy camper when she heard that.  She also bought one of a number of Southern Living hardbound books that were for sale. 

I found a couple of large stones that Duane and I are going to use for various purposes.  (I crochet over them and Duane paints them.)  All three of us are going to divvy up the yarn and materials before sending the remainder on to The Humble Stitch.  There were also some crochet hooks (Duane can use those) and some yarn needles.  I even found a pretty vintage brooch with tiny white enamel flowers in excellent condition.  That was lucky since one of the other people waiting for the sellers with us had pretty much grabbed most of the jewelry.  Apparently, he didn't think to look in any of the little trinket boxes this lady had stored things in. 

Duane may check back again tomorrow to see if the daughter and son have had time to go through the rest of the items to see what else is for sale.  It's very convenient for her since she's just two blocks away.  This is what we love about estate sales -- you NEVER know what you'll find.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gearing up for The Humble Stitch Project - 2012

I've been knitting and crocheting items for The Humble Stitch Project  since the beginning of the year.  However, this year's official kick-off began on September 14th and will continue through December 19th, 2012.  More info here.  Basically, The HS Project collects hats, scarves, mitts, and other handmade cold weather clothing for our homeless neighbors here in South Florida.  My little group has already sent in two packages this year and we're gearing up to send more.  Right now, I've finished a hat (unisex), a woman's scarf and a set of fingerless gloves.  Linda and Kristen have also donated some squares for the Knit-A-Square project which we also participate in via The Humble Stitch.  Knitted and/or crocheted 8 by 8 inch squares are sewn together to create blankets for orphans of AIDS in South Africa.  Even if you don't like to knit or crochet but would like to contribute, The Humble Stitch gladly accepts skeins of yarn (preferably acrylic) and knitting needles/crochet hooks.

My current HS project is a woman's scarf using a pattern called broomstick lace.  In years past, women actually used broomstick handles to wrap the yarn around to create this pattern.  Now, most people (including me) use a 35mm wood or plastic knitting needle.  I've made a bracelet before using a broomstick pattern but this scarf will be pretty long.  Long enough to wrap several times around the neck since it's narrow.  I love this brown 'mocha' color and I may add fringe or crochet more decorative stitches on the ends when I finish making the scarf.

If you'd like a lesson in how to make broomstick lace, there are many sites on the Internet that you can access.  However, I found the best place to learn was from a blog called Speckless.  I've learned how to make several items by following Heidi Hengel's instructions.  She's a wonderful teacher and generously shares her knowledge via her blog. 

I find knitting and crocheting to be a relaxing activity when I want/need to take a break from audio recording.  I started crocheting over river rocks after first hearing about it via Etsy and I've given a number of them to friends.  I've also started filling a shell covered tray that I found at an estate sale several years ago.  I wasn't sure what I would do with the tray but I liked it and remembered that I had it when I was thinking of how to display some of my stones.  I choose a stone, select a thread color and then either follow a pattern (old doily patterns are a great start), an Internet pattern or make one up as I go along.

I sent a covered stone to my friend Kate who founded The Humble Stitch.  I had no idea that Kate collected rocks although I was pretty sure she liked crochet.  She took photos of the rock I sent along with her method of displaying it.  It sits atop other beautiful rocks in a glass bowl and looks wonderful.

I've also seen crocheted rocks sitting on fireplace mantels, and on bookshelves and window sills.  Oh, they make great paperweights, too.


Monday, September 10, 2012

New Audiobook on Audible!

My latest recording became available today at Audible.  Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes by Sandra Chastain, Deborah Smith, Donna Ball, Virginia Ellis, Debra Dixon and Nancy Knight is a terrific collection of mostly funny short stories.  All of the stories are set in the southern U.S. states and range from family to various customs (particularly when they clash!) to tales of growing up southern.  It was a genuine pleasure to record the works of these wonderful women writers.  You can listen to a sample and/or purchase from Audible here.

I'm just finishing up my recording of more southern stories
with A Dixie Christmas by Sandra Hill.  This book is actually two novellas -- "Blue Christmas" and "Jinx Christmas."  They definitely fall into the funny romance category.   Here's the blurb from Amazon:  "Two magnolias-and-mistletoe-inspired holiday stories from the bestselling author of more than thirty romantic, humorous novels. Laughter and love combine in Sandra Hill's BLUE CHRISTMAS-with a touch of Elvis magic. Wealthy Wall Street businessman Clayton Jessup III has only one reason for arriving in Memphis a few days before Christmas-to sell off his inheritance, an embarrassingly kitschy hotel named The Blue Suede Suites. His feelings for the Land of Elvis are dark: his long-dead Memphis mother abandoned him and his dad when Clay was a baby, and now Clay wants nothing to do with a southern legacy that couldn't be more different from his sophisticated big-city life. But then he steps in trouble-literally-when he confronts the bizarre group of Elvis impersonators who've set up a living Nativity scene on his property. One slip of a wingtip in some sheep poop lands Clay in the care of gorgeous Annie Fallon, whose big-haired Elvis-girlfriend get-up can't hide her wholesome, sexy appeal. Annie and her brothers have set up the Nativity scene to earn some badly needed money for their struggling dairy farm.  The last thing she needs is an angry Yankee with a concussion and a come-hither smile . . .

In JINX CHRISTMAS, sexy NASCAR star Lance Caslow makes a last-ditch effort to win back his ex-wife Brenda. Five years ago, his reckless pursuit of racetrack fame tore them apart and broke Brenda's heart. Now Lance shows up in Louisiana determined to make things right this Christmas, not just for himself and Brenda, but for their young daughter, Patti. He's got his work cut out for him, and desperate measures are needed. Lance will do anything to prove he's worthy of Brenda's trust again-even join the Cajun Christmas show starring a raucous Cajun family whose menfolk dance for charity events in little more than a smile . . ."

After I submit the final version of A Dixie Christmas, I'm starting a mystery called Edited for Death by Michele Drier.  Really looking forward to this!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Audible Sale ends tonight; Two new books from Iambik

The Audible sale ends tonight (September 2nd) so if you want to get any of the 1000+ audiobooks selling for $5.95, now is the time.  My two books and one short story that are a part of the sale are Shifting Positions by Jennifer Dellerman, The Distant Shore by Debora M. Coty and Autopsy by Joel M. Andre.  You can search by genre, author, title, narrator and key word.  Here's a direct link to the titles.

Iambik Audiobooks is getting ready to unveil a new website in October along with some new books.  However they did just publish new audio versions of two classics.  The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit and narrated by the wonderful Cori Samuel and Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy voiced by the Irish lilt of Tadhg Hynes.  Both are wonderful books.  For those who only think of 'serious doom and gloom' when they hear the name Thomas Hardy, I can promise you that Under the Greenwood Tree is a notable exception.  Both books can be purchased for $6.99 each and are available in mp3 and m4b formats.

Since Iambik is busily working on getting their new site up and running, these two new recordings do not have the usual sample to play of the first chapter of either book.  However, you can easily listen to other recording samples by Cori and Tadhg on the site to check out their voices.  Both are terrific narrators.  You won't be disappointed.

As for my current recordings, Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes is now in post-production and should be available on Audible very soon.  (I'll post here when that happens.)  I'm over the half-way mark recording and editing A Dixie Christmas by Sandra Hill and I've continued with prep work for my next book, Edited for Death by Michele Drier.  Lots to do to keep me busy.