Museum of the American House Cat: an Adventure to Sylva.

Welcome to Sylva, NC:
Home of the Museum of the American House Cat!

Visiting the museum has been on my to-do list since I heard the words “CAT” and “MUSEUM” in the same sentence. It’s actually only one of TWO museums dedicated to cats in the entire United States. This seems shocking to me given our collective love of cat videos on the internet!

When you drive up, this is what you will see:

IMG_20180403_134552.jpg

You’ll enter the museum through the old school building. I should have taken a picture of THAT door and of the counter where you buy tickets but honestly I was so overcome that it did not cross my mind. Once you buy your ticket you’ll walk down a hall reminiscent of Replacements Ltd (see THIS link for more about THAT wondrous location). Be sure to allow time to peruse the antique mall when you finish your Cat Tour!

As you approach the end of the hallway, THIS door will appear on your left. You put your raffle ticket in a box and then the door opens, and you will feel like you’ve been transported into the cat version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

{If you don’t know the movie reference
CLICK HERE!}

PS: With your admission ticket there is a monthly raffle for a major prize –that’s the ticket stub you drop off in the box!

IMG_20180403_135230.jpg

Once inside we were greeted by The CatMan2 himself, Dr. Harold W. Sims along with his female associate whose name I immediately forgot. (I am sorry! She was a really nice lady & great tour guide but again, I was OVERCOME.)

The museum is really well organised, well lit, and strangely clean…I don’t think I saw a single cat hair! There are no cat residents on site BUT there are plenty at the shelter that CatMan2 runs with funding from the museum! It is definitely worth noting that almost ALL the items in the museum are things that Harold himself has collected. There are a few donations, but overall it is all him!

NOW FOR SOME PICTURES!

I’m basically going to give you a double handful photo dump of my favorite feline finds! I’ll include a little caption telling a bit about what is in the picture. I invite you to click on each picture and really look at all the little bits, almost like a Where’s Waldo!

IMG_20180403_135454.jpg

Black & White vintage cat photographs and tintypes.

IMG_20180403_135500.jpg

Black & White vintage cat photographs and tintypes. Also cat patches.

IMG_20180403_135916.jpg

Wind up toys!

(extreme Grumpy cat on far left)
I think he looks like the famous Grumpy Cat from the internet!

IMG_20180403_135927.jpg

More wind up toys!

I especially like the little hot pink & orange plastic one in the middle on the right.

IMG_20180403_135942.jpg

I think these look a bit like bears, but regardless, they are very cute.

I love how each of them is doing a mundane household task;
ironing, knitting, and even grinding coffee beans!!

IMG_20180403_140059.jpg

And even more wind up toys!

IMG_20180403_140107.jpg

Totoro’s cousin thrice removed?

For some reason, this one reminds me of a character from Studio Ghibili!!!
{Click HERE if you don’t know what I’m talking about!}

IMG_20180403_140227.jpg

Halloween Cats!

IMG_20180403_140637.jpg

Guinness Advertisement from Ireland!

Now for some cat art!

IMG_20180403_140954.jpg

Here are cats involved in drinking!

IMG_20180403_141059.jpg

More cats drinking!

IMG_20180403_141310.jpg

A very floofy cat named Butch!

IMG_20180403_142706.jpg

Cats in advertising…AND WITH STALIN.

Read the zoom in to read more.
{Not sure the truth of this, but I love it as a story!}
BEWARE OF WILD VARMINTS!

IMG_20180403_142725.jpg

A very handsome tabby cat smoking a cigarette!

IMG_20180403_143336.jpg

CatMan2 tee shirts & merch!

OKAY.

Now go ahead and prepare yourself for possibly the raddest part.

.

.

.

ANDY WARHOL CATS.
To be honest, I’m not 100% sure they are authentic, BUT I DON’T EVEN CARE.
They are so fun as part of the collection!
(And I desperately love Andy and therefore love these paintings.)

IMG_20180403_141142.jpgIMG_20180403_141151.jpg

And now here is me!
I had on as much cat stuff as possible!
Earrings — thirfted
Stone Necklace — Carolina Renaissance Festival
Shirt — Amazon (a gift!)
Sweater — Target brand via Goodwill
Gray hair highlights — NATURE/my mom 🙂

IMG_20180403_143346.jpg

A FEW ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Admission notes: $7.50 for adults–not sure about children. It shows as $5 several places online but we paid $7.50 as of 4/3/18

HOURS: Open 10am-5pm Tuesday – Saturday.
12noon-5pm on Sundays
CLOSED ON MONDAYS
Winter months the museum is open by appointment only.

*SIDE NOTE: You might want to pack a little pick-nick lunch and make a day of it. There are no places to eat terribly close by. This trip would be great for a rainy day. You could tour the museum, eat lunch in your car, and go back in and look at the antique mall. This would make an excellent date for adults. If you have smaller kids (ages 5-10ish) the museum will still be great but maybe bypass the antique mall part.

Click HERE for all the info you need about the CatMan2 Shelter!

HERE is an article about the museum from The Smithsonian!

Be sure to tell the folks that CoonSmith Sutlery sent you!

 

 

Advertisements

Quick stop for the POTATO SALE at Sow True Seeds!

ATTENTION!!!
This is not a sponsored post!
Neither Sow True nor Baker Creek sponsored this post…
…but…
…you better believe they could if they wanted to!
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m a big fan of Baker Creek seeds as y’all well know. I’ve been meaning to go and check out a pretty famous hometown store that makes for excellent BC competition–Sow True Seed Company!!! A couple of days ago Sow True posted on Facebook that they were running a 50% sale on seed potatoes. I had not yet bought my seed potatoes so this was in perfect time! I was already headed up the mountain for the cat museum adventure (STAY TUNED!) so the timing was spot on!

Sow True See Company is located on the fringe of the heart of downtown Asheville. While it is not a huge store, it is extremely well stocked and carefully curated. The company has been open since 2009 & features 500+ seeds–many that are organic, heirloom & sourced from small farms. So much to love! I clicked a few pics for your viewing pleasure to highlight some of my favorite bits of the place.

BONUS: the store has shop dogs AND it looked like there was a working mother there wearing her baby while working in the back. How dreamy is that!?

I digress.
Back to the store.

As an AVID life long lover of libraries I am not a big book buyer (so much accidental alliteration)…for the most part. I rarely buy books (novels, etc) unless I am going to use them more than once. More often than not, if I buy a book it is a cookbook, crafty book, field guide, or a well loved book of poems.

But y’all. This book section had me drooling so hard.

IMG_20180403_115918.jpg

Sow True has a whole book nook of doom. The best kind of doom. The “I-want-to-take-it-all-home-with-me” doom. Just look at it. (You can click the picture & zoom in for a closer look and more drooling doom.) DOOM.

The two books I wanted the most were Drink The Harvest (on making and preserving juices & wines, etc) and Put ‘Em Up (a beautiful canning book). These are the kinds of books that should be bought and kept for generations!

IMG_20180403_115925.jpg

Seed Wall.
(featuring inadvertent model couple, browsing/drooling)

IMG_20180403_115931.jpg

Seed Collections!

This is one of my favorite offerings from Sow True. Each can has a collection of seed packets that go with a theme. Each can ranges in price from $22.95 down to $6.95. The ones I was eyeballing the hardest were the Three SistersChildren’s Garden, and the Culinary Herb Garden. <—- You can click on each of those to go straight to the website to read about the collections. What a cool gift idea for like EVERY garden friend in your life! ❤ ❤ ❤

IMG_20180403_115939.jpg

Here is what I brought home!

IMG_20180404_200815.jpg

Black Seeded Simpson, Drunken Woman Lettuces. Dill seeds.

IMG_20180404_202057-1.jpg

Patti Smith poses with Potatoes.

Above you can see Patti Smith posing with the 3 varieties I picked: All Blue, Red Gold, and Rose Finn Apple Fingerling. And yes that is a pizza puzzle she is posed on. I call this picture, “Pretty Patti Poses with Perfect Potatoes on Pizza Puzzle.”

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of my new favorite seed place — Sow True Seed Company!!! Be sure to check them out in person if you live near Asheville, or order online! If you read this in the next few days (April 4, 2018) you can still get in on the potato discount. Just use the coupon Code POTATOES50 if ordering online!

Stay tuned for more soon
AND
keep growing stuff!!!

Victory Garden 2018, update #2: Starting Seeds & Setting up Shop!

I am soooooo behind with updates on the garden so here is a little sneak peak at what has been going on over at the ol back 40 homestead! I’ve officially got all my seeds started, and even have a few things transplanted. I’ve had a few kerfuffles, but overall things seem to be going smoothly.  Knock on garden wood.

Circles in circles!
Seed starting pods on my Bopla! china that was in the sink.
{I didn’t leave them there–it was just too pretty not to take a picture!}

MVIMG_20180310_121556.jpg

Notes in the first official garden notebook.
(and a beer of course!)
{MORE DETAILS ON GERMINATION LATER!}

MVIMG_20180310_190248.jpg

A week later…LOOKIE!!!

IMG_20180317_101314_242.jpg

These are the 3 kids of dirt I mixed together for the raised beds!
I use a mix of the first two types (3-4 each) with one bag of the last.

First Dirt Manicure of the Year!

Beginnings of the garden in the yard!

MVIMG_20180317_172859.jpg

The raised beds are some I salvaged from an old green house that I got a tip about last summer. I put the beds on cinder-blocks that bring the beds up to the perfect height to save my back. The stepping stones in the aisle are from the yard at my old rental house. I dug them up from under years of leaves and weeds! They’re one of my favorite yard decorations. I was inspired by this video by Bumble Bee Junction — I love their set up and hope that someday my garden can be as epic and polished as theirs!

By the way, here are some YouTube channels that are inspiring me right now:
Keeping It Dutch
Arms Family Homestead
Appalachia’s Homestead
Deep South Homestead

And OF COURSE be sure to check out my channel…
Coonsmith Sutlery

…AND a walk around!
Seedlings Starting

Stay tuned for more…as soon as I can!

 

Victory Garden 2018, update #1: It’s getting to be THAT TIME!

Hello there!!!
Welcome back to the Victory Garden!
I dunno about y’all, but I am chomping at the bit to get my hands in the dirt!

Here are some tidbits I thought you might like to look at as you plant your own garden. I am getting a little seed swap organized with several of my like-minded local pals. You have enough time to do the same! Share! You’ll learn a lot and have some fun, too!

Here is a list of the seeds I have so far.

MVIMG_20180119_210616.jpg

Last year I tried some different planting methods, some of which worked and some of which DID NOT. I had pretty terrible luck with growing large tomatoes in pots. The small or cherry varieties did *okay* but not great. Potatoes in pots did AMAZINGLY WELL! Since I’ve had a whole year to track how the sun moves, I am ready to put some plants in the ground. I’m still going to do pots for some things.

Scene from a snow day!

MVIMG_20180118_185333.jpg

MVIMG_20180118_190147.jpg

Here are some varieties I had great luck with last year and plant to grow again.

MVIMG_20180119_211712.jpg

Since I do live in the foothills of North Carolina, it is getting close to time to start seeds indoors.  I am going to start my tomatoes (all small varieties) and peppers (mostly HOT) inside near the first of March. I’m going to direct plant lettuce, spinach, radish and carrots around the same time outside. I planted garlic, shallots and onions at the end of October. Like I told y’all last year: after growing potatoes, I am convinced I can grow anything!

MVIMG_20180211_154253.jpg

Here are some tips from this VERY AMATEUR gardener:

KEEP A NOTEBOOK. Last year I kept notes on bits and pieces of paper that I then put in a portfolio folder. This worked okay, but I’m sure I ended up losing a few of the notes. This year I am using a regular old marble composition notebook. I’ve got pages dedicated to planting & harvesting dates, plus pages for gardening notes and tidbits. It has already been a help to look back over last years info as I plan for this new season.

KEEP A SEPARATE CALENDAR. I tried to keep garden notes in the same calendar as the rest of my life last year and it did not work for me. I have some friends from my Missouri days (Hi Trevor & Lisa!!!) that put out a little zine-style calendar each year and send it to folks in lieu of those stupid life update letters (they include one of those, too, but it comes with this practical gift). It’s big enough to keep dates, but small enough to keep with my  note book that has lots of details. I went ahead and with the help of my planting guide (see below) put dates on the calendar for when I need to prep/plant/potentially harvest. I hope this helps me be a little more organized this year.

INVEST IN A PLANTING GUIDE. I got one of these free with a Baker Creek gift a few years back and really didn’t pay that much attention to it until this year. I watched this video from Off Grid with Doug and Stacy was like OMG I have that thing! (Be sure to watch the video AND follow the channel–it’s a funny & very knowledge couple that you can learn a lot from!) The “thing” is a planting guide for planting and it works all over the globe. I know you can DIY them, but for a mere $4, you really can’t beat this one from Clyde.

LOOK AT GARDEN BED PLANS. I get really overwhelmed thinking about what to plant near what. I love reading about companion plants and who plays well with whom and who has drama…but then I don’t really know what to do with the information. This year I looked up actual garden plans to figure out where to plant. I’ll share more about the process once I nail down my own. There are tons of great free resources online AND in books at your local library.

Here are some of my “just for fun” seeds!
{milkweed, snap dragon, Job’s Tears, luffa, marigold}

MVIMG_20180211_161452.jpg

Share with me!
Tell me what you are planning for YOUR garden!
What advice do you have for me & our readers?

 

Happy Birthday, Neil Diamond.

I know that I had heard Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline before the time I’m going to tell you about. But —

The time I remember vividly was in Wilmington.

I was a senior in college and I had gone on a spring break trip to the beach with my best girl friend. Wilmington was only half of our spring break — the second half of the trip was at the end of the week.  To Chicago. Looking back, that was quite a lot of miles for seven days.

We went to Wilmington to visit my friend’s brother. Older brother. You know how these stories go. What I remember was driving the 350 miles straight to the chain pizza restaurant where Jesse worked. He served us draft Blue Moons with orange slices; a taste brand new to my recently-turned-21 lips. We had a few of these beers and they went down cold and easy.

After Jesse got off work, his sister and I followed him back to his sparse apartment. You know how these apartments are. One floor lamp, a camping chair, a coffee table with a few empty coffee cups, one pint glass half full of water. Or old vodka.  There was a huge tv, an upholstered couch that was an indeterminate shade of grayish tan, and a broken vinyl mini blind that let streaks of light shine in from the street.

From the kitchen came the greenish glow of the refrigerator door opening as Jesse handed us cans of beer. I don’t remember what kind of beers they were but the room was full of grown-up energy.  It was the first time I had drunk beers in an apartment with a man. Never mind that I was there with his sister. You know how it feels to be in a room like that.

We sat around the living room and drank those beers and talked about school and jobs and relationships.  While my friend sat on the couch with her brother, I sat in the camping chair.  I hadn’t yet learned the art of strategic seating arrangements.  You remember how that was. We got tipsy and giggly and Jesse turned on the tv. His tv had an antenna (a real antenna because this was in 2004) and there were only a few tv stations that would come in clear.

Jesse flipped through static and landed on an annual fund drive of a PBS channel.  After the please-send-us-your-money spiel, the programming returned to a pre-taped live Neil Diamond concert. We had had just enough beers to shout with delight and dissolve into laughter at this revelation.

The concert crowd went wild with the opening bars of Sweet Caroline.  They screamed WHOA-WHOA-WHOA at all the places they were supposed to and the 3 of us sang right along with them. Neil shouted out, “We’re coming to the very last chorus now and need all of your voices to join with me! ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT OR WHAT!!!  I looked at Jesse and he looked at me.  The crowd went crazy and so did we. In unison the 3 of us belted out the last verse and fell into a heap on the floor laughing so hard that my sides hurt.

Neil then told us how wonderful we were but asked why we were all still standing… He licked his lips and said, “Surely you’re not expecting us to do the song again?” The crowd roared — completely lost their collective minds. AND THEN HE SANG SWEET CAROLINE AGAIN. And so did we.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CLICK HERE AND WATCH IT.

Screenshot (1)

After the epic Neil Diamond concert my best friend slept on the floor.  I spent the night on the couch.  You know how these stories go.

The only other thing that I remember about the first leg of that spring break trip was using Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap for the very first time. If you’ve never used this soap you absolutely should.  The tingling that happens to the sensitive parts of your body is memorable; especially after a long night of drinking and singing Neil Diamond songs.

Years later, I caught a few episodes of the tv show Glee with my cousin.  I had previously eye-rolled through the show until that hunky jock/bad boy Puck stood up in class and said, “I’ve been working on something…” (to be honest I listened when this character said anything) “…a personal tribute to a musical Jewish icon.” And just like the bitchy Gleek did as soon as she heard those first bars, I sat up straight, too. And felt a tingle all over again.

NOW PLEASE CLICK THIS SO YOU CAN TINGLE, TOO.

Screenshot (2)

 

Because of all of this, today I say:

Happy Birthday, Neil Diamond.

Are we on MySpace? (a survey thing)

Do YOU remember the beginning of social media?
Oh MySpace, you were a hilarious and perfect place for life back then.

Here are some picture from my life back then. Unfortunately, I don’t have the originals–(these were pulled from my FB account) so I can’t make them any bigger. Regardless, you can see proof of my first crew of foster kittens, my silly and persistent love of watches (and 80085), and that gothy-emo comb over that was everything in 2007.

myspace1

My darling librarian pal Wendy tagged me in this on Facebook and oh lawdy it reminds me of those early social media days. Isn’t it funny how these things were SO POPULAR in the MySpace era? People loved over-sharing, especially in the form of quizzes like this.

You may remember Wendy from this Tiny Tuesday a while back that featured TINY and perfect lavender book earrings. That’s really the tip of the iceberg with her though–she is such a strange and wonderful artist, vegan, animal rescue whisperer, epic road tripper, letter writer and all around fun AF. Anyhoo, Wendy is a helluva pal and I will surely do this thing she tagged me in. {Follow her on current social media where you can try to discern which name is her pseudonym: here}

 

Let’s play!
Four jobs I’ve had:
1. Social Studies teacher
2. {non-degreed but still totally a} librarian
3. farm hand
4. house cleaner

Four things I like to do:
1. read/research
2. knit things
3. work in the vegetable garden
4. bloggy stuff

Four things I enjoy watching on TV/Netflix:
1. Longmire
2. Hell on Wheels
3. Stranger Things
4. Poirot

Four places I’ve visited: (EDIT-this year)
1. Lafayette, LA
2. New Orleans, LA
3. Daytona, FL
4. Bryson City, NC

Four things I love to eat:
1. my mom’s chex party mix
2. cheese
3. Pita Wheel
4. pickled things

Four places I’ve lived:
1. Knoxville, TV
2. Columbia, MO
3. Griffin, GA
4. Lincolnton, NC

Four currently living people I’d like to meet:
1. Jimmy DiResta
2. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
3. Grav3yardGirl
4. PATTI SMITH, duh.

Four favorite beverages:
1. seltzer
2. Coffee
3. grapefruit juice
4. whiskey

Four people most likely to also post this: (comment on this!)
1. Modmom
2. TG
3. Jessie
4. I dunno, I hope YOU will!

2018 “To-Do List”!

HELLO there, pals!!!!
Welcome to the annual To-Do List for 2018!
These are some things I would like to accomplish this year.MVIMG_20180107_135710.jpg

MVIMG_20180107_135655.jpg

(Please excuse the pet hairs you can see on the floor–
I just vacuumed yesterday but y’all know how it is when you have fur-babies.)

Speaking of FUR BABES, check out this photobomb by Patti Smith!

MVIMG_20180107_135629.jpg

1. WRITE MORE LETTERS. I used to write letters. A LOT of letters. In fact, I suppose the precursor to this blog was my zine, which was called “Letters I will never send to you.” I still get an occasional letter in the mail (HI LESLIE!!!! ❤ ) but nothing like I used to get…when I wrote letters frequently. This year I am going to write more mail and hopefully I will get some in return. I make even resurrect the old “Post cards from pals” photo album series.

2. DRINK MORE WATER. I feel like if there is one thing I can do to really help take care of my body it is to drink more water. I’m not going to promise it will be 8 glasses a day (I’m a TEACHER for crisssakes, I ain’t got time for that) but will drink more than I have been.

3. VISIT MY SISTER (and other folks). For those of you who know me on social media you might have seen my post a few weeks back about getting to see my sister. IT WAS SO AWESOME. The long and short of it is that we hadn’t seen each other in a reaaaaaaally long time — I don’t want that to happen again, so I’m putting it on my To-Do List to ensure success! She lives pretty far away so it’ll take a bit of doing but it is possible! I also want to do better about visiting folks closer by. I have a bunch of friends and family that live one county over from me…and I never see them. I want to change that.

4. CONTINUE GENEALOGY. I haven’t done much research on my family tree since I left my job as a librarian. I have several friends who are just getting started on their family trees and it has reminded me how much fun it is!

5. TRY SOME FICTION. When I was a teenager one of my dream jobs was to be a writer. Specifically a novelist OR a food writer for a big time newspaper. While I have written quite a bit in my adult life, I have not written much fiction. There are a handful of characters and story lines that have been knocking around in my head for years. I’d like to try to get them out of there and on to paper.

6. CONTINUE DOOM SHARK PURGE AND REFURBISH. I did a pretty dang good job of getting the Doom Shack set up last summer BUT I want to do another purge and really get things settled in. Once that happens I can really use the space as the studio it is meant to be! I can’t wait to film in there for my youtube channel (CLICK HERE!) AND have Doll Club over to play!

7. AMTRAK ADVENTURE WITH MR. SMITH. We FINALLY got to take a trip on the Smokey Mountain Railroad (here is the video!) this summer and it was so so so fun. I also got to take the Amtrak to New Orleans which was also really dang fun. I REALLY want to go on a long train trip with Mr. Smith — I dunno where I want to go, but I really hope we can get away over the summer on a truly epic train adventure TOGETHER.

8. GARDEN UPGRADE 2018. I’m actually going to so a whole other post about gardening stuff, ideas, goals, etc. so you’ll have to stay tuned for that!

9. MONTHLY DONATIONS OF STUFF/TIME/$$$. I have a lot of stuff I still want to go through and purge from the house (clothes, craft supplies, knick knacks, etc x 1000) and I’d like to make a monthly thing of it. Every month I want to take a load of stuff to my local 2nd hand shop. I want to do more than that though — while I don’t have a HUGE amount of $ I can easily donate, I do have some TIME. I  just need to figure out how to incorporate that into a regular thing.  I’m also making a goal to donate the money to my local shelter to have 3 animals spayed/neutered. I’d like to increase that donation as the years go along. AND FOSTER KITTENS!!!! I reaaaaally want to foster kittens.

10. THE CHECK INS. I want to keep y’all posted! I want to keep myself accountable! I want to challenge myself again in 6 months! So stay tuned!

What things are on your To-Do list this year?

Remember, don’t get overwhelmed by your to-do list. Look at me posting about it on January the NINTH!!!! We are NINE days in to the new year and it is still okay to make a list!!! I would recommend keeping the list to 10 or fewer things. Big lists can get a little overwhelming. I promise that by having a list it WILL help you do more, think more, and be MORE INSPIRED to get stuff done.

Be sure to check out my progress from previous years by reading these old posts:

CLICK —–>2017 To-Do List Re-visited!

CLICK—–>2017 “To-Do” List

CLICK—–>2017 “To-Do” List, Annotated Edition

CLICK—–>2016 “To-Do” List
(This one explains why I call is a “To-Do List” and not resolutions)

2017 To-Do List: Final Assessment!

So, how did I do with last year’s To-Do List?

Click HERE to read my mid year update!

I only have a few things to add to what I told you back in July.

I re-challenged myself mid-year on my book list. In 2016 I only read 29 books (which may seem like a lot to some, but for an avid reader it was a personal low) so I set a goal of 50 for 2017. By July I was already really close to achieving that number so I bumped it up to 75 books. Y’all. I read 74 books XD XD XD I WAS SO CLOSE! I definitely want to keep up this pace. Maybe this year will be the year I reach 100?!

I set a goal to help animals in need. By July I was feeling like I hadn’t really done what I set out to do. I really wanted to foster kittens, which I still want to do, but didn’t get to do in 2017. What I did end up doing was maybe even bigger than that.

Mr. Smith and I adopted another dog.

Pepper really deserves his very own post with more about his story so I’ll just leave you with some pictures as a teaser!

MEET PEPPER!

MVIMG_20171225_134846.jpg

20171118_112035IMG_20171105_200200_94320171015_213638

I especially include this part about him because it’s a good example of how setting goals can sometimes turn into experiences you didn’t have in mind at the outset.

There are some things from 2017 that I think I did really well! I think I blew the garden out of the park! I am so proud of all the successes AND failures I had with it. I have SO many ideas and goals for the garden in 2018. I think I did a really good job getting the Doom Shack in order. There’s more work to do, but overall I feel like I accomplished my goal! Also we did a switcheroo on extra rooms of the house and I got a room that is ready for fostering kittens THIS YEAR. Part of my old goal might come to fruition after all. I kinda dropped the quilting ball. For whatever reason I just wasn’t feeling it this year. But guess what? IT’S OKAY! Resolutions and goals and To-Do Lists are not carved in stone. Even when they’re written in pen, you can scratch them out or put an asterisk on them.

All you have TO DO is MAKE a To-Do.

I think you’ll be amazed by how much more you DO!

Here’s to YOU and an awesome 2018.

What did you read in 2017?

Here it is!!!

The annual list you’ve been waiting for!

It’s my annual “all the books I read this year” post!!!

Here are a few book stacks from the past year:

IMG_20171106_191332_59920170308_19131920170214_175747

NOTE:
Remember that I only keep track of the
“chapter books” that I read,
not cookbooks and craft books, etc.

Here are the lists of books I read in 2017!

MVIMG_20180101_150537.jpg

MVIMG_20180101_150543.jpg

MVIMG_20180101_150551.jpg

THAT’S A GRAND TOTAL OF 74 BOOKS!!*
*see upcoming “To-Do List” post for more on that number

!!!!Beware of mild spoilers!!!!

STAND OUT BOOKS OF 2017:

Wool by Hugh Howey (graphic novel is also great, but I would recommend reading it after the full novel because I am a purist). Last Christmas I actually bought a copy of this book as a gift for a teenager friend of mine after reading a review of it from Ernest Cline (author of Ready Player One …unfortunately see this year’s TOTAL DUDS for more on that author). I LOVED LOVED LOVED and could not put this book down! It is part of a trilogy buuuuuuut I just couldn’t get in to the 2nd book. I guess I need to give it another try before I totally give up on the series. Wool is definitely a post-apocalyptic novel but has some twists that I haven’t seen before in the genre. If you’re in to that sort of sci-fi then you should definitely give it a try. Let me know if you get through the 2nd book and whether or not I should try again.

Gumbo Tales by Sara RoahenSee New Orleans, Part 1. for the full scoop on this book. I have told soooooo many people about this author and you should 100% pick up a copy of this book to keep if you have any ties to the New Orleans area. It will become your travel Bible. I’m not going to re-hash why it is so delightful; you can go read the blogpost for a full review AND you might as well read about my summer adventures in New Orleans while you are at it.

The Walking Dead graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman & illustrators. I have been a huge fan of this TV show since its first season and I didn’t even realize there were books until I had watched at least season 3. This is one of those truly strange situations where I am okay with the fact that the books and the TV show are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. If you’re a fan (books or show) you’ll probably know this already but it still blows my mind that Daryl is not even a character in the books!!! If you like the show, you should read the books–just be prepared that your favorite characters are going to have different lives. I have managed to dole these volumes out to myself in 4 book increments so I don’t binge the whole thing in one weekend, a feat I am rather proud of. That said, I feel a little funny about my rather high number of books read this year since TWENTY of them are from this series and it only takes me about an hour to read each one!

TOTAL DUDS OF 2017:

Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe. Y’all. It is okay if you love this book. It is okay if you do not love this book. It is also okay if you do not even want to read this book. I decided it was something I wanted to tackle and if you are friends with me on social media you will surely have read my tirades during the time I read it. Since I have grown up with Asheville as part of my life, and since the book is basically set there I wanted to see what all the fuss was about (because there is plenty of fuss!!). With the exception of the VERY RANDOM long winded food descriptions, I was totally bored with this tome. I should mention I tried to read the book with my eyes many years ago with no luck. This time around I listened to it on audio-book. I can at least say that I have done it, masochist or not.

From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. Let me quote myself from last year’s book post: “I guess maybe the moral of this story is to be careful rereading childhood favorites.” Shew. This was a book I LOVED as a child but was HORRIFIED by as an adult!!! SYNOPSIS: These 2 kids run away from home, live off weird food bought with change that was picked out of a fountain, wash their underwear in said fountain, end up at the home of this crazy Mrs. Frankweiler who KNOW THE CHILDREN ARE MISSING but she proceeds prompt and to listen to their adventure story before calling to alert the parents that THEIR MISSING CHILDREN are safe! I wanted to kick her in the shins. And the shins of the guards of the museum. None of it would have been possible in this post 9-11 world. SO I TELL YOU AGAIN: be careful rereading childhood favorites!!!

Armada by Ernest Cline. I was sooooo disappointed in this book. Looking back, I am surprised that Ready Player One did not make my top books of the year last year–I really enjoyed it. I was super excited to get Cline’s follow up book and I absolutely could not finish it. Not finishing a book is pretty rare for me. If I make it past the first 25 pages, I am most likely going to slug through the whole thing. After three discs of this audio-book I gave up. Here are my thoughts: maybe I didn’t like it because I’m not a gamer. There was a LOT of gamer stuff in this book — I was really pulled in to the family & friends plot line but lost at the gamers parts. I must give a caveat though–RPO was also full of gamer stuff and it worked for me in a way that this book did not. Also, the plot seemed obvious, contrived, and hokey from the get go. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the main character’s father probably wasn’t dead after all. Have you read it? Am I right? I know I’m right. I told you so.

What did you read this year?

What was good? What was worth cautioning against?

Here’s to 2018 being full of wonderful literary delights…and trashy stuff, too!

BE SURE TO CLICK here for 2016 AND here for 2015  FOR PAST READING LISTS!

 

 

Back 2 School!

Can you even believe it?
Is the summer really gone?

I’ve had friends posting cute back-to-school pictures of their kids since the first week in AUGUST! That seems crazy. It’s crazy enough that I’ve been in workshops and training stuff since that same time. The one thing that always makes going back to school a little more fun is new outfits and school supplies. Here are a few things I’ve been drooling over lately.

TOPS!

The shirt to the left is funny AND true! Totally reasonable for a teacher to wear.
(Tons of places online versions of the shirt: click here for one)

And speaking of teachers, how perfect is that sweater!?!? I just want the crochet eyeball on the BACK–“I’ve got my eye on you, EVEN when I’m not facing you!” Unfortunately I can’t find the artist who made this (one of the major bummers about Pinterest). I have a couple of friend who could make me one though *cough* *cough* Mod Mom, Grumpy Skittles,

DRESSES!

These are both out of stock from Mill Street Vintage but DANG they’re so dreamy! They make for great inspo–maybe I have time to make a new dress before school starts?!

SHOES!

These shoes AND These shoes!

I’m really fascinated by this whole beaded thing–{see wiki article here} I had never heard of it until I was watching some kids educational show on Saturday morning.

Let’s pin these amulet flags to EVERYTHING we wear this year.

medals

 

I am about to be SWAMPED with school so it may be a minute before I get more posted. Until then, just remember that if all else fails, I’m headed back to New Orleans.

20170713_094353_LI

 

Happy Back to School Y’all!