Category Archives: Notes About Arts & Entertainment

Books

I’m a happy camper. After a nearly 3 year hiatus, the Saturday morning book club I was in has started up again!

It’s different than it was last time. We used to meet once a month…now we meet once every two months. We used to all vote on a book to read, read it, and then discuss it at our next meeting…now we simply bring our recent reads — whatever we want — to the meetings and share our thoughts on them. We also have a little book “exchange” happening, where we’ll bring a stack of books we’re willing to loan out to whoever would like to read them before the next meeting.

We’ve only met twice under this new “format”, but so far it’s GREAT! I am loving the more casual approach to it all — much more do-able for me now that I’m a mommy. I have loved sitting in a quiet room with several other women for an hour or two, sipping hot cocoa and casually discussing books we loved, hated, and everything in between. And I love coming home with a new stack of borrowed books to try out!

Here’s the book I read last month (I borrowed a stack of books, but only got through one :)):

The Other Side of Darkness by Melody Carlson.

In a nutshell, it’s about a wife/mother who becomes entangled in a extreme cult-like church/ministry. Oh yes, and she has OCD…soooo, not a good combination. It was an interesting read — got a bit long at the end, so I think I ended up skimming the last couple chapters — but all in all it was OK.

And these are the books I came home with today:

Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

I don’t know much about this book other than it’s a light, pleasant read. Has anyone read any of the books in this series?

I also picked up

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

I don’t agree with Donald Miller on a few things…but I do like his writing style. When I was in high school I read his book “Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance” (which has since been retitled “Through Painted Deserts”). A pleasant, humorous, easy read. I loved it enough to pass it along to a couple friends. Only years later, after “Blue Like Jazz” (his giganto hit) released did I realize that it was by the same author. Speaking of “Blue Like Jazz”…I once read it. I don’t remember loving it, but I can’t remember why. But then, reading comprehension (or retention?) was not my forte in my school days, and I don’t think that has drastically changed over the years. I enjoy reading, but takes a lot for a book to make an impression on me, and apparently that one didn’t! I just have this vague sense that I didn’t like it all that much — didn’t agree with some of it. Hmm. Maybe I should re-read it. But I digress. I am looking forward to giving this one a go.

So those were my book club picks — but they’re not all I’m working on. Here’s what’s currently bookmarked and in my book-bag/on my nightstand:

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

The Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

 

Yep, alot of books. And even more that I’m wanting to start. And, for the record, I’ve been “working on” several of these books for a long, long time now. #slowreader

What about you? What are you reading these days? And if you’re in a book club, what’s it like? Do share!

 

 

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Handmade Heaven: A Mini Holiday Shopping Guide

Yesterday I got to spend a couple hours at the Autumn Festival held at Canterbury Park in Shakopee this weekend. It’s basically a GIGANTIC arts & crafts fair…we’re talking hundreds of booths and thousands of attendees (which I find kind of funny since I’d never heard of the fair before!). Anyway, I just love going and walking around, by myself, for a couple hours, perusing the goods and taking a look at what others have created (not to mention doing some Christmas shopping!). I think I have found a new little tradition. 🙂 Last year I didn’t find a ton of booths that I loved, but yesterday I was happy to find a couple of really cute booths that I was pretty excited about!

My favorite was JennaLou Designs. Seriously, check out her website. Isn’t it cute?! Lots of cute handbags and accessories. I fell in love with this:

And this:

But there was lots of other cute stuff, too. I think I spent like a half hour at her booth! Be sure to check out her etsy shop.

Another booth I liked was Everything Unique Boutique, which had lots of fun kids clothing and accessories. The booth actually had WAY more than the website shows (and their best merchandise was at the booth, in my opinion :)), but the site gives you an idea. I scored these cute little monogrammed purses for Christmas presents for my girls 🙂 :

(um, yeah. The photo is backwards. Just picture it flipped the right way :)).

My third favorite booth was called Harmony Hill Signs. They had the most beautiful wooden picture frames/shelves/signs — but unfortunately their website is not currently working! Still, if you happen to visit an art fair in the near future, keep an eye out for them. They had some beautiful stuff!

…and thus concludes my 2010 Mini Holiday Shopping Guide from my travels at the craft fair. 🙂 Hope you find it helpful!

What are some good places you’ve found to shop for handmade stuff? Share your finds in the comments!

 

Ouch!

So we heard through the grapevine that Bachman’s has some neat vintage film equipment for sale, and M was immediately interested, as he is a video guy (does video editing on the side) and has been looking for some cool stuff to deck out the office with. Thursday night we made an impromptu trip to Bachman’s, where we found this really cool looking vintage 16 mm Keystone film projector. It looked kind of like this, except black and shinier and cooler looking:

I thought it looked neat. M loved it too. But, alas, I thought the price tag was a bit too steep — not ridiculous (particularly as I think about it in retrospect); just a little more than I envisioned spending on such a purchase. So I put my vote in that we not buy it — for now — and M, being the wonderfully selfless husband that he is, agreed. After several minutes of hanging around the projector, holding it, examining it, and admiring it, we reluctantly put it back on the shelf, left and hit the antique section where we found some cool old film reels and canisters instead.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I really wanted him to have this projector. So today I decided that, one way or the other, I wanted him to get it. Long story, but I decided to make it an early Father’s Day present. So when we were near Bachman’s today, I told him I wanted to get it for him, and suggested we stop by the store and pick it up. So we parked and headed into the store, where we had a slightly painful experience.

First, I’ll say what wouldn’t have hurt. It wouldn’t have hurt if we would have walked in and found the shelf empty. It would have been a bummer, but it wouldn’t have hurt.

What did hurt was that we literally walked in just as a gentleman had taken it off the shelf and was holding it — not in a “I’m holding this to get a better look at it” kind of way; it was a much more confident “I’m holding this because I’m going to buy it” kind of way. Our suspicions were confirmed as we asked him if he was going to buy it and he assured us that he was. So we left.

And I may or may not have cried. Right there in the store.

Granted, I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is no biggie. But still I ask: does anyone have any great ideas where one might find such a film projector? Seriously. Like, I’m seriously asking. Anyone know? (*aside from EBay, of course. I am aware of EBay. :))

New Music

Well, guess what, folk(s). It has happened. I have put my iTunes gift card to use.

My children made it easy for me. You see, apparently they read my blog, because Friday night my hubby came home bearing “thank you mommy” gifts that the kids had bought me. W got me the “Once” soundtrack and S got me an Ingrid  Michaelson CD. Don’t they have great taste? 🙂 And the fact that I got them in CD form gave me the huge bonus of also receiving the CD packaging. As a designer, the idea of getting music without the artwork to go along with it is a difficult thing to adjust to, and will probably keep me primarily in the CD era for a long time to come…like people who still listen to records (because they don’t want to let go; not because it’s cool to be retro). To me, the CD’s artwork is part of the musical package (figuratively and literally). Before I’d ever listened to Jars of Clay’s first CD, I got a feel for what they were like from the faded blues and greens, the black & white photography and the recycled paper of their CD insert. “Acoustic and organic”, it said to me. And it was.

But I digress.

Anyway, seeing that my children knocked 2 CDs off of my CD “wish list”, my wish list became much shorter. Too short, actually, as it only left 1 CD that I could think of that I wanted. Then I watched a movie yesterday that reminded me I’d wanted it’s soundtrack, so…problem solved!

In case you Regardless of whether or not you are interested, here is  the music I purchased  with my gift card:

• “The Story” by Brandi Carlile

• “The Dan in Real Life” soundtrack (which is mostly music by a guy named Sondre Lerche). I like this movie alot, and I love it’s soundtrack.

• “Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop” by Landon Pigg. I bet you think you’ve never heard this song. Think again. Do these lyrics ring a bell? “I think that possibly/maybe I’m falling for you“…yes folks, I purchased that song from the diamonds are forever commercial. I am not ashamed.

Weesh

In case you were wondering, the new art at the top of my blog is the masterpiece of my little Picasso. It’s entitled “Weesh” (which is what his reply was when his grandpa asked him what it was called).

🙂

Here is the full work of art:

n1359893712_276679_1400

img_0503

A Major Award!

In the words of the dad from A Christmas Story, I have just won a major award!

2, actually!

No worries, though, honey –no leg lamps will be gracing our bay window this holiday season. Instead, I — or the children, rather — will be the proud owners of this bear from Stuffington Bear company:

puddingbear

and a this Tutu from Lil Diva Designs:

tutu

You see, a few days ago I entered a photo caption contest on MCK Mama‘s blog. I’ve never entered one of her contests before, but I couldn’t resist the prizes.I mean, an adorable bear for our little boy, and a tutu for our upcoming little girl…hard to beat. Here was the photo that needed captioning:

smallfryyellsdoorthanksgiving

My caption:
Cindy Loo Who is back. And she’s ticked.

Somehow, I won…and just got emails from both companies that my prizes are on the way. Woot-woot!

Pardon my gloating. It’s just that I won a major award!

I wonder if the boxes will be marked “Fragile”…

(never seen “A Christmas Story”? Then nevermind…and do yourself a favor and go watch it right now. Go. :))

This Has Been in My Head All Day

Now it’s in yours.

🙂