Friday, September 13, 2013

Mel is here from the Land of the Koala!!

  This week's Feature Friday is Mel from Mellywood's Mansion!  She is awesome and does some great crafts, especially jewelry..and has a craft room I love!

Mellywoods Mansion

        1.You live "Down Under."  Is it as awesome as we in North America think it is?

Between wrestling crocs and riding our kangaroos, it's pretty awesome! To be honest I love my home, most of us live in close vicinity to the beach and there is nothing better than a warm day, chilled wine, BBQ and the beach.
2.  One of your recent projects is your crafting room and you also host Inspiration Café and have a linky party....what's your favorite leisure activity?
I love crafting its my thing but my favourite thing to relax is to sit outside with a bottle of moscato and just chat with Jules.
3.  Speaking of leisure--you don't have much, because you have a whole bunch of kids.  Yet, you are pretty successful at keeping them out of your blog.  Is this intentional? How difficult is it, when they are so much a part of your life?

It is somewhat intentional, being the mother of teenagers I feel they need to keep their life private I don't want them to feel anyone with an Internet connection can find out things that might embarrass them. Although they don't mind when I make a bit of fun like the "Hey Girl" post. I also started blogging when I finished working, I missed having a place where I was just me, everywhere else I'm someone's Mum or wife so I didn't want to make it about them.
It's not really difficult, it's easier to write about myself than them.
4.  Beer or wine?

Wine, and preferably anything made by Brown Brothers
5.  If you could take a month-long vacation (without children), where would you go?

I'd love to go to Italy, I once heard there are streets that just sell leather purses, that's my idea if heaven!
6.  Who was your favorite Spice Girl?

Ginger Spice, she was always a bit sassy, I like that!
7.  Are all the guys in Australia cute surfers?

8.  Charcoal or fog?
9.  Be honest--how do you REALLY feel about burlap?

When I started reading blogs it was when burlap was everywhere and immediately I decided I wanted some, it must be amazing stuff. So I looked everywhere and I couldn't get it, I kept asking for burlap and I would get an odd look and was told they didn't have it. So eventually I decided to order it online and googled it. Turns out we call it hessian here and I nearly wet myself laughing, as a kid if you ruined your clothes you were threatened with wearing a hessian dress.
Having said that, there are some amazing crafts made with burlap/hessian.
10.  Are there any bloggers whose posts you can't wait to read?
Too many, in fact the worse thing since starting my own is that I don't have the time to keep up with all of them, I love people who make me laugh.

As you can see, Mel is delightful and honest--and a breath of fresh air in blogland.  My mother used burlap as a threat, so Mel is someone after my own heart!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Please welcome Danni, who has pumpkins!!

I'm not sure when I first met Danni...but she is one of the most down-to-earth folks in Blogland, and I consider her my own personal moral compass.  She also has graciously invited me to guest post, and her guest post (an awesome bell with a backstory set at my precious Downton Abbey) is my second most popular post!


1.  You work in a liquor store--what are some of your recommendations?
Thanks for starting out with my main area of expertise!  I'm mostly a gin and tonic with lime girl, but since it's summer right now, I'm expanding my horizons with UV Salty Watermelon Vodka and once in a while Caravella Limoncello, yummy and imported from Italy.....get ya some! In the fall I like Yukon Jack and Apple Cider.  In the winter, Black Velvet Toasted Caramel.  Oh, and I just discovered a basil vodka that is quite tasty and I'm going to try making a pasta sauce with it.  I could go on and on, but then people might think I have a problem and I'll start getting concerned emails. 

2.  You also have a lot of land--is it landscaped or just au naturel?
Right now it's mostly just hay fields, but my creek area looks like a park.
3.  McDonald's or Taco Bell?
Yikes!  Neither, but when I just have to have french fries, I'll go to Steak and Shake.
4.  How do you like painting furniture?
Having just painted my first two pieces last week, I have to say it's a lot of fun, especially if you have a great teacher like I did when Karen of Somewhat Quirky Design came to the farm.  It's almost instant gratification and I'm all about that!
5.  Where is your number one vacation spot?
The mountains in Montana.  I miss them every day.  I loved Acapulco too, but I hear it's rather dangerous these days.
6.  Pumpkin or apricot?
Ha! Ha!  Since I'm a sometimes pumpkin farmer, I'm going with pumpkin!
7. You're well-known for your crafts--do you have any favorites?I'm flattered that you think I'm well-known for anything.  I guess my favorite projects are the the pallet ones, like these ...(can I blatantly promote myself and post a couple of links?)
8.  Gas or electric?
Well, I'm a farm girl now, so I heat strictly with wood in the winter, but my kitchen stove is electric.
9.  If you found $100 in the dryer after you finished the laundry, what would you spend it on (besides liquor)?
A kick-a$$ Italian dinner...or some more furniture paint...or some rockin farm boots. 
10.  Are there any fellow bloggers you want to give a shout-out to?
At the risk of sounding very Miss America-ish....I really do love all of the inspiration I get from the great big bloggy world, but....I would like to give a shout out to the girls at the Inspiration Cafe,(Natalie, Mel, Mary and Heather) they each have their own awesome blogs and their talents seem limitless to me.  They've been my friends since almost the beginning of blogging and I love them.  All of my readers have wonderful blogs...except for Cheryl in Wisconsin (you know who you are) and I wish she'd start one!  I'm also very fond of some old French Hens...but that's another story.

I'd like to thank craft maven Danni for stopping by and putting up with my silliness!  If you'd like to be featured in a Women Who Blog post, please let me know!  I am currently soliciting victims  interviewees!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Carolyn Hart---an Agatha for the new millenium!

Kicking off a new season with another author--Carolyn Hart!

Carolyn Hart is a long-time favorite of mine (y'all know I LOVE MYSTERIES!!) and her Death on Demand series is reminiscent of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple books, with Broward's Rock, South Carolina substituting for St. Mary Mead.  Annie Darling is a younger, more attractive, married version of Miss Marple...but it's all about the small-town ambiance that makes these books enjoyable.

Like the other authors...Ms. Hart graciously answered my silly questions and we exchanged many e-mails where we discussed books and the writing process.  Here's the gist:

1.  Broward's Rock seems like the perfect resort town.  Is it patterned after a real-life place?
    Ans. We started vacationing on Hilton Head island in the 1970s. Broward's Rock is a fictional version of Hilton Head as it was in the '70s though BR is much farther off shore. The alligators nosing through dark water, the scent of sea and sand, and the rustle of palm leaves are very real.
2.Your new mysteries are set in Oklahoma, which seems a stretch from South Carolina.  Where do you live?   (I promise not to stalk you!)
   Ans.  I live in Oklahoma, vacation in South Carolina. I've enjoyed using local backgrounds in the Bailey Ruth ghost series and also in What the Cat Saw, though both towns are fictional. My first book set in Oklahoma is Letter from Home, a story of the homefront in WWII.
3. Here's the segue--what is your decorating style?
 Ans.    My mother collected antiques and loved stately surroundings. Once when asked what decor I admired, she paused, said thoughtfully, "Carolyn likes everything to be spare. Windswept." I always thought that was very accurate. 
4.  What is the writing process like for you?
 Ans. Painful. Agonzing. Discouraging. I am always terrified I won't be able to finish the book.
5.  I have written a couple of blog posts on voice--how important do you think it is to keep it in mind as you write?
    Ans. Voice is inherent in writing and not something that has to be created. Voice is who you are.
6.  You have won numerous prestigious awards for your mysteries.  In twelve words or fewer, how does that feel?
    Ans. Heartwarming.  Because readers read the books, I am able to be a writer. I am forever grateful. 
7.  Any words of wisdom for those bloggers who wish to write professionally?
Ans. Care passionately about what you write. Somewhere an editor will care.
KIRBY here:  As I mentioned, she and I exchanged numerous e-mails over the course of a week, and she was nothing but encouraging to this wanna-be writer.  To take the time to help a sister (in crime) out was a lovely thing to do!  Thanks, Carolyn!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Feature Friday--It's Eclectic!

Kirby: Today, I'm talking to (well, exchanging e-mails with) Kelly at Eclectically Vintage.  Kelly has a great style and she's also a great junk-finder, which is a trait I admire.

1. As a mother of twins, what was it like trying to take care of two babies at once?
          I didn't know any differently.  The fact that I had never changed a diaper before my girls
          were born really had me jumping right into the frying pan!  Oh, and I drank...a lot!

2.  Buttercup or citrine?
          I used to love holding buttercups under my chin when I was a kid--I always saw
          yellow hence my overwhelming urge to butter everything.

3.  How do you feel about Ball jars?  (This is not an inappropriate question, by the way.)
         I love the old blue jars with zinc lids and there's nothing I like more than inappropriate
         laughter so bring on the questions.

4.  Did you prefer The Backstreet Boys or N Sync?
         Ugh--the lesser of two evils would be N Sync--it spawned Justin Timberlake, after all.

5.  I understand that Jersey is an "interesting place."  Care to elaborate?
          I sense some sarcasm.  I can be at the beach, ski slopes, farmland, great shopping, and
          factory smog all in less than one hour.  What's not to love about a place where  you
          can buy a Bump-it on every street corner?

6.  Fast food or pizza?
          Pesto pizza on the grill is my latest obsession--with a large glass of wine of course.

7.  If you could take a vacation on an unlimited budget, where would you go?
          I'd hit every Four Seasons between here and Timbuktu.  There's nothing better than
          exploring an unknown place.

8.  Have you ever tried your hand at plumbing?
          No, but I've had a couple of cases of plumber's crack.

9.  If you could make a planter out of anything this summer, what would it be?
           I found a huge industrial-sized colander at the thrift shop and filled it with geraniums.

10.  Are there any bloggers that you follow (not in a stalker-ish way) whom you read without fail?
           I have a few restraining orders against me, so unfortunately I can't elaborate.

Kirby here:  Thanks again to Kelly for this interview.  Now, go check her out (not in a weird way) at Eclectically Vintage!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

This Friday, we're quirky!

Today, I'm welcoming Karen from Somewhat Quirky!  Her blog is fun to read and she has some GREAT decorating ideas, so when you're finished reading this, you should check it out!

1.  If you could redecorate one room in your house, what would it be?

Well, dream world would be finishing out our basement which would equate to laundry, exercise, work, and storage rooms.

2.  How do you feel about granite?

Granite is nice. For me I would prefer concrete, soapstone, wood, marble, I guess it's pretty far down on my list - this coming from a girl who has ugly laminate countertops!

3. You live in Michigan--do you change your décor when it gets cold and snowy?

Except for the mantle, my mess stays pretty much the same year round.

4. Would you rather spend your money on a great meal or cute shoes?

Well, if you asked me 20 years ago it would have been shoes. Now - definitely a great meal.

5. Chartreuse or Seafoam?

All greens have a place in my repertoire.

6.  We know that you exercise a bunch.  What workout do you find gets the best results?
The best workout is the one that you will do. Period. Personally, I do elyptical workouts and P90X2.
7. Do you collect anything?

Mostly things with a purpose, like suitcases and citrus juicers. I have quite a bit of architectural salvage. And junk. There is always junk.

8. How many houses have you redecorated?

At least 6 for myself and a few more for others. But my mind redecorates every room I visit.
9. If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Italy. With Paris a close second. Places with wine.

10. Do you have any "go-to" bloggers that you read every day?

I'm a cluster reader so I read a couple or five days at a time.  Some of my favorites are Gwen Moss, Flower Patch Farmgirl, It All Started With Paint, K Appeal, Bliss Ranch, Dreaming In Color, Simply Vintageous, Silo Hill Farm, Miss Flibbertgibbet, Little Miss Maggie, What We Keep, Backyard Bungalow, and of course The Space Between.

Kirby Here:  Thanks so much to Karen for stopping by and answering my silly questions.  Next week I'll be featuring another great blogger!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Women Who Blog Welcomes a SUPERSTAR! (This is where I do my very best Mary Katherine Gallagher)

Welcome to Feature Friday on Women Who Blog!
If this is your first time here...thanks for stopping by and I hope that you'll visit again!

Kirby:  Okay, I probably send out a dozen or so e-mails a month, asking folks if they would like to participate in Women Who Blog.  There are friends who are unfailingly helpful and are willing to immediately reply in order to help me out (that's you, Hens!) and there are folks who have better things to do (understandably, as answering a bunch of silly questions from a middle-aged wanna-be is weird).   Of the dozen folks I e-mail, about half of them are real-life writers.  I don't expect any of these folks to actually help me's more of a hit-or-miss with REAL authors, as they are busy 'really' writing.   After all, it is the way they make their living.

But mystery writers are another breed, apparently.
(For those readers who do not know I am writing an entire series of mysteries, now you do know.  For those of you who believe I will one day [a] finish these mysteries, and [b] have them published...God Bless You. You and my mom.  Keeping the faith is a good thing, although a tad foolhardy.)

Every mystery author I have contacted (like June's featured author, Margaret Maron) has been gracious and patient and willing to answer my silly questions.  Today's author has a big pile of pot roast on her plate, with cake waiting in the wings...yet she took a few minutes to answer my crazy questions.  THROUGH HER ASSISTANT'S ASSISTANT!  (I cannot imagine how ridiculously famous you have to be to have an assistant, yet she has an assistant to assist her assistant.  Hay-seuss!) she is...a woman whose books DEBUT at number one on the NY Times bestseller list which is like the hugest thing that can happen to you as an author.  That means that people are WAITING for your book and they order it ahead of time!  *sigh*  Oh well...without any further adieu, here's

Janet Evanovich!


1.  First, let me say that many of my readers really love your books, particularly the humorous characters of Grandma Mazur and Lula.  How important do you think it is to inject humor into your books?
        Along with the elements of romance and danger, humor is the most important component in my books.  I guess I was blessed with a pretty good sense of humor, because most of the letters and e-mails I get are from readers who tell me stories about how they crack up while reading in public.  Apparently, crying while laughing on public transportation can cause fellow passengers to change seats.  I've also learned from victims that it's not recommended to read my books while drinking a carbonated beverage. 
2.  Most home décor/DIY bloggers feel comfortable following a specific pattern on their blogs.  Your books also follow a particular pattern--is that at the request of your publisher, or do you just feel more comfortable with that format?
        I'm just comfortable with my format.  So far, my publishers have been pleased.
3.  How does it feel to be on the New York Times bestseller list, in twelve words or fewer?
It feels great.  Hey... that's only three words.

4.  Do people recognize you when you're out and about on your normal errands?
        I write seven days a week and seldom get out and about.  I occasionally get recognized on a run to the store for Cheez Doodles, but the great thing about authors is that we don't get recognized very often -- I guess the pictures on our dust jackets are too small.
5.  Finally, because most of my audience is interested in home décor--how would you describe your house?
        It's very light and airy -- lots of white and pale yellow with splashes of primary colors to accent.  I'm lucky that I have a great view of the water from my home office window.
Kirby again:  So there you have it--best-selling author Janet Evanovich taking a few minutes out of her very busy day to answer my silly questions.  If you don't know her books...well, I kinda don't believe you.  If you DO know her books, you should check out what she has to say on her website,  I especially love that she says she feels like Christie Brinkley when she wakes up, but by the afternoon she feels more like Roseanne.
It was AMAZEBALLS (right, Hens?) that Janet took time from writing to answer a few questions, and I cannot thank her enough!