Updating the Burrow

I tend to equate my home to that of Ron Weasley’s house called “the Burrow”. All that’s missing is the ghoul in the attic, and sometimes I could swear there was one living there. We live in a three bedroom, three bath, brick home. The house was built with no right angles and there are parts to it that if you spill water, it will literally roll downhill. Lots of cheap paneling everywhere. In fact, all of the kitchen cupboards and bathroom vanities are made from cheap paneling. Of course, I have disguised it under paint the best I could. Oh, and lets not forget the ugly 70’s color of mustard yellow toilets, mustard yellow counter tops, and mustard yellow sinks. UGH!

Our little family of five lives on a very tight budget. We have two kids in college, one in high school and of course Troy and I, all living on one income. It can be tough to do any upgrades. So, I have been taking it slow. We’re talking–turtle slow. You could literally watch grass grow in the time that I finish a project around my house.

My first project was my coffee table. Like I said–turtle slow. We bought our furniture twenty-one years ago, when we moved into our home. We had money back then and bought quality stuff. Twenty-one years, and three kids later, it was looking a little worn. Worn, but not ready to be thrown in the garbage.

Years of putting glasses on the table without coasters did some damage. I was determined to make it look like new, so I tried my hand at mosaics. I think it turned out rather fetchingly.

First, I sanded it down. I had to do this outside, since it made such a great mess. I also sealed the top with special glue, that I mixed with water. I wish I had the bottle. I can’t remember what the glue is called, but in my research, it’s what professionals use when doing mosaics on wood. Then, I chose to paint the bottom of the stand with chalk paint in gray. I had never used chalk paint and wanted to try it. I have fallen in love with chalk paint. It holds up really well.

I added the border to my table, then I drew the design I wanted on the top.

Next, we began cutting and nipping the stone. I bought tiles from Lowe’s and broke them into smaller pieces. I also broke some old pots I had for “in case” I wanted to plant something. Those pieces I used for the design.

Then, when the last piece was in, we took it outside and began the grouting process. Grout is very messy. After you grout, you let it dry the allotted amount of time, and then you begin washing it off with a sponge.

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If you will notice in one of the pictures above, the G was originally done in white stone. We tried to nip the black tiles we had bought, but every time we nipped them, they would turn to dust. It was weird. So I painted the G in black. And this is how it turned out.

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After it cured for a week, I put epoxy over the top. I think it turned out stunning, especially since I had never done a mosaic in my life. Here is a picture with the Epoxy.

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And that’s it. My next project was a lamp. I will be posting about it soon. Hope you enjoyed my post.

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Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday. Today, I am going to feature my books. I have written a middle-grade series that is fun and full of adventure. It’s called, Prince Andy and the Misfits.
Here is the plot for the first book: Shadow Man.
Andy thought he was just an average sixteen-year-old kid… But one day his world is completely turned upside down as he learns the unbelievable truth of his identity: he is the prince of a faraway kingdom called Filligrim in the Valley of the Misfits a magical place where pixies, elves, wizards, and dragons are just as likely to be inhabitants as humans. He was brought to this world following his birth the only way to keep him from being murdered by his evil malicious grandfather. Sounding more like a fairytale than reality, Andy at first thinks he must be dreaming. But then his aunt Gladdy reveals even more astonishing news: his mother, the Queen of the Misfits, is in trouble; she’s been captured by goblins, and it’s up to Andy to rescue her. Still in shock, he makes a decision that will forever alter life as he’s known it. He will return to Filligrim and, with the help of six heroic Misfits, will embark on a mission to save the kingdom from the clutches of evil. In Prince Andy and the Misfits: Shadow Man, Andy encounters one adventure after another as he works to uncover a traitor, rescue the queen from goblins, retrieve a stone of immense power, and solve the mystery surrounding the Shadow Man the sinister mastermind behind it all. And perhaps most importantly, he must ultimately discover if he has the heart to become a true prince.

So far, there are three books in the series and I’m currently working on book 4. You can find my books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or where most books are sold.
Remember, if you purchase a book, please leave a review.
I man not be around next week. I have to travel to that beautiful city of San Antonio so that my daughter can take her practical test for cosmetology. So next week may be spotted on the blog writing. Have a great weekend.

http://www.amazon.com/Prince-Andy-Misfits-Shadow-Man/dp/161663619X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339270113&sr=8-1

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Thriller Thursday

MURDER, SHE WROTE! Sounds Thrilling, doesn’t it? Well, today is Thriller Thursday and I’m going to be writing about one of my all-time favorite murder mystery shows and books.
Murder, She Wrote started out as a television show first. I didn’t know that until I did the research. I always thought they adapted the show from the books.
Jessica Fletcher was a professional writer and amateur sleuth. She used her intellect, charm, and persistence to get to the bottom of every crime she encountered. The sheriff couldn’t solve a case without her. Not even the detectives in the big cities could solve the crimes without her advice. She was able to go to crime scenes and walk all over, getting her DNA everywhere. But that is what made the show appealing to me. It wasn’t a complicated show like C.S.I., where you had to learn technical terms with each show.
Murder, She Wrote was so popular, it ran for twelve seasons. The show had cross-overs with Magnum P.I and also numerous famous actors that played on the show.
During the show, the fictional character, Jessica Fletcher, wrote
forty-four novels. She was one writing fool. The author, Donald Bain, picked up where she left off and wrote forty-six actual novels. He included the name, Jessica Fletcher, along with his on the covers. I always thought she might be a real person since her name was on the books. Boy, was I wrong. lol.
I have read quite a few Murder, She Wrote books, but there is one that is my favorite: The Highland Fling Murders.
Here is the plot: The seventh novel based on the television program finds Jessica Fletcher on a visit to a reputedly haunted castle in Scotland, where a local lass is found murdered in same way as a legendary witch.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? I think you will really enjoy reading it, or you can watch all twelve seasons on Netflix. murder
Have a great Thursday and I will see you tomorrow for Fantasy Friday.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-She-Wrote-Highland-Murders-ebook/dp/B001R11CKS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439490827&sr=1-1&keywords=Murder%2C+She+Wrote+The+Highland+Fling+Murders

Whatever Wednesday

I love Whatever Wednesday. Such a fun day, where I talk about anything I want. Today, the subject will be the North and South. Now I know what you are thinking. No, this is not the North and South of America and the Civil War. This is a beautiful, little nugget of gold, about North and South England. Just like Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff and Katherine, and Pride and Prejudices Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, it too has a wonderful love/hate love story. The characters are John and Margaret. Set mostly in North England during the cotton age, this story highlights the lives of two people who couldn’t be more different; like two magnets of the same pole trying to come together. But in the end, that magnet flips, and the two become attracted.

The book was written by Elizabeth Gaskell, back in the early 1800’s. She was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era, and died in November of 1865. That era had such wonderful writers.

Her novel, North and South, was adapted by the BBC into a four-part miniseries. The BBC knows how to do it right. North and South is right up there with some of my favorite BBC shows: The Musketeers, Downton Abby, Mr. Selfridge, The Paradise, Call the Midwife. I added links to where you can watch these shows on SimplyJune.org. The main character of John is played by Richard Armitage (Hobbit) and Margaret is played by Daniela Denby-Ashe. It’s so good and the music is beautiful. You can find it on Netflix right now or on Daily Motion. I will post the links below.

Here is the plot of the story:  When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fuses individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale creates one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.

Squeee!!! It sounds so good, doesn’t it? And it’s only $.99 on Kindle. Yay!

See you tomorrow for Thriller Thusrday.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/North-Penguin-Classics-Elizabeth-Gaskell/dp/0140434240/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439400970&sr=8-1&keywords=North+and+South+book

Daily Motion–Part 1 http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsp7c0_north-and-south-bbc-part1-2004-greek-subs_shortfilms

Part 2 http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xspgm5_north-and-south-bbc-part2-2004-greek-subs_shortfilms

Part 3 http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xspj8d_north-and-south-bbc-part3-2004-greek-subs_shortfilms

Part 4 http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsppig_north-and-south-bbc-part4-2004-greek-subs_shortfilms

The soundtrack for North and South: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=NeH8st9ZBCE&list=PLlRfiKC_vYaCstwn_ZWvn3BwPpBZLgsYZ

You have to listen to the soundtrack. So beautiful!

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Dystopian Tuesday

It’s Dystopian Tuesday and I had a hard time choosing between The Maze Runner series and The Uglies series. I watched the Scorch Trial trailer (the second novel to the Maze Runner) and it looks so good. I can’t wait until that movie comes out.
But I decided to go with something a little less known–at least to me anyway–The Uglies. While I was reading the plot to this series, it reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode I once watched. I did some digging and a that’s exactly where the author, Scott Westerfield, got his idea for the story.
There are four books to the Uglies series: Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras. Sadly, the Kindle is $9.99, but the paperback is cheaper: $7.31.
The plot below is a little more detailed than I usually give you. I hope it inspires you to read the series, instead of you thinking I gave to much information away. Here goes.

Three hundred years in the future,[3] the government provides for everything, including plastic surgery operations. Everyone on their sixteenth birthday receives the “pretty” operation which transforms them into the society’s standard of beautiful.[4] After the operation, new Pretties cross the river that divides the city and lead a new life with no responsibilities or obligations. There are two other operations available, one to transform Pretties into “Middle-Pretties” (adults with a job), and another to transform Middle-Pretties into “Crumblies.”

Former cities have decayed after bacteria infected the world’s petroleum, making it unstable. The old society, so dependent on oil, fell apart when cars and oil fields exploded and food could no longer be transported. People who lived before this catastrophe are called “Rusties.”[5]

Tally Youngblood is almost sixteen. Like every other Ugly, she awaits the operation with great anticipation. Her best friend, Peris, has already had the operation and, motivated by her desire to see him, Tally sneaks across the river to New Pretty Town.[6] There she meets Shay, another Ugly. They become friends and Shay teaches Tally how to ride a hoverboard. Shay also mentions rebelling against the operation. At first, Tally ignores the idea, but is forced to deal with it when Shay runs away a few days before their shared sixteenth birthday, leaving behind cryptic directions to her destination, a “renegade settlement” called the Smoke, where city runaways go to escape the operation.[6]

On the day of Tally’s operation, she is taken to Special Circumstances, a division that is likened to “gremlins” and “[blamed] when anything weird happens.”[7] Dr. Cable, a woman who is described as “a cruel pretty”,[8] is the head of Special Circumstances. She gives Tally an ultimatum to either help locate Shay and the Smoke, or never become a pretty. Tally cooperates and Dr. Cable gives her a hoverboard and all the needed supplies to survive in the wild, along with a heart locket that contains a tracking device. Once activated, it will show the location of the Smoke to Special Circumstances. Following Shay’s clues, Tally sets off to find her friend.

When Tally arrives at the Smoke, she finds Shay, her friend David and an entire community of runaway Uglies. She is reluctant to activate the pendant and it eventually becomes clear that David is in love with her. David takes her to meet his parents, Maddy and Az, who are the original runaways from the city. They explain how the operation does more than “cosmetic nipping and tucking.”[9] It also causes lesions in the brain to make the people placid, or “pretty-minded. ” Horrified, Tally decides to keep the Smoke secret and throws the locket into a fire. However, the flames’ heat causes the tracker to activate, giving away the Smoke’s location.

The following morning, Special Circumstances arrives at the camp and Tally makes an effort to escape. She does not succeed and is caught and taken to a rabbit pen, where other caught Smokies are kept, tied up. Eye scans are taken of all the captured Smokies, identifying from which city they fled. Tally is then taken to Dr. Cable, who explains how they found the Smoke. Dr. Cable thinks Tally purposefully activated the pendant. After being ordered to retrieve the pendant, Tally escapes on a hoverboard. After a long and stressful chase, she manages to hide in a cave where they cannot track her heat signature. There she finds David also hiding and together, they begin to plan a rescue.

Tally and David go back to his house, where they find evidence that Special Circumstances took Maddy and Az. David leads Tally to a secret stash of survival equipment[10] where they find everything they need, and load them onto the four hoverboards stashed there. As Tally and David travel back to the city to free their friends, they fall in love. Arriving at the Special Circumstances complex, they discover that Shay has already been “turned” and is now a Pretty.[11] After meeting Dr. Cable, David knocks her out and takes her work tablet, which contains all the necessary information to reverse the brain lesions created by the Pretty operation. Tally and David then free all the Smokies held in the complex. As they escape the complex, Maddy tells David that his father, Az, is dead.

Once everyone is safe, Maddy begins working on a cure using Dr. Cable’s tablet.[12] She then offers it to Shay, who refuses, not wanting to become a “vegetable.”[13] Since Tally feels responsible for her betrayal, she decides to become a Pretty and take the cure as a “willing subject”.[14] To convince David to let her go back to the city, she tells him about her involvement with Special Circumstances and searching for the Smoke to betray them. While David is absorbing what Tally admitted, Maddy advises Tally to go back with Shay before she changes her mind. Once there, Tally announces to a Middle Pretty,“I’m Tally Youngblood. Make me pretty,” the final phrase of the novel.

It sounds so good! Remember, if you purchase a book, please leave a review. See you tomorrow for Whatever Wednesday. Yay!

The Uglies: http://www.amazon.com/Uglies-Scott-Westerfeld/dp/1442419814/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1439318266&sr=1-1

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SciFi Monday

I’M BACK! I joined in the read-a-thon that was happening over on Youtube, put on by the booktubers. You had to read seven books in seven days. My youngest was really into doing the read-a-thon this year, so I decided to join her. I only read five books, but hey, that’s still pretty good, especially since I had one day where we went to Shreveport, La. and the next day I went to Magnolia, Arkansas. Lots of running.
If you ever get a chance to join in their read-a-thon, do it. It’s a lot of fun. They also have daily challenges that you do, along with all of the reading. It can be pretty intense. They had one day where you had to build a structure with books. My daughter built the Eiffel Tower. It was pretty cool. They give out prizes for the daily challenges, which is nice. The website, Book Depository, promotes the booktube-a-thon. They also give huge discounts during that week, so you can get a lot of books really cheap. They also have no shipping charges to anywhere in the world, which helps keep the prices of books down.
I look forward to next summer’s read-a-thon. I will try to give each of you a heads up when they will be doing the booktube-a-thon and give links so you can check it out.
I will post the link below to my daughter’s Youtube video of the Eiffel Tower, so you can check that out.

Now on to SciFi Monday. I found a book called, Wild-born (Psionic Pentalogy Book 1) by Adrian Howell. I have been eyeing this book for some time now and decided today would be the day, especially since the first book in the series if free on Kindle.
Here is the back matter for the book:
A telekinetic teenager. A telepathic child. A psionic war.
When young Adrian Howell discovers he possesses powerful telekinetic abilities, he is plunged into a sinister world of warring paranormal factions and terrifying government organizations. Adrian must discover what really happened to his missing sister. But to do this, he will first have to find his place among fugitives like himself, and protect the life of a deeply scarred child who can speak only through her mind… a child who will change Adrian’s life forever.
Sounds good. Don’t forget, leave a review if you purchase a book.

Haylee’s Youtube Eiffel Tower made from books. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct66S66DC5U

http://www.amazon.com/Wild-born-Psionic-Pentalogy-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00AM1H5PK/ref=sr_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439220006&sr=1-15&keywords=Middle+grade+science+fiction