what are you reading?

by rae on July 27, 2015

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I have been reading a lot lately, on the deck after dinner. Here are my recent favs. I always enjoy Anna Quindlen.

Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.

 

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Another favorite author is Joanne Harris. This is the 3rd book in Chocolat story. Unfortunately I thought it was the second one.

Vianne Rocher, her partner Roux and her daughters Anouk and Rosette have been living on a houseboat on the Seine. Eight years have passed since the events of Chocolat. Anouk is fifteen years old, Rosette eight, and Vianne believes that finally she has found a way to escape her wanderlust and to settle down and be happy. However, the arrival of a letter from Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the fictional village in which Chocolat was set, brings a new challenge to Vianne. The letter is from Armande Voizin, an old friend from Lansquenet. Armande died eight years ago, but she left the letter in her will, to be opened and delivered by her grandson, Luc. In it, she predicts that Lansquenet will some day need Vianne again, and asks Vianne to visit, if only to put flowers on an old lady’s grave. Vianne, intrigued goes back to Lansquenet, taking her daughters with her.

 

 

This is the second of a 4 book series. They can be read out of order which I have done. Here are the 3rd and 4th.

Death hangs heavy in the disturbed air of Ireland’s lonely Loughnabrone peat bog, an ancient holy place, steeped in legend, drowned in sorrow, and long since abandoned by man. Pathologist Nora Gavin has been called to an archaeological site in the bleak midlands west of Dublin—a place known as the LAKE OF SORROWS—to assist at an excavation where a well-preserved Iron Age body has been found in a bog.

So…. what interesting things have you been reading?

 

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jack & ella paper giveaway!

by rae on July 22, 2015

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I always want to be better organized. Even though I love my electronics I need to write it all down on paper and have that sense of satisfaction when I cross something off my list.

Thanks to Jessica from Jack and Ella Paper for offering this special giveaway.

Notepad Set: ‘I’ve got it together’ Series

$28.00 value.

This set comes with all 3 notepads to help you manage your life and stay on top of things.
- Weekly To-Do List with the Goal Habit Builder (50 recycled sheets measuring 8.5 x 11)
- Weekly Meal Planner with Tear-Off Market List (50 recycled sheets measuring 8.5 x 11)
- Daily To-Do List (50 recycled sheets measuring 5 x 8)

You can enter this giveaway here.

Or just go to Jack and Ella Paper and buy your very own.

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This is my favorite font! And I have made quite a few of them. “Dear Rae, Love Dad” is a modern calligraphy font drawn by hand, using ink, and a folded nib dip pen on rough watercolour paper.

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Best used in Open Type apps, it has automatically changing alternates. To use the open type features you will need an open type friendly application like InDesign or Illustrator where you can access the glyphs palette. But I have tried my best to make the font work nicely even if you don’t use those apps.

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It is upright, dramatic, and personal.

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It is named Dear “Rae, Love Dad” because who wouldn’t like to get a letter signed, “Love Dad”?

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A BIG thank you to Dathan who answered my Glyph software questions.

And to Laurie who added the “Love Dad” to the “Dear Rae”.

To buy this this fab new font, it can be found on myfonts at 30% off. 

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Sneak Peek at what is next… “Dear Rae, Love Mom”

 

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More great guests this weekend. Terry and Barry were here. It was the 4th Annual Golfapalooza. The men golf as much as possible and on breaks they watch golf. The women garden and shop. Saturday found us at the Farmer’s Market. And from the shoes I wore it looked like I got dressed in the dark. Too bad that wasn’t true.

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I planted some pots of flowers…

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while Terry weeded, transplanted, and planted some lupine and foxglove. She has been working on this bed for 3 visits and it is looking good this year. All these great plants for only $40 at the market. Score.

 

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This book has been on my reading list for several years. I am finding it interesting.

Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the opulence of the 19th century’s Gilded Age with a 21st century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is heiress Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, when she died at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen for decades. Her father, W.A. Clark, was born in a log cabin, discovered incredible riches in copper in Montana territory after the Civil War, was thought to be as rich as Rockefeller, founded Las Vegas and was pushed out of the U.S. Senate for bribery.

Huguette held a ticket on the Titanic and was still alive in New York City long after 9/11. She grew up in the largest house in New York City, a remarkable dwelling with 121 rooms for a family of four. She owned paintings by Degas and Renoir, a Stradivarius violin, and a vast collection of antique dolls. But wanting more than treasures, she lived out her last 20 years in a simple hospital room, devoting her wealth to her art and buying gifts for friends and strangers.

Pulitzer Prize-winner and NBC News investigative reporter Bill Dedman stumbled onto the story of eccentricity and inherited wealth in 2010, discovering that Huguette’s fantastic homes in Santa Barbara, Connecticut and New York City were unoccupied but still maintained by servants. Dedman co-wrote the book with Huguette’s cousin Paul Clark Newell Jr., one of the few relatives to have conversations with her.

The Clark family story spans nearly all of American history in three generations, from a log cabin in Pennsylvania to mining camps in the Montana gold rush, from backdoor politics in Washington to a distress call from an elegant Fifth Avenue apartment. The same Huguette who was touched by the terror attacks of 9/11 held a ticket nine decades earlier for a first-class stateroom on the second voyage of the Titanic.

 

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I enjoy Maddie Allen’s blog Muffins & Mixtapes. The No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes were a hit this week. Check her blog out, I like both the food and the music.

 

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We get a lot of guests. And some are more rewarding than others. Last week Justine and her daughter Kenalee came for a last minute overnighter. Justine was running in RAGNAR. As a thank you gift Justine gave me this set of her grandmother’s pearls. This is completely excessive on so many levels. Too think she would give me something so personally meaningful. I am touched beyond words. And the fact that I really do like pearls, but only special pearls. I have my lovely 10th Anniversary pearls. I have my mother’s wedding pearls and now these.

 

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This is the Summer of skirts and some new bigger accessories for me. The long R necklace came from the Velvet Button Boutique on Monroe St. And looks great with grandma’s pearls. And I got all these new earrings on etsy. I searched retro, mod, 60s, 70s… Some actually are from the 70s!

 

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I am always decluttering and on a quest for more organization. I found 14 of these ceramic dishes at commercial kitchen supply store. Since I have 8 of these small drawers in my office they are a find. I also found out that I have way more black pens than I ever thought. But now I will use them instead of buying yet another box.

 

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Season 3 is coming soon! Airs June 28 – August 2.

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And Orange is the new Black is what I am watching this week as I work on “Dear Rae”. Well that, and I am rewatching Gilmore Girls. An interesting combination for my work day. Finished “Grace and Frankie” and am glad it was renewed for next year.

 

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Made these Salsa Verde Enchiladas this week. Very good. Got a rotisserie chicken at Costco. My first and it was really big and had more then enough chicken for this recipe. This will be a do-over recipe. Next time I may try and use a crunchier tortilla. But made according to the recipe it is gluten-free.

 

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I am becoming less and less of a shopper. Probably because I am in a serious decluttering mode. And shopping eventually leads to more decluttering. But I could not resist this Souvenir de Paris deskset. The little box in the front is an inkwell. This treasure was accompanied by this sweet note from Jill. You can visit her tempting etsy store at JBBPensPaper.

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My new font, Dear Rae,  is coming along rather nicely. By the end of the week I hope to have all the letters drawn and in the font program. Now I have about 350 characters. The above pen is what I am using for this font. And ink, of course.

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I just discovered vintage postage at Jim’s Coins at Hilldale here in Madison! I spent some time going though pages and pages of stamps and bringing many of them home. Since I write to people weekly this adds a little something special to my notes. And while I did buy enough that they gave me a discount it is just postage and will get used up.

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This book is every bit as good as everyone says. It is 500 pages and I both cannot put it down and know I will hate it when I’ve finished it.

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks. When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris in June of 1940, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure’s.

Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of multiple characters, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. – anthonydoerr.com

Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction; a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award and the 2015 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction; winner of the Australian International Book Award; a #1 New York Times bestseller; the 2014 Book of the Year at Hudson Booksellersthe #2 book of 2014 at Amazon.com; a LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites; named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review; a best book of 2014 at Powell’s BooksBarnes & Noble, NPR’s Fresh Air, San Francisco Chronicle, The WeekEntertainment Weeklythe Daily BeastSlate.comChristian Science Monitorthe Washington Post, the Seattle Times, the Oregonianthe Guardian, and Kirkus; and a #1 Indie Next pickAll the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.

 

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I might be almost half done with my new font “Dear Rae”. So far it has been great fun. I am using a folded nib pen, a bottle of ink and watercolour paper. I am still drawing all the characters. Right now there are about 350 in the font.

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I’ve been reading all the books on my library hold list. These are books I put on in 2012 and 2013. I enjoyed them all.

We are Water… In middle age, Annie Oh—wife, mother, and outsider artist—has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success.

Data, A Love Story… Forty million people date online each year. Most don’t find true love. Thanks to Data, a Love Story, their odds just got a whole lot better.  This book is a lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman “gamed” the world of online dating—and met her eventual husband.

The Good Luck of Right Now… For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday mass, and the library learn how to fly?

 

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Since rhubarb and strawberries are in season I made this bread yesterday. You can find the recipe here. It is a healthier, not too sweet, bread. We liked it.

 

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Just finished Mad Men, on the last season of Breaking Bad and started Grace and Frankie. We both enjoyed it. 13 episodes AND it is renewed for next year.

So what have you been drawing, reading, baking or watching?

 

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mail art #2

by rae on May 11, 2015

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More Mail Art! This time it is for Crystal of Tart Workshop  so I had to bring my “A” game. These note cards are not hand printed. But these letters are from my as yet unnamed, new, big, script font. I created a few note cards, had them printed and mailed them off.

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Again this is not handlettered, but I did use 3 of my fonts to address.

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And I collaged the back of the envelope with things I had in my office. It was probably over kill. But fun to do.

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This little package of goodies went to my friend Laurie.

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And it appears I forgot to photo the actual Mail Art lettering piece that is in the envelope, which was Laurie’s horoscope.

Mail Art… fun to do, even more fun to get.

 

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what are you reading?

by rae on May 4, 2015

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I just worked my way through a large stack of books. I enjoyed these two. These are 3rd and 4th in a series and I just put the first two on my library list. I liked the forensics, archeology and history and that it took place in Ireland.

False Mermaid…  Gavin remains haunted by a cold case that nearly cost her sanity five years ago: her sister Tríona’s brutal murder. After failing to bring the killer to justice, Nora fled to Ireland, throwing herself into her work and taking the first tentative steps in a new relationship with Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire. She’s driven home by unwelcome news: Tríona’s husband—and the prime suspect in her murder—is about to remarry. Nora is determined to succeed this time, even if it means confronting unsettling secrets. As she digs ever closer to the truth, the killer zeroes in on Tríona’s young daughter, Elizabeth.

The Book of Killowen… After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back in the bogs, investigating a ninth-century body found buried in the trunk of a car. They discover that the ancient corpse is not alone—pinned beneath it is the body of Benedict Kavanagh, missing for mere months and familiar to television viewers as a philosopher who enjoyed destroying his opponents in debate. Both men were viciously murdered, but centuries apart—so how did they end up buried together in the bog?

(Thanks Linda!)

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After reading my stack of books I am now on to the my hold list at the library which is also a lovely long list… here are some favorites.

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . .

So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

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“Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation resembles no book I’ve read before. If I tell you that it’s funny, and moving, and true; that it’s as compact and mysterious as a neutron; that it tells a profound story of love and parenthood while invoking (among others) Keats, Kafka, Einstein, Russian cosmonauts, and advice for the housewife of 1896, will you please simply believe me, and read it?”— Michael Cunningham

It’s short and funny and absorbing, an effortless-seeming downhill ride that picks up astonishing narrative speed as it goes. What’s remarkable is that Offill achieves this effect using what you might call an experimental or avant-garde style of narration, one that we associate with difficulty and disorientation rather than speed and easy pleasure.— New York Review of Books

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Imagine this: It’s your birthday. The doorbell rings: No one is there. But a book is there wrapped with ribbon silvery as London’s Thames River at teatime in April. Alexander McQueen might well have tied the bouffant bow.

Kathleen Tessaro’s new novel, The Perfume Collector (Harper), is a mystery, a journey, which takes us from Paris in 1955, to spring in London the same year. Then we’re in New York, and it’s 1927! We visit Monte Carlo, England, and ah, back to Paris.

The Perfume Collector, Tessaro’s striking fifth novel, is fragrant with suspense. You will learn astonishing secrets about perfumes: classic, forbidden, long lost, as memorable as this story.

Tessaro is the rare writer who defines the exact place we are. She is a fine host; you can feel her fascination as her characters arrive in each perfectly detailed scene. We first meet Eva d’ Orsay in Paris. She is not having a good day. Her life has been, as we learn, a puzzle. But then Eva never showed anyone what she could do with numbers. (If she’d lived in America now she’d be running Apple). But this talent “was secret…she couldn’t recall a time when numbers hadn’t carved through the chaos…bringing order.” – The Huffington Post

 Soooooo, what are you reading that I should put on my list? Do share.

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flash sale & giveaway!

by rae on April 28, 2015

Thought I would welcome Spring with a Flash Sale and a Giveaway! It actually may be Spring in Wisconsin and that is something to celebrate.

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3 fonts… Woof, Vibrant Women and Yoga Studio all for what would be the price of one font. Designed by Nancy. All for $29.

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Lake Vacation Doodles, House Doodles, Farm Doodles and Woodland Doodles. 4 for $39 by Rae.

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Crowns, Just Animals, Just People, Just Flower Pots and Just Frames. Just 5 fonts from Justine for $49.

All for a limited time. To receive Flash Sale pricing plz use the links on this page.

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This month’s giveaway will be my whimsical alphabet sampler. I designed it and it is produced and sold by Ann of Stitch Supply Co. To enter the giveaway go to my Facebook page and either Like, Comment or Share. If you do all 3 you are entered 3 times, or 2 times for 2…

 

 

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