5 Reasons to Read Even When You’re Crazy Busy

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So as you all probably know, I’ve been insanely busy for the past month or so. Now that we’re finally all moved into the new house I am working like a madwoman to get ready for a craft fair on September 11th and 12th – Born in the Barn in Sheridan – which I am really looking forward to but also waaaaaaay behind in prep for!

So even when I’m really busy like I have been, I try to make reading a priority. I know that reading is not as important to most people as it is to me. I am, after all, an artist who makes primarily book related items. Nevertheless, I think reading – reading anything! Newspapers, contemporary fiction, nonfiction, the dictionary – is an important habit that all people should obtain. Here’s why.

1. Reading makes you smarter. Reading improves communication skills tenfold, and thus comprehension, conversation, and overall well-being improves as well. Kids that read statistically score higher on tests; though not as aptly tested, I’m sure the same goes for adults. I firmly believe that the reason I did so well in high school and college is because my parents urged me to read as a child, and I soon discovered on my own how much I loved it.

2. Reading keeps you grounded. Sometimes life gets so busy and stressful and complicated that delving into another story entirely helps you sort out your own junk. I find that when I don’t read for long periods of time I am more apt to let my schedule overcome me – which leads to increased stress levels. Reading, even if for only five minutes before bed, helps me figure out my problems of the day and allows me to handle everything a bit better.

3. Reading improves mood. Seriously. Even if the book you are reading is really sad, your mood will be improved by the knowledge that your life isn’t so crappy as the one you’re reading about. Reading is a way to escape into another world, and no matter which world it is you go to, you come out feeling just a little more alive.

4. Reading helps you sleep. If you read for a while before bed it helps to quiet your thoughts from the day and ease into a peaceful rest. Especially if you’re physically exhausted, a couple pages in and you’ll be sound.

5. Reading is fun. Obviously this is the most important reason. Reading is entertaining. Find the right book – something that interests you, not your coworker or the hosts on The View – and you’ll find that reading is one of the most enjoyable leisure activities in existence. And this is a good enough reason to make it a habit worth keeping.

What book/books are you currently reading? I’d love to hear about them!

Save the Books: Why We Should Stop Destroying Books for the Sake of Home Decoration

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I am sad to say that books these days are becoming more of a novelty than any thing else. It’s hard to find avid readers out there anymore, and many of those who do read do so on a Kindle or Nook. Rarely do I see a bookshelf full of books when I go over to friends’ houses; instead, shelves are adorned with pictures and trinkets, maybe a photo album. Books are becoming more and more obsolete as every day goes by, and with this an unwelcome trend: that of using books (old and new, unfortunately) for craft and decor projects.

We’ve all seen these projects – book page covered lamp shades, hollowed out books, book page wall papering, book stack lamps, etc, etc. I’ll admit – they look cool. But every time one of these projects pops up on my Facebook news feed I cringe. The reason I have a problem with them is this: books can make a design statement in your home just as books, no alteration necessary. Now, if the book being used is literally falling apart (aka pages falling freely from the binding) go ahead and use it. Recycle it. Make it into something beautiful. But the thing about these home decor crafts is that the books being used tend to be shiny and gorgeous – clearly not at the end of their lifespan.

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I Capture the Castle Tapestry, Peels and Posies on Etsy, $30

Book decor, I suppose, is part of the “nerd chic” aesthetic which has been steadily growing in popularity over the years. On that topic, I will say this: Book pages on your walls do not make you look more intelligent – books on your shelves do.

Here are a couple straightforward reasons we should not be destroying perfectly good books for craft projects:

  1. Books were made for reading. That is their purpose.
  2. There are people out there who want those books you are defacing, I promise. (I happen to be one of those people.)

Now, I am well aware that sometimes libraries throw books out after library sales because there are simply too many. I know that some books are beyond repair and beyond saving. By all means, if you find a Reader’s Digest Condensed book from the sixties, do something cool with it. But if it’s a beautiful old copy of My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier or a vintage biology textbook with an amazing cover, DO NOT destroy it.

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Mosses From An Old Manse Tapestry, Peels and Posies on Etsy, $25

If you love the look of book decor and definitely prescribe to the nerd chic aesthetic, there are ways of decorating your home without murdering the souls of book-lovers. For instance, I started selling vintage book-cover tapestries in my shop a couple months ago. They capture the spirit of the old book without harming it. Another fun idea (which I totally want to do once we purchase our own home) is to paint a wall to resemble a page out of one of your favorite books. You can also simply make or buy artwork that features your favorite quotes from literature – this is an awesome way to make your home look sophisticated and smart.

Just please spare the books.

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Silas Marner Tapestry, Peels and Posies on Etsy, $30

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10 Books That Should Be Made (or Remade) Into Movies STAT

So, I’m not one of those people who obsesses over books and consequently hates their movie counterparts (I do obsess over books, but I also obsess over their movies). You know the type – they whine about book scenes left out of the movie, characters whose hair is the wrong color, music choices that seem too upbeat for the moment, etc., etc. Minutiae is what I call all of this.

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I love movies based off books because the movie is someone’s artistic interpretation of a novel that is already a work of art. So it’s basically turning art into more art, and who can hate that? Some of my absolute favorite movies are based off of books: The Great Gatsby (2013), Anna Karenina (2012), Pride and Prejudice (2005) (though many people fault this movie for being too “artistic”, which I think is absolutely ridiculous), Jane Eyre (2011), the Harry Potter series, Divergent (2014), and I could go on and on. When one of your favorite books becomes a movie it’s just adding to the magic of the story – it’s like the book will never truly end, and that is a special thing. There are many other books I have been anxiously waiting to become movies though, so if any of you reading this are movie producers…GET ON IT! Note that a few of these books are already movies. I know, I know, but honestly, some things just deserve to be updated.

1. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. This short novel would make an awesome movie, no doubt about it. I know that not a lot of people know about it, but that definitely shouldn’t be a reason for its absence in the big screen world. Ethan Frome has poignant themes and stark imagery – perfect for translating to movie. Ethan is stuck in a marriage to a sick, cold, and bitter woman, but when a young Mattie Silver enters his world (hired by his wife to help keep the house) it’s like he’s seen spring again. So they start an affair, and we all know that movies about affairs are too juicy to resist.

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2. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I know that the 1939 version of this movie is still highly regarded and loved, but to quote the famous line “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” I think that the strides we’ve come in cinema and technology could make an absolutely amazing version of this timeless saga. Joe Wright, this one’s for you. Scarlett O’Hara’s trying and inspiring survival through the Civil War and Reconstruction is a story that should be told again.

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Gone With the Wind Bookmark by Peels and Posies on Etsy, $6

3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. There are a few versions of this movie available, but like Gone With the Wind, I think major things could be done for this story. Imagine Baz Luhrmann directing it – it could be a masterpiece. Wuthering Heights is a dark, twisted love story, which is what people want to see! Cathy and Heathcliffe love each other deeply, but are too selfish to do anything about it, so they end up simply destroying everything around them. So full of heartache and tribulation and beautiful images of the moors, what could be a better movie than this?

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4. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. Honestly, I think every Edith Wharton book should become a movie because I love them so much. House of Mirth would be great on film because the story of Lily Bart is so relatable, heart-breaking, and tragic. When a strong character is the center of a story, you know it’s going to be a fantastic movie.

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House of Mirth Bookmark by Peels and Posies on Etsy, $7

5. The Wrinkle in Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle. Take a hint from Narnia – this classic childrens’ series needs to be made into a  series of movies. While I obviously hope that children will continue reading the series through the ages rather than skipping the books for the movies, I think movies could do the series a service. Because Narnia has been made into a couple of movies, kids know about the series and are more interested; I could see the same thing happening with The Time Quintet. The series is based on the Murry children, who are the children of scientists and are intelligent young things. They are forced to grow up quickly as they find their world in danger from evil forces in parallel universes.

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6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I cannot believe that this hasn’t been made into a movie recently. Sci-fi always has a huge following, especially when it hits the big screen, it seems, and this story deserves a rank among the best. It’s about a future society that has banned all reading material and is simply obsessed with technology (sound a little familiar?). The story focuses on the firemen, whose job is to keep fires at 451 degrees – the temperature that burns paper. When Guy Montag, a fireman and the main character, meets Clarisse McClellan, a girl who loves people, nature, and simplicity, his eyes are opened to possibility that destroying the practice of reading might not be so good after all.

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Fahrenheit 451 Bookmark by Peels and Posies on Etsy, $7

7. Any Agatha Christie books. I love the old Agatha Christie movie renditions – so debonair, so classic! – but I think we need a couple new ones. Maybe directed by Wes Anderson. Kind of like how they redid Sherlock Holmes except more quirky and less dark. Those would make for great movies. Agatha Christie basically invented the modern mystery story, so all of her books are pretty flawless. My personal favorites: Death on the Nile, And Then There Were None, and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

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8. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. This is a new favorite for me, and I think it would make a really cute movie. It would fall into the ranks of movies like The Spectacular Now or the Fault in Our Stars; a deep-feeling story about the inner lives of teenagers muddling through this weird world of ours. What I like about Stargirl is that it is optimistic – not many movies about teens are, these days. Stargirl is a quirky, individualistic, fantastic character, one who refuses to back down and disappear into the realm of social norms and peer pressure. With the beautiful Arizona setting and the humorous tone, Stargirl would make a wonderful movie.

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9. Macbeth by Shakespeare. I’m sure there are lots of versions of this on film, but I really think a Tim Burton version needs to happen. With the witches and the potions and the crazy wife and the murder…it would be a thriller no one would soon forget.

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Macbeth Bookmark by Peels and Posies on Etsy, $7

10. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. This book. So dark and funny and twisted and weird. The perfect setting for a movie. Another option for Tim Burton or Baz Luhrmann. It takes place in this huge house with this messed up family, the Blackwoods. As the story progresses, you discover that this family has a very dark past – a past of poisoned sugar on the blackberries one  night six years ago at family dinner. Only three of the Blackwoods are left, and two are seriously impaired. The narrator, Merricat, seems the most likely culprit, but was it her? See how perfect this movie would be?!?

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So these are my top ten choices for books that need movie counterparts ASAP. What about you? What books would you like to see made into movies? Leave your opinions in the comments!

PS: If you’re curious about these books, I’ve got more in-depth reviews on a few:

House of Mirth

Stargirl

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

10 Sad Books That Will Make You Appreciate Your Life More

DSCN7479I like being happy, but let’s face it – as humans, sometimes we enjoy wallowing in other people’s pain. And books are the perfect vehicle for doing this. There are times when all I want to do curl up with a nice, sad book, something that is going to give me a good cry and make me ruminate on life a while. In these times I have a few go-to sad books that I would love to share with you. Each of these books has strong, relatable characters involved in some sort of misfortune. Jumping in to the lives of these tragic characters really does lend some perspective on a hard day – at least my life isn’t as hard some of the lives in these books.

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Probably the most tragic love story of all time. Cathy Earnshaw and Heathcliff grow up and together and have loved each other their entire lives, but they are both so selfish, conceited, and ego-centered that their love ends up destroying them.

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Wuthering Heights Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

2. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. The main characters of Gone With the Wind have a similar problem to Cathy and Heathcliff – they are selfish. Rhett and Scarlett are both hard-headed and independent, and they fall in love completely, but in the midst of war and turmoil their love simply cannot endure.

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3. The Lifted Veil by George Eliot. This short novel is a haunting tale of a loveless marriage. The main character, a poetic, dying man, tells the tale of how he blindly fell in love with his wife, despite seeing visions of what their married life would be like. This 90 page book really makes you think about life and how the choices you make affect it.

4. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. This is also a short, poignant tale about a man on his deathbed, who, as he dies, realizes that his life has been empty and void of love. A startling look at the inner life of the common man, this novella is sure to bring tears for humanity.

“The very fact of the death of someone close to them aroused in all who heard about it, as always, a feeling of delight that he had died and they hadn’t.”

5. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. Everyone knows the story of Gatsby and Daisy (thank you Warner Brothers), but have you read it? This book is one of the strongest works of literary fiction written by an American author. The characters are memorable and colorful, and the twisted plot unforgettable. You don’t get the full effect from the movie – if you haven’t read this one, it’s a must.

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The Great Gatsby Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

6. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Such a story. Such a saga. Les Mis, also a movie based on a book that demands to be read, is about a righteous man who is served a cruel slice of life. In all of his trials, he remains a good good man, and this is why his tragedy is so heartbreaking. It is a story of the rise and fall of the common man, and anyone who loves literature must read it.

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Victor Hugo Bookmark // Peels and Posies on Etsy

7. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Another short novel about a bitter marriage, Ethan Frome is a singular story that parallels the harshness of a New England landscape to an adulterous marriage. When Mattie Silver comes to work for the Fromes, to care for the house and Mrs. Frome, who is chronically ill, Ethan falls in love with her. The lengths he goes to escape his embittered wife is audacious but becomes his undoing.

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8. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This story follows the lives of a missionary family who has gone to Africa. The arid African landscape changes everything they have ever known – including their hearts. This poignant novel is riveting from the first page to the last, and I think I cried throughout the entire last half.

“It’s frightening when things you love appear suddenly changed from what you have always known.”

9. Atonement by Ian McEwen. Perhaps you have seen the movie. Atonement is about how the clouded judgement of a young girl and her quick words of accusation can upheaval an entire life. Set in the English countryside during World War II, this novel is engaging and never short for emotion.

10. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. This lyrical novel is the story of an African American woman’s fight to become her own person during the Depression era. Beautifully written and well worth a few tears or more.

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“Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”

I hope you enjoyed my list! What are your favorite sad books to read? Tell me in the comments!

15 Books That Will Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

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Lately, I’ve been frustrated with adulthood and all the responsibilities that come with it. With taxes due soon and my deplorable business record-keeping for the last year, I have had a couple of breakdowns recently. Not to mention all the other adult things: house hunting in a part of the country where houses are really expensive, broken dryers and laundry that needs washing, job drama (Grant’s job, not mine – one of the benefits of being my own boss), etc etc etc. Bleh. It seems like all the stuff comes at the same time, and in these moments all I really want to do is curl up on the couch with a book and a cup of coffee, and forget about adulthood. Let me be a kid again.

So I bring to you fifteen books/book series that are perfect for forgetting all your gross adult responsibilities for a little while and sailing back into that carefree time of youth. Even though these are “kid” books technically, they each explore universal themes that can be applied no matter what age you are. Adults should make more of a habit of reading about kids – it helps bring that spark back into life. There’s nothing wrong with a little magic.

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1. The Beginning of Everything by  Robyn Schneider. I am currently reading this book, so I cannot speak for the book as a whole, but it is really great to disappear into so far. It tells the tale of Ezra, a high school senior who went from being a popular athlete to a nobody after a crippling accident left him unable to play tennis and alienated from his old crowd. It’s a raw look into the intricacies of social groups as linked to human emotion, personal tragedies and how you let them define you, and young love.

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2. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. This should be read over and over again. As soon as Lucy, Edmond, Susan, and Peter crawl through the wardrobe I am transported. Narnia is, I think, my favorite fictional world because it combines good, evil, fantastical, and realistic in such an uplifting and frankly beautiful way that it’s unforgettable.

3. 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. Did you know 101 Dalmatians is not just a movie? Not many people do, but I am thrilled to say that this book is just as charming as the Disney feature film. Dodie Smith knows her way around the English language and created characters that are incredibly lifelike – even though they are dogs.

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4. The Light Princess by George MacDonald. This novella is a light and humorous take on a fairy tale with a poignant ending. The story centers around a princess who has had her gravity stolen from her by a witch, in turn making her a silly heroine with no grounding in reality. The way this character gains her footing in the world is charming and ultimately very meaningful.

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5. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham. Perhaps you remember my book review of this a while back. Let me reiterate how wonderful of a story this is. The misadventures of Ratty, Mole, Toad, and Badger are entertaining and engaging – perfect for an evening getaway. Not to mention, Graham’s use of language is lovely.

6. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. With the recent hullabaloo about Go Set a Watchmen I’ve been thinking a lot about To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it, but Scout Finch lives on in my heart – she is such the picture of young innocence, and the relationship she has with her father is so endearing it’s impossible to forget. This books holds what remains to this day my favorite quote: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” Need I say more?

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7. The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling. Obviously. The best books written in our generation. Harry Potter, the boy wizard, is magical but surprisingly easy to connect to (even for us muggles). Though it might seem like a bunch of people in a school for witchcraft and wizardry would be hard to relate to, the story is more about human relationship than magic. This series covers it all, from losing ones parents to making the right choices when it comes to friendships. Because it spans the seven years that Harry is in school, you get such a perfect picture of growing up, even if his life is a bit unconventional.

8. The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman. Here’s another story about magic kids, but rather more mature in nature. The story takes place in “college” of sorts, and the characters experience anything that normal college students would experience – all while being put through a rigorous education in sorcery. These books are like a combination of Harry Potter and Narnia, except with older kids. Who couldn’t love that?

9. Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Okay, so I have to admit that I did not like The Hunger Games when I first read it. I thought the writing was a bit bland and contrived, so I decided to put the series down after the first installment. However, after watching the second movie which put me in an absolute frenzy of turmoiled confusion, I just had to read the last two books – which were much better than the first. I was totally taken in by the story – if not the greatest writing on the planet, the story at least is thrilling and transporting.

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10. The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. This story is about a churlish child who learns to love life with the help of a friend and a beautiful garden. It is one of those stories that should be read every year, around springtime.

11. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. One autumn night, a dark carnival comes and grips the town in shadow. Two young boys, James Nightshade and William Halloway, experience terror and thrill alike as they fight to save their town from evil. I don’t think Ray Bradbury is capable of writing a bad story, and this is one of my favorites.

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12. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. A timid young hobbit ventures out of his comfortable hobbit hole to encounter trolls, a dragon, and a number of other adventures. This is a lighter and easier read than The Lord of the Rings – better for a quick escape into fantasy. 

13. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Cliche, I know. Everyone and their dog has read this book, but it is a really easy look into the hard life of a teen struggling with cancer. There’s everything in this book: adventure, hardship, love, loss. All the feels.

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14. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene. Pick up a Nancy Drew book and join the amateur detective in her search for truth and justice. These books are what made me love books. They will always be close to my heart.

15. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Another story about special kids in a special school, this story is about younger kids who have incredible talents. At this school they are taught how to solve puzzles and their ultimate test is to go on a secret mission. A fun read.

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These are truly some of my favorite books in the world, and I have read a lot of books. The older I get, the more captivated I am, it seems, with the stories of younger people. It’s as if my innermost self longs for those bygone times, where worries were few but adventures high.

What books make you feel like a kid again?

Happy Valentine’s Day and 14 Things I Appreciate About My Husband

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Well, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. In high school I proclaimed animosity toward this holiday. Everything was so pink and red and lovey-dovey, and of course I had no one to direct this sort of mushiness at, so I hated everything instead. I was a bit of an antagonist.

At Grace High School, every Valentine’s Day we could sign up to send our friends/crushes/people-we-were-trying-to-impress either candy or carnations, a dollar a pop, and then at the beginning of every class period little cupids of love (student council members) would deliver said candy or carnations to the people who received them, with a little note from the giver. I used to fume in my seat as the “popular” kids got like a hundred per class; I would get maybe three or four the entire day. It just seemed so stupid, and that combined with the rest of it just put me in a bad mood.

I’ll admit that the candy/carnation thing still seems rather questionable to me, but now that I have love in my life, I no longer hate Valentine’s Day. I try to show love for my husband every day of the year, but Valentine’s Day just gives me an extra excuse to buy him a new shirt or make him a really elaborate chocolate cake. I love him SO much, and I love that there is a holiday devoted to celebrating this!

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I know Valentine’s Day can be hard if you are single, but honestly, it doesn’t have to be a useless holiday if you are “alone” – because, well, you are not alone. There are tons of people in your life who love you – your family, your friends. Do something special for them on Valentine’s Day to show them how much you appreciate that they are in your life; doing things for others will ALWAYS lift your spirits.

So in honor of February 14th, I have decided to make a list of 14 things I appreciate about my husband. I could say 14 things I love about him, but let’s be honest – love is a rather vague, abstract word in our culture. I love my husband, but I also love bananas. So….Appreciation is defined as “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.” Ready go:

  1. I appreciate that he will eat anything I make, even if it is a weird, experimental vegetarian dish.
  2. I appreciate that he works out with me whenever I suggest it.
  3. I appreciate that he give me back rubs without me even asking.
  4. I appreciate that he makes the bed every morning, even though before we got married he didn’t know what making a bed was (slight exaggeration).
  5. I appreciate that he smells every candle I shove in his face when we are in the candle section of Wal-Mart or Bath and Body Works (and that could be, like, a hundred candles).
  6. I appreciate that he listens when I go into long (probably boring) monologues about books I’m reading or Etsy stuff.
  7. I appreciate that he has never doubted my decision to work from home and pursue my dreams.
  8. I appreciate that he has never said a bad thing about my book obsession, even when we had to pack them all up and move them across the country.
  9. I appreciate that he supports me when I want to get MORE books (even though you’d probably think we’re both crazy if you saw how many books we have).
  10. I appreciate that he knows me well enough to show me videos of cute animals when I’m down in the dumps.
  11. I appreciate that he works incredibly hard to support us.
  12. I appreciate that he does things with me that he wouldn’t have done before we were together, like play tennis and rollerblade and rummage around antique shops.
  13. I appreciate that he takes care of the mice we’ve caught in mouse traps so I don’t have to look at their sad little limp feet.
  14. I appreciate that he chose to love me and marry me, and that he is a man of God so I never have to worry about him not loving me.

That was surprisingly easy – let your loved ones know how much you appreciate them tomorrow. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Book Recommendation: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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After the whole mice debacle, I decided it would be appropriate to finally read this acclaimed novella with mice in the title. Honestly, it is bizarre to me that after two years of advanced high school english and three years of honors english classes in college, I never read this book. It is both replete with symbolism and short, an english teacher’s dream. Nevertheless, I was obliged to read this treasure on my own.

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Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a powerful and touching tale of friendship set during the Great Depression. Lennie and George are laborers who travel from farm to farm to find work; George cares for Lennie, who has a mental disability, like a brother.

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The story pivots around the dream of these men – that one day, they’ll be able to have a farm of their own, living off the “fatta the land”; Lennie would have his very own rabbits to care for. However, this dream is really just that – a dream. These men, symbols of the entire underclass during the time period, are dispossessed, imprisoned by their own lives.

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Lennie, a large, childlike man who does not know his own power, has a fatal flaw – he loves soft things. George’s patience is tried again and again, because he knows that Lennie’s disability is dangerous and cannot truly be controlled, but he still is loyal friend to Lennie in spite of it all. The final climatic scene is the ultimate sign of love and sacrifice – a shock, but one that sits really deep with you, and stays a while after reading.

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Though this book is not long, it is a story that lives on even after you finish reading it. I found myself returning to the characters again and again after I finished, wondering about certain pieces of dialogue or actions. I highly recommend you read this book if you haven’t yet – it shouldn’t take long.

“A guy needs somebody―to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.” 

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Update on the DeRocher mice situation (if you want the full story, click here): After catching those first two mice, we haven’t seen or heard a peep since. We hope this means the problem has been solved!

5 Signs That May Indicate You Need a Pet

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When I was a little kid, having a pet was always my “thing.” I had so many hermit crabs and beta fish that eventually throwing them down the toilet became a regular activity. No need for tears. But these non-mammalian animals were merely precursors for the real thing. (I’m only a little ashamed that at age six I thought rodents could be considered real pets.)

So my first real pet was a mouse named Peanut. His death must have been extremely traumatizing to me, though, because I actually have no recollection of ever having a pet mouse named Peanut. The rest of my family had to convince me it was true over Christmas holiday. My second and favorite pet was a hamster, and ironically, his name was Goober. In homage to my pet mouse, perhaps?

When Goober died I went through a slew of other hamsters (whose names I no longer remember). One of them had a large litter of babies. I still have nightmares about the time I woke up to find that she had assassinated all but two of them. After this questionable experience, I retired as rodent owner and focused on the family dogs/guinea pigs.

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I won’t even go into the guinea pig story. All I can say is this – they reproduce like a contagious disease and it is a veeery bad idea to leave the lid of their outdoor hutch open.

So basically there were always pets in my life of some kind or another. Since going to college, however, I have been sadly bereft of a pet, and as my apartment does not allow them, it will be a while before I get one. However, I have been noticing a pattern of habits in myself that indicate my petlessness may be a bit of a problem.

They are as follows:

1. Sometimes when I am alone, I find myself talking to things in my apartment. Such as my kitty pillows. “Hi little kitty, would you like some coffee this morning? It’s really good. Oh, maybe you just want me to pet you.” … Yeah. At least if there was an animal – a living, breathing animal – that behavior would be excused. Kind of?

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2. I dream about animals on a nightly basis. Most recent one: a horde of ducklings was following me around, quacking “Mother.”

3. Occasionally, my procrastination leads me to the animal section of Pinterest. And doesn’t let me leave until I’m lying prostrate in the middle of my fluffy rug, rueing my lack of cute baby creatures to squeeze.

4. On the rather rare occasions that I do encounter an animal, I use a pet voice that has become dramatically higher and squeakier than the one I used when I was around animals on a daily basis. I think it has alarmed my husband multiple times.

5. Essentially everything I have created in the last few weeks has had to do with animals. Like these bunny pillows. Or this deer wall hanging. I’m even writing a story about a bunny. The madness never stops.

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If something similar is happening to you, you might think of investing in a furry little creature for yourself. I recommend a rabbit. That’s what is first on my list. Needless to say, I don’t think this petlessness is good for my health.

Visit My Etsy Shop, Peels and Posies! Now OPEN.

I had a striking realization the other day, the kind that sort of makes your stomach twist in knots and feel ashamed of the day you said you’d ever do anything worthwhile/graduated college/heard your parents say they were proud of you. Here it is – I make excuses. The kind veiled by logic so they sound relevant. You know – well, I haven’t done such and such because I work all the time. Or I haven’t actually opened my Etsy shop because I’ve been making stuff for it. Well, I could keep making stuff alllll the time, but the bottom line is that I have to open someday. And that day is today!

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Peels and Posies is a shop devoted to hand-made, whimsical home decor, the kind that I would want (and consequently have) in my own home. Everything I make has been inspired by either books, woodland creatures, flowers, or food. So essentially, it’s all just a conglomeration of the things I love most. And I feel like there are others like me out there.

One of the nice things about my shop is that most of my products are made from recycled materials like cardboard, egg cartons, fabric scraps, etc etc. Ties in nicely with my Consider the Peel theme, eh? Wink wink.

I will make custom orders, and if you are interested in contacting me separate from my shop for independent contractual work (for paintings, family crests, individualized home decor, etc.) just email me and we can sort something out. Hope you enjoy perusing my work!

😉 Here are a few samples of what I do:

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The deliciously dapper deer graphics are designed by the ever talented Mickenzie Robbins. View her profile here.