Friday, May 25, 2018

New from my pal Ellery Adams

Ellery Adams's long-awaited 7th Supper Club Mystery, PASTA MORTEM is now available!

Librarian James Henry and his supper club sleuths will take a trip down memory lane searching for clues that will help catch a killer . . .

Get your copy now!

Kindle US | Kindle Worldwide | Nook

Kobo | iBooks

Thursday, May 24, 2018

It's a bumber crop!

This year I've got a bumper crop of rhubarb. Of course, the thing I love to make most is rhubarb chutney, but I made so much of it two years ago, that I haven't even started last year's jars.  And -- holy cow, did I mention that bumper crop???

Luckily, Mr. L loves rhubarb ANYTHING. In years past, I've made him rhubarb crisp and strawberry-rhubarb pies. My folks used to like stewed rhubarb with Bird's custard.

I'm going for rhubarb bread and here's the recipe I'm using.

Rhubarb Bread
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1½ cups brown sugar
1 egg
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (liquid or made from powder)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cup chopped rhubarb (small but not fine)
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, Gas Mark 4). Mix the oil, brown sugar, and egg together in mixing bowl. Alternate with flour, salt and soda. Add buttermilk, vanilla, rhubarb and walnuts. Bake in a well-greased tube pan for 34-55 minutes. Test with a toothpick to see if done. This recipe tastes better the day after baking. Refrigerate any leftovers. Keeps well in the freezer for several weeks.

Yield: 12-16 slices

What's your favorite rhubarb recipe?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Are you ready for A REEL CATCH?

The 2nd Lotus Bay, full-length novel, A REEL CATCH, is now available for pre-order in ebook. The paperback and audio links will come later (not so easy for a small press to get a pre-order for those editions).

Really happy with this book and hope you guys will love it, too. Why make you wait? Because I have books coming out in June and July (and possibly two short stories coming out this summer) and don't want to inundate you.

Here's the description:
Swans Nest Inn is about to open, and Kathy Grant solicits her BFF, Tori Cannon, to help spruce up her property at the marshy end of Lotus Bay, only they didn’t count on finding a body. Who was he? What’s his connection to their friend Paul Darcy? Meanwhile, two entrepreneurs with vast business ties are interested in helping Tori reopen the Lotus Lodge, and their real motives are as murky as the bay after a storm. Will Swans Nest open on time? Will the Lotus Lodge reopen at all?

Kindle US  |  Kindle Worldwide  |  Nook  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  | My Website

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The season for birdwatching

Wow -- this has been the spring for birds!

Over the weekend, Mr. L and I saw several birds we'd never seen in NY. I saw my very first blue bird, which is the STATE bird of New York. We were in the car and I saw a blur of blue and orange out my (passenger side) window and there it was -- flying alongside us.

Then there were these wee birdies pecking around around the deck looking for something to eat; the hummingbirds, of course, and then an oriol. Not being a birder, I always thought a red-winged blackbird was an oriole. (Oh, the wonders of Google!)

This morning, there I was drinking my tea and I looked out the dining room window and said, "Holy crap--is that a hawk?" I tiptoed to the window to see what could only be (and was) a wee owl! You better believe I ran and got my camera.

I tried taking its picture through the livingroom window, but there are screens. So I went outside, got my shoes hopelessly wet, crept around to the deck, and took a couple of shots. I didn't dare try to get close, so this is an extreme crop of my picture. Isn't he handsome? It's only the second time I've seen an owl--the first time was more than 30 years ago at our cottage. It was like a flying log.

Have you ever had an owl in your yard?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Cheaper than a cup of coffee -- and much better!

Why pay a buck for a cup of Mickey D's coffee when you can buy a laugh-out-loud funny cozy mystery?  I was only too happy to blurb her book, DEAD AIR, and you can get it for 99 cents until midnight tonight!  You won't be sorry.

"Frasier Meets Murder She Wrote"—that's how readers have described the Talk Radio Mysteries. It's all about a NY psychologist who moves to sunny Florida to become a radio talk show host. Start with the first release, DEAD AIR and you'll be hooked on Dr. Maggie.

Licensed psychologist Dr. Maggie Walsh, hosts On the Couchwith Maggie Walsh on radio station WYME. When charismatic, dishonest New Age prophet Sanjay Gingii appears on the show and then dies in a suspicious manner, Maggie's roommate is named the prime suspect, but Maggie soon learns that plenty of other people had means and motives to do Gingii in.

Kindle  |  Nook  |  Kobo


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Help me make some BUZZ!


If you've wanted to read A JUST CLAUSE and have been waiting for the paperback, the wait will come to an end in 40 days. You can help me build some buzz by going to Goodreads and clicking the green WANT TO READ button.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Who knew? I've been Trendy for Years!

Okay, I lied in the subject line. I've never been trendy ... until now, I guess. Why?  

I've been going to yard, garage, estate and rummage sales for years. I always assumed it was because I was cheap. Now it turns out I'm "thrifting."

I admit it. Before I had a booth in an antiques arcade, I rarely went to such sales, but when you need stock and have a weekly rent to pay, you visit these sales and thrift shops. Since then, I begrudge paying retail. And since I'm into recycling, etc., I like the idea that things aren't ending up in landfills when they can be used and/or repurposed.

It was only a week or so ago when I was looking at decluttering videos on YouTube that I learned about thrifting.  I've subscribed to a few of those channels.  My favorite is Thrift Diving (by Serena Appiah -- she's funny, knowledgeable, and knows how to use power tools!).

Another one I like (because of her Thursday Thrift Store Hauls) is Robin Johnson's Happy At Home channel.  She likes white rooms, which aren't my favorite, but she has lots of great tips for repurposing items.

I like shabby chic, but not too chippy when it comes to paint.  For one, they might have lead paint, and for another ... some things look like there was a reason they were discarded in the first place.

I'm a sucker for teacups, china (particularly square plates and brown transferware), and doilies, but lots of other things tickle my fancy.

Yard sale season starts in a couple of weeks. I've signed up to get a weekly email announcement that tells me where all the sales are within a five mile radius of my house. Can't wait until tomorrow to see if it comes.

Do you go thrifting?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

From the Ashes? Teacup Tuesday!

Happy Teacup Tuesday. Isn't this cup pretty? It's a peacock, but I like to think it's a phoenix. Imagine that -- Sassy Sally's (Victoria Square Mysteries) came back from the ashes (metaphorically speaking). It was a ruin -- and as the next story will show, it is now a show palace. A wistful Katie Bonner couldn't be happier.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Yule Be Dead now available for Preorder

Happy Monday!  It certainly is for me and Gayle Leeson, my co-author on Victoria Square #5, YULE BE DEAD, which is now available for Preorder. No cover yet -- but I'll share as soon as I get it.

 Read all about the next book is the series by clicking one of the links below.

Barnes & Noble
Books A Million

Kindle US
Kindle Worldwide

Monday, March 26, 2018

Should I run away?

Lately I've been watching a lot of Youtube videos about living and traveling the country in an RV.  Okay, twenty odd years ago, and only for a brief moment or two, Mr. L and I considered renting an RV and traveling down Route 66 with our (then) cat Larry. Just the three of us (and who was going to take care of our other cats?) taking in the scenery visiting cool places, and eating lots of Southwestern (hot) food.  And that's as far as it went.

But now I regularly watch a number of vloggers.  My favorite is a young couple from Missouri (Duet Justus) who bought a camper and tricked it out, although lately they've been mostly "technical" videos (like how to fix a broken water line ... not quite so interesting).  I also follow Carolyn's RV Life, and a few others.

I've watched videos made by people who are living in their vans and cars, doing their business in buckets (yes, really!) and living a "free" life. A lot of them make their living just from making videos for Youtube.  (You can do that?)

So, why am I watching all these videos?

I think I want to escape. I want to runaway because things aren't going well in my life. There are big things going on that I have no control over (sound familiar?) and the idea of getting in that RV and driving away just seems like a cool thing to do.  (Cozy mystery author Sue Ann Jaffarian picked up her class B RV, Novella, just this week and his chronicling her "RV Journey" on Facebook.)

Do you ever feel like running away?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dirt cheap! Read TITLE WAVE ebook

The publisher never tells authors anything. A reader let me know that the ebook edition of TITLE WAVE is only $1.99. Who knows how long this will last. But if you need a good distraction while winter storms batter both US coasts, you might want to take a cruise with Tricia and Angelica.





Friday, March 16, 2018

Let's Talk about Jeff Resnick!

Today on my Facebook Group Page we're discussing the first three novels in the Jeff Resnick mystery series.

As the author, I know a lot more about the characters than gets in the novels and short stories.

Did you know there were seven novels?

There is also a companion series (Jeff Resnick's Personal Files) of short stories and novellas.

There will be questions answered, secrets spilled, and giveaways!

And don't forget, the first book in the series, MURDER ON THE MIND, is FREE for all ebook formats, and is also available in Trade Paperback and on audio.

Kindle USKindle Worldwide  |  Nook  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords

Trade Paperback  |  Audio

Can't make it today?  The posts will be there tomorrow, but you won't be eligible for the giveaways.

Will I see you there?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A silky sight

March came in like a LION. A big, stinky, ROARING lion.  Yesterday we woke up to at least 4 inches of snow, when just yesterday the driveway was totally clear. Depressing.

But -- there are always cheerful flowers in my house. Right now, I've got two violets in and two orchids in bloom, but they need light and water.  That's why I have artificial flowers scattered around the house.

This beauty sits in my office. I have beautiful roses all year long thanks to this little bouquet, which I found at a rummage sale.  And last winter -- I found the exact same thing at a yard sale in Clearwater. That one lives in my dining room. (Not far from the dried hydrangea flowers in a vintage pottery base.)

These red and white silk carnations also live in my office. I did the arrangement myself, and it looks it.  Still, I really love carnations.  I think I'll have another go at arranging it and take out most of the red ones. It looks too crowded. 

This arrangement used to live in my bedroom, but the only time I'd see it was right before I'd turn out the light. So I recently moved it to the top of a little cabinet in my kitchen, where it pleases me every time I pass by it.

This little arrangement lives in the office at our cottage, but it's so cute, I didn't like to think of it being there during the long cold winter, so I brought it home. It'll be going back in May so I can enjoy it there once again.

 Do you have silk floral arrangements in your home?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

It's a blanket, it's cloth with a crisscross design--it's a traveling rug!

Ever since I can remember, my parents had "traveling rugs."  What's a traveling rug?

1. cloth having a crisscross design
2. blanket 

When I was small, we only had a red-and-black traveling rug. It was 100% wood and SCRATCHY.  They brought it with them when they first came to America from England. For some reason, I always associate that traveling rug with being sick. If we were sick, we slept on the couch and what did we get covered up with? Yup, the traveling rug. 

I'm not sure on what trip my folks got a second traveling rug. It's a wool/acrylic blend and much softer. When my Mum passed away almost three years ago, I found it stuffed in a suitcase.  Well, that was one item that wasn't going to Goodwill! Unfortunately, when I washed it, I must not have put it on the delicate cycle, because it ripped. Oh no!  I really wanted that "rug." I took it to the tailor around the corner, and in five minutes, the owner had sewn it up. It's not as pretty as it once was, but it's back to being useful. 

Oddly enough, when I went on Google to look for traveling rug pictures, I found that very one! Wow!

I asked Mum what she used a traveling rug for when she was in England, and she said they brought it along to sit on for picnics. She may have said something else about them, but that's what I remember. 

It wasn't until earlier this week that I remembered that they brought me a traveling rug back from one of their trips.   How could I forget?  Well, I have a laundry hamper in my laundry room that I haven't looked at in at least 20 years.  No lie.  It took me two years to find one like that (white wicker) and then I stuffed it full of items that didn't get used often (including my favorite two rayon shirts that are now too small for me and have to be ironed) and just never opened it, forgetting about everything that was inside.  It's handy to place the recycling stuff on top of that hamper before it makes it to the garage and the recycling bins. It's now empty, and it's going to stay that way.

Anyway, my traveling rug is going to live in my office on the back of my chair where I sit and edit. 

Anybody else have a traveling rug?

P.S.  I still have that first traveling rug. It's stored in a tote. Must find a way to use it, too.

Monday, February 5, 2018

All that clutter

When I'm doing non-thinking work on my computer (uh, goofing off. But still work--like graphics, or spreadsheets), I often have Youtube on in the background. I went through all seasons of The Unsellables on New Year's Day. Lots of times the show you're watching segues into something entirely different. I watched (or rather listened) a bunch of RV remodels, farm house renovations, and a bunch of decluttering videos.  Decluttering and organizational videos are VERY BIG on Youtube. All of a sudden, I was subscribing to all kinds of stuff. But it was the organizational and decluttering that kept me riveted.

Nobody wants to be seen as a hoarder, but my office was beginning to look like its owner had become one. The worst offender? Boxes of stuff (like bookmarks, postcards, etc.) and piles and piles of paper.

Well, last week I'd had enough. I knew there was some valuable stuff in those piles of paper, and I decided to go through a four-inch stack. It took me about an hour, and the discard pile had only three pieces in it. That meant something was going to have to change. Little did I know I'd be in for three intense days of decluttering.

It started with my file cabinet. I had stuff in there that was fifteen years out of date. And the stuff piled on top of it was inches thick, too.  I ended up shredding years and years worth of bank statements and checks, and tossing two and a half recycling bins full of paper (just to I could file the stuff I wanted to keep--and I found more papers in my closet that were also must saves).

It was The Messy Minimalist that said something that really got through to me in her Death Cleaning video.  Death Cleaning is a Swedish tradition where an older person goes through their things so their survivors won't have to do it when they're gone. Rachel was in a similar situation to me. Her mother had died without going through her things, and she had no idea what it was her mother valued most. I still have a room full of my mother's stuff and haven't been able to part with it. Watching that video, and several others where she talked about her mother's stuff, gave me permission to part with things I know couldn't have had any real value for my mother. (Who do you think taught me to love yard sales?) I don't get as attached as she did to that stuff (I have the catch-and-release program, after all), but I was able to come up with three boxes of stuff to take to Goodwill. And I cleared out a huge bag's worth of clothes from my bedroom closet, too.

I had planned on having a garage sale this summer, but Rachel also addressed why she doesn't do that.  Time. She just doesn't have time ... and as Mr. L has been trying to tell me for the past year, neither do I.

It's hard to break old habits, but I'm trying not to let papers sit. I've got a little sign by my computer that says, "Don't put it down--put it away" and I've been trying to do that. (I'm also amazed how much tidier my kitchen is this last week.)

Do you have any decluttering or organizations tips to share?

Monday, January 29, 2018

A non-fatal addiction

I guess it shouldn't come as a (rather recent) surprise to me that I have an addiction to jewelry. I mean, I'm a person who wears 15 rings (including on both my thumbs). For a few years, one of my Dad's hobbies was making jewelry. He took courses at the (Rochester) Memorial Art Gallery. He made all kinds of jewelry, including the lost-wax process.  He gave most of his pieces to my mother and me. Besides the rings (I wear 7 he made), he made pendants and bracelets.

But this post is about broken china jewelry. (I also wrote one in 2016.)

So ... I already had three necklaces made out of broken china.  One Mr. L gave me for Christmas a few years back. I absolutely LOVED it. You can wear it as a pin or on a chain. (Obviously I like it better on a chain.)

After a couple of years, I asked for a second one as yet another Christmas gift. I must admit, I'm not as fond of the second one. It's rather plain. Just a little flower. I tend to wear this one more in the summer -- because ... summer! Flowers!

For my third broken china pendant, I was feeling low and missing my parents. My Mum left me some money and I decided to treat myself to a third broken china pendant that I saw advertised on Facebook. It's Spode and is holly for the (what else?) hollydays. (Sorry about that.) And to make it more special, one of my readers (who has made jewelry) sent me the chain. In fact, she sent two!

These three pendants were in the $75+ range. and I R Cheap!  Mind you, they are definitely worth the extra price. The mounts are beautiful and very sturdy. These are definitely "professional pieces.

But since I'm a sap for old china (and buy far too much of it at yard sales), I wanted MORE broken china jewelry.  Actually, I broke one of my mother plates last summer and tried to find someone to make me a pendant out ofit.  At the time, I came up empty so I tossed out the broken plate. (BIG MISTAKE.)

While I was going through some of my mother's things last month, I found a little white box and inside was -- SURPRISE -- a broken china pendant and silver chain. Whoa! There was a sticker on the box from a museum in Vancouver, Canada. Wow--my mother had gone on a cruise to Alaska some 15+ years ago and one of the stops was in Vancourver where she must have visited the museum gift shop. I'm betting she bought the necklace for me and simply forgot she had it.  So ... guess who has a new-to-her piece of broken china jewelry.  Again, it's not my favorite, but it has great sentimental value because I (want to) believe she meant for me to have it.

Well, once you get more than three of anything, you have a collection. I guessed I was now collecting broken china pendants. I just happened to be on Etsy looking for something else (which I did not buy) and thought about broken china jewelry.  BIG MISTAKE.  I found a page called Marooned Jewelry. The pieces there don't have as "sturdy" mounts, but they are beautiful and a LOT cheaper than the others I had. We're talking the $25+ range. I immediately found one I like and -- oops! Next thing you know had ordered it. I love the pattern, love the flowers.

But then I realized -- oops again -- I'm going to need a chain. (Duh--forgetting the other chain my reader had sent.) So, we were on a boot-hunting expedition and Penney's had a deal on silver chains. BOGO. So, I got them. Brought them home and said to myself, "Self, this means you were meant to have yet ANOTHER broken china pendant. And so, back to Marooned Jewelry I went. This time, I ordered a brown transferware piece (because I collect brown transferware plates). Oooh! I love it!  (It arrived yesterday.)

But a funny thing happened during the time I was waiting for the brown transferware pendant to arrive.  I kept finding silver chains. I'm on an organizational kick and have been trying to get my bedroom organized. (Already have sent a big bag of clothes and a box full of stuff to Goodwill.) In all, I now have five empty chains. You know what that means ....

(P.S.  Marooned Jewelry will also make pieces from your broken china. I'm almost tempted to break a plate so that I can have one made.)

I know I can't have hundreds of broken china jewelry, so I started a Pinterest page so I can at least have a very large virtual collection.  You can see it here.

BTW, as part of my jewelry organization, I bought a bracelet display stand. I made a video about it yesterday. (A little dark, but you can get the idea of what I've got. Hopefully I'll get better the more videos I make.)  You can see it here.  And while you're there, I hope you'll subscribe to my new YouTube Channel (Lorraine's Fun Stuff). My regular (book trailer, etc.) Youtube channel is here.

Have you got a jewelry collection?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Finally got me a Hummel

Apple Tree Girl
Back in the 1970s and 80s, Hummels were hot! At every antique or collectibles establishment you went, there they were--and they weren't cheap. In fact, a cheap one might be about $75.

My ex-sister-in-law loved Hummels, and my mother gave her quite a few of them. I no longer recall what quite a few amounted to, but it was more than I ever got--which was nothing.  I hinted very strongly that I would like one, but ... it never happened. (I remember the first one ex-SIL got was the Apple Tree Girl.)

One of the reasons they struck a chord with me is that Mr. L and I worked with a man whose son made them. Yup. He decided at a young age that he loved Hummels and wanted to work for the factory that made them.  So, he learned to speak fluent German, as well as studied his craft in ceramics--and actually got a job there. Of course, all these years later, I have no idea if he's still there, but it was kinda cool -- and his father sure was proud of him.

But back to Hummels and me.

I never had one. Until last week. Mr. L took me to a thrift shop in a rather tony suburb. This shop opened in October but we only found out about it at Christmastime--when it shut down for a couple of weeks, and I didn't get to go until last week. WOW--can you say sticker shock? But then everything in it was good quality stuff. And they had three Hummels for sale.

The resale market for Hummels has gone right down the toilet. In fact, I read an article online about how it's one of the 10 collectibles that essentially has no secondary-market value. (Anything from Franklin mint comes next.)  But that doesn't mean I didn't want a Hummel.  They're incredibly cute.

Two of the Hummels were in the $35 range--and I wasn't going to lay out that kind of dough, but they had a small one for $12 and I decided to splurge. Isn't she cute?

Now this little tyke lives in one of my china cabinets surrounded by Chintz china cups (which have also lost their market value). I finally have my Hummel. And I bought her with money my mother left me after she passed. Thanks, Mum!

What collectibles do you covet, even if they have no real intrinsic value?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday with Fred

Other people's cats do cute stuff and love to pose for pictures. I tried to get my cat, Fred, to do a photo shoot yesterday and he wouldn't cooperate--wouldn't hold still, or when he would, he wouldn't look at the camera. Apparently he has no interest in cultivating a social media following. (Like, wow!)

If your pet photo afraid?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

And then I bought it ...

It's not my fault!

I've been trying to get all my websites straightened out with a new provider. Part of that has meant being on the phone for hours on end or waiting for (yet) another call. So what are you supposed to do while waiting?

Oh, yeah Google stuff.

Like broken china jewelry ...

And the next thing you know ... I was on Etsy and hit the buy button. Oops. Then I had to buy a chain. But honestly, this was 1/3 the cost of the last one I bought, so I actually saved money (right?).

Um ... I bookmarked the site because they have some really cool stuff, like this little kitty pendant and I might want to make a return visit (way too soon).

Did you do anything bad this week?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A teacup project you can do

And another Teacup Tuesday rolls around.  I found this little paper beauty on Pinterest. It's similar to the Christmas box I found at a yard sale several years ago.  I posted that on ,my Facebook Group (which you can join -- just click this link) and a number of my readers said they wanted to try making one. 

I'm useless at crafting, but ... I found a video that tells you how to make a basket out of greeting cards.  You can easily add a handle to the cup and craft a saucer.  Here's the Youtube link.

Do you think you'd like to make a greeting card teacup?

Friday, January 12, 2018

I turned it around FAST

Back in October, I put my latest Life On Victoria Square story, It's Tutu Much, for pre-order. But oddly enough, readers didn't seem interested in the story. I wondered if it was just the fact that the holidays were coming up, or if it might be the cover.  My beta readers liked the story and they liked the cover. But when it came to debut day, the pre-orders were 2/3 less than the previous three stories.

Something wasn't right.

I kept focusing on the wrong aspect of the story. I kept thinking it was about the children in the dance class, but the more I thought about it, the story is really about their teacher, Dana Milton.

I asked my review crew what they thought, and they were split. Some like the cover, some thought it looked like it was a children's story.  I didn't like hearing the latter, but I had to listen.  Although it's only been 10 days since the story has been out, the sales went right down the toilet. In fact, I've already had a couple of days without a single sale. That's not good.

So yesterday, I asked the members of my Facebook Group (Lorraine's Perpetual Tea Party -- if you haven't joined--why not???) what they thought of the current cover and a dummy cover I put together.  I'm no Photoshop wiz, and I couldn't get the ballet dancer to stay on a colorful background. After a lot of trial and error, I managed to get her on a gray background.

Readers thought the covers were bland. They wanted color. They wanted a proper tutu. They wanted whimsy. They did NOT want a photo on the cover. The original cover didn't mesh with the other covers in the series.

They were right.

However, that didn't tell me what I needed to convey to my cover designer. So, I decided to let her decide what to do. I told her what the readers said, I showed her what I had done, and let her play with it.

I love what she came up with. It's whimsical, it's bright, there's color -- and the ballet and tap shoes say there's more than just one kind of dance being taught in this studio.

Being quickly able to correct something like this is one of the best things about being an indie author.  Had this been a traditionally published story, it would have been stuck with a "bad" cover for eternity. I was able to turn it around in less than two weeks from publication.

Now, see if you're more interested in the story.
 Dana Milton opens a dance studio on Victoria Square. Can she teach her students kindness,  respect, and shuffling off to Buffalo, or is it all tutu much?

Kindle | Kindle Worldwide

NookKobo  | iBooks

What do you think?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

I'm dreaming of yard sale season

This time last year, Mr. L and I were snowbirds for the first (and possibly last) time.  Of course, the current weather (with temps as low as the 30s) in Clearwater, would have made it rather unpleasant.  When you have cats, rental possibilities aren't that frequent and we were STUCK with a terrible rental house.  (The world's most uncomfortable beds, a house surrounded by millions of LIZARDS, and nightly kitchen visits from palmetto bugs, who usually died overnight -- but not always. That was the house from hell.)

Paid $2 for these three cocktail shakers for Mr. L's collection.
Good things?  HGTV. Publix. The Cricketer English Pub. And thrift shops and yard sales. There were scores of thrift stores near where we lived, and we visited every one of them (and more than once). And then eagerly searched the online listings for sales in our area. We learned Clearwater pretty quick driving around town looking for sales.

Our first weekend there, we went to five yard sales and a rummage sale.  IN JANUARY.  Now that's one part of the Florida lifestyle I could get used to in a hurry. We won't see a yard sale here until at least mid- to late April. *Sigh*

A prize from my holiday FB event.
No doubt about it, I'm a collector of many different items, but I also subscribe to the "catch and release" program. When I had a booth in an antiques arcade, I would buy stuff, live with it for a while, and then sell it. Now ... I mostly give stuff away.

I especially collect teacups and occasionally give them to readers via events on my Facebook. I should give away more of them, but have you seen the weather?  I haven't taken my car out of the garage since before Christmas. I probably won't need gas until at least March. But getting to the PO this time of year is proving to be a problem.

A rummage sale find.
Another problem I have with all this stuff is storing it so I can actually see it. I'd be giving it away. Wayfair had a great sale on storage cabinets back on Black Friday and I thought I had ordered one. But apparently I didn't finish all the steps.  Say goodbye to that cabinet.  They don't stock it anymore. It was perfect for a spot in my basement. Haven't found anything the right size since. Right now most of the teacups and plates are carefully wrapped in paper and sitting in boxes. I don't have x-ray vision, so to find everything, I need to haul them all out and unwrap them. Kind of messy. I need to come up with a new system.

I love cookbooks and last summer I bought more than 24 of them. I sorted through them the other day and today those that didn't make the cut (for one reason or another)  are going to the Friends of the Library bookshop. (When I left Florida, I left another 10-15 of them at my favorite thrift shop so that someone else could enjoy them.) They cost as little as a quarter and as much as a dollar and gave me many hours of pleasure.

If you'd like to see some of my yard sale treasures, you can find them on one of my Pinterest boards.  This one is called (funny enough) "My Yards Sale Finds."

For now, I'm going to start dreaming about the upcoming yard sale season. Maybe I'll write a short story about going to yard sales so I can live vicariously through a character.

What do you look for at yard sales?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Once again, it's Teacup Tuesday!

It's gloomy in Rha-cha-cha this time of year, so I thought a little cheerful color and reminders of a sunny place would be a good way to celebrate Teacup Tuesday.

A year ago today, I was a snowbird in Florida. We stayed home this year, but I sure would love to visit the Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg again to see the lovely flamingos.  Oddly enough, they don't look real, do they?