Friday, September 13, 2013

Mel is here from the Land of the Koala!!

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

Mellywoods Mansion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 6, 2013

Please welcome Danni, who has pumpkins!!

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


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

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

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

Friday, August 23, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Feature Friday--It's Eclectic!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 12, 2013

This Friday, we're quirky!

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

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

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

2.  How do you feel about granite?

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

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

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

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

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

5. Chartreuse or Seafoam?

All greens have a place in my repertoire.

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

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

8. How many houses have you redecorated?

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 5, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Janet Evanovich!


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

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


Friday, June 28, 2013

Today's victim interview is Suzan from Simply Vintageous.

She hails from one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Montreal, where she paints furniture and has interesting conversations with her husband, John.

(She also quotes song lyrics incessantly, but we like her anyway.)  Here's how she reacted to me prying into her innermost thoughts:

1.  What do you think of heated floors?  
 I'm menopausing Kirby - heated anything is definitely O.U.T.  Now floors with air conditioning built into them would be heavenly.
2.  How do you feel about ceramic tile?   
Well I've never actually given that any thought - and I need far too much time to figure it out - I don't know how I feel about terracotta either now that I think of it.  Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day searching within myself to see how I feel about it - and I have a feeling tonight I'll be no wiser.
3. Did you ever pretend you were an Olympic athlete?   
I used to LOVE swimming and diving - but really, I wanted to be an actress. Maybe I could have been the next Esther Williams?

4. Beer or wine?  
Both - not together but love both.
 5.   If you are out cruising around town at midnight, are you more likely to get fish and chips, or Tim Horton's?  
Fish and Chips - Tim Horton's is for the morning after.  A big fat chocolate donut is the perfect remedy for too much Wine ( or Beer )
6.  Your HONEST opinion regarding burlap is… 
 Overrated - I prefer drop cloths
7.  Where is one place you have visited that you will definitely try to return to? (Or, if I’m using my English teacher grammar, to which you would like to return?)     
PARIS.................. if I ever win the lottery I'm buying an apartment there ( after I've had my facelift ) and I'm going to walk around eating croissants - and saying things like " J'ADORE " and " Magnifique " and wear hats ................
8.  You love pink--Fuchsia or Bubblegum?    
9.  You're always quoting song lyrics--what song on your iPod (or in your album/CD collection) do you feel best represents who you are at this point in your life?   
BOTH SIDES NOW - that's what I feel - everyone else in my life, however, might think WITCHY WOMAN is more fitting.
10.  One blogger you love to read is--- 
This is one of the hardest questions you can ask - there's just too many of them Kirby! You of course - but if I could only pick one - let me see now - nope - I can't do it - next question?
Oh there's no more?
Well - I could have went for another 10 !!!
Kirby here--thanks again to Suzan for having some fun with this!  Next week, there is a surprise guest!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Feature Friday might be starting with paint!

If you don't know Linda at It All Started With Paint, you should. 
She is kind, supportive and lots of fun. 
She is also addicted to Mason Jars.  And I could tell her that Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana was started with Mason Jar money.  I could also tell her that the fave cheer of Ball State students is "Ball U!  Ball U!" but I won't because that sounds slightly sketchy.  So, with no further ado from me, here is my interview with the lovely Linda:
1.  Gas or electric? 
Gas.  Really Kirby?  You set me up for bathroom humor right out of the gate? 

Now I'm concerned about the questions that follow ... :)

2.  Which do you hate less--dishes or laundry?
Laundry.  My husband does it. Oh wait, he does the dishes too ...
 3.  If you are in need of a midnight snack, what do you crave most? 
Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  No, wait, a Nestle's crunch bar.  Or maybe chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream topped off with a Nestle crunch bar.  And whipped cream.  Can you tell I'm on an evil diet and hungry as I answer this?
4.  You live in my favorite big city.  What is your fun thing to do in Chicago? 
 Neighborhood pubs. One on every corner.  Oh, and this isn't a "to do" but I love driving down Lake Shore Drive on a beautiful day and crossing the river to catch the Bob Newhart shot ...
5.  If you found $10,000 in the dryer after you ran a load, what would you spend it on (for your home, of course)? 
 Well, I don't do the laundry. So my husband would find it.  Hopefully he'd share ... and we'd redo the kitchen.
6.  Peach or pumpkin? 
To eat, peach.  To color, pumpkin.
7.  You are now famous for your Mason Jars.  Do you have a project in mind that you haven't done yet?
 I've been dreaming up something that incorporates all the current trends: mason jars, burlap, book pages, ASCP, Chevron, milk paint, and a pallets.  It's gonna be HUGE, I tell ya!
 8.  If you had to choose one song that best represents you, what would it be? 
 Rock Lobster.  I'm a matching towels kinda gal ... :)
9.  Is there a place you'd love to visit (though lawd knows why you'd want to leave Chicago...)?  London.  And Ireland.  I've never been across the pond.
10.  Who is one blogger whose posts you never miss? Aside from you, Kari @Thistlewood, Kelly @View Along the Way, and Bliss @Bliss Ranch. 
Kirby here:  Thanks to Linda for being a good sport AND a good friend!  Make sure you check her blog out!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Today, I have a real treat--a "real" writer!

(Okay....please don't misunderstand me.  We are all "real" writers...but today's guest has had published two very successful series of mystery novels. Books!  With pages!  And covers!  That someone else paid to have printed!) 

Anyway, now that I have offended you folks, I would like to introduce today's interviewee, Margaret Maron.  She writes the Sigrid Harald and Deborah Knott books and has a list of awards as long as my (flabby upper) arm.  These awards include the Edgar, the namesake of last week's interviewee.  Coincidental, no?
If you like mysteries, I highly recommend you check out her books, because her characterization is great--I feel like I know these people.  But for some reason I always pictured Dwight bald...I have very specific ideas about how my pretend people should look.

Margaret (yes, I am being presumptuous calling her by her first name, but I don't think she'd mind) lives here in NC and uses many of our great locations in her Judge Knott books.  She was great about putting up with my silly questions and was very prompt in getting back to me and was an all-around good sport.

Here's how she answered my questions:

1.  Most of my readers are Home Decor/DIY bloggers.  So before we begin the interview in earnest, would you describe your house?

Let's see. . . eclectic? eccentric? idiosyncratic? Definitely one of a kind. Our house began as a 1200 sq.ft.  vacation home, a 3BR, 1B, featureless box with a back porch that ran the full 50' length. Over the years, it's sprouted wings, had walls knocked down, doors and windows moved. It's now about 2600 sq.ft with all sorts of odd spaces. It has 6 doors to the outside and 31 windows.  It should tell your readers something that we have three fuse boxes. I've never cared about luxury, but I do care about comfort. When I sit down, I want a place to set my coffee cup and I don't care if it's a piecrust antique or a wooden box. You can set a glass of iced tea down on any surface in our house without worrying about water marks or white rings. Polyurethane is my friend. (Yes, I can hear your readers shudder and gasp.)  I'm big on repurposing furniture and will always try to build it before I buy it.
2.  You write your series set in NC with characters that are familiar to those of us who live in the south: farmers, good ol' boys, folks
who drink too much and lose their tempers, people who will buy "brandy" off the back of a truck, old-fashioned church-going women.
Is there an underlying message in the fact that your protagonist is "Judge Knott?"

Not really.  Her first name, Deborah, comes from the Bible. ("And Deborah judged Israel at that time." Judges 4:4) I gave her Knott as a last name thinking I might use punning titles for the books. By the time I decided that was a dumb idea, she had already appeared in print in a short story that won the Agatha Award and it was too late to change her name.

3.  What is the writing process like for you?

Heaven when it's going well, hell when it isn't. Writers stare out of windows a lot, but you can't wait for the muse to drift in and inspire you. You have to wrestle her into your office and tie her to a chair. The only inspiration I get is from staring at the computer screen,

4.  How does it feel to be on the NY Times bestseller list, in twelve words or fewer.

 Incroyable! (and I don't speak French)

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

My supposedly "formal" living room.  It may be time to rethink the ca. 1900 white wicker armchairs, the ca.1960 kitchen cabinet that serves as a lampstand, and the ca. 1930 oak dresser that serves as a sort of  a sideboard. (I cut the feet and mirror off of it and added shelves across the knee hole.
6. I have written a couple of blog posts on style and voice.
 How important do you think it is to keep those in mind as you write?
I don't know about style, but voice is key for me. Josephine Tey and Rumer Godden are my absolute idols. Their characters just rise up off the page, fully rounded and fully engaged.
7. Any words of wisdom for those of us who are interested in writing professionally?

Finish the article. Finish the story. Finish the book. Treat it as a job and work at it every day. I myself do not believe in "writers's block." Dentists don't get up in the morning and say, "I'm blocked on filling cavities." English teachers don't say, "I'm blocked on teaching punctuation." They go to work and they do their jobs. If you want to be a professional writer, you have to treat writing like a profession.

Kirby here: I want to thank Margaret for taking the time to correspond with me and for her graciousness.  She was very patient with my silliness!  (And those of you who know me, know I can be silly.)  I have a few other interviews with writers waiting in the wings, and of course I have some other blogger interviews.   I think.  Laura?  Linda?  Anyone?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Interview with a (dead) Writer

In light of the fact that I have been busy, and the folks I've sent questions to are busy, I don't have a Women Who Blog post today.  At least not with a real, live writer.  However, I do have an interview with a real, dead one.  Hence, my interview with Edgar Allan Poe.


Kirby:  So, have a rather sketchy reputation.  Is it warranted?

EAP: Look.  My father abandoned us and then my mother died.  That's a pretty sketchy pedigree, don't you think?  All I ever really wanted was attention and affection.  So maybe falling in love with my friend's mother was odd, but it can be written off as boyhood infatuation.  And of course falling in love with my much younger cousin could be considered sketch, but it wasn't as if we were planning on having kids or anything.  If loving them was wrong, I don't want to be right.

K: With the publication of your Murders in the Rue Morgue,  did you anticipate it was the birth of a whole new genre--the detective novel?

EAP:  Not in a million years.  It was just another story that I had to get written because the bill collectors were knocking at the door.  I had a story; I needed money--the usual gig.  If I'd had a laptop instead of having to write longhand, I wouldn't have had to quit the University of Virginia.  Hell, I might have been a lawyer-turned-novelist...the first John Grisham, so to speak.

K: Speaking of Grisham, he wrote his first novel longhand.  So that's not technically an excuse.

EAP: Yeah, but I'll bet he bought a laptop right after.  I mean, da#n...he's got more money than God.  If I'd only been born a hundred and forty years later...

K:  And then, there's your death.  I mean, what was up with that?  You were forty, which was not young in 1849...but it wasn't old, either.  So, what happened?

EAP: I have no idea.  And I was there!

K: Have you heard about the "Poe Toaster?"

EAP: Yeah--that is so cool!  I mean, who would have thought that a hundred years after my death someone would come and toast me with cognac and leave three roses without saying a word to anyone.  It appeals to my mysterious side.

K:  You have a mysterious side? *laughing* I mean...why three roses?

EAP:  I believe they are for the three loves of my life: Stacey's mom, Elmira Royster, and Virginia Clemm.  And the cognac is for drinking.  Which I did.  A lot.  Sort of like I've heard you do.

K:  Well, I have been known to quaff a beer or two in my day.

EAP: A beer or two or six, is my understanding.

K (clearing throat): Well, thanks so much for coming back from the dead to speak with us today.  It really helped get me out of this 'heck, I don't have anyone who's sent in her answers' panic.  Rest in Peace, Ed.

Next week, a LIVE writer--Margaret Maron, who writes bestselling mysteries.  She has been awesome and gracious and I will be forever in her debt!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Feature Friday with Elena

Today's interview is with Elena of a casarella. She does some great crafty stuff (like this awesome picnic basket) and is a funny blogger, to boot!

1. Fast food or pizza?
Definitely pizza.  I have vivid, early memories of crying when my parents tried to take me to McDonald's.   My children have inherited my aversion to fast food which is good (though not always convenient).

2. I notice that you live in California.  I have always wondered: is it 'special-er' there?

With apologies to all the other places, the answer is yes.  Yes it is.   And this is not an uninformed opinion.  I have lived in six other states (read more about that here: and as much as I've loved them all, California is indeed special-er.   Case in point: I spent this past weekend at my sister-in-law's house in LA.  While there, my daughters (ages 8 and 12) befriended the loveliest drag queen while walking down Larchmont Street.  She gave us her card and invited them to high tea at Biltmore.  She promised to wear, "the dress with the bustle"' for the occasion.  This stuff just never happened when we lived in Milwaukee. 

3. Tell us how you really feel about grosgrain.

I feel like it needs a new name.  Beyond that, I am pretty neutral towards this particular embellishment.

4. If you could visit anyplace for a week, where would you go?
Italy.  I am half Italian and have never been to the motherland. 
pic courtesy of Paradise in the World

5. Do you have a secret talent that doesn't involve craft materials?
I can recite the first fourteen lines of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English.  Anything after line fourteen and you're on your own.   (Have I mentioned that I used to teach English?

6.  What was the last band you saw in concert?
The Doobie Brothers.  I saw them with my husband at one of his work functions.  
I know, I know, you thought they were dead.   
They're not.

7.  Sky blue or navy?
           Sky Blue. 
No, navy.
No, definitely sky blue.

8.  Have you started pinning things in preparation for your daughter's wedding?
Surprisingly, no.  But my husband does have regular nightmares about paying for two weddings so at least one of us is freaking out prematurely.

9.  Fruity drinks or hard liquor?
Actually, I don't drink.  And for the record I am neither an alcoholic nor a Mormon (<--a distinct possibility amongst craft bloggers ;)  I just don't like it.  If, however, someone were to put a gun to my head I would definitely choose a glass of sangria over a martini.

10.  Do you have a "go-to" blogger whose posts you hate to miss? 
Amy at While Wearing Heels
John & Sherry at Young House Love
Karianne at Thistlewood Farm
Linda at It all Started With Paint
Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects
Mary Beth at Cupcakes & Crinoline
Kelly at Eclectically Vintage
Heather & Vanessa at At The Picket Fence

I'm going to stop now or we could be here all day....

Kirby here:  Thanks to Elena for playing with us here at Women Who Blog!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

You can call her Epic

For those of you who don't know her (and many of you don't which is shameful), I'd like to introduce Marianne at We Band of Mothers.  She is a hilarious (mommy) blogger from my fave city, Chicago, where they talk like me. 

In my best Chicago voice (via e-mail), I asked her a few "burning" questions:

You’re married to a fireman. On a scale of 1-10, how hot is that?
It truly never gets old. Although I do believe Joe gets a bit sick of hearing “Can you please put on your suspenders and boots one more time tonight, honey?” Dirty, dirty Marianne.

Do you ever slip and call your boys Robbie, Chip & Ernie?
Nah. I forgot my kids’ names years ago. I call them all “Jesus Christ.”

Beer or wine?

Judging from all your bridesmaid pics, you are pretty tall. How’s that working for you?
I love being tall in that I never need to ask for help to get things down from the top shelf. Also, an extra 30 pounds on me simply looks like PMS bloat. The bad part? People always remember the 6 foot tall giant. Sadly, I recognize NOBODY. My go-to line? “Oh, hello, you.” It’s embarrassing.

My friend Kerry from HouseTalkN is really tall, too. Is it an Illinois thing?
Absolutely. We pump our cows full of growth hormones here in the Great Midwest. If you actually manage to not hit 6 feet, people assume a milk allergy.

What is the gang activity like on the Southside, and do you have a secret handshake?
There is GANG ACTIVITY on the southside of Chicago?? Crap. We’re moving.

Perogies or Pizza?
Hello? I’m from Chicago. We have a name for people who eat perogies. We call them “People Not From Chicago.” Whether it’s deep dish or thin crust (cut in squares), Chicago pizza is the best.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to do The Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg. I visited my friend years ago when she was getting her international business degree in Switzerland. Being a huge theater geek, I was dying to re-live a day in the life of Maria von Trapp. My friend mocked me, called me a loser, and insisted we train it to Paris instead. Yet two months later? She went on The Sound of Music tour without me! She phoned to say it was the most fabulous thing EVER. There were trolleys full of drunkards who would spin around atop mountains and belt out The Hills are Alive at the top of their lungs. I deserved to be one of those drunkards. As God as my witness, I will be one of those drunkards someday.

And now a question for the DIY/Home Décor Bloggers, because it’s killing them that we haven’t mentioned anything house-related even ONCE! Here goes: how would you describe your decorating style?
Decorating? Um. I take all the cast-off furniture and stuff that people give me and strew it awkwardly about my house. Then I wait for my older brother to visit and mock me for having no spatial eye whatsoever. I also visit home décor bloggers to make friends. I’m secretly hoping one of them comes over eventually to fix things out of sheer pity.

Would you like to give a shout-out to another fellow blogger so that I might be able to harass her into doing an interview?
This is hard. I read and love a LOT of blogs. This is like picking a favorite child. I’m going to have to go with Lillian from It’s a Dome Life because she’s the only person I know who writes hilarious stories of social awkwardness, paints portraits of guinea pigs, and manages to be the biggest cheerleader out there for women of the blogosphere. I kinda love her.

As an aside, I would like to thank Kirby for inviting me to participate in this tremendously fun Q&A. Nobody ever invites me anywhere because I usually break things and swear. I feel very fortunate that someone with such obvious taste and style allows me to be a part of their elegant and beautiful world. And should we ever meet face-to-face, I promise to stay far away from the crystal. I love you, Kirby!!  

Kirby here: I love you too, Mar!  And next time I visit Chicago, I will buy you beer and pizza.  But I won't decorate your house.

Friday, May 10, 2013

karianne at Thistlewood Farms

Several bloggers mentioned that karianne (the lower case 'k' is intentional) from Thistlewood Farms is one of the blogs on their 'must read' list.  She lives in the beautiful countryside of Kentucky, where she cares for her brood and makes her house into a home. Here's what she has to say on a variety of important topics:

1.       Would you rather spend money on earrings or chalk paint?

Umm… this a trick question?  Have you seen my earrings?  I would walk up a hill backwards in the snow for a pair of really amazing earrings.  Chalk paint….not so much. J

2.       If you could spend a week in any city in the world, where would it be?

I would stay a week in Dover, England.  I read a book once where the main character walked the white cliffs of Dover. I want to spend a week with the sea winds blowing my hair pretending I am in a Jane Austen novel.

3.       Geraniums or Hydrangeas?

Hydrangea.  They were my father’s favorite flower.  Plus they look amazing when they are dried.

4.       Who was your favorite Backstreet Boy?

I’m a country fan.   I like Billy Ray Cyrus.  He had me at mullet and achey brakey heart.

5.       Would you try your hand at plumbing, if you had the opportunity?

Another trick question?  Are you serious?

6.       Eggplant or lavender?

Lavender.  The better to make homemade soap and scrubs and it smells way better.  Plus….eggplant involves cooking.

7.       Do you like avocados?

Only in guacamole. 

8.       What type of movies do you enjoy?

I love happy movies with a wonderful ending.  Preferably involving Mr. Darcy (see number 2) or a duke or an earl or Downton Abbey.

     9 .       Home cooking or fancy restaurant?

Fancy restaurant…..every time.
   10.    One blogger you love to read is--
           Can I pick two (besides yours...of course)?
           At the Picket Fence and Finding Home.

(Kirby here)--Thanks to karianne for sharing her thoughts with us on this week's Feature Friday at Women Who Blog!  Anglophiles unite!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Everybody's welcome at the ranch! (Another feature Friday.)

Blogland is strange.
In fact, I think it's probably a lot like on-line dating--some folks are just not your cup of tea, while you find others interesting.  Some catch your eye while some turn you off. 
And there are those with whom you have an instant connection.

I would read other blogs and I would see this crazy woman commenting, so I decided to check out her space,and I knew the very first time I read Bliss' blog that we were sisters from another mother.  I mean, fercryin' outloud, she made AN EAGLES dresser!! Here's how our intense Q & A went:

1.  Front porch or back deck? 
Probably back deck, but of course it depends on what I'm doing on it.
2.  What was your favorite television show of ALL TIME? 
All time.... hmmm.... hard to pick just one since I've gone through so many eras.  Hmmm.... Oh helll Kirby, I can't pick just one!  I watched a lot of tv.  So I'll just say anything that was on in the 60's and 70's, although I have probably seen every episode of I Love Lucy 20 times.
3.  If you had to limit your garden to one type of flower, what would it be? 
 I think my garden is already limited to one type of flower.  Something that is no fuss, probably why I like hostas, and they do flower eventually.
4.  How do you REALLY feel about beadboard? 
I like white beadboard and I cannot lie,  but really what I like is board and batten.
5.  Gray or Taupe? 
Grape.  But not green or purple, and preferably before it turns into a raisin.
6.  If you could visit anyplace in the world, where would you go? 
 I enjoy the Caribbean and have never wanted to wander farther.  I have no desire to travel to other foreign countries I guess.   But I also no longer have a desire to don a bikini, so my answer might be Alaska where I can wear a parka and blubber is a food not a description.
7.  Diner food or fast food? 
I have had some pretty darn good diner food.  Is Taco Bell a diner?
8.  If you could create a sign that said anything, to hang anywhere, what would it say? 
This is a trick question because I have signs everywhere and will continue to make and put them anywhere, however I just saw one that warned solicitors to go away that I thought was funny, so I'd probably make my own version of it.  Either that or tape one on the back of some azzhole that says "Kick Me".
9.  Who was the best rock band of all time? 
This one is harder than the tv show question....  hmmmm.... I guess I have to say the Beatles, but I've been known to shake a leg to ACDC.
10. How are the ducks...and can I have them
Klous DIED!!!  We figure Clyde is lonely now so my daughter is going to get two baby ducks.  You can have Klous.

(Kirby here) Thanks, Bliss (if that is indeed your real name) for taking a few minutes to answer some of the world's toughest questions. I'm really, really glad I found you! You can get back to your ranch stuff now.