Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Review: The Atlantis Origin Mystery Trilogy

The Atlantis Gene (The Origin Mystery, #1)


The Atlantis Plague (The Origin Mystery, #2)

The Atlantis Gene: (from Amazon)
The Immari are good at keeping secrets. For 2,000 years, they've hidden the truth about human evolution. They've also searched for an ancient enemy--a threat that could wipe out the human race. Now the search is over.

Off the coast of Antarctica, a research vessel discovers a mysterious structure buried deep in an iceberg. It has been there for thousands of years, and something is guarding it. As the Immari rush to execute their plan, a brilliant geneticist makes a discovery that could change everything.

Dr. Kate Warner moved to Jakarta, Indonesia to escape her past. She hasn't recovered from what happened to her, but she has made an incredible breakthrough: a cure for autism. Or so she thinks. What she has found is far more dangerous--for her and the entire human race. Her work could be the key to the next stage of human evolution. In the hands of the Immari, it would mean the end of humanity as we know it.

Agent David Vale has spent ten years trying to stop the Immari. Now he's out of time. His informant is dead. His organization has been infiltrated. His enemy is hunting him. But when David receives a coded message related to the Immari attack, he risks everything to save the one person that can help him solve it: Dr. Kate Warner.

Together, Kate and David must race to unravel a global conspiracy and learn the truth about the Atlantis Gene... and human origins. Their journey takes them to the far corners of the globe and into the secrets of their pasts. The Immari are close on their heels and will stop at nothing to obtain Kate's research and force the next stage of human evolution--even if it means killing 99.9% of the world's population. David and Kate can stop them... if they can trust each other. And stay alive.

(I am not including the other two synopsis here because you have to start with the first and follow the story in order.) 

First, let me say, I normally read mystery, crime, and true crime books.  Also, I am way behind on doing any sort of book reviews.    So look for a few books to show up soon including a couple of series and a few true crime books.   With that in mind, I thought I would share the Atlantis Origin Mystery Trilogy.  

My take:
What I enjoyed most about this series is that it mixed history, science, and mystery together and combined a couple of main characters, Kate and David, who you follow throughout the series.   The Series starts with The Atlantis Gene and concludes with The Atlantis World and in between you ride along through a bunch of twists and turns that leave you simultaneously scratching your head, wanting throw the book (or Kindle in my case) at the wall because the bad guys (the Immari) in this series are so unlikable, and yet you just can't stop reading.  
The story starts when we find out that human history was given a little kick in the pants several thousand years ago, just at the brink of our extinction, when a little gene therapy saved us and  helped us advance.  Of course this little kick came from your friendly aliens.   Throughout the series, we follow Kate and David in their race to save the human race and Earth from themselves and some not no nice aliens.    

Now let me say that without giving away anything in this series, the main characters Kate and David, are both likable and cute.  Kate is a doctor specializing in Autism and reversing the effects and David is your average super hero/secret agent.     As you follow Kate and David through this series and their natural attraction to each other, of course, they fall in love, and I don't think I am giving anything away here, because that move is pretty obvious from about 5 chapters in to the first book.   Anyway, it is an intergalactic roller coaster that can only end in one of two ways, we survive or we become extinct.    

The first two books follow a single fight here on our world but by the third book the series crosses the universe and back in the effort to save little old us.   It is a fun ride! 

Just the facts:
The books are easy to read even with all the science mumbo jumbo mixed in.  Actually, I didn't mind that and was able to follow.    The history facts that are woven into the story are fascinating and made me actually look up some of the true life facts thrown at you.  Full Disclosure: I love history so I may or may not have downloaded a book on Proto-Indo Europeans.  I know, I know, I am a history nerd.    Between the three books you meet a large cast of characters and by the third book you may have a hard time remembering who was who in the first book.   There were a few things that I kept wanting resolved from the first book that just seemed forgotten but don't give up, you will get your answers, eventually.   

I enjoyed this series and recommend it to anyone who likes Science Fiction and Mystery books.   It crosses back and forth between those with a little Romance thrown in.   

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Decorating to make a home.

We have been in our house for 16 months and in that time, I have been on a constant mission to make my house a home.   I don't know about you but for me, feeling comfortable in a house is what actually makes it a home.   There are big things you can do like painting and tearing up carpet.  (Been there and done all of that and still have more to do!)   But there are also little things you can do like picking out wall hangings, clocks, kitchen gadgets, and DIY makeover products.   This is what I lovingly refer to as the fun stuff.   It doesn't require me to get dirty and my hands aren't covered in paint so this, for me is easy-peasy.

Remember how I told you before, a million times, that I am not afraid of color?  I love colors that make me happy and that is why when you see my kitchen you find Turquoise and Red everywhere. My coffee pot and mixer are red and the kitchen is sprinkled with little bits of red here and there to make it feel cohesive.   With such a retro 50's feel I wanted to find vintage looking signs but I didn't want to pay for real antiques because, seriously, I can't afford it.

So I turned to my go-to shopping spot for just about everything and anything, Amazon.   Seriously, I have been known to buy stencils, paint, books, chicken vitamins and treats, (yes they have them) and my Kindle and all the books there.  I can't get enough.  

So here is a look at some of the fun additions I have made to my retro house.  I love, love, love every one of these things.  

The Eat Here Sign and the Rooster Brand Coffee sign are perfect in my country kitchen.   I have to be honest, I love these signs so much, whenever I look at them, I forget that I haven't had them for 65 years.  They feel like they are right out of the past!

And my little Chicken Fresh Eggs sign makes me smile whenever I see it!   I laugh because she is laying blue eggs which means she is an Ameraucana chicken.  We have 5 of them and they actually do lay blue or green eggs.   I love that it is real.    Incidentally, that red shutter is one of the first things I painted in chalk type paint and it was the first time I used wax and not glaze.  It seems like I have been doing it forever but truthfully that was made about a year ago.  You want sappy?  the key chains hanging off are not real keys, they are tags I made with our wedding date on them.  Yep, that's me, the hopeless romantic!

My husband saw these letters and shook his head but I love them.  It is the kind of thing that reminds me of home decorating shows and my step daughter saw them and wanted to know where the "O" was.  I just laughed and told her there is an "O" on her wall that I bought her a year ago so hush!

Can you believe I actually haven't painted that wardrobe?   I know it is so not now but I actually like the pine in my bedroom and I am worried about having too much painted furniture.  Yes, I am addicted to painting stuff to make it look new, but this stuff is not beat up or rough looking and I really feel like you need some pieces that remained stained and not painted to make your house feel warm.  If you are worried, know that my bed is black.  I didn't paint it black, however, I bought it that way.   For the record, it is hand rubbed black and very rustic but beautiful.  You didn't think I was that off my rocker, did you?

If you love my stuff you can find links below.  Yes, they are affiliate links but the prices are exactly the same, I promise.  

Okay so that's a little of what I have been up to in the redecorating ideas but what about Valentine's Day?   Well, I have some discounts for you below if you want to by your significant other a gift or just by yourself something pretty.   If you are like me, I usually have to order my own gifts because super hubs just never knows what to get me.   Please tell me what is so hard about finding the sparkly stuff?  

Amazon Discount Ends 1/28/16: Shop Amazon Fashion - Up to 60% Off Jewelry

 Gifts for Him: Shop Amazon Fashion - Gifts for Him

Jewelry Discount: Shop Amazon Fashion - 30% Off Jewelry

Alright, happy shopping everyone and if you find something wonderful, come back and share what you got, I may want it too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Buying and Selling: DIY fanaticism

Goodbye sweet Dry Sink. Pictures don't do it justice. 

I had my first official sale last night and it was to the nicest man.  He actually has a resale shop but fell in love with my dry sink (above) and wants it for his own place.  We talked for quite a while about painting and redoing furniture and he wants me to school him in the finer points of furniture refinishing.  He said my stuff is so much better than the stuff he has seen on the market that he wants to pick my brain. :)

I can't describe how wonderful it feels to have someone appreciate what you love doing.  I would love to do it full time someday but that's probably a pipe dream.  In the meantime, I love that something I made beautiful has found a home where it can be appreciated!  

Okay, here is a sneak peak at one of my next projects.   This is a table that has been sitting in my office at work.  I am refinishing this for my house.  
Project 1: my new TV stand. 
It will be my new TV stand.  I am going to paint it the same colors as I did the buffet that holds my DVD's.  General Finishes Linen Milk Paint on the legs and Java Gel stain on the top.   I have fallen in love with General Finishes Milk Paint.  This stuff goes on so smooth and it doesn't require a ton of sanding, the way chalk paint can.  No brush strokes! 

Very happy to see the beautiful wood grain. 

And I am about to start working on this as well.  This will be for the kiddo's room.  The body will be General Finishes antique white milk paint (her choice) and the top will be their java gel stain.
I am so excited to get my hands on this.  

In the meantime we found out today that we are going to be on the Tour De Coop this year.  On April 30th people will be coming to our backyard to check out our Chickens and the coop area.  I am so excited.  We don't have that Pinterest fancy coop happening so I wasn't sure we are fancy enough.   I love my chickens though and don't mind at all sharing the love with others.   Expect more on this sometime around 4/30! 

Happy Terrific Tuesday folks.   Do you refinish old furniture or love chickens too?  If so send me a shout out!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Country weekends: Calm, Relaxing, and...oh who am I kidding?

We had a busy, busy weekend!  I really need a weekend to get over it. 

I finally got my mixer!  LOVE!!
Friday started out running around town, Target and Walmart were tops on the list.  We found a sale on the Kitchenaid Mixer I have been drooling over for months so I was finally able to get it with the use of a gift card and the sale, I ended up just having to supply $20 and tax.   What I am saying is that when all is said and done and with the gift cards that have been just sitting there doing nothing since my wedding a year and a half ago included, I got this Professional mixer, the one I have been begging for the last 6 weeks,  for $39!   Even my husband couldn't complain about the money on that.  So what have I made with it?  Mashed potatoes.  I know, my hand mixer is probably easier for that but I just wanted to try it out.  I may take those brown bananas and make banana bread tonight after I run a sales call. (See last paragraph for more)

My town has a tour of coops every year.   Now, my coop looks like crap right now because we have plastic over the windows to keep the chickens warm in the frozen winters.  Okay, it hasn't been that cold but that wind will surprise you.  Texas gets down into the 20's at night.   Anyway, I had to send them some photos.  I apologized for how bad it looks currently but the tour isn't until the spring which gives me plenty of time if we are included.

Our coop is a little different from what you see on Pinterest.  No chandeliers, no house feelings.  It is functional and it is safe.  However, I have done a little to make it cute.   Mostly with signs.

The pink and green colors were for the kid but I may end up repainting it this summer.  I think a nice white and may some darker trim would be good eventually, although I don't really think the chickens agree.

They seem pretty happy.   We are starting to ready our garden so I have to find a way to keep the little monsters out so we can actually grow veggies.  We managed to get the onions in and they have left them alone so far, so that's a positive.

Saturday we went and picked up trash along the farm to market road we live on.  You would be shocked at the things we found: Bras, dirty underwear, pants, shirts, shoes, needles, tons of beer cans and a lot of fast food slop.   It made me seriously consider how the little stuff people throw out the window, not thinking of it, creates a huge mess.   We must have had at least a full dumpster full of stuff when it was over and we only went about a mile up and down two sides of the road.   We really could do this every weekend for a month or two and still not get it all.   After we cleaned the road coming into the town, I cleaned up my front yard and found another half a trash bag full of junk thrown out into my yard.   My husband is pretty good about picking things up when he sees them so this was mild compared to what it would be if we didn't stay on it.   I think the biggest thing I learned it people don't have the respect for other people's property that they should and that they use to.  

After all that it was the usual, more errands, taking the kiddo to a sleep over, and making dinner.   I live the dream people!

My family room has a very lodge like feel. 
Sunday we met friends for breakfast, ran even more errands.  Seriously, how do people find the time to do all the stuff that needs to be done?  We picked up 1000 pounds of sand...yes you read that right, and hauled that back to the house. Went to the Chinese market where you can see some of the most amazing and sometimes frightening things ever.  Next we spent part of our day. before the football started, dipping water out of the pool by the bucket.  Don't be jealous.  I know you can't imagine anything more thrilling, neither can I.  Honestly though, the chickens loved the worms that came up because of all that water!
Later,  I decided to make some wall art for hubs (above).  This is for our family room but it is really  more his room.  I try to make it comfortable for him with "man" things around.  The way I figure it, I have the rest of the house so this should reflect him and be his space.  I have been reworking all my rooms and the places I hang things for several weeks now, trying to avoid painting the walls yet hiding the left over reminders of the previous owner.   It isn't that I don't want to paint as much as I don't have the time.   Anyway, these two canvas were created using stencils and paint and I love how they turned out. I just need to find some rustic frames for them to complete the look. .

I found this little lady waiting on me at my office the other day.  Isn't she adorable?   I love her.  I am totally into vintage signs and rustic looking metal so this was perfect.

The above is something I got a few weeks ago Amazon. Just an aside here, I am addicted to Amazon Prime. Free shipping and they are fast.  The only issue I have with the letters is that I really want to hang them on my bedroom walls and they don't have hangers so right now they are just sitting on top of this cabinet.   Hubs said he can makes holes for me so they can be hung, once that happens I will follow up and let you see how that works. (The family room and the master are two of the rooms I don't have time to repaint right now.)  My style is somewhere between rustic country and vintage if that makes any sense at all.   I kind of think of it as Joanna Gaines with color.(Not as cute and certainly no where near as skinny or talented.)  My walls are not white or grey and I think I would be bored if they were.  I would love ship lap walls but I would probably stain them and not paint them white and I really want barn door in my bedroom but right now, I just want the house to be DONE! 

Excuse the garage lighting. 

Okay, finally for that dry sink above.   This is a piece I refinished a while ago and have had just sitting waiting for the right buyer.   I had one lady really interested and she wanted it but it ended up being too short for her purpose.  She was going to use it in a bathroom as a sink.   I may have finally found a buyer who really wants it so we will see.   As you can tell from the mixer photo,  it was painted to match my kitchen cabinets and I love the piece but I have several things in the works and no room for them so I have to learn to let go if someone wants to buy the piece.  *Tears.

So, how was your weekend?  Did you do any fun DIY or community projects?   Did you enjoy football?  GO Broncos! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

DIY Fugly to Fab: Buffett makeover

Sanding fugly 
Alright I am going to be honest here,  I have been sick as sick gets for the better part of 2016.  I have been through two rounds of antibiotics and countless hours in bed.   In all that time I have felt so blah And I mostly slept.  

But when I did go into my family room there was this ugly buffet (the bottom half of a China cabinet actually.  The top half is still in my garage waiting to be re-purposed into a curio cabinet.)  This thing had been sitting in my garage for 10 months.  I was suffering from serious buyers remorse and didn't want to work on it.   Hubs decided it had to leave the garage so he put it in the house  and said fix it or toss it.  

Primed and stained 

So this weekend I was finally feeling about 80% normal.   I could finally breath a little easier and hubs was out of town so I had time to do a few tasks I put off when he is around and this puppy was high on my list.

Above you can see I sanded and primed the piece white, except the top which I stained.  Now let me be honest this piece is not solid wood.  It's mostly veneer.  If you sand veneer you should be very careful not to sand too much or you will get down the particle board underneath.  

2 coats of Milk Paint later

I know a lot of people don't prime when they use chalk paint but I do regardless.  This time I actually used General Finishes Milk Paint in Linen and their Java Gel stain.   This was the first time I have used the Linen Milk Paint which isn't a true Milk Paint but has the look of the real stuff.  Let me tell you I love this stuff!  It went on easy and very smooth.  Sometimes with chalk type paint you get brush streaks.  Not with this stuff.   

After it dried I finished the whole piece with a satin Polycrylic top coat.  Use your best judgement on how many.  I did 2 coats on the whole piece but the top, if your piece is going to get heavy use, would need at least 3 coats.  This isn't going to get used for anything except brick-a-brac.  

The stained top

Basic of the project: 
1 coat primer on body.  
2 coats GF Milk Paint on body. 
1 coat of Java Gel on top.  (If you want it darker you can use another coat.) 

After this dried I used 2 different waxes to age.  One in brown and one in white to mute the brown and give it a little character and feeling of age.  Obviously it darkened the paint just a bit.   

This piece had some nice little bits of detail

Once it was finished, I was surprised at how much I actually like the piece.  We are using it to store DVD's.  Yes, I have a lot of movies. 

All done 

Aside from that it was generally a weekend of cleaning.  We had a beautiful sunrise Saturday.  

This is my happy place 

Yay cleaning!  Remember I have been sick so while the house wasn't trashed, it wasn't as tidy as I wanted either.  

One thing you can say, I am not afraid of color!
See this is a clean kitchen.  Lol.  It lasted all day before the kid put dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher.  An aside here.   Kid says she can't ever tell if the dishes are dirty in the dishwasher so she leaves them in the sink.  Now, maybe I am just smarter than the average bear but of there are only 2 cups and some silverware in the machine, isn't it logical that they are dirty?

I love the signs I found somewhere and the little planter thing I got from Magnolia Market 

Have I mentioned before I have sort of a 50's retro kitchen happening?  Well I found these signs for super little money like Starbucks trip money, I'm talking.   How cute are they? 

Okay so that's my weekend.  I told my husband last night I look around the house and all I see are projects.  Hopefully there will come a time when the projects stop and the walls that I haven't painted don't call out to me to change them. There is nothing wrong with them, they just aren't my paint. :)  

So did you mark off anything from your To-Do list this weekend?   

Below you will find Amazon links to the products I used on this buffet.   Please note their is no extra charge for you if you purchase using these links. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Virtual Paint: The app that has taken over my life!

The Room Currently

The Home Depot Project Color app has taken over my life.  Okay, that isn't true, just the downtime I manage to carve out in an otherwise really crazy start to 2016.   Happy New Year, by the way.  I hope you all had a safe and wonderful start to the year.  Me?  I got bronchitis because nothing says ringing in the new year with wild abandoned like coughing up a lung!

Anyway, if you follow along in my blog at all, you may have picked up on the fact that I am forever trying to redo something in my house, be it furniture, floors (argh!  The worst but at least we finished one room!) or walls.   To catch you up, the week after Christmas we spent putting new floors in our family room.   I didn't do a good job going over this process and I intend to write a more complete blog on the transformation sometime later but for now, you can see the finished product above.   

Okay, so first of all, I don't hate the grey-green paint on the walls but the previous homeowner had some rather large curtains that she took with her (it was written into the sales contract and it was fine because the window treatments were very much more her than me.)  With the removal of her window treatments there were holes in my walls and I prematurely decided to fill them, leaving white spots.   I tried to color match the spots and have failed miserable.  I cannot find the right grey-green and short of taking a chunk of paint off the walls, I am stuck trying to repaint the room.    This brings me to my issue.

A little more grey
I can't pick a color.   You see, I want to channel my inner Joanna Gaines and make a dark room lighter but with the big brown leather sectional (which my husband insisted we have and which I had custom made with really expensive leather because if I am going to be stuck with a leather sectional, I want one that will live forever!) taking up one entire corner of a long but narrow room, I am struggling with finding the right color to lighten the load.

A little more Green
This brings me to the Home Depot Project Color app.  With this app, you load a photo of your room into the app and then begin to virtually paint away.

Some of these colors listed were things I would love to do, in another room, some were just messing around with the color that looked pretty much like baby diapers or something of the sort.
Feeling Blue
My biggest problem is that the colors that I think look the best in this room, are how should we say it?  Dark.  I mean really dark, like Dark Vader dark.    I have exactly two natural light sources in this room, the window you see kind of peeking out of the right side here and a glass door all the way on the other side of the room.    Have I mentioned that this room, the only one in the house that doesn't have hardwoods but concrete sub floors, is the original garage?   Because it is the old garage there are some nice little features like a white wall of brick in the room.  It kind of makes it feel special and a little more country.  You know, because the dead animals on the wall don't really make this feel country enough already.  Not to mention the floors I picked which are clearly rustic.  Then there is my crackle finished coffee table, actually my old dining table that we cut the legs off and I refinished. Yes, I am that girl.

Well, anyway, whoever did the addition decided to put one small window in this puppy and I am assuming the door on the other side was the original door to the backyard.   Anywho, this leads me to my issue of trying to lighten the room with paint and it looking like virtual, crap!

And Green

And golden baby poop colored

Or grey again 

Blue Grey

Something Greigeish 
Channeling a Fixer Upper Color
These paints, by the way are all Behr colors and there is no favorite among the ones I have above, although I would love to use that last grey color in my formal living room.   The taupe color which is a more beige greige is probably the one I lean toward right now.   

I plan on playing with this app when we get around to choosing a paint for my horrible, 1970's peach brick on the outside of the house.  Why, oh why can't Joanna just see this blog and send me an email telling me the perfect colors to paint my room?   Seriously, I think I have mentioned before, a billion times, she is my style idol.   I told my boss yesterday, I am the slightly older, much fatter version of Joanna with a lot less talent and hubs is the slightly older, balder, bad mouthed version of Chip. (Hubs can make a lot of things mind you, but I am pretty sure he can't do everything Chip can do.  Then again, don't know if Chip can fix my AC so I guess I will keep Hubs.)

Okay, everyone go download this app to your phone and commence virtual redecorating in your house!  Just for the record, I have all these color names saved.  It gives you the option of seeing the paint chip and getting the name of the color so you know what to ask for.  How awesome it that?

Alright folks, again, hope you are having a great 2016!    Also, stay tuned for a furniture redo blog coming up hopefully in the next couple of weeks.  I have a project that as soon as I can breath again, is going to take center stage.  It is for the room above so I am pretty excited about it!

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