Showing posts with label Treasures By Brenda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Treasures By Brenda. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Books I Read (Or Tried To Read) During Spring and Summer 2020: A List


Books I Read (Or Tried To Read) During Spring and Summer 2020: A List

The spring and summer of 2020 unfolded in ways none of us could have foreseen. The virus that plagued the world changed our daily life forcing many of us to stay home for all but the most essential errands. As a home-based eBay seller, I was able to work again after the initial lockdown was over. However, with family, friends and all of my other interests and activities unavailable there was definitely more time for reading.

This page is a look back at the books that I read. Hopefully, it will steer you toward or away from a new book.

WHAT DID I DO?


I met several generations of a powerful and influential family. I survived industrialized 19th century Britain. I settled on the harsh Canadian prairies. I visited but failed to enjoy St. John’s, Newfoundland. I raised sourdough bread. I solved a murder mystery and finally, I visited short stories.

WHAT DID I READ?


JEFFREY ARCHER'S CLIFTON CHRONICLES


JEFFREY ARCHER'S CLIFTON CHRONICLES     


The best book that I read was actually a seven-volume saga about the adventures and misadventures of a powerful and influential family by Jeffrey Archer known as the Clifton Chronicles. It was so good that I struggled to put each book aside in order to make time to read the latest book for my book club. This series is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by not only myself but also my husband and my sister-in-law and my friend Alanna and her husband. There is a lot of well-crafted reading here with threads that cross generations. You will find the seven-book boxed set here on Amazon.


CATHERINE COOKSON'S RILEY


CATHERINE COOKSON'S RILEY


I was reunited after a long absence with author Catherine Cookson via her book Riley. I wrote more about the book, which is set in industrialized 19th century Britain, and talked about the prolific writer here. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and if you have yet to 'meet' Catherine Cookson and you like historical fiction, you should give her a try. You will find it here on Amazon.


SHANDI MITCHELL'S UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY


SHANDI MITCHELL'S UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY


Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell is a Canadian novel set in Alberta in 1938. It was good book, a close look at the extremely tough job of settling the prairies. However, it was dark with tragedy upon tragedy heaped upon the Ukrainian settlers. It is RECOMMENDED by me for those interested in the history of the prairies and immigrants to Canada but NOT RECOMMENDED if you need something a bit more positive, which was something I felt that I needed during this difficult time. You will find it here on Amazon.


MEGAN GAIL COLES' SMALL GAME HUNTING AT THE LOCAL COWARD GUN CLUB


MEGAN GAIL COLES' SMALL GAME HUNTING AT THE LOCAL COWARD GUN CLUB


The next book that I read was Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles. It is a Scotiabank Giller Prize nominated book set in St. John’s, Newfoundland. A very dark, dreary modern-day story and I only read half of it. Six or so of the members of my book club made it through but not happily and four did not. One determined reader intends to keep trying.

A review on Google Books says that Small Game Hunting "is a difficult book to read because of its brutality -- people are mistreated and not valued because they are women, non-white, or gay. But it's worth it." Quill and Quire says, this book "forces the reader...to be made uncomfortable and prompted to think rather than be simply entertained." These might be reasons for you to consider reading this book. However, it is NOT RECOMMENDED by me unless you are looking to challenge yourself about difficult subjects. If you really want to, you can find it here on Amazon.


ROBIN SLOAN'S SOURDOUGH


ROBIN SLOAN'S SOURDOUGH


The next book was Sourdough, a brilliantly funny fictional story about sourdough bread, about the computer world and even about San Francisco. Very funny, it is truly a book you should read if you want a add a bit of levity to your reading and your life. Hopefully, my full review will ‘rise’ up soon so that you can read more about this book during this time when people ‘knead’ to stay home more and make bread. Sourdough the book and the bread is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. You will find it here on Amazon.


DONNA LEON'S QUIETLY IN THEIR SLEEP


DONNA LEON'S QUIETLY IN THEIR SLEEP


I have a few series that I am working my way through including Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries. This volume, Quietly in Their Sleep, delivers for an armchair traveler who wants to travel to Venice, Italy from the comfort of home, which of course is the kind of travel that we can do right now. It suits someone who would like to visit as well as someone who has been there who will recognize landmarks in and issues of the city as the story progresses. It is not the first in the series but I do HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book or any that came before it.  You will find it here on Amazon.


ROALD DAHL'S THE GREAT AUTOMATIC GRAMMATIZATOR AND OTHER STORIES



ROALD DAHL'S THE GREAT AUTOMATIC GRAMMATIZATOR AND OTHER STORIES


The latest book that I pulled from our collection of books that has been hanging around our house unread for too long was Roald Dahl's The Great Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories or The Umbrella Man and Other Stories, as it is called in the United States. It's a book of short stories chosen from Dahl's adult stories picked with the intention of suitability for teenagers. I haven't read all of the stories yet because I prefer to enjoy short stories one by one and truth be told, I don't usually care for them at all. However, I am thoroughly enjoying these stories thus far and am comfortable HIGHLY RECOMMENDING this book of stories to you and you will find it here on Amazon

Well, once again, I hope to have given you inspiration for your book list. I apologize to any books that I forgot to include on this list.

See you
at the bookstore!
Brenda

Books I Read (Or Tried To Read) During Spring and Summer 2020: A List





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Catherine Cookson Riley Book Review

Catherine Cookson Riley (1998) Book Review

Many years ago, I parted with most of my Catherine Cookson books, retaining only the few that I had not read, like the one shown here called Riley. It had been decades since I had picked up any of Cookson's books but I remember fondly having loved the stories, which are set in the 19th century in and around what was then at least a heavily industrialized area of northeast England called Tyneside. 

With the arrival in 2020 of the virus that would lock down most of the world, I set to reading through some of my old piles of books and hence returned to the works of Catherine Cookson via this novel, Riley. 


IS RILEY RECOMMENDED?

Riley was indeed very good and it did not in any way fail my memories of Cookson’s books. It is the story of a young lad with no direction who was surely bound for trouble but was indirectly 'rescued’ by a few heated comments from a caring teacher. The result of those comments was a tumultuous but successful life on the stage and marriage to a woman 20 years his elder. 

Riley is Highly Recommended by me for anyone who loves historical fiction.


THE AUTHOR

Author Catherine Cookson, despite being from an extremely poor, working class home in Tyneside, England, went on to become one of the richest women in Britain. More importantly in my mind at least, she also went on to become Britain’s most read author in the mid-1990s and remains on the list of the twenty most read British novelists. She wrote a remarkable two books a year in many years and, when she died in 1998, she left behind 103 novels and a fortune for charity. 


ROMANCE OR HISTORICAL FICTION?

Catherine Cookson's novels were often categorized as romance despite the fact that, as Cookson said herself, there was nothing romantic about the times or the situations in her books. Her stories offered up more than historical romance and are extremely well done in terms of depicting a time period in history, which would surely make them qualify as historical fiction today. 

I do not want to stop with recommending Riley, however. I want to make my post a call for people to pick up Catherine Cookson’s books whether they knew her before they arrived here on this page or not. It doesn’t matter which book you start with whether it be Riley or another, they are all sure to please. Just be careful if you start with a series like Mary Ann Shaughnessy, Tilly Trotter or the Bailey Chronicles that you pick the first one.  You will find Riley on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda

Quick Links

Buy Riley on Amazon.
Catherine Cookson’s Life 
Discover the new, used and vintage books in my eBay store by clicking here but be warned that unfortunately there are no Catherine Cookson novels!
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn reviewed. 
Fast Girls by Elise Hooper reviewed. 








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum Book Review

Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum Book Review

I think it is because I am very interested in the world of art, particularly paintings, that I listened carefully to a recent CBC radio story about the Dr. Seuss book Horse Museum, which was released posthumously in 2019. 

It was a fascinating story as this was a book found decades after Theodor Seuss Geisel, who wrote as Dr. Seuss, had passed away. The manuscript was discovered in a box that for whatever reason missed being sorted through at the time of his death and was only discovered in 2013.

Pages from Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum Book Review

This book is a different type of book for author and artist Dr. Seuss in that it does not feature rhymes like so many of his other books and it is also one of the few books that he wrote that is non-fictional in nature and not intended to help children with their reading skills. Instead, the goal of this book is to help children learn about looking at and creating art and yes, there's something to be learned within the covers of this book for adults, too.

Horse Museum looks at how artists have painted horses over the years. The choice of horses was not because Seuss was fascinated by horses but because he knew many artists have painted them and he had to choose a theme that provided lots of artwork to learn by. 

Art from Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum

Within the cover are many horse-themed pieces by famous artists like Picasso, George Stubbs, Rosa Bonheur, Alexander Calder, Jacob Lawrence, Deborah Butterfield, Franz Marc and Jackson Pollock. While learning about horses, you and your child will also be discovering information about how artists create pictures and about how to observe art.

Suess did not do the illustrations for this book. His found manuscript was not finished but rather a guide to what his idea for the book was with rough sketches in place. Illustrator Andrew Joyner was brought in to illustrate the book with the caveat that the illustrations must be somewhat Seuss like but yet still represent the artist’s style. Throughout the book you will see Joyner's illustrations blended with illustrations from real works of art. 

Art from Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum Book


A fun bonus in the book is that you will see cameo appearances of the characters we know and love from Dr. Seuss books. Those guests include the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch and Horton the Elephant. 

OFFICIAL HORSE MUSEUM BOOK TRAILER


Here’s the official book trailer for this adorable children’s book. Fair warning, you may want to buy this book for the children in your life once you watch this trailer.


Anyone, child or otherwise, who loves Dr. Seuss and who wants to learn about art and horses will enjoy this book. Find your copy of Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum on Amazon by clicking here.

See you
at the bookstore!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween Movie Review.
A Wonderful Way to Grandparent Across the Miles.
Children's Classic Books Reviewed.


Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Famous and Infamous Celebrity Umbrellas

FAMOUS AND INFAMOUS CELEBRITY UMBRELLAS

Famous celebrity umbrellas. 
Yes, they abound. 
They are most definitely all around town.  
Here is a short list, in no way complete.
Just something to think about on a dark and rainy street. 

This page is dedicated to famous and infamous umbrellas including those from both the fictional and the real worlds.  

MARY POPPINS AND GENE KELLY


The first famous umbrellas that come to mind are often the umbrellas from the two classic movies shown above. That is, the magical parrot umbrella of British nanny Mary Poppins from the 1934 book and 1964 film of the same name and the more practical umbrella of American Gene Kelly in the 1952 romantic comedy, Singin’ in the Rain. 

THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG


THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG umbrella movie!

In 1964, Catherine Deneuve starred in the French language, Academy Award nominated movie, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. This film is the middle one in a series of three. According to the Criterion Collection who remastered it, it was a “dazzling musical heart-tugger.” Deneuve was launched to stardom via this film but, for our purposes, it is noteworthy that she played an umbrella-shop owner’s daughter and that umbrellas were required because it rained a lot in the film. You will find the remastered version of this movie on Amazon by clicking here.

THE BEATLES


The Beatles Umbrellas

The Beatles appeared in many photographs with umbrellas, seeming to have used the iconic British symbol as props for many photo shoots. In the 1968 film The Yellow Submarine, the Eleanor Rigby scene features illustrations of the silhouettes of men with bowler hats, trench coats and, yes, umbrellas. I bet the fab five did not foresee the day when they’d actually appear ON an umbrella. You can find yourself a Beatles umbrella here on eBay. My favorite is the dome umbrella.

POISON-TIPPED UMBRELLA


In 1978, a poison-tipped umbrella was used to kill Bulgarian journalist Georgi Markov in London, England. This story is somewhat unbelievable since it seems like something we would see in the movies, but apparently it is a true story and the same umbrella was used but failed against another Bulgarian journalist in Paris. 

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO


My Neighbor Totoro umbrella scene.

In the 1988 animated movie My Neighbor Totoro from Studio Ghibli, a simple pink umbrella appears in a memorable scene. When Totoro is caught with only a leaf to protect himself from the rain, Satsuki offers him an umbrella. Judging by the difference in size of the characters as shown in this picture, that was a generous offer indeed!

LOST IN TRANSLATION


Scarlett Johansson's umbrella in LOST IN TRANSLATION

In Lost in Translation in 2003, Scarlett Johansson walks through Tokyo with a clear umbrella. I haven’t seen this movie but with regard to the purpose of this list, it is said that Johansson wanders the streets in Tokyo with water dripping off of her very simple, clear umbrella.A clear umbrella would definitely allow the streets to show more in the movie than if she had carried a solid colored umbrella. 

I wrote recently here about clear umbrellas. A clear umbrella will definitely be my next one. 

QUEEN ELIZABETH


QUEEN ELIZABETH'S UMBRELLAS are clear in order to see and be seen!

Queen Elizabeth has long carried a clear umbrella (maybe for about 16 years) so that she can see and be seen. Did you know that her clear umbrellas are designed with a colored band around the bottom edge with that color being carefully chosen to coordinate with each of her outfits. Yes, they are custom umbrellas manufactured by a company named Fulton that has the Royal Warrant, the acknowledgement that this company supplies umbrellas to the royal family.  If you are wondering, this means that yes, Queen Elizabeth has quite a collection of these beautiful umbrellas. 

Read more interesting information about the Queen’s umbrellas in Town and Country magazine

RIHANNA


In 2007, Barbadian singer Rihanna released an extremely popular and catchy song called Umbrella. It would go on to be considered one of the top ten songs of that year and the singer would receive several awards and nominations for the song and a lasting connection, in my mind at least, to the small but mighty umbrella. 

BRITNEY SPEARS


Also in 2007, the hugely popular American singer, songwriter and dancer Britney Spears deployed her teal umbrella in a fit of rage at the media when she attacked a car. It was not a shining moment for Spears, who could not stand the glare of the media any longer. However, her actions though not deliberate at the time, were successful in gaining her a bit of sympathy and reprieve from the public and the media.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA


In 2013, United States President Barack Obama was protected by an umbrella held by a marine in his roll as the Commander in Chief of the Marines. Since male marines were not allowed to carry umbrellas, this event was newsworthy and umbrella duty turned out to be somewhat controversial. You can read the whole story in the Washington Post.

THE KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE


In the 2015 spy movie The Kingsman: The Secret Service, a bullet proof umbrella is used by secret agents. Not only is it a shield but it has a built in gun and the handle can be used as a grappling hook. The umbrella was made by Thomas Brigg and the real version of this umbrella that you can buy from the company does feature a chestnut handle and shaft, a gold plated collar and a black nylon canopy but the canopy is not bullet proof. 

BLADE RUNNER


BLADE RUNNER Lampbrella Umbrella

In the 1982 movie Blade Runner, there is a pretty futuristic umbrella called the Lampbrella. It features a light-up shaft and and has since become a well-known prop from the film that won awards for visual effects. Since then, the umbrella has been recreated with varying degrees of success. You can find umbrellas that copy the Lampbrella style from the movie on eBay by clicking here

THE PENGUIN


THE PENGUIN'S UMBRELLA COLLECTION

In 1992, Danny DeVito brought the Penguin to life in the movie Batman Returns. Yes, as you might have guessed from this picture and the subject of this page, the umbrella is important to The Penguin. So important that he decorated his home with with an assortment of umbrellas that double as weapons. Why was the Penguin fascinated with umbrellas? His dad died from pneumonia due to a storm and he sees carrying an umbrella as protection. If you want to be safe in the world of DC Comics, you definitely need to carry one of the Penguin’s umbrellas!

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Well, my personal umbrellas aren't famous or particularly infamous, though they have lived a long, hardworking life and they are beloved. There are many other umbrellas that could have been on this list. Can you think of any that you would have added?

See you
under the umbrella!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Learn about Totes Clear Bubble Umbrellas.
Discover the Rainbrella Golf Umbrella.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Umbrella: The Word, History, Origin, Parts and A Few of My Favorites

Umbrella: The Word, History, Origin, Parts and A Few of My Favorites

This page is a resource page for things related to a tool that I and many others consider essential, the umbrella. Here you will find a bit of information about the umbrella including a definition, the history, the origins of the word and even a great info graphic that shares the names of all of the parts for you. Finally, you will find a few of my favorite umbrellas with links to more reading about them.

THE WORD UMBRELLA DEFINED


An umbrella can be loosely defined as a canopy to help shield one against rain. They're a tool that is generally designed to be hand held and often are very fashionable. Umbrellas can also shield from the sun but are lesser used in that regard and I think of a parasol as something to be carried to protect from the sun.

HISTORY OF THE UMBRELLA


The basic umbrella was invented over four thousand years ago as a device for protection against the sun. It was the Chinese who waterproofed them for rain protection but it wasn't until the 1900s that the umbrellas which we are familiar with today were invented.

ORIGIN OF THE WORD UMBRELLA


The word umbrella is derived from the Latin word umbra which comes from an ancient Greek word, ombros which means shade or shadow. 

OTHER WORDS FOR UMBRELLA


The word brolly is a slang word for umbrella that is often used in Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. Other terms for umbrella include bumbershoot and 'bella with the second coined by pop music star Rihanna. 

PARTS OF AN UMBRELLA


Yes, all of the parts of an umbrella have a name. Here’s an info graphic for those who are curious about what the various parts are called.


Umbrella Parts Infographic


NATIONAL UMBRELLA DAY AND MONTH


Did you know there was such a thing as National Umbrella Day? How about National Umbrella Month? If not, you can read more about National Umbrella Month here and about National Umbrella Day here.

FAMOUS AND INFAMOUS CELEBRITY UMBRELLAS

The umbrella shows up in an endless variety of fictional stories as well as in real life now and historically. Curious about some of the stories tied to celebrity umbrellas? Check out a page of famous celebrity umbrellas by clicking here

FAVORITE UMBRELLAS


I love a beautiful umbrella with a design that suits the user and I love almost any umbrella that is made by Totes. You can discover more about Totes and Totes umbrellas here.

Though I love the patterned umbrellas, there are times when Totes Clear Bubble Umbrellas are the perfect solution. Walking in a crowd? This umbrella will let you see the way forward clearly. You can learn more about Totes clear bubble umbrellas here.

Alternatively, there is the Rainbrella Golf Umbrella. It is good for keeping you dry and it is good for more than just golf. Learn more about the Rainbrella Golf Umbrella here.

Do you have a favorite umbrella? Do you consider yours an important accessory?

See you
under your
umbrella!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Info Graphic Source: Wikipedia


Umbrella: The Word, History, Origin, Parts and A Few of My Favorites





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Six Historical Fiction Books Set in Canada

Historical Fiction Set in Canada

Happy Canada Day! This is the day that Canadians from coast to coast to coast don their red and white and head out to celebrate our fabulous country, which was born on this day, July 1, 1867. It is with history in mind that I thought I would share six interesting historical fiction novels that are at least partly set in Canada. If you love historic fiction, I hope you will find a new book to add to your reading list.

Despite the unprecedented virus situation in Canada Day 2020, this list is by no means an indicator that Canadians will be staying home and reading on July 1. I will be wearing red and white, cooking up something special on the grill, eating some ripe red strawberries, having a walk in our neighborhood to see from a safe distance many Canadian flags flying high and our red and white attired neighbors before coming home and toasting Canada. Here's how we're celebrating Canada Day Together, Apart in 2020 but I digress. Here's the promised list of six fabulous historical fiction books set in Canada.

UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY


UNDER THIS UNBROKEN SKY

Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell is a close look at the settling of Canada. Read this book and you will wonder how the prairies ever came to be settled. If it was not one thing it was another for this poor Ukrainian family when they took up a homesteading on the Canadian prairies in the 1930s. Truly a look at how tough life was for those immigrant settlers with a story line that will capture your attention. I have not written a full review of this fascinating book yet but you can read more about Under This Unbroken Sky on Amazon here.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES: A NEW BEGINNING


ANNE OF GREEN GABLES: A NEW BEGINNING

Anne of Green Gables may be thought of as a children's book but they are totally appropriate for adults, too. They are an interesting look into Lucy Maud Montgomery's Prince Edward Island in the early 1900s.

Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning was written by Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan was the creator of the original Anne of Green Gables movie series. This book is his more recent prequel to the Anne of Green Gables stories. You can read my complete review of Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning here. I have always been a fan of Anne Shirley and I enjoyed this book.

BEFORE OF GREEN GABLES


BEFORE OF GREEN GABLES

Before Green Gables was written by Nova Scotia's Budge Wilson and was my preferred version of what Anne Shirley's life might have looked like before she was sent as an orphan to live on Prince Edward Island. Interesting that two prequels with two totally different stories were published and that they were published just a year apart.  You can find my complete review of Before Green Gables here.

THE HOME FOR UNWANTED GIRLS


THE HOME FOR UNWANTED GIRLS

Joanna Goodman's The Home for Unwanted Girls is set in in French Canada in the 1950s and tells the story of a woman forced to give up her daughter and the tale of that daughter in the Canadian system. There is a lot of heartache in this book but that it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. You will find my complete review of The Home for Unwanted Girls here.

THE PIANO MAKER


THE PIANO MAKER

The Piano Maker was written by Kurt Palka and tells the tale of a woman's life taking her from France in the era of the First World War to Canada in the 1930s. I enjoyed this book because it was partially set in Canada. It is particularly interesting for anyone who is interested in the piano and who wants a look into war-time fiction set in Canada's maritime provinces. Find my complete review of The Piano Maker here.

THE QUINTLAND SISTERS


THE QUINTLAND SISTERS

I have long been interested in the lives of the Dionne Quintuplets. Pierre Berton's 1978 novel introduced me to the sisters and I have followed the true life story of these mistreated sisters ever since. They were the world's first set of quintuplets to survive infancy. This book, written by Shelley Wood, is an interesting look into their lives in the 1930s when the world was glad to embrace the sisters even if it meant that they were taken from their parents and displayed as a tourist attraction. Find my complete review of The Quintland Sisters here.

There. I hope you have found a novel with a Canadian theme to add to your list!

Happy Canada Day
and Happy Reading!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Discover how we're celebrating Canada Day, 2020.
Discover a page full of fabulous Anne of Green Gables gift ideas.


Six Historical Fiction Books Set in Canada





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

When is National Umbrella Month?


When is National Umbrella Month?

WHEN IS NATIONAL UMBRELLA MONTH?


March is National Umbrella Month. In my part of the world, you could not pick a better month to celebrate this very important invention. Ontario is not necessarily the rainiest part of Canada but we do receive plenty of rain in the springtime, which is not a bad thing for, as you know, rain showers bring spring flowers.

Umbrellas have a number of job duties that are not limited to protecting us from the rain though that is what they are most commonly associated with. People also use umbrellas as fashion accessories, for photography and to block out the strong rays of the sun.

National Umbrella Month is the time to celebrate one of the most useful yet underrated inventions so before we plan our celebration, let's take this striking striking blue umbrella for a walk in the rain with us now. It is Amazon's top rated sky-themed umbrella and is available by clicking right here.



WAYS TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL UMBRELLA MONTH

  • Celebrate umbrella month with a new umbrella. Find one that will be sure to make you smile on a rainy day!
  • Celebrate by donating a new umbrella to a homeless shelter. It will help shelter someone else from the rain.
  • Celebrate umbrella month by promoting your business with one. Instead of using pens this year to promote your business, use umbrellas with your company business information and logo on them. You'll really stand out in a crowd!
  • Celebrate by hanging a decorative umbrella on your patio or by adding one to your patio table. Pick a colour or a pattern that you really love!
  • Celebrate umbrella month by donating all of your used ones to goodwill. If you are not using them and they are in good working condition, you can bet that someone else will.
  • Celebrate by donating ten new umbrellas to the Red Cross. Once again, you will help brighten someone's rainy days.
  • Celebrate umbrella month by reading an umbrella-themed storybook. Yes, there are beautiful children's books devoted to the wonderful umbrella.
Can you think of other ways to celebrate National Umbrella Month?

Don't let those raindrops
keep falling on your head!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

MORE UMBRELLAS:

Order the Sky Blue Umbrella shown on this page directly from Amazon.
Learn about Totes Clear Bubble Umbrellas.
More days to celebrate in March.
Discover the Rainbrella Golf Umbrella.
Looking For Rihanna's Pink Umbrellas?
Thank You For The Umbrella, Totes! 






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Totes Clear Bubble Umbrella


During the spring of 2020 when the world was under lock down because of the pandemic, my husband and I have tried to take two walks every day. These walks do not quite replace our regular and beloved visits to our gyms but they are definitely better than doing nothing. Plus not only do they give us much needed exercise, they also make us feel better mentally.

Did you know that walking has been proven to improve your mood? We know this as a fact from our firsthand experience walking. We also know that we need to take advantage of whatever it is that helps us keep on smiling during these tough days. For us, our walks work wonders.

Anyway, because we are walking come rain or come shine and because it is spring in Canada, we frequently wear raincoats and carry umbrellas. We are lucky enough to have a couple of really big umbrellas that are very good at protecting us from the elements. However, they are not clear, which means that on a gusty day we are walking blind trying to peer around the outer edges of our umbrellas. It is a constant effort to make sure that no one is coming at us from the other direction!

Yesterday, I revisited some pages that I wrote previously about umbrellas and was reminded of the wonderful Totes Classic Clear Umbrella. When I originally wrote about it in 2009, it was the best-ranked Totes umbrella on Amazon.  I cannot image that fact has changed much but I do see that it is still readily available for both adults and children in the clear version but that it is also made in a variety of different colors that are opaque and still easy to see through.

The bubble style of this umbrella provides extra protection from the rain because of its rounded shape and of course, because of its size. It has an a large canopy when opened and plenty of headroom. Because it is clear, it will not block your sight, which makes walking in the rain a little bit safer and the unique shape also keeps your husband's or in our case, your wife's umbrella out of your face! "Brilliant," says my husband.

The next time I need a new umbrella that is generously sized, I will buy the Totes Classic Clear Umbrella so that I can see the way forward. If you would also like a little clarity in your life, you can find this Totes umbrella right here on Amazon.

Don't let those raindrops
keep falling on your head!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

See Amazon's complete collection of Totes umbrellas.
Discover the Rainbrella golf umbrella on Review This.
Discover some Good Vibes t-shirts for women on Treasures By Brenda.
Find vintage umbrellas by designers like Burberry, Gucci, Christian Dior, Pucci, Chanel, Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta and Bakelite on eBay.










Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Movie Poster

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Movie Poster

MOVIE HISTORY


Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a movie that never gets old. It was Walt Disney's first full length animated feature film. It was released in 1937 and featured the voices of Roy Atwell, Adriana Caselotti, Lucille Laverne and Pinto Colvig. It was one of the first Disney movies that I remember seeing as a little girl though I did not see it when it was new. If I had to guess, I would guess that I saw it a number of decades later at the movie theater when I was just old enough to go to a movie, perhaps in the late 1960s.

Most of us know the story line of this now classic movie that was based on a tale by the Brothers Grimm. It follows the adventures and misadventures of young woman named Snow White who is mistreated by her stepmother. She escapes and winds up living with the seven wonderful dwarfs that we know and love, namely Sleepy, Dopey, Sneezy, Happy, Bashful, Grumpy and Doc. Of course, in true Disney form, we all know that Snow White is eventually rescued by a handsome prince.

SPECIAL HONORARY ACADEMY AWARD


Even initially, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was considered a critical and a commercial success for Walt Disney Productions and the movie at one point held the record for highest grossing movie with sound when it earned eight million dollars at the box office. Quite fittingly, I think, child actor Shirley Temple presented Walt Disney with an honorary Oscar for the movie in 1938. I should perhaps say with a series of Oscars since the design of this particular Oscar was truly unique consisting of one normal-sized Oscar and seven smaller ones mounted on an attractive platform.

REPRODUCTION MOVIE POSTER


If you simply want a representation of the movie, I do like the idea of a reproduction movie poster. The poster shown on this page is a reproduction available on Amazon and measures approximately 11 inches by 17 inches or 28 cms by 44 cms. Because it is new, it has naturally never been hung so it has no tape marks and no pin marks. You can find it affordably prized on Amazon by following this link.

VINTAGE MOVIE POSTERS


You can occasionally find an interesting vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie poster on eBay by following this link. If it is a true vintage poster you are after, you will have to shop carefully to avoid reproductions. However, the hunt might well be worth it. I think that some of those old pieces are very attractive.

I believe that a Snow White poster would be a great addition to any movie- or Disney-themed room and, of course, it would really suit any little girl’s bedroom or even a baby girl’s nursery.

Would it be a new or vintage movie poster for you and where would you display it?

See you
at the movies!
Brenda
Movie Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy your Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie poster on Amazon.
Read about Snow White Live at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Read my Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Blu-ray Movie Review.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Huntress Book Review

The Huntress Book Review
Told in three narratives, Kate Quinn's book, The Huntress, dives into Nazi-era Soviet Union and post-war Boston. It follows the post-war efforts of a small company whose purpose is hunting for and bringing to justice war criminals.

The main characters include Ian, a proper British journalist who was on the ground in Europe during the war and who turns postwar away from journalism to the task of finding war criminals. His purpose becomes a bit clouded by vengeance when he searches for the elusive target for whom this book is titled. That is, the Huntress who ruthlessly lured and killed men, women and children.

The second character is Nina, a woman who grew up dirt-poor and savage in Siberia. As an adult she becomes a pilot for the Soviet Union and a member of the all-female Night Witch bomber regiment who, during her time on the ground during the war, has an encounter with the Huntress.

Finally, we have Jordan, an ambitious teenager who lives with her father and sister in Boston. She wants to become a photographer and to break out of the societal requirement for a woman of the times that says she must get married, settle down and have children.

In the end, all are brought together by the Huntress.

THE HUNTRESS OFFICIAL BOOK TRAILER


Here’s a peek via the official book trailer from publisher Williams Morrow:




REVIEWS


Readers on Goodreads gave The Huntress a 4.27 out of 5 stars and 91 percent of Amazon readers gave it a 4- or 5-star rating. That’s pretty good.

On the back cover, Booklist says that this book is “An impressive historical novel sure to harness WWIIi-fiction fans’ attention.” I agree.

The Washington Post calls this book a “compulsively readable historical novel” and says that it is a “powerful novel about unusual women facing sometimes insurmountable odds with grace, grit, love and tenacity.” I agree.

WHO SHOULD READ THE HUNTRESS?


Fans of World War II fiction, which by the way comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me, will enjoy this book. In particular, if you would like a look into the hunt for war criminals, Russian folklore and the lesser-known world of the Night Witches, you will want to pick this book up. If you enjoyed Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network or Heather Morris’ The Tattooist of Auschwitz you will want to read this book. It quickly becomes a thriller and a page turner demonstrating how war changes people and the costs of seeking justice.

You should know that this book has numerous adult themes, which is what you naturally comes with a book about war crimes. Those themes include abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol use, war and sex.

Do be aware that there are numerous books called the Huntress. Don't make the mistake that a friend of mine made and read the wrong one. You can find your copy of Kate Quinn’s The Huntress on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
At the bookstore!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

QUICK LINKS:

Buy your copy of The Huntress on Amazon.
The Ragged Edge of Night Book Review.
Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale Book Review.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Movie Review.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Yankee Candles for Easter

Yankee Candles for Easter 

It is a different world that we live in as I write this post on March 30, 2020. Most of us are living 'physically distant' or practicing 'social distancing' from family and friends as together people throughout the world attempt to slow down the spread of this virus by reducing contact with others. I know that in my home Easter is going to look different than it has in the past. We are not very religious but we celebrate Easter as a way to come together with those who are important to us and, of course, close enough to visit. This will be the first Easter dinner we have eaten with just the two of us present in almost thirty years.

We usually start the day with an Easter egg hunt or, given the fact that we are all adults, a look-under-your-bed chocolate Easter bunny hunt.

The rest of the day is spent with a walk and a few board games. For supper we normally share a feast of scalloped potatoes, baked ham, fresh asparagus and some sort of yummy lemon dessert.

My husband and I spoke briefly recently about what we would do this year given that we are in self isolation and it will be just the two of us. Arbitrarily, I decided we did not need a chocolate Easter bunny, which removes the necessity of my husband going to the grocery store. The deal in our household is that I will be the one person to go to the grocery store once every two weeks. This reduces our contact with other people and lowers our chances of catching the virus.

However, I am hoping to make a smaller version of the Best-Ever Creamy Scalloped Potatoes recipe and some acceptable substitute (though I do not know what it looks like yet) for my Best-Ever Baked  Ham recipe. In substitution for the chocolate bunny, we will make ourselves a special homemade treat, which will fill time as an activity and could well turn out to be better than a chocolate bunny. Yes, chocolate lovers that is possible!

We will pull out a few of our Easter decorations. We do not have many but we do have a few and they will help make the day brighter.

I love the idea of a Yankee Candles in an Easter scent like Sweet Bunny Treats, Bunny Cake, Easter Basket and Jelly Bean.  I wrote on another blog about the very trendy Peeps scent. The candles shown on this page are the large 22 ounce jar candle and they generally retail for less than $30. Depending on the scent and how you use your candle, they will provide 110 to 150 hours of enjoyment. You can check out Amazon's complete collection of Yankee Candles for Easter by clicking right here.

How about you? I assume that you are also facing an unusual situation for Easter this year. Will you prepare a special meal? Have a chocolate bunny rabbit? Put out a few decorations?

However you choose to mark the day remember to stay home, be safe and keep on smiling. We are all in this together and together we will flatten the curve and get through this. As they say in French Canada with the picture of a rainbow and a smile, "Ça va bien aller."

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda


Quick Links:

Check out all of Amazon's Easter scented Yankee Candles.
Find my complete Easter Dinner Menu Plan.
Learn a bit more about Yankee Candles with Easter themes and find the PEEPS candle here.




Yankee Chocolate Eggs Easter Candle

Yankee Easter Basket Candle for Easter

Yankee Jelly Bean Candle for Easter

Yankee Sweet Bunny Treats Candle for Easter


Yankee Sweet Bunny Cake for Easter




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Where the Crawdads Sing Book Review


For those who love to travel, the current global atmosphere fraught as it is with many concerns, may be keeping you at home and make a strong case for sitting back and enjoying some armchair travel. If you are interested in a trip to North Carolina’s remote marshlands, you might want to pick up the bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

Before I read this book, North Carolina was not on my list of places that I would like to see. Now it is. I thoroughly enjoyed the book though it started off a bit oddly, at least for me. I had just finished reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which was an excellent book crafted with simple, straightforward language. When I picked Where the Crawdads Sing up, the language seemed overly flowery with text like, “water flows into the sky”, “clammy forests” and “the marsh’s moist breath.” It was not long, however, before I was whisked away to fictional Barkley Cove in North Carolina and wrapped up in the lives of the main characters.

THE STORY


The story? Well, simply put it is that of a girl’s marsh life from the ages of 6 to 25 both with her family and then abandoned by her family, of how she grows up barefoot and wild and, despite sparse interactions with other people, of how she manages to educate herself in her remote environment. It is rich with details about marsh life in North Carolina. It is a coming-of-age tale and it is also one of romance and murder, alternating between the years of 1952 and 1969. The author herself says that the book is about loneliness.

IS IT A TRUE STORY?


Is Where the Crawdads Sing a true story? Not really though Elle magazine says that the story has "striking echoes" to the author’s life in Africa with conservationist former husband, Mark Owens, both of who were linked to the unsolved 1995 murder of an African poacher though the couple has denied anything to do with the murder and no charges have ever been filed.

IS IT RECOMMENDED?


Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly the book, which is Owen's first work of fiction, quickly became a hugely successful book.

The Guardian says that “Surprise bestsellers are often works that relate to the times. Though set in the 1950s and 1960s, this book is, in its treatment of racial and social division and the fragile complexities of nature, obviously relevant to contemporary politics and ecology. But these themes reach a huge audience though the writer’s old-fashioned talents for compelling character, plotting and landscape description.”

Actor Reese Witherspoon, who picked Where the Crawdads Sing  as a book for her book club, helped it build momentum and is quoted in Town and Country magazine as having said, "I can’t even express how much I love this book…There is so much to her story…and it takes place in the breathtaking backdrop of the South. I didn’t want this story to end!"

A whopping eighty-six percent of Amazon readers gave it a 5 star review. It is a New York Times number one bestseller, it has been on that best seller list for 78 weeks and it has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Those are, in my opinion, a whole lot of reasons to check out for yourself the book Where the Crawdads Sing. The majority of readers have loved this book and it comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. You can find your copy on Amazon by clicking right here and if you enjoy it, be sure to watch for Witherspoon's movie version of the story.

See you
At the bookstore!

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

QUICK LINKS:


Buy your copy of Where the Crawdads Sing here on Amazon.
Read Dawn Rae's review of Where the Crawdads Sing.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, January 27, 2020

Hawaiian Shirts For Boys

Hawaiian Shirts For Boys

WHAT IS A HAWAIIAN SHIRT?


I've always called our Hawaiian shirts exactly that, Hawaiian shirts but I see now that some people call them aloha shirts. Whatever you call them, you know that we are referring to a type of shirt that originated in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian or aloha shirt usually features a bold pattern, short sleeves, a button front and a collar. They also feature a straight hem and are worn untucked. They usually have a pocket sewn on the chest and purists say that on a real Hawaiian shirt, the design on the pocket and on the shirt align perfectly, like a jigsaw puzzle.

Having the pockets line up exactly is an attention to detail that drives up the price so the shirts on this page do not have pockets that match the pattern on the shirt exactly. I thought that it was more important in this case to present an economical shirt than a totally authentic shirt.

Will your children notice? Maybe not but mine would have. That little but important detail about Hawaiian shirts is one of the first things that we learned when we were in Hawaii. However, my sons certainly would not have complained about being given any aloha shirt. They might, however, have had a problem in choosing just one of these color options from RJC.



LOOKING FOR HAWAIIAN SHIRTS FOR YOUR SONS?


Are you planning a family trip to Hawaii? Maybe you have already had your Hawaiian vacation or you are planning a Hawaiian themed party or costume. Whatever the reason you need one, you can be relieved that you do not have to travel to Hawaii to buy one.

Your boys, from size 2 to 18, will look great in any one of these shirts. Even after our vacation, my sons were thrilled to have a reason to put on their Hawaiian shirts. They had a feel for the retro style and they were reminded of the fun they had in Hawaii when they put them on. To my guys and even to my husband, a Hawaiian or aloha shirt means good times!

Buying from Amazon means that you can buy a shirt in advance of your trip or even afterward when you arrive home and you or your son really, really wish that you had purchased the one you saw while you were in Oahu. Of course, no trip to Hawaii is required at all. You can just buy one of these shirts because your son would love to have one!

Be sure to check out RJC’s Hawaiian shirts for boys on Amazon by clicking right here. You can find the Woodie-themed shirt shown on this page by clicking right here.

Aloha!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Hawaiian Reading:

Our Top 10 Hawaiian Gift Ideas
Aloha (2015) Movie Review
The Best-Ever Hawaiian Punch Recipe
There's even a little Hawaii in my eBay store!












Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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