Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Library Transformation - Get the Annie Sloan out!

I am sure you have been on tenterhooks waiting for this next installment on my library transformation. Well I am pleased to report it is finally pretty much finished. I faffed about for a fair amount of time staging (and re-staging) the shelves but that is the fun I guess.

I love old furniture and slowly but surely I am changing our furniture from Ikea flat pack to old school rustic and antique looking pieces. However, there was no way on earth we could afford to get as many bookcases as I wanted considering we pretty much had all we needed already. Some of it was stored in the garage and a bit cobwebby but on the whole they were ready and waiting to be used. I did not want to lose the effect of the brick wallpaper so I got to enjoy the task of knocking the back out of five billy bookcases (3 large 2 small). It was surprisingly satisfying but not the safest thing I have ever done.

Having used Annie Sloan before I knew that was my paint of choice. I am too impatient for priming and I wanted to get all 5 bookcases done as soon as I physically could. Armed with Paris Grey I set to work. It was surprisingly speedy to paint them and I was helped along by the fact my sister was staying in the room within a few days so it needed to be safe for my niece. I painted four bookcases in quick succession (I was watching bookcase #5 on eBay). Painting was straight forward if a bit messy. I only got one splinter, which I am not going to lie seriously slowed me down and I became a pathetic person for a short while. 

Eventually I found the best approach was to paint the sides then put the shelves back on the paint before the sides dried otherwise they absolutely wrecked the paintwork.  Once painted I had numerous arguments discussions with my husband on how to get them straight now the backs were out. I was in full panic mode by this point as I had two days to get them straight and full of books before my sister stayed and a part of me still wanted it to look styled even though it just needed to be semi-finished.

Again, as with part 1 Youtube came to my rescue and a surprisingly easy solution was proposed. Equipped with my new drill (be afraid) I screwed the bookcases together through the pre-drilled holes for moving the shelves about. I literally could have wept as they were straight, safe and looked as I had hoped. I set about waxing with Annie Sloan wax I had left over. I loved the colour the wax developed the paint into and I gave it a good day (that’s all the time I had) to dry and buff before chucking haphazardly all the books back into place.

I then had the onerous task of waiting for an eBay auction to end. Stood in the aisle in Asda I bid on a bookcase and won. My ever dutiful husband collected it the following day and I had it painted and waxed and in position in no time - not in time for for the sisters arrival but still it didn't take too long. 

I love them. I cannot even hide it. They are exactly what I hoped they would be and they are thankfully straight much to my concern. I am struggling to get a picture of them in all their glory so I might attempt a panoromic picture soon!

Next steps are the desk, tables and headboard but that’s a post for another day…

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Choosing what books to buy is never easy when you have a never ending list. This is one of the reasons I love the idea of a book subscription service. Regardless of all the other book paraphernalia I love the idea of a book arriving they I may not previously have had on my radar.  Now as with all things reading related book likes and dislikes are so subjective that I am aware I will not always like what other choose.

I subscribed to Fairyloot back in February before my first single purchases box had even arrived. I have now received four boxes and have read 3 out of 4 of the books sent. For me they have ranged from as low as a 3 star and as high as 5 star reads which I think is a good range. The most recent arrival in May was Flame in the Mist. Due to the constant hints the book would be a retelling of Mulan I guessed what it was before it arrived. I don't mind this as it does help stop me buying a book I think could be in the Fairyloot. 

The book intrigued me but I am not sure I would have brought it had it not appeared in the Fairy Loot having reading nothing else by the author and not seeing it from the blurb as particularly fantasy driven.  Well I sure am glad it came in the Fairyloot. I loved it. I think the comparisons to a retelling of Mulan are a bit loose as it has more depth and is less about her wanting to fight and more about her wanting to find herself.  I can understand why they have be made. Equally it has elements of fantasy that took me greatly by surprise. 

Mariko is being delivered by her family into the hands of the emperor as a bride for his son. She is fully aware that her alliance means more power for her father. She is a useful possession of his father because she was born a girl. She and her consort are ambushed on their journey to her would be suitor and Mariko the lone survivor decides to infiltrate the clan responsible in order to disestablish them from within and have her revenge. Disguising herself as boy she endears herself to the Black Clan. No one is as they seem in the book and the fantasy elements become stronger as the story continues. 

I loved the effortlessly way in which Ahdieh writes, it flowed off the page and I was completely enamoured. The characters were all well developed and Mariko was a likeable main character and had a sense of self I appreciated. I could not put the book down and I am thrilled that is not a stand alone book.

The story effortless weaves itself off the page. A must read

Friday, 9 June 2017

Derailed - Reading Slump

So somehow my reading mojo slipped. I know I am not the only one who gets super into a lot of books and then one book derails the whole process and you find yourself struggling to get back into the habit of daily reading. 
I am never really without a book but I managed to pick the wrong one and I had a huge gap in my reading spree and it has meant that the hideous sentence 3 books behind schedule is appearing on my Goodreads. I am pretty sure I have mentioned before that I sometimes find the Goodreads goal a bit of a daunting one but it only really bothers me when I get behind. 

I had to pick myself up out of the slump and went for my tried and tested method. A good crime story found with a handy Kindle Daily deal. I also picked up I See You another crime story and my go to slump defeating author Diane Chamberlain. I finished the daily deal treat (The Girl Friend) really quickly and it was a good reminder of how much I love reading and the time out in gives me. I hate not reading and I genuinely think it puts me in a bit of a funk when I am not reading. I am now reading I See You and it is really clever and has me hooked which is just what I needed.  

Hopefully after that break I can reenter my bookstagramming and blogging ways as well as defeating that condescending Goodreads reminder! 

What are you ways of getting out of a reading slump?