The Art of Reading with Holly from “Life as a Thrifter”

The Art of Reading

“Thrift is not an affair of the pocket, but an affair of character.” –S.W. Straus

I look around my house and 90% of what I see came from a thrift store or a consignment shop.  I glace at my closet, and I revel in the number of items that I got for a fraction of the cost at my favorite second-hand store!  In fact, I no longer gain much pleasure from buying an item that is new, because I haven’t experienced the reward of searching and discovering.  Those of you who are fellow thrifters understand the thrill of the hunt!

Recently, the news headlines were filled with the story of a large national lottery prize. I was chatting with some friends about what we would do if we would win a huge cash award (I do know that I actually have to buy a ticket in order to win!)  I was adamant about one fact –  if I suddenly became a millionaire, I would not give up my guilty pleasure of shopping at thrift stores!  While I am always interested in saving money, I just love the vintage, kitchy goodness that can only be found at the “second-time-around!”  That’s why I absolutely devour the blog “Life As a Thrifter.”  Holly Marsh has the most unbelievable eye when it comes to spotting the best thrift-store items and turning them into pieces of art!  Her home is the kind of creative, happy, colorful place we all wish we could have, and she does it all on a dime!  So, as a big fan of her blog, I noticed that many of her gorgeous photos include BOOKS!  Like many of us, she loves to cozy up with her handmade pillows, wrapped in a crocheted blanket (found for a song), surrounded by colorful and creative decorations, and retreat into a good book.  No doubt, she is re-charging her batteries for a whirlwind trip to the flea market!  I hope you will check out her blog and be inspired by all of her unique and creative ideas!

Blog:  Life as a Thrifter

What creativity do you share with the world?  I’m a thrifter! I love the thrill of the hunt…searching out fun finds and then transforming them into something new!

  • Book OR e-reader? Book
  • Buy OR lend from the library? Either
  • Hardcover OR paperback? Paperback…it feels good.
  • One book at a time OR several? One
  • Skip ahead and read the last page OR be patient and wait? Be patient!
  • Bookmark or fold over the page corner? Bookmark
  • Abandon a bad book OR stick with it no matter what? Abandon
  • Laugh OR cry? Laugh

Cover Love:  I love the cover of Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers

What is the next book on your stack of books to read?  I’m probably the last person on earth to read it, but I’m super excited to start reading The Hunger Games.

How do you acquire the books you read?  Although I borrow many of the books I read from friends and family, I love going to the bookstore to search out a brand new book. It so beautiful and always smells so good!

How do you choose the books you read? My sister is a HUGE reader. I go straight to her to find out the latest and greatest read.

Do you have a childhood favorite?   I have so many favorites as a child…it’s hard to choose only one. There was one, however, called Baby’s Birthday…an old Golden Book that I used to read over and over as a little girl. I still have it, and read it to my daughter all the time.  She seems to love it just as much as I did.

What is one of your early reading memories? I remember as a child building a little reading nook in the corner of my room. I thought it was the finest place…and every day, after school, I’d run home to that little nook with a book in hand.

What is your favorite place to read?  My most favorite place has to be balled up on the couch…even better, on the couch while it’s raining…with a blanket…and maybe a glass of wine…

Can you think of a particular book that has meant something significant to you in your life?   The book Heaven is For Real was a real eye-opener for me. Of course, I’ve always believed in God and in heaven, but to have the opportunity to now clearly visualize it’s appearance was pretty incredible. I’m always recommending it to people.

I love to display my books…. based on color. The rainbow of colors is beautiful!

Reading is important to me because…. It takes me to another place. I can stop thinking about all the things going on around me for a minute and immerse myself in a whole new world.

Thank you, Holly, for sharing your love of books with us!  Happy thrifting and happy reading!

The Art of Reading with Mandy from “Little Maison”

The Art of Reading

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”   –Jane Austen

What I love about visiting blogs is that I can connect with like-minded folks with whom I never would have met otherwise.  Case-in-point…. my new friend, Mandy.  Mandy’s blog, Little Maison, is a lovely feast of art, photography, fashion, decorating, and more.  I love absolutely everything she hunts and gathers for her readers! How lucky I am to be able to admire her work, as Mandy lives in Queens, New York, and I live in northwest Montana.  While I have been appreciating all of her inspiration –  from vintage wedding attire, locally-made chocolate bunnies, eclectic artwork, beautiful interiors and more… it was her love of books that caught my eye.  Mandy is another creative soul who also loves to read, and like me, collect and display beautiful books.  It’s all about home for Mandy…. as it is for many of us (from Montana to New York, and everywhere in-between!)  I hope you will drop in to visit her “little maison.”  I know you will be as enamored as I am!

Blog:  Little Maison                                                      Facebook:    


What creativity do you share with the world   I have been in the event planning and marketing industry for 14 years, which is creative but has limitations.  I just recently started the blog and it’s been the best thing I’ve done in years!  It satisfies my love of writing, photography, fashion and home!

  • Book OR e-reader?  Book – but I am a new Nook owner as well!
  • Buy OR lend from the library?  Buy.  Perhaps it’s the “collector” in me, but I just love purchasing and displaying books for my home.
  • Hardcover OR paperback?  Paperback.  Hardcovers are too heavy for subway reading in New York City!
  • One book at a time OR several?  I was always a one-book-at-a-time gal until recently when I dabbled in a few memoirs at once and loved it!
  • Skip ahead and read the last page OR be patient and wait? Oh, I would like to say patient, but I totally skip ahead!
  • Bookmark or fold over the page corner? Folding corners, always
  • Abandon a bad book OR stick with it no matter what? Abandon.  I can’t sit still for a book that won’t hold my interest.
  • Laugh OR cry?  I’d much rather laugh with a book, but a good cry from time to time is okay too.
  • Cover Love:  I love the cover of Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake by Barbara Bestor.  It’s a vibrant yellow and blue line drawing.  It was the first of my design book purchases and still a coffee table favorite.

Do you have a favorite genre or genres?  I always pick up memoirs first.  For years my motto was:  the crazier the author, the more attractive.  These days, I am reading lighter more inspirational memoirs. 

What is the next book on your stack of books to read?    I just ordered Tout Soul by Karen Wheeler.  I fell in love with her memoirs (Tout Soul is her third) over the summer and had the pleasure of interviewing her for my blog.  She’s very Bridget Jones but in rural France.  Love her!

What book have you read in the past year           that stands out to you?                                     Slow Love by Dominque Browning stands out the most.  It was a beautiful memoir on how losing her job helped slow down her life, in a good way.  It made me laugh out loud, and I literally mailed it to my mother to read the day I was done.  She loved it as well.

What is your favorite place to read? I typically read in bed. There is something about being cozy in the comforter that makes me speed through pages.

Have you ever read a book at exactly the right time of your life?  I read Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser exactly at the right time.  It was about change, moving on and personal growth.  I was letting go of a bad relationship, and the timing and importance of that book was priceless.  Right after I read it, I passed it on to a friend who had just lost her mother.  She found the book comforting.

Do you have a special book that   you like to give as a gift to others?   I always buy my favorite childhood book as a gift for my friends’ children, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett.  I still remember my father reading it to me, and when I was old enough, I read to him.

Do you have any books that are special keepsakes?  I have 3 hardcover Hemingway books from my Grandmother that are special to me.  She always would put a label on the first page which read “from the library of” and she signed her name.  I have never read the books (they are on my list) but having the books with her signature is such a wonderful memento.

I love to display my books…. Before I moved in with my fiance, George, I had too many books!  I had books literally spilling out of every cabinet and closet.  I knew I needed to cut down, and I purchased a vertical bookshelf to help organize the mess.  I promised myself that I would not exceed the space on the bookshelf, and if I had books that didn’t fit, I’d need to give them to fellow readers.  Nowadays it’s a fun thing to rotate out books and give away favorite reads to friends.

Thanks, Mandy, for sharing with us your art of reading!

The Art of Reading with Marissa from “Rae Gun Wear”

More Books, More Miscellaneous, The Art of Reading

“May the odds be ever in your favor.”  Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Today, I’m going to introduce you to Marissa from Rae Gun Wear, an Etsy shop where she makes the most adorable little outfits for babies and children.  Seriously, these are the kinds of outfits you want to have for your little one, so everyone around will say, “Oh my, that is so adorable!”  She shares her love of handmade, sewing, cooking, fashion and reading on her blog, Rae Gun Ramblings.  As a high school librarian, I love that Marissa is a fan of young-adult fiction, and I have had so much fun watching all of her recent, very creative, posts leading up to the recent premiere of The Hunger Games.  (I just love the way good authors are writing YA fiction that crosses-over to an adult audience.) I hope you enjoy reading about Marissa’s love of books and reading, and I hope you check-out her fun, online shop soon!

Blog:  Rae Gun Ramblings  Etsy Shop:  Rae Gun Wear

What creativity do you share with the world?  I work full time on my Etsy shop       Rae Gun Wear. I make handmade baby and toddler clothing. I absolutely love it! I sew anywhere from 5 to 13 hours almost every single day, but I love other kinds of crafts and cooking types of activities — although I admit I’m not as well practiced
in them.


Book OR e-reader? Book
Buy OR lend from the library? Lend, and then if I love it, I buy a copy!
Hardcover OR paperback? Hardcover
One book at a time OR several? Usually one at a time
Skip ahead and read the last page OR be patient and wait? I must go in order.
Bookmark or fold over the page corner? Bookmark                                         Abandon a bad book OR stick with it no matter what? Abandon. there are
too many good books to waste time!
Laugh OR cry? Come on, I can’t pick between these! I did both today with my book. Cover Love: I love the cover of Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

How do you choose the books you read?  I’m a addict. I tell everyone I meet that shares my love for reading to get on it, so I can befriend them and get more ideas. I love seeing what other people are reading, having them see what I’m reading, and just being able to interact in that way.

What is one of your early reading memories and why is it special?
My earliest reading memory is of being on vacations in Thailand, sitting in the back seat of a Jeep, reading Little Women as the sun set, and my available light was quickly dwindling, and I was trying to squeeze out as much story as I could.

If I could step into the setting of a book, and experience it first-hand, it would be…  A midnight dinner in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I am such a night-owl and a fan of good food. I would love the chance to dress up fancy, meet some interesting people, have some fantastic food, and do it all at midnight! In fact it’s 12:37 a.m. as I write this, and I’m wide awake.  I’ll probably work a few more hours until I crawl into bed with a book to settle down.

Do you have a favorite genre or genres?
YA dystopian, fantasy, sci-fi that sort of stuff. I like it because I think having main characters that are old enough to take adult problems seriously, but young enough not to be burned-out by the real world work (i.e bureaucracy, politics, etc.) is refreshing. These kids have a unique position where nothing is tying them down from being great. No mortgage, no family to support, and most of all, they have their whole future full of possibility before them. They make you remember that we can all strive to be better, help others, and make a difference.

What book have you read in the past year that stands out to you?

Divergent by Veronica Roth. I actually finished it and promptly moved it to my favorite books list. It lives there with the Harry Potter Books and the Ender’s Game/Shadow series by Orson Scott Card.   The characters are real to me. While they are admirable, they aren’t perfect, and I love that. More than that, I appreciated the mature love story. It is full of action and interesting concepts to think through. I feel like reading it made me want to strive to be a better person.

What are the characteristics of your favorite books?  I’m a sucker for kids with powers whether magical, mystical or just some developed skill or talent. I also really like school and dorm-like settings. More than that though my main characters have to be people worth admiring and respecting. They don’t have to be sugar-sweet, but this is my entertainment, and I want more than what I get from turning on the news!

One of my favorite biographies / memoirs is…

Escape by Caroline Jessop. I found the story to be fascinating and very moving. The author experienced some amazingly awful things, but instead of taking it out on the religion as a whole, which would be easy (and in my opinion totally fair) to do, she just told her story, and I found that to be even more compelling.

How do you fit reading into your busy life? I read while I do cardio. It’s like a bribe. I get to read if I get off my butt! I also read to calm my mind almost every night before I go to bed. Some nights I read for a few hours –some just a few minutes. I enjoy the escape, and I feel like I’m always learning and growing as I read.

By the way, Marissa shares some really yummy recipes on her blog!

The Art of Reading with Brigid Devney-Rye

More Books, More Crafts, The Art of Reading

Art + Books = Bliss

Here’s what I think…. artistic, creative women are very often avid readers!  When I get together with kindred-spirits who like to make things and get crafty, we inevitably turn our conversation to what books we’re reading… we can’t help it.  One of my favorite things in the world to hear are the words, “Have you read….?”  That’s why I want to share  “The Art of Reading” with all of you.  Here’s how it goes:  from time to time (hopefully once a week!) an amazing, talented, creative friend of mine will share with you a little about her art, and a little about her reading.  It’s a little sneak peek inside the bookshelves of someone you might like to know! Hopefully, you will be able to add a few books to your “List of Books to Read,”  and you will also check out a new blog and see something beautiful and inspiring. Stop by soon for another reader profile, and in the meantime, happy crafting and happy reading!

Let me introduce:  Brigid Devney-Rye

Blog or website:

What creativity do you share with the world?  I love making knitted and felted handbags, and this is the focus of my business. I sell my bags on my website and at the occasional craft fair, but the major part of my business is custom orders. I started knitting just a few years ago and started my business six months later when I realized I had enough knitted handbags and people would pay me for doing what I love.

  • Book OR e-reader? E-reader
  • Buy OR lend from the library? Lend
  •  Hardcover OR paperback? Hardcover
  • One book at a time OR several? One fiction, one non-fiction
  • Skip ahead and read the last page OR be patient and wait? Oh my goodness, I would never skip ahead!
  • Abandon a bad book OR stick with it no matter what? Abandon if not enjoying in 50 pages
  • Laugh OR cry? cry

Cover Love:  I love the cover of Isabel’s Daughter by Judith Ryan Hendricks

How do you acquire the books you read? I get most of my books from the library. I love the library! I always have. I usually request what I want, and I love that feeling of seeing my name on the shelf with the book I have been wanting waiting for me. It’s like a free gift. During the summer when we travel, or when I have run out of something to read, I read books on my Kindle.  My Kindle has solved that anxious feeling of “I have nothing to read!”

How do you choose the books you read? I lay in wait for authors I like to publish new books (Harlan Coben, Jodi Picoult, Emily Griffin, Meg Cabot and Mary Higgins Clark among others); I take recommendations from blogs I read—these blogs are lifestyle blogs but bloggers, like crafters, are also readers; I love walking through book stores. I then write down the titles and request them from the library, AND I roam through the library aimlessly and pick up what appeals to me

What book have you read in the past year that stands out to you?  The Tale of Halycon Crane was my favorite book of 2011. It is written by Wendy Webb, the promo reads: A young woman travels alone to a remote island to uncover a past she never knew was hers in this thrilling modern ghost story.”  Doesn’t that just sound good?

Do you have a childhood favorite?  I loved The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series, by C.S. Lewis– such an escape and fairytale for bigger kids. (The British television series is really true to the books).

What is one of your early reading memories and why is it special?  I loved reading stories with my mom, dad and sisters in the evenings before bedtime. The memories of this time became all the more special because my dad died when I was nine years old.

Who have been your reading role models, mentors, or companions over the years? I grew up with a mom that always had her nose in a book. Reading for fun was part of our daily life and I regretted having to put reading for pleasure on the back seat during college.

Here are my top ten favorite books of all time:      I have been keeping a list of books I have read for the last 22 years (I’m 50, so almost half my life). It is impossible for me to choose only 10 books but these are ones that really stand out:

  • Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
  • The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter
  • A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris
  • The Return of Jonah Gray by Heather Cochran
  • Love Walked In by Marissa de los Santos
  • The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
  • Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner
  • The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot
  • House of Fog and Sand by Andre Dubus III

Do you have a special book that you like to give as a gift to others?   I have given Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran out countless of times, it looks like a cute little book but has great advice.

The last book that made me cry….  I just finished wiping the tears from my eyes from reading Home Front by Kristin Hannah. This is a book about a woman who is a mom and a helicopter pilot who is sent to Iraq and returns home changed. I really loved the way this book gave me insight into what war life is like. This is what I love about books, you get to experience all sorts of things without actually doing them. It gives you deep insights into other people.

What is your favorite place to read? I usually read in bed before going to sleep. No matter how late I might get to bed, I can’t fall asleep until I’ve read at least a few pages. Since I do read in bed I am often motivated to go to bed quite early. My daughter usually joins me in bed for a bit before she goes to bed. She’s 14 now and we have been doing this forever, it’s so cozy. But my absolutely favorite place to read is on our boat during the summer. We are fortunate to be able to get away from Phoenix for quite a bit over the summer and spend time on our boat in Canada. When the boat us underway is my favorite time to read, I curl up on the settee in the galley where I have a great view of the ocean, with an ocean breeze coming in and a blanket on my feet I feel truly at peace with my book.