Tuesday, July 30, 2019




  ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ ๐Ÿ—บ

I originally posted this feature on Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic on July 5th, 2018. I'm reposting it for the summer of 2019 in case any of you are traveling to California in the next few months.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Please leave a comment on this post telling us where you like to find your vintage and antique treasures. I'd love to hear about your road-trip adventures!

10. Columbia State Historic Park—This historic park has several vintage-style stores including a dry goods store that carries quilting fabric, patterns, and trims. There is also a delightful mercantile that carries many reproduction toys, tools, and kitchen gadgets.

9. Angel's Camp—This Gold Rush foothill town located on the Gold Highway, 49, has a fabulous store called Nellie Lou's that features china, figurines, artwork, small furniture and lots more! I love to browse in this neat, organized, and fun shop when I have time. They frequently have old toys and dolls on display which takes me back to my childhood days.

8. Eureka—This isolated Northern Coast logging and fishing town has many shops of interest in their Old Town Area that carry vintage linens, farm tools, books, and artwork. This area also boasts the exquisite Carson Mansion which can be viewed from the street. Many other Victorians line the streets in Eureka. The Sequoia Park, Zoo, and Garden are fun for children and adults alike.

7. Cayucos—A Central Coast town south of Hearst Castle, this beach town features a number of whimsical shops that sell everything from dolls and toys to maritime memorabilia

6. Jamestown—This Gold Rush Town has an active Main Street with many vintage shops that carry everything a treasure hunter and collector could envision!

5.  Placerville—Here is yet another foothill Mining Town located on Highway 49 near Highway 50 with lots of promise for vintage hunters! Placerville offers several shops with collectibles and other specialties such as vintage earrings, hats, gloves, brooches, toys, dolls, and small furniture.  The historic downtown also boasts a fantastic yarn and fiber shop, Lofty Lou's. They have everything a knitter or crocheter needs for their projects. My personal favorite is Kelsey's Needle Krafts on Main Street. This shop carries a treasure trove of supplies for stitchers of all kinds since they carry an abundance of cross-stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery materials. Don't miss the two historical museums in the area:  The El Dorado County Museum is located at the fairgrounds and has a plethora of displays on the area's gold mining, local, and Native American history. The other museum is in old town Placerville—the Fountain and Tallman Museum. This museum features exhibits on local dining history, the Miwok and Maidu tribes, Snowshoe Thompson, and other historical artifacts such as buttons and furniture. Up the road a few miles in Camino is Apple Hill. Be sure to stop at Boa Vista Orchards for some complimentary tastings of apple cider and produce products. (https://www.placerville-downtown.org/)

4.  Sutter Creek—This foothill Mining Town along Highway 49 has a small, but lovely Main Street with several gems that provide a vintage hound with many opportunities to find hand-crafted items as well as vintage treasures such as buttons, dolls, tools, and books. The J. Monteverde General Store Museum, depicting an authentic family general store that opened in 1898 and closed in 1971, is located just off of Main Street. The store has been preserved as it was in 1971 including shelves filled with miner's supplies, apparel, dry goods, patterns, and most amazingly—groceries.  My favorite shop in Sutter Creek is the garden shop, The Antique Gardener. This lovely garden shop is filled to the brim with vintage and antique garden tools, garden decorations, gifts, and holiday dรฉcor. They even sell plants and flowers out on their back patio. I hardly ever walk away empty-handed!  (www.suttercreek.org)

3.  Folsom—Historic Sutter Street in Old Town Folsom located southwest of Lake Tahoe has many delightful shops including a Christmas Store that carries everything Christmas. There are many vintage shops that carry books, clothing, jewelry, children's items, or anything else you are looking to find! The real treasure in this town, however, is the Folsom History Museum. Each year this museum has an antique quilt and clothing show that is simply the best I have ever seen! (www.FolsomHistoryMuseum.org)

2.  Niles District in Fremont—The East Bay city of Fremont was originally made up of five districts. The Niles District is where Charlie Chaplin filmed several silent movies. There is a fun Silent Movie Museum and a Railroad Depot Museum in this area along with many vintage/antique shops. The Main Street area is where the merchants and museums are located. However, if you walk around in the residential area located 'behind' Main Street, you will see many historic homes in the Craftsman, Victorian, Cottage, and Bungalow styles of architecture. The Niles District hosts many fun events throughout the year. Check out their website to plan your visit into the past.  (http://www.niles.org/)

1.  Ferndale—A few miles from Eureka this small Victorian village has a large mercantile that carries many collectibles and vintage and antique items for the kitchen and more. There is a newish quilt store named, Stitch, and a yarn store called, Foggy Bottoms Yarns. My favorite shops are Farmer's Daughter and Ring's Pharmacy, a Rexall Drug Store which calls itself , "The oldest continuously operating drug store in California . . ." Get out of the car and walk around the streets on either side of Main Street to see some magnificent Victorian homes and a sprinkling of Cottage and Craftsman-style homes. The Ferndale Museum and Fern Cottage are also not to be missed on your trip to this quaint village. (https://www.visitferndale.com/)


**NOTE FROM BLOGGER:  All photos of the antique dolls, toys, and books shown above were taken by me with permission of the director of the Folsom History Museum. The yellow dinnerplate dahlia photo was taken at the Sequoia Park Garden in Eureka.

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Sunday, July 28, 2019



While conducting research for my next book, I discovered a treasure trove of children's book lists on Goodreads. The books are organized by decade, beginning with the 1920s. As I read through the list for each decade, I realized that while I have read a lot of really good children's books as a child, educator, and adult, there are still dozens and dozens of good books I haven't taken a peek at yet. 
The prospect of reading some beloved, but unknown to me books, fills my heart to overflowing with joy. I'd like to share a few links and highlights from these lists with you in case you'd like to add to your TBR list or select some old favorites for your students, children, or grandchildren to enjoy in this new millenium.
“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
Oscar Wilde 
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
Ernest Hemingway
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
Madeleine L'Engle  
Here are some covers from a few of the books from each decade that I have enjoyed as a reader and as a teacher sharing books in the classroom: 

 Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie-the-Pooh, #1)


The Velveteen Rabbit

 Raggedy Ann Stories


Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)

 Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins, #1)


 The Yearling

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes



 Make Way for Ducklings



The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, #1)


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I would love to hear about some of your old-time favorite children's books! Please take a moment to submit a comment to this blog posting telling us the titles of some treasured books from your past, or present, and feel free to include 'why' they are your favorites. Thank you, in advance, for sharing with us.

Learn about more great middle-grade reads by visiting Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' blog to find the links to other blog posts celebrating Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday!
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Tuesday, July 23, 2019


             Featuring Best-Selling Author, Amelia C. Adams
                    ~Post Includes: Spotlights for Three of
                  Amelia's Sweet Western Romance Novels,
              Author Bio & Giveaways {2 winners, open to
                           US & International readers}~

Photo from Amelia's Website

Amelia C. Adams is a wife, a mother, and a novelist. She spends her days dreaming up stories and her nights writing them down. Her biggest hero is her husband, and you might just see bits and pieces of him as you read her novels. She's also the mother of four brilliant, creative, and exceptional children, and is not biased at all.

She was born and raised right in the heart of the Old West, and has visited countless historical sites and loves learning about days gone by. She must say, though, how grateful she is for modern air conditioning, and that women no longer have to wear petticoats.

She enjoys watching good movies, taking very long naps, and finds tacos quite inspirational. Chapstick is her writing friend - the Aloha Coconut flavor being her favorite. She has reached Amazon bestseller status three times, but it's not like she's counting or anything.

~WEBSITE: http://www.ameliacadams.com/
~FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/AmeliaAdamsAuthor/
~PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/ameliaadamsauth/
~E-MAIL: ameliaadamsauthor@gmail.com

Amelia has generously offered to give two lucky winners Audio Codes for the following three books! {Yes, you read correctly, folks! If you win, you will receive an Audio code for all three of these sweet western romances! Thank you, Amelia.}Read the book blurbs, then enter to win in the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

Kansas Crossroads, Book #1: A New Beginning

Handsome young heir Adam Brody sees nothing but possibilities in the sprawling old building he's just purchased. With a little hard work, he will transform it into a hotel to meet the needs of those traveling by railroad. Aunt Caroline believes he's lost his mind, but she agrees to help him give it a try.

Left a widow with a small daughter, Elizabeth Caldwell must find work. When she sees an advertisement in the newspaper inquiring about cheerful young women to work in a hotel, she decides to apply. However, the hotel owner specifically requested single ladies, so she must hide her former marital status, and her child, if she wishes to get the job.
With cloudy pasts to overcome, both Adam and Elizabeth want to believe in a bright future. Will they find the strength they need in each other, or will their differences keep them apart?

Kansas Crossings, Book #6: The Whisper of Morning

Caroline Hampton is an unmarried, independent woman, able to come and go as she pleases. Working as the manager of the Brody Hotel has suited her, giving her both a home and a career. But lately, she has begun to feel restless, wondering what else might be out there for her.

Since the death of his wife, Wallace Dupree has spent his time alone, working as a train conductor and reading poetry. When he catches sight of the beautiful Miss Hampton, he realizes that a second chance just might be in his future. First, though, he has to convince her to give it a try.

Can a man with a soft heart and an iron will win the heart of a woman who has sworn to remain single forever?

American Mail-Order Brides, Book #3: Hope, Bride of New Jersey:

In this faithful Jane Eyre retelling, Hope Middleton was all but thrown away by the family that was supposed to care for her. Now on her own, she loses her job when the factory where she worked burned to the ground. With no other alternatives, she answers an advertisement for a mail-order bride and travels to Newark, New Jersey, expecting a simple life in a quiet community. Instead, she is thrown into the middle of the dark mystery that surrounds her enigmatic fiancรฉ, with only the chance of falling in love as her saving grace.

This retelling brings the drama of a Bronte classic together with the romance of a mail-order bride novella.



Sunday, July 21, 2019




ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

The inspiring true story of the Giacometti brothers, one an artist, the other a daredevil, both devoted to their craft . . . but even more devoted to each other.

Everyone who knew them agreed. Alberto was the genius of the family. His younger brother Diego was his opposite--he didn't care much for books or schoolwork, and he had no idea what he would be when he grew up. But despite their differences, the two brothers shared an intense bond.

Alberto Giacometti became one of the iconic artists of the twentieth century, whose tall, spindly sculptures grace the collections of museums around the world. Diego was always at his side, helping and encouraging, and in his spare time creating remarkable pieces of furniture, works of sculpture in their own right.

The poignant story of brothers and sculptors Alberto and Diego Giacometti is skillfully brought to life in the hands of multiple Sibert Honor authors Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, and the spectacular artwork of Hadley Hooper.

This lavishly illustrated 64-page book includes extensive back matter, complete with a timeline, source notes, photographs, and an essay on how to look at a Giacometti sculpture.

I'm going to be transparent here -- I had never heard of the artists Alberto and/or Diego Giacometti before I picked up this book off of the 'new non-fiction book' shelf at the local public library. But, as you may have noticed recently, I can't resist a good biography about the arts.

These interesting brothers were born thirteen months apart in 1901 and 1902 in Switzerland. Their father, Giovanni Giacometti, was a talented painter in his own right. When the boys were young, he gave them pencils and paper.

Right away Alberto showed promise as an artist. He was interested in drawing and reading and was a quiet, serious child. Diego was a complete opposite. He loved being out exploring nature, and climbing the hillsides. He was known as a dare-devil. The two brothers were extremely close, and Diego idolizes Alberto. In fact, Diego does his brother's chores so Alberto can do what Alberto likes to do.

The book follows their lives as individuals and as brothers from childhood until death. It includes some traumatic events such as the invasion of Paris during the summer of 1940 by the German troops, poverty, food insecurity and hunger, and frustration/depression about rejection of their creations from the public and gallery owners. 

The authors have not sugar-coated the situations in which the Giacometti brothers find themselves. Devotion, loyalty, teamwork, and perseverance are the major themes of this book which is filled with a multitude of 'teachable moments' for children and adults alike.

The back matter includes an Analysis of one of Alberto's most famous works of art, a sculpture entitled Walking Man; a Timeline;
a photo gallery of pieces of art made by the father and the brothers, respectively; Notes on the Text; and a Bibliography.

**Highly-recommended to fans of art history, Surrealism, modern art, twentieth-century history, European history, family sagas, and World War II history.**

 →➤ My favorite fact shared in the book is that Bruno Giacometti, Diego and Alberto's younger brother, was a famous Swiss architect who lived to be 105 years old!

Learn about more great middle-grade reads by visiting Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' blog to find the links to other blog posts celebrating Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday!
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Thursday, July 18, 2019


~Post Includes: Book Spotlight & Author Bio~
Welcome to the Blitz for 'Underestimating Miss Cecilia' by Carolyn Miller with JustRead Publicity Tours! 



Title: Underestimating Miss Cecilia 
Series: Regency Brides: Daughters of Aynsley, Book 2  
Author: Carolyn Miller  
Publisher: Kregel Publications 
Release Date: July 23, 2019  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Shy, sweet Cecilia Hatherleigh has always been in love with Edward Amherst, the boy next door. Yet he’s never seen her as anything but the quiet girl in the background as he flirts with the other vivacious women of the ton.

When a near tragedy brings Edward’s attention to his family duties, this prodigal son decides he needs to settle down with a proper wife. Cecilia hopes to convince him to choose her—but God may want her to forget the wayward nobleman and put her future in His hands alone.

These two try to find their way toward happiness, but prejudice, political riots, and the changing face of England’s societal structures begin to block them at every turn. Can their struggles turn to triumph—or will their paths permanently diverge?



Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena's Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, and Underestimating Miss Cecilia, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc.  

CONNECT WITH CAROLYN: Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
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Monday, July 15, 2019


๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿฑ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿข ๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿฑ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿข ๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿฑ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿข ๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿฑ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿข
a Middle-Grade Historical Adventure
99¢ SALE! 

๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿฑ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿข ๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿฑ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿข ๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿฑ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿข ๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿฑ ๐Ÿ‡ ๐Ÿข

It's the summer of 1968 in Sonoma County, California, and eleven-year-old Weston Gregg and his nine-year-old sister, Wendy, are looking for fun things to do during their summer break from school. When they discover some abandoned rabbits, they hatch an idea to make a positive difference for animals and people in their small town of Tyler Stop.

They decide to form 'Rescue Each Species-Quickly', or RES-Q Tyler Stop.

There are challenges to face as they move forward into their new venture, including standing up to someone who is targeting Weston's friends for being different and a painfully bad decision.

Will Weston have to handle these issues on his own or will he learn to accept the advice and wisdom shared by some important people in his life? Join Weston and his family and friends as they share some adventures and learn and grow together in RES-Q Tyler Stop.


"Adventure has no end in this tale, where a heart for animals inspires and surprises await around every bend. . . . The characters and the situations they face come across realistic, and the scenes develop naturally. Not only does the author keep a nice paced plot rolling along but adds interesting and practical information about animals and ways to handle certain situations along the way. It makes for a fun mix of fiction and fact.

This appears to be the first book in the series, and I’m eager to see where the RES-Q Tyler Stop adventures will head to next." ~ Tonja Drecker, Author of Music Boxes

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" . . . Issues of race, respect, and doing the right thing come across strong. This would make a good read-aloud in the classroom or at home, followed by a discussion of the many themes."  ~  Greg Pattridge, Blogger & Writer at Always in the Middle

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"Any animal-loving reader is immediately pulled into this story that takes place in the fictional town of Tyler Stop in Sonoma County, California, in 1968. The main character, Weston, who is eleven years old, along with his sister, Wendy, nine, initiate the rescue of some rabbits who have apparently been abandoned at the county fair. This successful venture leads the children to create an animal rescue operation with the help of their parents, the local vet, and many people in the town. It is touching to read about Wendy and Weston’s enthusiasm for their cause. The children face several obstacles along the way. I enjoyed reading about a town coming together as a result of these two young children and their dedication to helping animals.
The story has a significant sub-plot that involves bullying and discrimination. These difficult subjects are treated thoughtfully.

The author wraps up the story up nicely, and then at the last minute we see Weston encounter another difficult situation. We will have to wait for the next book to see how he solves this one. I look forward to more animal rescue adventures in Tyler Stop!" ~ Connie Dow, Author of A-Z With Energy
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Sunday, July 14, 2019



ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

Through Edgar Degas's beloved paintings, drawings, and sculptures, Susan Goldman Rubin conveys the wonder and excitement of the ballet world.

Degas is one of the most celebrated painters of the impressionist movement, and his ballerina paintings are among the most favorite of his fans. In his artwork, Degas captures every moment, from the relentless hours of practice to the glamour of appearing on stage, revealing a dancer’s journey from novice to prima ballerina. Observing young students, Degas drew their poses again and again, determined to achieve perfection. The book includes a brief biography of his entire life, endnotes, bibliography, where to see his paintings, and an index.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:
Susan Goldman Rubin is the author of more than forty-five books for young people, including Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter; The Yellow House: Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin Side by Side; and Edward Hopper: Painter of Light and Shadow. A long-time instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers Program, Susan Goldman Rubin lives in Malibu, California.


When I saw this book on the non-fiction 'new book' shelf in the children's section at the local public library I knew I wanted to read it and feature it here on my blog. In this case, you can judge a book by its cover; this cover is exquisite.

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas's career ran from 1852 to 1912. He was born in Paris in 1834 and died there in 1917. He was labeled an 'Impressionist' but preferred to be called a 'Realist'. He created over one thousand dance pictures, which totals more than half of his works.

As the author deftly recounts Edgar Degas's life, journey as an artist, and artwork, I came to appreciate his work even more than I always have. Degas has always been one of my favorite artists, and learning more about his outlook on ballet and his appreciation for the dedication and hard work of the girls and young women who practice this form of dance helped me to see his unique perspective and how he transferred it from his vision to paper.

"Drawing," Degas once said,
"is not what one sees, but what
one can make others see."  {page 40} 

I learned that his mix of art materials is just one of the elements which makes Degas's art unique. On some of the pieces, he used pen and ink, tempera paint, oil paint, watercolor paint, pastels and various combinations of these medium. 

Each layout features one of Degas's paintings, facts about his life, and a sidebar with facts about the featured painting such as its title, circa date, brief description/back story, and materials used. 

Some time is spent on his technique. For instance, he liked to sketch the dancers in action in their ballet studio and in his art studio. He sometimes used colored paper and white pencil and charcoal to create his sketches. An explanation is given about how he  transferred his sketches to canvas by drawing a grid on the sketch and then copying the image grid by grid onto his canvas.

'Degas was a perfectionist.'  {page 23}

 As he aged, his vision became weak. To accommodate for his disability, he wore glasses with tinted lenses, used a magnifying glass to examine his sketches, and used charcoal and black crayon instead of pencil because the bolder lines they made were easier for him to see.

When Degas could not see well enough to paint or draw, he sculpted ballet dancers in various ballet poses using clay and wax. Photos of a few of these sculptures are included in the book. His last dance drawings were done when he was in his late sixties. The subject matter was Russian dancers.

He was almost blind by the end of his life, and he was bedridden for the last year of his life. 

His tombstone reads,  "He loved
drawing very much."  {page 49}

The thorough and interesting back matter of this book includes a formal biography about the life of Degas from birth until death, a Glossary, a list of Ballet Terms, a guide of Where to See Artworks by Edgar Degas, a Bibliography, and a List of Illustrations. 

Highly recommended to learners of all ages who are fans of art history, influential artists, ballet, European history, and art techniques.


⭐⭐⭐ GIVEAWAY ⭐⭐⭐
Clean Young Adult Fantasy Series
by Indie Author Annie Douglass Lima 

Prize package includes a digital edition
of the first 4 books in the 'Annals of Alasia' Series
~Open to US & International Entrants~ 

a Rafflecopter giveaway