Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Prep 2015

What to Wear?

Haley, Kaya'aton'my', Kirsten, Lanie, Melody, 2 or more

Searching for Ideas!

[The photos are on the dark side, but not too bad. The girls were searching in the early morning hours before school. The camera flash was too bright; without is a tad darker than I'd like. Still working with the old camera.]

What are you going to be for Halloween this year?
I don't know. There has to be something good here.
Or in our wardrobes.
Hey, Kaya, do you have anything I could use.
Oh, Haley. I'm sorry, but no.
But I remember wearing...
I know, but the more I think and learn about my just doesn't seem right. Let's sit down for a minute.
Here's the thing, and it's a tough situation because if you look at Halloween there are all sorts of stereotypes: Oktoberfest girl and guy, Geisha, China Doll, Viking, siesta or fiesta Mexican, Indian; they just feel wrong - like people are poking fun at the origins.
I think I see your point.
It would be different if you were doing a school report in English or Social Studies and needed visual aides.
Like if I presented a report on the history of pow wow regalia?
Yeah. Did you know that each jingle on a jingle dress contains a prayer?
Is that why...
Yeah, you know I really want to learn about and make my own jingle dress; there's a deep spiritual connection to that discipline.
(quiet giggling)
Yes, I know I repeated myself.
No, I agree - it's a total wow!
I get it. But what if we were going to a party that was themed with historical or literary characters?
I just don't know... (smiles broadly) However, as there are so many books and so little time; I think we could leave the Native American representation to me and find alternatives for you.
You got it sis!
Come on...give us a squidge!

What kind of costumes do you think we will come up with this year? What are you going as for Halloween?

So glad you stopped. Come again soon!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

National Cat Day 2015

Happy National Cat Day!

Our kitties are happy and healthy! Hope yours are too!

Can you find the differences between these three photos? 

Best wishes,

XBR4OF #7 Ink & Bone

Xyra's Book Review for Older Followers

Ink and Bone

By Rachel Caine


  • I loved Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampire series and wanted to try her new creation. It's very interesting.
  • PG-13 for violence
  • There are no sexual situations, but there are budding romances and established relationships. If you are uncomfortable with same gender relationships, you may want to skip this series. Again, there are no specific details and we only gain this information near the end of the book.

The Review

Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well, that was interesting, but in a good way. I'm not sure why I wasn't expecting what the author gave us by way of the story - maybe I didn't read the introductory blurb correctly or missed key elements. Overall it was much more steampunk than I had imagined. That portion should not have surprised me at all considering dear, slightly mad Myrnin from the Morganville series.

In fact, the violence and death should not have surprised me either. So why did this story about a group of young people competing for a spot in The Library stump me? I'm just not sure. Perhaps my love of our libraries blinded me. This library is not our library. [It could be when you consider how those in power like censorship or if eBooks were the only reading material permitted.]

Rachel Caine created a world/an alternate universe where The Great Library of Alexandria (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) was not destroyed. Instead The Library became super powerful, gathered all written material, and decided what should be destroyed/hidden, kept, or shared. The society created through this endeavor is filled with burners, ink lickers, smugglers, etc. It is a well thought out world.

The story structure is comprised of chapters filled with action and in between we see correspondence from high ranking Library officials. These ephemera provide the reader with additional information the postulants do not have.

The setting and structure aside, a good story also needs good characters or character development. I really like how Rachel Caine developed her characters.  The unsympathetic ones we dislike from the start. Sympathetic characters we like right away. Others may start out seemingly unsympathetic until we find out more about them either through action of a Library missive. Then we may like them more, love them, or be wary of their potential.

Wolfe: physically he appears in my mind's eye as a combination of Karkarof (with much better teeth) and Snape from the Harry Potter series. Wolfe's secrets become known to the reader early on, but not all the details are revealed. His character opens slowly and he moves from stern and unapproachable to caring and proud. He does his best knowing his limitations.

Santi: easily my favorite character (I fear for his future). This soldier and body guard is much more. The way his character evolves, as well as his relationship with Wolfe and his students...impressive. He is quick and his thinking tactical and wise. There is a reason he holds the rank he does.

Jess: the main character, the hero - I have a love/dislike relationship with him. Instead of seeing his efforts as contributions, he whines about being used. Get used to it, kid - everyone's talents and expertise is used to help situations and survival. Outside of those instances he focused on being a victim, Jess grew from a scared student to minor soldier to caring friend. He sees the growth of the others and as his/her situation changes he embraces the others as comrades in arms and then friends.

If you like books with diversity...this is the series to try. Boys and girls from all over the world compete to become a part of The Library. Each has their own reasons. Each has secrets.

In the end, I really liked and enjoyed this book. Some scenes were shocking, but I wouldn't give the movie an R rating. More like a PG-13 for violence. While I look forward to the next installment, I hope the series isn't quite as long as Morganville.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rock Garden

Rocks Appear

Kaya, Lanie, Melody, 2 or more

Preparing for Renovations

Hey! What are these rocks doing here?
Where did they come from?
Ohhh! I bet I know. Xyra mentioned a big renovation project and a few things she needed to do before excavation began.
Really? Like what?
Well, I think she said the wall and porch were going to be removed and replaced.
Wow! That's huge!
So she needed to transplant some plants from the front flower bed to the side and back, collect the brick edging...
And collect favorite rocks from the rock garden.
We could help.
Where are they going?
I think we should just put them in this bucket for now.
Good idea!
[Moving rocks to bucket...time passes]
Yeah, I'm tired.
There is no way we're moving these.
We did fill the bucket.
Nicely done!
Time for some tea!
[Head inside for iced tea.]

Have you ever had to prepare for a big renovation? Changes can be scary or fun. What do you think about changes?

Best wishes,

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Seeing Double

Accessory Twins

Groovy Dude!

We recently picked up the Our Generation Into the Groove retro accessory set.
The sunglasses and hair jewelry...just too cool!
Unfortunately, we have already mislaid the scarf. So if you get this set, I highly suggest you tuck the scarf right into the purse for storage.

The hair clip is big and kind of heavy.
The purse is cute.

[Time passes]

So I was looking for a purse to go with my outfit and went to our purse bin. I couldn't believe it! We have two identical purses! 
How did that happen?

Studying the two I noticed the one is from Into the Groove. We haven't untied the strap yet. Then realized the other is from the Boho Beauty outfit.
Wow! We're going to have to tie a string on one or something to make it different. Wouldn't want to grab the wrong purse. Oh! Now I know what to do with the scarf when we find it again! I'm going to tie it on the purse strap.

But seriously, don't you think this is a fabulous purse for this outfit? :)

Xyra's Notes

  • The barrette is a normal size for human wear. Just remember you shouldn't share - the oils in human hair do not mix well with the hair of our 18" friends.
  • I know the scarf will turn up. It was tucked away "someplace safe" and you know how that goes.
  • The purses are exactly the same. So if you have both the Boho Beauty outfit and Into the Groove retro accessory set and are particular about keeping sets together...

See you again soon!

Note:  Tea Time with Melody Q is not affiliated with American Girl or Our Generation. All sets featured have been personally purchased or gifted by family to our collection. All links provided are for educational and informative purposes only.  No purchase is required or suggested.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Madeline's New Clothes

Better Clothes

We did search The Toy Box Philosopher's blog for any 8" doll reviews and found one for a Tonner 8" doll. It was interesting to see the different clothes she tried and what fit. Taking Emily's lead we tried a couple of mini outfits on Madeline.

The pink gingham dress we found at The Queen's Treasures fits perfectly! This dress is not on the website. :(
Yes, she's still wearing makeshift stockings or slippers.

Then Madeline and Tama (LORI doll) switched outfits.
The pink shoes Madeline is wearing are from mini OG Holly's outfit. So the OG and LORI shoes fit Madeline well too.

Next to try on is the Wonderfully Warm  LORI outfit.
Obviously, I didn't try the earmuffs or sunglasses because of the big difference in head size.

Thank you, Emily, for your guidance in clothing Madeline!

Which do you like better?

Best wishes,

Note: Tea Time with Melody Q is not affiliated with American Girl, Our Generation, Battat, LORI, The Queen's Treasures, or Eden Toys. All links are provided for educational and informative purposes. No purchase is required or suggested. We do follow Emily's blog The Toy Box Philosopher - she does really detailed doll reviews of all sorts of dolls.