Category Archives: Adventures in Adult Education

The Adventuress dishes on books, classes, and more.

Dark Places


dark-places-book-coverMy pick for this week is Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I told you how I felt about Gone Girl. Well, I enjoyed this book even more. There were actually characters in this book I liked. For example, I liked the main character, Libby. She has some major issues (and who wouldn’t when your family is supposedly murdered by your brother) but overall, I liked her.

What would you be like twenty years after your family is gone from your life at seven years of age? Well, for Libby Day she is broke and going on interviews for a group called the Kill Club to try and make some money. These interviews include visiting remaining family members at a prison and a superfund site. They also include catching up with strippers and trying to reconnect with an estranged aunt who lives in a trailer park.

I am sure Libby’s trips down memory lane with such savory characters seem a bit well, dark. I agree, but while these people are a little dark, the mystery Flynn has set on this stage is too interesting and tantalizing to close the book. So, if you have a summer vacation on the horizon, take this little whodunnit along with you. Was it Ben, Runner, Trey, Diondra, Len or maybe even the Aunt? I am pretty certain you will want to find out just like I did.


The Knowland Retribution


51UvBJrnNsL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_I Read another good book this past week – The Knowland Retribution by Richard Greener. If you are missing someone, Walter Sherman, The Locator, can find them! You might have watched the one season of a series called “The Finder” on Fox (created by Hart Hanson, the creator of “Bones”). If you did, then you will be happy to know that the idea for that series came from this book.

I love books that jump back and forth to different points in the story but still manage to weave a cohesive picture in your mind of what is happening. Greener mastered this in The Knowland Retribution. From snippets about some Wall Street investment bankers eager to save a deal to passages with a man who loses it all when his family, while he is away, shares some weekend hamburgers. This book makes stops in New Mexico, The Caribbean, New York, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, Massachusetts and keeps you rolling with it the whole way.

Greener wrote another book about The Locator last year called “The Lacey Confession.” Though  my library does not carry it, I will definitely read it. I like Walter Sherman. The character in the book is very different than the character in the T.V. series but I like him anyway and want to see what happens to him next.

Hope y’all have a great Monday.

Shadow of Night


timthumb.phpLast Monday I told you about A Discovery of Witches and I mentioned the next book, Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. Well, I finished Shadow of Night over the weekend and boy did I have a hard time putting it down last week while I was reading it.

A Discovery of Witches was well written and a good introduction to the trilogy but I enjoyed Shadow of Night even more. I like stories about time travel and love history so I really enjoyed Harkness’ take on Elizabethan London. She brought a lot of description to the daily lives of people during the period and those descriptions set the stage for a fast-paced story as the main characters raced against time, monarchs and pyres.

So, head to your library, your favorite book store or the internet and pick up the first two books in the All Souls Trilogy. Like I said before, you won’t be disappointed!

Chicken Classes


Image from Chicken Lover Life. Click picture for more information.

A while ago I wrote a post about how “Chickens are all the Rage.” I soon realized I was not the only one who thought having chickens in the back yard was a fun idea. After I wrote that post, a neighbor put in a chicken coop and populated it with about ten chickens. I then noticed a couple of roosters crowing at two different homes in our neighborhood. Backyard chickens have definitely caught on!

So, I was excited to see that the County Park here is offering a couple of classes about chickens.

The first is called Backyard Chickens. It is tomorrow morning from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The class is “an introduction to backyard chicken basics from rules of engagement and preparing your yard to selecting your birds and keeping them happy.” The fee is $36 or $30 with a CCR Discount.

The second class is on building a chicken coop. This is a

“hands-on workshop on how to build your own backyard chicken coop. Participants will work together to construct a simple chicken coop.” The class meets July 20 from 8:00 a.m. to noon. The fee is $42 or $35 with a CCR Discount.

These classes are part of their “Stewardship Series.” They are also offering a class on “Backyard Composting” and “Rainwater Harvesting 101.” Click here and scroll to page 5 to get all the information on this series.

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Becoming Conference 2013



A few weeks ago I was reading Miss Mustard Seed’s blog and she mentioned she would be speaking at the 3rd annual Becoming Conference in Asheville, NC, August 9-10. I had never heard of the conference before so I looked into it and while I have never been a big attender of conferences, this one sounds like fun. Plus, it is in Asheville, a town I hear is in a beautiful place and full of things to see and do.

“Becoming 2013 is a weekend designed to encourage and inspire women to live intentionally by becoming more creative, purposeful, and frugal . . .  From personal finance, meal planning, entertaining on a budget, thrifting, home decor, trash to treasure, and more, Becoming 2013 will revolutionize the way we think, not just about our finances, but our homes.”

Of course I am very interested in the thrifting, home decor, and trash to treasure classes. The agenda is posted here. If I were going, here are the classes I would attend:

Session #1 Friday evening 7:45-8:30 p.m.

Hospitality and Entertaining on a Budget by Ruth from Living Well Spending Less and Edie – life{in}grace

What’s the secret to the perfect party? If you’ve ever longingly scrolled through Pinterest wishing you could afford to host such a picture-­‐perfect soiree, the answer may surprise you! Hint: It has nothing to do with how much you spend! Join Edie Wadworth, of Life in Grace, and Ruth Soukup, of Living Well Spending Less for an inspiring and insightful look at hospitality & party planning on a budget. You’ll discover not only what true hospitality is really about, but also come away with lots of fun, creative, & practical budget-­‐friendly party ideas, as well as a few fun surprises.

Session #2 Saturday 9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Home is what you make of it: (How to DIY your way to a home you love) by Marian Parsons from Miss Mustard Seed

Forget the idea that good design is expensive, must be carried out by a professional and can only be bought in a fancy store. A great look is affordable and attainable to anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and dive in. So, get ready to be inspired as Marian (aka Miss Mustard Seed) shares all of the secrets she’s picked up while sewing, painting, making, building and shopping as a DIY blogger, antiques dealer and home décor enthusiast.

Session #3 Saturday 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Everything You Want to Know About Painting Furniture and Walls by Annie Omar from Maison Blanche Paint

Learn the secrets of the professional decorative painter! Join Annie Omar of Maison Blanch Paint Company, a renowned decorative painter who has run a successful paint contracting business and decorative paint training center in the Dallas area for many years. She has given an instructional “watch and learn” demo of several faux finishing techniques that will teach you to easily transform your walls and furniture while covering everything you need to know about painting furniture.

Session #4 Saturday 2:00 to 3:15 p.m.

Creative Inspiration and Easy Trash to Treasure Projects by Angela from Button Bird Designs

Find creative inspiration in your everyday routine. Explore areas in your life that get the creative juices flowing. Help the environment by turning trash into treasure with easy craft and beautiful home décor projects. Also see how ordinary objects that usually end up in a landfill can become charming pieces of art. *encore presentation from 2012

Session #5 Saturday 3:30 – 4:45 p.m.

Accessorizing Your Style, Your Body, and Your Life by Courtney Brown and Brennan Lau from Cents of Style

When you look good, you feel good and can then radiate that goodness to others. Come learn how to put your best self forward through what you wear. Learn how to simply and affordably be fashionable through accessorizing, clothing choices and dressing your body type

So, anyone want to come with me?

Here are the prices:

Deluxe: 1 to a room: $154; 2 to a room $110.50; 3 to a room $99.33; 4 to a room $93.75

Standard: 1 to a room: $139; 2 to a room $103; 3 to a room $94.33; 4 to a room $90.00; 5 to a room $85.40; 6 to a room $82.33; 7 to a room $82.33; 7 to a room $80.14; 8 to a room $78.50

*”These prices include the conference, three meals and one evening of accommodations. An additional evening is a available at a greatly discounted rate.” Click here to get all the pricing information and to register.

Anyway, hope y’all are having a fabulous Tuesday and even if you can’t attend the conference, perhaps one of the aforementioned blogs or websites will catch your fancy!

A Discovery of Witches


timthumb.phpHello there! It feels good to be back. I got sick on June 27th and it lasted all through last week. I even have the prescriptions to prove it. Since I was so sick, posting was the last thing I wanted to do and rather than subject all of you to less than stellar posts, I took the week off.

I am back today though and ready to tell you about a book I recently read, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. During our Montana trip we passed through several airports and I kept seeing this book called, Shadow of Night. I finally flipped through it in a book store and discovered it was part of a trilogy, Shadow of Night being the second book in the, All Souls Trilogy.

I bet you can guess what I did when I got home. Yep, to the library to check out, A Discovery of Witches. How could I not? The trilogy has vampires, witches and even daemons in the story. Any book that combines all of those has to have a pretty interesting story line.

A Discovery of Witches did not disappoint. I was soon swept up into a world where each of the aforementioned creatures lives secretly alongside humans but according to a pact made long ago, none can be involved with each other or with human affairs. This is put to the test after a vampire and witch fall in love when they meet because of a long lost book.

I whipped through this lengthy read and am already on the second book, Shadow of Night. The third book is not out yet but I already think the second book is better than the first and this has me greatly anticipating the third. Supposedly, there may be a movie of the All Souls Trilogy in the works as well. So, check out these reads. I do not think you will be disappointed.

Happy Monday everyone!

Lamp Shade Learning


20130610-145508.jpgAll right readers, I have a real gem for you all today! In our ever lovely Southern Adventuress’ absence I thought I would fascinate/bore you to tears with instructions on how to clean a lampshade! Don’t get too excited, it’s only Monday after all. To begin, do any of you all own what I like to call home keeping manuals? I mean by that, works of non-fiction designed to explain cleaning methods for everything inside your home? I own quite a few, a couple of which I will talk about here.

My all time favorite is Cheryl Mendelson’s Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House. Going back to cleaning the lampshade, have any of you ever tried to clean a lamp shade? They get so dusty, and then I think well, what now? I had tried vacuuming the shades with my vacuum’s hose attachment, but that only got limited results. I was at my wit’s end. Oh, and feel free to crack any jokes you like about someone at her wit’s end over a dusty lampshade. I’m crazy; I’ve accepted it.

Enter, Cheryl Mendelson’s Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House. Mendelson’s book is a handbook of sorts, a handbook that details how to clean anything in your home. I soon learned with just a quick look at the book’s index, and can I get a round of applause for books with good, thorough indexes? It is possible to safely wash fabric lampshades.

I began by giving my lampshade a thorough vacuum with my vacuum cleaners’ hose attachment. Then I filled my bathtub with enough water to immerse the shade, and mixed in a small amount of mild dish soap. I think I used about two tablespoons; then, with the soft side of a sponge I began gently washing the lampshade, starting with the shades’ side seam. I did the top material first, then the lining. I then rinsed my shade twice in clean, lukewarm water. Finally, I dried the shades with a terrycloth towel and set my shade to dry on my porch.

Mendelson cautions to only attempt this project on a breezy sunny day, so that the shade can dry as quickly as possible. In Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook, she states a fabric lampshade may also be dried with a hair dryer; though, I have not tried this method I think it would certainly work just fine. Of course, it is not possible to wash all lampshades. Those with paper lining can certainly not be washed, and I would be hesitant to wash a painted lamp shade.

However, it is possible to simply wipe down the outside of a fabric shade with paper or parchment lining with a little warm water. Mendelson also cautions about washing shades merely glued to the frame, rather than sewn to the frame. The glue will weaken in the water and the shade will begin to come apart.

Occasionally, Mendelson states she has even had poor results cleaning shades, which appeared washable by all accounts. However, I had very good results, and my lampshade is as good as new! Now, I’m off to wash a few more unsuspecting lampshades! Happy cleaning!

By A.H.