Sunday, December 31, 2006


Happy New Year!!!! This year is so full of promise and I am very excited! On the home front Mike and I hope to get going on making improvements to our home to make it more homey and fun to hang out in. I hope to also get more organized, etc. blah, blah, blah!!!!

On the art front my best gals and I are planning a trip to Red Lead Paperworks in St. Louis for a shopping and art excursion. In October we are going to take a class with the famous Lynne Perrella. In between we hope to get together as often as possible for stamp camps and just plain old stamping, antique shopping, and fun, fun, fun!
2006 was really a banner year for me. I started this blog and from it came all kinds of wonders and moments full of joy! I have made new friends who I treasure so much and learned so many things both technical and artful! Thank you everyone for making me feel so welcome. I love how we have become entwined in each other's lives through the blogging community.

I wish everyone a year full of peace, love, and understanding!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Out of Control and Trying to Exert some Order-TBR 2007

I stumbled on the most exciting challenge!!! TBR 2007. For those in the know, TBR stands for To Be Read, as in a pile of books that you have purchased and said books have been unread for quite some time. I have "several" books that fit in this category, Ahem! Above is a picture of my books for the TBR Challenge. The challenge is hosted by the Literary Cache blog. The idea is that you pick 12 books from your TBR challenge and read one a month during 2007! Excellent idea as it got me all motivated to start reading what I have. I have an illness when it comes to books, I could buy 5-10 a week. There are so many great books out there, so many novels that sound interesting, so many works of non-fiction that I should read......I am trying to rein myself in just a bit and start reading what I have! I won't be able to stop buying new books, but at least I hope to slow down.

My 12 books are :

Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
We Are All The Same by Jim Wooten
She Got Up off the Couch by Haven Kimel
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
His Brother's Keeper by Jonathan Weiner
King Dork by Frank Portman
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Until I Find You by John Irving
The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
Blankets by Craig Thompson
The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein

Above is my back-up pile. If one of the original 12 books is not to my liking I will substitute it with one of these books.

Those Who Favor Fire by Lauren Wolk
Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanah Clark (note that this book is still in the original shrink wrap! for shame!)
Maise Dobbs by Jaqueline Winspear
The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty
The Sad Truth About Happiness by Anne Giardini
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tylane by Kate DiCamillo
Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell

If anyone has read any of these and has comments please leave them for me!
Okay, I am going to be honest. Following are pictures from around the house of places that contain books. This is the guest room.
My nightstand.
Our dresser with my books all over it.
One of our bookcases. This is a relatively new bookcase that has been overun with books.
My family is joining in the fun. They aren't official members, but picked 12 books and will be doing the challenge along with me. Above are Mike's books.
This is my Mom's pile of books.

Below are my brother, Todd's books.

We all kind of have the same problem.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Laura Duet's Best Books of 2006! An annual list.

I don't think it is a coincidence that I read the least amount of books ever (well since adulthood, I guess) in 2006! This is also the year that I started Maude and Mozart and reading everyone else's blogs which I really love to do, but boy it really cut into my reading time! So, reading has kind of taken a back seat to blogging and stamping.....hopefully, I will be able to read more in 2007 while keeping up with everyone's blogs too. Without further ado, here are the best books I read this year!!!!!! The number one book was definitely the best book I read this year and then following that #2 through #10 are in no particular order. 1. Digging To America by Anne Tyler.

2. Girls of Tender Age by Mary-Anne Tirone Smith
3. The World According to Mimi Smartypants by Mimi Smartypants 4. Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg

5. But Enough About Me by Jancee Dunn

6. A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas

7. The Way We Were by Paul Burrell

8. Cancer Vixen by Marissa Marchetto

9. Little Children by Tom Perrotta

10. Housekeeping vs. The Dirt by Nick Hornby

Please, I beg of you, leave me the the title of the best book or books you read this year in the comments section! I live for this kind of information!!!!

Vintage Image Books/Stamping Magazines Jackpot

Beautiful Christmas card made by one of the very important people in my life, Miss Trish!
Well, over the past two days I have had a jackp0t of crafty books/vintage image books coming through the doors. Above is a book that Mike gave me for Christmas, and the coolest thing about it is I had never seen it or heard of it before! He found it all on his own and it is totally cool. Chock full of images to be used in artwork!!!
Great book from my Mom! The ultimate collection of Christmas magazine covers from the 20's, 30's, and 40's!! Love the cover!
Another great book from Mom.
And another great book from Mom. She found a store in Michigan that had a ton of Laughing Elephant/Green Tiger stuff!
Then today, when I should have been straightening and organizing, Mike and I instead went out for lunch and then to look for calenders...well, lo and behold I found the new Somerset and new Inspirations!!! Guess what I am doing tonight after I put the laundry away!?????

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Wonders

The pictures are from Christmas Eve at my Mom's house. As I mentioned before, she decorates her home so it looks magical!!
Mike and I.....Christmas love!
My Mom and I in our matching hats that we got at the Swedish shop in Rockford, IL.
My brother and I!
Here is our table set for a lovely meal! Small table for four....we miss our family that could not be with us....loving thoughts of our Grandmothers, Grandfathers, and family that lives in other states.
The best Christmas Tree in the whole world! Every ornament picked with loving care and every ornament has a memory!
Mike made some totally great and delectable lime sugar cookies! Big yum!
This is my Grandpa Bates' sled. He carved his initials and the year 1917 in the wood!
Mom's doll and bookcase....
Are you acquainted with Miss Muffy Vanderbear????? She is pleased to see you!
Mom and her little Hummel tree. Tres cute!
Blurry tree picture........Note to self..need to learn how to use digital camera better!
Uncle Misteletoe.....for all people familiar with Chicago Christmas traditions...
This lovely little ornament was made by the lovely Heather Simpson-Bluhm.....I gave it to my Mom for her birthday and it is perfect near the fireplace and on the tree! It went back and forth between the two for optimal viewing!
One of my Mom's Nancy Ann story book dolls. I believe these were popular in the 1940's. Extreme cuteness alert!
Snowmen and others on top of the speaker.
That little dear in the photograph is my Grandma Bates.
Blurry action, but had to include it as this was such a beautiful tableau done by my Mom.
Love this plaque on the back of the front door.
and a good time was had by all..........................

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Merry Christmas to all! May your holiday be filled with wonders and delights!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas is Coming!

I have one more day of work and then it my mini-Christmas vacation! On Christmas Eve Mike and I will go to my Mom's house and on Christmas Day we will go to Mike's parents' house. We still need to do some shopping, and we are planning on hitting the stores early Saturday morning hopefully avoiding big crowds.
Every year I say I will be ready before this (well you have already heard me say that, but still....).......but next year I will be ready earlier! Tomorrow night I will be going out to dinner with my friends Trish and Jane! We are going to a nice restaurant and the whole shebang!
Remember when I went to Rockford, IL for the day with my Mom. We went to a stamp store, a Swedish store, and two antique malls. The stamp store was just okay. The Swedish store was fun, and the antique malls were kind of stinky. Not much too exciting and high prices, but I did manage to find a few treasures which are the top picture and the following two. Although I do not enjoy cooking, cleaning or wearing dresses.....I find the images on these books just lovely!!! Would that it was 1947 (and there had been no WW1 or WW2) and I was a happy housewife, staying home while my hunky husband went to work, earning enough money to maintain the family of a son and our dog!!! Wouldn't that be fun? We could have martinis in the evening! Using a real cocktail shaker! (of course, in this fantasy I would like martinis right?)
The photo album below is in really bad shape, however the cover is cool (it even has two bluebirds on it!) and someday when I am good at altering things I will use it in some sort of assemblage!
It even had about six pages of pictures inside! Bonus!