What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday – #514

Hello my creative friends! It’s been a little while since I posted my desk and snooped around yours. Hopefully I can get two in this month. Every other week seems to work better for me. Before I babble, let me explain for the newbies. For those of you that aren’t familiar with WOYWW (What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday), head on over to Julia’s Stamping Ground and you will find desks from all around the world where we get to snoop on other crafter’s desks.

What a clean desk you might ask. Well that is only because I went to my annual girlfriend creative weekend and took a whole bunch of stuff with me to play. It is usually between 10 – 15 of us that attend a weekend in a beautiful Inn up north. I stayed and played for 4 days! If you want to see some sights from my craft escape check it our here. So that is why my desk is exceptionally tidy.

The floral binder is my new garden journal. I couldn’t resist the beautiful color and the flowers oo la la!!  It’s smaller than I usually use but I will give it a try and see how it works. It being smaller might help me update it more regularly since it would be bulky and heavy to lug around. Front and center is my case with my Prismacolor colored pencils. To the right of it is my brand spankin’ new colored pencil sharpener. I saw a colorist on YouTube talk about it this past weekend and had to have it. I have two small sharpeners that I use but this one gets the sharpest point and it’s said prevents some of the breaking that occurs on occasion while sharpening the pencils. My hands also get tired using my other manual sharpeners. This one you only need to turn the handle 3-4 turns to get an amazing point. It has a self grip for the pencil so it’s easy to use on my desktop or I can also attach it to my desk with the supplies included. So I am going through my case and sharpening all of my pencils in preparation for my next coloring session. This could not happen with my old sharpeners because my hands would be killing me. So I am happy with this purchase.

Look how sharp the pencil is after I sharpen it. So excited. Well that is all I have today. But I will spend the next few days checking out what you ladies have been up to since I last visited!

Make it a crafty day!!

Belinda

Annual Girls Trip Recap

Well hello my friends. I hope you are well today. It’s quite gloomy outside but inside I am feeling happy. I just arrived home Sunday night from my annual girlfriend weekend and boy is it good for the soul. I left Thursday morning and rode up with my friend who doesn’t mind the long drive. It’s always fun because we get caught up on each other’s lives and before we know it we are almost there. But our first stop is to this lovely cafe that serves the yummiest sandwiches and then when our bellies are full we ride the final 10 minutes to the Inn. I never tire watching all of the mountain views as we get closer to our destination.

This year was our 10th anniversary having this trip and when we arrived they had a fabulous spread that included a chocolate fountain with yummy fruit to dip in it.

I took the time to enjoy a massage right at the inn. I always put off getting them throughout the year but I think this year I am going to change that and try to incorporate it. Maybe one every other month because the knots and tension in my shoulders are no joke!

I worked on loads of card-making projects breaking out many new stamps and inks and then I even spent some time coloring in one of my new coloring books.

I tested out new techniques and played with new stamps. It was productive and fun to relax and play with my supplies uninterrupted.

The food and service at the Inn were amazing as usual. Once again I was spoiled by the staff when it came to breakfast options!

The ladies are so talented in so many areas. Two of my friends are amazing quilters and there was a lot of oooo and aaah going on all weekend as we pawed all of there pretty creations.

My friend Pam and I had been discussing her beautiful quilts and I asked her if she had time, if she could make me one. Well she brought the finished product to give to me on our trip and let me tell you, I am over the moon! I told her the colors I like and that I like hummingbirds. She made the most amazing quilt for me. She had it wrapped in a matching pillowcase. I couldn’t stop talking about it while I was there. Ok, maybe a little bragging! But it’s so beautiful. I even took it out and sat by the fireplace with my current read and broke it in. I am so grateful and feel blessed to have such a generous friend to lend her talent to make me something so special.  I know I am going to get a lot of use out of this quilt.

I broke in my quilt with a fireside reading session. I look forward to many hours with this beauty!

My friend Pam was a productive one this weekend. This is a wall hanging she made while we were there. It’s even more beautiful in person.

I stayed up later than I normally do to hang out but then each night I had a date with my book and fireplace. Unfortunately, most nights I didn’t read very far before I would fall asleep.

Kathryn made t-shirts to help us celebrate reaching 10 years of our creative escape!

Overall another successful trip and l look forward to the fun next year.

Belinda

Belinda’s Book Nook Book Review: American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

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Title: American Spy
Author: Lauren Wilkinson
Copyright: February 12, 2019
Genre: fiction
Format: book
Pages: 304

 

Summary (from Goodreads):

It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club, and her career has stalled out; she’s overlooked for every high profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Thomas is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent.

In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately, have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American.

Inspired by true events–Thomas Sankara is known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”–this novel knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. This is a face of the Cold War you’ve never seen before, and it introduces a powerful new literary voice.

About the Author (Lauren Wilkinson):

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Lauren Wilkinson earned an MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was a 2013 Center for Fiction Emerging Writer’s Fellow, and has also received support from the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Lauren grew up in New York and lives on the Lower East Side. American Spy is her first novel.

My Thoughts:

I pre-ordered this book as soon as I saw it come up on Goodreads. I was intrigued by the idea of a black female spy. I have read and enjoyed mysteries with black female sleuths but never read any book about a black female spy. The main character Marie Mitchell is an FBI intelligence officer. The book jumps back and forth through time and at first I found it jarring but quickly adapted. I like how Wilkinson used the form of a letter from Marie to her children to tell the story. It was a good way to help the story unfold.

Wilkenson also included the biases Marie faced within the FBI and how it prevented her from advancing her career. I think there are common challenges for black people when choosing to work for law enforcement whether it is a police officer, FBI or CIA agent. Working for the police force or other agencies of authority definitely presents black people a double bind in which a difficult situation in which, “whatever action you decide to take, you cannot escape unpleasant results.” Because historically as well in the present many conflicting actions are taken against people of color by law enforcement. So for a minority, particularly a black and brown person it presents these troubling challenges.

Another aspect I really liked was that Wilkenson sprinkled historical facts throughout the story. One in particular was the mention of Fred Hampton of the Black Panther and the FBI’s involvement in his murder. This is a history I know very little but this book has really peaked my interest to learn more. One such fact that she included was how often black protest groups or activists would be declared “communist enemies” in order to justify the FBI’s infiltrations and actions against the groups.

The book speaks also to the complexity of using black agents in African countries to assist the CIA’s objectives. It made me think about how easily we justify military intervention in other countries. There were so many things to think about during and after reading this book. Which I think is a good thing to become more aware and critical of the events happening involving our country.

I would give it a 4 1/2 stars and shy of 5 stars because of the abrupt ending and I look forward to her future books.  So glad I was able to read this book.

Happy Reading!

Belinda

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Spring 2019 TBR

Hello! It’s Tuesday and you know what time it is…Top Ten. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, Jana every week, they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. I looked at this week’s challenge and definitely knew I could do this one since I have so many books I own and haven’t read!

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Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

 

I love her books and once again she has created a historical fiction that has excited me to learn something new to me – the Haenyeo (female divers) of the Korean province of Jeju. It sounds like a fascinating history and I know once I read the book I will be all over the internet to learn more about this important part of history. I pre-ordered this book once I found out about it and I have already received it so it will be read this spring for sure.

 

 

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The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

I can not remember I heard about this author but she has popped on my radar and I look forward to reading a sci-fi, fantasy novel set in South Africa with a band of unlikely characters trying to save the world.

 

 

 

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Mayhem & Mass (A Sister Lou Mystery) by Olivia Matthews

I love sneaking cozy mysteries into my reading time. Especially between heavier books. But I am so excited to read this because it is a cozy written by an african-american author. She has already written several books in the series so I have a wonderful list to continue once I read this one.

 

 

 

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Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

I bought this book to go add to my social justice library that I am collecting for myself. I look forward to reading this book to learn more and I am particularly interested as a black woman to read a book that presents multiple ways race, gender, and class affect the oppression of black women, and how they subsequently navigate in this world. I am sure I will find it quite affirming.

 

 

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The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

I absolutely loved reading The Wedding Date which was Guillory’s debut novel. It was a really fun contemporary which is a genre I haven’t read in a long time. It was so enjoyable that I picked up this second book. It’s not the a series but if she writes the way she did in the first, I will gobble it up fast!!

 

 

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Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

I am late to game with this author. I first heard about her over 4 years ago and still have read any of her novels. My husband bought this one for me on my last birthday and I can’t wait to jump in to it. It’s one of my favorite genres, historical fiction so I got to get to it. This one is set in the French Quarter in New Orleans, a place I have had the pleasure of visiting so it will be fun to revisit.

 

 

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Tumbling by Diane McKinney-Whetstone

Bought this book a couple years ago. I absolutely love the cover. I own two books by this author but haven’t cracked one open. This year would be a great year to do that.  A family drama set in Philly in the 1940s and 50s, that focuses on a couple on the brink of splitting when something unexpected arrives to change the tides. Sounds like I need to read it for sure.

 

 

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The Martian by Andy Weir

Oooo, don’t let my husband see this post. I know I have a good man because I told him to read this book when it came out and when this book first came out and he did. Then the movie came out and he said he would wait for me to read the book and then watch it with me. Well hello!! I still haven’t read it! So I need to step up and get on it.

 

 

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A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney

A young adult fantasy inspired by Alice in Wonderland with a black female protagonist sounds like fun. Sign me up!

 

 

 

 

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Bought this end of last year, sounded like an interesting historical fiction mystery set in 1862 and the present. I hope this author can deliver a ride like Susanna Kearsley does in her books. If so, it will be a win!

 

 

Happy reading!

Belinda

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