Inspiration: March


If you believe the calendar, spring has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere.  Hurray!  Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t quite gotten the message.  This means I’m dreaming more of spring than actually experiencing it.  Still, the sun is higher in the sky and the willow trees are beginning to turn green – events promising that Nature and the calendar will eventually get on the same train.  Then, the rejoicing will truly begin around here.

I’ve found all kinds of inspiration this month. Some is directly related to the season: Easter, spring cleaning, and my birthday. Some of the links just caught my fancy in one way or another and I thought they might do the same for you.


Inspiration: March

  • The perfect perspective of home.
  • Speaking of home, springtime often means spring cleaning.  Some ideas for tackling the job.
  • Listening to audiobooks while cleaning the house?  I never have, but think it’s a lovely idea.  Here are some great suggestions.  I’ve been wanting to read The Buried Giant and The Goldfinch.  Maybe I’ll listen to them instead.
  • Cleaning is not really my favorite sport.  These cleaners might tempt me to do it more often simply because they would smell so good!
  • After the house is clean, it’ll probably be time for an Easter Brunch.
  • This also belongs on the menu.  Actually, it could be the menu and I’d be happy.
  • Of course, there must be flowers on the Easter brunch table.  Or any time, really.
  • More flowers.  And way more creativity.
  • And speaking of creativity, just give me one small corner of this space and I could create whimsical creatures, too!
  • I’ll be celebrating my 46th birthday in a few days.  This interview came at just the right time.
  • Did you know that a fully illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is in the works?  It looks perfectly wonderful.
  • I’m heading to Scotland this summer.  Steven Carter is whipping my anticipation into a frenzy.  I. Can. Not. Wait.
  • Finally, I’ve been finding Hillsong’s The Creed to be especially inspirational coming into this Easter season.


I’m feeling very inspired.  I think I’ll head to the grocery store and collect some more flowers.  Even if it’s not quite feeling like spring outside, there’s no harm in making it look like spring inside.


Inspiration: December


Merry Christmas!

I hope this holiday season finds you enjoying equal parts raucous merry-making and restorative relaxation.  I’m in the middle of a two week break from classes and work and have been taking full advantage of an unstructured schedule: late nights watching movies, late mornings sleeping in, and generally engaging in a life of laziness.  It’s been wonderful.  Really.

Currently, inspiration is coming from several different corners of the Internet and covers a vast array of topics from improving hot chocolate (is that possible?) to choosing a reading challenge for 2015 and everything in between.  Enjoy!

  • Noel – Bridget Park
  • A Just-Simple-Enough Holiday
  • I want to try this with my daughter, a lover of origami.
  • Taking hot chocolate to the next level with this.
  • Even though I didn’t quite finish this year’s challenge, I’ve been considering several reading challenges for 2015.  At the moment, this and this are the top contenders.
  • Heidi, author of the 101 Cookbooks blog, has some great things to say about blogging.
  • When I get tired of being lazy this week, I’ll  start working on this list, beginning with #4 and then moving on to #’s 6 and 7.
  • This will aid in the completion of #4.  It’s a very scary concept to me because I love clothing.  However, I recognize the benefit of a stream-lined wardrobe (at least for work) so I’m going to give it a try. ( I can hear my husband’s rejoicing already.)
  • I would never define myself as a lover of very modern or minimalist design, although the uncluttered essence of it seriously appeals to me.  This lake home could convert me.  I especially love its situation and the accompanying boathouse on the lake.  Perfection!
  • Finally, in celebration of Christmas, some beautiful music from ThePianoGuys:

Maisie Dobbs


To fulfill the Cozy Mystery requirement of the Eclectic Reader Challenge, I was originally going to review Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear.  Since that time (several months ago), I’ve read six more books in the series and am currently reading book #8, A Lesson in Secrets.  At this point, Maisie and I are practically on a first name basis.  Discussing just one book feels like a cop-out; I would much rather gush about the whole series.  Thank you for indulging me…

Maisie Dobbs is a psychologist and private investigator living in London in the late 1920’s in the aftermath of the first world war.  Her own story is as interesting as the crimes she solves and more is revealed about her with each new mystery she investigates.  Not only is Maisie smart, she uses some unusual techniques to discern the truth.  She is adept at deep mediation, she practices posture mimicking to discern the feelings of her clients and the people she interviews, she uses some interesting tactics such as dowsing to help her locate clues, and she relies heavily on her intuition (which borders on the supernatural) to guide her investigations.  Maisie is a deep thinker and a very private person yet struggles with loneliness and longs for companionship.  I’ve enjoyed watching her grow and mature throughout the series.

Beyond liking Maisie, I’m drawn to this mystery series for several other reasons.  The plots are imaginative and intriguing and are always related to WWI in some way.  The recurring supporting characters such as Maisie’s assistant Billy Beale, her father Frankie, her mentor Maurice Blanche and her friend Priscilla provide depth, fertile material for sub-plots and continuity to the series.  The settings of London and the surrounding countryside satisfy the Anglophile in me. The history of the era is well-researched and permeates the stories in every aspect from fashion to social culture to politics. And, on top of all this, Jacqueline Winspear’s writing is a pleasure to read: artfully descriptive, empathetic to the human condition and compelling. Combine all these qualities together and the result is a fun, fascinating and informative reading experience.

I was destined to love this series.  It is excellent historical fiction written around a heroine I can rally behind in a time period I enjoy. The books are not heavy or difficult to read and I’ve been gravitating toward them when I find myself in need of escape from my frazzled life.  For this very reason, I’ve been spending a lot of time with Maisie lately.

I don’t know that the Maisie Dobbs series really satisfies the requirements of the Cozy Mystery genre.  Maisie is a professional sleuth, after all, who is usually employed by strangers and who travels a great deal to solve her mysteries.  What I do know is that when I read these books, I want to curl up in the leather chair in my living room with a snuggly blanket, a lazy cat and a steaming cup of tea and read the afternoon away.

And that, dear friends, is cozy enough for me.

Maisie Dobbs

{ via goodreads }

My progress in The Eclectic Reader Challenge:

  • Award Winning
  • True Crime (Non Fiction) – In Cold Blood by Truman Capote 4.5/5 stars
  • Romantic ComedyBridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding  3/5 stars
  • Alternate History Fiction
  • Graphic NovelPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi  5/5 stars
  • Cozy Mystery Fiction – Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear 4/5 stars
  • Gothic Fiction
  • War/Military Fiction
  • Anthology
  • Medical Thriller Fiction
  • Travel (Non Fiction)
  • Published in 2014


The Small Joys of Summer

Here in the US, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to the summer season.  This past winter wore me down for more reasons than just the weather, so I’ve been looking forward to summer even more than usual this year. In anticipation of the pleasures that lie before us, I’ve made a little list of the small things I relish during these warm and verdant months of the year. I must thank the Daily Post and Anna Fonté at girl in the hat for the inspiration for this post.  It was great fun and now I’m dying to get this summer thing started!

Small Joys of Summer


the baking sun on my skin

the cool, dark shade of a tree



plump, industrious bumble bees covered with pollen


steak and onion kebabs on the grill

anything on the grill, really

eating al fresco every chance I get


sweet corn with lots of butter and salt


homemade vanilla ice cream (preferably with strawberries)

brain-freezing Coke Slushies

bare feet or

flip flops

painted toenails

the smell of freshly cut grass

dips in the pool on a blistering day

biking, swimming, paddling

talking around the campfire

fireworks on the Fourth of July

picnics of all kinds – must include potato chips

free outdoor concerts

baseball games

lightening bugs at dusk


Relaxing on the porch late at night (with or without thunderstorms, but hopefully with strawberries)


DSC_4274-2Should anything be added to the list?  Please let me know.


Where I’m At…


You might have noticed that Whimsey Pie is turning into a compilation of  book reviews for The Eclectic Reader Challenge and a gallery for Weekly Photo Challenges.  This is not what I originally envisioned for my blog but it will have to do for the moment.  To be honest, I’m more than a little overwhelmed with life so the fact that I’m posting anything at all feels like an award-worthy accomplishment.  And, I guess I could be doing a lot worse by this little corner of the Internet than talking about books and sharing some of my photos.

I don’t think I’ve shared this directly, but I began full-time work on an on-line Masters degree in August.  It’s been challenging, to say the least.  I don’t think I’ve ever doubted my life choices and intellectual capabilities or struggled with time management issues so much in my life.  I’m discovering that working a full-time job that requires constant creative and critical thinking and taking graduate courses which demand more of the same drain me completely.  I have nothing left to offer here at Whimsey Pie or anywhere else.  I’ve been wondering a lot lately if creative energy is physiologically like will power – a finite reserve that runs out and must be replenished often with relaxation and novel experiences.

Anyway, I’m not writing this to whine.  I’ve made my choices and am living out the consequences the best that I can (although whining about it occasionally does make me feel better).  No, I’m writing all this simply to say I haven’t had much to say lately, and certainly not much of anything that any of you lovely readers would want to read.  So for now, I hope you enjoy the book reviews, the Photo Challenges, and the occasional inspired post. I anticipate that things will eventually turn around.  Thanks for sticking around while I get my feet back under me!