Magpie’s Shiny Things: January 25, 2011

As you can see, my artistic ability has not progressed since Kindergarten.

Magpie’s Shiny Things is a new feature that will highlight links to cool places I’ve visited on the internet, inspiring blogs, yummy recipes, to-die-for products, whatever has caught my attention.

As stated in my post Procrastination, “I’m like a magpie, a bird prone to thievery, according to folklore, because of its penchant for shiny things. I can be in the middle of one task, when ‘something shiny’ catches my attention and I’m off on another adventure.” The promise of something new gets me every time.

My hope is that you’ll find something you like here, too. And who knows, perhaps with this feature as an outlet, I may find my way to a more focused blog. After all, why should readers have to guess which one of Margaret’s 17 personalities they’ll encounter on any given day? 😀

So, here, without further ado, I present my first edition of Magpie’s Shiny Things.

With snow and other foul weather preventing me from getting out for my daily walk or run, January was the perfect month for online exploration. (Yes, I know I could have exercised indoors, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I mostly sat on my growing butt with the laptop slow-roasting my thighs and watched marathon sessions of Criminal Minds. There, I’ve admitted it.)

One of my great finds this month was the blog Altared Spaces. You’ll find yourself breathing a bit easier after reading Rebecca’s posts. One of my favorites is Cinnamon Rolls Taste Like Gratitude. No, it’s not a recipe. Not of the food variety, anyway. It’s more a recipe for gratitude and thankfulness. Though it was written back in November for Thanksgiving, thankfulness is something we can practice every day. And tell me the gorgeous centerpiece in the photo below couldn’t be updated a bit for display on Valentine’s Day, a holiday when we’re thankful for those we love. Think candy conversation hearts in the vase instead of pine cones and “snowflake” hearts in rosy hues hanging on the branches.

The re-designed movie blog Celluloid Zombie is a frequent stop in my blog travels. Richard Lamb offers up wit, sarcasm, charming English spellings, and tons of great reviews that will have your Netflix list overflowing with celluloid goodness. What I especially enjoy are his fresh takes on oldies-but-goodies. The Gremlins Gag Reel reminded me how much I loved that movie in my youth and it made for a great movie night with my son. I had tons of fun trying to spot the gags.

Nathan Bransford is an author, former literary agent, and blogger extraordinaire on all things publishing related. His recent How to Use Twitter was a good reminder that I’m not quite there yet with my Twitter platform. Okay, not even close. I also owe Nathan a big thank you for giving me the idea for Magpie’s Shiny Things. He regularly posts a blog that links to all the great sites he finds. It’s one-stop shopping for those of us who don’t have a lot of time but want to keep up with what’s happening in the industry.

Michael G. is the blogger over at Sharing a Love of Teaching. He is a Grade 4 teacher in Australia, and from the posts I’ve read, a wonderful one at that. What I love about his blog is that it challenges me to think, and I usually end up rethinking my opinions on topics in education, bullying, etc. Everyone with a school-aged child in their life should read this blog. And everyone with a child who has a social media profile on sites like Facebook, etc. should immediately stop what they’re doing, sit their child down, and watch the video he shared in his post I Urge You To Show This To Your Kids.

Okay, I’ll sheepishly admit I was probably the last person in the world to hear about Ree Drummond’s blog The Pioneer Woman. But just in case your siesta under the rock lasted a bit longer than you’d intended, skip on over there as soon as you can. Ree blogs about cooking, photography, and homeschooling. My favorites are the recipes, with her hysterical asides, anecdotes, and self-deprecating humor. If you want to experience the feeling of “died and gone to heaven,” you’ve got to try the Pecan Pie Muffins.

Well, there you go. Hope you found something to love here. Let me know if you did. And please feel free to share your great finds, too, in the Comments section.

I’m off to discover more shiny things.



  1. Michael G. said,

    January 25, 2011 at 2:18 am

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate it very much.

  2. Richard said,

    January 25, 2011 at 3:53 am

    Thanks for the mention. No-one’s ever called me a shiny thing before. Pinguid and unctious, perhaps, but ne’er shiny. Love the Magpie picture, by the way. Very cute. Nice colours. It’s charming in the same way my correct spelling apparently is. 😛

    Looking forward to the next edition. 🙂

    • January 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

      Thanks, Rich. I noticed how you got the “u” in colors just before the sentence about correct spelling. 😉

      I’m glad you like my pathetic little magpie picture. I sat drawing it the other night, fully concentrating, with my tongue stuck out the side of my mouth. I had as much fun as a five-year-old and the artwork is at about the same level. No offense to the five-year-olds.

      • Richard said,

        January 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm

        You paint an adorable picture. 😀

  3. girlboxing said,

    January 25, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Full of yummy treats and fabulous blogs. Thanks for putting out the word!

    • January 25, 2011 at 8:25 am

      Thanks, GB. Thanks for the visit. I’ll be heading over your way next for some inspiration. I think I’m getting my momentum back after a month of inactivity.

  4. January 25, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Thank you so very much for the kind attention. You have read my mind because the post that is currently up on my blog is about how this little tree changes with the seasons, holding…you guessed it!… hearts on Valentine’s Day.

    • January 25, 2011 at 8:32 am

      Oooooooo. Just stopped by now to take a look. I love it with the hearts. Gorgeous.

      I’m glad you mentioned the post because I am still not in the loop with the feeds. Most of the blogs I subscribe to are by email, but I couldn’t find that option on yours. So, I subscribed to the feed, and forget to check it. Anyone know a way to set notifications for new stuff in your feed?

      Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  5. Blockader said,

    January 25, 2011 at 7:20 am

    I did the same sorta thing on my blog last saturday…(so I can’t be accused of magpieing your idea )

    • January 25, 2011 at 8:37 am

      Oh good! I’ll be over in a few minutes to check it out.

      Thanks for visiting, Blockader. Always good to see you.

  6. January 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Magpie great. So colorful I wonder how sexual related his collection of trinkets are since birds attract mates by song, ritual dance and color. Went to Sharing a Love of Teaching. Hope good connection develops. He sounds so wholesome from wholesome environment. My violence, dope, and drive-by experience should be quite challenge for him to relate.

    • January 25, 2011 at 10:30 am

      I’m chuffed that you like the magpie. 😀 I’m laughing as I take another look at my drawing. It seems the magpie has stolen some bits from a box of Lucky Charms. Only thing missing is the star.

      Regarding Michael’s blog, it’s interesting to see what’s happening in education on the other side of the world. It seems we all have the same issues.

  7. Zahara said,

    January 25, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Good Morning. I like the magpie picture alot, I can just see you churning it out. Naive art is the best.
    Thanks for this great post, I’m always looking for worthwhile reading, and movie recommendations, etc.
    Have a grateful day.

  8. January 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    My favorite thing about this post (and there is a lot to love here) is the Lucky Charms AND the mac-n-cheese noodle in the drawing. Worth more pixels than you allotted, IMHO. 🙂

    Sigh. I love Lucky Charms. Not the oaty bits, you understand. Just the Charms. Haven’t had them in Y-E-A-R-S.

    • January 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm

      Lisa, you have me cracking up here. I believe the mac-n-cheese noodle to which you refer is my Lucky Charms crescent moon. ROFL.

      Those oaty bits were just packaging material for the marshmallow charms.

      • January 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm

        Dooood! The oaty bits are packaging??? So like, we can dump them on the floor and explode ’em like bubble wrap? Excellent.

        Btw, very sorry for mistaking your Yellow Moon for mac-n-cheese. Its proximity to the green bean (which is always served with mac-n-cheese) threw me off. That IS a green bean, right?

  9. January 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Careful, Lisa. This is quickly turning into a Rorschach test analysis. 😉

  10. jesswords10 said,

    January 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Ooh, great idea for a post of mash up goodness. I again think we’d make great roommates as I was reading this with my laptop slow roasting on my legs right now. lol. Off to do some blog searching through your links. Thank you!

  11. Val Erde said,

    January 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Love your little magpie pic! And – it looks like a magpie, too.
    There’s nothing wrong with just painting without thinking about how good or bad something is, I do it all the time (and hope to show some of the more spontaneous stuff soon, but in Absurd Old Bird rather than my art blog).

    If you’ve not been there, I can recommend the blogMostly Bright Ideas by Charles Gulotta. He looks at life in a humorous and insightful way – and his comment section is full of life, too.

    • January 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks for your kind comments, Val, and for stopping by. My inner five-year-old is beaming. 😀

      I can’t wait to see your more spontaneous stuff. I love what’s already up at your site. It’s really beautiful.

      Thanks for the tip about Mostly Bright Ideas. I’m off to take a look.

  12. suzicate said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    What a delight to see Rebecca’s tree on your page! She is truly someone who opens my eyes and heart a little wider every time I visit her.

  13. January 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Great links, Margaret! Now I have more new sites to go through after I’m done bloghopping through yours! I’m not a big Twitter fan. I was on for a couple of years and i just lost interest in it. Maybe I’ll give it another go around.

    • January 27, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      I haven’t been very attracted to it either. Once I get this blogging stuff down, I’ll give it more than a half-hearted try.

  14. Jessica S said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Great round-up. I’ve been wanting to do these on my blog for a while now. You beat me to the punch… Now I’ll just look like a copycat. LOL

  15. Melinda said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Great list. I will have to check out some that are new to me. Pioneer Woman always makes me feel like a bad mom when I go on there. I mean for goodness sakes I’m passing off Pillsbury Refrigerated Dough cookies as homemade. 😉 I would like to be her neighbor and stop by constantly for a taste of whatever is cooking.

    • January 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      So would I. Yum.

      Hope your ketchup-injured butt has healed. 😉 The drawing and caption on that post made me giggle.

  16. Thor Watch Online said,

    April 23, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Great blog! I truly love how it’s easy on my eyes and the details are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which ought to do the trick! Have a nice day!

  17. Midnight in Paris said,

    June 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    This is a good blog. Keep up all the work. I too love blogging and expressing my opinions

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