May 2, 2013

Bits and Bobs

Just a few quick little things I had to post that wouldn't take up entire posts on their own.

First of all, have you heard that J.R.R. Tolkien (he's the one who wrote Lord of the Rings, for those of you who aren't familiar with him AT ALL), has yet another posthumous book coming out? I'm really excited about this one. Apparently when he wasn't working on translating ancient texts or perfecting Middle Earth's history, Tolkien worked at writing an epic poem about King Arthur, in alliterative long-line, no less! (See Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for probably the most famous usage of this now sadly abandoned metrical style).

The Fall of Arthur is available for preorder on Amazon of course but I beg you to buy from your local independent bookstore instead. Help your local economy and keep jobs in your area!

Next I have to announce that I have found two of the coolest blogs in the world. One is the Cornell Mushroom Blog, which is, yep, about mushrooms. And fungus. It is for everyone who enjoys popular science--Mythbusters fans, I'm talking to you! Trust me, even if you think mushrooms are boring, you will find something to fascinate you on this site. For instance, is there a link between lightening strikes and mushrooms popping up? Read Zap! Lightning Gods and Mushrooms and see. And come on, you have to know what Flying Salt Shakers of Death could possibly be about, right? As soon as I finish this, I'm going to find out for myself.

The other is called Scarfolk Council and it is for those of us with slightly sick senses of humour. Do you love the Addams Family? Do you enjoy Monty Python? Do your best jokes make people back away nervously and fumble for the exit? If so, you REALLY have to visit this site! If you have no morbidness in your soul and are pure sweetness and light, stay away and hang some garlic around your neck or something. It is not for you. Here is a mildish example. Stop the Ripper from Killing Again Also, if you do not understand "British humour", satire, dry humour, etc, you may not find anything funny on this site. Or anywhere, for that matter. HOW DO YOU LIVE?

I guess you've probably noticed that I've discovered Polyvore. Sometimes it posts things without me realizing it! I was actually going to remove these unwanted posts until I saw that apparently someone out there actually did want them. In other words, y'all were clicking on them more than on the stuff I work hard on. Go figure. lol Anyway, I'm still trying to learn how to use Polyvore to make collages or "sets" as they call them and actually get everything the right size. It's not as easy as it looks because you can't tell if you've got the scale right until you hit "Publish." They really should fix that, I think. Should you want to follow me on Polyvore, here I am.

And finally, I've given in and started *gasp* "pinning" things on Pinterest. At first I couldn't figure out what on Arda was going on but now it makes sense and I am having too much fun. It can actually be a big time waster if you're not careful, so I'm going to have to keep an eye on myself. Should you want to see what I pin, you can follow me here.

More artist trading cards, a book review, and my thoughts about Clara Oswin Oswald all coming soon!

May 1, 2013

Spring Frolic

April 30, 2013

A Smashing Good Time

I got a Smashbook for my birthday, thanks to my very intelligent husband who can pick up on hints, and I am having so much fun with it. Over the years I have collected a lot of...stuff. A lot of it is hard to classify. Memorabilia? Ephemera? Magazine clippings? Plain old junk? All of that, and sooo much more! I have purged this collection several times after watching Hoarders, of course, but there are always some things too precious to part with, odd though they may be.

I scrapbook, of course, but scrapbooking has been turned into something so formal and elegant that one doesn't actually put *heaven forbid* actual scraps into the album these days. Actually, don't tell anyone, but I have been. But even if you're a wild rule breaker like me, you can only find so many reasons to put magazine clippings and straw wrappers into a nice scrapbook. And my goodness, scrapbooking takes so much time! In fact, I haven't been able to make a scrapbook page in 2 or 3 years because of the time and (worse) space it takes.

Hence the Smashbook. Finally someone has thought about those of us who don't have hours to spend on scrapping each page, and who like to include ephemera like paper napkins. Even better, they have thought of a way for us to scrap and journal ON THE GO! That's right, this book comes with a special pen (I think of it as a magic wand) that has a pen on one end and a glue stick--that actually works! a miracle in itself!--on the other. This pen attaches to the book with a loop of elastic so you can't lose it. I've had the book for almost a month now and I STILL HAVEN'T LOST THE PEN. Proof that it works.

Before I even got the book I participated in some swaps on Swap-bot to get goodies to use in my layouts. Everyone was so generous--I learned that if it says to send 10 items, you better send 20 at least! Anyway, After my birthday, I had so many materials and the fun book to put them all in, but suddenly I realized I didn't really know where to start. I finally decided to play it safe and start with an easy warmup.

I love that the book has some pages like this, where there are questions you can answer. It really gives a nice starting point for a newbie like me! And it helped me to figure out what to do with the facing page. I filled that sucker with two magazine clippings from Teen magazine--I think they were from when I was about 13! Then I added the beautiful illustration of ancient columns and the card I'd bought years ago at a Christian bookstore but never knew what to do with. Finally I added a butterfly embellishment that matched the ones I'd put on the About Me page and wrote in the text that tied the items all together.

I couldn't stop there, of course. I had to make another page! So I grabbed one of the leftover Al Capone Valentine cards and the February headline from the cover of Land of Nod's catalog (best source ever--they have great gifts for kids and gorgeous photography that you can cut out and reuse). A piece of pink memo paper served as a journaling space and I used a strip of gorgeous antique car deco tape from a lovely swapper. I used my handy-dandy Smash glue pen to glue down some pink felt flowers from another swap--they actually stayed on! this glue stick is great!--and added a "Makes Me Happy" tag sticker thingy from the official Smashbook company. Because making this Valentine, messed-up as it is, made me very happy. And here are the results.

I have several other pages in the works and several other projects going. I'm actually behind on several swaps. The one I'm furthest behind on is a swap where I'm supposed to make two spring mermaid ATCs (artist trading cards). My plan was to make cards that depicted a mermaid engaged in spring cleaning. Foolishly I tried drawing this.

Fail, anyone? I think tonight I'm going to try again, maybe using a completely different technique. Wish me luck!