Archive for July, 2007

C is for Books

and that’s good enough for me.

c is for books

Thanks to my husband, for finding this on Fark and thinking of me. 🙂

July 31, 2007 at 4:45 pm 1 comment

Nose in a Book

You’ve got to love a bad pun. SYBELLA Designs presents their “Got Your Nose in a Book” bookmark, which can be yours for $4.

July 31, 2007 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

What’s the Password?

Hopefully, every week from now on you’ll encounter a password-protected post. These will be my Weekly Thingies, which I’m hiding for three reasons:

  1. Less performance pressure.
  2. Copyright protection, should I inadvertently create a work of true genius.
  3. They’re going to suck turnips, and the fewer people who can laugh at me, the better.

Weekly Thingies are going to be first drafts, and generally not fit for human consumption, but I do want people to read them from time to time to give me feedback and encouragement. I’d like to know what has promise, and what should have never been committed to electronic paper. What I screwed up, left unanswered, etc..

If you can figure out what my password is, you can have access to my Weekly Thingies. I’ll give you two clues:

  • My big gray kitty cat
  • Composer of a Brotherly whistle

The password is in all lower-case letters; it is case-sensitive. 

There may be some of you out there who are bosom buddies, but who cannot for whatever reason guess my password. If you think that’s you, drop me a line and we’ll evaluate the situation. 🙂

Anyway – keep an eye out for those protected posts, or ignore them completely.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled bloggery.

July 30, 2007 at 11:00 pm 1 comment



July 30, 2007 at 12:09 pm Leave a comment


Sometimes, I’ll admit, Randall Munroe’s XKCD goes over my head. But when it hits home, man is it funny! I can so see this happening to me…

July 30, 2007 at 11:54 am 1 comment

Birthday Hedgehogs

Yesterday was my sister’s 21st birthday. I’ve been promising her for a while that I was going to make her a fabulous handmade sketch book, and on Friday I started digging through some stuff in preparation to do so. I got a great idea for the book – and realized that I was in over my head. There was no way I could finish the book by Sunday evening.

I’m going to make that fabulous sketch book, but in the meantime I decided to make her a set of little portable notebooks for doodling and note-taking this academic year. It also gave me an excuse to try Jackie Poutasse’s Hedgehog tutorial. I love moleskines but rarely splurge on them, so the thought of making my own appealled. (Apparently if you make your own, they go from moles to hedgehogs – kind of a Kleenex thing, maybe?)

I ended up spending pretty much all weekend (at least eight solid hours, not including shopping for the perfect sheets of paper) on a set of six hedgehogs, each slightly different from the last. A couple of them turned out near-perfect; one may self-destruct at any given moment. (I think I forgot to loop my thread back around a previous signature on one go-around.) But I love the way they turned out, and I think she really likes them!

The biggest one was done with heavier paper for the text block and, although you can’t tell, there’s a lot of glitter and gloss to the cover material. I covered the edges of this book with book tape from Kimbooktu because the paper’s embellishments were cracking. The monkeys one was the first one I did, and it’s a bit plainer because it served as my “dummy.” Fortunately, it worked just fine! The next one was tricky because I had to laminate a sheet of Tinkerbell-themed vellum to cardstock without the glue showing. This one is different because I didn’t wrap a second sheet of paper for the cover – the cardstock was heavy enough that I thought it made an adequate cover by itself. It is also reinforced with book tape. The orange one has orange paper, just for kicks, and my sister’s name spelled out in alphabet beads. The clouds book was covered by some fantastic self-adhesive paper by blogger Elsie Flannigan – Elsie, if you’re reading this, PLEASE make more of that stuff! And finally, the last hedgehog is adorned with some terrific fabric stickers with a surf-shop theme.

A closeup of the orange hedgehog. I wasn’t sure how the white elastic would work – typically one uses black – but I really liked the end result.

I bought this little hamper-caddy at the dollar store. When I saw it, I eyeballed it and realized it was exactly the right size. Sure enough, they just fit!

Finally, in the interst of full disclosure, a photo that shows off the slight problems I had getting the spines to adhere properly. The fore-edges are uneven, too, but that was intentional.

They were really fun to make, and not that difficult. I highly recommend the tutorial, and if this is your first book, I highly recommend doing a few practice text blocks first. (Binder clips are your friend.) Let me know if you ever make one – I’d love to see pictures!

July 30, 2007 at 7:35 am 1 comment

Weekly Thingy

Weekly Thingy Logo

Sometimes my husband lets down his guard and proves what a genius he really is. (Sidenote: is it ironic that I always misspell “genius”?) I was rambling on about not seeming to have the drive to write (off-blog) anymore, and he pointed out to me that I needed to take a page from Brotherhood 2.0 and Jonathan Coulton. If I force myself to write something on a schedule, without worrying about whether it’s good or trying to sell it to anyone, then I’ll rebuild the habit.

I have taken his words to heart, and have decided to commit to a WEEKLY THINGY.

This is for me more than anyone else, but I’ve found that the blogging community has helped me keep on track as a journaler, so I’m hoping it can similarly help me regain my obsession with creative writing. For me, and for anyone who is interested (whether to know what I’m doing, or to steal it for their own purposes), following are my WEEKLY THINGY GUIDELINES.

  1. Once a week, I must produce one piece of creative writing.
  2. For the purposes of the Weekly Thingy, “creative writing” is defined as:
    • fiction (either a complete short or short-short story, or 2,000+ words in a continuing longer piece)
    • essay or vignette
    • good poem (none of this “took me five minutes and wasn’t edited” crap)
    • NOT a blog entry
    • NOT a book review
  3. For the purposes of the Weekly Thingy, a week runs Monday through Sunday.
  4. It does not have to be good – it doesn’t even have to be clean or even remotely shareable – but it does have to get done.
  5. Weekly Thingies will be posted online to help my friends and family hold me accountable. However, they will be password protected to cut down on performance pressure and protect copyright of any inadvertant works of brilliance.
  6. I may save “backup” pieces for weeks when everything climbs into the handbasket and heads south, but it had better darn well be a seriously bad week, because the whole point is that I’m writing constantly.
  7. If I fail to post a Weekly Thingy, my adoring public may suggest punishments for my wicked misdeed. These punishments must be something that can be performed online (think truth or dare) and must not be anything that would break any laws or get me fired from a respectable profession. 🙂
  8. I reserve the right to revise these guidelines as needed to make the Weekly Thingy work! 🙂

I haven’t decided yet what to do about revisions. Revising work is the biggest, hardest, and most important part of writing, so maybe it ought to count… but right now my problem seems to be getting that first draft down, so maybe I ought to concentrate on that?

Hey – if I’m emulating Brotherhood in a way, particularly with Guideline #7, and they have NerdFighters, can I have WordFighters? 🙂

I am not sure if I will be able to get my first Weekly Thingy done in three days (although I am going to try) so next week may be the first week – we’ll see. I’m also not sure how wise this plan is, given that I’m going to be unbelievably busy come September, but hey – since when have I ever done the smart thing? 🙂

July 27, 2007 at 7:08 am 3 comments

Little Etsy Books

The man who introduced me to book arts disdains miniature books, and I have to admit that they can be painfully precious, but sometimes they can be pretty neat – and the workmanship required to create them is astounding. Here’s a few little books I found on Etsy, one of my favorite browsing sites.

Basilisk Journal by Meowstro: 3″ x 2″ ($9)

Blank Book 3 Piece Binding by OrtBindery: 82mm x 53mm x 15mm ($75)

Book of Questions by NinaJudinBooks: 3.3cm x 42cm ($125)

Chocolate Button Book by RedOtter: 3″ x 3″ ($7.50)

Decorated Notebook by purplemagpie: 7.5cm x 11.5cm ($7)

Enthusiasm Booklace by JOYouz: 1.125″ x 1.5″, 0.25″ thick ($20)

Green Graffiti by BlueAlgae: 7cm x 5.5cm ($1.20)

Handbound Leather 1/12 Scale Book by teresasart: 1″ x 0.875″ ($30)

Itty Bitty Blank Book by erinzam: 3.5cm x 1.5cm x 17.8cm ($10)

Leather Mini Journals by Kreativlink: 6cm x 8cm ($22 each)

Leather Handbound Book Keychain by ArtisanGraham: 2.5″ x 2.5″, 0.75″ thick ($10)

Mentos Sours by yatsu: 8cm x 6cm ($5)

Miniature Book Charm by dingo: 17mm x 12mm, 5mm thick ($4)

Mini Book of Haiku by greenchairpress: 1.5″ x 1.5″ ($10)

Origami Bookcase Alphabet Book by dingo: 1.75″ x 1.5″ x 1″ ($15)

Parking Ticket by lookability: 2″ x 2″ ($3)

Personalized Mini Journal by ladyartisan: 2″ x 3″ ($15)

Polymer Clay Art Collage Book by midnightbluart: 2″ x 1.5″, 0.33″ thick ($12.95)

Squared by KupoKiley: 0.33″ thick, about 1.5″ x 1.5″ ($5 for both)

Tiffany Cassette Tape Blank Book by erinzam: 4″ x 2.5″ x 1.5″ ($18)

A Week in my Garden by runmoremiles: 2″ x 2″ ($4)

Zodiac Monsters and The Tiny Zodiac Monsters Coloring Book by monstergallery: 1.5″ x 1″ and 1.125″ x 0.875″ ($0.60 each)

I’m dreadfully amused by the Mentos book, and you should definitely click to see the adorable illustrations in the Zodiac Monster books. I can’t believe the 1/12 scale book – so tiny! Check out the bookshelf book, too – the three shelves of books are actually each volumes in an abecadarian!

July 26, 2007 at 8:38 pm 2 comments

Accio Deathly Hallows

One of these days I’ll post something non-HP related, I swear. Today, maybe!

Brotherhood 2.0 is a video-blog by two brothers who are doing an experiment – no talking to one another for a solid year in any form other than 4-minute daily videos. It’s gained a huge following. One of the brothers does a weekly song; he’s no great vocal talent, but his songs are brilliant and funny. Song-making brother is a well-read environmentalist blogger, and the other brother is a published YA author.

Anyway, this video, from July 18, is the #! favorited YouTube video right now. Big coup for their website. And the song is great – his “uh oh” predictions are pretty on (so yeah, spoiler alert, despite the video title), and he’s totally saying exactly what I was thinking!

July 26, 2007 at 7:08 am 2 comments


This one may have spoilers. I’m going to try to hide them, but it may not work. Read with caution.

The problem with reading HP7 quickly in the wee hours of the morning and then immediately blogging about it with a pulsing headache is that it is so easy to miss what should have been blindingly clear. Settling down for a much-needed lunch hour nap, it came to me like the voice of a smug lit professor who can’t believe he has to spell this out to sophomores. I’ve been discussing (elsewhere) the epilogue, and whether it was extraneous, too tidy, satisfying. I realize now that the romantic angle is incidental. The epilogue is ESSENTIAL, because it sets the stage for _____’s closing conversation with _____ about the Hogwarts Houses.

Harry Potter 7 is the lynchpin in a brilliant, ingeniously-crafted, long-resonating message about choice.

This isn’t a fantasy series. Its not even a kids book, in the common sense of the phrase. This is a non-author’s daring stand against a bleakening future, against apathy and selfishness. And it’s BEAUTIFUL. Millions of children will internalize the Harry Potter myth, will latch onto one character or another as a small part of their psyche, and by that will come to unconsciously understand that we have CHOICES.

We have the choice to be good or evil, to do harm or good, to be brave or craven. More importantly, we can choose to CHANGE. We can choose to turn the darkness in ourselves into light.

We’re all human. We are all of us going to hurt one another, cheat, fail, turn tail and run, betray, wound, disappoint, misplace (dis)trust, fall from grace. But we can choose to get back on the broom, return to our friends, beg forgiveness, devote our lives to rebalancing the equation.

I am thinking, and I can’t come up with a SINGLE CHARACTER of any note in the HP saga who isn’t given at least one moment of choice, an opportunity to turn around. Not all of them make worthy choices, not all of them make unpredictable ones. But every single one of them chooses: whom to love, to trust, to join, to leave. They change the road they are on. ___ returns to the front lines and rejoins his estranged friends. _____, against all odds, turns his back on his livelihood and joins his family for the final battle. _____ chooses his child over one last adventure. The students of Hogwarts choose to take a stand rather than give in to enormous power and pressure. It’s every single character. It’s the entire story.

And even when a choice doesn’t turn out the way we hope, we’re told in the epilogue, it is still within our power to take THAT and make it work for good.

The Sorting Hat represents destiny, and seems an inevitable thing – but it listened to an eleven-year-old boy who preferred Gryffindor over Slytherin. It bowed to free will.

Harry Potter is a seven-volume saga about “Invictus.”

Brilliant. I was appreciative before, but now I’d really like to shake Rowling’s hand. What a masterpiece. I know there are lots of you out there who are kind of indifferent about the books… but you might give them a shot. There’s something more to these books than the hype and the movies and the merchandising. These books just might accomplish something.

Update: If you liked this review, consider clicking here and giving it a “thumb’s up” by clicking on the little symbol in the lower lefthand corner. I submitted it for the LibraryThing Harry Potter 7 review contest, even though I don’t strictly think it’s a true review – it’s more formal than most on there, though, so why not?

July 25, 2007 at 12:02 pm 2 comments

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July 2007