Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Reading List.

Lately I have been really, really focusing on writing. Which is a wonderful thing. Books don't publish themselves and smaller pieces of writing don't write themselves. It takes a lot of focus, determination and hard work. I've been doing a lot of that.

But, I've come to a horrible realization. I am not reading as much as I should be.

Reading is CRUCIAL to a writer. You can't write if you don't voraciously read other people's writings. It gives you inspiration, it helps you learn how stories unfold, it sharpens your judgment of what is good/bad about other people's writing and as well as what is good/bad about yours. Reading as a writer isn't all about pleasure and an escape for reality. It is a learning exercise, during which you consciously pick apart other people's prose.

And I haven't really been doing that.

As I kid I would read over 150 books in a school year. I could knock out chapter books in a day. As I got older and the free time I once had shrank, I made an effort to read everyday for an hour or so before bed. But lately I have been busy with work, school, my personal life, and trying to get publish during the day and find myself wanting to go to bed by 10:00 or thereabout. My nighttime readings are few and far between. Any reading I get done tends to be on a vacation, or a weekend out of state and those are also very few. And when I do end up reading the category of the works is usually nonfiction and has something to do with grammar (I've been reading Bill Walsh's Lapsing into a Comma lately. Great book, but is all about grammar and technical usage of the English Language. Highly recommended, if you like that stuff. Also his The Elephants of Style book, a parody of sorts off of the classic The Elements of Style, is wonderful. He makes the finer points of English and common misuses humorous with his dry wit.).

Anyway, I am making a new goal to try and do more reading. Maybe not a book a day (actually, that is a definite "no"), I'm not even going to try and get a book knocked out in a week. No, I am going to set the goal of one book a month  (Seriously, this is low for me. I am *almost* world renown for my high speed reading and comprehension skills. But I want to work on picking apart and analyzing a little bit more). I might move along faster than that, but that is where I am going to start (After all, I don't want to sacrifice much needed sleep to get this accomplished). 

I have made a list of books (many of which are within my genre of writing: fantasy, but I'm not limiting myself to that) I would like to read within the next year or so (recommendations from friends, school or out of my own personal interest), and I am going to share it with you.

Here it is, in no particular order:

* A Thousand Acres
by: Jane Smiley.
 This one I heard about through school. It interested me as it is a retelling of a favorite Shakespearean tragedy of mine (which I also acted a main role in a couple years ago. Favorite part ever!). It is the tale of King Lear, only it is retold in more modern times and set in Iowa.

*The Books of Bayern
by: Shannon Hale
 These are a reread. They (series of 4) were my among my favorites in high school and I want to go back and pick them apart. Shannon Hale is one of role models in the world of young adult fantasy. I love all of her work. Her character Razzo is high on my list of best characters of all time. Love, love, love. Anything with her name on it I highly recommend.

 *The Martian Chronicles
by: Ray Bradbury

I am a Bradbury fanatic. He is probably in my top 5 favorite authors; I love his descriptions, deep and unusual metaphors, and short, choppy sentence structures. I am ashamed I have never read this. It has been on my list for a long time, but none of my local libraries seem to own it. I might break down and buy the thing. It is a must for any REAL fan. It is also where one of my favorite bands, The Rocket Summer, got its name.

*The Mists of Avalon
by: Marion Zimmer Bradley

This was also a school recommendation. It is the story of King Arthur, Camelot and all that stuffs as told by the female characters in the story. Yes, I am one of those dorks who is into weird stuff such as Arthurian legend; I am known to get mad at Monty Python for getting it all so very wrong.

*Seeing Redd
by: Frank Beddor
The second book in the Looking Glass Wars series. I read the first one on my Rhode Island vacation and now I need to get to the second. It is a fresh take on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. The main character Alyss is actually the evil "Queen of Heart's"- known as Redd- niece. She has to regain her place as princess and restore her world back to how it should be, all the while time traveling in and out of her reality into historical England where she is friends with Lewis Carroll. New perspective and a tweaked plot; same characters, but with a slight twist. Good youth fantasy read. And if I want to write the stuff, I have to read a lot of it.

*A Fine and Private Place
by: Peter S. Beagle.

Ever read The Last Unicorn by Beagle? I HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend it. It was so unique and memorable that I am seeking to read his other works.

* A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by: Douglas Adams

It is just one of those books that everyone is supposed to read, particularly those with any
interest in writing fantasy or SciFi. I haven't, so I will.


 *Culture of Honor
by: Danny Silk

A little bit of nonfiction is always good, and Christian nonfiction can be among the best (sometimes...). This books comes highly recommended by youth leaders and my youth pastor. My youth group, Merge Ahead, is talking about honor this quarter, and there will be a lot of reference to this book. I figure I might as well read the whole thing.

So, that is my list. It will keep me busy for a couple months.

What about you? 
What are you reading? 
Any books you have hopes of reading in the near future? Any recommendations that you think I should add onto my list?
I would love to hear!

My new Tat'

Yup. I did it guys. I got a tattoo.

Of a mustache. On my finger. Yup, I did.

On Friday afternoon when me and my best friend Emily were driving to Cape Cod I told her about a dream I recently had about tattoos (result of watching LA Ink before bed...In my dream I went to some ghetto place and had a man jab a random phrase into the arch of my right knee with a needle that was unrealistic and 6-8 inches long. Lesson Learned.). She told me of someone she knows from Cosmetology school who has a mustache on their finger. We liked that. So after the Cape we found a little shop and decided mustaches of our own would be a great idea...
Okay, hold up, not really.  I'm a bloody liar. I did not get a tattoo. I repeat, I DID NOT GET A TATTOO. Ha, glad I scared all of you.

I'm not necessarily anti-tattoo, but I certainly think you had better have a very good reason and a whoooole lot of commitment if you are going to have someone shove some ink into your epidermis by needle. That and I hate the very concept of needles. So no, I wouldn't tattoo a mustache on myself, not ever, no never. There is very, very, very, very little chance of me ever tattooing anything on me (okay, I've considered "Soli Deo Gloria" on my right wrist, but that is another story for another day.). I am much to scared of the permanency and pain.

So, my secret? Nope, not Photoshop. SoBe's new promo site for their new labels, ReSkin Yourself.

You upload a photo and fit a new tattoo onto yourself. Not permanent, easy, cheap and totally painless. 

It is fun. Go try it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oh I just can't wait to be king.

Latest photo subject: Tobin Jameson. 

One of our 3 cats.

An abandoned creature we rescued; raised in a cardboard box and dropper fed.  
His mother was a feral Canterburian Cat that sure got around town and we tell him his father was a Lemur.
(you'd understand if you saw his big ringed tail.) 

His is huge and deliciously fluffy.
 He is pretty ungreatful and rude. 

He is also sure that he is King of our Household and also the Universe. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Featured by Mod-Podge Rocks!

 Yesterday evening Amy, of, was kind enough to feature my $1 Dresser Remake decoupage project on her Facebook site dedicated to Mod-Podge and the awesome things that can be done with it! 




" Mod Podge Rocks! A $1 dresser remake? Seriously? Wow!
You already finished?! It looks so good!!And I fully endorse the girliness of having an entire chest of drawers dedicated to accessories. Keep up the good work."

*look Sarah Louise, your comment went up too!

 Big thanks to Amy for putting me on her site and thanks to anyone who clicked her link (all 262 of you!), became a follower, and/or left me nice comments on the post! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Recent Makings.

You know me, I am always either making something or planning what I will make next. Creativity and artful expression keep me sane. So what have I been making lately? Let me show you.

First, after making the decoupaged dresser project, I went on to decoupaging something else: LETTERS.

When I was at Joann's picking up some supplies for the dresser I grabbed 2 cardboard letters that I had a project in mind for. My sister Lacianna's 16th birthday was coming up (it occurred on Wednesday!) and I wanted to make her something unique. So I grabbed her an "L". I planned to paint/decoupage it and hang it over her bed. (Also grabbed me a "B"...yeah, in the real world outside of Bloglandria people shorten my name to Bella)

First, I painted the edges out in "DareDevil Red" (left over from the dresser.

 Next I went crazy with magazine clippings and mod-podge. I tried to make each one unique to our VERY DIFFERENT personalities. It was fun cutting things out and then separating them into piles, trying to figure out what best fit me and what best fit her.(I got all the wordy, English, Literature things. She got all the plaid, girly, dramatic, colorful things)

Then I put some stick adhesive strips on the back and stuck them over each of our beds. Hopefully now when people come over they won't ask "Which bed is yours?"

Fun and really easy project. The cardboard letters of that size were $6, but they came in different sizes (also in wood) ranging from $3 to $12. Very affordable. Quick and expressive way to personalize a shared room! (also I would be GREAT in a dorm room to separate out "zones", don't you think? If I lived in a dorm I'd do it!)

Then yesterday I made something else. After talking to my jewelry creating friend, Lety, I was feeling inspired. I pulled out my jewelry supplies and got to it.
 I took these (I have a HUGE bead collection. For a long time I was really into making, and even selling, jewelry. I took every opportunity to buy beads by the cup, by the bag, by the lot. A good majority of what I have are vintage glass beads.)

 And made THIS!
I combined a TON of my glass beads, all colors, shapes, and sizes, with bugle and seed beads and created this BEAST. It looks like something bigger than it is. Really it is 3 strands (I doubled it over when I put it on, otherwise I would hang down to my naval...), all strung through one giant-holed yellow bead in the back. It is a little heavy, but very fabulous. And I can match it to like 500 outfits because it in cooperates SO many colors.

So is what I have been doing. Anybody inspired to create?

In other news I will be spending this weekend in Cape Cod on a youth retreat (*I'm going as a leader). Hopefully some pictures or videos will appear here on Monday to fill you in on all the fun I had!

Happy almost weekend everyone! May I highly suggest making something? Well, with or without your permission, I think I will. GET CREATIVE, PEOPLE!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What We All Have Been Waiting For!

*and by "we," I might actually mean ME.*

TODAY, GUYS!!!!!!!!! 
I'm so giddy and excited!

Here's a couple inspiring shots off flickr (not mine) to get you in the mood for some fall fun!

.click photos for sources.

Autumn Colors at Portland Japanese Garden

Day 201 

Freestyle Converse

Mr. PumpKing


Fall Colors in a Autumn Landscape

For me fall means crisp apples that crunch as your teeth break their shiny skin, bare trees dancing near the clear blue skies, steamy spiced cider that tickles your nose, fallen leaves crunching under my converse, an overload of orange, pumpkin pie by the plate full, flannel shirts that make you feel cozy no matter where you are, and cool air that refreshes you as it passes to your lungs.  
(And I threw the hedgehog in there because...well, you know how I am about trying to own small wild animals as pets)

How about you? 
What are the distinct images fall brings to your mind? 
What defines *FALL* for you
What are your favorite fall smells, tastes, etc? 
Are you as excited as I am!?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Old school/ New School. Same ol' /Same new.

Today I'm reminiscing and comparing. 

I've changed a lot since I was a kid but in so many ways, 
over the last 19 years, I haven't changed at all.

These pictures are from the archives;
some are 16 years old, some are from 2 or 3 years ago. 
But I am still the same little old me, Isabella.
And there ain't no amount of time that can change that.

 I was born with big eyes and a sense of narcissism.

I've a thing for the out of doors and adventuring.

 I always have and always will adore trees.
Especially climbing them; I love heights.

I'll never pass up an opportunity to wear a costume. Seriously, never.

I've always been full of an abundance silliness and sass.

And, to quote my buddy William Shakespeare, I am "either a god or a painter for [I] make faces." 
LOTS of 'em.
*disclaimer.  I am sure I am not a god and I know I am not a painter. It is just a quote, so take it easy, people.

Do you, like me, ever forget how much you've changed over the years? Do you, like me, though you have matured and changed, FEEL just the same as you did when you were... I dunno 9? 
Or am I the only one...? Hmmm.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Presents for Pirates!

I think I just found my new favorite Etsy shop, or at least the one with the best name.

With National Talk Like a Pirate Day (MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY IN THE WORLD!!!!!) coming up this weekend (TOMORROW!!! Sunday, September 19th!) I've been thinking piratey thoughts. 

I actually do this all the time, but September 19th makes me want to be extra piratey. 

Normally on the nineteenth of September I go all out. Not only do I TALK like a pirate, but I DRESS like one too (Yes. I have a full out costume and I don't mean striped tights and a bandanna. I'm talking a legit-looking costume, complete with cutlass. September 19th it is one of the only days of the year a person can go out in public dressed as a pirate and not totally confuse/scare people.Or at least less so...) but this year the day falls on what is my church's annual picnic. I have to be a photographer, socialize with my church family, and watch my sister get baptized, so maybe not all out this time... (I will however rock a skull and cross bones shirt and be sure and have my pirate dictionary- Yes, I have a full length dictionary of pirate-speak, The Pirates Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers and Rogues, by George Choundas- in my purse!)

But anyway, while thinking piratey thoughts I came across this shop. They sell mostly stationery and journals. Good majority of it being pirate themed. They're a winner! Check it out!

Brightly colored skull and cross bones note cards! $5.00

Treasure map stationery! $8.75

Other Etsy Pirate finds worth checking out or buying (or better, buying and sending TO ME!!!)

This seriously adorable "Arr" hoodie, $40.00 from rainbowswirlz.

This different looking "skully roger" shirt. $24.00 @ binarywinter

His name is "Fred the Red" for $15 over at SnipnSnark's

Simple, but really amazing Anchor ring. $20.00 @ MintyFreshFushions

"The Seas Be Ours"  necklace. $18.00 from UntamedMenagerie

This hat, on a small child. $15.00 from PartTimeDiva

"Lost in a Sea of Love" painting (or anything in this shop. It's a favorite...) $16.00 at TheLittleFox

I hope this, if anything, inspired you to me a little more piratey! National (talk like a) Pirate Day is a great excuse to "find your inner pirate!" Join me! It is a fun game!

Yes, as it 'twould seem, I am wholly all crazy-like. Never a doubt! But, upon mine honour I'm having fun, so let me and my piratical fantasies be. **"A pyrates life be the only life for a man of any spirit" Savvy?

**-from the General History of Pyrates


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