Weekend Update – The Adventures in Coloring Edition

Posted by on Jul 5, 2015 in Fun, photos, Weekend Update | 2 comments

Weekend Update

I have always enjoyed coloring and even as an adult often had a coloring book and box of 64 Crayola crayons in the house. The recent popularity of coloring as a hobby for adults has been a welcome trend.

colored pencils

I may have bought a whole lot of colored pencils lately

I bought some of the newer coloring books aimed at adults and then stocked up on a variety of colored pencils and began to play.

A bamboo cutlery caddy from Bed Bath and Beyond (and you HAVE to stick your arms out and say Beyond like Buzz Lightyear when you say that) and some empty toilet paper tubes makes a fabulous portable pencil caddy.
pencil caddy
I found a couple of groups on Facebook for coloring enthusiasts but most of them are too big and a bit random (and occasionally drama filled). Thanks to a friend I was introduced to a small group that is doing something incredibly fun.
Jenean Morrison Mandala Design
We’re all using the same book and each week coloring one page and posting our finished work. We’re going to go through our current book one page per week and when we finish it in week 50 we’ll pick another book and continue. I am absolutely loving this. It’s so much fun to see the different takes on the same drawing. The variety of color schemes and media choices are interesting and inspiring. I like that it’s a relatively small group and hope it stays that way.

Here are a few of my recent attempts at creativity (click on images for larger versions)

Mandala Design Week 10
Mostly I am having a great time. I find that coloring while watching TV in the evenings is very relaxing.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Cinnamon & Gunpowder

Posted by on Jul 3, 2015 in 2015, 4 stars, Book Review | 0 comments

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

Genre: Fiction, Adventure
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 318
Source: Library

The Short Version:
In 1819 a chef is kidnapped by a beautiful pirate and threatened with death if she doesn’t like the Sunday dinner he prepares.

Why I Read It:
A member of my LibraryThing group recommended it and it sounded like a lot of fun.

The Book:
From the publisher:

The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by a beautiful yet ruthless pirate. He will be spared, Mad Hannah Mabbot tells him, as long as he can conjure an exquisite meal every Sunday from the ship’s meager supplies. While Wedgwood attempts to satisfy his captor with feats such as tea-smoked eel and pineapple-banana cider, he realizes that Mabbot herself is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. But there is a method to Mabbot’s madness, and as the Flying Rose races across the ocean, Wedgwood learns to rely on the bizarre crew members he once feared: a formidable giant who loves to knit; a pair of stoic martial arts masters, sworn to defend their captain; and the ship’s deaf cabin boy, who becomes the son he never had.

An anarchic tale of love and appetite, Eli Brown’s Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a wildly original feat of the imagination, deep and startling as the sea itself.

My Thoughts:
Oh I enjoyed this one. Give Pirates of the Caribbean a female captain and add a bit of Top Chef and you’ll end up with a whole bunch of fun.

When Mad Hannah Mabbot kidnaps Owen Wedgewood and forces him to create weekly culinary masterpieces or die he really doesn’t have much choice. While he spends much of the book planning and attempting escape he also manages to create some creative culinary magic and make me laugh along the way.

On Sauerkraut:

Like hams and men, it gets better with age only to a point.

Regarding the culinary uses of a cannonball after obtaining a box of assorted spices

A few of these were not ground, and I set to the task of rolling the cannonball over them. The missile serves for a pestle almost as well as it did for a rolling pin. If I ever work in a proper kitchen again, I may have to bring one along.

I might need to get The Hubster to read this before I try convincing him I need a Kitchen Cannonball.

There’s plenty of foodie fun as well as plenty of swashbuckling action in this one.

It was predictable in spots and completely surprising in others but I enjoyed the adventure and you should give it at try.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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June Reading Wrap up

Posted by on Jul 2, 2015 in Blogging/Reading | 0 comments

I had a good month of reading in June. I read quite a variety and while there were some not spectacular books there were also some outstanding reads.

Comics and Graphic novels
Jack of Fables Vol. 6: The Big Book of War by Bill Willingham
Essex County Vol. 2: Ghost Stories by Jeff Lemire
Rat Queens Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Bone Vol. 4: The Dragonslayer by Jeff Smith (review coming next week)

The Fixer by Joseph Finder
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown (review coming tomorrow)

Very Good Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham

It ended up being a nice mix of books but somehow I missed reading any non-fiction this month. I need to make sure I read some in July.

Favorites for the month:
Comic collection or Graphic Novel: Essex County Vol. 2: Ghost Stories was as wonderful as everything else I’ve ever read by Jeff Lemire. Absolutely wonderful.

Essex County Vol. 2: Ghost Stories by Jeff Lemire

Essex County Vol. 2: Ghost Stories by Jeff Lemire

Novel: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster is nominally a children’s book but one that I missed as a child. Fortunately it also has a lot of appeal for adults and I’m glad I finally read it. I haven’t returned it to the library yet because I’m going to make The Hubster read it.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Audiobook: I thoroughly enjoyed both of the audiobooks I listened to this month. I really couldn’t pick one over the other.

After listening to a P.G Wodehouse book I doubt I’ll ever read one in print again. His work is just delightful in the audio format.

I was unsure about Peter & Max because a prose novel is a real departure for the Fables world. Listening to this narrated by Wil Wheaton was absolutely perfect.

I’m already off to a good start for July reading and with vacation on the calendar I hope to read a lot this month.

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July Photo a Day Challenges

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Fun, photos | 0 comments

June Photo a Day Challenges

I have found a way to make daily photo prompts work well for me.

No single photo a day prompt list fully works for me. I choose to save several lists and choose one prompt each day from among those lists. I’m happy to say that I love this approach and it works great for me. I highly recommend it.

Here is a sample of the photo a day lists I’ll be using for July:
(click on the images to see larger versions)

If committing to a month at a time feels like too much then Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim may have the answer for you. For 2015 she is using weekly lists of prompts. That way if you feel like you lost track or have lost the oomph you have a new starting point each and every week.

I have also discovered another source of inspiration for those days when nothing on the lists inspires me. There are several Instagram accounts that feature a new theme every week. I follow these accounts and every once in a while they save me when I just don’t like any of the other prompts. These are all worth following on Instagram.

Check out my Photo a Day history on Shuttercal where today I’ll post daily photo number 1,203.

Follow my Daily Photos on Instagram

Here are the most liked of my June Photo a Day photos:

If you’re not doing a Photo a Day challenge I hope you’ll consider it because it’s a fun way to have a photo journal. If you are, great! Keep up with it. You won’t be sorry. I highly recommend the pick from many prompts each day approach.

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Weekend Update – The Random Photos Edition

Posted by on Jun 28, 2015 in Fun, photos, Weekend Update | 5 comments

Weekend Update

I decided to browse the phone photos folder today

Old Town Portland

Old Town Portland

I work near the Old Town section of Portland with a lot of fascinating old buildings many of which date back to the early days of the city. I took this one on my way to catch the train last week and liked how the black & white edit turned out.

Early morning sun on flowers

Early morning sun on flowers

Seeing bright cheery flowers as I walk to the office in the morning is always a nice way to start the day.

Coming in for a landing

Coming in for a landing

We have more hummingbirds in our back yard this year than we’ve had before and they are pigs. I’m refilling the feeders every other day lately.

Spider where it belongs - outside

Spider where it belongs – outside

I am both terrified of and fascinated by spiders. I like them much better outside where they are not in my house and not in a place where they can drop on my like a jagular. This tiny little one was out by our tomato plants. He looked a little prehistoric to me.

Spent Clematis blooms leave the loveliest whorls.

Abby and Howie

Abby and Howie

And these two are just ridiculous.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Nutshell Review – Rat Queens Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’ygroth by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Posted by on Jun 26, 2015 in 2015, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Kurtis J. Wiebe | 0 comments

Rat Queens Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygroth by Kurtis J. Wiebe with art by Roc Upchurch and Stjepan Sejic

Rat Queens Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygroth by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Collected Trade Paperback
Series: #2 in the Rat Queens Series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 136
Source: Library

The Book:

This volume 2 is a compilation of issues 6-10 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

This booze-soaked second volume of RAT QUEENS reveals a growing menace within the very walls of Palisade. And while Dee may have run from her past, the bloated, blood-feasting sky god N’rygoth never really lets his children stray too far.

My Thoughts:
First of all this is a comics series definitely for adults. Set in a medieval style fantasy world the Rat Queens are a group of mercenaries. Hannah is an elvish sorceress. Violet is a dwarf warrior. Dee is an atheist daughter of a family of necromancers who follow the squidlike god N’rygoth. Betty is a Smidgen thief. They are all a whole lot of fun. They’ll pretty much take on anything human or monster for the right price.

This volume picks up the day after the end of volume one so don’t expect a recap or explanation of who is who. You’ll need to read the first volume for that. Go. Read it. It’s fun.

The story in this volume includes some history of the various main characters as well as plenty of action. It’s sexy and fun but it’s also got plenty of action packed bloody battle scenes. There is a lot of humor both dialog and visual.

The series had a change of main artists halfway through this story arc which is noticeable but not a decline at all. Stjepan Sejic does a great job of picking up the baton and continuing. He has remained true to the characters as they were initially presented but at the same time is clearly on his way to stamping this series with his own vision.

This is another series that I will likely continue but digitally via individual issues rather than waiting for collected editions.

It’s a lot of fun – give it a try.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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