Saturday, 31 August 2013

Monthly Roundup // BEST BOOK OF AUGUST // This Month's Hearts

Heyyyy everyone! So, I got home from holiday last week, but since then a lot has happened - not least going back to the Place of Learning on Wednesday - and so there was no Art Tuesday. I know, I know. Try to control your gasping sobs. I had a good camp and holiday etc etc, but more on that in TM<3s - that is, a list of things I've been loving this month or things I've enjoyed. First though, it's time for monthly roundup, and the best book of August!


Now, monthly roundup. Oh, and as always - if you want to do this meme, or part of it, leave me a comment and I'll set you up! :)

Art Tuesday

Blog Awards

Book Reviews

Haul Posts

... That took FAR TOO LONG. I hope you guys actually use these links ... Now, best book of August. This was a tough choice, cause I read some amazing stuff - and in the end, I had to award a tie. 


BUT ALSO ...


Both these books were AMAAAAZING - The House on the Strand was a fantastic, gripping mystery/fantasy/DU MAURIER IS A GENIUS-TRIBUTE and The Age of Miracles was just ... oh my goodness. Compelling, clever ... utterly brilliant. There will be reviews on both in the quite near future! :D

Now then, TM<3s!

~ CAMP. Summer camp was fantastic, as great (if not greater O.o) than last year. It's always an amazing place to make friends, grow faith and have fun, and I'm glad to say I did all three! Not to mention the Extremely Sophisticated poetry debates we had - yes, I met teenagers who actually wanted to discuss poems - and the fact that one of them was someone I know from an online writing group. CRAZAY, no? Along with all the onsite activities, Bible study - we were blessed to have some great leaders/speakers - and mad games, we went to St Andrews for a day trip, which was wonderful! There was a bookshop that I would happily have lived in - it was all BEAUTIFUL old second hand books, and one of my friends got a 71-year-old Rudyard Kipling for £1.80 - and there was a food shop with bread in the window that made me want to DIE. (Of happiness.) We didn't ask the price, of course ... However, we did each purchase a piece of cheese (Katherine bought the crackers) and the five of us poetry-lovers borrowed a knife, a board and some apples and had an extremely sophisticated cheeseboard that evening. All in all, I think camp could be summed up as AWESOME. I am already excited for next year! Oh, and if you live in the Glasgow/Edinburgh area ... YOU SHOULD COME. It would be so good! :D :D :D

~ Holiday! On the day camp finished I was picked up from the bus station and we drove straight up north to a tiny island in the Hebrides. I mean tiny - as in, three houses, no electricity and no permanent inhabitants. As in, take-all-your-food-for-a-fortnight-bake-bread-use-gas-lamps-pick-bilberries-on-the-hill-and-make-pie. I think it goes without saying that it was BRILLIANT - days were filled with reading, scrapbooking, walking,  playing games, writing and EATING. Honestly, the amount we ate .... On the last day we went to Tobermory which was gorgeous as ever and I got a birthday present for my friend Natasha - a silicone muffin pan and some pretty petit four cases - two books from a charity shop and a top from a Himalayan craft bazaar! It was made in Nepal by a company called  (please take a minute to appreciate this name) The Rampant Yak, which works with refugees and abused women, and it has some metal bits sewn on so that when I walk, it jangles. This, you must agree, is exciting. Look out for it in August: The Best and the Rest! Overall, the holiday was really great - it was so relaxing, and it was lovely to see my brothers and sister-in-law and spend time as a family! :)

~ [this doesn't really belong on this list but you guys want to know these things, RIGHT?] In terms of The Novel, I wrote about 8000 words (I think - I've not typed it yet) on holiday and it was going pretty well until I realised ..... I have no idea - absolutely NONE - what Corrie's day-to-day life in Teyvanidan will be like. Obviously my story is set in a different dimension but society, technology and demographics are roughly based on the seventeenth century. And do I have a single clue what court life would be like in the seventeenth century? No I do not. Wikipedia shall be my friend though - and I'm going to get some books out of the library. ~nods~

~ As I mentioned in the bit about my holiday, I have started a scrapbook! It is for pictures, quotes, poems, Bible chapters/verses, tickets, tokens, postcards, old birthday cards ... basically every that's important to me. I've not filled many pages so far but I'm proud of what I've done and I have a feeling that I will keep going with this new hobby for years to come. I might show you guys some pictures soon, if you'd like?

~ I have started watching Sherlock. I have a feeling that I am going to be sucked into a fandom from which there is no return and maybe become a Benedict Cumberbatch fan maybe ROSEMARY I SAID MAYBE. 

~ Watched Monsters, Inc. with my sister. This may seem like a small one but she's going to uni in a week! D: D: We need to
[source]
"So I said to her, 'If you talk to me like that again, WE'RE THROUGH!'" 
          "~gasp~ What'd she say?!"
          "You know my mom ... she sent me to my room!"
~ Started watching The Great British Bake Off. I have this feeling I am HOOKED ...

~ Gone back to school WAIT A MINUTE, SCHOOL IS A PLACE OF TORTURE! Three days we've been back - and one of them we only had one lesson! - and I've got SEVEN PIECES OF HOMEWORK. SEVEN. I'm not sure what THAT is about ... honestly! Don't they know I have a life to lead? A novel to write? A blog to run? A TBR list so long it threatens to consume humanity? A bunch of books/characters/fit guys to fangirl over? GEE. So inconsiderate.

Overall, August was a good month - but now it's back to the algebraic grindstone. Sigh. I guess that means blogging less frequently, so sorry about that - blame the institution that sucks the joy from all our lives. Love you all, and hopefully be posting again soon! (Though maybe not - we've started Expressive unit in Art, and I have to produce four pieces in under a fortnight. I've spend most of today on a (still far from completed) tonal of a bath's clawed foot and ..... ~sobs quietly~ any drawers among you will know That Feeling. Triple sigh. Wish me luck ... )


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Incognito.

Hey there guys! So recently the lovely Lydia from For My Own Satisfaction (she also blogs at The Book Chewers, which is a great haunt for bookworms) nominated me for the Eleven Questions Tag. After thinking long and hard, and putting my head together with fellow receivers, I have come to the belief that it is in fact a Liebster Blog Award that has lost its identity.

....

...or perhaps it is in disguise.
[source] - edited by moi. It was too tempting.
A Liebster Award incognito.
OK, now to answer Lydia's questions.

1. What's your comfort food?
Oooh...BISCUITS.
[source]
THESE are a thing of beauty....

[source]
...but THESE have always been basically my life. There is a packet in the cupboard now.... hmmm .... BE BACK IN A SEC.
OK, I'm back! :D Mmm...digestives...

2. Any pet peeves related to blogging?
Um ... filler posts. If you have nothing to say, SAY NOTHING. ESPECIALLY if you're posting every day. We do NOT need "I didn't know what to post about so I'll tell you about the fight i had with my best friend!" EVER, but PARTICULARLY not when that person POSTS EVERY DAY. Just ... don't. Posting every day is as a general rule not a great idea ... I know. I used to do it myself.

3. Favorite youtubers?
I don't watch Youtubers. Blogger, Facebook, Pinterest and Goodreads are already a drain on my time, and if I get addicted to anything else I'll stop writing and drawing and become an internet-dwelling recluse. I'm close enough to that already.

4. What book are you currently reading?
As you may know from the button to your right - What I've Got My Nose In - I'm reading It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. At least, that's what I'm reading when I write this, but you're not going to get it for about three weeks so by then who knows?

5. Favorite tumblr blog?
See my answer to question 3.

6. What movie do you find yourself quoting incessantly?
Monsters, Inc. Ice Age 1-3. Toy Story 1-3. Mulan. Napoleon Dynamite. She's the Man. My sister and I ... we have FQS (film-quoting syndrome - it's a thing.). Once we start ... we just can't stop. And we start VERY often.

7. Beverage of choice?
APPLE JUICE. Has to be a particular brand though. I'm veeery picky.

8. Favorite book you've read this year?
Are you serious?!? OK ... let's take a look at the tape. (If you got that, I love you. See what I mean about the film quoting thing?!)
Now, in chronological order....


This book was pretty sensational. And don't you love that drawing? In general I am Very Much Averse to classics having paintings of the main character on the front - which SO MANY OF THEM DO - but I really like that one.
Read my full review here.
There aren't words to describe how funny this series is. Honestly.  ~convulses with laughter at the very memory~
Read my full review here!
This book was beautiful and amazing - there is some prose in that just, OH - and the illustrations are beautiful. It won't take you long at all - I really recommend it.
Read my full review here.
This book is absolutely gorgeous and heart-warming and I love it a LOT.
Read my full review here.


This book ... I just love Austen. More than I can express, I love Austen.
Read my full review here.
Are there words? I don't think so. I don't think there are any words.
If you're part of the book blogger community you must have read this and FELT ALL THE THINGS but if not read my review here.

This is potentially cheating on account of it being a re-read - not read for the first time this year - but I don't care, I love it TOO MUCH.
Read my review here.
This book is honestly SO HILARIOUS it's a wonder I'm still alive after reading it I laughed so much.
Read my full review here!
This book was gripping and thrilling and uplifting and heartbreaking and hopeful and sad and the prose was as beautiful as, like, Johnny Depp. Which is pretty beautiful.
Review coming soon! 
...OK I think we're done here. I told you that would be hard. Oh, and don't ask me for a favourite from those ... if you did, I'd look at you like


[source]
Then I'd laugh in your face, then run off and cry, because who could make such a choice!?
9. Current favorite television shows?
I do love me a bit of How I Met Your Mother. I'm not watching any actual series TV show at the moment ... COME BACK CALL THE MIDWIFE! COME BACK!

10. Favorite blog post you've written?
Sorry, but I have no idea. I've written a LOT of blog posts in my time.

11. Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate. Some people might go for something fancy-schmancy ... but I am not one of them.


[source]
And on that note, good day to you! 

Saturday, 17 August 2013

What Do You Mean It's Not Tuesday?

You know what my problem is? Too much art, and not enough Tuesdays. Today we're going to pretend it's Tuesday, and have some card tutorials. Both are inspired by the Usborne Art Ideas book, WHICH IS AMAZING. I've gone on about it on this blog before, and I'll DO SO AGAIN.

Intricate flower design card

You will need
Card - I used white for one and purple for the other
Paint in a contrasting colour OR a felt tip pen in a contrasting colour
A thin paintbrush (if you're using paint)
A pencil
1. Fold your card in half.
2. Draw a kinda squiggly flower head like so.
3. Keep drawing ... add some more flower heads, some stems and a load of leaves.
4. AND PAINT! :D
5. Add lines to the petals...
6. ...and veins to the leaves! Just keep a-paintin', people!
7. You may want to add a message - I did, as this card was for my great aunt's 90th birthday.
TAA-DAAA! Effective, no? You could probably be a bit neater than I was though, let's face it ... ~sheepish grin~


I also made one as a thank you card. I'm not sure with I prefer ... this one is neater, but I think the other one is better drawn and I really like the white-on-purple-background. Tell me what you think!

Painted prawns card

What you need
Thick paper - preferably watercolour or cartridge
Blue paint
Red paint
White paint
Paintbrushes - a thick one and a thin one
Black felt tip

1. Paint a blue wash; wet your paper (using scrap paper to prevent bleeding/staining) and then paint patches of blue in gradiating shades - mine is gradiating, you just can't tell from this picture. Paint water on the joins to blend them together. Oh, and if there's a hair on your paper ... remove it. I did, after I'd taken this ... ~gulp~
2. Mix some orangey-red paint (it was a lot brighter in real life) and use your thick brush to paint a load of shapes like these.
3. Use your thin brush and some white paint to paint a segmented body and a tail like so.
4. Add some of, uh, those things (what are they called? Whiskers? Antennae?) ...
5. ...and some of those things. As you can tell, I'm not great on the anatomy of a prawn.
6. Now add some legs (I do know what they're called!) ...
7. ...and an eye with black felt tip!
8. Then ... REPEAT! Again, you may want to add a message in the bottom of your card. 
Ta-raa! Prawntastic! (Prawntastic? As in, fantastic? No? No? No, OK then ... )
As ever, do tell me if you make either of these - I'd love to see your masterpieces! Love you lots,

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Awards, lalala.

Hey everyone! Today I am killing completing a few more awards - the Readers Appreciation Award from Naana and the Shine On award from Althea! Thank you very much, both of you - and to everyone else, go follow.

Since I've received both these awards before - click on the buttons on my right-hand sidebar if you want to see those posts - I won't be doing facts or nominations, but I will be answering the questions! :D 
OK, first up, the Readers Appreciation Award! :D
Button made by me
1. What's your favourite outfit?
Ooh wow, tough question indeed! I have many .... I will just go with what I'm wearing at the moment, which is a skirt from H&M - you will find a picture of it in this haul post - with a dark blue vest top and a red cardigan, and my new red canvas shoes (look out for them in July: The Best And The Rest!).

2. How is a typical day in your school and what is your favourite subject?
Well I'm not at school at the moment THANK GOODNESS but I will be back in three weeks.....I don't know my new timetable yet, but a typical day goes:
8.20ish - get in. Sit in classroom with friends, chatting and yawning.
8.45 - registration and then Form - chatting or doing Dreaded Booklet Work - or Assembly, which is possibly the most pointless thing ever.
9.10 - first class. Die inside. Draw pictures of animals eating teachers. Yawn.
10.10 - break. Eat food if you have it. Scadge food if friends if you don't. Sit and talk and yawn.
10.30 - second class. Yawn some more. Think about lunch, Remember that it is two hours away. Die a little.
11.30 - third class. By 12.10 you are almost dead.
12.30 - LUNCH. Everyone's favourite time. Sit in art classroom and chat with friends. Eat lunch. Justify going to the vendies to self; buy chocolate.
1.30 - fourth class. Cry over how quickly lunch has gone. Say one or many of the following:

[source]
2.30 - last class. Battle sleep. Draw on arms. Remember to pay attention. Forget again. Stare out of window. Yawn.
3.30 - FREEDOM. Except, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have after-school classes from 3.45-5.15 so the end is not in sight at half 3. 
To answer the other part of the question, my favourite subjects are Art, English, History, Fabrics and Latin. Geography is bearable; Spanish is pushing it. Maths and Biology make me want to dive out of the window. (See poems about Maths-related death here and here.)

3. Do you prefer comic books to detective books or vice versa?
Uhm...that would depend on the book, I think. An awesome graphic novel - PERSEPOLIS - or a hilarious comic book - CALVIN AND HOBBES - is amazing, but then a brilliant mystery is also great.

4. Can you tell us a bit about your blog, history, progress and a few blogging tips?
We-ell... I started my blog on April 24th 2012, back when I was a liddle baby novice with no idea what to post about, what formatting to use, or anything really. My blog originally had a stupid name and a stupid url (I had put my surname in it, so that whoever typed my name into Google would find my blog - good one, Emily -_-) and I posted about stupid things - and can I just say now, if you've been following me since then I love you greatly. 
OK, um, blogging tips...aha... ':)
~ do NOT post every day, unless your blog is SUPER AMAZING and you have HUNDREDS OF FOLLOWERS and they all LOVE IT. Post when you have something to share, or something to say.
~ choose your fonts well, people. This may sound stupid to some, but the formatting of a blog is a BIG thing and if it looks professional, people are much more likely to follow you. Make sure it's in a readable font - all caps is bad, and so is super curly-wurly-unreadable. It needs to be something that doesn't offend your viewers' eyes. 
~ and don't use every widget you can lay your hands on - a rotating board of puppies on your sidebar plus a bunch of those fish plus a number of sparkly gifs may seem cool to you, but what it looks like is a teenage girl who has no idea what she's doing. If you really need to, get a web designer!
~ give your posts good titles or else no one. Will. Click. On. Them. You see?
~ vary what you blog about! I post recipes, book reviews, life posts, award posts and stuff about art/craft/design, but I try to keep it varied so that my followers don't get bored and stop reading. If yours is a book/beauty blog, rotate what kind of posts you do because if you spend three weeks only doing make-up reviews your book blogger followers will lose interest in you and likewise if you post book reviews for a month your beauty followers will stop reading.

5. What book have you read recently?
I just finished The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. It was really good, but the ending was disappointing - I NEED A SEQUEL! Now I'm going to start The House ing on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier.

6. Are you the kind of outgoing type or the girl who appears bubbly but is shy? Or appears shy?
[source] - ever so skilfully edited by moi to protect my baby blogglings' innocence
7. What is your favourite beauty product?
Umerum...I don't really use beauty products as such... but in my view, foundation is the key to life. That is all.

8. Describe your life(What you do on weekdays and week ends, etc)
Ooh, OK... well, I... do... stuff. I'm sorry....OK so during the week I have SCHOOL (snore) except during the HOLIDAYS (hurrah!), with youth group on Friday nights, and then on Saturdays I either go out with friends or stay in to do homework, bake, blog, craft etc. Then on Sundays I have church in the morning, MASSIVE LUNCH (usually with people over), the homework I didn't do before relaxing in the afternoon and then church in the evening.

9. Why do you like blogging?
We-ell ... I guess I like being able to share what I make/do with the world, and it's a great way of meeting like-minded people with whom you can shamelessly fangirl. The book blogging scene is super - and I like being able to share my writing with you guys. I know I've not done so in a while but that's because I'm currently working on my NaNo novel (gulp) and a novella called Gold. I've also been writing a lot of poetry but not posting it because I'm entering the Foyle Young Poets Award. :)

Thanks again, Naana! AND NOW, the Shine On award.


Button made by me, as you can probably tell by my insane graphic design skills...NOT.
1. Are you part of any fandoms? If so, which ones?

[source]
"Always."
2. Can you roll your tongue?
I cannot, no. I can't really do any cool body stuff...

3. Do you know any foreign languages? If so, please tell us a bit about yourself in said language!
No hablo español, pero puedo me describir un poco. Me llamo Emily, y tengo catroce años; me cumpleaños es en octubre. Vivo en Escocia, cerca de Glasgow.....yeaahhh you get the idea.

4. What are your views on the Gay Marriage debate?
As a Christian, I believe that homosexuality is wrong and that marriage is a gift from God for one man and one woman.

5. If you could be an ice-cream, what flavour would you be and why?
My original thought was that I'd be something disgusting so no one would eat me, but there are crazy people out there who like even the nasty flavours and so that probably wouldn't work, in which case I may as well go out in style and be Belgian triple chocolate or Phish Food or something. To be honest, I think that the situation of me being an ice cream is unlikely to arise.

Love you!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Art Tuesday: Coke can

As any of you who study/have studied Art will know, there are a bunch of things that Art teachers will inevitably make you draw. The reflective pot on a patterned surface. The glass bottle. The rumpled fabric. The omnipresent-impossible-to-get-away-from natural forms. These things are done everywhere and always have been; in my opinion,
[source]
Anyway ... the bashed-up drinks can is one of these things. I did this, wow, almost a year ago now - how time flies, eh? - but I thought I'd share it with you today. I rather like it ~grin~
Now then, enough of my mad ramblings ... see you guys on Thursday! :)

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Sent for review: Shiloh by Helena Sorenson


Around about a month ago, I was contacted by Helena Sorenson - she offered to send me a copy of her novel Shiloh for review! I of course jumped at the chance; I've never had a book sent for review before, and first off I'd like to thank Helena for sending it to me (and Ruby, for directing her to me). A few days before my holiday to Portugal the book arrived and I took it with me to read there.



The story of the world is the story of things forgotten, of desperate people cowering in the dark, blind to who they truly are. In Shiloh it is no different, except there, the darkness is tangible.

And it has a name. The Shadow.

Amos was born a thousand years after Evander led his clan in search of the legendary Sun and disappeared from all knowledge. Evander was called a madman for seeking a world beyond the Shadow, but there are some who still believe, Amos among them. He has special power over fire, and he seems to fear nothing. But when his world falls apart, the fear takes hold, and Amos becomes a pawn in the hand of darkness. It takes Orin, the master blacksmith, Simeon, the Dreamer, and Isolde, the fiery woman with the mighty destiny, to draw Amos back. Together, they set out to find the path of escape from the Shadow.




Sounds interesting, right? When I went to Helena's website I was immediately drawn in by the premise. I was also struck by how weird it sounded - and I'm not going to lie, it was quite weird - but as I think most bloggers know, that's not a bad thing. In fact....


[Source]
But anyway. About Shiloh

Overall, I enjoyed it; the storyline was original and unique, and I got a very clear sense of the world Sorenson was creating, with its perpetual darkness and ominous forests, the oily river that runs through it, and the tiny villages full of people struggling through lives in the blackness, mistrustful of each other and blind to the truth. I also liked the character's names - they felt 'fantasy' without being over the top - and the place names (though the alliteration of Pallid Peaks and Whispering Wood made me cringe a little. I felt that it took away from their scariness). I'm not going to say this book didn't have its flaws, because that would be untrue; whilst the characters were credible, well-developed and good throughout, I couldn't believe that Simeon and Amos were seven at the beginning - the way they spoke and acted made them seem much older. When I began reading I also wasn't a fan of the dialect used, but as the novel progressed I did get used to it and I suppose it did give me a clearer connection with some of the characters. I also felt that a certain romance was very predictable - but maybe I'm just a cynic. The other thing that killed me was the formatting and I know most people don't understand fonts so this isn't really a valid point but it was in Arial and Times New Roman, interspersed together, and the indents were so big and I just, I just...~whimpers~ But anyway.

My main problem with the novel was definitely the pacing. A lot happened in a short space of time and quite often I felt that a lot more suspense and build-up was required. This makes me think that perhaps I am simply too old for the book - I am used to wordier, longer novels and to me it felt more like a story for, say, an 11 or 12 year old. However, that said, I did enjoy the book - Sorenson did what every fantasy writer aspires to, which is create a tangible world with a problem that the readers are rooting to be solved. I have given it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and I would say that, if you are that bit younger - pre-teen, I think - then I would definitely recommend Shiloh to you.

Thanks again for sending it to me, Helena!