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6526. Fall is in the Air

Fresh from the garden

Fresh from the garden

Though the temperatures are still warm during the day, there is a touch of fall in the air. I can feel it in the early morning and smell it on the breeze. Not to mention there is a maple on my bus route to the metro train that is already starting to change color and the Canadian geese are beginning to make stop overs on the lakes as they make their way south for the winter. Even though autumn is my favorite season I always have mixed feelings about its impending arrival: boo, gardening season is coming to an end and yay gardening season is coming to an end. Also, yay cool weather, frost, no more allergies. And boo cool weather, snow and ice. If I am lucky, there will still be another month plus a week or two of gardening left before a killing frost makes a visit. Time for the pumpkins to turn orange and the turnips to grow. I am also expecting a shipment of garlic in the mail to plant before the ground freezes.

This morning Bookman and I were out in the garden early before the heat and humidity drove us indoors. It was humid but cool and there was a lovely breeze from the north. It smelled so good out in the garden. We were able to make a concerted attack on the weeds and it felt really good. I missed out on finding the netting for the blackberries before the critters got to them, but as I was saving it from the weeds and the comfrey plant that had gotten really huge and fallen over on it, I discovered it is sending out shoots and rooting new canes. Huzzah!

I also discovered that, once again, the squirrels ate all the hazelnuts off the tree. The tree has been producing nuts for

Sunflower in the bag

Sunflower in the bag

years and I have never had one. Maybe I need to put socks on each of the nuts? It’s working for the corn. I should have been paying more attention to Walter the crab apple. He had about two dozen bright red crab apples on him. I haven’t been diligent in checking when they would be ripe, figuring it would be about the same time as my other apple trees, about mid-September. Well, I was wrong. I went to work Thursday morning and Walter was covered in apples. I came home from work Thursday afternoon and there was not a single apple left on the tree. Note to self for next year, if you want to make crab apple jelly, the apples get ripe at the end of August.

One plant nothing bothered at all is the malabar spinach. It is not really spinach. It is a vining plant with little pink flowers on it. The vine keeps going and going all summer and likes the heat. The leaves are the edible part. I kept waiting for it to get really leafy but it never did so next year I will be sure to plant more than one. I did manage to get enough leaves from it to make malabar spinach curry. And was it ever good too! Unlike your regular greens when you cook them and they get a bit soggy, the malabar keeps its crunch. This is likely because the leaves are mucilaginous. I neglected to tell this to Bookman and he had a little panic when chopping up the leaves. They started to ooze and for a minute he thought he had chopped up a caterpillar or other bug into out dinner!

A wee green pumpkin

A wee green pumpkin

One of our big annual sunflowers is now covered with a plastic grocery bag. I read somewhere that this will keep the birds and squirrels away so we can actually harvest the seeds. I’ve never managed to harvest any sunflowers seeds so I am very excited at the prospect. Usually the squirrels will chew the head of the whole flower off and run away with it. The bag is suppose to keep them from doing that. While I am excited about having my own sunflower seeds, I just realized that I will have to crack open the shells on each one of them. Something to keep my hands busy while watching a movie some evening, right?

I read a really good gardening book called Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist by Michael Judd. I read a lot of gardening books and after awhile they all start to say the same thing. But each one never fails to have some new bits of information in it so I do always learn something. The book takes a permaculture approach to backyard gardening which is what I am doing so the book and I were meant for each other. I’ve read enough edible landscaping books and enough permaculture books over the past two or three years that herb spirals and composting and water retention methods and planting for pollinators and creating food guilds was not new. Still, I learned some good stuff.

Like comfrey is not just good for the garden. Comfrey, is good in the garden because it is a nutrient accumulator. It has

quinoa

quinoa

very deep roots and pulls up all sort of mircronutrients that would not be otherwise available. It grows big and fast and can be cut back once or twice a summer and used as mulch on the garden beds. The purple flowers also attract pollinators. Now I have learned that a comfrey poultice is good for bruises, sprains and sore muscles. The leaves are high in allantoin which speeds up the production of new cells. You can make a comfrey poultice or two out of leaves, water and flour and then freeze it to have on hand when the need arises. Neat, right? I haven’t made any poultices yet but I have a bunch of comfrey just waiting for me to do just that, which will be soon.

I also learned quite a bit about hardy kiwi and Bookman and I have made great plans for building a trellis next year over the polyculture bed. Each female plant can produce as much as 100 pounds (45 kg) or fruit that can be eaten fresh, dried, or made into jam. How awesome is that?

Gooseberries and currants are popular in permaculture gardens because they are small, high yielding shrubs that can withstand some shade making them ideal as understory plantings for bigger trees. This spring I planted a red gooseberry and a black currant. I have learned from Edible Landscaping that currants have 5 times the vitamin C of oranges, twice the potassium of bananas, and twice the antioxidants of blueberries. There are black, red, white and pink currants with black being the most tart and pink the sweetest. I was excited about currants before but goodness, now I want to go crazy planting a bunch of different varieties. I am seriously considering that come spring, if the soil ph still is not right for the blueberries, I might just take them out and plant currants instead. But I get ahead of myself.

Squash muffins

Squash muffins

Beside learning something new, garden books should also make you excited about gardening. Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist scores high on both. So if you are looking for a good gardening book, get your hands on a copy of this one.

Just a few more things from the garden before I go. Today Bookman made some delicious squash, raisin and walnut muffins. He used zucchini and lemon squash from the garden. Do they ever taste good. We have also harvested two ears of corn! I haven’t tried it yet but I will with dinner this evening. Bookman is making pizza and one of the ears will be sliced up onto the pizza. Yum!


Filed under: gardening

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6527. Limbering up!

I can't believe it's almost two months since I last posted on the Burly & Grum blog. Go on, ask me what I've been doing for the last few weeks! I'll give you a clue - I'm shaking builder's dust from my hair as I type. Yes, I moved from the house I'd lived in for 24 years to somewhere new.  Well, when I say new, it was built in the 1930s but somehow managed to get stuck in a 1970's time warp. Not that I'm against the 70s at all, it's just that after 40 years the wallpaper is looking a bit tired! I've been up and down ladders, knocked down walls, drilled holes, painted everything that doesn't move, and poor old Burly and Grum have taken a back seat. 
     Not that they've minded at all, they've been relaxing on the beach and have been sending me postcards to prove it.This one is from Grum...


     And this one is from Burly (he's been a bit nicer and you will note he's bringing me back a present)...

  Although there is still a lot to do to my new home (having a kitchen that doesn't resemble a war zone would be good...), I'm going to start concentrating once more on Burly and Grum especially as we were doing so well, for example, being finalist for the People's Book Prize. There are a lot of great opportunities out there and I will be putting my ear to the ground to see what developments have taken place while I've been 'away'. So the holiday for Burly and Grum is now officially over and they are limbering up to start work again - this is going to be fun!




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6528. I'll be at the Love YA Festival at Brisbane Square Library on September 6th!

This Saturday, September 6, I'll be at Brisbane Square Library as part of their Love YA festival!

At 2pm, I'll be speaking about blogging, becoming an author and other writerly things (and likely referencing The Very Hungry Caterpillar a lot - the greatest book of all time)!

At 3pm, I'll be appearing on a panel with bloggers Nyla Jade (Style Creeper), Kerry Heany (Eat Drink and Be Kerry), Jeann Wong (Happy Indulgence Books) and AJ (Pepper Passport), talking about blogging!

Brisbane Square Library is at 266 George Street Brisbane, and it's free to attend the Love YA festival (just call the library to let them know you're coming! Here's the event listing on the library website) - there are lots of awesome authors who'll be appearing from 12pm until 5pm.

I'd love to see you there, and if you do come along, say hi! I'm sure it'll be a lovely afternoon. If you get the train up from the Gold Coast we will probably run into each other. If you want, yell out 'STEPH BOWE? STEPH BOWE THE NOVELIST?' Only not in the quiet carriage. Just shout-whisper.

For more details about the Love YA festival and the other sessions, check out the Brisbane Writers Festival website. Here's the blurb:
'Love Young Adult Fiction? So do we! We’ve lined up some of the best YA authors for panels, signings and a chance to pitch your YA book to a publisher. A whole afternoon of book love for teens and YA fans! LAINI TAYLOR, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, AMIE KAUFMAN, These Broken Stars, A.J. BETTS, Zac & Mia , SEAN WILLIAMS, Jump , DIANA SWEENEY, The Minnow, KIRILEE BARKER, The Book of Days, ANANDA BRAXTON-SMITH, Secrets of Carrick. Plus book signings, cosplay and more!'

I'M EXCITED. ARE YOU EXCITED? To sum up: All those awesome folks. This Saturday, September 6. Brisbane Square Library. 12-5pm. Free. See me make a lot of silly jokes from 2pm! Free hugs and/or high-fives!

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6529. The Magic Bubble Trip

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert ~ Kane/Miller 1985

An early book by a husband and wife team who are two of the most famous children's book authors in the Netherlands, its cover haunted me for a while before I actually picked it up and read it. The fantastical realism inside, didn't disappoint.

Meet James. He lives in a tall apartment building, but loves to visit the pond in the woods behind his place. His folks are always getting on him about bringing frogs back to the apartment, and one day, sad and dejected missing his frog friends, James begins blowing bubbles and something strange happens.

One of the soap bubbles began to grow bigger and bigger and bigger. When it had grown so large that it completely surrounded James, it started to float out of the window, carrying him along in it! 


It's not until his bubble finally lands that things get freaky. He meets a mess of grass frogs that eventually take him to Mr. Odd-and-Ends, a guy that lives by an enormous junkyard in a house made of junk, grass, rabbit hutches, and other, ahem, odds and ends.



The mysterious man makes all sorts of things... like toys made out of shoes and match boxes, button snakes, but even better, a Heli-plane; one that is missing a part that James just happens to have in his pocket.

Not really sure how the story arrives at the ending, but let's just say, James' parents don't have much of a problem with frogs anymore.



Wild, weird, and wonderful.







































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6530. Soar Paper Airplane – Drawing A Day

Tried out some simple drawing and text combo. Used the neutral color shade canvas to begin. I heard somewhere that in nature, it’s rare to see absolute white and that having a white background as a basis for a drawing is the most unnatural. Drawn with Painter X3 with Gouache and lots of edge erasing […]

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6531. Finding where you left your inspiration

 

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Do you find you’ve been staring at that blank page for ages, your fine liner’s or paints have began to dry and your idea’s just seem to be at a standstill no matter how much you want to get started. Well my creative friend I think you may have dropped your inspiration somewhere, but don’t panic I’m sure its laying around somewhere waiting for you to find it. All creative people get stuck with art block from time to time and although the frustration can be extremely annoying to the point you may want to scream into the nearest pillow, never fear because here’s a few easy solutions to help get your creativity and inspiration back to where it used to be.

  • Get out of your studio space: Sometimes too much time at your desk or computer can cramp your mind along with your legs, so the best remedy is to get out of your space to clear your head. Go for a walk, drive or run for a change of scenery to promote new idea’s and thought.

 

  • Visit somewhere creatively fuelling: Galleries, degree shows, museums or places of wildlife are perfect places to feed your visual appetite. Whether you’re viewing someone else’s work this may help you visualise different concepts, composition styles, patterns or colour palettes you might not of thought of using before or if you’re out sketching from things in real life making studies may give you the grounds for a specifically theme project that can help you gather idea’s as you go.

 

  • Take a break from the drawing board: The old battery need’s a recharge and despite many of us wanting to be an invincible creative machine that can churn out endless amazing drawings, photos and painting that will dazzle all it’s not physically possible although we can dream.

 

  • Work with a liked minded creative: If the creative juices just aren’t flowing with a pending project often the help of a like minded creative can help pull you out of your rut. Talk with a creative friend about your project in confidence and ask them for points or tips on where to get started, sometimes two heads are better than one.

Image by illustrator Dana Svobodova you can find out more about their work here .

The post Finding where you left your inspiration appeared first on Illustration Friday.

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6532. #647 – The Guardian Herd #1: Starfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

guardian herd 1 starfire

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The Guardian Herd #1: Starfire

Written by Jennifer Lynn Alvareztop-10-use-eb-trans
Harper/HarperCollins Children’s Books      9/23/2014
978-0-06-228606-2
Age 8 to 12              272 pages
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“Once every hundred years, a black foal is born, prophesied to either unite or destroy the five herds of flying horses that live in the land of Anok. He is fated to become the most powerful Pegasus in all of Anok. Star is this black foal. Even though Star has malformed wings that make him unable to fly, the leaders of each herd will take no risks and want to execute Star before his first birthday. With the help of his friends, Star must escape the clutches of the powerful leaders. His epic journey of self-discovery turns into a battle between good and evil that will keep readers eagerly turning the pages.”

Opening

“Star trotted through the dense pine forest, alone.”

The Story

The Pegasi of Anok (mythical winged horses), consists of five herds each with their own leader—the over-stallions—and their own land. None crosses the borders without permission. Wars have been raging between these herds for hundreds of years. Star is a black foal born into the Sun Herd, led by Thunderwing. When Star’s mother died birthing Star, Thunderwing’s mate adopted him, much against her mate’s wishes.

Star, a black foal, was born under the Hundred Year Star. If he can remain alive until his first birthday, he will receive the star’s power, and then become either a destroyer or a healer. No one knows which he will become, not even Star, and this terrifies the over-stallions of each herd. The last black foal born under this star all thought would be a healer. He was a good weanling, but when he received the power, he became a destroyer and wrecked havoc in all the land of Anok. It is up to the over-stallion of the guardian herd—Thunderwing—to kill the black foal before his first birthday, or to let him live and receive his ultimate power. Thunderwing is as scared as the others are and plans to execute Star before his first birthday.

Only Star’s three friends and his adopted mother believe Star will be a healer and seek to keep Star alive so he can receive the power of the Hundred Year Star. The other weanlings (those under one-year of age) bully Star and his three friends, mainly because he cannot fly. He does not fit into his wings, and must walk every like a common horse—a terrible insult to a Pegasus.

One particular weanling has it in for Star and tries to kill him. But in doing so, he crosses into another herd’s land, starting a war. Between this new war and the majority of pegasi wanting him executed, Star knows he must be on his own. Can Star survive without his friends, tend to his own food and water, and remain hidden from all other pegasi? Whether or not Star can survive on his own will greatly determine his future. With five herds looking for him, Star’s odds of survival are slim.

Review

The Guardian Herd has every element a kid wants in an adventure. The author has created an imaginative, highly stylized world kids will appreciate. There are great characters that are easy to understand and like, even the terrifying bully Brackentail. This adventure has tons of action, some with violence. The violence is not bad until the final battle, making this book more appropriate for middle graders on the older end of their age-range.

There are many characters is The Guardian Herd. So many that the author starts with five pages of descriptions so kids know the herds and the pegasi in each herd. I found this section a tad overwhelming and skipped it altogether. I had no trouble remembering who was who and where they belonged. The only thing this list does, in my opinion, is make the story seem cumbersome and it might scare off a reader or two. I would drop it or place it at the end of the story.

Star is a wonderful character. Despite his worthless wings and inability to fly, Star has a warm personality, respects and honors his friends and adopted mare, and is braver than one would think given his situation and fate. Star is a character whose side you will quickly take up. When off on his own, Star’s humor—or the author’s humorous writing—had me in stitches. I loved his friend Crabwing and the things they did in and around the bay.

Granted, there is a huge war near the end of the story and the violence can be just shy of young adult territory, but I do not think it will give any kid nightmares, especially when the scenes that follow these battles are as strong and easy to envision. Once these scenes begin, the war becomes a distant memory. I think these final scenes will override any violent scenes a kid may linger on. The ending is extremely well written and strong. It was nothing as I imagined it might be. I cannot explain any further without spoilers, so this will have to do: the ending is fantastic. If the author does not hurry up and finish the next book, I may start stalking her blog.

The Guardian Herd may not be a New York Bestseller, yet, but it will entertain, and possibly teach your child a few things about friendship, respect, and loyalty. If not, they will still be completely engrossed for a few hours with an imaginative world that actually resembles our own world in many ways. I highly recommend this series for kids age 10 and up. Adults who love fantasy adventures will also enjoy The Guardian Herd #1: Starfire. This is Jennifer’s debut novel with HarperCollins—her first traditionally published book!

THE GUARDIAN HERD #1: STARFIRE. Text copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez. Advanced Readers Copy received from the publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, NY.

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Get your copy of The Guardian Herd: Starfire at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryHarperCollinsyour favorite book store.

Learn more about The Guardian Herd: Starfire HERE

**Also Available in Audio

Meet the author, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, at her website:    http://www.jenniferlynnalvarez.com/

Find more exciting stories at the HarperCollins website:    http://www.harpercollins.com/

HarperCollins Children’s Books is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Here is a twelve-year-old kid’s view of The Guardian Herd #1:  Starfire. Read Erik’s review HERE

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Also by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

The Pet Washer

The Pet Washer

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Reviewed HERE

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guardian herd starfire

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: children's book reviews, Guardian Herd, HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperCollins Publishers, Hundred Year Star, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, Land of Anok, middle grade novel, Pegasus, Starfire

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6533. A Little Amusement for a Long Weekend...

...drum roll, please: THUG NOTES does THE GIVER and THE HUNGER GAMES.What I love about these is that they're not just summary, but literary criticism as well - good, often deeper-than-I'd-thought-of litcrit, which makes me extremely cheerful. Best... Read the rest of this post

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6534. Mexicans, lawn jockeys, and an Indian spirit in A.S. King's PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ

Today is one of those lazy Sunday's in which I pick up an acclaimed young adult novel to read--not for AICL--but just because it is important that I read books that win major awards.


Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A. S. King, was named as an Honor Book in YALSA's Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction in 2011. I started reading it a couple of hours ago. I paused when I read this:
I drive over the bridge into town. The whitest town on earth--or, more accurately, once the whitest town on Earth until the Mexicans moved in. Once you get through the crowded old suburbs where the large Victorian homes sit on the hill and past the rows of cupola-topped row houses, it's an ugly town--a mishmash of 1940s asphalt shingles, multicolored bricks, and gray concrete. There's too much litter, and too many people look angry. Dad says it wasn't always like this. He says it's not the Mexicans' fault that the city council would rather spend the city's money on new arts initiatives and a big flashy baseball stadium than more police on the streets. So now, while there's wine, cheese, and doubleheaders downtown, poverty has taken over and crime is at an all time high uptown. I lock my doors.
So--Mexicans live in the ugly part of town, but if the city spent more money on police, that part of town wouldn't be dirty, ugly, and filled with people who look angry? Really?! Just how would more police help with that? 

I kept on reading. Vera's home is on Overlook Road, near the top of a hill. So is Charlie's. They're next door neighbors, but their houses are a hundred yards apart, in a wooded area where, I gather, the wealthy people of the city live. Vera's neighbor on the other side is the Ungers. The Ungers have a boat, two Cadillacs, and a lawn with ornaments that includes
lawn jockeys (the black kind), and three cement deer--a doe and two fawns.
The Ungers also have gnomes, which Charlie and Vera move around for kicks. There is no further mention of the lawn jockeys. What are we readers to make of that?! Thinking that I'd come across something that tells me the Ungers are racist, I kept on reading. The chapter titled "History--Age Seven" opens with Charlie telling her about "the spirit of the Great Hunter." Of course, that passage gave me pause. Again. Here's that excerpt:
As far as Charlie was concerned, the Great Hunter was an Indian spirit who lived in our woods. He drank from the lake. He watched the stars from the ridge. He protected hikers and hunters and tree-climbing little urchins like us, and he created the most sacred tree of all, the Master Oak, for us to grow up in.
How nice (not)! An Indian spirit who looks after white kids. 

Not all Mexicans, or all African Americans, or all Native people, will pause at King's references to them/their culture, but I noted all three instances, and frankly, I'm more than a bit annoyed. Each of these three passages yanked me out of the story King is telling. 

I looked through reviews, and not once have I found a review from a reviewer at a journal, or from a blogger, that noted these references. Didn't anyone notice them? Or did they get noticed but were then deemed unimportant? Are such things so much a part of white culture that they are unremarkable?! 

Needless to say, I am setting aside King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Did you notice the passages?

Update--5:03 PM, August 31, 2014: In my post (above), I should have provided a synopsis of what the book is about. Here's what you'll find at Amazon:
Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Update: 5:44 PM, August 31, 2014:

Well, I kept on reading...

I came across a "Nazi skinhead" named Mick who is boyfriend to one of Vera's coworkers (Vera works at a pizza place). One evening, Vera gives Jill a ride home. They've got Sly and the Family Stone cranking. When they get to Jill's apartment, Jill reaches over and turns the volume way down so Mick can't hear it. She turns to Vera and says "What can I do?" With Jill's action and question, we understand that King wants us to know that Mick is racist towards blacks. Why couldn't she give us something like that about the Ungers, too?

Later, Vera is remembering being on the bus when she was in 8th grade. She was listening to Al Green on her headphones. A senior guy sits with her and asks her what she's listening to. His name is Tim Miller. Vera doesn't want to tell him what she's listening to because he uses the n-word and she's sure he won't like the music she listens to. There's also a Confederate flag in his yard. He lives at the bottom of the hill. He tells Vera she's a rich kid. Given the location of his house, his family is low on the SES scale. He's obviously meant to be racist. Again--why don't we have anything to mark the Ungers as racist? Why couldn't Vera have said "the racist black kind" rather than just "the black kind" when she noted them on the Ungers lawn?  

I'm trying to figure out who Vera is...  She is well-off, doesn't like the n-word, and is aware of white supremacist racism towards African Americans. Is that a plus for Vera? For King? 

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6535. Mix it Up! And let the wonder in

When M was about 9 months old she was sat in a bath and became transfixed by the steady trickle of water coming from the tap. Time and time again she tried to grab the stream of water and was utterly puzzled: Why wasn’t it possible to hold onto the solid-appearing rod of glinting water? I had a moment of delight and clarity as I watched M explore this ‘illusion’. As an adult I of course know a liquid cannot be held onto like a solid can, but when and how had I learned this? Here were M learning it right in front of my eyes and it felt like a moment of brilliant revelation, an instant when one of the secrets of how the world works was revealed.

mix-it-up_9781452137353_350Hervé Tullet‘s Mix it Up! allows us all to experience the same thrill of discovery, the buzz that comes from a lightbulb moment; it takes us back to the very bare bones of colour theory and shows us magic at our own fingertips. That mixing yellow and blue should give us a total different colour… well that’s pretty cool if you think about it.

Listeners and readers are invited into a wide open, imaginative space where their physical interaction with the book (tipping it, tapping it, slamming it shut) has the power to transform the pages. On one level we know it is an illusion, but the way the book addresses us directly and apparently responds to our commands instils a thrilling sense of both powerfulness and playfulness.

mixitup1

This books shows paint as your friend and as such is a fabulous doorway into the world of art.

This book makes scientists of its readers and listeners, asking the to predict what is going to happen and then making it so.

Mix it Up!‘s simplicity is deceptive and will be enjoyed by older children and playful adults, even if they’ve long since learned all they technically need to know about primary and secondary colours. A worthy follow-up to Press Here, this unadorned, uncomplicated book will cast a spell over you and allow you to see again some of the wonder around you.

Inspired by the page in Tullet’s book which shows a hand amongst paint-covered fingerprints we draw around our hands and cut out hand templates. These we temporarily stuck to a sheet of card (using masking tape).

mixitup2

Next we went wild with finger painting, starting with three bowls of primary colours (soaked into sponges so that the paint stuck to our fingers more evenly)…

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…before mixing the primary colours to make secondary colours.

mixitup4

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When the paper was full of prints I then carefully removed the hand templates to leave white shadows.

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We used the now-covered-in-fingerprints hand templates to stick on a second sheet of white paper, creating an “opposite” image to the hand shadows.
mixitup8

Both are now up on the walls in the girls’ room. I think they make very effective pieces of art but perhaps more importantly, the process was hugely enjoyable.

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Whilst we painted we listened to:

  • Mix It Up by The Marvelettes
  • This Too Shall Pass by OK Go – for the playfulness and final scenes with paint I think Tullet would approve of.
  • Mixing Up by Yo Gabba Gabba!

  • Other activities which would go well with reading Mix it Up! include:

  • Using sweet wrappers to change the way you view the world (and learn about mixing colours as you go) – using this tutorial from Mylittle3andme.
  • Adding shaving foam into the mix to give mixing colours a different sensory slant – using this tutorial from Nurture Store.
  • Combining science and colour mixing, by getting coloured water to move from two cups to third, all by itself – using this tutorial on All for Kids.

  • What do you take for granted but have recently see with new eyes?

    Disclosure: A free review copy of Mix it Up! was sent to me by the publishers.

    3 Comments on Mix it Up! And let the wonder in, last added: 9/1/2014
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    6536. How Contemporary British TV Animation Went Off the Rails

    British TV networks wanted to find the next "Simpsons" and "South Park," but things didn't go quite as planned.

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    6537. We Need Diverse Books

    The ground roots movement for more diversity in books now has an official organization. 

    http://weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com/post/93178270072/we-need-diverse-books-announces-incorporation-as-a

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    6538. Soar Paper Airplane – Drawing A Day

    Tried out some simple drawing and text combo. Used the neutral color shade canvas to begin. I heard somewhere that in nature, it’s rare to see absolute white and that having a white background as a basis for a drawing is the most unnatural. Drawn with Painter X3 with Gouache and lots of edge erasing […]

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    6539. Finding where you left your inspiration

     

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    Do you find you’ve been staring at that blank page for ages, your fine liner’s or paints have began to dry and your idea’s just seem to be at a standstill no matter how much you want to get started. Well my creative friend I think you may have dropped your inspiration somewhere, but don’t panic I’m sure its laying around somewhere waiting for you to find it. All creative people get stuck with art block from time to time and although the frustration can be extremely annoying to the point you may want to scream into the nearest pillow, never fear because here’s a few easy solutions to help get your creativity and inspiration back to where it used to be.

    • Get out of your studio space: Sometimes too much time at your desk or computer can cramp your mind along with your legs, so the best remedy is to get out of your space to clear your head. Go for a walk, drive or run for a change of scenery to promote new idea’s and thought.

     

    • Visit somewhere creatively fuelling: Galleries, degree shows, museums or places of wildlife are perfect places to feed your visual appetite. Whether you’re viewing someone else’s work this may help you visualise different concepts, composition styles, patterns or colour palettes you might not of thought of using before or if you’re out sketching from things in real life making studies may give you the grounds for a specifically theme project that can help you gather idea’s as you go.

     

    • Take a break from the drawing board: The old battery need’s a recharge and despite many of us wanting to be an invincible creative machine that can churn out endless amazing drawings, photos and painting that will dazzle all it’s not physically possible although we can dream.

     

    • Work with a liked minded creative: If the creative juices just aren’t flowing with a pending project often the help of a like minded creative can help pull you out of your rut. Talk with a creative friend about your project in confidence and ask them for points or tips on where to get started, sometimes two heads are better than one.

    Image by illustrator Dana Svobodova you can find out more about their work here .

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    6540. Writing is a kind of sickness: History of the Rain/Niall Williams: Reflections

    I bought History of the Rain because Melissa Firman said I should, and because I trust this fine reader/writer/reviewer.

    I read it because it is glorious. Irish and tangled and and caught, at times, in its own whirl, its own strange uncharted loveliness. It is a story about failure that is, itself, a victory of style, foresight, love. A book of tangents and a-chronology, of curves and mist. A book that, on its final page, does not, will not end.

    Ruth Swain lives by a river in a part of the world where it always rains, where family is good, where the absence of a brother and a father requires Ruth herself, sick and perhaps dying, to write her family's wobbling story down. Into that story she writes the stories of the books her father loved and endowed to her, the mythology and the hope, the fortitude and the flood.

    Look at what Niall Williams does with a character:
    Two-handed, Mrs Quinty lifts the glasses free of the minor parsnip of her nose, holds them just in front of her and scrutinises the dust gathered there. Rain makes bars of light and dark down her face and mine, as if we're inside the jail of it.
    Look at what he does with landscape:
    The fields are wrapped in soft grey tissues of weather.
    Look what he does with memory:
    I know that field. Years ago I went there. It's rough and wildly sloping, hoof-pocked and rushy-bearded both. Running down it is bump and splash, is ankle-twist treachery. You get going and you can't stop. You're heading for the river. And you can't help but scream.
    And (knowingly, truthfully, achingly absolutely), look what he does with the truth:
    Writing of course is a kind of sickness. Well people don't do it. Art is basically impossible. Edna O'Brien said she was surprised Van Gogh only cut off one ear. Robert Lowell said that he felt was a blazing out, flashes, nerve jabs in the moments when the poem was coming. I myself have had no blazing out, and don't suppose it's all that good for your constitution. To stop himself from taking off into the air Ted Hughes had to keep repeating over and over Beneath my feet is the earth, some part of the surface of the earth. The thing is, writing is a sickness only cured by writing. That's the impossible part. 
    More than 350 pages, and every page this good.



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    6541. Make Something

    "Make Something." It's nearly always the answer.

    Small untitled gouache on my art table. © 2013 by Lisa Firke.

    Small untitled gouache on my art table. © 2013 by Lisa Firke.


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    6542. Living mirrors (Baccresieze Poetry)


    Witness that shining light in me,
    Or bitter emptiness to free,
    Battered soul or heated object,
    ..................................... Living mirrors

    Intelligent pack of errors
    Or a bumpy theist to preach,
    Living unknown identity,
    ......................................Living mirrors,

    Copying emotions too fast,
    Cacophony is attracted,
    We are all basically same
    ......................................Living mirrors.

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    6543. Library Loot: Fifth Trip in August

    New Loot:
    • Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington 
    Leftover Loot:
    • The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America by John F. Kasson
    Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.   

    © 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    6544. Toy Truck Trauma …

    As a new strong toy he found himself in an abusive family relationship but he loved the rough and tumble times he had, now though he is happy to see the next phase of his life as a solid form of another man’s grown up world and would be content to sit on a shelf and watch as others play and he is admired for fun times had and fond memories …

    JDM_X_TpyTrk83120141


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    6545. Digital Studies


    Here are a few digital studies for work.  Most of what I'm doing now can't be shown until later.  I speak the truth but it is a pretty bad cover for my lazy blogging habits.  I haven't been drawing outside of work for a few weeks, and what I did intend to post then, I forgot about by the time the weeks rolled by.  Maybe this post will prompt me to update more often.


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    6546. BOBBEE BEE: IF WE MUST DIE!!!

    bobbee

    If We Must Die

     By CLAUDE MCKAY

    If we must die, let it not be like hogs
    Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
    While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
    Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
    If we must die, O let us nobly die,
    So that our precious blood may not be shed
    In vain; then even the monsters we defy...
    Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
    O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
    book

     Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
    And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
    What though before us lies the open grave?
    Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
    Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
    blackpainbanner1

    0 Comments on BOBBEE BEE: IF WE MUST DIE!!! as of 8/31/2014 11:37:00 PM
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    6547. Dr Strange....UK Counterparts in Comics?

    As I've been here watching comedies since 11:00hrs, I gradually progressed to H. P. Lovecraft audio stories and then I had to really think about something. It happens.

    I've gone through the complete sets of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen with all its -though enjoyable in parts- naiive and almost school-boyish ideas of magic. So, I went to my collection of The Essential Dr Strange and, to be honest, the stories and concepts just blow Moore out of the water. And the pages in black and white actually make the books far superior to the colour comics.

    Black and white is best for horror comics.

    I want to write a piece on Dr Strange when possible but that might be a bit of a ways off.

    A few questions rose, though.  Did we, in the UK, have anything similar to Dr Strange in UK comics?  Yes, we had Spellcaster with Sylvester Turville.  More an alchemist, though. Cursitor Doom -basically a paranormal investigator.  But any who were full spell-casting sorcerors?

    So, a question for you Brit comic fans: Can you name such a character from UK comics -or did you get your Magick kick from Dr Strange?

    It'll be interesting to find out.

    Now, since the arms of Morpheus repell me...on to a Lovecraft documentary!

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    6548. More On Susan Juby


    I liked Alice, I Think by Susan Juby very much, but I'm not sure what the story is here. This may be one of those books you have to be zenny about and just experience.

    Alice is the offspring of crunchy parents who homeschooled her because on her first day of traditional first grade (she didn't attend kindergarten), she showed up dressed as a character from The Hobbit. Things didn't go well for her. One could say that learning to read early leads to no good.

    I was never a hundred percent sure why Alice was seeing a therapist, unless it had something to do with poor socialization because she was homeschooled. It was probably one of her parents' ideas. Alice heads out to regular school at fifteen, inspired by her younger brother who has always attended school. He may have been too bright for their parents and had some instinctual knowledge that you just don't dress up in costumes for school. Alice says outright that she has no problem with playing favorites. She definitely prefers her brother to her mother and father.

    Oh, and Alice aspires to be a cultural critic.That is a fantastic aspect of the book.

    Juby describes Alice, I Think as a Teen/Adult book, and I think that's very apt. There are aspects of this book that adults are going to find more entertaining than I think teens will. The section on the people holding some kind of memorial to the late, lamented Princess of Wales, for instance, is probably far more meaningful to adults than the younger than seventeen-year-olds who don't remember the world-wide mourning at her death. As much as I liked the cultural critic business, that might be for your more sophisticated teen readers, too.

    Some of you may remember that my first Juby book was Home to Woefield, definitely an adult novel published in 2010. Next I read her teen book Getting the Girl, published in 2008.  I thought the main character was wonderful, "like a younger, less raunchy, undamaged Seth from Home to Woefield." Alice, I Think was published in 2003, and I think the young girl in the 2010 Woefield might be a variation on her.

    Interesting to read so much of an author's work and see her world.

    Alice, I Think has a sequel. In addition, a one-season TV series was made in Canada. Yes, I may try to get hold of it. If I watch it, you can be sure I'll let you know.


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    6549. H.P. Lovecraft: Fear Of The Unknown [2008]

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    6550. How Not to Write a Picture Books

    Make your picture book better by avoiding these common traps. 

    http://picturebookden.blogspot.com/2014/08/dont-do-it-how-not-to-write-picture.html

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