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1. Nutcracker Illo

Here’s an illustration I meant to get done before Christmas, but, you know, life.

It’s finished now, and was great fun!

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Here’s a detail.

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I love drawing so much <3

In unrelated news, I realized yesterday that I made the coloring contest deadline on Sunday, April 13th. ¬†There is no Sunday April 13th this year. ¬†This is yet further proof I shouldn’t be allowed near numbers.

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Anyway, the coloring page deadline is now Wednesday, April 13th.  Wear those crayons to the bone, my friends.

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2. Fire Escapades

My mom is pretty much perfect.

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…Except last week she set the house on fire.

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(It was an accident.)

She’s not quite sure how it started, but here’s what we¬†think.

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In my mom’s kitchen, she has a cupboard she keeps small appliances in, like bread mixers and toasters. ¬†It has an outlet, so the toaster always stays plugged in.

The cupboard also has a sliding door.

Anyway, mom was cleaning the kitchen (as she does every hour or so), and made this cupboard good and squeaky clean.

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What we think happened was the door caught on the toaster lever and forced it down.

Here’s a diagram. ¬†(I know this is fascinating.)

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So however long later, mom was tucking my niece Sarah into bed for naptime. ¬†(My mom’s been watching Sarah while Katie’s in for a bone marrow transplant.) ¬†(Update on that at the end of the blog post.)

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The fire alarm went off.

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You know what the weird thing about fire alarms are? ¬†They go¬†nuts whenever you try to boil water, but for some reason don’t go off when things are¬†actually important.

They’re just jerks, that’s all.

Anyway, mom got downstairs to find:

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MY MOM DOESN’T MESS AROUND!

She grabbed some hotpads, threw open the cupboard door

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Grabbed that fire

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Shoved it onto the floor

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And started batting it out!

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Meanwhile, upstairs:

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Meanwhile, on the porch:

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(That’s the UPS man. ¬†In my family, we affectionately call the UPS guys the Brown Santa Claus. ¬†Except they’re¬†even better, because they come¬†every day.)

The UPS man saw all the smoke and beeping and RAN INSIDE TO SAVE THE DAY!!

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He threw on the faucet and began pouring cups of water on the fire!

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He was.  I hope UPS makes him Employee of the Year!

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Things settled down a little. ¬†My mom’s next-door-neighbor came over to help out (West Point, UT is Niceville, USA. ¬†I’m not even making this up, my family moved when I was 11 and we were like, Why is everyone here being so nice to us?? ¬†I haven’t met one mean person yet.) ¬†(Granted, I don’t ever leave my house…but still.)

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Anyway, the neighbor was like, “We should probably call the fire chief, I think it’s regulation or something.” ¬†The phone call went¬†kinda¬†like:

NICE NEIGHBOR: We had a small fire kitchen fire here, it’s out now, you don’t need to send anyone, but we thought you ought to know–

FIRE DEPT:  Really???!  You had a fire???!?!

NICE NEIGHBOR: ¬†Well, it’s out now–

FIRE DEPT:  HOT DOG!!!

The Department came down like the wolf on the fold,
Their firetrucks gleaming in crimsons and gold;
And the sheen of their lights was like stars on the sea,
When the red trucks rolled brightly in West Point City.

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They sent aaaaaall the firetrucks with alllll the sirens!

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Everyone had a good time.

The demolition crew came and removed her burnt-up cabinets. ¬†They were also, oddly, quite impressed with her china (which I’ve only seen once in my life.)

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My mom was having a hard time with it all. ¬†She was mortified by the whole scene it caused, sad about her kitchen, worried because my dad was gone on a business trip to the Middle East and she was alone to take care of everything, and to add to all that, she was scared to death of the insurance adjuster because he’s kind of a crab.

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And then, suddenly everything was okay….

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My mom says she’s not going to give up her hopes…but I follow her on Pinterest and I’ve never seen so many nice kitchens in my whole life:D


In other news:  My sister had her bone marrow transplant on Wednesday!!

Here’s my sister, the donor:

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(She’s okay! ¬†The Okayest!)

It’s really interesting how they did it–they gave her a big shot every day for five days in a row, then stuck a needle in each arm and pulled blood from one side, sorted it, then put it back in the other side. ¬†Somehow they were able to get stem cells from this. ¬†Crazy, huh?

The transplant went wonderfully :)

The doctors and nurses all came in and gave her a balloon and birthday card, because it was her Bone Marrow Birthday. ¬†This means when she’s 60, she’ll only be, like, 20!

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Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers…right now she’s recovering well, though these next few weeks will be dicey. ¬†We are so grateful for all your help!

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3. The Secret Life of Men

My friend Joe once told a story of his screenwriting class.

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In screenwriting class, you workshop the scripts your classmates have written. ¬†The class each gets a copy, you read it aloud, and then you “discuss”. ¬†Joe’s class had just finished reading a script written by a guy named…Sean. ¬†I think his name was Sean. ¬†Anyway, in Sean’s script, there was a scene where two women are sitting on a bed, in their underwear, eating chocolates.

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They weren’t dressed in Victorian underwear, though. ¬†(My mom reads this blog, sooo…)

It was time to “discuss”. ¬†Joe, who was married and also had a bunch of sisters, began to “discuss”:

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And Sean was like:

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He obviously didn’t know what girls did when guys weren’t around. ¬†Because if he¬†did, the scene would’ve been a girl sitting on the toilet, browsing Pinterest. ¬† For like, an hour.

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(I’m sorry you had to see this. ¬†I’m sorry I had to see it, too. ¬†The truth hurts.)

(Side note: ¬†I have over 1800 recipes pinned on Pinterest. ¬†1800! ¬†Guess how many I’ve made? ¬†3. ¬†Not only am I a digital hoarder, but when the next giant solar flare¬†hits, I’m up a creek…all those delicious recipes,¬†sacrificed to the sun god. ¬†It breaks my heart (and my tummy) just thinking about it.)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about poor Sean-who-knew-nothing-about-girls lately. ¬†At first I thought this was pretty funny…

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Until¬†I realized that, having been single for most of my life (minus that 1st grade fling with Gage), I don’t really know much about¬†guys.

I am Sean.

 

Well, okay, not¬†entirely. ¬†I¬†once talked to a boy,¬†so…I like to think I¬†have a pretty good idea of what guys¬†do when girls aren’t around.

And I am about to tell you.

(Brace yourselves.)

The typical day for a man begins at 6:00 AM. ¬†Because guys grow beards while they’re sleeping, they have to shave in the morning. ¬†I don’t know a lot about shaving but I believe it’s done with an ax.

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They then go and lift heavy things.

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Men love lifting heavy things!

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Barbells, bars of barbells, refrigerators, houses…The Secret Life of Men_10

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I can’t lift heavy things so I’m kind of jealous.

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Oh my gosh…it’s just…I’m…this may have been the dreamiest picture I’ve ever drawn I need to go take a cold shower.

(phew.)

After that, most of the day is spent taking car engines apart.  (Something I also cannot do.)

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(…or draw.)

For dinner, the manliest men do not eat.  They simply drink bottles of hot sauce.The Secret Life of Men_14

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Hot sauce with names like: ¬†“Land of a Billion Tiny Black Peppers”….”Sweet Sweet Salsa Muerte”….”Melted Boiling Heart Cockles”….”Virgin Viper Kisses¬†on¬†Hot Asphalt.”

(I could do this for hours. ¬†I’m thinking about¬†starting a hot sauce-naming company.)

And then…men put masks on, grab baseball bats, and go out into the city TO FIGHT CRIME!!!

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Whap whap whap whap whap

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Whap whap whap whap whap

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Whap whap whap whap whap whap whap whap

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(Er…sorry mom.)

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After crime has been eradicated (around 11:00 or so), men like to get in touch with their soft-side by watching a feel-good chick flick.  (Men love feel-good chick flicks.)

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And then they aaalll go to bed…so they can do it again the next day!

Now you know. ¬†The secret life of men has been exposed. ¬†I’ve done you all a service. ¬†Thank me, shake my hand, leave a comment…but most definitely do¬†not¬†tell me that what men really¬†do is¬†just wander aimlessly around the aisles of Home Depot.

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Don’t destroy my dreams.

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4. Carousel Coloring Contest!

I had someone ask me for another Mary Poppins coloring page…and it reminded me that we haven’t had a coloring contest in a while! ¬†Well it’s high time!! ¬†Mary Poppins is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

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Here are the rules:

  1. Save the image above, or you can click here to download it from my DeviantArt page.
  2. Color it!
  3. When you are finished, take a photo or scan it in, then email it to me at storyboarder@gmail.com, with the words “Coloring Contest” in the subject line
  4. Deadline is Sunday, April 13th
  5. Sit back and wait for the prize money to come rolling in!

The entries will be sorted by ages 0-11, 12-19, and 20+, and won’t be judged by me, but by¬†other¬†artists who will see which ones stand out the most. ¬†Each category will have a main winner ($10 Amazon gift card prize), and two honorable mentions ($5 Amazon gift card prize).

Entries are open to international submissions. ¬†I can’t wait to see all the beautiful pages!

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5. Bad to the Bone Marrow

I’ve had lots of people ask me how my sister Katie is doing.

If you haven’t met Katie, or are new to this blog, I have a sister who’s spent the last 4 years kicking a very rare, fast-growing cancer–leiomyosarcoma–and now she’s fighting leukemia, too.¬† If you want to learn more about her, you should watch this video:

Here’s a recent picture of her family:

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Aren’t they the sweetest??

It’s been nearly a year since the fundraiser–which turned out amazing (here’s the blog post about it)–and it’s been a rocky road getting the stars to align.¬† The doctors were insistent that she not have any new tumor growth for 6 months, and even if that happened, because the odds weren’t great, we didn’t think the insurance would cover it–and without it, the bone marrow transfusion would be over a million dollars (!!!!!!!!)

Around Thanksgiving last year, the doctors broke some bad news.

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Katie’s leukemia was getting pretty bad.¬† She would have to have some intensive chemo for several months in the hospital.

She checked in Thanksgiving Day.

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She couldn’t see her family much because if anyone of her kids brought a cough home from school or something, she might catch it and she wouldn’t have an immune system to kick it.

They all missed each other.

Katie’s not the type to lie around though.

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Every morning, she’d get up and walk the halls, up and down.¬† She counted and realized going up and down 7 times = 1 mile.

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The doctors got nervous about her wandering the halls like that, so they got her an exercise bike to put in her room.

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She learned the harp.

She taught piano to her kids via skype.

She crocheted some seriously awesome sock monkey pants.

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Katie was able to come home and be with her family for Christmas, and guess who got those seriously awesome sock monkey pants??

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YESSSSS!!!!

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They are the best thing I’ve ever owned.¬† I’ll post an instagram picture sometime.

A big holdup in all this was the leukemia doctor.¬† When he saw what cancer Katie had, he refused to approve a bone marrow transplant…he didn’t believe for a second she’d be able to fight it, and he even told her so (!!!)

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And Katie was like, well my plan is to get the bone marrow transplant and kick this cancer!

And that darn doctor was like:

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It was a fight for months.¬† That doctor couldn’t believe how well Katie was responding to all her chemo’s, and he kept dragging his feet in approving that bone marrow transplant.

My mom–you know she’s someone you don’t mess with–started praying for this doctor, and even put his name on the temple prayer roll.

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(My mom has unshakeable faith.  She really is an amazing woman.)

Only a few weeks ago, this doctor had suddenly changed his tune:

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And ever since then, he’s been firmly in her corner!

He was the one to pitch Katie’s case to the insurance.

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…along with a lot of other doctors!

It didn’t seem like there’d be much of a hope that the insurance would cover it…Katie’s leukemia was pretty far advanced.¬† But I’ll be darned…we got news just 2 weeks ago that the insurance was gonna do it!!!!!*

*I have absolutely no doubt my mother’s prayers had something to do with this.

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SHAMELESS MONKEY PANT DANCING

Now we just had to decide whose bone marrow it was gonna be!

I was a match…and so was my sister…and so was my other sister.¬† (The perks of having a big family!)

Well sister #1 is training to be Zuster Dixon in the MTC…so that’s out.¬† (She heads to the Netherlands in just a few weeks…we have a whole list of distant relatives there for her to convert mwahahahaah)

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So then it was me, my sister, and our thumbs!

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…she won.

Katie left just a few days ago for the hospital, where she’s now prepping for the bone marrow transplant.¬† On the morning she left, we heart attacked her lawn!

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This was Katie’s face when she saw it:

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It was a good moment :)

Katie has a long battle ahead of her.¬† Right now she’s in a hospital prepping for the transplant, and there’s have been some rocky days already.

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Any prayers or thoughts you could send her way would be deeply appreciated…She’s a fighter.¬† You watch and see :) :)

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6. Baby Infestation

Just when you’ve got life figured out
(And sleeping in ’til two)
Stork comes along and drops a bomb
That “free time” thing is through!

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So long the nights of peaceful sleep!
So long the unclogged toilets!

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So long the hours o’ steaming showers
With no one there to spoil it!

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Who knew that babies never slept?
(And cost so much to feed?!?)
Tho sleep-deprived, you’ve kept it ‘live

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…So then it starts to breed.

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Babies babies babies!
On the ceilings, on the chairs!

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Their little selfs are are the shelfs!

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There’s babies everywhere!

They climb onto the light fixtures
They tinkle on the floors

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Your blood and sweat is their swing set!

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And what exactly for??

A thousand baby giggles
When you tickle them at play

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A thousand baby cuddles
With a yellow-weed bouquet

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A thousand baby kisses
Planted sweetly on your cheek;

A thousand happy baby sighs
When nodding off to sleep

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A thousand babies running
When you open the front door

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Our heart’s in knots! ¬†We love these tots!

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We hope we get lots more!!


Side note: ¬†I’ve tasted formula before. ¬†I figured¬†since it¬†was so expensive, it must be delicious.

I was wrong.  Poor babies.

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7. Once Upon a December

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Detail

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This movie is my childhood.

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8. My Dinner with Dick Van Dyke

A couple of weeks ago, I had the craziest day Of My Life.  OF.  MY.  LIFE.

It began at 4 am, when I ran a Star Wars-themed 10K in Disneyland.

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I’d been¬†so nervous about it, I hardly got any sleep the night before. ¬†In fact I kept on having nightmares that I had to stop in the middle of the race so I could¬†finish household chores.

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It didn’t help that at the seedy hotel where we stayed, I was sharing a bed with my sister. (The Taylor Swift one.)

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(She really did say that.)

BUT I DID IT! ¬†I ran the 10k and didn’t stop ONCE to do my laundry!

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I also didn’t cheat this time.

Anyway.  While it is crazy that I did any kind of outdoor activity, the REALLY crazy thing happened that night!

It turned out my friend, Christina (who’s as obsessed with Mary Poppins as I am!) was helping out at a Vantastix concert in California that same weekend!

The Vantastix is the acapella group that sings with Dick Van Dyke!!

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And she asked if I wanted to come along!!!

I said yes…of COURSE!

I helped set up at the booth in the theater lobby, with CD’s and books and DVD DVD’s and things. ¬†I also met Dick Van Dyke’s wife, Arlene.

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She was really sweet, and on the ball too. ¬†In fact, she hosted a Dick Van Dyke art show a couple of months ago! ¬†I’ve heard rumors there’s going to be another art show soon–all you artists who read this blog, get your Dick Van Dyke artwork gussied up!! ¬†I bet there’ll be a call for entries soon!

When the concert began, the stagehands even found me a seat, so I could see Dick Van Dyke himself in concert!!

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He has still totally got it.  He still dances!  And sings amazingly and jokes around, and it was so much fun.

I loved it when he told stories between the songs.

He told about when he was filming Mary Poppins, he also played the Elder Mister Dawes.  (You probably already knew this.)

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Sometimes, when he was still in costume, he went out on the studio lot where buses full of tourists were being taken around the studio to sightsee.

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The bus would stop to wait for him to cross the road…

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and he would take…

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…forever.

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Then, when he finally passed, the bus would get going and he would kick up his legs and race the bus, hightailing it past all the stunned tourists!  Hahaha!

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I wish I coulda seen that :D :D

After the concert I helped pack up the booth, and Christina was like:

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WHAAAAT

We followed a stagehand through a bunch of double doors, and there, at the end of the hall with the other Vantastix, there HE was!!!

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Dick Van Dyke!!

I GOT TO MEET HIM!!

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By george, I got my picture with him!!

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We went back to the lobby to finish packing up the stuff, but I was kind of in a daze and don’t remember much.

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But WAIT.  It gets even CRAZIER.

…Because as we finished putting cleaning up the last of the booth, Dick Van Dyke himself came out into the lobby!! ¬†Just chatting and milling about and having a good time!

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He saw me fangirling in the corner.

And he began to dance.

I am not kidding!

He began to dance like this!!

He’s still totally, totally got it.

When everything was packed up, Arlene was like, “What places are open til late around here?” and the stagehand was like “Cheesecake factory is open until midnight” and Arlene to everyone was like

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“Okay, let’s go!”

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And lest my ears were deceiving me, Christina was like:

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WAS THAT OK

THAT’S RIGHT

NOT JOKING

I WENT TO THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY

WITH DICK FREAKING VAN DYKE!!!!!!!

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I still am trying to process this.

All through the restaurant, everyone was going nuts.

People were taking pictures and selfies.

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Even the Cheesecake Factory waiters were geeking out!

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Heck, the waiters…I was geeking out!

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In case you were wondering…he’s exactly like he is in all those movies!! ¬†It’s so crazy how full of life he is. ¬†Just so bright.

He’d just look around the table and grin and everybody!

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At one point, the waiter set a giant appetizer platter in front of him, with tons of leaves and fancy lettuce sticking up, and Dick Van Dyke was like:

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(It really did look like weeds.  Hahaha.)

At the end of the night, I ordered a lemon raspberry cheesecake to go (their best flavor) because I wanted to share with my sisters.

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But when I asked for the bill…

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I found out that Mr. and Mrs. Van Dyke were already paying it!

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My word!!!!

(I probably would’ve only ordered a glass of water and napkin had I known this)

(But still…awesome :) :)

We all left the factory as a group.

Dick Van Dyke held the door open for me!!!  (!!!!!!!)

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Needless to say, it was an amazing night.

I showed up at our seedy hotel around 1 AM, excited to tell my sissies the story and to share our cheesecake…compliments of Dick Van Dyke :)

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And we ate it up, every crumb.

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Here’s my picture from that night:

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It was…the best night of my life.

(I can only go downhill from here!)

BTW, if you share this post, be sure to tag The Cheesecake Factory. ¬†I’m trying to convince them to change the name of their lemon raspberry cheesecake to “Dick Van Dyke” cheesecake.

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Because if someone like me can have dinner with Dick Van Dyke, anything is possible!

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9. Unresolutions

Right now I’m drawing this in a freezing cold house. ¬†It’s freezing cold because the furnace went out, and the company it’s under warrantee with can’t come until Monday.

We’re also experiencing the coldest weather we’ve had in years. ¬†(Go figure.)

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I don’t mind though because it means I get to sleep in my fridge, which is very warm comparatively. ¬†Plus: ¬†FOOD!

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Did you have a good New Years?  Have you already made your yearly unrealistic goals?

Last year I decided to record everything I ate on my phone.

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It was the worst week of my life.

The first couple days I did pretty good…until I realized that not eating at all was way easier than logging it in my phone.

So I didn’t eat.

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It got to the point where I didn’t want to get out of bed and I was seeing black blotchy things whenever I lifted five pounds or more.

About a week in, I was beat.  So much for that goal.

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My little sister made that same goal this year.

She’s eaten an apple so far.

 

I’ve decided that this year I’ll be much more realistic with my resolutions. ¬†In fact, I’ve decided to make them UNresolutions–things I¬†won’t do this year.

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They might actually get done!

First off, I resolve to quit staring out my window at my neighbors at all hours of the day. ¬†(They’ve said it makes them uncomfortable. ¬†I¬†think they’re being overly sensitive.)

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The same goes for following them around in my car, parking in front of their house and watching them come and leave.

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This was one of my favorite pastimes and I’m really bummed about this resolution. ¬†(I secretly think they like it when I do this.)

My next unresolution is to not spend a penny on groceries–the whole year!

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…And visit my parents more often!

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I live about a mile away from my parents.  They really love it.

My next unresolution:  I resolve to NOT run the presidential candidates and all their little minions over with a giant tank that has poisoned spikes attached to its treads.

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This one will be hard.  Really, really hard.

 

And then there’s this unresolution: ¬†This year, I won’t buy a little white puppy in a moment on loneliness and then realize I’m always at work and can’t take care of it so I give it to my mom.

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This has happened the past several years.  (Really.)  Sorry, mom.  (She loves it.)

 

I unresolve to never leave my home again.

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Ever.

 

And lastly, I resolve to not set my sofa on fire in a moment of broken-furnace weakness.

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This one will be the hardest one of all.

 

(Time to go make my bed in the fridge).

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10. Illusionarium Audiobook

Merry Christmas, everyone! ¬†I hope it’s been¬†great¬†so far. ¬†Here in Utah we got a white Christmas, and I can’t think of anything better.

…Except giving an awesome gift to my blog readers!! ¬†Y’all know I work as an artist, but you may not know that I also write books on the side. ¬†(I love creating stories.) ¬†A few months ago, a book I wrote, “Illusionarium” was released, ¬†and I found out just a couple days ago that it made the NYT bestseller list! Cool!

If you haven’t heard of the book, here’s a short summary–

16-year-old Jonathan lives a quiet life on a far north aerial city, with hopes of one day becoming a surgeon.  But when his mother and sister fall ill with a mysterious and fatal disease, Jonathan must travel through an alternate London full of illusions and monsters to get the cure.  But can he find it before his family dies…and before he turns into a monster himself? 

We just finished producing the audiobook, and as a Christmas gift, I want to give it to you guys…FOR FREE! ¬†Behold!

Illusionarium_AudiobookCover_20151223_02

Isn’t that a fabulous cover? ¬†Kevin Keele, one of the best artists I know, painted it. ¬†You’ll want to check out his blog and tumblr for more beautiful artwork.

Elyse Todd made that gorgeous steampunk¬†title, and you’ll want to check her out on Behance.

I love the audiobook cover, I feel like it’s a great match for the book.

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Upside down…

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Really great match!  Hahaha yissssss.

Ben Cummins is the reader, and he does a stupendous job.  His voices are perfect!

Do you like Terry Pratchett-esque steampunk books with lots of humor and lots of monsters? ¬†Then you’ll wanna download this¬†audibook! ¬†All you need to do is click on the link below. ¬†This will lead you to a site (totally safe, I promise) that prompts you to enter a password. ¬†Once entered, the audiobook will begin downloading.

Illusionarium Audiobook

Password = RIVEN

Merry Christmas!  I hope all the best things happen for everyone in this upcoming year ^_^

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11. The Dick Van Dyke 90th

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Dick Van Dyke (my favorite actor of all time) celebrated his 90th birthday this past week. ¬†I wasn’t able to go to the celebration in Disneyland, but I was still lucky enough to contribute! ¬†This limited edition print was given away at the Jolly Holiday bakery. ¬†I feel absolutely honored to have played a part in the event.

You probably recognize the Chitty doll and the chimney sweep, but that smiley face is from a little-known movie called “Bye Bye Birdie”–in one of my all-time favorite songs ^_^ ¬†Dick Van Dyke is just stellar in every role he plays.

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12. Temple Square Cinemagraphs

Cinemagraph-01_Temple-Fountain

I brought my camera & tripod to Temple Square last year, and made some cinemagraphs.  The one above is my favorite, but these other ones are fun too.

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Waaaait for it…

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This one’s subtle. ¬†But I like the picture anyway.

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I know what you’re thinking. ¬†You’re thinking, HOW in the world did she take these pictures without 5 billion¬†people in the background??

I’ll tell you, my friends, and it’s Salt Lake City’s best kept secret:

Temple Square turns the lights back on at 6:00 AM.

Yup.

Even the music plays.  When I went, no one was there.

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Except me :)

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…And about 500 other photographers.

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…And one very sleepy family of 7.

(I think they enjoyed it.)

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13. Mary Christmas Season! {+Giveaway!}

Happy Thanksgiving!  It snowed here and so we had a white Thanksgiving.  I love the snow.

I also love digital painting. ¬†When I was a kid taking art, digital wasn’t a thing. ¬†All the art supplies were sooo expensive and messy, and if you messed up, you had to start all over again. ¬†Now you can try and do billion different styles and colors…I sure am grateful for that.

Anyway, here’s a piece that I’ve been meaning to do all year ^_^

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I drew it¬†for my sweet Instagram buddy, Nerdpoppins. ¬†She loves Mary Poppins as much as I do! ¬†You should check out her etsy shop–so many amazing¬†MP¬†things!

She was also the host of this year’s “Mary Poppins in the Park”–a Mary Poppins day at Disneyland. ¬†I went and it was so much fun. ¬†Every dressed Mary Poppins-y and THE Mary and Bert came (!!!) Everyone had a great time.

Nerdpoppins is on the right…my sis is in the middle, and I’m on Bert’s arm, dying. ¬†(Isn’t the skirt beautiful? ¬†It was¬†sewn &¬†hand-painted¬†by Nerdpoppins. ¬†I’m in awe.)

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Speaking of that event, I gave out a limited edition print to the attendees!  And I have some left over!

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Would you like this sweet little 5×7 print? ¬†I’m gonna mail it out to the first 50 commenters! ¬†Here’s how to play:

1 – Leave a numbered comment of something you’re grateful for. ¬†(So, if the comment before you says it’s #12, you would write #13.) ¬†(If you are reading this from tumblr, you’ll want to comment here, on the actual blog.)

2 – If your comment is below 50, send your mailing address to storyboarder{at}gmail.com ¬†(That’s me!) ¬†And I’ll send you the print right away!

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was the best ^_^

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14. Speedpaints (and other assorted updates)

Speedpainting is a great way to warm up. ¬†Here are some I’ve done in the last couple of months.

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Most of them were 30 minutes…except for the bottom one, which I spent way too much time on.

Sometimes I record myself doing these, then speed it up, which makes me feel like Bob Ross!

Behold a 15-seconder:

********

Here’s some other stuff that’s been going on!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is being sold.  THE Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!  The one from the actual movie!!Chitty-Bang-330817

It’s going for a cool 3.5 million. ¬†Totally worth it.

I figure if each of my blog readers gives me a million dollars, I’ll be able to afford it…plus money for a¬†new engine so it doesn’t make that funny noise.

********

Some people have asked me what I think the upcoming¬†Mary Poppins sequel. ¬†(You’ve heard that news, right?)

This is how I feel.

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How dare they.  How dare they.

********

A lot of people have asked about my sister!  She is doing great!

KatieHair

Here’s a quick phone picture I took with her and my niece, Mary.

Her hair is growing back! ¬†Doesn’t she look beautiful?

She’s been stable for 6 months–meaning no new growth (unheard of with her cancer!) and so the doctors think she has a good case for the insurance to help with the bone marrow transplant. ¬†They’re undergoing approvals right now. ¬†Thank you so much for all your kind thoughts and prayers! ¬†I know they’ve been helping.

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15. Urban Legends

The last blog post was inspired by an urban legend. ¬†You’ve probably heard it:

About 50 years ago, a lady decided to try one of those fancy beehive hairdoos.

The hairdresser was like, “Okay, it’s set. ¬†But if you want to keep it nice, never¬†¬†wash it–wrap it up in toilet paper every night and carefully sleep on it instead, and you won’t have to fix it in the morning! ¬†It’ll stay nice for a good long time.”

UrbanMyths_Beehive_01

And the lady was like, “Swell!”

And that’s just what she did.

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But after a while, her beehive hairdoo got real itchy.

Real itchy.

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Yeah, you guessed it.  One night, in the middle of the night, she woke up like this:

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This is a morality story:  WASH YOUR HAIR.

Did you ever hear the urban legend about the bride?  She decided to have her wedding at an old farm, with an old farmhouse and an old barn.

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They decided to play hide and go seek.

(Those lovebirds.)

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Anyway, the bride went up to the attic and hid in a trunk–

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…Which immediately slammed shut

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And locked.  Of course.

Everyone in the wedding party looked, and looked, and looked.

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But they had to go home.

The groom searched but I guess gave up.

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It’s weird how in these stories, they never contact the police.

Anyway.

The trunk remained untouched¬†in the attic for years…

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…Until…

(You guessed it)

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They found her!

This story is a cautionary tale as well: Never play hide and go seek on your wedding day.  And I promise you: I never will.

Did you hear the urban legend about Martha Washington?

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They dug up her coffin (why?) and found scratch marks on the inside of the lid.

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(!!!!!!!!!)

This was a legit¬†fear way back when…they didn’t put preservatives in bodies or anything, they just dressed the corpse in a Sunday suit and stuck it in the coffin and buried it.

Some people invested in a bell that was connected to a string tied to their finger, so if they woke up buried alive, they could ring it and someone would hurry and dig them up.

Coffin-bell

Now that we are civilized, of course, we make sure¬†that you’re¬†good and dead first by draining your blood and pumping toxic chemicals into¬†you. ¬†Isn’t that a relief?

I bet you had a haunted auditorium when you were a kid.

(Everyone’s auditorium was haunted)

My elementary school was haunted.

UrbanMyths_WestPoint_01

Or so they said.

They said it had been built on an ancient Indian burial ground, and now 44 Indian braves haunt the school.

…Which I never witnessed (DARNIT!!!!), but a few months ago they were doing construction nearby, and what do you think they dug up?

UrbanMyths_WestPoint_02

Not a skeleton (I wish). ¬†But they did find Indian artifacts! ¬†So maybe it was true after all….

I won’t say what elementary school it was, because some of the kids who read this blog go to that school. ¬†I don’t want them scared to go to school, like I was. ¬†(Though for entirely different reasons.)

Have you seen This Man?

thisman

If you have, you are not alone. ¬†Everyone dreams about him…or so they SAY.

Learn more here at www.thisman.org…and don’t punch me in the face¬†when visiting this site gives you nightmares O_____O

One last story.  You know how every school has a haunted auditorium?  I think every family has an urban legend.

Wanna know mine?

My grandpa ran into Bigfoot!

Really!

Here’s the story.

When my grandpa was a young’un, he had the smartest donkey you ever met. ¬†Her name was Ginny.

Ginny and Grandpa would often go to Democratic conventions (you know, because a donkey is their mascot) and they would do a fun little show for all the folks there.  My grandpa would say:

UrbanMyths_GpaBigfood_01

And Ginny would shake her head furiously.

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And then my grandpa would say:

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And she’d be like:

UrbanMyths_GpaBigfood_04

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And everyone thought that was pretty great, until of course the Republican nominee actually did win (because this is Utah.)

All this to say, Ginny really was a smart little thing!

Anyway, one day, Grandpa and Ginny would backpacking up in the mountains.

UrbanMyths_GpaBigfood_06

On their way to the middle of nowhere–there wasn’t a person around for miles–there was suddenly a giant rustling in the foliage up ahead.

Along with the rustling came a terrible, terrible smell.  It was just awful.

UrbanMyths_GpaBigfood_07

Ginny went crazy.  She bucked and pulled and sat down and refused to go any further at all.

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Grandpa was forced to turn around.  Ginny hightailed it down that mountain!

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Was it Bigfoot?  My grandpa thought so.

 And maybe it was!  Who knows?  It definitely makes for a good Halloween story!

Does your family have an urban legend?  Ghost sightings?  Mind-reading?  Leave your story in the comments section!

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16. My Itchy Periwig

MyItchyPeriwig_HeatherDixon

Ribbons?  Candy?  Itching powder???!?  What is it, woman???!!?  WHAT???!?!?

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17. Camping Virgin

If there’s one thing I like, it’s money.

In fact, I like a lot of monies.

In fact that love, so near and dear to my heart, gave me an idea that’s going to make me RICH RICH RICH!!!

PICTURE THIS:

Camping_1-1

THE FUN TENT!!

First, the person who’s paid for their ticket {$482 for children ages 0-5, $679 for kids 6-12, $5,119 for teenagers, $23,917 for grown ups…Babies under 2&1/2 weeks are free, of course…I’m not a miser!} Anyway, the paying participant stands in front of a giant pit of mud.

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And is shoved into it.

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Next, the participant stands under a bucket full of spiders, snakes and mosquitoes.

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(I call this the “Lice Bucket Challenge.”)

(Hahaha!! ¬†Get it?? ¬†Because “Lice” sounds like “Ice” as in “Ice Bucket Challenge”! Get it?? ¬†Get it?? ¬†Oh, you are a dead audience)

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Anyway. ¬†After that, the participant…

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 Camping_1-14

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…is locked in a freezer.

That’s it! ¬†Isn’t it a kick?? ¬†Aren’t I going to be rollin’ in the dough??

I AM.  I am gonna be rollin in the dough and do you know why??

BECAUSE PEOPLE DO THIS ALL THE TIME!  THEY PAY TO DO IT AND THEY CALL IT CAMPING!!!

Camping_1-18

Yeah you are!

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who appreciate the dignity indoor plumbing can provide, and those who like to pretend they’re homeless.

I belong to the first group.

In fact, before this past summer, I hadn’t gone camping since I was a kid! ¬†Which was years, and years, and years, and years, and¬†years ago.

I don’t remember much. ¬†I remember it rained and was so cold the spiders snuggled up to me for warmth. ¬†It was

Camping_2-1

the worst.

The rest of the experience¬†my brain very wisely blocked from my memory, but maybe one day¬†I’ll remember¬†how I lost all the toes on my left foot.

Anyway, I bring this all up because last year, I was called to be in the stake YW, which is a church youth leader position.  I really like it!

Except for this part…

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WHUT

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Ever since I was a kid I’ve managed to dodge anything that requires me to leave my house. ¬†I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

PROSPECTIVE DATE:  Are you doing anything this Friday?  You wanna go on a date or something?

ME: ¬†You bet I do! ¬†I’m totally free!

PROSPECTIVE DATE: ¬†I was thinking maybe going on a hike–

ME:  Hahaha just kidding!  Go away!

It’s bizarre how many guys don’t appreciate a girl who likes to stay inside all day staring at the wall!!

{They’re so¬†shallow.}

Anyway, because this was a church calling, I decided to pony up. ¬†My friend Joe, who’s a wilderness survival expert and actually¬†likes camping, helped me draw up a list of supplies:

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Thankfully, I didn’t have to spend *too* much to get the supplies I needed. ¬†Definitely less than five grand. ¬†But by george, those are the nicest socks I’ve ever had!

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And we began the hike in good spirits!

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About twenty minutes in, I realized I had made a grave, grave mistake.

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For one thing, that was that big yellow glowy thing in the sky.  I forgot the name of it, but it was totally annoying.

For another thing….NO BATHROOMS????

This turned out to be the worst part of all, because as I breached the last hill to the campsite, this is what I found:

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Apparently we weren’t the only people who thought that would be a great weekend hike.

This was not what I was promised.

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Our camp leader had scoped this place out several weeks before.

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But what could I do?  My eyeballs were swimming.

The moment camp was set up, I set out to find a tree.

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This turned out to be a problem.  Every tree I found ended up having a friendly resident.

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Things weren’t looking so good.

About four or so miles away from the campsite, I found something that might work.  No one was around.

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This frame is totally inappropriate.  I apologize.

If it helps, you’re the only ones who are seeing it.

OR SO I THOUGHT

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WHUT

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WHUT

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WHUT???!?!

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Aaaaaaaand…the rest of the camp was blocked from my memory.

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…Except for the part where I drank ZERO WATER for the rest of the trip…including the hike back.

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Remember the Fun Tent?

This hike inspired me.

I’ve decided to add a giant glass cage to it. ¬†It’ll have a hornets’ nest, a bucket, and aaaaaaaaaalll the water you can drink!

Camping_5-8

Interested?

Camping_5-9

 

I’m gonna be so rich.

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18. Cinderella and the Prince

“Cinderella” came out last week.

It

made

me

BAWL.

It was so good.  So I drew a picture :) :)

Cinderella Swing_finished_02

Usually the¬†fluffier the dress, the more I like the movie it’s in.

That means I loved Cinderella!

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19. I'm a Jerk! {Episode 318}







{I really earned that one.  Hahaha.}

I've had a lot of people ask me how my sister Katie is doing.  She's doing...great!  She really is, too--they're making sure she's stable for 6 months before they move ahead with the bone marrow transplant--and she's been stable for nearly 4!  I know it's thanks to all your kind prayers and thoughts, and the help of doctors & family and friends.

If you are interested, Kimberly Sams from Origami Owl has set up a link where you can buy super cute things, and 100% of the profit goes to Katie's bone marrow transplant!  To say I'm touched by this sweet offer is quite an understatement.  Plus it's like a build-your-own-jewelry site, which I've never tried but looks like a blast.  Here's the link! 

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20. Mary Poppins in the Park

I have 3 favorite things:

Mary Poppins

Disneyland

Art

When you put them all together...you get this!



This is a 5x7 print I made for the unofficial Disneyland event "Mary Poppins in the Park".  {{It's basically a great big Mary Poppins get-together for all those who are obsessed...like me!}}  Do you want one??  Will you be there???  I'll be giving them away at the event for FREEEEE!!

It will be August 27th--the day the movie was released ^_^  I hope you can make it!!  

And if you can't...well you should totally print it out and hang it on your wall anyway :D

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21. Mary Poppins in the Park

I have 3 favorite things:
Mary Poppins
Disneyland
Art
When you put them all together…you get this!
This is a 5×7 print I made for the unofficial Disneyland event “Mary Poppins in the Park”. ¬†{{It’s basically a great big Mary Poppins get-together for all those who are obsessed…like me!}}¬† Do you want one?? ¬†Will you be there??? ¬†I’ll be giving them away at the event for FREEEEE!!
It will be August 27th–the day the movie was released ^_^ ¬†I hope you can make it!!
And if you can’t…well you should totally print it out and hang it on your wall anyway :D

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22. Wind’s in the East

My blog has a new home!

It’s here at story-monster.com. ¬†I liked my blogspot–a lot–and had it for nearly 9 years! ¬†But blogger is getting a little old, so I dusted up and moved here. ¬†Fancy, eh? ¬†If you go to the original site, it will forward you here quick fast like a bunny.

These blog posts will also crosspost to tumblr! ¬†So if you’re reading this from tumblr–glad to have you on board!Little Mary_01

Even better news¬†is that I’ll be posting more often! ¬†So stay tuned!

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23. Narnia Nightmare

Last week my parents took a trip to Park City, and stayed in a really old, fancy hotel.

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(It’s fancier in real life.)

They noticed there was an alcove behind the wardrobe in their room.

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It’s a little hard to see.

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See?

My mom was really curious about this alcove.  What was that wardrobe hiding??

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My parents–those wild, wild things–spent most of the evening trying to see what¬†exactly¬†that wardrobe was hiding!

Maybe a secret passageway??

My mom tried feeling around for stuff

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They tried moving the wardrobe

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(It was too heavy)

But then my mom got the idea to slip her phone behind it and take a picture.

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Do you want to know what was behind that wardrobe?

 

Do you?

 

Do you?

 

Do you???

 

It was

 

 

THIS

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!

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My mom’s heart about exploded.

(They didn’t get much sleep that night.)

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What kind of hotel hides creepy mannequins in their rooms????

 

(Mom says it was a Groupon.)

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24. Disney Infinity 3.0 Giveaway!

 

Disney Infinity 3.0 came out this week!!

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It was mostly Star Wars-themed. ¬†I love Star Wars…so working on this was a kick!

I boarded a lot of the cinematics between the gameplay.

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These boards did not make the cut…for obvious reasons.

I also wrote lines for some of the characters!  One of these characters was Olaf.

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Isn’t he adorbs??

I think so :) :)

Do you want this sweet little figure? ¬†I’m doing a giveaway in celebration of the game release! ¬†Enter your name and email below {the email won’t show up} and comment with the word¬†“WANT!”, and you’ll be entered in the drawing! ¬†{If you’re reading this from tumblr, you’ll want to toddle on over to the blog, here at story-monster.com!}

The drawing closes on midnight, September 8th!

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25. The Great Carrot Lie

One day, my grandma came to visit.

 {Yay!}

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When I was a kid, my grandma would always make fresh carrot juice.

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So I decided to make some carrot juice for¬†her! ¬†I’d just gotten a fancy new juicer and was excited to show it off.

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That juicer, like so many of my kitchen gadgets, now sits in my cupboard, unused.

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 Go figure.

Anyway, grandma said she’d love some!

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Because I had a captive audience, I decided to roll my brains all over the counter.

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And the rolling began.

During WWII, The British were just developing airborne radar technology.  To keep their island safe from the Luftwaffe {the Nazi air force}, they built a chain of radar towers along the southern coast.

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Due to this radar technology, the British air force was able to detect the fighters at night, and suddenly their night attacks became deadly accurate.

One of these night fighters was John Cunningham.  He was the first night fighter ace.

BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Pic: Spink/BNPS Cats Eyes boarding his Ghost Vampire jet to set a world altitude record in 1948. The outstanding war medals of legendary fighter ace John 'Cat's Eyes' Cunningham have emerged for sale for £200,000. Cunningham's nightfighting skills were put down to eating carrots as part of an Air Ministry ruse to conceal the top secret radar used...and to encourage Britains children to eat more of the humble vegatable. The late Battle of Britain airman was the highest-scoring night-fighter pilot of the Second World War, downing at least 20 German bombers over the English Channel. The sale includes a DSO with 2 bar's, DFC and bar, CBE and even a Russian Order of the Patriotic War, as well as documents and photographs of an extraordinary life.

He was good–very good!–and the British people went crazy after him. ¬†Afraid that their airborne radar secret might get out, the Air Ministry attributed John’s success to one thing:

Carrots.

John ate a lot of carrots, they said, and that’s what made him see so well at night! ¬†The propaganda was rolled out with gusto.

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Even Walt Disney got into the mix, sending three lovable carrot characters to get the word out.  Carroty George, Pop Carrot, Clara Carrot.

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Carrots would help you see in the blackout.

It turns out that this is only¬†kind of true in that if you don’t have vitamin A {found in carrots}, you’ll go blind. ¬†But¬†they don’t give you¬†cat-at-night vision.

John Cunningham was given the nickname “Cat Eyes.” ¬†Which he hated, because it wasn’t true, but he gritted his teeth and played along. ¬†The British people ate it up…literally! ¬†And luckily enough…carrots weren’t rationed during WW2.

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Carrots on a stick…mmmmm!

So that’s the story. ¬†I wonder how many children ended up with orange skin.

During all this, Grandma hadn’t said a thing.

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Lost memories of my childhood suddenly returned.

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It was then I realized I was probably the worst granddaughter ever.

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{She’s still friends with me on Facebook, though!}

{Grandma’s never on Facebook.}

{I’m a terrible granddaughter.}

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