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26. 365 Days, 52 Weeks: A Look at Blogging in 2012

At the end of November, we gave shout-outs to bloggers and artists who participated in month-long projects like NaBloPoMo and NaNoDrawMo. As 2012 comes to a close, we also want to highlight writers and photographers who challenged themselves all year — who posted each day or each week, or have established an ongoing project on their sites.

These bloggers caught our attention:

Jump For Joy!

Jump For Joy!

JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project

An inspiring international project focused on play, fun, and the positive in our lives, JUMP FOR JOY! presents Eyoälha Baker’s vision of a world united by our expression of joy. Eyoälha has taken nearly all the images on her blog — with the exception of the photos of her. Her jumping subjects are captured in locations around the world: at the beach in Kauaiat a park in Vancouver, or even between city skyscrapers . . . while holding a ninja sword! We love how she showcases the beauty of the human spirit — in mid-air.

A Year of Reading the World

In 2012, writer and editor Ann Morgan planned to read her way around as many of the globe’s 196 independent countries as she could, sampling one book from every nation. The result? Her thoughtful, sophisticated blog, A Year of Reading the WorldIn each post, she focuses on a particular book and digs into the country’s history and culture. Recent places included EthiopiaGuinea-Bissau, and the Maldives.

Hope Street

Hope Street

Hope Street

Kurt Blumenau’s grandfather kept month-to-month calendars — 15 years’ worth! — on which he recorded significant events that affected him, such as the flight of Apollo 17.

These calendars remain in Kurt’s family, and each Monday on his blog, Hope Street, Kurt picks an interesting calendar entry and writes something about it. ”It might be a reflection on my grandfather’s life,” writes Kurt, “or my family’s history and tradition . . . or American life of the 1960s and 1970s . . . or my own life today.”

The blog celebrates his grandfather and family and is a unique, thoughtful project of personal and American history.

Sketches From Memory

We admire the sketch-a-day regimen of comic artist Chuck Cottrell. Chuck posts simple sketches to mini comic strips, mostly in black and white (with some random yet effective bursts of color). We recommend you dive in, as he lets readers in to his personal world — including sharing stories of married life — in a fun, candid way.

Ian Spagnolo Photography

Outdoor landscapes. Dramatic long exposure shots of the sea. Light painting sessions. Follow photographer Ian Spagnolo‘s “365 Project” to sample his work, especially if you enjoy seeing a photographer play around with exposure, light, and other elements. Ian is from Coffs Harbour, a coastal city in New South Wales, Australia, which means he certainly won’t run out of stunning subject matter to shoot.

52 Brand New

52 Brand New

52 Brand New

For 2012, the personable blogger behind 52 Brand New promised to try 52 new experiences with her children, from tasting new cuisines to attending a family yoga class to collecting rocks. In each “new experience,” she includes playful Polaroid-style images and links to other experiences her family has undertaken, as well as external resources offering ideas for family activities. 52 Brand New is a fresh, creative take on a parenting blog.

Instamatic Gratification

A daily photoblog, Instamatic Gratification succeeds because of its simple and focused approach: one image per day. (We also love the daily quotes that accompany each photograph.) In January 2010, Caryn launched the blog and successfully posted 365 images in that first year. In 2011, she wasn’t quite as diligent, so this year, she decided to challenge herself once again. She writes: “I’ve come to realize that, for me anyway, quantity (or rather the consistency of daily practice) is the surest and most direct route to quality.” We totally agree!

Dar’s 52 Mondays Blog

Dar’s “52 Mondays” project compiles photographs as well as her thoughts on nature, art, education, creativity, and more — a space in which she can share her ideas in one place. We appreciate her weekly dedication to “make Mondays more marvelous,” and think her approach is inspiring.

Since the New Year is just around the corner, we encourage you to start your own 365-day or 52-week project in January. If you have big, exciting plans for your site in 2013, let us know in the comments.

Happy New Year!


11 Comments on 365 Days, 52 Weeks: A Look at Blogging in 2012, last added: 12/31/2012
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27. Freshly Pressed: Four Friday Faves

No more of this “waiting until the end of the month” nonsense to see what was hot on Freshly Pressed! To keep our Freshly Pressed editors’ picks, um, fresh, we’ll highlight a few of our (and your) favorite posts here every Friday.

If One More Woman Complains About the Size of Her Body . . .

Caitlin Kelly’s post on Broadside hit a nerve with hundreds of you.

Whining about weight teaches the girls in our lives, who look to us their role models, that this is just what women do, that focusing miserably and endlessly on our individual body size and shape is our most pressing issue as women — instead of political and economic issues that affect us all, size 00s to 24s,  like paid maternity leave or better domestic violence protection or access to birth control and abortion.

Caitlin’s post racked up the Likes, but also spawned some fascinating conversation in her comments section. We loved seeing your responses as much as we enjoyed reading this no-holds-barred post in the first place.

My Life, Plan B (or what to do when life doesn’t go as planned)

Photo from http://callmeshebear.wordpress.com

Mama Bear, the blogger behind Call Me She Bear, is almost 40 years old, and coming to terms with the fact that her life hasn’t turned out quite the way she’d been planning.

(I’m sure none of us can relate, right?)

What’s Mama Bear’s Plan B? Actually:

“Plan B is not a plan at all. It’s more of an intention. It’s an intention to let go of the tight grip on my big expectations, take things one day at a time, do what’s in front of me to the best of my ability, and trust that the blur coming up for me on the horizon will become clear to me and worthwhile when I get there.”

The gorgeous photos accompanying the post pushed it over the top. We can’t wait to read about how Plan B works out.

“I’m Spiritual, Not Religious”

We had a feeling some great conversation would come out of this post, and we weren’t wrong. After all, it’s hard to imagine that a bunch of opinionated bloggers wouldn’t have something to say about this:

To claim to be spiritual and not religious is like claiming to have taken a swim without getting wet. Anyone who embarks on anything spiritual will either receive the religious tradition from which it comes, or create their own religious tradition in the attempt to understand and practice it.

Not everyone agreed with blogger Eric’s take, but the discussion was both thought-provoking and civil — the very best of what the WordPress.com community is about.

Hanging Up the Tutu

Becca at 25toFly had quite the cheering squad among fellow bloggers this week, and when we read this post about her journey to find her life’s passion and re-define herself after leaving a career in dance, we understood why.

I had become the one thing that I had almost forgotten I’d sworn not to be, Miss play-it-safe.  Sure, I’d find a job. That job would pay well enough for me to live as comfortably as I always have. People would see me as “successful,” but I wouldn’t stop thinking, “Is this it?” I would eventually become that forty-year-old woman still bragging about how many pirouettes she could do twenty years ago while shamefully dodging conversation about her soul draining day job.

Her new direction? Writing. You think it’s a good choice, and so do we.

Thanks to everyone who sent us recommendations this week — you introduced us to a bunch of great bloggers, some of whom have since been featured on Freshly Pressed. Keep it up! You can tweet links you love to us @freshly_pressed. (And be sure to follow @freshly_pressed to see all your fellow bloggers’ picks, even those that don’t make it to the Freshly Pressed page.)


13 Comments on Freshly Pressed: Four Friday Faves, last added: 12/15/2012
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28. A national tragedy impacts all of us.

I don’t want to imagine receiving an automated phone call from my child’s school telling me there has been a shooting there.  That’s what happened today in Newtown, CT after a gunman entered… Read More

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29. "moon and stars"

... was the title of The Arts Center's entry in the local Christmas Parade this year. Every year it comes together beautifully in the end, what a lot of fun!



it rolled part of the way, and "floated" the rest. Hey, that's me...

"geodesic sphere" made entirely of recycled newspaper and masking tape

all ready to go!

decorated with tinsel and glow sticks, filled with balloons.
 Some of them popped en route and sounded like firecrackers.



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30. Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for November, Part I

Smart and timely commentaries from events in the Middle East to Hurricane Sandy. Honest, beautifully written reflections on life, culture, and one’s place within it. Original photography and stunning photo essays, from one’s neighborhood to another’s faraway travels. Simply put, November’s Freshly Pressed posts impressed us. Here are some standouts:

Okay, so I noticed the conflict . . .

I don’t believe all nonviolent options for peace are exhausted, and I don’t accept that the killing of Hamas operatives is ever so imperative that targeting errors resulting in the death of innocent civilians should be tolerated.

Image from Circles in the Sky

Nora, a graduate student in Haifa, Israel, writes about her work and experiences in the Middle East at Circles in the Sky. Her commentary, original photography, and on-the-ground observations from an afternoon of demonstrations in Jerusalem’s Old City caught our attention.

Moms Don’t Forget

My punishment was her face. The hurt in her eyes. That moment when I knew that I was no better than any of them because the first time I had the opportunity to be shitty to someone else to fit in, I took it. Even though I knew it was wrong.

“Even after twenty years, her mom ignored my friend request.” This opening line of Rachelle’s post, “Moms Don’t Forget,” pulls us in. In this coming-of-age piece, she recounts a time at a summer cheerleading camp when she helps play a joke on another girl — just to become a “mean girl” for a day. We love Rachelle’s strong voice, and the very relatable story she tells.

Himachal Pradesh — The Final Images

Nomad RussRuss Taylor’s photo essay of Himachal Pradesh, India, really moved us, and we know you’ll enjoy his full-size images documenting daily life in the Ropa Valley. We’re especially drawn to the vibrant wall colors and details in each shot and the warm, welcoming faces captured in his portraits. What a treat to see life through his lens!

Interested in more photography? Be sure to also check out Jenna Pope’s powerful photo essay of the Breezy Point neighborhood in New York City. She compiles images of the devastated area 15 days after Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast. 

Conformity’s Critical “Eye”

“I want to belong,” pleads a woman whose face is swathed in bandages. “I want to be like everybody.”

Nearly all of us do at one time or other. The desire to fit in can exert a seemingly irresistible force. “Conform or be cast out,” Geddy Lee sings in the Rush song ”Subdivisions.” The question is, how far will we go to do so? What will it cost us? And what happens if we fail?

We read a variety of entertainment reviews and analyses — for books, movies, TV shows, and the like. Paul’s focus on “The Eye of the Beholder,” an episode of The Twilight Zone, has it all: a recap with just the right amount of detail, and his own commentary seamlessly weaved in. The tightly focused post comments on something larger and universal: the desire to fit in, “to live a life in which you are merely an interchangeable cog in a vast wheel.” In short, this Shadow & Substance post is smart pop culture commentary.

Dating in the Dark

Even nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy unleashed her fury, the Garden State is still struggling to recover. And let me tell you: Living without power for that long will quickly make you appreciate the little things.

Ruth RutherfordAt I Kissed My Date Goodnight, Ruth shares her thoughts on faith and chronicles her experiences in the 30-something dating scene. In this post, she spends time with her family in the dark, without electricity, and ponders things in life that have become too complicated, like dating. “Grab a lantern and meet during a power outage,” she suggests. Engaging and entertaining, “Dating in the Dark” is a nice introduction to Ruth’s writing.

On Thursday, we’ll highlight more notable picks from the Freshly Pressed bunch in November. 

In the meantime, read the latest Freshly Pressed picks; check out our writing challengesphoto challenges, and other blogging tips and inspiration at The Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the Reader.

For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


3 Comments on Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for November, Part I, last added: 12/14/2012
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31. Illustrators on WordPress.com

November was a busy month! Not only did bloggers and writers churn out pages for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but illustrators and artists also took part in NaNoDrawMo, which challenged participants to produce a minimum of 50 new works between November 1 and 30.

In honor of NaNoDrawMo, we’ve highlighted some illustrators and sketchers in our community. Take a look:

Photo courtesy of Pete Scully.

Pete Scully

Currently in Northern California, Pete Scully sketches the world as he sees it — and his visions are unique, intricate, and oh-so-fresh. (His sketches above prove this, don’t you think?) We love Pete’s style, as seen in his drawings of pubs, bookstores, and urban neighborhoods. Browse his sketchbook images of San Francisco, London, and more; and be sure to follow along on his NaNoDrawMo journey. His black-and-white header adds a personal touch, and his substantial blogroll of fellow artists is worth checking out.

Pete’s blog uses Twenty Twelve, an elegant, readable theme that’s fully responsive — content looks great on any device. If you’re curious to see how other artists use this theme, check out cartoonist Chuck Cottrell’s blog Sketches from Memory and follow along on his Sketch a Day series. (He’s also participating in NaNoWriMo. That’s dedication!)

Paula Knight

You’ll find art projects, sketchbook pages, and works in progress on Paula Knight’s blog. What we love best is that we get the sense of an artist at work — series of sketches, quick doodles in spiral notebooks, commentaries on older drawings, and personal reflections. Be sure to check out her comics, which comment on fertility and childlessness. Also a writer, Paula has published children’s books and is currently working on a graphic novel for adults called The Facts of Life.

Paula’s blog uses Twenty Eleven, the third most popular theme on WordPress.com (and our default theme in 2011). Versatile and full of features, Twenty Eleven is a tried-and-true theme on which you can experiment with various post formats, a light or dark color scheme, and different layouts. For more inspiration, check out how cartoonist and writer Ulises Farinas uses Twenty Eleven as well — the Brooklyn-based artist creates imaginative, super-detailed worlds of heroes and beasts. 

Our Process

For a dose of politics, current events, education, and culture with your artwork, don’t miss the comicsportraits, and maps of Aaron Guile. Aaron’s visual style is very distinct, and his commentary is sharp. Unlike the other illustrators in this list, Aaron doesn’t use much color. He eschews color for bold, black on white illustrations that convey potent ideas.

Aaron’s blog uses Forever, a simple and modern theme originally created with weddings in mind. But, as you can see, Forever works with different kinds of content — it’s really up to you to transform a theme into something that works for you!

The Town Mouse

Avid drawer and architectural historian Joanna Moore compiles drawings created on location — if you’re in London, you may find her sketching frantically on a street corner. Check out her mixed media drawings of Gothic cathedrals and sketches of castles, or browse her category archives at the top of her front page.

Joanna’s blog uses Imbalance 2, a modern, sophisticated theme that can easily turn your blog into a professional portfolio or online magazine. Imbalance 2 is also appropriate for collaborative projects — check out Illo Confidential, a group blog of about 20 illustrators.

Hotcharchitpotch

Gareth Cotter serves up wonderful sketches, illustrations, and comics that show his passion for architecture. His drawings inspired by a fall trip to Gdansk, Poland, are worth noting, as well as this comic/graphic story about a “cyclical city.” We’re waiting to see what whimsical little world he’ll illustrate next.

Gareth’s blog uses Blogum, a clean and minimalist theme — with a touch of modern — that lets you focus on your content. Its simplicity allows for images and illustrations to take center stage. 

Easily Emused

How can you not enjoy the drawings at Easily Emused? They’re colorful and quirky, and complement the blogger’s musings perfectly. (Read “Earring Aids,” a recent post about piercing one’s ears — it’s a nice mix of storytelling and illustration.)

This blog uses Balloons, a lighthearted theme that effortlessly creates a playful mood.

Creative Stuff

Photographer and student Jessie Vittoria loves to draw, and she uses Creative Stuff to compile her illustrations, greeting card designs, comics, and doodles. Her artwork is airy and playful — you can see this right away in her blog’s header image. We like how she keeps it simple and makes her different types of artwork easy to find, and how she uses built-in features to add color and draw visitors to her popular content.

Jessie’s blog uses Yoko, a theme that’s simple and elegant, yet customizable. We asked Jessie about the features she uses.

Talk a bit about the features you use to make your blog look the way it does.

The full-size images in my posts allow viewers to see my art without having to click another link, while the slideshows present smaller, less prominent images. For example, I use the slideshow to quickly give an idea of a certain type of drawing. I really like the images in my sidebar; I am a very visual person, and for an illustration blog, it makes sense for users to click on images — rather than text — to navigate the site.

Why did you choose Yoko as your blog’s theme? What features do you like in general?

I was looking for a simple way to display my art with easy navigation, and Yoko seemed to have everything I was looking for. The sidebar makes it easy to find specific pages. I can display my work in the header to immediately show visitors what I do as an artist — even before they click on my posts. I also like the scroll-and-load feature – you don’t have to click “next” to view older posts. Overall, I like how clean the theme is, which doesn’t take away from the art itself.

Want more?

Looking for more advice on how best to showcase your art on your blog? Head on over to The Daily Post for our Q&A with two illustratorsThomas James and Mark Armstrong — who share their design tips.


14 Comments on Illustrators on WordPress.com, last added: 12/6/2012
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32. Personalize Your Online Home with a Custom Domain

A domain name is a name used to identify a website on the Internet. Your blog’s domain name is like your mailing address: it lets people know where to find you — and all the cool content you create!

At WordPress.com, every site has an example.wordpress.com address, which is the default address you get when you sign up. But you may notice that some sites have custom domains, such as example.com, instead of example.wordpress.com.

Did you know you can get a unique web address for your blog?

Is a custom domain right for you? Consider these questions:

  • Are you interested in using your blog to promote your work, brand, or organization?
  • Would you like to print your blog address on items like business cards?
  • Do you plan to have multiple email addresses on the same domain?
  • You may already customize your theme, colors, and fonts — so, why not your URL?

Owning your domain name personalizes your own cozy corner of the Internet, helps to build your presence across the web, and distinguishes your work within your niche, field, or industry.

So, how do you select a domain name?

Think about and choose a domain name that best reflects your content. Below, we’ve gathered tips and examples of sites on WordPress.com to inspire you.

Keep it simple. At My Hands Made It, DIY blogger and bridal gown designer Veronica shares wedding projects and crafty tutorials. Her name includes a simple phrase and evokes actions that reflect her content. In general, avoid names that are too long — more than four words may be a mouthful.

Zoom in and be specific. My Travel Blog. All About Baking. Thoughts on Writing. On Politics. We have a basic idea of what these blogs are about, but the names are general and don’t really intrigue the reader.

Include words that are essential to your focus. Gavin, the blogger at Make a Powerful Point, is obsessed with PowerPoint and uses it to communicate and instruct. The word “point” in his name refers not only to PowerPoint, but his consulting work in marketing and business strategy.

Combine words that encapsulate you. Cathy at Mathbabe focuses on mathematics and statistics. The artist and mother behind Doodlemum combines illustrations and sketches with posts on her family. The folks at Salt Gypsy showcase cool, handmade products for female surfers. All of these names fuse or invent words that describe what these blogs are about.

(You may notice that the custom domain Mathbabe ends in .org. You can register and map a domain ending in .com, .org, .net, or .me through WordPress.com.)

Use common phrases…with a twist. Play around with well-known expressions. Swap words with one another. Kiss My Spatula, a well-designed blog about food, is a playful take on a familiar phrase.

Consider literary devices. Remember when your English professor taught you about consonance, which is the repetition of consonant sounds? The “s” sound in Kiss My Spatula sounds swell, doesn’t it? And what about alliteration, or the repetition of a particular letter at the beginning of words? Raising My Rainbow, a blog about a gender-nonconforming five-year-old, is appropriate and easy to remember.

Celebrate double meanings. My blog’s name, Writing Through the Fog, refers not just to my city, foggy San Francisco, but also my interests in elusive themes of memory, home, and adulthood — all of which put me in a haze.

Make us curious. The incompleteness of the blog name An Afternoon With… is brilliant! In each post, Michael photographs a different person in their own space, among their own things. The added ellipsis (in his header only) is also effective; it builds anticipation in readers who are visiting the blog for the first time.

Finally (and most importantly), confirm your spelling. When you register and purchase a domain name, you are purchasing that exact domain name with that exact spelling. If you make a mistake, you can cancel a domain within 48 hours of purchase, but it’s best to be extra careful from the start to avoid the headache of a misspelled domain altogether.

But what if the domain name I want to use is not available?

New York City-based photographer Matt shares his passion for abandoned architecture at his blog, After the Final Curtain. Matt’s blog on America’s grand, bygone theaters is focused and specific, but the evocative name attracts more than just people who visit for his images of ruins. If you have been to the theater, or have watched film or TV scenes set on a stage, the closed curtain at the end of a performance is a familiar motif. His blog name not only reflects his content — it’s memorable, too.

But when Matt began the process of choosing a domain name, his first choice wasn’t available. He wanted his name to have a theatrical term in the title, but the first domain name he wanted, “Curtain Call,” was already taken. A friend then suggested “Final Curtain,” and he added the rest.

So, just because your blog’s current address is mysite.wordpress.com doesn’t mean the domain mysite.com (or mysite.org, mysite.net, or mysite.me) will be available. Check to see if your domain name is taken.

Curious to hear how other WordPress.com bloggers chose their domain names? We also talked to Sarah at Where’s My Toothbrush? and C.J.’s Mom at Raising My Rainbow about how their names came about — head on over to their Q&A on The Daily PostChoosing the Perfect Blog Name: Two WordPressers Share Their Secrets, for more insights and tips on the process.

Ready for your own unique web address?

There are two steps required to use a custom domain, and you can take care of both steps at WordPress.com:

  1. Register the domain to establish your ownership of the domain.
  2. Map the domain to link the domain to your WordPress.com site.

In step one, you register and purchase the address example.com. In step two, you tell example.com to point to your WordPress.com site. Your old address at example.wordpress.com will still work, but we’ll automatically redirect traffic from your old address to your new one.

Registering and mapping a .com, .org, or .net domain through WordPress.com starts at $18.00 per domain and per year, or $25.00 per domain and per year for a .me domain. For $8.00 more, you can make the domain registration private.

You can also use a domain you’ve registered elsewhere (through a site like GoDaddy or Network Solutions) with your site here at WordPress.com. Mapping a domain you’ve registered elsewhere costs $13.00 per domain, per year.

For more details, read our Domains page on our support site.

When you’re ready to purchase, visit our Custom Domains upgrade page in our WordPress.com Store and click Get a Domain to get started.

If you’re looking to supercharge your blog in one step and purchase all of our upgrades at once — a custom domain, HD video uploading, font and color customization, no ads, and extra storage space — take a peek at our Pro Bundle upgrade.



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33. Vintage Ayres {2007}: The Heart of It All

I’m smiling at the phrase Vintage Ayres. It’s a little bit of a smirk because, really, am I old enough to qualify as vintage? Maybe not. But definitely so in blog years. I… Read More

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34. Introducing Anassa Publications, LLC


I have been a busy little writer and have now added publisher to my growing list of titles. I am the proud co-founder of Anassa Publications, LLC!
It all started with a desire to give the Rocky Mountain Women Writers the opportunity to become published in a compilation. I wanted to give back to the hard-working, dedicated writers who make an effort to help our fellow members and writing community. The idea to put together a collection for the RMWW had been brewing for years, I just wasn’t sure exactly how to piece it all together.
After self-publishing a book for my son, I was inspired to go ahead and begin with the process of creating an anthology that would showcase the works of the Rocky Mountain Women Writers. I teamed up with my good friend, fellow author and RMWW member,Diana Dolan, and together we made it happen!
Diana and I had a vision for a company that would help communities thrive and give writers an authentic publication experience  - thus, Anassa Publications, LLC was born!
We are currently accepting submissions for our first project titled,  Anything Prose…and Poetry, too!an anthology that will give special recognition to the Rocky Mountain Women Writers. If you are interested in contributing a story, (or two!), please check out our SUBMISSION GUIDELINES.
The submission deadline for theAnything Prose anthology is September 30th. I hope that you’ll consider sharing your stories with us!
Be sure to check out our website www.AnassaPublications.com, as we will be announcing exciting news and projects in the coming months.
Happy Writing!


1 Comments on Introducing Anassa Publications, LLC, last added: 9/15/2012
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35. Voiceless Visitors

I came across “Ode to the voiceless visitor” during last week’s Slice of Life Story Challenge. Riss Leung posted it over at L.I.T. Ladies. It resonated with me since I often wonder why… Read More

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36. more yarn






 this project was to decorate a local park for tomorrow's Festival of Arts. A "yarn bombing" did the trick. 
Thanks for coming out guys!


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37. “It’s Complicated” at CBC Diversity

As we’ve discussed on here before, diversity in children’s and YA books can be pretty controversial. Just reading the comments sections at any of the latest posts about diversity can make your head spin, between the people denying that white privilege exists and those saying that even if it does exist, it doesn’t matter, because “people of color don’t read.”

Those things aren’t true, but how do we dispel them? How do we address the multi-pronged issue of getting more diverse books out there?

The CBC Diversity Committee is working to help address this. This week on the CBC Diversity blog, the theme is “It’s Complicated.” Check out Nancy Mercado’s opening post:

The internet can often be a rough-and-tumble kind of place when it comes to complex and layered discussions, but we think it’s possible and necessary to have a respectful and open forum where we are able to chat about some of the challenges that we face, as well as the opportunities that exist when we come together as a community.

This will be a safe space for us in publishing—writers, editors, marketing folks, sales people, artists, anyone involved in getting books to kids—to discuss the issues.

Today, Cynthia Leitich Smith is talking about the fear of saying something wrong. Hop on over and join in on the conversation.

 

———————–

On a related note, here’s some recent coverage of this issue.

The Atlantic Wire: The Ongoing Problem of Race in YA

Huffington Post: Race On YA Covers: Survey Reports A Continued Lack Of Diversity

Jezebel: White Folks Star in 90% of 2011′s Young Adult Book Covers

John Scalzi: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

John Scalzi: “Lowest Difficulty Setting” Follow-Up

Sarah Ockler: Race in YA Lit: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, YA Authors [at SFWA]

Sarah Ockler: Race in YA Lit: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, YA Authors [at her own blog]

Originally published at Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. You can comment here or there.

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38. Updated multicultural SFF booklist

ETA 5/22/12: I’m keeping this book list up to date on Pinterest nowadays, linking each book to its Goodreads entry. It’s much easier to just pin a book than to keep this list up to date. For the running lists (broken down by age group and genre) and more, go here:

 

ETA: I’ve finally gotten the ability to edit the post back, so I’ve put as many of the suggested books into the list now as I can. Suggestions always still welcome. This is a continuous project.

I’ve gotten a lot of great suggestions to add to the list, but my website seems to still be broken, and my own computer has a dead motherboard (well, it did when I started writing this last week—thankfully, it’s now fixed). I’m still figuring out why WordPress won’t let me edit any of my old content.

So, in the interest of having one place that people can use as a resource, I’m going to copy everything into this entry. Rather than divide the list by what I’ve read and what I haven’t, which was just more a personal exercise last year in wondering whether my own reading habits had reached past my own culture, I’ll divide the list by age group and genre (fantasy/SF). What that means is that I am not making a comment on how good I think a book is or recommending it/not recommending it—there are several books on this list I haven’t had a chance to read yet. It’s simply a list compiling what’s out there. I’ve also added books that I’ve discovered over the last year or that have been suggested to me in the comments. Go to the previous booklist post for comments on some of the books in this list.

Middle Grade Fantasy

  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, 2009, Grace Lin
  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, 2008, Nahoko Uehashi, and its sequel, Moribito II
  • City of Fire, Laurence Yep
  • The Tiger’s Apprentice, Laurence Yep
  • Dragon of the Lost Sea, Laurence Yep (and pretty much anything else written by Laurence Yep)
  • Zahrah the Windseeker, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
  • Chronus Chronicles, Anne Ursu (someone mentioned this and I haven’t read them—are the main characters people of color or is it set in a non-Western culture? from its Amazon listing, it seems to star a white girl and use Greek mythology, which are great, but don’t fit the definition we’re using here)
  • The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan
  • Sword and Wandering Warrior, Da Chen
  • The Conch Bearer, Chitra B. Divakaruni
  • Circle of Magic quartet, Tamora Pierce
  • Circle Opens series, Tamora Pierce
  • Pendragon series (?)
  • Un Lun Dun, China Mieville
  • Lavender-Green Magic, by Andre Norton
  • Dragon Keeper and Garden of the Purple Dragon, Carole Wilkinson
  • Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja, Simon Higgins
  • The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle, Deva Fagan
  • Magic Carpet, Scott Christian Sava
  • Marvelous World #01: The Marvelous Effect, Troy Cle
  • Ninth Ward, Jewel Parker Rhodes

Middle Grade Science Fiction

39. Wow. Just Wow.

Awhile ago I was a 7th grade language arts teacher. My last year in the classroom I had one of the coolest classes that may have ever been compiled. It was the last… Read More

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40.


So here's that t-shirt I designed a while back. 
The cute kid? I guess I made her too :)

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41. Because you know you want to see kitten pictures

Long weekend ahead! I’m really looking forward to enjoying the freedom that I’ve inherited (remembering those who died in the Armed Services) by putting some final touches on my not-so-new-anymore apartment, like hanging pictures on the walls and getting that last set of curtains up. I should probably put the AC in as well. And finally see all those movies I’ve been meaning to see, like Avengers and Hunger Games. And all those manuscripts I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten to yet. Not to mention published books.

I’m starting to exhaust myself just planning the weekend.

I also need to give the house a thorough spring cleaning because I’ve been fostering a kitten.Not that he’s gone yet—he still needs to find a home—but having three cats in this house is making the place stink, even when I’m vigilant. I’m sure there are things I can do to streamline the cleaning process while he’s here, but it’s going to mean some organizing over the long weekend.

At any rate, it occurred to me that I haven’t posted anything about this here, and that I should, just in case anyone is out there ready to give this little guy a forever home (and I’ll probably do the adoption through a local pet rescue just to be sure, perhaps Kitty Kind, to be sure the home he goes to is committed to him). Three cats is okay for temporary measures, but it’s just too much for this little apartment long term. Cute as the little guy is, I can’t commit to him  long-term—it’s not fair to the two I already have, and he needs someone who can.

Here’s the info I’m giving to the rescues as I try to figure out how to list him so that potential owners can find him (Petfinder doesn’t do classifieds anymore and Craigslist feels kind of sketchy for pets, but I could be wrong):

Name: Harlem (because that’s where he was found)

Age: 10-12 weeks

Found: at 7 or 8 weeks in a laundromat at 149th and Broadway in Harlem, where he was dirty and starving, probably abandoned by a human because he didn’t have fleas or other signs of having been on the streets all his life, though he did have a distended belly; he hadn’t eaten for long enough that it took him 3 days to poop after being given appropriate food and water. He is now healthy and happy after a vet visit in which he was tested and came out FeLV/FIV/Heartworm negative, and after antibiotics for his cold and some deworming.

Personality: Lively and hilarious, kind of mischievous! He loves to cuddle–though not when romping about the house, of course. He loves to dash from hiding place to hiding place so you can’t catch him, but he’ll come out for his favorite toy, the ball that runs around in a track. He’s just at that kitten age where he’s discovering all th

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42. Teen Read Week 2012: Gearing Up for Collaboration

As the school year winds down for me, it’s easy to get caught up in the last minute whirlwind of final exams, papers, coercing materials returns, and talking my wonderful faculty off the proverbial ledge.

But when I’m really on my game, I begin thinking about the first couple of months of the next school year and cataloging what, if anything, I need to do to lay a foundation for successful programming. Teen Read Week is always an event that sneaks up on me (and I’m on the committee, for goodness sake!) since it usually happens mid to late October and I’m in full project swing by then.

After over a decade of being a school librarian, I can chalk up my success to that much-overused word, collaboration. For me, collaboration just means using the network of relationships I already have with my teachers and students and searching for any new relationships in my community that will help me do my job which, in the case of Teen Read Week, is promoting recreational reading.

My Library Advisory Board and I have already tackled some preliminary brainstorming. Teachers have already been approached for posing with their favorite horror books and these will advertise our offerings and be showcased on the school website. We are going to have a community poll with various horror movies listed and the top two winners will be a “Creature Double Feature” complete with popcorn and blankets to make our own picnic style movie night.

We are also going to produce a short library video (showcased on the library website and the school website, and shown during an assembly to promote our programming that week) interviewing two of our English teachers who teach related classes, Science and Society and Novel to Film, about the meaning and importance of the horror genre. My LAB came up with the idea of also interviewing dedicated gamers who can speak about what they find so appealing about the recent trends in zombie or other horror games. A few book covers and promotion snippets about programming and we’ll have an interesting vehicle for TRW.

When we had our amazingly successful Hunger Games movie premiere party, the most popular stations were the ones where student volunteers taught flame nail polish effects and did Capitol-style makeup on participants. With that in mind, we will be offering a session prior to our horror movie double feature instructing students in horror movie makeup, complete with faux vampire bites, zombie face makeup and gory wounds. My theater faculty have friends in the local community and university theaters who are proficient in these areas and have expressed an eagerness to come and instruct. I imagine we are going to get some great pictures from this instruction!

If you can, begin talking up possible connections with teachers and students so everyone will be ready to leap into the fray of the school year. Join the Teen Read Week 2012 Ning and peruse the ALA Store items with them to help with brainstorming. You can be sure that in October it will be something great that “Came from Your Library!”

– Courtney Lewis, Director of Libraries, Wyomin

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43. ALA–Summer of the Mariposas and Diverse Energies!

Will you be at ALA in Anaheim? So will Guadalupe Garcia McCall, author of Summer of the Mariposas! Guadalupe will be there to celebrate her first book, Under the Mesquite, and its win of the Pura Belpre Author Award, but she’ll also be signing ARCs of Mariposas, so be sure to come by the booth. You can find the schedule on the Lee & Low blog.

Several of the contributors to Diverse Energies will also be at ALA, and though they don’t have a specific signing time, they will be dropping in to sign select copies of the book. Perhaps you might be the lucky one to win a copy in a drawing. And if you just want to read some awesome stories, signed or not, from Ursula K. Le Guin, Paolo Bacigalupi, Daniel H. Wilson, Cindy Pon, Malinda Lo, Greg van Eekhout, and more, make sure to stop by and take a look.

And whether or not you’re off to California this weekend, if you’re a reviewer or a librarian and on NetGalley (and if you’re one of those and NOT on NetGalley, check it out) our fall books are now available for you to request for review. Take a look!

Originally published at Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. You can comment here or there.

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44. Nonfiction for Kids

If you write nonfiction, you'll want to join the Yahoo group, NF for Kids. 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NFforKids/

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45. art camp



Here's a peek at yesterdays "shadow play" art camp


first articulated movable puppets

an interpretation of Ann Wood's horses

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46. Flower Mandalas



This is from day two of 'Mirrors and Mandala's". We spent the first day working on mirror symmetry, and moved on to rotational symmetry yesterday. Making flower Mandalas (in traditional groups of four) takes a lot of negotiation and compromise, as well as a good eye for color. Bravo!
Today we will be doing some print making and making our own kaleidoscopes.

raw material

petals sorted by size and color


final mandala 1

mandala 2

mandala 3

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47. morning news





Clemson, and The Arts Center were on the morning news (again) this morning.
 It started at 5am (yes, I know) but it was fun to see a different crowd, and hang out downtown. 
We organized the chalk paint street painting and brought out the head of "Arty" from the christmas parade. I'm already thinking about ideas for our entry in this years holiday parade. Giant stars maybe.........?

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48. Las Comadres conference in October

I’ll be at this conference, and hope you can make it as well! Info below is from the press release:

Las Comadres to Host October Conference for Latino Writers

Day-Long Event to Offer Experts, Insight into Publishing Industry Opportunities

New York, NY; July 26, 2012 – Las Comadres Para Las Americas, the national Latina organization, will present a day-long conference on October 6 for Latino writers seeking more access into the publishing industry.

Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference will be held at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, Brooklyn. Joining La Comadres as collaborators are the National Black Writers Conference, the Center for Black Literature, the Foreign Language Department and the Latino American Association, Full Circle Literary, Marcela Landres, and Scholastic, with support from the Association of American Publishers.

Through the workshops, panels and other sessions, writers will gain an insider’s perspective into how to best navigate the challenges and opportunities of the industry.
A highlight of the day will be a full schedule of one-on-one meetings for writers with agents and editors. Participants currently include Johanna Castillo, Vice President & Senior Editor/Atria, Simon & Schuster: Jaime de Pablos, Director/Vintage Español, Knopf Doubleday Group; Adriana Dominguez, Agent/Full Circle Literary; Mercedes Fernandez, Assistant Editor/Dafina Books, Kensington Publishing; Sulay Hernandez, Editor/Other Press; Cheryl Klein, Executive Editor/Arthur A. Levine Books; Selina L. McLemore, Senior Editor/Grand Central Publishing; Christina Morgan, Editor/Harcourt Houghton Mifflin; Lukas Ortiz, Managing Director/Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency, Inc.; Diane Stockwell, Founder/Globo Libros Literary Management; and Stacy Whitman, Founder and Editorial Director/Tu Books.
Scheduled panels will examine magazines and literary journals, genres, poetry, children’s/young adult writing, fiction, non-fiction, publicity and self-publishing. There will also be a session for authors to pitch their work and get instant feedback as well as an agents/editors panel.

Keynote speaker is author and television personality Sonia Manzano. Having originated the role of “Maria” on Sesame Street, Manzano wrote two children’s books, No Dogs Allowed (Simon and Schuster, 2004) and A Box Full of Kittens (Simon and Schuster, 2007), and will have her first YA novel, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, published by Scholastic in Fall 2012.

Registration for writers and vendors is now open for the conference.

Las Comadres is a nationwide grassroots-based group of Latinas launched informally in 2000 in Austin, TX. The national networks, created in 2003, have grown to over 100 US cities. Its 15,000 strong membership keeps Latinas connected via email networks, teleconferences, and monthly potluck events in individual cities. In conjunction with the Association of American Publishers, it sponsors a national book club promoting the work of Latino authors and encouraging literacy. The National Latino Book Club is currently celebrating its fourth year

Originally published at Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. You can comment here or there.

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49. Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for August 2012

In August, WordPress.com bloggers hit us with their best: Smart takes on the month’s biggest stories. Thoughtful musings on culture. Photographs and art that bring the world to life.

The following ten picks represent what Freshly Pressed is all about: original content that engages readers, timely posts that contribute to a larger discussion, and personal writing that resonates with others. Enjoy!

Glimpses of Iran

This photo essay documents quiet, unexpected moments of daily life in Iran and captures the delicious details and textures of Yzad and elsewhere. The collection of six photographs illustrates quality over quantity—each image is strong, well-composed, and tells its own story.

Frankie V. Debra, Roe V. Wade: Patricia Heaton’s Two Famous Moms, and Can You Still Be a Feminist If You’re Anti-Abortion?

“But I’m still happy to be in their gang, because we don’t all have to think the same.”

This post examines hot-button topics—abortion and feminism—through an original and nuanced discussion of actress Patricia Heaton. We are impressed with the blogger’s honesty, respectful but confident voice, and willingness to ask questions; these elements encourage readers to comment and join the discussion.

Thinking of New Orleans

“Why do we turn to these stories? For shelter. We need an explanation, because “It happened for no reason at all” is somehow too horrifying to face.”

In this reflection on Hurricane Katrina, writer/photographer Kim weaves thoughts on Louisiana, loss, and the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. We especially like her musings on how we create stories to cope, and to make sense of why things happen in the world. Her gallery of evocative images of New Orleans complements the piece.

Armstrong Is Probably Guilty, But It Is Definitely Meaningless

“This whole long, sordid episode ends in two competing realities. The first is that Armstrong – despite his protests – likely is guilty. The second is that doesn’t matter if he is.”

After introducing the story on Lance Armstrong’s battle with the US Anti-Doping Agency, Mark presents an opinionated yet fair take on doping in cycling (and touches on other sports, too). He admits he is not an Armstrong fan, which further illustrates a balanced approach to the issue.

Authors Behaving Badly: The Seedy Underbelly of Reviewing

“As a writer, I’m not comfortable with the idea of someone writing a review of my book if they haven’t read it. I’m not writing so people can pat me on the back, I’m writing because I have stories I want people to read.”

Here, Jo offers her thoughts on an interesting publishing story: an entrepreneur who set up a business in which authors pay him to write a positive review. Solidly written and thorough, the post leads to a discussion for both writers and readers alike. We like how she asks questions at the end to help launch a healthy debate.

Republican Todd Akin: Don’t Worry, You Won’t Get Pregnant From Rape

“The point is, this is a decision that most deeply affects the victims of rape; those victims have to live with the outcomes of that decision as well as the effects of the crime itself; and those women should be allowed to make the decision that is best for them.”

August saw no lull in controversy in the news, and WordPress.com bloggers confronted these issues head on. A post tackling a hot-button issue can become polarized—even angry—but this take on Todd Akin’s statement on rape is at once passionate and professional.

Lie to Me: Five Lies I’m Proud of Telling My Kids

“Actually, Timmy, there’s a really, really good chance that you won’t be an astronaut. Considering your complete inability to understand long division, you’re probably going to sell cars when you grow up. Now let’s talk about Santa Claus.”

Readers enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek list about the lies one father tells his kids. Whether or not you are a parent, you can relate to this lighthearted post, and will likely recall your own childhood and wonder: did my parents lie to me?!

Rethinking Sleeping Beauty

“Before she pricks her finger, she hesitates, her hand outstretched, but then at Maleficent’s urging, she finally touches the spindle. I’ve always preferred to think that she did it on purpose, not just because she was under a spell. I like to see it as an act of rebellion, a refusal to go from Briar Rose to Aurora quite yet.”

We like how Melissa uses a childhood tale to express ideas about coming of age. Musings are particularly resonant when a writer takes something familiar—such as the story of Sleeping Beauty—to illustrate observations on a more personal level. As a result, she engages with her readers, who have made their own connections through her insights.

When Saturday Mornings Meant Something

Cartoons – the word, the concept, the feeling, the religion — is dead.  Dead and obsolete like the Gothic-arched mouse hole where Jerry took refuge.  Drowned in a sea of endless animation.”

This homage to old-school Saturday morning cartoons left readers swimming in a sea of nostalgia. He-Man! Dungeons and Dragons! The shows of Hanna-Barbera! The sharp and entertaining commentary and palpable passion for the subject contribute to this well-received post.

For Neil.

“Rest in peace other Neil.”

We’re always on the lookout for original artwork: illustrations, paintings, sketches, and more. Shortly after learning of Neil Armstrong’s death, (another) Neil shared an illustration celebrating the famed astronaut. The piece is just as much about Armstrong as it is about the artist himself, and this makes the post timely as well as touching.

What do you think about these selections? Were there other Freshly Pressed posts that stood out this month?

If you’re looking for more, peep the latest posts on Freshly Pressed; check out our writing challenges, photo challenges, and other blogging tips and inspiration at the Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the reader.

For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


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50. Blogger Award

Recently my blogging buddy, Cecelia Lester, passed along to me and a few other bloggers the Liebster Award. I am such a forget ninny sometimes that I forgot the thank her for that. So, A BIG THANK YOU! to Cecelia for honoring me as one of her favorite bloggers. You can read Cecelia's beautiful, sincere devotionals at her blog, Following My King. Her heartfelt words often reach out across

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