Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Reading Quest ~ TBR

In this vlog I share the books I have chosen to read for #TheReadingQuest, which is a readathon based on a questing through a game card. You pick a character class, and pick books based on the challenges of their quest line. There are also side quests you can do, and you can also pick a new class to play after you finish one quest line. I picked the quest line of a Knight, because in gaming I always pick playing a tank first.

The Reading Quest is created and hosted by Read at Midnight and the artwork was created by CW of Think, Read, Ponder. The quest runs from Sunday August 13 - Sunday September 10, 2017

There is a Goodreads Group for of you want to play along but don't have a blog or YouTube Channel.

TBR for The Reading Quest - Knight Questline:
Highlander's Challenge by Jo Barrett (Challenger #1)
Lure of the Dragon by Anna Lowe (Aloha Shifters: Jewels of the Heart #1)
Warrior of Fire by Michelle Willingham (Warriors of Ireland #2)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Best of Me by Nicholase Sparks

Potential Side Quest Choices:
One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews (The Innkeeper Chronicles #3)
Descender Vol 3

I created a playlist of all the TBRs for The Reading Quest I could find (and I'll update it over time - let me know if your TBR isn't on there and I will add it!).

Are you playing along? What class did you pick?

Love reading? Let's hang out on GoodReads and YouTube!

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Sketchbook Summer: Week 1

I'm having so much fun playing along with Sketchbook Summer, which is a art challenge for July where the goal is to finish a sketchbook cover to cover in the month of July. There is a Facebook Page where they share daily prompts, which often include not only a theme/subject but also a style or starting point suggestion (like two-toned or chicken nuggets). I'll admit, I wasn't sure what to do with chicken nuggets...but it led to one of my favourite drawings.

Above: Day 4 - Cave Men Chicken Nuggets

A big focus for me on taking part of this is practice. Not practice-makes-perfect practice, but get-back-in-the-habit practice. Get to the page. Every day if I can. Make marks, explore ideas and don't get tripped up if something doesn't turn out as expected. In fact, not everything has turned out as expected, and there are a few I don't even particularly like, but I'm actually feeling okay with that. I have gotten to the page more often that I have in a long time and I do also have several drawings that I truly enjoy.

Above: Day 3: Skeletons, Two-Toned and Day 6: Cats, Watercolour Washes

One challenge is that have more ideas than I have energy to draw, which isn't super awesome and I'm not sure the best approach for this. Right now I've added a post it note with the idea and left it on a page somewhere near where that theme was. I'm not sure if this was a good idea, or a bad idea, as I've yet to be able to go back and fill in those pages and I really want to get the whole sketchbook filled up. Maybe I'll schedule in a 'catch up' hour sometime during the week for those ones.

Above: The not-quite dones

Overall, I am having so much fun. It's really exciting to see what the prompt will be every day and I've found so many new people that I've enjoyed seeing their work including: Frederick Michaelsen, kyounza and Nick Perkins.

Want to see and hear more? I talk more about the experience of doing Sketchbook Summer on the most recent episode of stART: Creating As We Go and I post my sketches on Instagram,

Find out more about Sketchbook Summer on their Facebook Page and Intro Vid, plus find fellow sketchers and their work over on Instagram.

Above: More Day 4 Cave Man (Women) Chicken Nuggets and Day 7 - "Bad" Chickens with Non-Dominant Hand

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Spring into Horror Readathon Wrap Up

Two weeks have come and gone, which means Spring into Horror has come to a close. In the above vlog I share my thoughts on how the readathon went, how much I read and the ones that got away. Overall it was a positive experience, and I am really happy that I branched outside my normal reading comfort zone. I have a feeling I will keep horror titles in rotation of reading in the future.

The readathon started off a bit rocky as I was a bit hit and miss with my selections, and didn't settle on what exactly to read until I was well into the readathon. This led me to a feeling of being on edge as I hadn't "finished" anything, and that was a weight I carried for the majority of the readathon. For future readathons, I think I need to either set myself up for an early win with a short work or simply get over needing to finish something to feel like it was a success.

My favourite read was Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones, which landed on my TBR after reading the Barnes and Noble Best Horror of 2016 List. This is a list I will definitely keep for reference and continue to work though reading the other books on the list. One of the most exciting things about this experiences is to have a whole new genre to explore.

Fellow #SpringHorror YouTubers:
Maija Reads
Reads and Eats
Bookworm Eve

Books and Stories Finished:
The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft
The Descendant by H.P. Lovecraft
He by H.P. Lovecraft
Thinner by Stephen King | via Audiobook, Narrated by Joe Mantegna
Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Books Started and Still Working On:
Meg by Steve Alten
Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell (Penguin Classics)
The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter (Lords of the Underworld #1)

Find out more about Spring into Horror at Seasons of Reading here.

Find Me Online:

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring into Horror Readathon 2017

I've very excited to participate in the Spring into Horror Readathon hosted by Seasons of Reading. The Readathon takes place from April 17 - April 30, 2017. I'm being pretty ambitious with my reading list, but this is a genre I don't read that often so I have no idea if I will take to every choice. I also managed to sneak in two book to film adaptations (woohoo!).

Readation info:
Spring into Horror Readathon:
Twitter Hashtag: #SpringHorror

Books Mentioned:
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Fisherman by John Langan
Meg by Steve Alten
Kane by Michael Prescott under the name Douglas Borton
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni #1)
The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter (Lords of the Underworld #1)
Thinner by Stephen King
Creepy Archives Vol. 1 by Dark Horse Comics
The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft
Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell (Penguin Classics)

Games Mentioned:
Murdered: Soul Suspect
Dark Echo

Other Stuff Mentioned:
Barnes & Noble Best Horror 2016 List
Meg (Film)
Mark of Kane (Film)
Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell (Public Domain)

What kind of scary books do you like to read?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Music Mondays

Watching The Grammy's for the first time in years got me thinking about music. So here is what's been playing at my place recently, and a little bit of what's been on my mind.

I've always loved music. But I've noticed that I haven't really seeking out new music, but rather listening to the same albums I have over and over again. My first step to try and get back into music was to scour sales and even free music on Google Play (great resource here), but then I realized I was making choices based on accessibility, not based on what I enjoyed. Often I liked what was available or on sale, but it limited my thinking. Which made me wonder, what do I want to listen to?

Starting with what you want is always a good place to start, no matter what you are working on. So I really thought about it, and I realized I wanted to add new music to my library on a regular basis. To go one step further, I wanted to have both a regular album plus an instrumental album for when I prefer to listen to music without words.

Notice how those choices were about format? How odd that it wasn't about a kind of music. It might not have been a perfect place to start, or even answer to my question, but it did get the ball rolling.

I have started picking up albums, and most recently I got The Sheepdogs - Future Nostaglia for my regular album and the Pacific Rim soundtrack for my instrumental pick. The main them of Pacific Rim just makes me so happy, I loved that movie in all it's over the top-ness, that ever time I hear the music it makes me smile. I have lots of new faves on from The Sheepdogs on the Future Nostalgia album including: Back Down, I Really Wanna Be Your Man, Plastic Man and The Bridge City Turnaround. BUT, since there are no videos for them... here I will share the album trailer:

I also picked up Ingrid Michaelson - It Doesn’t Have to Makes Sense which is amazing and I don't even really know how to describe it other than emotionally compelling and open. I also have devoured two albums by the Norwegian music group Wardruna, whose planned trilogy of albums has the goal to "musically interpret the runes of the elder futhark." How extraordinary is that? The music is very cool, extremely earthy and magical. I've enjoyed the two albums they've released so far: Gap Var Ginnunga and Runaljod Ragnarok. Here is the video for Wardruna's song Raido.

Pretty amazing, eh?

I have not yet picked my February albums yet. Currently in the running is The Strumbellas - Hope and Music from Penny Dreadful by Abel Korzeniowski. I heard The Strumbellas at the New Years Eve celebration on CBC and had a listen to Penny Dreadful (Season 2 and 3) via Hoopla. Both are really good.

What have you been listening to lately?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

stART: Episode 73

It's time for the first episode of stART for the year! On this episode of stART: Creating As We Go, Jamie, Suzie and I share a look ahead into our creative year including our word of the year. I share about some of my recent videos over at my YouTube channel and I'm sure there will be many more projects, videos and art makes throughout the year.

See more at stART: Creating As We Go blog and YouTube Channel.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

New Year, New Coffee Maker!

My first outing this year was to get a replacement coffee maker. I was so excited about lounging around during the holidays that one day I didn't leave enough time for an empty pot to chill before adding water to it to make more coffee and the carafe cracked. It was a sad moment.

I'm glad I had my back up of Nescafe on hand, which is what I had for for about a week. I was a bit zingier that week as I drank the same amount of coffee, not remembering initially taht I brew coffee at half caf/half decaf strength. No wonder I was awake later than normal each night!

So now my new carafe is all clean and drying in the drying rack. I hope it lasts longer than a few months. Last year I ended up buying at least one replacement coffee maker during the year, alternating which part I broke or just stopped working. One time the maker part stopped working and another time the carafe busted from me forgetting to turn it off in time. Feels like a high mortality rate.

I know this isn't a terribly interesting post, or story, but I wanted to share it and also be able to remember when I got my latest coffee maker. I hope this one lasts at least the year because I think there will be a lot of coffee in 2017!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: My Year in Books

2016 was a pretty amazing reading year for me. I read the most books (ever) in a year, I enjoyed oodles of the titles, moved into my new place and was reunited with my books that were in storage, got back into Shakespeare and really put a priority of Canadian books. I also moved into my new place and was reunited with books that were in storage for quite some time (16 boxes of books!). I got to enjoy both physical books and ebooks, enjoyed books that I own and many from the library. So much bookish goodness. As an overview of the year, I have down two vlogs below tha wrapping up the year. I have one where I share a wrap up and reflection of the year an another where I share my top ten books of the year. Fun times.

The numbers: 158 titles read *

18 short stories
2 Fairy Tales
8 Graphic Novels
6 Audiobooks
5 re-reads
2 DNF's
117 books

The 117 includes everything from racy novellas to War and Peace. I didn't break it down by page count as 30 pages of Shakespeare felt more challenging than a 600 page book that was mostly images. I can only drill it down so much before the data loses some meaning and this felt like the right level. I am thrilled to have read this much this year, it's the most read year and I don't think I'll try and surpass it. I might even actively try to go less crazy next year, but who knows what 2017 will bring?

* I know that doesn't match GoodReads (they don't count re-reads), there was 1 story I read that wasn't listed and the rest of the numbers off is books that were DNF'd (Did Not Finish).

Overall, I'm very happy with how my reading turned out. I started fine turning the things I want to focus on, created new challenges, tried a bunch of new things (not all worked - but that's learning too!). I'm really happy that I've come up with a system that works for me, and having priority categories for the types of books that I want to read from Canadian titles, to non-fiction, to Shakespeare, to challenges and lists, to romance novel and book club titles. I've also recently realized I enjoy the reflecting part of the reading process after finishing a book, and I think I will work that more into my reading process year next year. But for 2016, I think I'm good where I am.

I hope you had an amazing year for reading!

Love to read? Friend me on GoodReads here!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

stART: The Sister Summit 2016

It was so awesome to record stART: Creating As We Go with a special LIVE edition while my sister Suzie was in town.

In this episode, my sisters Suzie, Jamie and I answer live viewing questions as well as ask ourselves questions all about our creativity, art, blogging, processes and practices. I had a great time! I hope you enjoy seeing us chat about everything and anything under the sun.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

stART: Creating As We Go - LIVE! Tuesday October 4, 2016

Photo Credit: Jamie Ridler

Want to see stART: Creating As We Go as we do our first ever live broadcast? You can! It will be this Tuesday at 2pm EST and you can register for it here.

This week, Jamie, Suzie and I will be doing our first ever live broadcast for stART: Creating As We Go! So exciting! It is so exciting for use to be together in the same place at the same time, so we can recorded in the same room yet again! Years ago we did a Sister Summit, and morphed into the podcast and video show stART: Creating As We Go where we talk about our creative projects, challenges, triumphs and ponderings.

It's a joy to be a part of as I love talking to my sisters about creativity. I never quite know exactly what we'll get up to, but in each episode at some point there will be giggles.

The Details:
Tuesday Oct 4, 2016 2:00 PM EST
To watch live, register here.

See more about stART at our website and watch past episodes on your YouTube channel.

September Reading Wrap Ups!

This is what I've been reading during September! Above for "regular" books, and below for romance books. Enjoy!

Regular Books Mentioned:
The Odyssey by Homer
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Start Here Now An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation by Susan Piver
King Lear by William Shakespeare
John Winchester's Journal (Supernatural Tie In) by Alex Irvine
The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski
and I also mention A Game of Thrones, because I started it too!

Romance Books Mentioned:

In the Black (Tales from the Edge #1) by Sheryl Nantus
Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1) by Tessa Dare
Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop
Betrayed by a Kiss (An Unlikely Hero #1) by Kris Rafferty
Her Halloween Treat (Men at Work #1) by Tiffany Reisz

I mention that I am doing a Harlequin Exploration, by trying out a book from each in the Harlequin series lines. I think I will start by reading from titles that come with the Harlequin News Sign Up, which gets you 17 free eBooks to download. I used a randomized and pulled Harlequin's Romantic Suspense, so the first book I will be reading Confessing to the Cowboy (#4 of Cowboy Café) by Carla Cassidy.

Love Reading? See more reading goodness on my YouTube Channel or friend me on GoodReads!