Check-In: April 13

What I’m working on: I’ve been distracted by video games in a bad way, but I have forced myself to sit down the past few days and work on some new designs. They’re in very early stages, so nothing worth previewing yet.

I also bought (with a birthday gift card from Lazy Lady) a “Wreck this Journal.” I figure it’ll be a good way to practice non-perfectionism. I have a bullet journal for organization and idea lists and this year I started keeping a standard daily(ish) journal. But I get a little too precious about those sometimes and worrying over things “looking right” probably holds me back from really getting creative.

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I haven’t done much with it so far, but I did flip to the page that says “Make a sudden, destructive, unpredictable movement with the journal.” So I turned in my desk chair and really whanged it at the wall. It plopped neatly into the trash can. It felt kinda cathartic. You can see the resulting ding at the bottom of the spine in the photo.

What I’m playing: I also bought, with the same gift card, Just Dance 2017. I… really can’t tell you why. I thought it would be a good way to get some more exercise. And it kind of is. My heart rate certainly goes up. But this isn’t DDR. This is actual dancing. And if you’re one of the few people unfortunate enough to see my dance… you know I can’t. But, it’s got “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Single Ladies,” so I’mma tear it up anyway.

Check-In: April 6

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What I’m working on: So my birthday was Saturday! I’ve been playing with birthday presents all week. Because I’m kind of a weirdo, I guess — one of the things I asked for and got from my parents was a Victorian-era penmanship course. I’ve been wanting to improve my handwriting for a while, so I’m going old-school with it. Maybe this will lead to some hand-lettered design stuff.

What I’m reading: I’ve finished from Hell and I’m still working on Mrs. Sherlock Holmes. My brother and  sister-in-law gave me volumes 2-3 of Chi’s Sweet Home, so I’ve got those locked and loaded for when I’m done with true crime and desperately need a palate cleanser.

What I’m watching: My birthday gift to myself was an iTunes season pass to RuPaul’s Drag Race season 9. So far, I think my favorite is Nina Bo’Nina Brown. I was intrigued by her promo look, but it turns out I love her personality. I’m also looking forward to seeing more from Sasha Velour.

What I’m playing: Man, it’s been a video game kinda week for sure. My husband bought me Rimworld, which I’m a little addicted to. It’s a space colony sim type game that scratches that resource management itch in a big way. There’s a lot of fun weirdness, too.

Persona 5 came out, too! Finally! We’ve been waiting for this one for… years? I’ve only gotten to play a couple hours so far, but I can say its really stylish and has enough depth that I got confused in Tokyo’s subway system. I’m not as immediately drawn in like I was with Persona 4, but that was my first Persona game AND it had a murder mystery. Judging from reviews, however, I’m going to be much happier with 5’s gameplay. I have high hopes for the story, too.

I also got some Steam money that might go to Crusader Kings II expansion packs and an Amazon gift card that might be used on Let’s Dance 2017… because I need something to counteract all this unproductive sitting I’ll be doing.

April Fish

Hi. Today’s my birthday!

Yeah, “an April Fools’ baby,” as I’ve heard all my life. Thing is… I’m not super into April Fool’s Day as a thing. Especially now that I’m older. I could get down with some silliness as a kid but now that I’m old, I just don’t like pranks. Or at least not the kind where one person is the butt of a joke. I don’t mind the annual Google prank press release or webcomic switcheroos and things like that. But I don’t like pranks.

Now, in parts of Europe and French speaking parts of Canada, they apparently do a thing called “Poissons D’Avril” or “April Fish.” This includes trying to attach a paper fish to someone’s back without them noticing (a mild prank I might be fine with) or false news stories with subtle references to a fish that will tip off readers. I think I can get behind this more than April Fools’. Mostly because it’s so weirdly themed.

So, in honor of April Fish, here’s some fish I like!

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  1. My mom has a set of midcentury chalkware fish hanging on her guest bathroom wall. I think everyone needs a set of midcentury chalkware fish hanging in their guest bathroom. Like these from Shake and Pass the Salt.
  2. April Fish postcards were a thing at the turn of the century and I think they should be again. These elegant, absurd postcards From Penny’s Postcards featuring glass-eyed dead fish kind of wordlessly illustrate why I find the idea of April Fish so funny. The pretty fishwife is cute, but the fish delivering a romantic message kills me.
  3. And speaking of funny, the expression on this wall-eyed pufferfish pin from Fluffernutter tickles me.
  4. It’s not all jokes, though. Get serious about fashion with this leather fish purse by Bonspiel Creation.
  5. We’re not getting through April Fish without a pun. Buy this catfish sticker from Amber Morgan Designs.

Check-In: March 30

It’s been almost exactly a month since I did a general “hey, what’s happenin'” post, so here we go!

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What I’ve been working on: Nothing concrete yet, but I taught myself a new trick. I can now make some super intricate patterns like the one above! That one’s literally the first one I’ve done so it’s kind of unbalanced and a little all over the place, style-wise. But I’ve been trying to figure out a way to do more damask-style patterns and a way to kind of “draw as I go” inside a pattern, rather than combining elements. So I finally cracked the code (turns out you just Google “damask pattern tutorial illustrator”) and now I’m excited about what I can do with it.

What I’ve been reading: I picked up a couple of true crime-themed books from the library this month. I got Alan Moore’s From Hell, a decision inspired by Last Podcast on the Left‘s Jack the Ripper series. I never paid much attention to the Jack the Ripper story, despite my favorite kind of true crime being more historical true crime. I’ve finished the actual story and I’m just reading the back matter now. Alan Moore really pulled together the threads of so many theories and actual people and events in to a very compelling story. I don’t recommend reading it before bed, though. Dreams get weird.

I’m also reading Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, some Edwardian-era true crime to follow up the Victorian-era. The book itself is a little bit meandering for me to really get caught up in the story as intensely as I think I’d like, but it does a good job of telling the story of a both really interesting lady I’d never heard of and the story of a missing girl she investigated.

What I’ve been watching: I’ve actually been watching a couple of reality shows. Which is odd for me, because I kind of hate any reality show that isn’t RuPaul’s Drag Race. But, they’re very different from the usual reality show. First is The Great British Baking Show, which everyone loves and for good reason. It’s a competition show without any manufactured tension or drama. There’s tension and a little drama, but it’s actually real. There’s no obnoxious feuds or coaxed confessionals. The people on the show seem to genuinely like each other and feel genuinely upset when someone has to leave. And the setting is pleasant and there’s lots of good looking desserts and breads and it’s just a happy place. (And it really has me wanting to do more baking.)

The other show is Terrace House, which I’ve seen described as the Japanese Real World. And that’s kind of what it is. Six young people live in a nice house and just interact with each other. I just started watching it because you don’t see much live action Japanese television here, much less reality television. And again, I was surprised at how real it was.  But Justin McElroy explains why this show is so interesting better than I can.

What I’ve been listening to: I devoured S-Town in a couple days. If I didn’t have a job, I would have knocked it out in one. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to give anything away. But it’s by the Serial and This American Life people, and it’s a perfect blend of both. It’s a Southern Gothic audio drama but it’s all real. So good. I think I liked it more than Serial. Definitely more than Serial season 2.

Chicago! The city so nice they named it… Chicago!

First of all, thanks to my husband for the title. It’s a joke he made repeatedly while we were in said city for a week. It got better every time.

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Cloud Gate, with a nice layer of frosting.

 

We were in Chicago last week! It was pretty great. Both my husband and I have been before, but it’s been years. We were excited because we got at least a few days of real winter. It’s been an incredibly mild one down here in Mississippi. We went from highs in the 70s to the most snow I’ve ever seen in my life.

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We spent a lot of time in art museums. Including the entire duration of the Tuesday business hours of The Art Institute.

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Turns out, this is where they keep all the art.

And we also ate.

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The best Reuben sammich.

And we explored Chinatown…

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And we ate.

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Tonkatsu ramen!

And we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art…

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My favorite is the middle one — ‘Birth of a Star’ by Mariko Mori.

And we ate…

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Not Pictured: My new best friend, Italian Beef

And we had dessert!

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We only had one small cake. :/
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The warmest day, with a high of probably 35. 

We did some shopping and some gawking. We saw a show at Second City, which was great. We explored a couple neighborhoods and found a cool board game shop. We saw lots of street art and murals and neat old buildings.

And we ate!

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Fish tacos. From a place picked at random. They were great.

We didn’t do any St. Patrick’s Day partying (because we’re old and lame and it was our fifth day there and we were so tired), but we did see the city lit up green.

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We didn’t get to see a fraction of what we could have. We were so worn down by day five that we barely had the energy to leave the hotel. But, I think we’ll be back one day. (But not before Boston and New York, which are next on the list.)

Check-In: March 1

Oh! I’m the worst! I can’t keep up with this blog and I can’t force myself to schedule enough posts ahead of time to make up for my laziness. My goal this year was to get ahead of the game with both the shop and the blog. I’m batting whatever the worst that you can bat is. I don’t know enough about baseball to use it for analogies.

What I’ve been working on: I finally got some St. Patrick’s Day done!

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I’m thinking I need to work on some new preview images for patterns like these. They aren’t repeats, so the little preview slivers I use now really don’t give you a real idea of what each paper looks like.

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What I’ve been reading: I’ve gotten a lot of reading done. I finished Dietland by Sarai Walker and really enjoyed it. There were a few tiny things I took issue with, but over all it was really good. I also finished Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, so I’ve only got one more of the Neopolitan Novels left.

And just last night I finished up the March trilogy. I really, really want more people to read those books. In reading them, I realize I knew the basic history of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, but it was never really brought home for me. And I’ve lived in Mississippi my whole life. The story is home. It’s a really powerful story and it didn’t happen all that long ago.

What I’ve been watching: I’ve mentioned before my love of all things McElroy… but now they have a television show on Seeso and it’s the best thing to ever happen to streaming internet comedy. There’s a whole episode up on YouTube and you have no reason not to watch it. Do yourself a favor.