Matt Haig writes really tender and haunting stories…

BOOKISH FRIENDS: This is the author — Matt Haig — that wrote the great article I shared about hope on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, and his book did not disappoint! FANTASTIC STORY and really well written. It’s about a man who ages more slowly than most humans and he learns some beautiful lessons along the way. Poignant and entertaining, tender and haunting (not in a scary way but in a reflective way!). Ben listened to a bit with me and he liked it too.

I’ll be reading ALL of this author’s books in the near future…

#amreading #ad #books #read #amazon #matthaig

How to get FREE Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) Books from NetGalley

I had signed up for NetGalley years ago, but had never pursued receiving a FREE Advanced Reader Copy (known as an ARC) of a book because…life…but as I was browsing book reviews on Goodreads, I noticed several great books had been reviewed by ARC readers and I wanted IN on the latest and greatest — and to follow my favorite authors. Here’s how I got my first ARC books to read from NetGalley:

  1. Create an account at NetGalley.com.
  2. Fill out your profile AS COMPLETELY AS POSSIBLE! This helps publishers confidently approve you to review their ARCs. Registration does ask for a business name, but you can be an Amazon or Goodreads consumer book reviewer.
  3. Choose the categories you are most interested in reading about — I selected nearly EVERY category and there were plenty of books to choose from!
  4. Connect your social media accounts: Goodreads, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  5. Browse the books available and select whichever ones interest you. To increase your chances of receiving an ARC, you may want to choose lesser known authors or niche-markets such as cooking, biography, or knitting — whatever appeals to you!
  6. I received 2 of my first 4 ARC requests within the first 24 hours!

You can even request audiobooks IF you request them through netgalley.com on a browser THEN listen to them in their mobile app – easy!

Join me on Goodreads here!

First: Create an account through NetGalley.com on a browser.
Once you’ve got your ARCs, install the NetGalley mobile app

Have fun reading! Let me know how long before you received your first ARC. #ARC #amreading #books #publishers #publishing

Women who inspire: Female artists you’ve never heard of & late-bloomers who achieve their dreams.

I ran across a few interesting books today about art, women, history, and blooming later in life. I found them both inspirational for similar reasons. Lisa Congdon, an artist who began later in life herself, authored this book on “older women leading extraordinary lives.” It’s inspiring, indeed. In “A Glorious Freedom” Congdon writes about women from all walks of life including Betty Reid Soskin who, at 95, worked as the oldest national park ranger! She says, “My first eight decades were spent collecting dots, and now I’m connecting dots.” It’s a quick, inspirational read.

Contents include brief biographies of late bloomers such as a Cheryl Strayed, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Grandma Moses, and Sister Madonna Buber — examples spanning the ages.

The second book was all about overlooked or relatively unknown female artists spanning hundreds of years. This book was a bit edgier with a more feminist bent but it certainly was educational! I was thrilled to learn about Louise Bourgeois, whose mesmerizing spider sculpture is replicated at Bentonville’s Crystal Bridges’ entrance. Other featured artists include Adelaide Labille-Guiard, Lee Krasner, and Kara Walker, an amazing artist known for her “candid investigation of race, gender, sexuality, and violence through silhouetted figures that have appeared in numerous exhibitions worldwide” according to her website at karawalkerstudio.com.

For a more comprehensive look at those late bloomers who stand out in a culture that adores youth, check out Late Bloomers by Rich Karlgaard. Read more about each book at their Amazon links, or find them on Libby from your local library. Worth the read!

#amreading #reading #ad #amazon #books #art #artists #latebloomers

What I Designed Today: A poster for Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack

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It’s been a long time since I blogged.  Almost a year, in fact.  I’ve missed it!  In my time away, I’ve done many things and learned quite a bit.  Let’s see how much of that I can get documented down the road but, for now, here’s some recent work I completed for Theater Bartlesville — even though I’m no longer serving on their board this year.  Last year was so much fun, not to mention meeting some pretty amazing people, but I simply don’t have time to do it again.  I won’t be doing most of their items but as a huge Josi Kilpack fan, this poster design I just couldn’t resist.  Can’t wait to meet her at the fundraiser. And, for all you font nerds out there like me, the font is My Aunt Celia and you can buy it at MyFonts.

What I Designed Today: a Book Cover for Wake Up the Youth

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Here is a book cover I did a few years ago (and finally read when I got asked to teach Old Testament to the high school sophomores this year). I highly recommend the book for anyone who teaches youth and especially love the bright green cover.

What I Designed Today: Christmas Songs Book Cover

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So my smarty-pants friend is, among many things, very good with words. He compiled this testament of a book as a Christmas gift for friends and family and asked me to do the cover. I can’t wait to see the final product!

(Not So) Recent Design Work: a Book Cover for Jack Weyland’s “Cameron Meets Madison”

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Hmph. I know that title should be italicized but I can’t find in my WordPress where it will allow you make it italic (there’s no place for HTML encoding or formatting of any kind). Oh well. Please forgive me, dear readers who might possibly care (cough, cough). I know I’m the only one who probably cares about such things considering I is (sic) an English major and all.

So I’ve decided to go back through some old work and post it on here so this blog can include more of the graphic design I’ve done over the years. Someday I’ll get that professional site up, but blogging is way more fun. Here’s a cover I did a year or two ago for Jack Weyland’s book entitled Cameron Meets Madison. The publisher had strict instructions to make it similar to his other bestselling works but I wanted it to look a bit fresher and I think it hits the mark. I have not read it — yet — but if you have, let me know your thoughts either here or on goodreads.

What I Designed Today: Organic Food Book Layout & Book Cover Design

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I picked up a new client from California and was asked to help out on the interior and the cover. They pretty much had everything already how they wanted it, they just needed someone to professionally lay it out in the correct software. It was a fun (if long!) job and it seems I made a new friend along the way. I love when I have nice clients who respect my time and efforts. It makes for a win/win all the way around. Now, back to unpacking boxes for a few more days — all in an effort to avoid the boys’ clothes closet, I can assure you.

What I Designed Today: Dorothy Keddington’s Book Cover – Finally Done!

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I haven’t worked on a book cover for a little while and I’m really enjoying working again. Good thing since I’ve been burned out for nearly a decade. Just kidding – it just has felt like that with four kids and fourteen years. Since my kids are aged 4 to 14 I guess I did have one full decade there, didn’t I?! Well, back to some creative endeavors. This book cover has only been in the works for almost a year… I finally read the book and it’s a fantastic, quick read.

Do Not Repeat.

I certainly hope to not repeat this past month.  Or year.  I am aching for a change of scenery.  I thought I might start to like Texas over Christmas but it didn’t last long enough for me to actually like it.  It’s too hot already now.  Too many bugs.  My kids are inside too much.  Isn’t that reason enough?

So, on to more positive things.  Oh wait, I don’t have any.  Let’s just have fun satisfying my OCD and making a list of the things that have broken since Don left:

1.  His car (technically this was before he left).

2.  My computer died for a day – mid HUGE project.  I could not get it to reboot and it is very much on its last leg.

3.  The chandelier in the entryway (there are 3 of them but this one is what allows me to see the dirt on the floor…wait…maybe this *is* a good thing after all).

4.  The box fan.

5.  The dvd player.  Ben shoved a dvd in the wrong place and now we can’t get it to work at all.

6.  Gabe’s 3rd backup pair of glasses is broken leaving him with none.

7.  My Dad’s hip – does this count if people are broken?  I was supposed to be in Nebraska and I’m stuck here (see issue #1) until Don gets back from Philmont and we can resolve the car issue.

8.  Towel rack in the master bath.

9.  Toilet paper holder in the powder room.

Is that it?  Really?  It feels like so much more…  I know, I know, my problems are tiny compared to some.  I will admit that.  I guess I’m just too tired to deal with them appropriately.  No more reading until 4 a.m. for me!!  But that Hunger Games book was so good, I just kept reading and the time it took to read it just flew by.  I had only started at 11 p.m. and I just couldn’t put it down.  It’s violent but I thought it was a really interesting premise.  Lots to discuss.  I think it’s equally an adult book as a young adult book.  Very thought-provoking, anyway.

What I Designed Today: Drafts for Dorothy Keddington’s Book Covers

Two more book covers to get done and then it’s VACATION time!!! I’m not loving any of these but here’s what I’m working on today.

What I Designed Today: Book Cover for Dandelions for Mother’s Day

I get to do a quick and fun book cover for Brenda Craner Benedict. She did the cute dandelion illustration on the cover (as well as writing the book!). My job can be so much fun sometimes. Plus, I get to meet great people.

Chez Beeper Bebe’s Felt Kids Book

From Chez Beeper Bebe and it’s just adorable! And I vaguely remember having enough extra time to create something like this…so cute. My kids are (mostly) too big for this but I’m keeping the adorable idea, just in case.

Book Club at My House (aka Learning to Make Do)

Book club at my home was approaching. All the other book club ladies have such nice homes and nice furniture to go with them. I was aching for a coffee table and perhaps an end table or two so that people wouldn’t have to put plates on their laps. It is a tight week for us this week so I also wanted to make nice things to eat without going to the store. Which meant no fresh fruit. Hmmm. I made a blackberry coffee cake streusel and a bundt cinnamon coffee cake as well as a hash brown bake. No going to the store also meant no paper plates (at least not sturdy enough ones to use)…no problem, I don’t mind doing dishes, and using real plates is always nicer than paper.

I was trying to clean stains off the couches, stains off the carpet and feeling bad for myself that I didn’t have all new-matching-beautiful-perfect furniture. I could quickly see everywhere the dog has been…but would I give up the dog? Definitely not. She is worth the stains and hair. Then, I quickly got a grip and realized none of those things are important.

The house looked so nice from midnight to about 10 minutes AFTER book club was over. I was very thankful for Cole – one of the BEST KIDS EVER – who was more than willing to stay up and help me clean. He even manually picked out leftover red M&Ms from the Christmas bags I stocked up on after the holiday when they went on sale (he did the same thing with candy DOTS! What a kid!). The red looked so cute in my valentine heart dishes and nobody knew how frugal I really was.

I had been at Kohl’s earlier that day and had a clearance banquet tablecloth in my hand for $19.99. Mind you, I have two white banquet tablecloths that I can’t seem to locate since our move. I searched. Don searched. No such luck. I put the purchase back on the shelf at Kohl’s and walked out empty handed. Even though I felt like I desperately needed that tablecloth. So, I went home and took a cream colored fabric shower curtain and washed it and laid it out on half the table. Then, I took another cream colored tablecloth I had (smaller than banquet) and put it over the other half. Then, I took a small square tablecloth my mother made for me and put it over the seam. I can honestly say that I doubt anybody even noticed and it looked so good! I really AM learning how to make do and it felt pretty good! Give it about 3 days and I’ll find my white banquet tablecloths somewhere…isn’t that how it always goes?!

When all was said and done, I was so happy with how everything looked and tasted and the company was the best of all. I learned a couple of things: 1) if you refrain from the impulse to buy something just because you think you need it, DON’T DO IT!!. You’ll feel better in the long run. You and your home can shine with what you already are or have. 2) Women who don’t care about those things, anyway, are the best friends to have. If anybody would have cared in the least, I really wouldn’t want to have them as a friend, anyway!!!

Amy Bradley Book Giveaway Winner!

Ta, da, da, da…the winner is….Carmel of Mellow is Me. Congratulations, Carmel. Email me your address and I will get your book sent off to you.

On another note, I am super swamped with “real” design work so the blogging will be on hold for a little while. Be patient with me and I will make up for it with super fantastic holiday ideas that I’ve been saving up and will post very soon! Not to pass over Thanksgiving, but I’m in the mood for Christmas!