Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cricut Projects

On my last trip to Mom's, I got an upgrade! Bye-bye, Baby Bug, hello, Cricut Expression! (My old Cricut only cut 6x12; the new one cuts up to 12x24. It's a die-cut machine. If you're confused, look it up. lol) Anyway, I've had fun playing with it and thought I'd post a few of my recent projects. (Okay, really I'm just posting because Mom said it's been too long since I added a new post.)

This is my latest project. I make cards for church, and they have to be pretty simple. I used the new-ish Preserves cartridge. It has so much potential! (Also, as a side note, it turns out that lightly inking the edges of the die cuts make a huge difference in the appearance.)

I made this for my friend Aimee's new baby. I didn't have an especially good excuse to buy the Robotz cartridge, but I also couldn't help myself. It's just that cute.

More Robotz. See what I mean about cute???

Speaking of cute, how is this for the squeeee factor? I think we are going to use these designs in the nursery at church - though I'm just going to pencil it on the wall and paint it in rather than cutting it out with the Cricut. They come from the Create A Critter cartridge. Complete preciousness.

And finally, a card that generated a lot of giggles with my friend Lauren. I didn't make it for any particular reason besides wanting to play with the new Sugar and Spice Cricut Lite cartridge. I was determined to use that bookplate, and the friendship rub-on was the only thing that fit. This prompted Lauren to ask if my friendship was like a fungus, to which I said yes, it is. Kind of like athlete's foot. You think you've gotten rid of it but it just keeps coming back. :)

Check It Out!!

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Books, Part 2

Continuing with yesterday's train of thought...

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
Yes. I read the entire series. It took about 3 days. (Jeff made fun of me for "inhaling" my books. I told him to stick it where the sun don't shine.) Ahem. Where was I? Oh. Percy Jackson. The books were touted on the cover as the "next Harry Potter." Not quite. Imagine plopping all the Greek and Roman deities in modern-day America. Now imagine that they all had kids with humans. Now imagine that these kids (known as "demigods") have their own special abilities and only they can truly save the world, blah blah blah. Okay, perhaps I'm being a bit harsh. The series really is pretty enjoyable. It's nowhere near as enthralling as Harry Potter, but still worth a read. The real fun of the books is the modernizing of mythology - the "what if" factor is nicely done. Even Jeff is reading them - though it's taking him a lot longer than three days. :)
Score: 4 of 5

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
This was also recommended by my friend Lauren. She's one for two at this point. Can't say I enjoyed this all that much. The book consists of mostly true tales of Savannah, Georgia during the eighties. Technically, the tale revolves around a murder, but there are so many side stories that are not really related that it's distracting. I kept thinking that all of the side characters would eventually tie together, but that didn't happen at all. Why it landed on the bestseller list, I'm not quite sure. Why it stayed on the list for 216 weeks, I couldn't begin to tell you. Interestingly enough, the black drag queen in the story, Lady Chablis, actually portrayed herself in the 1997 movie. Not that I'll be rushing to Netflix to watch it, though.
Score: 1.5 of 5

Also on my list of reads is an array of crime/mystery novels my dad had collected from various airports on business trips. I won't even bother listing them - they weren't bad books, per se, so long as you were not interested in literary value and just needed mind-numbing entertainment for a while. I've also plowed through a few Christian romance-type novels, none of which got me all that excited, either. Don't write off the genre, though - there are some truly good ones out there.

Right now I'm reading The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I'll post a review on it later, but I will say that 50 pages in I am completely hooked.

That's all for now. Go read something!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I relish the opportunity to read. Since I am generally the type who can't put a book down once I start (though I really am working to get better about it), I don't read much when school is in session. One priority of the summer, among all the other things that I let go, was to read as much as possible.

I've done just that. I'm proud of myself, though, because I haven't read only thriller/mystery or romance novels. Yes, I've read a few of them, but I've tried to expand my horizons and read tomes that the "experts" consider "classic." (insert mild sarcasm here - such a categorization is rather subjective, don't you think?)

Here is a sampling of what I've read. Likely I've forgotten a few, and some I won't admit to reading. :)

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I was once assigned to read this book. I think it was for a scholarship application my senior year. I picked up the book from the library and never read it. Fifteen years later, I saw it on the cheap rack at the bookstore and decided to try again. I hadn't the slightest idea about the plot of the book, and was wildly surprised. Rand paints a picture of a world gone mad, but gone mad under the guise of the so-called "greater good." In an attempt to give equal opportunity to everyone, America and Europe manage to drive themselves into utter economic death. It's a fascinating book, and well worth the read. Given the current political climate, it is also a disturbing picture of where we are headed. There is, however, a great deal of foul language and sexual content that, while somewhat necessary to the plot, could have been toned down considerably. It made me glad I hadn't read it in high school. My parents would have been mortified.
Score: 4 of 5

1984 by Orson Wells
Another classic that I'd escaped reading in my high school and college years, this proved to be even more disturbing than Atlas. (Incidentally, I read them back-to-back and fretted for days afterward.) I was surprised to see how many of our catchphrases came from that book. Ever heard the term "thought police?" It came from 1984. While I can't say I enjoyed the book, I do consider it one that everyone should read. If we ever get to the point that intelligence and thinking for oneself is considered evil, then we have long passed the point of being in serious trouble. Though it's an older book, it is not hard to read. At times, though, it becomes tedious and even boring.
Score: 4 of 5

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I can't say enough good things about this book. It was recommended to me by my friend, Lauren, and I am so glad I took her advice. It is the story of a mysterious but famous author nearing death who asks a young woman to write her biography. I have read few stories that were so cleverly crafted. The twists and turns keep you guessing with every page, and even the ending leaves you wondering exactly what happened. I don't want to reveal any more for the risk of spoiling it, but do read this book. It's easily one of the best I've ever read.
Score: 5 of 5

More reviews to come...