Merry Christmas Eve! My Fave Gifts So Far!!!

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!!! We do our present opening today, so my husband and I went ahead and opened our gifts for each other. Here are a few pics of my favorite things!

First off, my Harry Potter Death Eater wand:

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My new illustrated version of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” (featuring commentary by Albus Dumbledore!):

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My curseword-laden coloring book:

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A pagan-themed children’s book and plenty of stickers to craft with:

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I also got a couple other books, some gel pens, a cool, four-sided Buddha figure, and this new black bear stocking I fell in love with:

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Tomorrow I am celebrating Christmas with my mother, so am sure I will get more gifts then! The holidays are so much fun!!! Hope you guys are having your own happy celebrations!

By the way, I am running a special Amazon giveaway for my new children’s Kindle ebook, “How to Find Fun Adults“! Feel free to enter! Three copies are up for grabs! Of course, you can always buy a copy for $.99 or download it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!!!

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Water is Back! 800+ Blog Followers! Awesome Book Series!

Hey everyone! There were a few random things I wanted to share today. First, an update about my water heater situation….we now have hot water again! I can shower, I can brush my teeth, and I can flush the toilet again! Woo-wee!!! We are out almost $2,000 though, so that part really sucks.

Secondly, I want to thank you all so much for getting my blog to over 800 followers!!! That is awesome. I set a personal goal a while back to hopefully reach 1,000 followers by the end of the year and I might not exactly reach that, but I’m getting close and I appreciate all the support! You guys are awesome! You have no idea how much having communication with you all helps my mood and my attitude in general. You make me feel less alone and like I do have people in this world that care about me other than my immediate family.

Lastly, I want to share this awesome series of books with you all. If you are like me and you enjoy the children’s picture book format, but also have a sarcastic, wacky sense of humor, and a love for philosophy, I’m sure you will love this series just as much as I did!

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The series is called the Animalosophy series (written by Eric Kesselman and illustrated by Erica Missey) and includes the following books:

#1 The Existential Giraffe
#2 The Moribund Mouse
#3 The Perspicacious Penguin
#4 The Nihilistic Sea Otter

Party Like It’s Your Birthday…

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Yesterday was my 36th birthday! I had a great day! My mother and her new husband, Bruce, took me and my husband out to eat at Perkins where I had some delicious spiced pear and cranberry waffles, then we went back to my house and visited for a while. Those of you who follow my blog regularly probably know I have a rocky relationship with my mother at times, but yesterday was actually really nice.

My mom also gave me some gifts, including cash and all this stuff:

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The llama dances to the tune of “Pocket Full of Sunshine” and is so adorable!!!

After my mom and Bruce left, my husband gave me his gifts for me:

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The t-shirt is awesome since I adore black cats and that lyric is from one of my all-time favorite songs (by Simon & Garfunkel). The black skeleton candle and Hello Kitty card are big favorites too!

A good friend of mine also sent me a little care package which was extremely sweet:

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I’m looking forward to reading that book since the movie looks pretty cool too. And you can never go wrong with ponies and cats!

Overall, I had a great day! Thank you to everyone who helped make it special!

Weird Outsider Art Sculpture Photo

When I see weird things, especially weird artistic stuff that fits into the category of folk or outsider art, I like to take pictures of them! This past weekend, my husband and I visited a little curiosities shop in downtown Fairborn, Ohio called The Secret Chamber House of Oddities and Artwork. They had this cool looking creature guarding their door, so I just had to get a photo of it:

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I hope to return to that shop and maybe take some pics of some of the other cool stuff they had (like some awesome creepy dolls). I find stuff like this so inspiring for my own artistic style. The weirder – the better!!!

September Cryptid Crate and Paper Kitty Subscription Boxes

This month I decided to try two new subscription boxes. I enjoy trying out various subscription boxes just to see what kind of stuff you get, and this month I tried out Cryptid Crate (which as you might have guessed, is a subscription box for those who love mythical monsters and other creatures of folklore) and Paper Kitty (a subscription box for those who love cute notebooks, bookmarks, postcards, stickers, pens, and other kinds of stationery).

Here is what I got for the Cryptid Crate box:

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I actually got the Cryptid Crate Lite option because it is cheaper than the full box, but was still happy with all I got! I love the Mothman t-shirt and pin, and the Bigfoot keychain and magnet were awesome as well! All together is was definitely worth more than the $20 I spent!

For the Paper Kitty subscription box, here is what I got:

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This box is around $17 including S&H. It is harder to judge the cost of stationery, but I still think it is worth it. I adore the Strawberry Milk themed pencil case, which feels like real leather! I also love two of the bookmarks (the Van Gogh and Anime Bunny ones). I’ve already used the animal stickers to create some new artworks, and the syringe highlighter and cute sheep/giraffe pen are great too! There are also three cute or decorative postcards, some bear sticky notes, a fox notebook, a plastic bear business card holder, and a few other little goodies.

I liked these boxes so much, I think I will stick with them for at least another month and see how it goes!

May 2018 My First Reading Club Subscription Box Review!

This month I did the May 2018 My First Reading Club unboxing and review on my YouTube channel (Maranda’s Toys & Books), so I figured I would post the video here in case anyone wanted to see which children’s books I got this month for only $9.99 plus S&H! This box is always SUCH a great deal! Definitely recommended for families!

 

Almost 500 Followers! And My PO Box Info!

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I’m only 2 away from 500 blog followers! That is so cool and makes me really happy! I am always astonished to see that many people who care about what I have to say and who enjoy my art!

By the way, in case any of you were unaware, I do actually have a PO Box which I originally set up for my YouTube channels, but if anyone who reads my blog wishes to send me a note, letter, fan art, supportive donations, a book or other product to consider featuring on my blog, etc., you can send it to me at:

Maranda Russell
PO Box 14
Englewood, OH 45322

Please keep in mind that if you do send a book or product for consideration, I am most likely to feature ones that go along with the themes of my blog (art, writing, mental health/mental illness, chronic illness/pain, autism, etc). I am also a sucker for anything sweet (like candy) or cute and fluffy lol.

If you send something you DO NOT want featured on the blog or you wish to remain anonymous, make sure to let me know by enclosing a note expressing your wishes. I will be adding the pertinent information on this post to a separate blog page so that it will be easy to locate in the future if anyone wants to support this blog in that way.

February 2018 ArtSnacks Artist Subscription Box

A few days ago I received the February 2018 ArtSnacks subscription box! I love getting these every month because it gives me a chance to try new art supplies I might not give a chance otherwise, and also challenges me to use the new supplies to create new, original artworks.

Here is what we got this month:

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  • 2 Sennelier French Artists’ Watercolor Tubes
  • Raphael Mini Precision Paint Brush
  • Faber-Castell Goldfaber Sketching Pencil, 2H
  • Sakura Pigma Micron PN Pen
  • Sweethearts Candy Hearts
  • A bonus sheet of Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper (shown below)

Of all the items included, my favorites are definitely the french watercolor tubes. Together, these two small tubes of paint retail for $23.50…so they had better be good! I am not a huge fan of the sketching pencil because it is very light and I prefer a darker lead when sketching. The paintbrush is very nice, but it is so short, it kind of annoys me when painting with it. The Micron pen is fine, but nothing thrilling to me.

Every month, ArtSnacks encourages recipients to try to create new artworks using only the materials in that month’s box, which I did, so here are a couple I came up with. The first uses the bonus sheet of watercolor paper that came in the box, which was bookmark shaped:

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I also made an expressionistic ACEO art trading card using the supplies:

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As always, these artworks will be listed for sale on my Ebay store, along with my other art currently for sale!