Twittering Tales #127 – Dark Train

Here is my tweet-sized entry for this week’s photo prompt Twittering Tales challenge:

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The train draws near in a cloud of fog – the headlight shining through the mist just enough to illuminate the faces of those waiting to board.

I tip my hat downwards to hide my own expression. I do not want to see. I do not want to be seen. Human attachments will hinder my plans.

(280 characters)

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January/February Book Subscription Boxes – Kids & Middle Grade

Lately I’ve been trying random book subscription boxes just to try to figure out which one I want to get on a regular basis. For January/February, I tried the following two boxes:

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This first box was the January Book Drop subscription. I picked the middle grade option, although I was torn between that and the young adult option. This subscription box sends you one book per month (along with a card about the book and little extras like bookmarks) and is pretty cheap (about $10 including S&H for this shipment). The Book Drop is run by an independent bookstore, which makes buying it even better since I like to support small businesses.

The book they sent this month was Winterhouse by Ben Guterson. I really enjoyed this mystery novel! The main character is a book nerd and loves to do puzzles, just like me! I did figure out the plot of the book pretty early on though, so the mystery wasn’t all that hard for me.

Here is the second box I received, this one in early February:

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This box was from Kids Bookcase Club. It cost $9.99 plus S&H. You get three kids books a month. This was the 7-8 year old box. Out of the three books they sent, my favorite by far was Terrific by Jon Agee. This picture book is sarcastic and hilarious! I love the grumpy old man who is the main character! The Very Fairy Princess was a cute picture book, but not exactly my taste. The Animal Planet Dolphin Rescue book was a young reader chapter book and it was cute and interesting, but obviously a simple read. For next month’s box, I decided to up the age to the preteen box to see what kind of middle grade books they send.

For the upcoming month I am also trying out the Scribbler subscription box for writers and the SpearCraft Book Box (which comes with all kinds of cool reader goodies)! So stay tuned!!!

New ACEO Artwork Series: Ancient Symbols

Recently I decided to combine my love for art and ancient symbology into a new series of ACEO art trading cards. I have several books about signs, symbols, and sigils and plan to make a variety of artworks celebrating my love for these mysterious and intriguing ancient forms of wisdom.

So far, I have made four of these cards, two of them inspired by Shinto symbols and two inspired by ancient Egyptian cartouches (a series of symbols that represents deities or royalty).

The first Shinto symbol is a version of the Good Luck Crane:

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I also did a version of the Shinto Tortoise of Longevity:

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As for the Egyptian cartouches, the first represents Thothmes III:

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And the 2nd represents Hatshepset:

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Please let me know what you guys think of this new series. I hope you like it. You can find these artworks and more for sale on my Ebay store, so check it out!

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!

 

Baby Doll, Toy, and Book Thrift Store Shopping Haul

This weekend I did some thrift store shopping! I found a few cute outfits for my new reborn doll (whom I decided to name Amelia after a character in a YA book I read recently called “A Tragic Kind of Wonderful”). For about six bucks I got these three outfits for her:

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I also found this cute preemie 3-piece giraffe and elephant set for only $5:

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Lastly, we went to a new bargain used bookstore, which sells bundles of children’s books (around 10 books for $5). Part of the fun of buying the bundle is that you can’t really see what all you get until after you buy it, so it is somewhat of a surprise when you open the package and see what all books you got:

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Of the books I got in this bundle, my favorites are the “Spooky Friends”, “Cinderella” (from the live action movie version), Elmo’s World, and the “Penguin Skating Party” ones. I also picked up the cute cloth alphabet blocks you see to the right of the books in the photo for only $.99 at the thrift store where I got the baby clothes.

ArtSnacks March 2018 Subscription Box Review

First off, I want to let everyone know this will actually be the last ArtSnacks subscription box I will review. Honestly, I just didn’t feel like I was getting enough use out of it for the cost. I feel like I’m better off just shopping the discount art supplies at local shops. I did subscribe to a different fun subscription box that I will be reviewing from now on, but it isn’t an artist one (you’ll have to stay tuned to see what it is)!

Anyhow, here is what I got in this month’s ArtSnacks box:

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  • A custom ArtSnacks Pencil Case
  • ArtSnacks Sticker Sheet
  • Orange Copic Ciao Double Ended Marker
  • Copic Multiliner
  • 2 Lyra Color Giants Color Pencils (red and purple)
  • Warheads Candy

Even though I stopped subscribing to this box, this still might be my favorite box so far. I do really like the custom ArtSnacks pencil case and am sure I’ll get some use from that. The pencil case seems to be made of good quality materials and is double-zippered with two separate compartments. It isn’t big enough to hold a lot at a time, but it is still handy.

I was also thrilled to get a couple Copic products. I’ve always wanted to have the money to invest in some Copic markers, but haven’t done so yet because they are so pricey. Of course, I’m not sure how much I’ll get done with just one orange marker lol.

The Lyra Color Giants color pencils are really cool as well. They are from Germany and seem to be well made. Their huge size kind of reminds me of the big, thick colored pencils that are sometimes made for really little kids. I’m not sure how much I’ll actually use them, but they are pretty neat.

Overall, this was a cool box, but not enough to make me sorry I unsubscribed.

“Borderline” Book Review

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Right now I’m reading a pretty cool book called “Borderline”, written by Mishell Baker, which is the first book in the author’s “The Arcadia Project” series. The main reason I wanted to read this book was because the main character (Millie) happens to have borderline personality disorder and the book focuses on that a lot.

The story starts out pretty sad, with Millie in a psych facility, trying to rehabilitate from a failed suicide attempt that caused her to have to have both legs amputated. Sounds like a real heartwarming tale, huh? But things get better and more interesting when Millie is recruited to work for something called “The Arcadia Project”, which is an organization that trains mentally ill patients to work with fairies…yes, you read that right, FAIRIES. The plot really starts rolling when Millie is given the task of hunting down a missing member of the fairy community who also happens to be a movie star.

So, to encapsulate the novel, this book is a hodgepodge of mental illness, tragedy, mystery, Hollywood, magic, and fantasy. And somehow…it all works really well together. I don’t normally read a whole lot of fantasy fiction, but the spin on bpd made me give this one a chance and I’m glad I did!

Mystery Abstract Painting Guessing Game

I painted this gouache painting a little while back and several people have taken guesses at what the subject of the painting is, but none of them have been right. Can you guess what inspired it? Feel free to leave a comment below and take a shot at it! I’ll reveal the correct answer in the comments when someone guesses right!

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