Island of the Sequined Love Nun

The theme of this week’s ‘book chat‘ is ‘strange books’. Picking a book to talk about here depends entirely on your definition of strange. If we’re going for strange-disturbing or strange-baffling then I’d go for Diary by Chuck Palaniuk. I’ve decided to look at a book that is more… strange-original and strange-amusing: Island of the sequined Love Nun. The title alone says it all…

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This book tells the story of Tucker Case, a pilot who breaks his penis after crashing a pink jet. (first strange thing) He then makes his way to a tropical island with a cross-dressing gigolo and a talking bat (second and third strange thing), only to be strung up by a cannibal (fourth strange thing) before being delivered to a high-tech research facility in the middle of the island. Add in some weapon toting Japanese thugs, a homicidal doctor, a giant conspiracy, a stripping Stepford wife, a cult that prays to a god named Vincent and a bunch of sharks… well, you have one strange book on your hands.

It’s great fun, very entertaining and completely unpredictable. I’d definitely recommend to anyone who want something enjoyable to read… and I’ve downloaded the rest of his books onto my Kindle… it looks like he’s written a few vampirey things that look quite good.

So what’s the strangest book you’ve ever read?

D x

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Dark, Light and Don’t be a Square

Well it’s time for another Quirky Crafts Challenge. This time the rules are to use one dark colour and one light colour (that isn’t white) as your main colour scheme, and avoid anything square or rectangle. You can have other colours in the focal image, but other than that, stick to your simple colour scheme! To see the fab Guest Designer/Design Team Creations, click here.

This is what I came up with for this challenge:

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I started off by fingerpainting the back ground (I used two shades of blue and an irridescent purple to make this smudgy indigo colour). Then I glued on the image (Starry Eyed from Stitchy Bear) which was coloured using Prismacolor pencils. I added some doodly bits and text with a silver gel pen (you can’t read it too well on this photo but it’s some Madonna lyrics: ‘Never forget who you are, little star. Never forget how to dream’).

If you fancy linking up to this latest challenge, hop on over to this site.

D x

What?! EMA time again?!

So today is my last tutorial before the looming deadline of my EMA (End of Module Assignment). I have until the 14th of May to churn out the most insightful, well written critique of the nineteenth-century novel… and I haven’t even picked my question yet.

Typically when we’re talking about an upcoming assignment, my tutor will go round the room and ask which we’re going too. I’m usually the one that has to blag an answer because I haven’t even cracked open the assignment booklet yet. This time, however, I want to be prepared…. These are my choices:

–          Nineteenth-century literary realism does not supersede other, earlier modes such as the romance, the Gothic novel or the fairy-tale; it incorporates them. Examine the ways in which your chosen novels adapt older genres and literary forms.

–          Family life experienced new social pressures and became the site of new ideals and anxieties in the nineteenth century. Explore the representations of family life in your chosen novels.

–          ‘[in Heart of Darkness] Marlow’s narrative methods place considerable demands on his listeners/readers, obliging us to re-examine literary conventions, not just of adventure fiction but of realism itself, and to take an active part in constructing the text’s meanings’. Examine different narrative techniques, paying close attention to the demands they make upon readers, in your chosen novels.

Rules:

–          Reference two to three novels studied over the course of the module. One of these bust be Dracula, The Awakening or Heart of Darkness.

–          Engage with at least two critical perspectives drawn from the Critical Reader.

My first reaction is that I hate question three, so let’s take that off the table.

Question one could be interesting… If I picked this one I think I’d choose Dracula for my obligatory novel, and then incorporate some Jane Eyre and Northanger Abbey. I think this one would be really easy to structure. Starting with a definition of realism and then exploring the genres mentioned (romance, Gothic, fairy-tale) and how these relate to Dracula and Jane Eyre. I would then discuss the literal incorporation of earlier genres in the plot of a novel (using Catherine’s obsession with Gothic romance in Northanger Abbey as an example).

Question two is another one I might quite enjoy writing. With this one I’d focus on Dombey and Son, Dracula and The Awakening. There’s so much I could write about here… the parent/child conflicts in Dombey and Son, the surrogate relationships in Dombey and Dracula, the Freudian nightmare of Dracula, the redefining of the wife and mother in The Awakening… it’s another great question!

To be honest I’m pretty undecided at the moment, but at least I’ve had a bit of a think about it… So which would you pick if you were me?

D x

A Series of Quirky Birds

Today I have another Life Book page to share with you. This was a lesson by Life Book’s founder Tamara Laporte, and it was a lot of fun! The page is in a slightly different format than usually, rather than working a normal A4 sketchbook page we made an accordion page (which is just a page that folds out in the style of an accordion):

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The idea was to create a layered backgrounds and draw a series of whimsical birds before adding some grounding words (these could be song lyrics, poetry, our own thoughts, a famous quote… anything). I used some lyrics from this song.

Here are the close-ups of my little birds:

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I really enjoyed creating this spread. The background had so many layers and yet was so easy to work on, and I liked having smaller boxes to fill (sometimes large pages can be a bit intimidating). I love the way that the text and borders have been added, but there is one thing I don’t like too much… the birds. I just think they all look a bit… stoned. I think I might experiment with birds a bit more until I get them ‘right’.

Have a great weekend,

D x

Time To Get ‘Girly’

I love beauty products. I have a stash that would satisfy a room full of drag queens. But I have to be honest. I just don’t use any of it. I’m so, so lazy when it comes to all things beauty. I never straighten my hair. I prefer to tackle my eyebrows by hiding them with my fringe. I don’t think I’ve ever been near any kind of fake tan. I only crack out the foundation for nights out and interviews.

I’m aware that at this point you may be imagining some kind of Stig of the Dump/Worzel Gummidge lookalike, but I’m reasonably normal (I promise!).

There is one side of my beauty hoard that I simply adore… the nail varnish. I love having my nails done. Working in an office can be really grim sometimes, and looking down at yummy nails tapping away at the keyboard provides an instant (superficial) pick-me-up.

So, as with anything else  get fixated on, I’m obsessed with finding the perfect product. And as far as I’m concerned, ‘perfect’ is pretty complex… my perfect nail varnish would have:

  • Great colour
  • An interesting name (how unoriginal is naming something with a number?!)
  • A good consistency (has to be thick enough for even coverage, and liquid enough the avoid gloopy blobs)
  • Endurance (it definitely loses points if it chips or wears off in less than a week)
  • A decent price (I’m a hard-core bargain hunter, plus if I love a brand I end up needing all the colours so it’s nice if they’re good value)

Also, it would have to achieve whatever is promised by the advert/poster/lady who works in Boots.

Today I invested in two new colours:

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The gold is very ‘me’ (I’m a big fan of metallic nails) but the pink not so much. I’ll be back soon to tell you how they rate!

D x

P.S. To all you beauty bloggers/general nail enthusiasts out there, if you think you can help me on my quest, and suggest the perfect nail varnish, leave me a comment below! Equally, if there’s anything I should be avoiding, let me know!

De-stressing with Doodles

Sometimes when I get home from work, and I’ve done the studying I need to do, and I’ve checked my emails, and I’ve made dinner (etc etc) I just don’t have the energy to create what I call ‘real art’. ‘Real art’ is that which you would proudly show people. The stuff you plan. Sometimes the stuff that stems from art classes. Sometimes the journal pages that have a lot of work and love put into them. But on the days I can’t face ‘real art’, I doodle.

These doodle pages are usually the ones I’d flick past if I was looking through an old journal but they also tend to be the ones I get the most out of. Sometimes your brain is whirring into overdrive, and making repetitive shapes, patterns and really helps your mind empty. Sometimes if you’ve had a stress-infused day, scribbling furiously brings the calm.

Here are a few of those pages:

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This one started of as a rough painting of a fairy stood over a lake (done to use up excess paint on my palette). I pretty much hated it so I covered it in gesso circles and donut shapes. The doodles were done in india ink with a fine brush and then coloured with a variety of markers.

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This page started as a bunch of colourful washes and again, the doodles were india ink. I think this was one of the first things I ever doodles using ink, so it’s far from perfect but I just love it. I added more colours using Prismacolor pencils (colouring in – don’t laugh at me, but it’s a great way to de-stress!)

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This is a spread in a journal that I made from an old encyclopedia (hence the text in the background). The first layer is a swipe of acrylic paint and the image was drawn with india ink (it’s strange that all three images I picked were done in india ink… it’s really not something I use that often! I used watersoluble crayons (blended with gesso) to add colour.

So this is how I chill out, how do you?

D x

Whimsical Reading – Precious Stone

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Today I’m sharing a few more reading suggestions for the whimsical reading challenge, this time on the topic of ‘precious stone’:

1. The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

TO BE READ. One thing that I absolutely adore is a good period drama, and so I watched the film based on this book as soon as it came out. Despite the slightly not-nice characters, it had a really enjoyable story, so I acquired the book. It’s still sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, but I’ll get there one day!

2 . The Jewel Box by Anna Davis

To read my review of this book, click on the link above.

3. Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming

TO BE READ. Watching old James Bond movies is a secret guilty pleasure of mine… I love to curl up in the middle of winter with a giant packet of crisps and a bit of Sean Connery on the screen… and I have almost a full set of Bond novels (I think they may have come from my Grandma) but I’ve never read a single one. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever really read a single spy novel that wasn’t by Anthony Horowitz.

4. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

This is the third in the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, and I would definitely recommend giving these a whirl. I didn’t actually read them in book form, I was given the audio books, but as far as I’m concerned it still counts. I loved them so much I think I listened to the CD’s continuously for about three months!

5. The Emerald City of Oz by Frank L. Baum

TO BE READ. Number six in the ‘Oz’ series, and again I have to admit that I’ve never read a single one! HOWEVER I have downloaded the whole lot onto my Kindle, and as I’ve wanted to read them for such a long time, I feel that they’ll become ‘bus books’ before too long.

Now, I’m off to make a cup of tea and crack open the custard creams, but if you can think of any more books with a precious stone in the title, leave me a comment below!

D x

TO BE READ.