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April 2021 Art Update

What time is it? Art Update Time! πŸ™‚ I have an amazingly kind friend at work who let me borrow her fancy IPad recently to practice some digital illustrating on something different than my current art tablet set up I have, and damn, did I ever enjoy myself! ❀

I’ve been watching/reading a lot of Attack on Titan lately, so I could hardly resist drawing some AoT Fan Art while I was at it. And where better to start, than with Captain Levi?

While I was drawing badasses from AoT, it only made sense to draw some Mikasa. It was also a nice practice at shadows/lighting. Definitely a far cry from perfect, but it felt good to be practicing. ❀

Playing around with shadows made me want to play around with some different shapes and colors which resulted in the dragon pictured below.

Practicing with digital art again feels so rewarding. I love learning new techniques and pushing myself out of my comfort zone more. What things have you been learning and/or working on lately? Who else watched the first half of the final season of AoT? I absolutely looooved it. I can’t wait to see how it all ends come winter when the final episodes are released. πŸ˜€

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Enjoying The Finer Things in Life: Baking, Video Games, Reading and Kitties

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Ughhhh, work has been quite a doozy lately, to the point that I was in complete and utter zombie-mode each day when I got home. This weekend I decided to just indulge in some of the more relaxing things that make me happy. A Friday night drink/video chat with my amazing BFF Cupcakes & Machetes, some baking (Chocolate Coconut Cream Cake and a nice honey beer bread), playing lots of Super Mario 3D World on the Switch with my awesome husband while our adorable cat Bailey cuddles up with us, binge-reading a bunch of the Attack on Titan volumes of the manga which have been on my TBR list forever, and just enjoying the time off. I know next week will be just as tiring at work due to us being extremely short-staffed at the moment, but I’ll worry about that come Monday. For now, I’m just enjoying myself and relaxing. ❀

I hope you guys are all finding your own ways to unwind and find some joy. What’s your go-to boredom vanquisher these days? πŸ™‚Β 

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March 2021: Digital Art, Fluffy Friends & Other Updates

Oof, March has been an absolute whirlwind of a month. It’s been quite the mix of high and low points. Registering for classes, family health emergencies, the sudden loss of a wonderful friend who taught me so much about life and brought so much joy to everyone who knew her, house and yard projects and repairs, and many other things have had me a bit stressed these past few weeks to say the least.

I did manage to squeeze in a bit of practice on my art tablet, taking some old sketches and outlining and coloring them digitally as seen below:

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Started playing Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U with Mr. Moth so that’s been a fun distraction from some of the more stressful stuff that’s been going on lately.

I think the only thing I baked this month was a dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Soooo good! ❀

I haven’t finished reading anything new at all this month. My mood has been all over the place, which also means my reading preferences have been just as erratic. I did start reading Leigh Bardugo’s The Lives of Saints and re-reading Shadow & Bone in preparation for the Netflix show coming out. It’s been like 7 or 8 years I think since I read S&B so I was definitely due for a refresher before the show starts. I always think it’s interesting to see the differences between a show or movie and its source material. I also started reading this big ol’ Encyclopedia of Witchcraft & Demonology that had belonged to my grandma back in the day. It’s something I have read bits and pieces from but never completed reading from start to finish so I’d like to finally do that. I’m not in a rush though, It’s a lot of information that I’d rather take my time and read here and there rather than all at once.

All the critters are doing well. Luna the baby hedgehog at my work is getting sooo big. She’s “quilling” right now so she’s a little grumpy at times but the Aveeno Oatmeal baths we’ve given her have helped a lot. Quilling is basically a process that can take up to 6 months of age where she will slowly be losing her baby quills here and there and having them replaced with her big girl quills. Here’s a pic of her after her first Oatmeal bath. She was so happy and relaxed afterward.

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Bailey’s been living her best life, as always. πŸ˜› Mr. Moth got her one of those little flower-shaped kitty water fountains and she LOVES it. It’s funny because he wasn’t exactly Team Cat before Bailey and I lived with him and he’s since turned into this Turbo Cat Dad, spoiling her rotten and researching things to make sure she is the happiest kitty she can be. ❀

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My parents new fluff monster is also doing really well. πŸ™‚ He had his first vet appointment and got a clean bill of health. He did really well while he was there and so he got a special “Shit Happens” treat from the doggy bakery. Kind of appropriate since they needed a stool sample from him for his first visit. Haha He’s such a happy boy and has already brought so much joy to my parents’ home with his goofy personality. The neighborhood squirrels may not like him but we adore him. ❀ We’ve been working on tricks and he currently knows “Sit”, “Lay Down” and “Speak”. He’s also really good at solving dog treat puzzles. ^_^

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That’s pretty much it for my updates for March. I tried to focus on the more positive stuff for my post but it was definitely a month with its fair share of worry and tears. Hopefully April will be better. πŸ™‚ How was your March? Oh, yeah, and Happy Spring! πŸ˜€

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February 2021: Huskies, Hedgehogs, and Honey Chai Cakes, Oh My!

I can’t believe it’s already almost March! February was a busy and awesome month full of surprises so I figured it was time to get my butt back on the blog and do an update post. πŸ™‚ I just got my second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine this past Tuesday and I’m so happy and grateful. (Even if it did really knock me on my ass the day after with sore muscles/joints, fatigue, little waves of nausea, and a headache). After that, I was back to my normal self though and I was just thankful to be able to get it, so no regrets. Thanks, Science! ❀

I also started the process towards going to school for graphic design. Michigan has a new program it has rolled out to get people over the age of 25 back in school to get their associate degree by covering their tuition. It’s such a great opportunity and was too good of an offer to pass up, so I’ll be starting classes this summer. I’ve even already got my college ID! One of my co-workers is already taking the exact program at the same college and has had great things to say about it, so I’m really excited. Pluuuus, I’ll get to share in this experience with my BFFΒ Cupcakes & Machetes since she is going back to college as well starting in the spring. πŸ˜€ Different schools/classes, but we’re both excited to geek out over school stuff together so that will make it even better all the way around!

Other fun surprises this month came in the form of two new fuzzy and prickly friends. A girl I went to school with before was recently trying to find a home for a good dog in a sad and tough situation so he wouldn’t have to go to a shelter so long story short, my parents opened their home to him and now have a lovable, goofy, clumsy, fluff monster to call their own. ❀ My other new little animal friend came in the form of a lovely little hedgehog at my work. She’s so sweet and cute and the participants at my job just absolutely adore her, as do I. πŸ™‚

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It wouldn’t be an update post on THIS blog if I didn’t mention recent reads, hobbies, and baking. I didn’t have as much time for those things as I’d have hoped, buuuut I did bake this delicious Honey-Drizzled Cinnamon Chai Cake:

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In reading news, I happily read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard BookΒ  this month. It was such a treat. Kind of a nice and cozy, comfort read. πŸ™‚ I also started reading Leigh Bardugo’sΒ The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse)Β  and, for a refresher before the Netflix adaptation comes out, I’m re-reading/listening toΒ Shadow and Bone. I just watched the official trailer yesterday and I. Am. PUMPED. ❀

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Well, those are my updates for the month! πŸ™‚ I also did some writing and more practice with digital art but not as much as I had planned due to all the other stuff going on. All in all, though, February was a pretty good month. I hope you guys all had a good go of it as well. ❀ Looking forward to catching up on some blog posts I’ve missed but please fill me in on any excitement I have missed in the mean time. What were your highlights of the past few weeks?

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Art Update: January (and December)

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Well, one of the things I was hoping to work on was practicing with other mediums (copic markers and digital art to be specific) so here are some of my more recent pieces done with that goal in mind. πŸ™‚

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I’ve been on a Rupaul’s Drag Race binge for several weeks and it had me wanting to draw some drag queens, and what better place to start than with Divine? It’s just a WIP at this point though because my red marker I was using died. D:

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I love costumes and weird outfits so I could hardly resist drawing the spiky outfit from the Rodeo music video by Lil Nas X. Plus he’s got the whole vampire theme going on in the video so that just made it even more fun to draw because vampire teefs. πŸ˜›

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I haven’t actually seen The Mandalorian yet (I know, I know) but I drew the little cutie pictured above on a Thank You card for someone I know to be a fan of the show. One day I’ll get around to the show and I’m sure I’ll love it, so no spoilers please! πŸ˜€

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Well, I finally did it! I started playing around with my art tablet and came up with this pretty lady in purple pictured above. I have a lot of practicing to do with digital art but I’m looking forward to working at it and trying to learn new techniques. πŸ™‚ Here’s hoping I’ll have plenty of new digital art to share in the months to come!

What have you guys been working on lately? Any fun projects or new hobbies you’re practicing at?

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Bread! Booze! Buddy Reads!

What time is it? RECIPE TIME! πŸ˜€ I I was so excited to get to spend New Year’s Day baking and boozing with the amazing Cupcakes & Machetes during our very first Virtual Baking Party. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off 2021. ❀ One of the things I’ve always loved so much about our friendship is that it never matters how far apart we are or even how long it’s been since we’ve last been able to actually see eachother, it’s always an amazing time when we get together. Here’s my favorite pic from our Zoom session, of C&M, being the reigning Queen of Silly Faces that she is. πŸ˜›

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C&M made a delicious-looking Eggnog Bread with an Eggnog Icing and I made a very yummy Honey Beer Bread and (because I happened to have an abundance of cranberries) I made Cranberry Cosmos and Cranberry-Cinnamon jam. We both loved what we ended up making and had a blast along the way. πŸ˜€ If you’ve been video-chatting with any of your friends during the pandemic, I wholeheartedly suggest throwing some fun activities into the mix sometime. It was a little tricky at first, but we quickly found our groove and it was fun to drink, bake, and plan our next Buddy Read together. Thank goodness for modern technology. I couldn’t imagine having gone through the pandemic without it, or without C&M for that matter. We may be miles and miles apart and forced to Quarantine away from each other for months on end, but being able to video chat and keep in touch via text and online has been a lifesaver! ❀

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What’s been keeping you sane during the pandemic?

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Buh-Bye, 2020! Hello, 2021!

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Happy New Year! ❀ I know this year has been, to put it very lightly, a rough one, but I hope you’re all in as good of a place as possible right now, healthy, and feeling inspired going into 2021. πŸ™‚

I think if 2020 taught us just one thing, it’s how truly unpredictable life is. That’s part of the reason I’m looking at my New Year’s Resolutions a little differently this go around. It feels good to be leaving 2020 in the dust but I also know that the strike of midnight isn’t going to magically make everything better. I feel like 2021 is going to be a year more about the journey itself and a gradual evolution toward something better rather than an instant transformation. That’s kind of how I’m looking at my resolutions this year, too, since we really don’t know what the next 12 months will be like. I’m hopeful, though, that they will be just what we all need to move us toward better days. ❀ So, let’s get on with the resolutions, shall we?

RESOLUTION #1: FOCUS

I know I wasn’t alone in this, but 2020 had me spun for a loop and I think one of my biggest personal weaknesses was FOCUS. I’m really going to try to pull out all my best organizational tricks and attempt to be more focused moving forward. I have so many things I always want to work on constantly battling to pull me in different directions but I know that without focus I’m not going to be able to truly accomplish any of them. Pictured below are my new 2021 planner/calendar, a notebook for tracking goals I’m working on throughout the year in more detail, and STICKERS! Haha I recently watched a video from an author I admire and she talked about how she rewards herself with fun stickers when she meets small goals that she has set that lead to bigger goals. So, I figured, what the hell, I’ll give it a go, too. πŸ™‚ The little type writer stickers say “JUST WRITE” on them and then there’s a ton of cute fitness-themed stickers as well.

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RESOLUTION #2: PUSH MYSELF OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE MORE

This week I’ve started dabbling with Prismacolor markers and I’m really enjoying them. πŸ™‚ I want to continue to play with different mediums which brings me to my next resolution: Pushing myself out of my comfort zone more. I want to start driving myself forward in new ways, I want to be more bold with trying new techniques for my art and writing, etc. I want to try to share more and put myself out there more in general. 2020 unfortunately was a huge reminder of how short life can be and how suddenly everything can change and I want to push myself to do the most I can while I’m here. To learn amazing new things and to grow as a person. I saw a quote recently that said “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there” and I think that’s a good thing to keep in mind as I work toward my various goals this year.

RESOLUTION #3: SELF-CARE

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Mental health is so important and mine has always pitted me in an uphill battle against myself. It really sucks sometimes. Depression and anxiety are the worst and they make you feel like you’re the worst. I’m going to try to make sure while I’m working on my goals this year that I also take the time to really work on me. I’ve been taking baby steps toward this while I’ve been in quarantine and it’s something I really want to continue to explore in 2021. πŸ™‚

So, yeah, those are my resolutions. I’m going to try to be flexible with whatever may be going on in the world at any given time because I honestly have no idea how the world around me will me in the months to come, but I will do my best to keep pushing forward during it as best I can. ❀ 

How are you kicking off your New Year so far? Have any resolutions for 2021? Here’s to what will hopefully be a MUCH better year! ❀

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Happy Holidays: The 2020 Version

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I hope everyone is having a healthy and happy Holiday season as we get ready to move forward from this chaotic year into what will hopefully be a better 2021. We’ve got a long way to go, of course, but I’m hopeful the new year will begin to take us into the right direction at least. ❀ Mr. Moth’s family got us the hilarious and VERY accurate Christmas ornament pictured above. While much of 2020 was/is indeed a raging Dumpster Fire, not all of it was bad. I hope you guys all managed to find your own moments of pure unadulterated joy peppered in among the rest of this year’s going-ons. πŸ™‚

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I made it my personal mission to be extra festive this year and I don’t regret it one bit. We may not be able to celebrate how we normally would, and while that is somewhat of a bummer, I was happy to celebrate in whatever ways we could. My team at work had a lot of fun decorating for the holiday season and we won the room decorating contest! πŸ˜€ “The Grinch-Free Zone” door pictured above and the PPE-sporting snowmen of our bulletin board and tree are just a sample of the work we put into it. There was a lot more I didn’t end up remembering to take photos of.

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Since we have a white tree in our classroom it’s usually a snowman so this year it was fun to do something a little different and year-appropriate with the PPE which is a part of our daily work life now. I really enjoy the white tree but I love that I get to enjoy both ends of the spectrum since Mr. Moth and I have a black tree at home. Instead of hanging the usual candy canes on our tree, Mr. Moth and I opted to hang the silver antique keys (they’re actually bottle openers) that we had ordered off etsy as our wedding favors. It worked out really well because we had so many extra key favors left over since we had chosen to downscale big time on our guest list to make sure our wedding in October was pandemic-friendly. I loved the keys on the tree though and we’ll definitely continue to use them this way in the years to come. ❀

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Seasonal baking this year included making and decorating Christmas sugar cookies (only some of which were completely inappropriate) as well as a triple chocolate coconut cream cake. I also recently made the Cranberry Christmas Cake recipe that Cupcakes & Machetes posted on her blog. πŸ˜€

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Bailey, of course, got in on the holiday fun with her new bow ties, one being green (pictured above) and the other being red, so she can be a little feline fashionista and mix it up during the holiday season. I’m so happy she doesn’t mind wearing bow ties, bandanas, and some costumes. I’m also very happy to report that the Christmas tree remained standing all through December, even if this little Grinch did bat around and knock an ornament down here and there. πŸ˜›

Happy Holidays, guys! ❀ ❀ ❀

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My Year in Books: 2020

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It’s that time of year again! Goodreads has posted our yearly reading stats so I thought it would be fun to share some of mine here and see how you guys all spent your year in books as well! πŸ˜€ With not a whole lot of December left to go, I’ve read 29 books/graphic novels so far this year. (My goal was 25.)

The shortest book I read was Clive Barker’s The Forbidden, at just 51 pages.

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The longest book I completed was Mira Grant’s Symbiont, at 608 pages.

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The most popular book I read was when I re-read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with Cupcakes & Machetes for a Buddy Read.

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I think for the last homestretch of the year I’d like to focus on finishing the books I’ve already started but have yet to finish because I keep getting distracted (purely due to my own attention span and/or current reading funk).

I read some really interesting nonfiction this year that spanned topics like the Donner Party, the daily lives of people in North Korea, and all the ways the Amazon Rainforest wants to kill you.

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Overall I enjoyed most of what I read this year with only a couple books that I’d consider disappointing along the way. With the pandemic bringing our book club to a halt this year I mostly just stuck to my usual go-to genres of Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror with a dash of poetry and nonfiction thrown in to mix it up a bit. πŸ˜‰

What has your year in books been like during 2020? Any favorite books you read you think I should add to my TBR Mountain?