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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?

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Fantasy Concept Art 2020

So, recently I stumbled across some old and very rough concept sketches for some fantasy creatures/beings and decided to slowly start inking and coloring them for fun. It had been years since I’d done the initial sketches so it was fun looking back on them and spiffing them up a bit. πŸ™‚ So if Merfolk, Gorgons, and flying rats are your thing, please enjoy the following images!

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I decided to take inspiration from the Frilled Shark for the coloring and gills on these two Deep Sea Merfolk. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoy this color scheme for them. πŸ™‚

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This Mer-Person, however, I wanted to play with color a little bit more.Β  I liked drawing the fins and whatnot on these guys, so maybe there will be more Merfolk to come in 2021. Who knows! πŸ˜€

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It is both a tedious pain in the ass and very fun to draw Gorgon “hair” (aka: Danger Noodles) (aka: snakes). My attention span was not made for such things but I did thoroughly enjoy drawing these ladies. ❀

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Again, this is all just concept art so please don’t mind how rough all these pieces are. πŸ˜‰

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I love rats. I also love bats. Needless to say, I would love to have a little rat-bat minion to ride on my shoulder and fly around town with me. Especially if that little rat-bat had purple fur like this little guy. Also, ignore the laws of aviation. I know his wings are too small but he is cute and that is clearly what really matters. ❀

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Art Update: Rewinding Back to October 2020

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Happy December and Happy Holidays, everyone! ❀ It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a real art update around here so I figured I’d share some of the pieces I’ve been posting over on myΒ Instagram over the past couple months. πŸ™‚ It seems like I have dry spells where I don’t do much more than sketches/scribbles and then I hit my stride and put out multiple pieces right in a row. I’d really like to be more steady and consistent with my art output in 2021 but we’ll discuss that further when I do my New Year’s Resolutions post soon! πŸ˜‰

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These pieces were from back in October when I started (but failed to finish) the Corpsetober Art Challenge. It was so much fun, but October was such a whirlwind of a month that the challenge really got away from me pretty quickly in. I’m not upset about it though. With the stress of 2020 always looming I’ve spent much of this year being less critical of myself and more focused on mental health. ❀

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I think part of the reason I enjoyed this art challenge so much was because it called for me to lean heavy into my interest in all things spooky, and that’s always a treat. πŸ˜‰ What was not as fun, however, was dealing with my dying, busted ass brush pens and other markers. *SOBS* The silver lining of that, though, would be that it gives me a gentle push to try other mediums in the near future. I’ve been having fun with brush pens for the past 2 years or so and they’ve had a good run. Now I’m ready to tinker around with more tools of the trade. I’ll go more into that when I do that New Year’s Resolutions post I previously mentioned.

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Since this post features mostly horror/spooky themed art, my next art update I do will feature some of the fantasy art I’ve been doing more recently. Gorgons, flying purple rats, merfolk, and dryads, oh my! πŸ˜›

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Do you have any creative projects you’re currently working on before the end of the year? If so, I’d love to hear about them! ❀

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November 2020 Updates

Hey, there, all you majestic beasties! ❀ Can you believe November is nearly over? I hope you’re all well and finding ways to keep entertained and happy. πŸ™‚ I’m back at home, my work being one of the places that has closed during our state’s three week partial closure. I’ve tried starting multiple posts while I’ve been off and nothing sticks. I’m in this foggy headspace where focusing on one thing is even harder than normal, which brings us to my first November update…

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UPDATE #1: CREATIVE STUFF

With the exception of drawing, I haven’t been able to concentrate on a whole lot. So, that’s pretty much what I’ve been focusing on. Drawing. Especially mythical creatures/beings. It’s actually been a lot of fun. πŸ™‚ (The weird tree lady pictured above is a Dryad I drew, from Greek mythology.) NaNoWriMo, on the other hand, obviously got shot in the foot on take off. I don’t know what I was thinking with that one. Haha Between the pandemic and a very tense election I was pretty much glued to the news during the beginning of the month, so not much writing going on, I’m afraid.

UPDATE #2: HOLIDAYS

I think we all know by now that the holidays are going to be very different this year. Under normal circumstances I’m usually a bit on the Grinchy side, not really one for Christmas music and all the fluff that goes with it. (I’m not as bad as I used to be, but it’s never the part of year I’m really looking forward to.) Well, it’s 2020 and everything is all messed up and crazy, so of course this would be the year that I am PUMPED for Christmas. πŸ˜› Bring on the holiday baking, Christmas movies and music, cozy winter bullshit, and decorations. I would already have the tree up and decorated if it wasn’t for Mr. Moth demanding Thanksgiving be allowed to have its moment. Haha I didn’t make the comic featured below, but when I found it, it immediately reminded me of Mr. Moth and his bizarre love for Thanksgiving. πŸ˜€

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UPDATE #3: BAKING

I don’t know what it is about being stuck at home, but it really makes me want to bake ALL the things. Recent baking adventures include Snickerdoodle Cupcakes for Mr. Moth’s birthday, peanut butter cookies, pumpkin cookies, and rainbow chip cookies. I also busted out our new waffle maker and made homemade Belgian Waffles. One batch was regular and the other I jazzed up and made Pumpkin-Chai Belgian Waffles. πŸ˜€ It’s actually been really nice finding a joy in baking again. I used to bake all the time and then eventually I got sick of it. My favorite things to make this year definitely seem to be cookies. I’m really picky about cookies, so making them at home has been nice because they are super soft and chewy, just like I like ’em! ❀

UPDATE #4: READING

Like I said previously, my level of focus has been practically ZERO lately, so needless to say, not a lot of reading was getting done. Well, thankfully I’m starting to come back around and get some light reading in again. πŸ™‚

Giant Days, Volume 14 and The Quotable Giant Days:

I’m not going to lie, I was sooo sad when it hit me that I was reading the FINAL volume of Giant Days. This comic about three college friends and their lives has been such a treat to read. I can’t say I’ve read many other things that made me feel like I, too, along with the characters was saying farewell to my friends at the end. Mr. Moth and I both read this series, and we agree that John Allison does a fantastic job writing female characters. (Really, just characters in general, but if you’ve ever read anything from a male author where the male gaze gets a bit heavy, you know what we’re talking about.)

The Forbidden:

Written by Clive Barker, The Forbidden tells the story of what would eventually become the 1992 horror film, Candyman. I really enjoyed this short story, though if you’ve seen the film before you’ve read the story, this one feels like the blueprint to the movie which expands upon it in a really great way.

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It’s always a treat reading more of Joe Hill’s work. With the recent news of the premature cancellation of AMC’s television adaptation of this title, I decided to go ahead and dive on in. Initially I was going to wait closer to Christmas due to some of the holiday horror vibes of this story, but as I mentioned already, I am feeling festive as fuck and could no longer wait. It’s off to a great start and I’m looking forward to reading more of it and seeing what the characters I came to love in the show get up to in the pages of this novel.

Hack/Slash Omnibus Volume 1:

This title and I go way back. I’d gotten to read a smidge of Hack/Slash long ago, enough to have given me a taste of what it was bringing to the table but not enough to sink my teeth into. Well, at 300 pages, this omnibus lays out the whole feast and dessert too. Hack/Slash follows our resident goth drifter Cassie Hack and her pal Vlad, a big, deformed man of few words who has the soul of a kitten (as long as you’re not on his to-kill list) as they hunt Slashers across the country and put them down for good. I like the way they handle their slasher mythology in this series, describing Slashers (your standard Michael, Jason, Freddy sort of fare) as “a type of undead, sort of like a vampire or zombie. They’re so full of anger that they don’t wanna die. They hate love, youth, sex . . . things they miss from life.” I mean, how often do we see the big murderous slashers who go after teenagers spring back up for more mayhem and murder after they’ve been killed? All the time, right? Makes sense to me to throw the supernatural spin on that. The series definitely isn’t for everyone, and I, myself, sometimes roll my eyes due to that “male gaze” thing I mentioned previously, but it has a lot of appeal for horror fans, and thus I do enjoy it. Genre favorites from the big screen and behind-the-scenes even make appearances such as Robert Kirkman and Mr. Good Guy Doll himself, Chucky.

Anywhooo, that’s it for my November updates. Now it’s time to play catch-up and see what you fine and fancy folk have been up to. Happy (early) Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it. And Happy Monday (ugh) to the rest of you! πŸ˜›

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Happy Halloween!

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I’m baaaack! ❀ And just in time for Halloween, no less. I know things are a hot mess this year, but I hope everyone is finding some way to have a fun (and safe) time this Halloween. Mr. Moth and I are celebrating the 5th Anniversary since we became a couple in a low-key “Quarantine & Chill” sort of way. πŸ˜› We got curbside pickup from one of the local breweries for lunch and we’re going to continue our month-long horror movie binge. I’m especially excited to check out the movie The Mortuary Collection on Shudder.

I think it looks like a lot of fun and a perfect viewing treat for Halloween! πŸ˜€

Mr. Moth also surprised me with these lovely and delightfully spooky flowers and bats for our anniversary. The boy knows my dark little heart so well. ❀

5th Anniversary Halloween Flowers

The past 2 months have been a real whirlwind, with the highlight of it all being that Mr. Moth and I officially tied the knot! We kept it small due to the pandemic but everything was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. ❀ The lovelyΒ Cupcakes & Machetes was my Maid of Honor and her hubby and my Brother-from-another-Mother was our Officiant. (I’ll do a post with more info and some photos soon!) ❀

We had planned a honeymoon, bought our plane tickets, got our hotel, and got a city pass for a trip to Boston and Salem, a trip we had always talked about going on together since we first began dating, but ended up postponing the trip due to the pandemic. It was a hard decision to make, especially since (like most other people we know) we’ve had to cancel so many big and exciting plans during the ongoing dumpster fire that is 2020. Still, we know it was the right thing to do and we’ll make the trip one day when it is safer to do so. So, instead of exploring new cities together we just did what we’ve done for most of 2020 and stayed in for a little Stay-cation.

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In other news: I returned to work in September after 6 months of us being closed due to the pandemic. It’s been really different due to all of the new safety measures we must take. Cold and Flu Season is always a rough time of year at my work, but now with the Coronavirus cases increasing in our state and it being a constant threat in the back of everyone’s mind, it’s been especially stressful and exhausting. We’ve been trying to make the most of things though, and keep everyone safe and happy. My room also hosts weekly Zoom skill-building lessons with some of our participants who prefer to join in virtually rather than in-person, so that has been an interesting learning experience as we try to find our groove presenting fun activities online.

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Honestly, I’ve been too busy and exhausted to do much of anything related to my usual hobbies, unless you want to count power naps as a hobby. I’m hoping to ease my way back into the things I enjoy now, though. πŸ™‚ It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do any writing and, for a while there, I really had my doubts that I would have the energy or sanity to participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo, but I’m going to give it a go. πŸ˜€

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What are your Halloween plans this year? How have you been the past 2 months? I’m gonna try my best to catch up on some blog posts around here but if you have anything specific you wanna share PLEASE tell me or even hit me up with a link. I’ve missed my Blogging Buds so I’d love to know how you’ve all been doing. Have a frightfully fun Halloween, everyone!! ❀ ❀ ❀ Looking forward to catching up with all I’ve missed and getting back to a more normal posting schedule. πŸ˜›

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August 2020 Art Update: Part 2

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Apparently August was a good month for drawing, because here we are with another art update for the month! πŸ˜€ It’s been really nice drawing so much more. I’m hoping this trend will continue when I return to work.Β  I wish I’d done the above drawing in a proper sketchbook, but when inspiration strikes while you’re on hold with your insurance company, you draw on whatever you have within arm’s reach. πŸ˜›

Part of my drawing spree this month can definitely be attributed to Shark Week. I took part in the #DrawingSharkWeek art challenge on Instagram created by MarcctheSharkk. It was a lot of fun, and the daily prompts pushed me into drawing some different sharks that I may never have done without that dose of inspiration. I did 5 out of the 7 days and I’m really happy with that. πŸ™‚

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I know the last shark image is a sad one, but it’s an important issue that is really messing up our ocean’s ecosystem.Β  If you aren’t already familiar with shark finning, it’s when fishermen catch live sharks, cut their fins off to be sold for shark fin soup or bogus miracle cures and then they discard the rest of the usually still-living shark back into the water. Without their fins, these poor sharks will either slowly suffocate or be completely vulnerable to other predators. Either way, its a horrible death that awaits an astronomical amount of sharks each and every year.

Aaaand back to fluffier content, the next 2 are just 2 ladies I drew in warmer color schemes than I usually do these days. It was kind of fun branching out from the cooler color schemes that have mostly been my comfort zone for a while now. ❀

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How have you guys been keeping busy (and sane) this month? I’ll be doing an August Wrap-Up post soon with more info on what I’ve been up to the past few weeks. Take care, guys, and have a great week! ❀

 

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2020 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Okay, so I’m a little late to the party on this Tag, but in all fairness what even IS time in 2020?? I sure as hell don’t know! πŸ˜› I saw this wonderful post from Lair of Books and decided that I, too, wished to join in on the fun. Better stylishly late than never, right? πŸ˜‰

1.) Best book you’ve read so far this year?

Probably the same book I’m about to give as the answer for the following question, too. πŸ˜›

2.) Best sequel you’ve read so far this year?

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Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo. Loved this book. Great characters, great twists and turns, and great worldbuilding.

3.) New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

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Even though I’m still not finished reading Dread Nation (not the book’s fault, but mine) I went ahead and bought the book’s sequel Deathless Divide, by Justina Ireland that was released earlier this year.Β  Definitely looking forward to reading more of Dread Nation and then diving into this one.

4.) Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

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I didn’t have anything that instantly sprang to mind (mostly due to my own lack of research of new releases) but upon a little digging I discovered that we can, in fact, have SOME nice things in 2020. As it turns out, the fifth (and apparently final) volume of Monstress is coming out in October! πŸ˜€

5.) Biggest disappointment?

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Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest, and I will explain why in the next question because it really does apply to both.

6.) Biggest surprise?

Probably how much I was disappointed by Boneshaker (pictured above). Zombie Steampunk shenanigans should have been my jam, but I just could not get into the characters, especially the main 2 characters. I was so sick of reading how “smart” the son was when he pretty much gave me zero evidence of that himself. And the mom just felt so flat. Like, we knew who she was married to, we know she wants to find her son, but other than that, there isn’t much I can say about her, unfortunately. And as much as I adore worldbuilding, I think they went a bit too heavy with setting the atmosphere compared to the actual plot and character development. I really had high hopes for this one but it just was not my cup of tea, sadly. πŸ˜₯

7.) Favorite new author (Debut or new to you)?

Ilona Andrews. New to me, and such a treat. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to checking out more of her books, especially in the Innkeeper Chronicles series.

8.) Newest fictional crush?

Ya know, I hate to be boring on this answer, but I don’t have one from the books I read. Unless you want to count Henry Cavill’s portayal of Geralt in The Witcher. I mean, it started as a book series (that I have yet to read) but who can deny how pretty this dude is wielding a sword, kicking all sorts of monster ass and brooding all over the place??

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Though, by that logic, I could make a similar argument for Charlize Theron in The Old Guard, based off a graphic novel series I *also* have yet to read. Fierce. Badass. Warrior. QUEEN. ❀

9.) Newest favorite character?

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Zoya Nazyalensky. She may not be a new character to me since I read the original Grisha Trilogy back in the day, but it was new to me just how much I enjoyed her character in Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars. Really good character development.

10.) Book that made you cry?

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A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. SO. MANY. FEELINGS. This book is so dark and beautifully done. Grief is such an ugly and complicated emotion and this book captures it perfectly.

11.) Book that made you happy?

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Giant Days is always such a feel-good and fun slice-of-life style comic. Sometimes there are sad parts, but overall it’s a comfort read for sure. ❀

12.) Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?

I don’t know . . . I really couldn’t pick one right now, sorry! D:

13.) What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

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Definitely sooner than before the end of the year, but I need to finish my buddy read with Cupcakes & Machetes for Gideon the Ninth! Enjoying it so far, just have a lot going on right now and an attention span in tatters.

How has your year in reading been so far? πŸ™‚ Let’s talk books! ❀

 

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Art Update: August 2020

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Happy Friday!! ❀ I hope you guys are all doing well and staying safe. I know 2020 has been a total hot mess, but I hope you’re finding ways to keep yourself sane during all of this. I’ve been finding a lot of solace in drawing and it’s been really nice. Like spending time with an old friend from before the stressful days of adulthood. (Maybe it just feels like that because I haven’t actually been able to see any of my friends in-person since February due to the pandemic!)

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For most of my life, drawing was such a huge part of my daily existence. The past 10 years, though, I found myself doing it less and less. Sure, sometimes I’d make time for it, but it just wasn’t how it used to be. Well, the past year I have definitely been at it more again and now I’m pushing myself to not just settle into my drawing comfort zone, but to work on new poses and techniques, and really work at strengthening my skill again. I’ve got a long way to go, and a lot of learning to do, but I’m enjoying being back on the journey. πŸ™‚

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One of the ways I need to push myself further with my art is getting back into digital art again. It’s been a long ass time. I’m strangely intimidated, to be honest. I got this great new art tablet but to quote the Joker from The Dark Knight:

“I’m like a dog chasing cars, I wouldn’t know what to do if I caught one”

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Well, one thing that will eventually force my hand to branch back out into digital art is the fact that most of my markers/brush pens are on their last leg. Filling up that sketchbook I got a while back has been slowly murdering all of them. πŸ˜₯

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Plus, I don’t think I’ll forgive myself if by the time I eventually return to work, I STILL have not gotten the hang of the new art tablet. I mean, it’s literally been 5 months since my work had to temporarily close its doors due to the coronavirus. Usually I have the excuse of not having enough free time, but that excuse has kind of gone right out the window this year, hasn’t it?? πŸ˜‰

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I hope you enjoy the new art. I’ll be posting some shark illustrations soon that I’ve been working on during Shark Week for an Instagram art challenge I’m participating in. It’s been a lot of fun so I figured I’d feature them in their own little post at the end of Shark Week. πŸ˜›

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What skills have you guys been building on during this year? What hobbies have you found comfort in?? What have you been doing to keep from going completely stir-crazy???

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Thanks, as always, for checking out my humble little drawings and reading my ramblings! ❀ Have a great weekend!

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July 2020 Wrap-Up: A Month in Photos

Whoops! Meant to do this post at the end of July but better late than never, right? πŸ˜‰ After doing one of these photo-based monthly wrap-up posts for June, I thought it would be fun to carry on and make this a regular sort of installment here on my blog. πŸ™‚ I hope everyone had a fun and safe July. Obviously with the coronavirus still running rampant this year’s 4th of July festivities were MUCH more low key, but Mr. Moth and I still had a great time.

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BAKING: I made these S’mores cookies on the 4th of July. They were quite good, and I’m not even a S’mores person normally. πŸ™‚ Another fun part of the 4th of July is that my very own little corner of the blogosphere celebrated it’s 4th Blog Birthday. Woo! πŸ˜€

OUTDOORS: It’s been far too hot for me to want to do much of anything outside this month, so I mostly just admired and watered our plants and then scuttled back inside.

We also recently had the pleasant surprise of discovering baby pumpkins! Can’t wait to have homegrown pumpkins this Halloween! That will certainly be a first. πŸ™‚

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BOOKS: In reading news, I’ve mostly been on a DC Comics binge this month. I recently joined the DC Universe streaming service and now that I have quite the catalog of DC titles at my fingertips I’m taking full advantage of it. πŸ™‚ As for actual novels, I finished the third novel of the Innkeeper Chronicles and also fed my Leigh Bardugo addiction by finally reading King of Scars. Now that I’ve read all of the books in the “Grishaverse” that are currently out my wait begins for the follow-up to KoS. Luckily I still have her Wonder Woman novel and Ninth House to keep me going until then. πŸ˜›

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DRAWING: Aside from my Weird and Wild Animal Drawings, I did find time to do some other drawings. πŸ™‚ Near the end of the month I decided it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone and start drawing more dynamic poses. Then I kind of lurched to a halt on the drawing front. I’ll be back at it soon, though! I’ve had a lot of house and research projects keeping me busy.

ANCESTRY SEARCH: One of the research projects I started in July was that of my very own lineage. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and what better time than while my place of work is still shut down? I’ve been able to trace 3 of my grandparents’ family histories back pretty damn far and there have been some really fascinating results that I want to do a lot more research on.

How was your July? Any exciting plans for August?? What with the pandemic and all I can’t say I have a lot planned for August, but one thing I look forward to are the Friday night video chats with my BFF Cupcakes & Machetes as well as our current buddy read as we take on Gideon the Ninth together. πŸ˜€ Not super far yet, but really enjoying the book already. Well, that’s it for now. Hope you guys are all staying safe and well. Have an amazing August! ❀ ❀ ❀