Monday, August 15, 2016

Siblings Weekend Scrapbook: Part 7

Here is another page from the Siblings Weekend scrapbook I did for Mark, featuring Simple Stories product.

I used an orange Simple Stories planner page as the base page.  I wanted to highlight this photo of my sister-in-law, and tie everything together with orange.

I basically divided up the page into quadrants.  In the upper left corner I used a photo overlay that had several different color speech bubbles (including orange!).  I especially liked the little orange heart in the top speech bubble.

To the right of the photo I put a journalling card so that we could add some journalling that could be my sister-in-law's thoughts or reflections.  (Journalling still to do, unfortunately!)

Below the journalling card is another card that says "seeing the city" since they were exploring Boston.  I matted this with a little red paper to make the grey pop a little more on the orange background.

In the bottom left corner I put some washi tape to tie back to the red matting and the blue in the speech bubble overlay.

Keep an eye out for future scrapbook pages!  :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Review of Emily and the Strangers by Rob Reger and Mariah Huehner, illustrated by Emily Ivie

I saw Emily and the Strangers at a comic book store and was intrigued.  I really like the art, and Emily is goth and reminiscent (in her look) of Wednesday from the Addam's Family.  Plus, there were black cats, and I'm a sucker for a story where the cat(s) become a character.  The story is pretty straight forward and simple, and Emily does keep having the same issue of adjusting to working with her new band members, but she does have a little bit of growth by the end.  What I thought was really interesting was at the end of the book was some information about the history of Emily the Strange, the original comic, with images of character designs before the artist got to the final designs.  I recommend this to people who are looking for a young quirky female protagonist who is the ultimate scientist, mysticist, and musician.  I'm definitely interested in reading the sequel!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Siblings Weekend Scrapbook Part 6

Here's another layout from the Siblings Weekend scrapbook I made for Mark.  I used several elements here, starting with a Simple Stories paper for my base.  I kind of divvied up the page into four quadrants, and put an element in each one. Each quadrant also ties in yellow, blue, and red colors.

In the top left I have the photo.  On the photo I used an overlay that had a bunch of speech bubbles, which seem to all be kind of pointing at my sister-in-law, so it draws your eye to her.

In the upper right quadrant I put a simple piece of graph paper for journalling.  I used a yellow chevron washi tape to hold down the edges that are furthest away from the photo.

In the lower right quadrant I used a red mat on a cut-a-part piece from the Simple Stories Urban Traveller collection, since the purpose the the trip was to see Boston.

Finally, in the lower left quadrant I used some chevron washi tape to tie back to the red and blue colors elsewhere in the layout.  I trimmed the edges of the pieces of tape to give them a little more dimension.

I like the color scheme on this page.  Watch for more scrapbook layouts to come!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Review of Paper Towns by John Green

I read Paper Towns because I had read another one of John Green's books, The Fault in Our Stars, which was a very moving story, and I saw that the Paper Towns movie was going to be released (and you always need to read the book before you see the movie!).  While the main character in The Fault in Our Stars is female, I did not take any issues with her portrayal by a male author; interestingly, I did have some issues with the male main character's view and portrayal of the love interest, Margo, in Paper Towns.  I think part of this has to do with the underlying philosophical discussion that is the crux of Quentin's (Q for short) coming of age story.  Margo leaves behind a copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass for Q as a clue for him to find her.  He reads the book many times, each time realizing that who he thinks Margo is is only his perception of her based on a performance.  She seems to have a character she built that those at school or people she socializes with see; as Q starts to realize, there is a whole other Margo that lives internally and when she is alone.  Subsequently, because of this dissonance between the Margo performer and the internal Margo that Q starts to realize, the difference becomes jarring between how Q describes and thinks of her, and the Margo we come to meet in the end of the book in Agloe, NY.

I think this dissonance is done on purpose.  As Q reads in Leaves of Grass, he begins to think about how we are all connected, but also maybe it isn't possible to know someone else entirely--to know their true self.  And so the dissonance would make sense as Q starts to remove the layers of the facade that Margo has built for the outside world.  And in fact as Q realizes, he really knew very little about Margo, and everything he knows about her is truly superficial--her looks and the act her performs.  He is even surprised when he compares the Margo he knows to the Margo others knew and finds that those are different Margo's.  He starts to see a little of this unraveling the night of their Great Adventure, but by the time we see Margo again at the end of the book, she seems almost like a different person.  I think that is partly because in the intervening time, he has started to realize that he didn't really know Margo, and his image of her starts to break down.

I think overall the philosophical story is very nice, but that because Margo never seems like a real person (even in the end because she is so disjointed from previous views of her, I found it difficult to find her a believable character), this story may be better suited for tween/teen boys who might be going through their own coming of age story.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Siblings Weekend Scrapbook Part 5

So here's another page from the sibling weekend scrapbook I made for Mark.

This was another photo that I really liked and wanted to highlight by itself.  The base paper is a two-toned dotted light blue paper.

I added a little bit of color by adding a small banner.  (I'm not a huge banner person, so 2-3 penants is usually about all I do.)

I also added a touch of color with a multi-color dotted washi tape, which one edge of the photo overlaps.  I used the title "Not all those who wander are lost," which I thought went nicely with the photo of the alley.

Finally, I added a journalling card that has the words "made my day" in blue on it, tying back to the blue paper.  I also thought the phrase went well with the journey / wandering metaphor of the photo and title.

So that's the page.  Pretty simple, but that way it doesn't distract from the photo, which is taking us on a journey through the streets of Boston...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review of The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

I was intrigued by the premise of the book, which recounts the real estate market crash.  Lewis gives insight to the Wall Street forces that created the crash.  There are some very interesting characters that we follow who were the few who recognized what was happening, and ended up profiting from the crash because they bet it would happen (as opposed to the Wall Street firms who were (unknowingly?) creating the problem and betting against a crash).  The characters (who are real people, since this is nonfiction) and the general premise I think are what carry this story.  However, Lewis delves into many detailed explanations about the numbers--bonds, stocks, CDOs, mezzanines, alt-A's, short, triple-A rating, basis points, spread, credit default swaps, subprime, long, etc.   Even now most of this detail is lost to me, and I think largely unnecessary to the meat of the story.  At one point Lewis explains that this world was so complex and convoluted that even the people who were creating and selling the credit default swaps didn't understand what they were doing, let alone the Wall Street CEOs.  And knowing that would have been enough for me; perhaps Lewis felt that the reader wouldn't believe this without seeing all the nuances and details, but for me the real story was the push and pull of the (idiosyncratic) characters as they tried to make sense of all of the Wall Street craziness.  I think giving the 50000 foot view of the numbers, but following the characters would have yielded an excellent story that didn't leave me as bored.

The other part about the details makes the end very frustrating to me.  In the end of the book the government steps in and bails out the big Wall Street firms, without even really understanding what had happened and who was culpable.  Yet, in this book Lewis seems able to lay out everything that happened and the reasons for it, which should make it clear to any reader--and especially the U.S. government--that the unregulated actions of Wall Street is what was at fault for causing a national disaster and ruining the credit--and more importantly, the lives--of millions of Americans.  But was Wall Street held accountable?  Not in the book, and still not to this day in April of 2016.  Perhaps with this explanation, Lewis was hoping to educate government officials, or incite action by citizens.  But if Lewis was hoping to enact change with this book, it has not yet come.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Siblings Weekend Scrapbook Part 4

Here is another page from the Siblings Weekend scrapbook that I worked on.  I really liked this photo of this lamp light that Mark took, so I wanted to feature this photo on a page.

I separated the page into four quadrants visually.  In the top left I used a journalling card with the title "What a Trip!"  Mark's sister filled it in, rating the trip a 100.

Because the background paper and the journalling card were both grey-ish, I wanted some pops of color to go with the nice colors in the photo.  I used this star paper to make another place to journal.

A close-up on the cool photo:

Finally, I used my circle punch to punch out these two little icons that I liked and I pop dotted them in the bottom right corner.  Again, there are colors in these designs that tie back to the star paper and the photo.

That's all for now!  Keep an eye out for the next post from this scrapbook!  :)