Tattoo Lettering & Banners: Classic and modern script designs by Britt Johansson

Goodreads Summary:

For both the experienced and aspiring tattoo artist, as well as creative tattoo customers, this book of inspirational examples of script and banner lettering in a wide range of styles is the ideal cheat sheet. Beginning with traditional handwriting, the book moves into more complex script styles. Discover a range of banners for application on the chest or back, in styles that look elegant and ornate, yet are designed to be natural and easy for artists to draw and apply. Tattoo collectors can choose from the many script samples to write a loved one’s name and bring this book to the shop, where artists can make a tattoo that appears custom made. An assortment of classic, well-preserved matchboxes with decorative labels provides special, eclectic lettering ideas. Professionals as well as beginners working from the drawing board are guaranteed to take inspiration from this portable, convenient collection.

Review:

I initially had some issues reading the digital copy in Bluefire Reader, but when I recently downloaded it to Adobe Digital Editions, the pages showed correctly. I’’m really glad I was still able to redownload the DRC into the second app or my review would have been much harsher based on what I saw with the first app.

Though I’m not a tattoo artist, I’m quite fond of the art form and currently have six tattoos, one with lettering. What I liked about this book was that it was not just pages of alpha-numeric alphabets in various fonts. There were also plenty of examples of compositions of many of them. I think this would be helpful to people when choosing a font, because looking at just the letters doesn’t give an easy idea of how it will look as part of your tattoos. I also think this will be useful to other types of artists. As tattooing has been influenced by other mediums, many artists will use tattoos to influence their own art. I know this book has already given me some embroidery ideas. If you like the book and/or want to see some more examples of Johansson’s work, check out her Instagram page.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher, Schiffer Publishing, through Edelweiss for an honest review.

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Small Dreams: 50 Palm Springs Trailer Homes by Jeffrey Milstein

Goodreads Summary:

Jeffrey Milstein is fascinated with how similar forms repeat themselves in distinctive ways. Here, he examines classic Palm Springs trailer park homes, each composed of the same basic units–the box-like “house,” the flanking carport, and the patio shelter. Photographing each one from exactly the same viewpoint, he shows how the owners have personalized their dwellings in a delightful range of architectural styles from Chinese to early Egyptian to Desert Modern. Parked on small plots with their narrow ends facing the street, these tiny homes were made of surplus sheet metal using technology developed in aircraft factories during WWII. Over time, people remodeled them, creating decorative facades and in some cases adding elements of architectural styles found in more affluent neighborhoods. In documenting these older mobile homes, including the Blue Skies Village Trailer Park founded in 1955 by Bing Crosby, Milstein reveals how we shape our world to reflect our dreams and aspirations.

Review:

This was a lovely “coffee table” style photography book. With the digital edition, I was able to view the photographs on my largish TV screen instead of my iPad screen. Even blown up, the photographs were beautifully vibrant and crisp. I haven’t spent much time reviewing these types of books because I’m really not anywhere near being an authority of photography, visual composition, etc. I like it or I don’t and can usually tell you why on a level of a normal 5 year-old. I liked the book because the photos are brilliant. I’ve never been out West, so I don’t know if the colors are really that saturated or if that is how Milstein edited his photos. Bright Tim Burton-esque color contrast (ex. Alice in Wonderland) is how I see the world before the pain of a migraine hits and it truly is the only good thing about getting them. Experiencing the world in that way makes even the most drab moments seem fantastic. This effectively made the subjects of Milstein’s photographs also seem fantastic. I also loved seeing how people have modified their trailers or left them the same over time and that they all seemed to be in great shape. To me, this was a testament to both good craftsmanship and taking care of something you love.

You can find more of Jeffrey Milstein’s work on his website and Instagram pages.

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher, Schiffer Publishing, through Edelweiss for an honest review.

 

That took longer than expected

I am pretty sure I’ve recovered from those horrible effects from the medication change. It really only took about a day for my heart rate and blood pressure to normalize after switching back to the previous medication. It took a few weeks, though, for the migraine’s vicious cycle to pause. I can say that, while I’ve had headaches, I have not had as severe a migraine since. I had told that doc that I didn’t think that medication helped with my migraines but it was fantastic on my blood pressure, and I was proven wrong after that experiment. It definitely helps more than I had previously noticed. Because I had the same reaction to Botox injections (I didn’t notice how much it had helped until it wore off), I’m going to try that again in a few months, insurance willing.

I haven’t read as much as I usually like to. I have books that I really really want to read, but find myself lacking the ability to focus on them for too long. Upcoming reviews include:

 

Surviving a Holiday Weekend

I had an appointment with my neurologist and didn’t think much of mentioning the changes she made to my meds to anyone but my husband, and I only glossed over it with him. Most chronically ill people can tell you about the every 3-6 month visits with this specialist or that, trying to find just the right combination of medications, supplements, diet adjustments, exercises, body position, hair length, etc. to significantly reduce or “cure” our pain.

So, my doctor and I decided to up the dosage of one medicine while changing my blood pressure medication. In hindsight, I should have done one change at a time. I’m not sure which caused it (probably the Bp meds), but I am still recovering from a migraine that started last Thursday. And, here in the US, it’s a holiday weekend. Even if it were just a regular weekend, this would have been a Bad Idea. I was pretty close to going to the ER, but took my Bp (not great, but okayish) and evaluated my symptoms.

This really helped calm my panic. Everything was in line with a severe migraine and I’ve survived all the other ones. I’ve even had them last this long. So I decided that the “Watch and wait” method was probably a better idea. I kept an eye on my blood pressure, which improved, and took what meds I have for the migraine. I leaned on my husband to help get medicine and cold packs and my dog, Harley, was really great with letting me rest, sticking to my side, and was a great touchstone during some of the hallucinations that came with this one. Now, it is thankfully just the headache that is left.

I am still alive after this last migraine. Without going to an ER. I know I will soon have another. I will survive that one, too, most likely without going to an ER but with the support of family and a loving dog. Thinking about the next several years worth of migraines is daunting, but I can handle just planning for how to get through the next one.

Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price

18079705Flight of the Silvers (Silvers #1)

Daniel Price

February 2014 Blue Rider Press

ISBN: 9780399164989

 

 

 

Goodreads Summary:

Without warning, the world comes to an end for Hannah and Amanda Given. The sky looms frigid white. The electricity falters. Airplanes everywhere crash to the ground. But the Givens are saved by mysterious strangers, three fearsome and beautiful beings who force a plain silver bracelet onto each sister’s wrist. Within moments, the sky comes down in a crushing sheet of light and everything around them is gone.

Shielded from the devastation by their silver adornments, the Givens suddenly find themselves elsewhere, a strange new Earth where restaurants move through the air like flying saucers and the fabric of time is manipulated by common household appliances.

Soon Hannah and Amanda are joined by four other survivors from their world—a mordant cartoonist, a shy teenage girl, a brilliant young Australian, and a troubled ex-prodigy. Hunted by enemies they never knew they had and afflicted with temporal abilities they never wanted, the sisters and their companions begin a cross-country journey to find the one man who can save them—before time runs out.

Review:

Stopped reading 6/10/17
I read a little over half the book, but also gave up after about that, also. It took me roughly two weeks to get to page 330, which is far below my speed reading capabilities. There are sections that are fantastically paced, but also some that feel like I’m mentally slogging through quicksand.
Liked:
Character development: the main characters are well though out and multifaceted. They are all likable and unlikable at different points.

World building (setting, “rules,” social hierarchy): I think most of this was pretty clear. There’s a parallel Earth that had the same history until the early 20th Century, then a big event happened that changed the development of this alternate Earth. Their understanding of Time and how to manipulate it are more advanced, the United States is a lot more insular, and while there are many similarities, there are some different social issues and concerns than we have.

References to other works (intentional or not): There are definitely some similarities to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The Silvers are saved from a cataclysmic event that destroys their version of Earth by mysterious people who look human, but don’t quite act human. They also need a certain object (silver bracelets in this case) to be saved and transported to safety. There’s pop culture references throughout that are like inside jokes for the group, as many of them don’t exist in this alternative Earth.

Disliked:
My biggest and main dislike is the plot itself. Honestly, I think that at 300+ pages in to a 550ish page novel, I should have a better understanding of Why. Why was this specific group of people saved? What is their purpose? What is the main goal they’re supposed to be working toward? What do the Pelletiers want? Why should I finish reading this? Obviously, that last question is still unanswered.

I’m pretty sure I chose to read this because of the upcoming sequel (The Song of the Orphans), however I doubt I’ll read that now that I’ve stalled out on this.

And I’m Back!

Again. Maybe? Who knows. I had moved my laptop to the office/storage/other bedroom and so didn’t bother doing anything that required doing typing for a while. I found the cord to charge my Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad, so now it’s charged and I no longer have that excuse. And of course, there’s the usual daily headaches and chronic migraines. My last migraine lasted for 5 days, so… yeah. Add to that a general depression, and I lacked motivation. While doing a blog was my own idea and it’s never been a habit, I put so much importance on starting to do this more often that it became a looming chore. Because it was a looming chore, I kept putting it off. And the cycle continued.

This happens a lot to people with mental health issues and/or chronic procrastinators. It’s a completely normal thing that millions of people probably do, but it still makes many people (including myself) extremely uncomfortable to admit. What if we were all honest that there are some things that we put so much importance on that we are even less likely to do it? Isn’t this what we do every New Year (however we measure the year, there are usually some kind of resolutions, yes?)? What if we stopped beating ourselves up for not completing our to-do lists? What if we stopped making these unattainable lists in the first place?

I finally finished my mom’s socks back in May, so this blog is obviously not the only thing being neglected. I had taken a break from the socks because I needed some simpler projects to work on. I made a garter stitch shawl and diagonal stitch scarf. Then I picked up Mom’s socks again. She still hasn’t gotten them, but they are on the “to weave in ends” pile. Right now, I’m working on two pairs of socks.  I started a second attempt at a pair of Skew Socks for myself and then started a pair of simple stockinette socks so I could take something along with me to various appointments and in waiting rooms. Photos are on a different device, but I’ll try not to procrastinate too much and do a post with pics of and links to these projects.

I’ve also read several books, though only a few are on the list of neglected DRCs that I had made in November 2016. Or maybe they were. I haven’t gotten caught up on the reviews, though I do have one that I will post later today.

 

 

New Year, New Attempt At Doing This Blog Thing

Happy New Year to any Northern Hemisphere Pagans who stumble upon this! In keeping with the spirit of Samhain and the new turning of the Wheel, I’m going to try dropping bad habits and picking up new (hopefully better) ones. Most likely, just picking up new habits. A new habit? Yeah, I don’t want to overdo it. Part of that is going to be getting better at this blogging thing. I plan on doing an entry once a week on the ups and downs of living with chronic daily headaches and chronic migraines. And depression and anxiety. And whatever other medical/mental health issues my body tries to throw my way. Because most of my hobbies are ways I cope, there will be more posts (separately or combined) scattered throughout the week. And, please forgive the numerous book reviews this week. I have to make good on my agreement to review books for free DRCs, and I have a bit (a teenie tiny bit) of a backlog. Besides, reading reviews might help You decide whether or not something is worth your time. So many books, so little time. 

Alright, then… on the sticks is a pair of sock for my mom. The pattern is called “Crossfade” and can be found in New Directions in Sock Knitting by Ann Budd (Interweave, Feb 2016). You can find more info on Ravelry. This is the second pattern I’ve used from the book. If you decide to make it, I would suggest reading the instructions once or twice before beginning, making a copy of the charts so you can write on them to keep track of where you are, and definitely using a lifeline or three. The toe itself took me 12 tries to complete it correctly due to missed increases, dropped stitches, missed rows, etc. I can only partly blame my neurological disorders for these errors.