Monday, March 30, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Progress III

 I only read three books for March because I've been so busy, but here they are.  Also if you want to see the rest of my posts on the challenge click here.  I'm still really enjoying this challenge.  I'm not burned out on it at all (I kind of expected to be by now).  :)

Creature Discomforts is another Susan Conant book from the Dog Lover's Mystery series.  Once again this really doesn't fit into the challenge but I started reading it because I finished a book in the middle of the night and needed something to help me go to sleep.  Then once I start reading a book I have to finish it.  I really, really enjoyed this one.  It had a different twist to it that freshened up the series a lot.  It also kind of had a cliffhanger at the end that has me dying to read the next book!!  I'm going to try to focus on my challenge though so it might be a while hehe.

I actually never read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was a kid (bad me I know), but I'm kind of glad I didn't because it fits into the challenge for a Pulitzer Prize winning book, a book that was turned into a movie or under the a book I should have read in high school category!  I LOVED this book!!!!!  I don't know what I loved about it so much, but I did.  I'm really enjoying reading these old books set in the south (teaser: I'm reading Gone With the Wind right now)!  The only thing I didn't like is that I want to know what happened to the kids when they grew up, but the most exciting news of all is that there is a sequel coming out sometime this year!  I'm so excited!  I can't wait to read it!

Cold Fire is the third book in the Circle Opens series by Tamora Pierce.  I read her Circle of Magic series when I was a kid and really enjoyed it.  This series is about the same four characters a few years later.  I started reading this book because it was on the shelf available for sale at work and I was bored.  I actually started reading it last December, but only now finished it because I don't have much time to read at work.  I really liked it.  It was fun to find out what happened to the same characters years down the road.  It had some slow spots, but not too bad.  Now I want to read the other three books too hehe, but they aren't at the store (they sell and trade used books).  This book fits in the a book from my childhood category.  :)

Well that's all for March.  I'm reading Gone with the Wind right now and it has 900 pages so I'm hoping I can finish it in April (200 pages in so far), but if I don't it's not a big deal.  I'm enjoying it so far!  Check back at the end of April to see if I finish it in time hehe!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Comment Problems

I just noticed something really weird today.  I have both of my blogs set up to email me when you guys comment so I don't miss any, but this blog has not been sending all of them.  I've been missing some of the comments!!  I went back a ways to see what I missed, but I'm sorry if I didn't see some of them.  I just want to say thank you to everyone who comments.  I appreciate all of you and I love hearing what you have to say.  :D  I'm redesigning my blog so that the template and layout are similar to my other blog since that one seems to be working correctly, so we will see if that helps (working on the new header now).  If you have any problems commenting at all please send me an email if you have time.  My email is linked in the sidebar.  Thank you everyone!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Furry Friday

I have a really exciting Feathered (Furry) Friday to share (check out the creator of Furry Friday here) this week!  We have a pair of red shouldered hawks nesting on our property!!!!  It is so cool!  I love watching them.  I've seen the female eating something and meeting her mate.  It's so awesome.  Here are some pictures I managed to snag (it's hard through all the trees).  I'll definitely be getting more!!

 Sitting on her nest.  You can see how her mouth is open if you enlarge the picture.

Now to keep it furry here is a picture of white goat resting on top of Chrome's feed bucket so he didn't have to lay in the mud hehe.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Furry Friday

I've totally failed at doing Furry Friday posts.  :(  Not having a nice camera just kind of takes the fun out of it.  However I'm going to quit worrying about the quality of the photos (battling perfectionism huh Jennifer?) and just post my cell phone pictures!  It does take nicer pictures than my last one, but it's still a far cry from the photos I used to take with a camera.  So for today here is Jackal!

Seriously, sorry the quality is bad.  Indoors in very low light with a cell phone just doesn't take good pictures.  He's cute though!

This was actually today, the rest were a couple of days ago.

He was snoozing on his blanket looking really cute, but I accidentally woke him up trying to take a picture.  He looked at me so cute with his nose on his leg...

So I asked him to do his shy trick where he puts his paw over his nose and acts bashful... he did it probably six or seven times, but I couldn't quite catch it in a picture.

 So close.

Then I got it!!

 So cute!!!!!!

I'm so proud of him for doing his trick several times in a row without treats or anything because we haven't practiced that one in a really long time.  Jackal is the best!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Art Update

I've been meaning to do an update on my artwork for a long time, but I never had the time (and let's face it, the desire, it's hard!) to photograph my art.  However today the sun bouncing off the snow and coming in my French doors made perfect light for photographing my art!  Yay!

So the last time I shared any art with you was in July of 2014.  I've done a LOT since then (just procrastinating on the picture taking), so I want to share it.  I also took new photos of some of the old art in the better lighting.  The photos I took before truly were awful.  I'll share those here again, but if you want to see all of my posts you can check out the art tag (LINK).

Okay so I'll start off with the old graphite drawings from early 2014...

Graphite drawing of a giraffe.
I erased my signature for anonymity.

A sketch of Chrome I want to paint someday.

Another (awkward) sketch of Chrome.

Sketch of a dragon.

A cute, but not very good, drawing of Storm and Mac.

A drawing of my cat where I was practicing shading (not very well).

A drawing of Storm that is very flat, but I actually like it.
It would look good with more realistic shading.

Now here are some of my more current quick sketches in my sketchbook (yes I finally got a sketchbook; wish I'd done that a long time ago!).

An eye.  The lighting didn't turn out as well on this one.

A dragonfly. Could use some more work, but it's pretty cool.

This was a while back for a drawing challenge.  I hate spiders and it creeped me out the whole time I was drawing this so I didn't bother with shading.  I just wanted to be done with it lol.

I'm also getting back into using colored pencils.  :D

I have drawn in graphite most of my life, but I'd never tried other mediums until 2014.  I picked up charcoal for the very first time in July of 2014.  I had never even held charcoal, much less drawn with it.  I had no idea what I was doing when I did my first drawing...

A lion...

Then I did these two that I shared with you guys back in July...

I finally asked my friend for help because I knew something was missing from these.  She helped me a lot with value which is where I had the most problems.  The funny thing is we did it all through text messages haha!!  The most important thing to remember is to squint!  Squinting brings out the value.  :)

With some text instruction, after watching some Youtube videos and with a little practice I drew these (in this order).

This is from a picture a friend took in Colorado I think.
This is the first landscape I've ever drawn.
Growing up I never did backgrounds on my drawings.

A windmill.  The first building I've ever drawn.

A lion.  I love him! 

A fox kit biting mama's tail and getting dragged.  So cute!

I love being able to see the progress I've made!!  These next two really show my huge leap when I started understanding value better...

 A Marlin in July 2014.

 A Marlin in late August 2014.

The progress is incredible!  Once I trained myself to see value my skill improved in leaps and bounds!  I'm so excited.  I really enjoyed my artwork in 2014 and I'm continuing to practice in 2015.  I'm trying new mediums (more details on that later) for number sixteen on my 30 Before 30 list, but I've also gone back to my graphite, bringing my new understanding to it (charcoal really helped me develop my light, medium and dark values instead of the two tones stuff I had before) and my graphite is improving like crazy too.  I can't wait to show you the one I'm working on right now.  It has been a very long process on this one (yuck work schedule), but it will so be worth it.  I'm tempted to show it to you now, but I really want it to be finished first.  Anyway I hope you like seeing the progress as much as I do.  :D

Just for fun, which one is your favorite?

30 Before 30 - #23 Complete!

Yay I got to ride off property in the snow!  It was so much fun.  You can see more pictures on the full post I did on my other blog here (LINK).

Snow Day!!

 He's lost so much weight!  Yay!

Yay!!!!! We finally got enough snow to cover the leaves and ground.  :D  It's 2 to 4 inches, but there was ice under it so we got really good coverage.  This is what I've been waiting on. We had so much fun playing in it.  Here are a few pictures.  I'll be posting a bunch of Chrome on his blog.

It was so gorgeous this morning!

My parent's dog.  I love this picture!

 Jackal was playing with Chrome through the gate hehe.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Progress II

 I'm a little behind, but here are the books I read in February for the 2015 reading challenge!  To see my other posts on the challenge click here.  I didn't get as many books read this month because I was sick and I've been working a LOT of extra hours at work because my boss is injured.  I've been adjusting my schedule for much earlier hours than I'm used to and that leaves me so exhausted I can't read much at night before bed.  I am adjusting though and hopeful that my schedule can go back to normal soon, so hopefully I can get back on track.

I started off with Curse of the Scarabs by H.Y. Hanna.  You may notice that I read one of her books in January as well.  Some of you might know her from the Big Honey Dog blog actually.  I've been following her blog for years (I think since 2008 or 2009), so I'm very excited about her new writing career and self publishing.  It's been a dream come true for her and I'm so proud of her for going for it!  I've been wanting to read her books since she first published them, but I was in the middle of this long series and I have trouble putting a series down once I'm hooked.  I'm very happy that this challenge has given me the chance to read her books.  I LOVED this book!  It is very well written, very entertaining and it even made me cry.  If you love dogs, even if you're an adult, you can't go wrong with reading this book.  :D  This book could go in the made me cry, non human characters and female author categories.

I finished the Curse of the Scarabs in the middle of the night as usual and couldn't go to sleep, but I didn't have a book from my list on my Nook so I just grabbed Evil Breeding, the next book in the Dog Lover's Mystery series I was reading right before I started the challenge.  It helped me fall asleep, but once I start a book I can't just quit reading it, so I finished it and added it to the list.  This was not one of my favorites that she's written.  It was a great book with an interesting mystery, but it just dragged a bit for me.  I would still recommend all of the books in her series though if you love dogs and mysteries.
The next book I read was for the book written by an author with your same initials.  For the sake of internet anonymity I won't mention the title (if you know me on Facebook and want to know, just send me a message and I'll share it), but trust me you aren't missing out because it sucked.  It was the worst book I have read in years.  For that reason it took me a long time to read it because I tend to procrastinate if I'm not enjoying the story.  I did get it read though... finally.  I at least have that category checked off the list.

 The last book, Cold Sassy Tree, I actually finished last night, but since I read the majority of it in February I'm going to go ahead and include it.  This was a long book that I thought I wouldn't like at first because it seemed to drag at first, but I really did enjoy it!  It gives a fascinating look into what life was like in 1906.  I really, really enjoyed that aspect of it.  The redneck Southern lingo was hilarious.  Even though I'm from the south I do NOT talk like that hehe.  Okay I admit I'll sometimes say ya'll, but I'm telling you the language was so funny.  I really liked that once I got used to it.  I've started saying some of it out loud though... ahhh!!! ;)  I will warn you though, if you're a fan of neatly wrapped happy endings with no loose ends don't touch this book with a ten foot pole!!  However if you enjoy a really great book with characters that you will love like your own family and don't mind bawling your eyes out like a baby I totally recommend this book.  This one definitely falls into the category of a book that made me cry.  It also goes in the book by an author I've never read.  There are probably others, but I'm too tired to go look so I'll figure all of that out later.

Anyway I'm still really enjoying this challenge and I hope you're enjoying my short reviews and following along on my progress.  My mom and I are having so much fun we are thinking about doing this every year!  :D