Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I Love You, Dark Horse

The last few months have been an absolute emotional roller coaster. I was promoted at work to a job with more responsibility. I started at a new school to start finishing my Bachelor's degree. My long term boyfriend and I have parted ways, so I'm struggling to find my way in the single world. I started to reinvent myself or maybe find a part of myself that I thought I'd lost. My constant struggle with perfection was leaving me feeling drained as I strive to ensure I make straight A's. During all of this, I'd forgotten to keep the promise I made to myself to reduce my stress. Crafting fell by the wayside, I can barely remember the last book I read that wasn't required reading, I haven't blogged since September, and I can't recall the last time I sat down and wrote a poem. And to top it all off, Matt Smith is no longer the Doctor.

Finally, I have a little break from school and had the chance to realize that my obsessions, my passions, fuel me. Whether it's the new me or the old me, there are always some things that remain a constant and need to have a spotlight in my life, no matter how busy or stressed I get. As we start the new year, I think that is something we should remember, happiness shouldn't take a back seat.

One of my passions is Dark Horse Comics. 90% of my weekly order comes from Dark Horse. I usually don't even look at DC or Marvel anymore (unless I see a Skottie Young variant, but I can't help it, he's awesome). When I picked up my order for the month, I looked through to see what I had to look forward to and I literally squealed when I saw one comic in particular. (Yes, I squealed over a comic book, don't judge.)

Credit: Dark Horse Comics

Ghost #1

Cover by Terry Dodson

Story by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chris Sebela

Art by Ryan Sook

Colors by Dave McCaig

Letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft

In the long, long ago (I think 1993? Maybe?), I picked up a comic called Comics' Greatest World. Ghost debuted in that issue. Of all the comics I've lost, sold, traded, or ruined, this issue was one of the few to survive. I remember being enthralled with her story from the start. I loved the supernatural elements. I loved the idea of a superhero as an adult women, instead of the whole teenage superhero thing people seem to love. For quite a few years, I barely visited a comic shop and when I did, it was more about the action figures than comics. When I started frequenting the shop on a regular basis, I was excited to see on the shelf Ghost #0. I picked it up and remembered just how much I loved this story. The story continued in a 4 issue mini-series Ghost- in the Smoke and Din written by Kelly Sue McConnick and art by Phil Noto. Phil Noto also worked on one of my other favorite series, Angel & Faith, an off-shoot of the ever popular Buffy series. The art was absolutely beautiful and each and every issue, I wanted to buy two so I could frame the covers. After that story, I was super excited to see McConnick would be returning to write the new serial and I wasn't disappointed. It has a noir detective feel to it with demon fighting action. All centered around a girl stuck between two worlds with only some of her memories. The new issue is a great place to start. The summary page brings you right up to speed and you can jump right in without missing a beat.

Credit: Dark Horse

47 Ronin

Writing by Mike Richardson

Art by Stan Sakai

Coloring by Lovern Kindzierski

Editorial Consultant Kazuo Koike

Another amazing mini-series out of Dark Horse in 2013 is the Japanese national legend 47 Ronin. Anyone that is into samurai, Japanese history and legends, a beautiful story of loyalty, honor, and tragedy, accompanied by gorgeous artwork, must check out this book. In February, Dark Horse is coming out with a special hard cover edition that I must add to my library. Most of the issues are still available at Dark Horse through TFAW. You can also pre-order the hard cover edition for $19.99. The hardcover boasts "tons of bonus art and behind-the-scenes extras."

I have two weeks on break before it's back to school. There are so many crafts I want to do before I go back. Since it's January, it is time to start on Christmas presents. Soon, I'll be posting another perler bead tutorial, this time I'll tell you how to make a perler bead tissue box color in whatever design you can imagine.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Vegan Stoner Cookbook: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes to Munch

After a year of some medical mishaps, I was faced with a laundry list of life-style changes that literally frighten me. And there are so many, I didn't know where to start. I decided to start with nutritional changes, such as limiting my salt intake and cutting out red meat. Eating a different variation of the same salad or sandwich after a while just gets old. I was so excited to get a sneak at The Vegan Stoner Cookbook. It boasts 100 vegan recipes so easy a stoner prepare them. Sounds like my kind of cookbook and just what I was looking for in trying to navigate this bacon-less world.

Right away I had to chuckle at the illustrations. More than adorable little stoner vegetables grace each page and introduce each chapter. Each ingredient and tool is illustrated and easy to identify. Most of the recipes call for less than 6 ingredients, making each recipe more than affordable for the budget minded.

The Vegan Stoner Cookbook raves it's recipes are fool proof, so over the course of a month I decided to put that claim to the test. But where to start? There's everything from biscuits and gravy to Aspara-Guy Sushi to Shroom Ceviche. So far I've made 12 of the 100 recipes and nothing was too far out of my reach. I did have to go to the reference section a few times. The reference section is full of tips and directions on things like "How to Roll Sushi." My favorite recipe is the Fruit Tortilla Wraps. It is so simple, but so bloody brilliant and sooo yummy! It's in the dessert section if you want to check it out.

The Vegan Stoner Cookbook comes out September 3. I definitely recommend picking it up. Even if you're not vegan or a stoner, you'll find something to your liking.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

DIY:Crafts with Corks

I absolutely love wine corks. Wine corks provide a sophisticated and unique look over a basic cork board. With such a variety of uses, you can cheaply add some design to a wine theme in a kitchen, replace that old cork board in your office, or even provide organization to your jewelry.

I decided to try to make myself a cork board for my kitchen. I knew I wanted a round or oval frame because I love the look and I can never bring myself to cut a picture to fit into one. But first things first, I need corks. I put out a call on Facebook and the corks started rolling in, it was amazing. I never imagined I would get such a fantastic response. For those that donated their corks to my project, thank you! You are awesome!

 I started by getting the gaudiest, cheapest round frame I could find at a thrift shop. Make sure to get a frame that screws shut or is easily reconstructed. If it was professionally framed, you will need to know a little bit about framing to get it back together and a staple gun. It is much easier to go with a screw back one. I took it apart, took some sand paper to it and got to painting. Since I was going black, I didn't use a primer, but you will want to use it if you are going darker to lighter in your project. I used acrylic craft paint on this one. This will take longer than spray paint, but I had it on hand and my apartment isn't well ventilated. I didn't know any better on this one, but you will also want to paint your back piece during this step as well.
Once the frame is dry, you can seal it. For this piece, I used Mod Podge Matte. The black I used wouldn't have looked as good with a glossy finish. Don't panic if you see white like in the picture. It will dry clear. I know that it seems like you can skip most of these steps and hurry the process along a bit, but don't. Each step has a reason that will ensure long life to your project. If you don't sand, the paint has nothing to stick to and will be unevenly coated. Primer will ensure your color will show true. Two coats or more of paint will ensure proper coverage. Sealer will allow you to clean it without endangering the paint. Take your time and do it right the first time.
Once the sealer is dry, arrange your corks. Don't start gluing until all your corks are placed. To cut a cork, I had success with both an Xacto knife and a paring knife. Of the two, I preferred the paring knife. I felt like it was easier. I had more control and I could go at a faster pace. Once they are placed, use a glue gun to place the corks. It's not going to fit perfect in a round frame, so don't stress, but this is the reason it's important to paint your backing. It was in my kitchen for a day before I had the idea to make it into a cameo. I geek out over cameos and don't have any in my house. I cut the silhouette out of card stock and glued it to a pushpin. I put it in my bedroom. I often change the look of my bedroom and thought I can easily change out the silhouette for something else in the future. It was a really easy project, but it does take a lot of time with drying time and a lot of patience to place the corks. I decided to make them as Christmas presents. For most I switched to quick drying spray sealer. I made a silhouette for each as a sort of gift tag. With each silhouette made out of card stock, they don't have to feel bad about throwing it away and just using it as a cork board. I still have a few to go before they are all done, but I have a good start so far.
For my second project, I made a jewelry organizer. I wanted something I could put my over-sized hoops and extra long earrings that don't fit in my jewelry holder. I remembered seeing someone in a craft forum make a key holder out of champagne corks and thought that would be perfect for the big hoops. On the other half I put wine corks which works perfect for earrings with stems. This was made from a standard 4x6 easel back photo frame with the glass removed. Corks were glued with hot glue. This is a really fast project if your nervous starting out with a big cork board.

For my third project, I got another easel back frame. It was matted for a 5x7 photo. Without the matte, the opening was 6.5x9 inches. It came in black, so no painting required. Instead of hot glue, I used super glue and GOOP. When heated, hot glue will remelt and i wanted this to handle a hot pan sitting on it. When not in use, it doubles as a candle plate on my kitchen table.You will need to remove the easel for it to lay flat. Make sure to remove it before you glue your corks.
There are so many more ideas I have that I want to try out, but for now I need to finish all my Christmas presents. The last thing I did was refashioned an old candle holder that I painted to hold the unusable corks, like the plastic corks and the champagne corks to bring another wine element into the kitchen. I have had two people request coasters, so be on the look out for another cork DIY coming soon!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Only The Thunder Knows/East End Girls

Only the Thunder Knows – East End GirlsOnly the Thunder Knows – East End Girls by Gord Rollo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love the idea of packaging two connected novellas into one package. JournalStone publishing is doing just that by taking an established writer in the genre and pairing them up with an author new to horror. The two novellas are centered around real life events with some twists and turns.

I read the first novella Only The Thunder Knows in record time. I really enjoyed it and was engaged throughout. The twists always kept me on my feet.(If I reviewed this story alone, it would have gotten five stars.) The second story East End Girls, I kept putting down and forcing myself to pick it back up. It took me a bit to get through it. Looking back, it was a really solid story on it's own, but the bar was set to high for me after finishing the first story.

I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but for fans of horror it will make an interesting read.

I received a review copy of this title from LibraryThing

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Dark Discoveries: Issue #23

I keep asking myself how I didn't know Dark Discoveries existed. Now that I do, I know that I need it in my life. Dark Discoveries is a quarterly magazine published by Journal Stone Publishing and focuses on the Sci-Fi/Dark Fantasy/Horror genre.

Issue # 23 is dedicated to Dark Fantasy and guides bibliophiles through the genre including listings of Bram Stoker Award Winners and a recommended reading list. Along with the informational, the pages are packed with interviews, articles and short stories.

Being a Dark Horse fanatic I was excited to see Talking Shop: Dark Horse Comics' Scott Allie on Robert E. Howard, Hellboy, and Abe Sapian listed in the table of contents. I love seeing comic book writers and artists being recognized in the same publication that features the best artists, TV shows, and literary artists of the genre. The article was entertaining and informative. It was written as a Q&A so much of the article was straight from Scott Allie.

Another standout was a noir short story about a PI that promises to protect a damsel that is being threatened by her ex, with a twist. Like Part of the Family was written by Jonathan Mayberry. I definitely need to read more of his stories. I was hooked from the first page.

Dark Discoveries does an amazing job at showcasing the genre. I can't wait to see Dark Discoveries: Issue #24 featuring Forgotten Horror & SciFi TV on sale July 31. Both issues can be purchased at

Thursday, July 4, 2013

How to Not Murder your Grumpy

How Not to Murder Your GrumpyHow Not to Murder Your Grumpy by Carol E. Wyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How Not to Murder Your Grumpy won't tell you to take deep breaths and step away from the gun. It won't suggest marriage counseling or make you take a million personality tests. Instead, it will alphabetically lay out 700 hobbies and activities to distract your grumpy old man while coping with retirement. From aeroplanes, art, and archaeology to yoga and Zumba, it is chock full of ideas to keep your grumpy occupied. Packed with puns, it will make you giggle. At 108 pages, it's a great, quick read for anyone dealing with a man suffering from "Irritable Male Syndrome."

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Fade to Black

Fade to BlackFade to Black by Jeffrey Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an early review copy of Fade to Black by Jeffery Wilson from LibraryThing. At first glance, this isn't a setting I would normally be interested in reading. I'm not an avid war novel reader, but the plot really piqued my interest. By day, Jack is a family man and teaches high school. By night, he is plagued by vivid, life-like dreams smack in the middle of combat in Fallujah, Iraq. Jack may be losing his mind, unsure if his nightmares are real.

This is an amazing book! I was absolutely immersed in the story and couldn't put it down. I ended up reading it in one setting. It's suspenseful, thought provoking, and at times heart breaking. Jeffrey Wilson crafts a reality that jumps off the page and scrambles you head. Amazing writing. I look forward to reading more from Jeffrey Wilson.

It's hard to say to much without giving away major plot details and I don't want to ruin it for you. Fade to Black was released on June 14th, so go grab a copy. It is worth the experience. I'm still reeling!

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