Thursday, December 12, 2013


Ha ha! It IS sooner! This is Sarah and what I mean is, the time between posts for me is sufficiently shortened! Woo-hoo! I also get two posts in a row! Though if you would have liked one sooner, I'm sorry, we've had a lot going on in the past month, house cleaning, decorations, friends and family coming over and lots of entertaining. We had 32 or so people at our house for Thanksgiving. So, although I've had enough free time for one I have excuses if you are unsatisfied. I've made three pieces of photoshop art in the past week but I will release them one at a time starting with...( pause for dramatic effect)... this one!
Now this was pretty simple to do. It's pretty similar to the Snow Leopard I did two posts back. I guess I like doing night sky background because it's dramatic, beautiful and easy. But, snow, especially at night, is harder, it's like a periwinkley-ish blue with white-blue outlines. I think I got this picture from Wikipedia, well, at least part of it, the tiger. The background came entirely from my own imagination, though I did listen to a lot of music while I did this, which is where I get much of my inspiration.  The original picture is this.
As I compare the two on this post, I realize with some horror, I forgot the whiskers! But it doesn't really take away from the picture so it's okay. I got a fair bit of reception from my family and a long-lost Bamboo brand drawing tablet to help with future drawings. 

On a side note, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, comes out tommorow and I think I'm equal parts excited and scared. Because...Spoiler Alert! I'm afraid about the part where Bilbo takes the Arkenstone and Thorin is furious with him and in the last movie at the end he finally accepted him and this action will shatter any belief Thorin had in him in the first place. Also, the battle. I don't know if it takes part in this movie, but I'd really like Fili, Kili and Thorin not to die as soon as possible because they happen to be my favorite characters.
So! I don't know if this will be the last post of the year, but I'd still like to say, Merry Christmas!

Not particularly long for a post, but if you would like more information on any of it, we'd love comments
.- Sarah

Friday, October 11, 2013


I'M LATE! It's Sarah and I know, but I have been sort of trying! I also have good reasons for being late except for one which unfortunately is the most prominient, I'm lazy. Yes, yes I know it's unbelievable but it's true. But as of now I don't think there are very many people that mind my being late except for Hannah. Hannah has been doing a fair bit of pestering me to do another post, not because she likes them but because I am a lazy slacker and I'm not very creative when it comes to writing at least a page's worth about someting you can see in a picture. And she wants to keep the blog up and running. I finally told her that once I got my drawing back from when I entered it in the fair the I would do a post on it. And I said I would try my best to get it done today. About four weeks ago. I guess I didn't quite do my best. Sorry Hannah. The drawing I eventually entered in the fair was an older drawing of mine of a lady centaur playing a harp that looked sorta like this.

I got it back with a blue first place ribbon (which doesn't mean very much, because everyone else in my age group probably got one too) and a comment that it needs more shading. I was a little annoyed that I got criticisim on my drawing, when most of my siblings just got praise for how well they did. But Mama told me when she took art classes they told her to make the shades from white to jet black so maybe that is what they meant. So I shaded it darker to look like this!
After that I spent many painstaking hours on photoshop to edit it into a colored version and then sorta left it at that for two weeks. I eventually finished it and saved it, and then left that for a couple weeks with an unfinished post saved as a draft getting dusty in the back corner of my priority closet. But I really will try to get more posts done so hopefully we will get some followers. But back to the drawing:
TA-DA! Do you like it? I hope it was worth the work. :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Ultimate Vermin! 2

He swung the door open unceremoniously. The door banged against something behind it before it could open all the way.  The general didn’t seem surprised, just kicked the door as far as it would go and gestured to the room.
“There you are, ma’am.”
Ash peered around the general. The room before them was a casual bustle of people playing cards at a corner table, getting coffee from the small kitchen, telling jokes. It looked more like a recreational room than anything she had expected of the debriefing room.
Directly in front of the door was a plain sofa with three young adults, two appearing to be just out of teen-hood and the third not even that old. The two girls were sitting next to each other, the slender dark-haired one was glued to her iPhone, and the stockier blonde girl chewed on the end of her hot pink braid while reading a popular sci-fi book. The young man, a ginger, was indifferently flipping a coin back and forth across the backs of his fingers.
Ash frowned, then looked skeptically to the general. “Sir,” she sighed, “I know I don’t look like an expert, but you don’t need to hand me off to anyone. I assure you, I can do everything I told you.”
The general raised an eyebrow. “Do I look like I’m doubting you?” he asked, bewildered.
The young man glanced over at them. “Nah, it’s just us.” His legs were casually hooked over the arm of the couch, but he sat up gracefully, managing not to kick the girl next to him in the head. “It’s normal,” he told Ash. “We all look pretty unprofesh. It helps with the whole plain-clothes song and dance. The James Bond stereotype is just for ceremony, excepting His Majesty here,” he said, inclining his head to the general. 
The general gave him a dour look, then turned to Ash. “This is Agent 06, Finnegan Flannery.”
“Fox, for short,” the young man said cockily. “Who’s the newbie?”
“I’m not a newbie,” Ash said before she could stop herself.  Fox heard her.
“Alright, who’s the newcomer?” he asked, with a small smile.
“This is Ashley Doyle,” the general said, considerably more formally than Fox. “For the time being, Agent 83.”
“It’s Ash, for short,” Ash interrupted. The general only gave her a brief disapproving look. 
“Until further notice, Fox, you will be in charge of showing Ms. Doyle the ropes.” He turned back to the door. “Good luck.” Then he was gone.
Fox gave her a wry look.
“Sorry,” she said, uncomfortable, The general may think she was a rookie, but she knew enough to recognize that Fox was one of the agents very high on the ladder of authority and skill, and now he was getting saddled a “newbie” who obviously didn’t know what she was doing.
He winked. “For what? We all started out the same way.” He sat in a nearby computer chair and spun halfway to look at the two girls on the couch and muttered, “Expect maybe the general. We’re pretty sure he was a test-tube baby to begin with.”

So, in a breath or so, I made this picture to illustrate that (^) scene in my mind. I sketched it out on paper, took a picture of it (I still haven't found an error-proof method of transferring my pictures), and colored it in with Photosho using the idea of this tutorial.

This was the sequel I promised. Sarah also said she'd do some of her artwork soon, and the next post by me will be about what I've currently been working on. Here's the teaser:

Can you guess what materials I used to make this picture?

To God be the Glory,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Ultimate Vermin!

Hey e’rybody! It's Hannah, and it’s also high time to introduce a few new people to our little blog! 
I am pleased to present Finnegan, Lalitya and Babe! I would introduce their friend Ashley, but she is not available today, so maybe another time.
Don’t get overexcited, they aren’t real. These four folks (well, three, right now) are figures of my imagination, but they get along pretty well, and have endearing snark, so I might as well pop them out here for y’all to see.

 Okay, left to right: Finnegan Flannery, Lalitya Jobs, and Penelope “Babe” Farrow.  Actually, I won't often refer to them with those names - they prefer the code names Fox, Coon and Possum. See the resemblances? You may if you're from the South like I am.
The reason I said code names instead of nicknames is that these three are actually spies, with abilities as well as appearances that match their titles. I got the idea for this quite suddenly while my dad and my uncle were talking about something that was eating my uncle's barn kittens and leaving just the feet behind. Sorry, I might've warned you that this was not for the faint of heart... or stomach. In any case, they were guessing at what it might be: raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote, possum, bobcat... and got to talking about the different characteristics of the animals. 
For example, a possum, or opossum, if you're picky, is slow and waddling and not the brightest beach ball in the drawer, but they sure as Mordor have a lot of resilience. 
Raccoons are way smoother than possums and a glop of a lot faster. Those are the ones you don't want to let loose before you shoot them (hypothetically speaking, of course). They can climb well, get into small spaces, are very clean, and good at teamwork. Two raccoons can go into a live-trap and both get out - one holds the door while the other get the food, like a very civilized varmint. But their weaknesses are shiny things and vanilla-filled marshmallows. Yes. 
Now foxes... ooh-hoo-hoo, foxes are not rumored to be wily and sly for nothing. We personally had a fox getting at our chickens a couple years ago, and holy frijoles, we don't know how he did it. Somehow that little thing climbed up the side of our chicken coop - there were claw marks to prove it - straight up the smooth, vertical wall, up into the rafters, climbed down the inside of the coop, grabbed a chicken out of the roost, climbed back up the inside and back down the outside with the chicken and escaped into the woods.
It's ridiculous. 
Going back to when I was listening to my dad and uncle's conversation: my uncle was telling us about a YouTube movie he watched about a fox that was getting out of all sorts of traps. The people who were trying to get rid of it had a nighttime motion-detecting camera and several baited live-traps. On camera, the fox went around to each of the traps and got the food out of them without getting caught, going in, getting the food, getting out, and continuing to the next buffet. The fox-afflicted persons in question only ever caught him because he stepped in a snare that was in the center of the circle of live-traps. In other words, it took a trap in a trap to catch him.

My weird little mind began thinking about how cool it would be to have the skills of a fox. What an awesome ninja-esque spy that would make you. Being a writer, my mind began throwing up character and story ideas, and being an artist, I just had to draw these atypically clear pictures of characters in my mind. 

So, the story, quite undeveloped as it is, is focused on Ashley Doyle, better known as Ash. She's a rookie spy, and having just joined the as-yet-unnamed spy corporation, the rookie gets dumped on a senior agent, being Finnegan Flannery, also known as Fox, also known as Finn, also known as Finn Flann, depending on who's talking to him. Usually just Fox. And by association, Ash meets Fox's regular partners, Latitya and Penelope. Lalitya prefers Coon. Formally, Penelope's called Possum, informally, they refer to her by her nickname, Babe. No one has yet figured out how Babe is short for Penelope. 

Okay, so, anyway, this particular picture was not enhanced on Photoshop at all, it's just mechanical and colored pencil. Ta-da!

It started out like this. No color.

This is half-way through the process... There's not much technique to speak of, as far as I know, just the basic "This color goes here, that color goes there, and please let's stay inside the lines!"

And voila! The finished product. If you're wondering what Fox is holding in his left hand, that's a rubber ball. It's part of his arsenal of tools. Don't laugh, he once broke out of jail with a pencil! To be fair, it was a mechanical pencil.

And here you have a bonus picture! Fox, Coon, and Possum in black and white! A precursor to a future post in which you will be rewarded with the lovely color version and a written bit of Ash's introduction to Fox.

And a second teaser of a future post:

Here's me with one of my newest tentative pieces of artwork. Excuse the picture quality, it's an iPhone picture. This picture that is shown is not even the finished product. I am currently (meaning today) working on doing one of these on canvas. And if that works out, I may sell it! See if you can guess what medium I'm working with. 

To God be the Glory,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Linh Cinder

GASP! It's been over a week! I thought I'd gotten over this forget-the-blog-procrastanitus! Well, fear not, I SHALL recover. It is my QUEST! ONWARD, TO DEATH AND GLORY!!! FOR NARNIAAAAAAA!

Oh, hey, it's Hannah, by the way - as per usual. I still have things to put up that have not yet been put up, one of which being the aforementioned other thing besides the last thing, or in other words, the thing I mentioned earlier, being the thing that I have not put up.

Linh Cinder

This was an about-a-week-long project, and also my first experience in wholly painting a piece of artwork on Photoshop, so I understand if it's a bit sketchy. Ha ha, sketchy. A bit not fully worked out.

This is based on a character from Marissa Meyer's Cinder, a futuristic Cinderella story. It's part of an eventually 4 book series, The Lunar Chronicles. In any case, in the beginning words of a Wikipedia summary, "Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing after World War 4, with her step-mother, Adri, and her two step sisters, Pearl and Peony. Cinder owns a booth in the market place, where she works as a mechanic with the family's android, Iko."

Yeah, that was a bit of a spoiler right there. Yup, Cinderella's a cyborg. Getting kinda funky, huh? Well, in this world, cyborgs are looked down upon, like a inferior race, even though they're just normal people who got in an accident and had to have cyborg parts implanted to save their life. Cyborgs don't get the same rights as un-cyborg people, and a lot of people hate them. So at the beginning, like in the typical fairytale, Cinder is treated like she's not a real member of the household. She works all day in the market to bring money to her family, but she's not allowed to keep any of it herself.

I'm not going to go on and on about the book, 'cause I've pretty much come to my point right here. This picture is supposed to be Cinder in the marketplace. I tried to follow the book's description of her as much as possible: mousy-brown hair, unfortunately unfeminine figure, the fault of her cyborg surgery when she was younger, thick mechanic's gloves to cover her metal hand, cargo pants with pockets to hold her tools, grease stains on her shirt and face. 

The original picture did not have gloves, as I accidentally forgot them, so I had to resketch and rephotograph it to add the gloves ('cause those are a pretty important part). And also, to get the human-looking attributes to the face and body instead of the more cartoonish drawings I normally do, I had to base it off of a picture of myself. Yes, I went outside and set up a tripod and took some weird pictures of myself, while Sarah, watering the plants, gave me some strange looks. But all in the name of art.

The digital painting took quite longer, since I'd never done it before, and since, of course, painting is not just a jog in the park. It takes some time to get it looking right. About halfway through the process, I began to have some computer problems. As in, there was not enough room left on the hard drive to save my next draft of the file. The Cinder file, once I was finished, took up 4.27 GB, out of my hard drive's 73.2 GB, most of which was already used up. Fortunately, I have a second hard drive, which is a whopping additional 465 GB, so I moved the files over. Disaster averted.

Okay, I think now would be a good time to say that this is an uncomfortable post for me. Because as it turned out, in the middle of working on this project, Sarah, who was reading through the series again, began to feel uneasy reading it, because in our family we are not supposed to read "love stories". It would take a long time to explain, but my mom and dad don't want us to be developing unrealistic views of what love really is. And, it being a fairytale, there is, as expected, romance. Since this was one of the book series that Trinity had previewed instead of Mama and Papa, we took the book, belatedly, to Mama, and asked her if it was okay that we had been reading it. After looking it over, she said she'd rather we didn't, but that we might be able to read it again in a few years. So. Maybe once the last two books come out, in 2015, we'll be able to read the whole series. So I'm not really recommending this series to you - it's a really well-written series, but since we're not allowed to read it... Anyway.

To God be the Glory,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hatter Madigan

Again, it's Hannah. Fear not, I assure you Sarah shall be posting again! But for the moment, my fan art is piling up on the back order. And so it's a coin flip between the two that I did a whole bunch of stuff - hours of computer time - on. 

This is my best rendition of a legendarily epic fellow named Hatter Madigan. Seriously epic. Like, on the same level as Batman, Halt, and Pinkie Pie. You might not think that the last one's that awesome, but you just don't know Pinkie. 
Anyway, Hatter is a character created by Frank Beddor in the Looking Glass Wars series, which I would recommend to you if you like fantasy or sci-fi or period drama or awesome things or chocolate chip cookies. He was, in fact, so cool that he got his own spin-off graphic novel trilogy. Hatter is loosely based off of Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, except with several big differences - Hatter is a very somber, very sane bodyguard; a skilled fighter known as a Milliner.

I based his appearance rather strongly on another character from the Looking Glass Wars, Homburg Molly

Hatter began as a sketch: 

So I put it into Photoshop and quickly realized I'd need to stretch him out considerably to keep him from looking short and plump.

So I took the original and added several virtual pounds of paint. When I was reading a book on writing by Gail Carson Levine, she stressed the importance of making several copies of my documents (she often had several hundred files at the end of a book, I believe) so that if you change your mind about deleting something, you don't have to recreate it by memory, you can just go back to an older draft. Since then I've done the same with my word documents and my Photoshop documents.

This is what my Hatter M file looks like now that I'm finished. Something I like to do is page through all of the files and see how it got from beginning to finished product. However, these files get so large and numerous that I have to move it to my secondary drive to keep it from overloading my computer's memory, which did nearly happen with one of my last projects. See, I still prefer to use Windows XP instead of the more recent versions Vista, 7, 8, and whatever else have you, so my family bemoans my very sluggish computer (that's one of the reasons I keep it - no one else wants to use a computer that takes ten minutes to start up and five to open a browser, even when it's Google Chrome!)
In any case, I worked on the sketch for several days and it came out like this:

As you can see, not the same as the finished product. For example, he looks like a zombie, his overcoat is missing it's fancy-schmancy decor, he's short with a hint of a potbelly.

Okay, so he's taller and thinner...

...And now with the help of the Liquify tool, I've given him a chiropractic adjustment. I called this de-hipping, just 'cause I made it look like he wasn't being all feminine and sassy. But he still looks positively ghastly in the face, and that's because I tried to follow a "painting a photo-realistic face on Photoshop" tutorial on Pinterest. First of all, this picture's not supposed to be photo-realistic, second of all, the person who made the tutorial was working off of a real picture, not a fuzzy idea in their head, and thirdly, I stink at following tutorials without skipping around impatiently. So I just went back to the original sketch, made the drawing's skin a tad rosier than white, tossed on a handful of brass buttons and heart appliques, and voilà!  

So this wasn't exactly a Photoshop tutorial on how to fill in a sketch. I kept a whole lot hush-hush, mostly because it's way too boring to write down step-by-step. When I do it, I just sort of feel my way around, making faces at my computer screen and erasing stuff and covering it up and finding references on what metal actually looks like and stealing the designs from people's boots and consuming large amounts of salty snacks and getting advice from my siblings and playing around with colors and freaking out because I thought I ruined everything and making teeny-tiny recalibrations and adjustments and basically spending a long time acting like I know what I'm doing until it looks okay. If you really want to know something about Photoshop and how to edit stuff, go ahead and ask, but all I can really say is that it helps a ton to have a mother and older sister who have absorbed the program and it's capabilities so much that they can do all sorts of freaky photo adjustments without going "Oooh, I wonder what this button does!"

Lastly, as far as I can tell, Vance Kovacs was the concept artist who made the Homburg Molly picture, so apologies, sir, for filching designs. I only did it because yours were awesome. 

Is that everything? Good, good...

To God be the Glory,

Friday, August 9, 2013

Creativity Warriors

It's me, Hannah. I have returned! And I have art.

This here was a sort of an off-the-wall idea. I was supposed to be sleeping, actually, when I sketched it, but I didn't expect the idea to stick and was just planning to outline it briefly. At around 11:00 pm. But it turned out well, yes?

The subjects here are based on Trinity and I (the one on the left being Trinity, on the right being me). The hairstyles are ours, as well as the fashion choice - Trinity specifically requested the left outfit. It came up because I was considering Trinity and I taking pictures for our other blog, A Quill In Her Quiver. I was hoping the pictures would reflect our personalities as well as our interests. But what I've really done the most of over the past few months is draw or do other artsy stuff instead of writing, so I've sort of been considering Trinity as the writey one (she's better at it anyway) and me as the artisty one (frankly, I'm the one who's better at that). So that's what I was thinking of when I made this picture.

See, what we're doing here is fending of the Bordum. The best way to do that is with creativity and imagination. Unfortunately, the powers of creativity only work at full strength when you get trapped, and that's where we are, with our backs against the wall - or back to back, that is. So Trinity and I whipped out our fancy vintage pen and palette and paintbrush (sable-bristle paintbrush, 'cause that's the best kind, so I've heard) and blasted the Bordum to bits with our Colorferno and Wordbullets (Trinity says hers look more deadly).
So we are the Creativity Warriors.
And yes, we destroyed the Bordum utterly, burned down their cities, and salted the earth.

In case you're wondering, Trinity's Wordbullets do spell out real sentences, which read:

  • Error. The computer flashed.
  • "Yeah, Mr. Incredible, you're the best." (a paraphrase from The Incredibles)
  • That's the thing about Jim, you never know what he's about to do.
  • I'm a better liar than I should be.
  • The robot's metal treads bumpity-bumped across the rough gravel.
  • I had never worn a crown before.
  • Once upon a time 
  • All was well. (Harry Potter)
  • Lightning crackled overhead.
  • "Fascinating," he said, cocking an eyebrow,
  • A ranger practices until he never gets it wrong. (Ranger's Apprentice)
  • Little Bo Peep had lost her sheep
  • At the stroke of twelve, she'd said. I had just assumed she was being melodramatic. Old ladies were like that sometimes.
  • "Stay away from me!"
  • The princess was the most beautiful in the land.
  • Look, I didn't want to be a demigod. (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief)
  • "I bet you don't even know what you're talking about."
  • "Why won't you trust me?"

And my Colorferno does not spell anything, it just looks cool.

This was just a sketch I photographed and messed with on Photoshop. The drawing itself is largely unedited, although I had to use the color replacement tool with white to take the orange cast off the photo, and I employed the burn tool for the shadows.
The Wordbullets are dozens of layers of text, some slightly warped, and the Colorferno is a bunch of smudged "paint". 

To God be the Glory,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Snow Leopard

Here am I, Sarah! Moi first post! I did this picture solely on Photoshop Elements 7.0. And technically, weeelll, the second picture you see here was entirely my work, but I did happen to take...

...this snow leopard picture from and took a sample of the fur tones from this picture and "painted" over the first picture (on another layer), until it looked  more or less like this.

 I had some difficulty making it look like fur instead of an oddly colored fur less cat. I added the spots on  his head and neck with I think a soft round brush and then used a chalk brush to make his spots look furrier and direction to his "fur".I also had to use a spatter brush on his nose because it used to be just a solid color, I used the spatter brush on other parts of his fur using alternately lighter or darker colors depending on which color patch I was working on, to give him ticked fur. I did " burn" some parts where there was shade to make his fur darker. By then I was pretty satisfied with how it turned out because I could hide background layer and it looked like a complete picture...except for the background which was non-existent. So I gave him a dramatic night sky background and changed the lighting to a more suited night time lighting and came up with this! 


And I'm extremely pleased with the results. The entire process took three days I think, though I didn't spend the whole day on the computer for three days in a row. Maybe, three hours a day. Today's included post writing, profile writing, background creating and signature editing.

Thanks to younger brothers who are constantly encouraging and God for allowing me so much free time.

P.S I changed the eye color because I think that this blue is prettier. :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Short Post With Eyeballs Included

Hey, everypony! I'm not dead!
 But you wouldn't know that, hmm, because I've been gone for over two months! And I said I'd be putting something up soon. Shame on me. For this post, ignore every excuse. I have no good ones. I am going to (I'm not gonna say soon, but eventually) put up the post I was planning on. But today is not that day!

On the other hand, I do have something to put up today!

The ideas for these came from Pinterest (of which I am on frequently). There are a lot of sketches of just eyes. 
I don't know who these belong to, sorry.

And the way I did it was derived from this tutorial:

I used a mirror for reference for the lower four pairs of eyes. That meant me staring strangely at the mirror, then scribbling furiously on my sketchbook, then making the same face, then scribbling furiously, for about a half an hour during storytime while my dad read The Rats of NIMH.
Excuse the eyebrows, mine are profuse enough to need combing. Mama and Trinity despair of them and subject me to monthly pluckings. And mine are the only ones I can use for reference so... oh well.
And that last set of eyelashes and eyebrows look orange because I meant for their host to be a redhead. However, I'm not well acquainted with ginger facial hair (I shall just assume that's a good thing), so it might not have turned out so well.

These were done by being sketched out with a pencil and then edited in Photoshop Elements. I'm still working on different techniques for photographing or scanning my pictures - mainly photographing. I haven't scanned them in so long, cause we used to have a pretty lousy scanner that would ruin my pictures. I've got a pretty light touch when sketching, which had to be trained into me (I used to recklessly chisel my drawings into the paper, but I've gotten better at that), so the scanner, and often the camera, has trouble picking up the lighter lines.
Also, as you can see, the paper tends towards orange-brownness, no matter what I do with the camera, while the actual sketch paper is rather white. Any suggestions?

And I do have a host of others things stacked up in reserve to be put up here, including one I'm working on that I'm currently rather fond of (having a bit of trouble with, but still, rather fond of). In addition, Sarah may very well be putting up her first post soon! Yay!

She and I have been dabbling with painting on Photoshop, not just editing and stuff, but actually painting, in a manner of speaking. There are a lot of not-helpful tutorials on Pinterest that I've been able to chop down to something I can understand and almost use. Then there are slightly more helpful tutorials that I've not really been able to use. So let us see what turns up.

To God be the Glory,

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dental Floss

Good day to ya'll and sundry! I hope you have been very well. I have been very busy. Spent a lot of this afternoon shopping for Mother's Day and a lot of yesterday afternoon at the dentist (there are so many of us in our family that we do all of our appointments on the same day to save time running back and forth between home and town... we were there from 8:20 AM to just after 12:00 PM).
I have not been on for quite some time, due to a big project that I thought would take a lot less time than it has. I've just finished it (I think), and barely in time, because I need it tomorrow. But that will be for later, sometime very soon.
I had to put something or other up here, and didn't know what it would be until last night. Hee hee hee....
Okey-dokey. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a pretty jokey person. (See this board on Pinterest.) I'm not totally over the top with April Fools gags, but I like to mess with people a little bit.
For example, last night (the evening of Dentist Appointment Day), Trinity came up to me. She had one of our new sample containers of dental floss.

Except she had taken a Sharpie marker to the thing, so it looked like this:

She showed it to me, then put it up in my face and said, "MINE." Very clearly and bluntly, cause, doncha know, I won't remember any other way she says it. Then she left to go watch the Avengers with the rest of the family in the living room.
It wasn't long before I was giggling maniacally inside my head.
About five minutes later....

 Trinity comes into the bathroom to a carefully prepared scene.
There's silence for a moment as I rush to follow her into our room. I didn't see it all, but I'm pretty sure her face went:


And she just sort of stared at the whole scene, all like:


Meanwhile, I'm sure I had an expression much like this:

A moment later, Trinity must have looked over at the mirror or something, because I watched her, and her face went:

She looked over at me: 
"Did you do that?"

Then, of course, my sister Emily had to follow up with this:

So, those were the escapades of our dental floss pranks. That's it for today.... I'll be putting something else up pretty soon.

To God be the glory,

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Artemis Fowl: Cast Of Characters

Hands up, who's read Artemis Fowl?

If you haven't heard of it, it's a spectacular series. Hilarious, intelligent, with a ridiculous but lovable cast of characters, my favorite of which are shown below. Juvenile genius, bodyguard, and fairy vigilante included.

*SPOILERS* Spoilers are in the eye of the beholder, but you know, the stuff after this warning might could give something away. So if you don't want any spoilers about the Artemis Fowl seriescontinue at your own risk.

Artemis Fowl: Cast Of Characters

Left to Right: Foaly, Minerva Paradizo, Butler, Mulch Diggums, Juliet Butler, Holly Short, Artemis Fowl, and Julius "Beetroot" Root.

This is just a personal idea of what they'd look like, by the way. I was sort of revolted at the interpretation in the Artemis Fowl graphic novel. Butler's not a neanderthal, and Foaly is supposed to be a centaur, not a horse-man-hybrid-mash-up. Plus, Mulch has 'tombstone teeth', not rabbit teeth.

I also took a bit of artistic license to be able to fit them all together. As you know, if you've read the books, Minerva and Root wouldn't be able to be in the same room together, given the events in The Opal Deception. Said events that wreak havoc on fangirl emotions. And of course, Mulch would have gotten rid of his prison garb as soon as possible once he was on the surface and traded it in for his mining outfit. But he wasn't tall enough for me to show the more notable aspects of that outfit (cough cough), so I settled for a sterotypical prison shirt. Not that the Haven would be likely to use stripes for their prisons anymore.  

Artemis' outfit is based on an Armani suit. Because I pay attention to the little details, if not the big obvious ones. And Foaly's lower body was copied from one of Sarah's centaur drawings, which was copied from another centaur drawing from a library how-to book. But that's just because I'm not very good at drawing animals.

Some of the people in my house argued that Holly wasn't short enough, but I had already "downsized" her once, and once is enough for me. Trinity pointed out that Foaly looked "like someone who would sell insurance to little old ladies". Oh well. One certain person mentioned that I gave Juliet the same haircut I give Trinity whenever I draw her, and also voted for me to erase Minerva entirely (she doesn't like her very much - at all). Ahem, well, excuse me if I actually thought Artemis and Minerva were a good pair.
And no, I didn't add No. 1, or a certain pair of human brothers, or Opal Koboi. Maybe later. I'm sticking to these now.

Please tell me what you think! I'd like to hear what your opinion of the characters are supposed to look like. For those of you who have read the books, this is just my personal idea of what they look like. You have your opinions, I have mine. I try not to enforce popular book character appearances... much. Except for Arya, from the Inheritance Cycle. Have you seen the Eragon movie? "Raven black hair", the book said. "Green eyes", it said. She's an elf, folks! Would pointed ears really break the bank? Red hair, blue eyes... grumble grumble...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Project 2013

'Ello, 'ello, 'ello, it's 'Annah h'again.

It's been spectacular today. So relaxing.
Today is a celebrated day for the children in this family. Why? It's not anyone's birthday or anything. I didn't know until Sarah told me last night.  All she did was ask: "What's tomorrow?"
So I answered "Tuesday" like normal people do.

The normalness did not last long, as she kept on asking: "And what else?"

My very confused and desperate list included -

- The 2nd
- Tuesday the 2nd
- The second day of the month
- The third day of the week
- The first Tuesday of the week (seriously?)
- The day after April 1st
- The day after April Fools'
- The day after the Weasley Twins' birthday
- The day before the last-quarter moon
- A week before next Tuesday

"WHAT IS IT?!?!"
"It's the day of A Thousand Names."
"Did you just make that up."
"I didn't just make it up, I made it up, like, a minute ago. Also, it's a rest day tomorrow."

Now if you don't know what a rest day is, I'll tell you. We're home-schooled, the lot of us, and have a home business and live in the country, so we often have a lot of work to do. Not too much get-up-early-exercise-that-mind-until-late-afternoon-like-public-schoolers stuff, more physical, get-up, get-dressed, clean-the-kitchen, fold-the-laundry, stack-wood, move-plants, make-the-lunch, put-your-brothers-down-for-a-nap-so-we-can-get-stuff-done work. Our schedule isn't REAL tight, but sometimes, like this week, it's pretty full. We had Easter at our house this year, with, what was it... two... two... eight... twelve... five... four... around thirty-three people.
First, when we got up in the morning, at seven, to get all fancied up before we left, went out and had our coffee cake for breakfast, like we do for almost every special event. Then we got to open our Easter baskets (yup, we still do that, even though we've never done the Easter bunny), then we rushed to get ready for church. We had to drop by a friends' house first so they could follow our car (they were visiting our church for Easter), and we still managed to make it to the church almost on time. After church we had to speed home to meet our grandparents and cousins, who had already let themselves in.
That was only the warm-up. THEN we had fun. Fun that includes hauling a round of wood about two feet in diameter six feet in the air with chains, tow straps, and some creative T-stake work, all to make a big round target for us to THROW TOMAHAWKS AT.
No joke. We did the same thing for Thanksgiving. So far no one is dead. Except for the target, which we bedecked with an unclaimed trench coat and a milk-jug full of water for a head. That was fun.

That wasn't even the Easter egg hunt. That's the real challenge. The little kids' hunts are all the same. Not so with the older kids'.

Okay, this is how it works. Since the first time we've started splitting the hunts into older kids and younger kids, our parents and aunts and uncles have made it their mission to destroy us all. Their motto is, "If you still want to hunt eggs, that's fine, but we're not going to make it easy for you."
Even my seventeen-year-old sister is still at it, but the hunt has been getting harder every year. Let me show you what I mean.

Little kids:
The eggs are hidden across the yard, usually in pretty easy places. "Hard" for them means there's an egg above eye level. Then the kids get to go find them. The end.

As for the older kids. Ah ha ha ha. I have to separate this into sections. I'm trying to describe this, and it just sounds unreal. Our family is awesome.

Older Kids, prior to 2010: For awhile the eggs were hidden quite creatively. Once when we were on a church egg hunt, one got stuck in the hollow of a tree. I have no idea what happened to it ultimately. Around 2009, it got a little harder. The older kids' group was split into younger-older kids and older-older kids, and the older-older kids had to give the younger-older kids a head start. Torturous.
 Prior to 2010, there wasn't really anything special done to the egg-hunters, but from around that time to this, the eggs are hidden EVERYWHERE. Under a pile of mulch, on the roof, up in a tree, inside of the front porch light, up the gutters, in the adults' pockets. This is no joke. These are where the eggs are found. If you follow a random adult around without them noticing, they'll just meander around the yard, dropping eggs in places we've already checked.
Older Kids, 2010: Three-Legged-Race: The adults began to get more creative. According to the rules, the kids are randomly put in pairs, and have one of their legs tied to the other person's. Then it's just "Now get the eggs before anyone else does!" That year was quite interesting.
Older Kids, 2011: Marco Polo. There was bad weather that Easter, so for a while we all thought that we couldn't have an Easter egg hunt, or that we would only hunt eggs inside. The second part was true, but the parents stayed true to malicious form. The eggs were hidden in our aunt and uncle's cluttered garage The kids were randomly put in pairs. One person has a blindfold, the other one doesn't. The person who can see can't touch any eggs or touch their partner. The blindfolded person is the only one who can pick up eggs. And no, they weren't making it easy for us. Eggs were hidden from floor to ceiling and inside the bases of foosball tables. Eventually we had to take our blindfolds off to search for the last few eggs that none of us seemed to be able to find.
Older Kids, 2012: Relay Race. By now we knew something evil was coming, we just didn't know what. The adults went outside and spread the eggs around, then brought us outside to tell us the rules. You can only put your bag/basket in one place. You can choose the place, but once you put it down, it stays there. And you can only put one egg in their basket at a time. And there's over a hundred eggs scattered everywhere. So in other words, you have to run back and forth about fifty times trying to get your bag full. Up- and down- hill on tilled clay. Toward the end there was only one important egg left, and it was buried under a mound of dirt. Originally it had been buried somewhere near the surface, but when someone dropped a hint about an egg being buried there, everyone was up to their kidneys in dirt, tossing it this way and that way until the camoflauge-colored egg was completely buried. Eventually my uncle bull-dozed the whole pile with our Kubota, and my older sister (Trinity) got it.
Older kids, 2013: Disco Era. Present day, just as tough. Here's what they did to us. After the typical little kids' hunt, which we helped organize, we all had to wait till it was dark. Meanwhile, the parents put light sticks inside large eggs, sprinkled smaller eggs with lightstick juice, spread the eggs across the yard, placed decoy light sticks, then set us all loose. Then the adults walked around amongst us, shining flashlights in our faces to ruin our night vision.

Oh, and if that is not enough. Years ago the adults had the idea to raise the stakes. Monetarily. As in, they hid eggs full of money. Back in 2012, the "important" egg that my sister got, that was a money egg, which is why we were all so desperate for it. Usually the money eggs are enormous, partly transparent ones, but sometimes they'll put it in normal-sized eggs, just to shake things up more. 

Yes, that our Easter. I forgot to mention that between the tomahawk- and knife-throwing and the Easter egg hunts the majority of the kids went running around in our woods gathering ticks, playing tag, and dangerously reinacting The Hobbit in that Sarah and Darby climbed a tall familiar-looking evergreen tree with my younger sister and I snapping at their ankles. We also informed my bewildered cousin that his new name was Azog.

Oh, yes, I forgot what I was saying so long ago. When I go off on rabbit trails I really go off on rabbit trails. Today being a rest day was so special because the day after Easter, when we were all exhausted from aforementioned strenuous exercises, we had to go into town to do work for most of the day. Because of all that, Mama proclaimed today as a day of rest. No extra work besides the typical obligatory chores, and we could sleep in, which meant I was in bed until 9:30, and also that I have plenty of time to do a post. So that's how the opening sentences come full circle to this point. This point, which is also a good place to post something about my actual art subject for today. Sorry, I just like to talk a lot.

Easter Project 2013

The decoration of an egg. Voila to you all. This is a work of art to be marveled at, for those who dare to take upon the quest of squeezing the yolk of a chicken egg through holes the size of a pinholes and have doubtless wasted breath till they were red in the face, I salute you.
By the way, if you want to get a yolk out of an egg, both ends need a hole. Probably at least one the diameter of a pencil eraser. Then your family will cheer as you expel the yolk from the egg, but no, no one will eat it, not after it's been sitting at room temperature for a whole day. 
This was inspired by an almost-tutorial on Pinterest. (Pinterest takes up so much of life, these days, no?) 
Whoever did the original did it much better than I did, but I imagine they do it as a job. I took a few creative liberties, which were almost necessary, 'cause they don't actually tell you how to do it. That's what I usually do. I don't know when I've ever followed a tutorial exactly - I normally change it up at least a bit to make it my own.
I don't have any pictures of the process itself, since the almost-tutorial is so handy, and probably more effecient and sense-making than mine would be. But if you want to embark on such a endeavor, I can give you a few bits of kind-of-experienced information.

1. Rechargeable-battery-powered dremels take a long time to fully charge.

2. If you are using a dremel, there will be eggdust. Like sawdust, but made of egg shell.

3. The yolk will not obligingly drip out of pinhead-sized holes during the night. Don't bother trying.

4. Probably better not try to suck the egg out. Not from personal experience, but my parents and older sister, both very skeptical, warned that it was not a good idea.

5. It's pretty difficult to sand tacky paint. I don't know if the person who made the original used a different kind of paint, but just-dried fabric paint is close to unsandable. Try sanding Jell-O or something, and you'll get the idea. Not dry stuff won't flake away. It will uncooperatively crumble/squash.
6. Don't leave the egg down low! In a house of toddlers, this should be a given. Eggs are delicate and break. I kept mine inside of a bowl most of the time, except when I painted it with 3D fabric paint. At that point I turned the bowl over, set the egg carefully and firmly in a wad of poster putty so that I would have even access to the outside edge without the egg rolling over and messing up the paint, and shouted "Don't touch it!" at anyone who got too close. It's a miracle mine didn't break, in a house full of children under four feet tall.
Also, the advice that I gave earlier about having to make a hole on both ends. I haven't experimented over much with it, but the hole-on-both-ends thing is tried and true. Best option for now.
Oh, and:

7. Try to check your tools before you start the project. Don't pour your paint and then go looking for a sponge brush, which you may or may not have. I did not have one, and wish I did. I think the white paint job would have turned out more smoothly with a sponge brush instead of a bristle brush. (Those brushes probably have special artisty names. I have no idea what they are. One has a sponge on the end. One has bristles on the end. Why complicate things?)

So I hope this was interesting. Have you noticed I like starting paragraphs with "Oh", "So", "Okay", and "Anyway"? I also like lists. And I try to make dramatic/creative/memorable entrances. Keep that in mind, as I will continue to try to show myself up. Except on the oh-so-okay-anyway thing. Another habit to break, along with procrastination. I'll work on that later.

Any thoughts? Comments? Smart remarks? (That was the spiel from my dad's radio show a few years ago). Go ahead and comment, here or there, in a house, with a mouse, in a box, with a fox...

And Happy Easter, from both of us! Jesus Christ is risen!

Great cheesepuffs, that was a lengthy post.

To God be the glory,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Sort Of Snowman

It's Hannah, again, as it has been for the last every post ever.

So, I missed the last few days with my posts. Do you wonder where Sarah is? Cause this blog is a sister thing. Well, I'm trying to convince her to do something, though she is positive she has nothing to talk about ever, except, "This is a picture. You can see what it looks like. Well, that's it, then."

This is a NEW sort of post! Again. I'm just a trendsetting rebel, aren't I. This is art, but it's nothing I've ever done before, and it's certainly nothing I could fit on a sheet of paper. This was new, but if I do say so myself, I am an adaptable sort of person.

Prepare for pictures.

So, Thursday. I think it was Thursday. No, Friday. Whatever. Two days ago, Sunday. Four days ago Tuesday. So four days ago.

Friday was a snow day. A big snow day. With perfect snow.

Do you know what perfect snow is? I shall tell you. Perfect snow is when the three inches of fluffy - yes, VERY fluffy, lovely snow - can be thrown in the air and sprinkle back down on you like glitter (glitter?), crunches together into hard balls of deadly weaponry, poofs when you kick it, packs down to sled on, sticks together for snowmen, and melts away in a couple days with little to no slush. That is perfect snow. Well, that is perfect snow according to hard factual description. I'm not much of an eloquent snow-describer.

Well, we had perfect snow. All of my siblings who are capable of speech apparently agree, because they all went to go play outside. We made a sled-slide on our stairs, and igloo on our deck, snow angels out in the field, snowmen in the yard, and snow ball fights everywhere.

As for the snowman. Heh, heh, heh.

My precious.

It was supposed to turn out as a normal snowman, I swear. Who does snow sculptures in real life, really? Do you sculpt snow like you do with clay? It's not nearly that flexible and forgiving. So how does one do a snow sculpture?

I'll tell you. If you're me, you use a Pepto-Bismol-pink pocket knife like this one.

It's wonderful. Razor-sharp and totally awesome. Every practical teenage country girl needs a pocket knife. And unlike some people think, it's not just for bad guy intimidation. It's very useful: to cut string, plastic bags, zip-ties... as long as the wielder is responsible, the knife can be put to good use. Like for carving snow sculptures!

I began with the delusion that this was to be a typical snowman.
So I began rolling a ball. Harder than it looks, but easier than it has been in my earlier experience. What you have to do is pack a normal sized snowball. Just put it on the ground and begin packing snow around it. Soon it will get to the rolling size. If you live in a place with lots of dry weeds underneath the snow (as opposed to... a desert?), you will probably get a lot of dirt and weeds stuck in your wonderful ball of snow. You have to either pull these out, or cover them up with more snow. If you're planning to carve a lot, you should probably pull them out, I think. Resurfacing weeds were a big problem for me.

If you want the ground to look perfect and lovely after you roll the snowball over it, good luck. Also, it seems using a sled won't work.

Hmm. Well, anyway, after you roll your snowball for the base: if you're like me and just decide to start snow sculpting because you had the genius idea to cut some snow off the base with your pocketknife and got really excited when it just sliced off easier than bread... ahem, if you have decided to do a sculpture, then you roll your snowball into the middle of a lot of accessible snow. Then start piling it on, and don't forget to pack it in if you don't want it to just fall off.

The thing is, though, if it's cold enough to keep the snow from melting, it's gonna be COLD. But if you keep moving around picking up snow, you might work up a bit of a sweat. But I had to work on this in two different intervals, 'cause my hands were getting all tingling and alternately numb and painful, and Sarah was practically begging me to come inside before I died of hypothermia. I packed the snow first and carved it a little, then finished carving it the second time. I don't have any pictures of the carving process itself, so we'll skip straight to the finished product.


In making this, I was planning to base it on Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia. I was in fact, planning to make her standing up as if gazing at the lampost. But as I walked away to warm up inside for the first time, her back looked like she was sitting on a rock or something, so who am I to mess with semi-perfection? In any case, my nickname for the sculpture is Dear Heart, Aslan's pet name for Lucy Pevensie.

Yeah, it's not great. It's my first snow sculpture, and her face, I know, is too protruding. I didn't have another chance to work on it much more. After two more photo shoots with my parents' phones so they could post some pictures on Facebook (during which I added a nose to the girl's face), we had to go into town for the night. By the time we came back, the poor girl was decapitated, and two days later she looked like this:

Oh well. That's what snow does. And I'm pretty much bored of snow now.

So! What say you? Feedback is... very welcome. I love comments a lot.

Last thing: most of the pictures were courtesy of my sister Trinity, and she actually has a photography blog,

That's it then!

To God be the glory,