Category Archives: Children’s Books

Ultimate Dinopedia By National Geographic Kids + The Hagwood Trilogy 🦕📚

Recently, I’ve been reading much more. And I did mean to blog more about my renewed reading habits, but there just hasn’t been any time. I’ll try to remedy that a little with this post. While I’ve been reading all sorts of things (including a LOT of manga) on this post I’m going to concentrate on two things: the book I am reading right now, and the series I just finished.

🦖 Ultimate Dinopedia By National Geographic Kids 🦖

I’ve started reading this beautiful National Geographic Kids “Ultimate Dinopedia” and it is AMAZING:

When I picked it up some months ago, I was impressed at a quick glance –especially by the illustrations. But I did not expect it would be so informative or so respectful of its audience. If you are a dinosaur fan who actually knows little about dinosaurs, you will love this book, even if its intended audience is children.

Scientific books for kids do not usually (in my experience) give so much “we suppose”, or “it is believed” or “we imagine, but can’t actually know”. At least growing up, I saw much more “this is how it was” and now why or how we “knew” it was so. This book, however, tells you of specific paleontologist’s theories, and whether most other paleontologists agree with them or not. Even on the slightest illustrated detail, like a bit of flesh on a dinosaur’s face, it will tell you: “we think it might have had this thing –we have no way to know”. It is a book of suppositions and generally agreed upon ideas about these wonderful creatures.

For all my love of dinosaurs, I do not know much about them. I hope as I read this book I can at least learn to identify basic species as well as the time periods they lived in.

📚 The Hagwood Trilogy 📚

Over the past few months (starting at the time of the ill-fated New England trip that didn’t happen as planned) I’ve been reading The Hagwood Trilogy. It is comprised of Thorn Ogres of Hagwood, Dark Waters Of Hagwood, and War In Hagwood. It is written by Robin Jarvis. Without a doubt, it has been an unforgettable journey, the sort of dark fantasy series that will stick with me for a while, and I do not come across often.

The protagonist is a little werling boy called Gamaliel Tumpin. Werlings are a species that can shapeshift (AKA “wergle”) into animals of approximate size of their own or smaller –think hedgehogs, birds, squirrels, mice. They can also wergle into insects or other things, with potentially grave consequences, which definitely plays into the story.

I was familiar with Robin Jarvis’ writing from The Deptford Mice Trilogy. Much like in the Deptford Mice books, the Hagwood series is a pretty gruesome affair involving tiny cuddly critters, none of whom (and I do mean NONE) can you afford to get too emotionally attached to, because Jarvis has zero hesitation about giving major protagonists (including very likable ones) quite grisly ends, often completely out of nowhere. Once you are familiar with his work, you basically hold your breath through any book of his, praying that your favorite character doesn’t die.

Jarvis also has an uncanny knack for generating villains that not only do you love to hate, but you can actually be afraid of. Every time Rhiannon, The Queen Of Faerie, appears in the Hagwood books, you are very glad that you are safely on the other side of the page, and you half wonder if she can still reach you with some of that horrendous dark magic.

WARNING: I’m gonna get extremely spoilery below, so do not proceed unless you’ve read this whole series or don’t care if it’s spoiled for you.

HEAVY SPOILERS BELOW!

A Perfect Saturday! 💖

What a totally amazing day! We went to the Swap Shop. It brings back a lot of old memories. It was much deader and emptier, but somehow smelled worse than ever. Still, good company will make the dirtiest and most mundane place in the world wonderful, as is always the case. We had a lot of fun. And, I bought three books! I only spent $3.00.

My original goal was to keep Pinocchio in my library, while the other two would be for scrapbooking. However, upon inspection at home, all three books turned out to be so nice and in such lovely condition, that I cannot bear to use them in such a manner. They will all be permanent library additions.

In particular, while flipping through the Little Golden Books Story Land compilation, I came across a blast from my childhood. This was, in fact, the first-ever book in English I ever owned:

As a child, I understood very few words in this story. It’s really odd to see it again and now understand the words. Not all of the illustrations from the story are in this book, but reading it, I see the missing illustrations that are seared into my mind. This book stuck with me, because I could NOT figure out the story from the illustrations alone, and I remembered this frustrated me a lot! 😅

Here are a couple of photos of the other books:

We were done with the Swap Shop fairly early, and from there went garage saling. We didn’t buy anything, but it was fun anyway. Then we went to get coffee, did some work around the house, and went out again for lunch. We had Mod Pizza!

Earlier in the day our friend pointed out this lovely little mushroom to me. I am always in wonder at how quickly they pop up and how perfect they are. Nature is so beautiful. Anyway, I had to take a picture!

After our friend left, Christopher, his mom, and I hung out, I finished the daily warm-up, watched Christopher play video games, and generally amorously harassed him as the entire morning left me feeling a little too hyper.

Before having my dinner, I went on another walk. I was doing quite well with my calories (and not feeling overly hungry or tired!) and I didn’t need to, but I wanted to finally have a banana pudding cup. 🍌 It was worth it and the walk made me feel even better anyways! 🐒

During my walk I spotted another cuban snail shell, it was even more frustrating than usual because it was still brown (as in, not sun-bleached) and had snail remnants! Aaagh. 😫 Most of it had been eaten by ants, but looked fresh. Where ARE these guys??

Our friend promised me he’d get me some of those snails from his yard and I hope he doesn’t forget and gets me a LOT. I’ll gladly put out the other tank again for some cuban snailios.

Also during my walk, I was able to create an Einiosaurus!

Just look at this cutie!

Oh yeah… some stuff came in the mail, such as my last Jurassic World dino (Baby Blue) and my pre-order of Kitaria Fables. Also –I paid yet more debt!

Now I’m off to do my chores. I feel rejuvenated for sure. I feel like I’m improving my art speed, making progress with debt, improving my physical shape and health, and I have fun things to look forward to next week. I just feel good. It’s a good Saturday.

Last Bits Of Birthday Stuff (Part #2) 🎁✨

I’d mentioned yesterday that I was waiting for two last birthday things. 😊 They arrived! One was the Heeler four wheel drive family vehicle. It’s really cute! 🚗 ✨

I haven’t opened any of my Bluey toys yet. Waiting for special occasions.

I really like the detail of the car seats and the accurate location of the steering wheel:

The other thing that came in was one more book for scrapbooking. It’s also very cute. However, it has some minor water damage so I’m having it replaced.

And that’s it for all my birthday stuffs. Now I’m doing some chores and from afternoon until night it’s going to be a serious buckle-down on commissions! 🎨✊

Birthday Tea Time!

My cramps were terrible this morning —the worst they’ve been in maybe 3 years. Tea almost had to be cancelled! But four painkillers and a hot compress later, I managed to get ready to go… no fancy dress this time. 😟 I couldn’t handle it feeling like that. I still felt decently cute, though.

Oh yeah –somehow, I forgot to show off this bag until today! The reason is that I got it during the recent vacation, as an early birthday present from Christopher. By which I mean I saw it at Boxlunch while Christopher was miles away (we spent that day in separate places) and I told him I’d had to have it even if I overdrafted my bank account. So, would he go halfsies with me on it as a birthday present?

In the end, he covered the whole cost, knowing how much this movie means to me on a spiritual level. 😁 But I wasn’t allowed to touch or take photos of it or anything until my actual birthday. And then I forgot because I’d hidden it. Anyway –here it is!

Christopher wore one of Grandpa’s shirts today, so I took this photo to send to Grandma. It’s been just a couple of days since the first anniversary of Grandpa’s passing… The flag was a gift from Grandma too so I included it in the photo:

Mignon was my companion for this outing!

🍰🎀 Time For Tea 🎀🍰

Here’s Mignon with my first tea pick, a peaches and cream tea. It’s a favorite of mine.

Then we had quiché and tomato soup!

Finally the best part came! I didn’t take a photo of the tray this time… It’s the same as usual –lots of delicious finger sandwiches and sweets.

They always put so much effort in the little details!

We took our time and really enjoyed ourselves. It’ll be a while before we get to go again.

After tea, we went to walk around Tate’s Comics. Then Christopher began to look for some other place to go before heading home, but so many old places we frequented had shut down permanently because of Covid… I just sat and played with Mignon while he looked on his phone.

Mignon might have gotten a little restless after a while…

Eventually we went to a retro antique store and to a thrift shop. We didn’t have any intention of shopping, but I found this book for just $1:

If you know these characters (you probably don’t) you know how hard this stuff is to find! Can’t beat it at just one dollar.

It really was a wonderful time. I didn’t have the heart to tell Lia (the owner) that it might be months/over a year before we can go again. 😢With our current situation, I think we will be lucky to be able have such a treat for our next anniversary… but it was such a lovely time, and I feel so lucky that we didn’t have to cancel it.

Last Bits Of Birthday Stuff (Part #1) 🎁✨

My last bit of birthday stuff (mostly Amazon gift card stuff) is arriving today and some arrived yesterday! I really ended up spoiled beyond belief… I will say that, considering that luxuries such as these are gonna go out of the window starting in August, I’m so glad that I have so much stuff to have fun with for a long while.

🐣 Littlespace Stuff 🐣

First is this Bingo night light! I’m going to enjoy looking at it every day on my desk while I work:

Here she is all lit up! You can’t turn the light off –it goes off by itself after a few minutes.

Here are some more vintage unopened trading cards. Can’t wait to open these during Littlespace and then scrapbooking with them!

These things can be really hit or miss though. Sometimes I get a lot of “puzzle piece” type cards…

Next –more stickers!! Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Crayon Shin-Chan this time. 👀

Then there’s another book for scrapbooking art into my journal. I have one more of these coming later today.

🌈 Other Cool Things 🌈

I had a lot of these books on my wish list and was really glad to get at least one. It’s absolutely fantastic! If you’re a writer I highly recommend it.

The way it works is, you look up an emotion, and for each emotion you get a wealth of expressions that you can use to express that particular state of mind. It’s just so cool.

Finally —this wasn’t a birthday present. I preordered this AGES ago… it finally came today. (* ̄∀ ̄) ✨

I really did buy a lot of crap before things went south recently… 😅 and other than Grandma’s check (which I saved) I pretty much spent all birthday money right away, too… I wanna make sure it is clear no donation money went to any of this junk. It was either purchased before or with gift cards/money given to myself with the caveat that it was to be used for birthday treats.

Also. I think you all know this, BUT… my spending sprees often coincide with depression. Especially if it’s my Little side that is hit. 😓 You can often tell I’m depressed even if I’m seemingly super happy by how much s**t I buy in a given period of time, even if I seem super happy in my posts.

With that said, it definitely won’t be possible going forward for a while, so I’ll have to find a different coping mechanism. 👀💦 Thankfully, I have a lot to entertain myself… and the Zoom meeting with other Littles did me tremendous good too!

To be clear, no one has given me a hard time about this at all… but I worry about perception, so I wanted to set that straight.

I think that’s all for this post. I’m working really hard. Things are still fairly stressful at home, but taking time every few days to be Little is doing wonders for my mental health. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

Mother’s Day Weekend In Sebastian 🌈 🧸

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. First of all I want to apologize for the inactivity –I am finally home again, and I am feeling better. Just very tired.

Though commissions are still a tad delayed, I was able to finish the warm-ups, and will be posting them shortly. I also got progress underway on three more pieces. I really appreciate everyone’s patience.

We had a nice time with family. My mom in law has a new fish. It is called a Plecostomus or simply Pleco. It’s the type of fish that suctions onto the glass with its mouth a lot of the time. He’s really cute and I love him. He’s big, too. I got a couple of photos of him just lounging.

One of the kids at my mom in law’s school made these play-doh snails when she told him I liked snails. Didn’t he do an amazing job? I love them!

I brought my new bear, Beanie, on this trip, and cuddled him to sleep…

In the morning, Beanie and I had breakfast together.

My mom in law’s fluffy cat Spaz came to me for cuddles. He’s such a softie!

After breakfast we left for Renningers Flea and Farmers Market. Beanie looked out the window all the way.

At Renningers I bought some books, a handbag, a huge snail magnet and a couple of mousepads –one for me and one for my sis in law. Here’s my haul:

Afterwards we had dinner at Makoto’s and then played cards in the evening. I tried to sneak in drawing whenever I could, so I didn’t play cards all the time, but it was nice spending time with family even when I was working.

Grandma didn’t spend much time with us while we were playing. She fell asleep on the couch. I think she fell asleep praying… it was really cute.

Before bed we played a few rounds of Trivia Murder Party and I won once.

Now I’m going to post some art, finish unpacking and then get more art done. I hope you enjoyed your Mother’s day weekend!

An Outing 🌈🛒

Yesterday I went shopping for groceries and visited a few stores for fun. I went to the Salvation Army, which was as gross as ever, and to Party City. Oh, and to Goodwill. I did find a few goodies.

At Party City I got a cup and some napkins and paper plates. Unfortunately it’s all the new 3D style. The hand-drawn art of the “generation” prior to this one is hard to find now, all they had left is a pack of thank you cards. 😞

In the mail when I got home was a little packet I’d been expecting, with a couple of signs and the thing I actually cared about, a little Fat Controller of my very own.

At Goodwill I found two books. One was a very interesting books about unicorns and their history in different cultures:

The other one was a Rugrats book about Christmas which is kinda weird since Tommy’s family is Jewish and this is told from Tommy’s POV:

The art was cute though:

At the Salvation Army (did I mention this place was gross? matches their politics I guess) I found a giant checkers set, brand new in its wrapping, for $6.99. I’d been wanting one forever, so I got it.

The little Big Bird keychain was from Party City.

Here’s an after-lunch treat I had while playing Café Enchanté. I’m finally on Ignis’ route. The main story took FOREVER!

That’s all for this post!

✨ Lotsa Goodies ✨

Okay I just finished a commission and it’s not too late so I think I can complete this post before bed!

We went to a game store on Saturday. Christopher allowed me to pick one cheap “kiddy” game for our date nights. I already have (and love) Kingdomino so I could not resist Dragomino by the same makers because… BABY DRAGONS. And, this time they had Takenoko, which I’d only seen the expansions for before. So we got that also:

Before visiting the game store, I spent a long time in a thrift shop since there was a social-distancing related wait to go into the game store anyway –and BOY did I score in there! Everything was half off, from already stupidly cheap prices. I spent less than $8.00 in everything.

I got some colorful furry-ish socks for myself, and several baby caps for my bears:

Also, even though I am no longer part of any organized religion, I still have both a soft spot and a great interest in anything religious that is geared towards children. This book was free (nice copy from 1964) so I took it.

It’s not as interesting as most “childhood indoctrination” books, which I now seek, but rather a sweet little collection of stories about Jesus, beautifully illustrated.

For such an old book, it is in beautiful condition.

At the Vero Beach Book Store, I got two “Gummy Bear” clip-ons, three lovely bookmarks (lenticular bookmarks are my favorite) and a book I’ve long wanted to read, Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain:

But here… now here is the best find. This was actually from the thrift shop, but I wanted to leave it for last.

This utter beauty, brand new in sealed bag and still protected with foam, was $7.99, but 50% off that price. It’s small, just right for my dear little bears. I couldn’t believe how utterly beautiful it was for the price, the condition, just. All of it. I was happier about this than anything else I got this weekend.

Already Dijon took possession of it, at least for now. Doesn’t she look adorable sitting on it? 😊💕✨💕✨

Other than these outings, I did get a lot of commission work during our stay and even worked on some gift art for my friend. Overall it was a wonderful weekend. I’m looking forward to working on the current chapter of Meganeea again tomorrow and perhaps even illustrating it during the week.

I will be having Hoppi dropped off tomorrow for my refund. Still awaiting Cabbage Rose (whose name will be Mignon) whom I know I will love, and a cheaper bear that tugged at my heart strings nonetheless. He will be named Barley. I’ve made necklaces for both already.

Now I have to decide which bear I’ll sleep with tonight… maybe Mudpie? 🤔

🌈✨ A Lovely Day ✨ 🌈

Today was such a lovely day! 🧸💕 Sugar Lump has his own little face mask to stay safe. We all wore ours, and used sanitizer constantly, but this is so-called “God’s Country”, and a lot of people just refused to wear them. 🙄 So, the stores that cared, were understandably hard-assed about it: limited people in stores, and masks required despite no mandates in the area. We appreciated this.

We did see a bar that actually prohibited masks. The people outside of it would kinda point and laugh at mask-wearers who passed them. It boggles me mind that people can be so self centered, and care so little for others, but, that’s how it was. 🤦‍♀️

Anyway…

Among other fun places, we went to Vero Beach Book Store. It was a DREAM!! My mom in law says it’s been there since the 60s. There were even scribbles by famous authors on the walls (illustrators of children’s books) even one of Llama Llama! But I didn’t get a picture.

The entire top floor was dedicated to children’s books and toys, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Jelly Cats in one place (interestingly, this helped me determine that while I enjoy looking at them, I just don’t really like Jelly Cats a lot for some reason… I can’t bond with them unless they have a certain look in their eyes, such as my little squirrel, Circo, or my worm, Ramen Noodle. In general little “dot” eyes don’t appeal much to me.)

Anyway, getting to see the store was wonderful, I did buy a few things I’ll talk about tomorrow. Not just there but at other really cool places we visited.

But now it’s time to sleep. I’ve decided I won’t be buying a “sleeping-with” plushie. I’ll try to get over my fear of ruining my Charlie Bears by just sleeping with one of them each night and being gentle. So last night I slept with Sugar Lump and I think he was happy. 💕🌙

I’ve been reading Cubby in Wonderland, which is really boring, and more of a… commercial for Yellowstone Park? But I’m trying to get through it since it’s a just a short little book.

Anyway that’s all I’ve got to share for now. I should have lots more to share later Sunday or on Monday. I hope you are all enjoying your weekend!

Another State Of The Squelf 🗞️🐿️

Greetings! Well, I’ve certainly not been terribly active… Art has been slow, and I’ve barely popped up on chats or comments. I figured it was time for an update.

So here’s what’s kept me occupied and/or the state of things:

🌈 My Sites/Books:

The most important factor in my lack of activity. Wix is not always great, and very expensive, and I really like this WP blog. So I tried to move to WordPress.org, then simply upgrading my WordPress.com (where this blog was started) when the transfer of this blog to WP.org became much more bug ridden than I hoped (and I know… I know… one shouldn’t pay for WP.com, it’s a ripoff. Don’t give me a hard time, I had my reasons, I also had true expert assistance during the process, and the best they could do could not accomplish things as neatly as I wanted.)

Even when I upgraded my WP.com, the things I wanted to do would still have involved probably a full month of difficult manual work transferring my Wix galleries. I just kept running into issues and things didn’t really look like I wanted.

In the end, I downgraded WP.com to just “no ads” (mainly an issue on mobile) and stayed on Wix but that, too, necessitated work.

You see, unless you’re using dynamic pages, databases, etc, Wix has a 100 page limit. I had a lot of pages. Each of my book sections had its own splash page, a page per chapter, a page per character, an About page, a FAQ, a Chapter Index. For both of these, I significantly consolidated pages using anchors, so now, each book has a single page for characters, a single page for all chapters + index, and the about page is the splash page. Additionally, I had to change the font across many pages, as this, too, was giving errors, though only on mobile. All of this took hours and hours of work.

Why was I concerned about the page limit now? I hear you, I do, I haven’t posted a new chapter in a long while. But we knew, from the start, that I would reach a point in my book where there was a large space between chapters that I would need to fill, and try as I might I could not rush it. A lot of writing has been happening in the sidelines, I’m getting very close to when I’ll need to publish again, and doing it on a site that was constantly warning me of how close I am to the 100 page limit was distressing, so anyway, I fixed that.

I’ve also done adjustments to my Trello: the amount of columns has been significantly reduced. Now there is the Welcome column, the Label Guide, Waiting List, one column for ALL commissions in progress, one column for ANY free art, gifts included, one for Trades and Collaborations, and finally, one for personal art.

In addition, I added a “Book List” to this blog (similar to my anime list, only of books I’m reading) and greatly expanded my blog’s FAQ, as well as added anchor navigation to it. A countdown to the next significant event has also been added to the right sidebar (currently, for commission openings.)

I’ve also created a few new banners for my blog. Most of the year, you will see three variations of my older banner, which will show randomly (and, I will probably add more) with Ricky Parky making different faces. However, for fall/autumn there will be a specific banner (currently displayed) and a Halloween one for all of October. There will also be a Christmas banner from Black Friday to New Year’s. I plan to make Easter/Spring and July 4th banners eventually too.

This is mostly for my own amusement since… no one visits my blog as much as I do. Lol.

🌈 Commissions:

With some delays still, they are being fervently worked on. I currently have a complex YCH for Kiba, a 4 page, 3 character comic for Snow, and the commission for Island, in different degrees of progress (all between 60%-80% completion.)

🌈 Other Life Stuff:

Hmm, okay, what else… I’m awaiting two bunnies, a Charlie Bears one, and a Steiff one.

Stock photo of “Cabbage Rose” by Charlie Bears.

The Charlie Bear bunny I’m waiting for, is Cabbage Rose. I LOVE her name, but as usual I’ll pick one of my own. She will be my first jointed Charlie Bear bunny. Her ears are poseable!

I’m not sure if I will keep the Steiff bunny. I wanted a special plushie for sleeping with, that was soft. So it needs to be cute but not so cute that I worry about ruining it.

Being Steiff, it is overpriced, on par with some of my cheaper Charlie Bears, but being soft, non-jointed, and rather average looking. What I really wanted was the 45cm version of him, but it was a too costly for just a few extra inches, so I went with the 35cm one.

Stock photo of Hoppi by Steiff.

It sounds like it will fit the bill of what I am after, but if it is too cheap-looking, back it will go. It’s coming today, so we will see what we see. If it’s exceedingly adorable but too small, then I’ll send him back and consider the bigger one down the road.

(And if you saw me mentioning purchasing a Steiff bear on Discord, I actually canceled that order in favor of Hoppi here.)

I don’t have names for either bunny yet, which is a bit unusual for me. Hoppi is the bunny’s stock name.

I’m also waiting for more bear sweaters, and a new book, “Firstborn” by Tor Seidler. I’m really looking forward it. I’ve been reading lots, recently having finished “Toby Tyler; Or, Ten Weeks With A Circus” by James Otis, a very touching little book, if obviously dated.

Last night was date night, and as a rare treat we went out to eat. It had been a few months since Christopher and I last went out to eat as a date. It was really nice.

We went to Nami Sushi, and I had the Buddah Tofu and a Thai iced tea. We played LOTS of Tetris on the Switch, before and after dinner. It was a lovely evening.

Tomorrow morning we’re off for Sebastian to visit Christopher’s mom. I’m really looking forward to it. Provided my new Steiff bunny is satisfactory, I expect I’ll bring him along. 🐰

I don’t currently have any more news to share. Snail updates will be in their own post. I wish you all the loveliest of weekends!