Microblog Mondays: The Wisdom of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring

I recently began a new swap series in the “All Things Book-Related” group on swap-bot. For the series, swappers must send partners a book-related postcard with a quote from a fictional or poetic work that enlightens, inspires, or “shows us the way.”  The quote may be printed on the front of the postcard or written on the back.

This is the most recent card I received–for Literary Wisdom #3:

Literary Wisdom

Literary Wisdom from Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring

The postcard came from Mandi of Lake Elsinore, California.  She writes, “We hear so much bad news these days that we forget there is still love and happiness in the world.”

The Tolkien quote served as a perfect ending to a class discussion on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”  One of the most important take-aways from our discussion was the need for us to remain vigilant in the quest to protect our freedoms and preserve our souls while doing so.  We protect ourselves during perilous times–such as these–by recognizing the struggle is not all there is, by praying/mediating, by moving in love, and by immersing ourselves in the love of family and friends.

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Microblog Mondays: Postcards and Shakespeare

I had other plans for today’s microblog, but I’m thinking about the Shakespeare course I teach every spring and the postcards on my desk are waiting to be shared.

[Click image for a closer look and details]

“As You Like It” is from the Postcards from Penguin collection of Penguin classic covers; I received it for a “Book Lover’s Postcard” swap.  The other two are from the Shakespeare’s Plays collection of postcards featuring images from the Library of Congress.  They will be on their way soon to a couple of Shakespeare-loving friends to celebrate the beginning of the semester.

As part of our conversation about Shakespeare’s world, we will discuss Queen Elizabeth I whose portrait was among the postcards on my desk.

Queen Elizabeth in Queenly Glory

The “Ditchley Portrait” of Queen Elizabeth I by Marcus Geeraerts.

I’m looking forward to hearing what students have to say about portraiture and Queen Elizabeth I, particularly after they study a more “truthful” painting: “A Picture of Misery,” Portrait of Queen Elizabeth.  I have a feeling they won’t be fazed by the “enhancing” of portraits.  They live in an age in which they can modify any image with an iPhone and an app.

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Cup and Chaucer: Mini Pocket Flipbook

One of the most enjoyable snail mail projects I worked on this year was a mini pocket flipbook for a swap in the Cup and Chaucer group on swap-bot.  Cup and Chaucer, as you might have guessed, is a group of swap-bots who love mulling over a great literature with piping hot cup of tea.

I’d never done a flipbook before, but my interest was piqued by the theme–books!  How could I resist?  Besides sticking to the theme, the only other requirement was that we incorporate a pocket.

My “receive from” partner, AnnaM, created a beautiful flipbook–lots of purple and gold, pretty embellishments, and many thoughtful handmade items.  Overall, it was an elegant flipbook, nicely presented.

This is how the flipbook came out of the envelope:

Flipbook Packaging

Flipbook Packaging

Here’s the front cover:

Flipbook Front Cover

Flipbook Front Cover

And the back cover:

Back Cover

“There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as the faint subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.” –Arthur Conan Doyle

And everything in between [click an image for a closer look]:

Here’s a closer look at some of the tuck-ins [click an image for a closer look]:

There was just so much “eye candy.” I remember doing the happy mail dance when I opened the package.

The swap came at a crazy time for me–April.  The cruelest month. Remember?  I didn’t even see an opportunity to work on it until the mail deadline date.  I ended up grabbing a bunch of supplies on my way out the door one morning, working on it, and completing it in record time in my office (between classes, of course).  I posted it on my way home.

I chose a color pallet and crafted without a plan:

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It was early spring and I was happy to see and play with color again.

True to my “English professor” word, I finished the front cover last (I tell my students to write their essay introductions last).

Bookish Flipbook Front Cover

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”  –Charles Williams Eliot

Here’s the back cover and everything in-between [click an image for a closer look]:

My favorite part is Dickens’ Dream by Victorian artist Robert William Buss.  I scavenged it from a mailer from one of the textbook publishers. The curly haired lady was also salvaged from an envelope or the back of a postcard.

The flipbook was 5 x 7 inches, a manageable size.  It was bound with washi tape. I tucked in Jane Austen postcards, Project Life cards, star-shaped Post-it notes, washi tape, and paperclip bookmarks–something else I learned to do this year.

Making the flipbook was an easy and fun activity; I’m looking forward to crafting another one. If you’d like to make your own flipbook and need to see more of the process, here’s the YouTube video I reviewed before making my own:

Doesn’t this look like fun for a rainy day?

Series Two: Children’s Book Illustration Postcards 6-10

As promised, I’m back with more children’s book illustration postcards–swaps 6-10.  The postcards below are from various parts of the world and include some of my favorite characters and/or themes–teddy bears, Classic Pooh, Moomin, and Alice in Wonderland.  I was very pleased to be introduced to Rosalie and Truffle (the pink pig and the brown boar–see public swap #7).  Amazon’s description:

Love at first sight does exist! Rosalie and Truffle fall in love when they meet under an apple tree. But their well-meaning friends and relatives discourage them from meeting again. As time goes by, and Rosalie and Truffle improve their lifestyles with yoga and dancing, they realize that neither material growth nor physical perfection guarantees happiness. At last they return to the apple tree and reunite.

Rosalie and Truffle, Truffle and Rosalie is an endearing story of love and trust, with wonderful illustrations. And the story is narrated from both points of view: flip the book over to read the story from the other perspective. This is a charming gift book, perfect for Valentine’s Day or for any special occasion.

Aside from their story of self-discovery and love, they remind me of strawberry and chocolate ice cream.  Yum!

BLC PC #6: From Swededreams (USA): Happy Birthday, Kirsten. From the American Girls Series. Kirsten and her friends traded scraps of cloth so everyone could make a colorful design on a square of white muslin. The designs they made from the bits of cloth slowly grew in their hands the way wild violence bloomed on the prairie. Hallmark.

BLC PC #6: From Swededreams (USA): Happy Birthday, Kirsten. From the American Girls Series. Kirsten and her friends traded scraps of cloth so everyone could make a colorful design on a square of white muslin. The designs they made from the bits of cloth slowly grew in their hands the way wild violence bloomed on the prairie. Hallmark.

 

Public #6: From Mollypop (USA)--From Pleasant Lands 1936. Illustrators: A. Gladys Peck and Eleanor Osborn Eadie

Public PC #6: From Mollypop (USA)–From Pleasant Lands 1936. Illustrators: A. Gladys Peck and Eleanor Osborn Eadie

BLC PC#7: From Eloise (Mexico)--The Family from One End Street, 2004. Cover illustration by Eve Garnett. Puffin.

BLC PC#7: From Eloise (Mexico)–The Family from One End Street, 2004. Cover illustration by Eve Garnett. Puffin.

 

Public #7: From Am-Sophie (Germany): Rosalie and Truffle by Katja Reider. Illustration by Jutta Bucker

Public PC #7: From Am-Sophie (Germany): Rosalie and Truffle by Katja Reider. Illustration by Jutta Bucker

 

BLC PC #8: From Ladybug (Canada)--The Tiny Seed, 1987, by Eric Carle.

BLC PC #8: From Ladybug (Canada)–The Tiny Seed, 1987, by Eric Carle.

 

Public #8: From Milkiss (Korea)--Moomin Characters

Public PC #8: From Milkiss (Korea)–Moomin Characters

 

BLC PC#9: From Sarah (USA)--Heidi by Johanna Spyri, 1956. Cover illustration by Cecil Leslie. Puffin.

BLC PC#9: From Sarah (USA)–Heidi by Johanna Spyri, 1956. Cover illustration by Cecil Leslie. Puffin.

 

Public #9: From Jennifer (USA). From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Illustration by George Soper. "At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her."

Public PC #9: From Jennifer (USA). From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Illustration by George Soper. “At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her.”

 

BLC PC #10: From AmyD (USA)--Classic Pooh, "HMS Piglet," A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard

BLC PC #10: From AmyD (USA)–Classic Pooh, “HMS Piglet,” A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard

 

Public PC #10: From Widelo123 (USA)--From the cover of Hello, Mallory. Baby-sitters Club #14, 1991.

Public PC #10: From Widelo123 (USA)–From the cover of Hello, Mallory. Baby-sitters Club #14, 1991.

Many of the participants in this “new” series of children’s book illustration swaps also participated when Marjan hosted the swaps.  They are so appreciative of the swaps’ return and that makes hosting them extra pleasurable.  Thanks, Marjan, for laying a strong foundation; thanks swappers, for joining in and spreading postcard happiness!

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with swap #11.

Until then…enjoy these!

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: Part V (Final)

We’ve finally reached the end of 122 weeks of children’s book illustration postcards.  I’ve enjoyed our excursion into world of children’s literature.  It’s particularly been a pleasure going through the cards and sharing them again with my little one–who’s really not so little anymore.  Though he is way beyond “picture books,” he still appreciates the books and illustrations and fondly remembers his early childhood reading.

As I consider the fact that this swap was hosted every week for more than two years, I’m impressed that some of us “stuck it out” and participated in every.single.swap.  That is quite a feat!

We end with the final 24 postcards I received.  In this set, there’s a series of postcards I had never seen before–those from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.  The cards are big (just above 5×7) and colorful with  a snippet of the story featured on the back of the card.  You’ll once again see a few Alice in Wonderland postcards and some from other series, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales.

Although this is the last post of the five-part series, I will begin the new children’s book illustration postcards swap series this weekend and will share the postcards regularly.

If you’ve missed any of the other posts, you can find them here:

Ciao!

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: Part IV

What? You haven’t had your fill of children’s book illustration postcards? No worries. We have more! In the set below you’ll find some of the same illustrators you’ve seen in parts one, two, and three, but you’ll also find some that aren’t featured in the other posts, Helen Oxenbury and  Selma Lagerlof, for example.  You’ll even find two Cornelis Jetses, Winnie-the-Pooh (yay!), and Wizard of Oz postcards.

Click an image for a closer look at postcards received weeks 76-100.  Have a happy day!

[Note: This is post four of five of children’s book illustration (CBI) postcards I received through 122 weeks of CBI postcard swaps on swap-bot].

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: Part III

Happy First Day of Summer!

I’m back with Part III of 122 weeks of children’s book illustration postcards. Here are the postcards from weeks 51-75.  Week 68 never arrived. 😦 I’m sure it’s floating around in mail space and will eventually land in my mailbox.  It happens.

If you missed them, be sure to check out Part I and Part II and be sure to look for Part IV and Part V later in the week.

Enjoy! [Click an image for a closer look]

 

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: Part II

[Note: This is post two of five of children’s book illustration (CBI) postcards I received through 122 weeks of CBI postcard swaps on swap-bot].

If you enjoyed viewing the postcards shared in “Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: Part I,” you’ll have just as much fun with Part II (Weeks 26-50).  You’ll find more Jip and Janneke, Alice in Wonderland, Miffy, and Moomin, but you’ll also find some illustrators that were not featured in Part I.  There’s even a Winnie-the-Pooh illustration! ❤  Click an image for a closer look.

Children’s Book Illustration Postcards: Part I

For more than two years–122 weeks to be exact–I participated in a weekly children’s book illustration (CBI) swap hosted by Marjan, a dedicated swapper from the Netherlands.  Yes–Marjan hosted the swap every week for more than two years! That is quite a commitment, but, as expected,  Marjan eventually ended the swaps.  Her last CBI swap was hosted December 2015 and with her “blessing,” I’ve decided to continue the swaps.  Before I begin the next season of the swaps, I thought I’d share with my blog audience the 125+ cards I received from June 16, 2013- January 4, 2016.

Since I can’t blog each postcard individually, I’m sharing the postcards in five parts in the order the postcards were received. The illustrators are from various parts of the world, including the Netherlands, Finland, Austria, England, and the United States.  Hopefully, you’ll find some favorites from  your childhood.  For a closer look or for a little information on each card, click its image. Enjoy the sweetness!

Giddy for Planner Goodies

Teachers and professors love their students and their jobs, but our returning from winter “break” is rarely easy.  The “vacation” is less of a break and more of an opportunity to “catch up” and plan for the last half of the academic year somehow, along with the holiday preparations and festivities.  I wasn’t looking forward to Week 1. I needed more time. To think. To just be.

Amazingly, I got through the week and ended a lot stronger than I thought I would–ahead of the game for Week 2.

What made returning to work a little brighter?  A wonderful planner package from a friend/colleague, Cy. Just seeing this box stuffed with goodies made me giddy.

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Planner Box Put Together by Cy

I didn’t go through the box carefully right away. I wanted to wait till I could take my time and appreciate the items one by one.  After a much-needed two-hour nap Friday afternoon, I emptied the box and all the goodies.

Interested in a closer look?

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Paper for Planners

Cy had this paper cut for use in her planners. Because I liked it, she shared some (read: a lot) with me.  Some of the paper has now been punched for my 7-ring classic planner and my disc-bound planner.

Sticky Things!

Sticky Things!

One can never have enough sticky notes or washi tape for planning.  I don’t know where most of these came from, but I know the washi tape sample and the washi tape (story tape) roll came from PaperPlusCloth. Cy had the “Dream Big” post-its cut for use in planners. The tiny size works for me!

Christmas!

Christmas!

I’m ready for Christmas 2016 with these goodies! The package was originally intended as a Christmas gift, but the winter break was too short and too wet, so we could never find a time to get together.

Notecards!

“Girlfriends,” by Ty Wilson

These “Girlfriends” notecards were designed by Our Own Image, a company that is no longer doing business. I’m a little sad about that. I like their work and mission to create “products to celebrate life and family events.”  I’ll have to give a closer look at the notecard another time.

Planner Clips, Labels, and Elegant Notes

Planner Clips, Labels, and Elegant Notes

No planner is complete without planner clips, quick note sheets, and labels for quotes and motivational phrases.  The gold glittery planner clip was made by Cy. The yellow and gold planner clips were made by Bumble Bee Mom Designs.

Pouch

Pouch

I love having lots of cute pouches to keep the “little things” together, especially since I do some planning and a lot of postcard and letter writing away from home. It’s nice to have pretty pouches for the supplies I keep with me.

Pink and Purple!

Pink and Purple!

Let’s just say, “love!”

Foxy Foxes

Foxy Foxes

I’ve really been “digging” cute foxes lately, so I really appreciate Cy for including these in the box. They fit perfectly in my planners.

Foxes in My Planner!

Foxes in My Planner!

I forgot to include the mini fox clips in the “fox” photo, so I’m showing them to you with a peek at how I used the other fox items.  The bags make great planner pockets.  The planner charm pictured was also made by Cy. She gave me that for my birthday.  🙂

"Sweet Girl" by Cy

“Sweet Girl” by Cy

Cy has gotten into making washi tape “dolls” for her planner. I covet every one of them so far. She made a glamorous doll all decked in purple for me last semester (I still have to give her hair), but these are copies of another of her dolls that I l-o-v-e. I will be cutting these out and making bookmarks and embellishments with them. The copies do little justice to these little girls made with pen/marker,  washi tape, and torn natural papers.  They are A-dorable!

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“The Complete Artist’s Way”

Last but far from least, Cy included a collection of Julia Cameron’s three Artist’s Way books in one-volume.  She had to stop me from buying The Artist’s Way several times, assuring me she had a copy in her storage she no longer needed.  I wasn’t expecting a brand new book still wrapped in plastic!  I suspect she never made it to her storage, but I’m looking forward to this journey!

I’m already having fun with every item in the box. I’ve punched the papers, list pads, and notes for my Arc and my DayTimer. You see (above) the foxes are having their own kind of fun.  I have too beautiful journals for my Artist’s Way journey.  I’m looking forward to playing more.

Journals!

Journals!

I’ve been a “planner” since the late ’90s, but somehow dropped the [good] habit after Hurricane Katrina.  I picked it back up last year because I was beginning to forget too many important things. Sticky notes and iCal were not working for me, so I’m happy to be reacquainted with organized planning.

I enjoy my planner and taking the time to plan out my weeks, months, and year.  I add stickers and washi tape and other embellishments because it gives me joy to flip through my planner and see all the pretty. I’m a “minimalist” when it comes to decorating my pages; I need as much space as I can to write everything down.

Just FYI (because I know this matters to planner girls)–I’m using my original leather DayTimer given to me [free] as part of a promotion the company was doing in the late 90’s.  The quality is simply way above par.

Thanks, Dr. Cy for the happy package of goodies and for making the first week back a bit brighter!

[Note: Sorry about the quality of the pics. Phone pics in dim lighting don’t always work–especially if you refuse to use the flash].