art: nerdy gals watercolor ((for Avery's nursery)).

Finally! I've finished the nerdy gals watercolor piece I've been working on for Avery's nursery! Here is the unframed final result:

((In case you couldn't tell or weren't sure, here are the ladies in order, left to right, starting with the top row: Luna Lovegood, Princess Leia, Wonderwoman, Buffy, Amy Pond, and Eowyn.))

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out! The only bummer is that I didn't pay close enough attention to the particulars of the frame I had planned to put it in; the edges of the frame cover up the tops of the top gals' heads and the bottom gals' feet. So, the painting is done but I'll be heading back to the store to look for a new frame!

Here are a couple of snaps of the process, just for fun:

I used to dabble in watercolors when I was younger, but it has been a long time, so I'm still pretty rusty. It's taking me some time to remember some of the techniques, and I didn't try anything too fancy with shading, shadows, negative space, etc. in this piece; I was just going for bright, true colors for the most part. I'm definitely excited to get some more practice and branch out with different styles and techniques in the future! Meanwhile, I think these nerdy gals turned out pretty well, and I'm excited to have them keeping an eye on my little nerdy gal when she arrives. ;)


roller coaster.

A year ago, we were very excitedly getting ready for a mini-vacation to Universal Orlando, where we had big plans to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and to introduce me to riding roller coasters for the first time. I had never ridden a roller coaster before in my life--I'm not even a big fan of ferris wheels. So this was quite a scary prospect for me, and I still wasn't sure whether I'd actually get up the nerve to do it. But it only took one ride on a coaster to win me over, and I haven't looked back. I am now a huge fan of riding roller coasters, and I don't think there's a coaster you can put me in front of that I wouldn't dare to ride.

Photo I took of the Hollywood Ripe Ride Rockit at Universal Orlando. This was a scary one, but super fun!
I loved the experience so much, Mike took me to Kings Island last summer to enjoy the coasters there. It was hot, sunny, and sweaty, and the lines were pretty ridiculously long, but it was worth it. I loved every second of it. We rode as many coasters as we could fit into our day.

There's just something about the rush of twisting and turning and climbing and dropping. The wind in your face; that first scary, fast drop of the coaster that sets the tone for the whole ride. You have no control and you're at the mercy of the ride and of gravity's pull. It's exhilarating and scary-fun and there's no other sensation like it. The adrenaline rush is addictive--you can't get that feeling from many other things in life.

*****          *****          *****          *****          *****          *****          *****          *****

Fast-forward to today, a couple weeks shy of a year from my first roller coaster ride, and...I'm about to embark on a new kind of roller coaster ride. 

((Yeah, yeah, I'm using the cheesy metaphor. I make no apologies. It fits!))

I'm about to have an adrenaline-fueled experience that riding roller coasters can't even compare to--childbirth. And then Mike and I will embark on one of the craziest rides you can undertake in life: parenthood. Our very own little "Banshee" (hehe) will be entering our lives and turning them upside-down. It will be scary and fun at the same time, just like a roller coaster. Am I a little scared? Yes. (Of course!) Am I a lot excited? HECK YES.

It's going to be quite the ride. Once we're on, there's no turning back--the twists and loops, the ups and downs, the fear and pleasure, the projectile vomit (!!), all of it will be a permanent part of our lives. And as scary as that sounds, it also sounds pretty freaking awesome. I guess that mixture is kind of the point!


books: my spring reading list.

To the best of my ability, I really do want to squeeze some quality reading time in during my maternity leave! Of course, I know I can't control how things go and there will be times when I'll be too tied up with baby to get much reading in. But I think if there's anything I can manage to squeeze in, reading time could theoretically be reasonable to shoot for. Between naps and multi-tasking during feedings, I think I'll be all set to at least get a couple of books ticked off my to-read list.

So, here are the books I'm presently very excited to dive into:

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

I think I first ran across this one in Publishers Weekly magazine here at my library, and then saw it pop up again in a review on NPR. This one sounds fascinating, and right up my alley. According to the NPR review it follows along a pretty common plot path for a fantasy novel of its type: evil magicians, evil object, potential for catastrophic effects on the world, heroes fighting against this potential disaster. But. The dense, rich world-building and setup grab you and hook you and make it all worthwhile, apparently. And, being the devotee that I am to stories set against a richly textured world that nearly upstages the story itself (*cough, Harry Potter, cough*), this sounds like one I could sink my teeth into. Throw in alt-London and parallel universes, as you also get with this one, and you have a read I'm instantly intrigued by. 

The Martian by Andy Weir

For once, I really do intend to try to read the next great sci-fi thriller (or speculative fiction, really, I hear) before its movie comes out! I've heard great things about this one from a lot of people, and I'm late to jump on the bandwagon but I'm still intending to jump on. I don't read much serious sci-fi, even though I'm a big nerd and a sci-fi fan, so I'm interested to see how I like this one.

The Guts by Roddy Doyle

I love, love, LOVE Roddy Doyle's Barrytown trilogy about a family in Dublin. The humor, the profanity, the zaniness--love it. So you can bet I was excited when I found out Doyle recently wrote a follow-up novel about Jimmy, the central character of the first book in the trilogy--The Commitments (also a great movie, by the way). Jimmy's still up to his old shenanigans, hustling in the Dublin music scene, but now he's older, has a wife and four kids, and is dealing with a cancer diagnosis. He reunites with old friends from his band, the Commitments, and this novel sounds like it will be another doozy of a lively, comical, snappy story.

Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler

I loved Parks & Rec, and grew to love Amy Poehler in it. Everyone says her book is amazing. And I'm sure the humor and personal narrative that includes her parenting experiences will all be quite refreshing and easy to dig into while I'm running on low sleep and infant-wrangling. So this one sounds like a great one for my maternity leave!

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

I've had this one on my bookshelf for several years, now, and have never gotten to it. Since Terry Pratchett recently died, I was reminded that I still hadn't made my way around to this one yet. A comedy-satire about religion, which sounds to be sort of in the vein with the movie I dearly love, Dogma? Count me in. Right up my alley.

I know I won't get to all of these bad boys during my leave, but I hope to knock out at least a couple of them!

What books are on YOUR spring to-read list??


library crafts: spring 2015 crafts.

I've been busy at the library lately! I've put together some pretty fun kids' craft programs lately, if I do say so myself. Here's a peek:

Minions!! Everyone seems to love these goofy guys, so I figured the time was ripe for a Minions craft program. The kiddos had a blast making their own minions out of oatmeal cans, TP tubes, and craft sticks.

Star Wars is always a patron favorite. I've hosted many a Star Wars Craft Club program. For this one, we made clothespin Star Wars characters (which could be used as memo holders on your desk or could easily become fridge magnets) and no-mess Hoth / wampa "snow globes." So cute!

Soon I will be hosting an Adventure Time Party for the local kids who are stuck at home during spring break! I am hoping to get a decent turnout, because a coworker and I have some seriously fun stuff planned. Crafts, including the pictured TP tube Finn and Lumpy Space Princess confetti globe...a name-that-princess trivia game hosted by my coworker Elyssa...and even a real live Ice King and Fiona (a dad and his daughter in cosplay) will be here to pose for photos and sign autographs! Should be a blast!!

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art: owls ((practicing my drawing + watercolor skills)).

So, how about some actual art?!?

Obviously, with life as crazy as it is right now in preparation for the baby's arrival, art is on the back burner currently. But I recently had a chance to squeeze in these little cuties, to practice my ink drawing and watercolor painting.

The design for these little cuties wasn't totally mine; I adapted them from the book Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists by Jenny Doh. 

Drawing my cute little owl friends in ink first.
Finished owls in b&w, ready for color.
Finished: painted and ready to go!

Nothing fancy or exciting, I know! Just a bit of practice work. I was reminded that getting back into watercolors is definitely going to take some practice. I'd forgotten quite a bit from my younger, artsier days about mixing, shading, and other techniques with watercolors. But these still look bright and cute, so I'm pretty pleased with them. I look forward to getting more practice in!


5 ways waiting for baby is like meeting someone from a dating site.

I'm not sure how this random comparison popped into my head, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense: waiting around to have your baby ((especially in the last few weeks)) is a lot like anticipating meeting a guy from an online dating site. And I can speak from experience--that is exactly how Mike and I met! So, thanks to online dating, this little baby is making her way into the world, and mama gets to go through all of this twice...

1.  You hope the awaited and anticipated person-in-question doesn't turn out to look like / be a wrinkly old dude.

(Baby: look like. Date: BE. I was a little worried before meeting Mike that he'd actually be a creepy old guy who had been fooling me, using his grandson's photos on his dating profile...)

2.  You keep running that first meeting through your head, wondering how painful it's going to be.

(Baby: literally painful. Date: painfully awkward.)

3.  You hope nothing disastrous happens, resulting in your untimely demise...or at the very least, your decision to never, ever, ever do this again!

(No explanation needed!)

4.  You've brought backup with you to watch your back and make sure you survive intact.

(Baby: husband/partner/doula/mom/etc. Date: friend hiding in nearby restaurant booth, peeking around the corner, ready to call and bail you out with an "emergency" at any sign of extreme discomfort.)

5. You can hardly contain your excitement to meet someone you've felt like you've known for quite a while, but have never actually met in-person before. 

(And I'm a lucky gal, because both the date scenario and the baby scenario will end in falling in love for me. )


Coming Soon: Avery Amelia!

So, I may have mentioned this, but...a big chunk of my time, priorities, brain, and existence in general is currently taken up by the fact that Mike's & my first child will be arriving soon. Her name will be Avery Amelia, and she is a much-awaited addition to our family (who decided to take her own sweet time getting here).

As of today, I am 36 weeks pregnant, so little Miss Avy will be arriving very soon! It feels crazy-surreal to think that any time between now and early April, this abstract idea is going to become a reality and our baby will be here with us. I mean, between the heartburn, aches and pains, frequent kicks, and awkward growing belly, it's not that abstract. But being pregnant and having an actual child physically present are two very different things. That said, I think Mike and I are very, very ready for her arrival. Not really ready as in prepared for what's to come--we've done all we can in that regard, but I'm sure one can never be truly prepared--but READY. Ready for the waiting to be over and for the new adventure to begin.

I have to say, I am so very, very glad that spring has finally arrived and has for the most part driven away the nasty, awful cold right in time for Avery's arrival. This last little bit of the pregnancy--the part where Mike and I try to soak up our last bit of time together as just the two of us, all while knowing she could decide it's time at literally any moment--it feels very strange. It's a lot of hurry-up-and-wait; rushing to get the hospital bag packed and to take care of last-minute things, waiting around for her arrival while living life mostly in normal gear. I know this is the calm before the storm, and life will turn upside-down once she arrives. But I really can't wait to add this already-energetic (seriously, she is turning in-utero somersaults right now) little gal to our team!


well, hello!

Hi, there! I've started a new blog! My name is Anna, and this is my little slice of the interwebz where I plan to share glimpses of my art, snippets of my writing, peeks at my ideas, and bits + pieces of my life.

Previously, I could be found at The Library Faerie, a blog that began as a compliment to the Etsy shop I used to sell my hand-crafted vintage button jewelry from. But over time I drifted away from button jewelry as a business--I enjoy it more when it's a hobby. I'm still a creative, nerdy bookworm, but life evolved and what I wanted out of a blog evolved right along with it!

So, here I am. In a few short weeks I will become a mom, and while this blog won't solely be a parenting blog, you can expect to see some of my experiences as a new mom pop up here. I also plan to post about books, art, various forms of geekery, my thoughts on various topics, and my life in general. This space will also serve as a portfolio of sorts as I figure out the direction I'm going with this art & writing thing. So, I guess you can expect to see a little bit of everything!

Glad you're here and hope you stick around!