"I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again." ― Ana├»s Nin

Scribble Picnic: Jars

June 21, 2017
'waiting' (click on the image for a larger view)
closeups' (click on the image for a larger view)
This week's Scribble Picnic is jars. As you can see this piece is not finished and I also don't really have a title as 'waiting' is not quite what I like. Visit for more Scribble Picnic over here.

Mystery Blogger Award

June 19, 2017
Tamara at Part-time Working Hockey Mom nominated me for the Mystery Blogger Award. According to Okoto Enigma the creator of the award, The Mystery Blogger Award "is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts" which could mean I'm an amazing blogger or not but I'll accept it anyway. Thank you Tamara. Go here to enjoy Tamara's humorous and honest take on being a hockey mom.

The rules from creator Okoto Enigma (check out her blog here) - as the text is protected, I can't copy the text which pretty much defeats rule #2 - am I expected to type it out? not me, so here's a screen capture:
Mystery Blogger Award rules
"I am selfish, private and easily bored. Will this be a problem?" — Neil Gaiman, A Study in Emerald 
I'm suppose to tell you 3 things about me:
(1) I'm slim and tall. No, that's not true. I'm mid-slim and mid-tall.

(2) My favorite color is mint or rather mint blue. It used to be just blue but for some odd reason, I just began to like mint blue.

(3) I work as a graphic designer which pretty much means I do what people tell me even if I have to make something brown when it looks better in every other color. Okay, it's not always that way. I have some control, sort of.

Top Ten Thursday: keep calm & pretend you're on vacation

June 15, 2017
keep calm & pretend you're on vacation
keep calm & pretend you're on vacation
This week's Top Ten Thursday is how to keep calm/cool this summer, so here's my list.

01/ get an air conditioner — I don't like them as people usually turn it down so low, it's like winter but sometimes it really is the best option against the heat

02/ stay indoors — preferably with the curtains closed or if possible in an air-conditioned room

03/ drink a lot of water or liquid — which keeps you sweating but I think that's a good thing

04/ no hot food — well, not necessarily no hot food because I like my food cooked but it certainly helps a bit

05/ go somewhere cool — or pretend to if you can't get away

06/ read books — preferably those set in winter or cold climates

07/ marathon tv shows — I like watching old tv shows, it keeps one's mind on anything but the heat

08/ nap like you're on vacation — summer + napping = perfect day

09/ do less active things — I know people should be moving and exercising and all but during the hot weather, who has the energy?

10/ just be lazy — so maybe #8 & 9 is the same as this but what is summer for but to be lazy?

What's your tip for keeping cool in the summer?

For more Top Ten Thursday, check out Tamara's blog.

Scribble Picnic: Bird

June 14, 2017
'fairy bird healer'
closeup
closeup 2
This week's Scribble Picnic is bird. This piece is not quite finish as I think I need to work more on the overall coloring. As I said in the previous post, this piece and the other one here might be part of a alphabet series. For more Scribble Picnic, go here.

Some blogging confessions

June 11, 2017
'coffee, tea or whine'
I used to do Sunday Confessions which is basically confessing thoughts on whatever is on your mind so today, I thought I share some blogging confessions:

01/ On occasions, I worry that I'm losing readers (which I probably am because I keep changing urls) and so I try to write more posts but I usually ended up not using them because I think they aren't good or I simply didn't want to post them. I guess I still crave approval from people even though I've blogged so long. It's sort of a back and forth thing - sometimes I want people to read my blog and sometimes I just don't care if no one visits. But to have someone say how much they like your work or words or even a hint that they enjoy visiting your blog, is every blogger's hope, right?

02/ I do a lot of thinking (& sometimes panicking) before posting something because there's always a little fear when it comes to hitting that publish button, even if I can revert the post to draft, at least one person read it or so I imagine & I couldn't really take back what I said.

03/ I edit my posts about a hundred times before posting and still, I make corrections after it's posted, I know other people do it too but for me, it's one of those terrible habits that I'm sure I won't ever break.

04/ I recycle photos/artworks & I'm not sorry because I like my photos/artworks and I don't mind showing them more than once though people still forget even when I show a piece many times before plus I often have several versions of a photo/artwork (like the artwork above) and it's a shame not to use them.

05/ I don't actually watch video blog posts because frankly, I don't like to watch bloggers talk instead of posting text though if you posted a video about your art process or something funny, I would watch it.

06/ I don't read blogs with white/light color text on dark color background & not because the content is not interesting enough but mostly my eyes just refuse to like reading blogs formatted that way. And if I want to read such blog, I would sometimes highlight the text which can sometimes result in reverse colors and easier to read.

07/ It's important that my blog doesn't look like a mess because I think my blog should reflect me or the side of me that I want to present - clean, clear, uncluttered, lots of spaces & free of flowery decorations. I guess it's the graphic designer in me but I really do not like clutter in a blog. Though I sometimes fancy having a brightly, sparkling blog with beautiful/cute/funny images that links to nowhere.

How about you? Anything to confess about your blogging habits?

Top Ten Thursday: Favorite Place

June 8, 2017
This week's Top Ten Thursday is ten reasons that make our favourite place on earth so special. I don't actually have any particular favorite place so I'm going with New York.

Reasons New York is special according to me:

01/ the Brooklyn Bridge — it's a good experience even if you only walk half of the Brooklyn Bridge, don't quite know what it is but it just seems like you haven't really been to NY until you walk the bridge

02/ sky view — okay, I'm sure you can see the sky everywhere but it's different in different places

03/ the unexpected — there's always something going on in the streets. once in a while, you might catch someone wearing a panda costume or doing a backflip or playing music

04/ the subway — without it, I would pretty much be struck at home or walk everywhere, some people like taxis but I like the subway, not even sure how to hail a taxi

05/ the parks — there are some beautiful parks, my favorite is the Battery Park/Robert Wagner Jr. Park which is probably as long as Central Park but at least, you won't get too lost as it is one long straight line with a few curves

06/ Strand book store — the main store is at 12th Street and Broadway, what else is there to say except books!

07 — 10/ Bicycles —  I'm too lazy to think of more so #7 through #10 are bicycles around New York city - aren't they gorgeous? I think I would like the blue/mint version (photo 1) if I actually know how to ride a bicycle and even not, I would take it around the city and photograph it

What's special about your favorite place?

Visit more Top Ten Thursdays at Tamara's place over here.

Fairy Mail

June 7, 2017
'fairy mail'
This week's Scribble Picnic is mail or letters. This piece is not quite finished. I'm thinking of doing a series of alphabet and fairies. So this might be M for mail. (Click on the image for a larger view.)

'm is for mail'


closeup

Hello, is this me?

June 6, 2017
hello...
I just updated my hello/introduction page with this new art which I totally adore. Is it okay to adore your own work? Working on this piece made me think about self image and the web. As a blogger and a web user, I can use any image to represent me on the web. So I usually end up using a drawing I've done.

I used this piece for my hello/introduction page because there are many things that are true here:
01 - I do wear eyeglasses and they are black rimmed but I don't wear them all the time
02 - my hair is currently at this length but it's not pink but I do sort of want it to be like this
03 - my skin is sort of this hue but it's not smooth or clear
04 - my eyebrows are that thick but not this neat
05 - my eyes are brown but just a bit darker shade and smaller
06 - my nose might look like this but perhaps not as free of spots
07 - my fingernails are short but they're never painted in any bright colors
08 - I have pierced ears but not seven holes nor do I wear earrings often
09 - I hardly wear such bright color shirts but I owned a few of them
10 - I do like chocolate milk & books

So do I consider this art me? Yes and no. As much as I would like to say this is how I look, this isn't quite true. This is more like a representation of me, perhaps an image of what I like to present as myself. Art is really the only way I'm comfortable showing my face, well, a face that might appear to be me even if it doesn't look like me.

How about you? How do you represent yourself visually on the web: with a photo of your headshot, a drawing, an image of a flower, a picture of your dog or just any old image?

Changed but still the same

June 4, 2017
girl at desk with cup of tea
You may have noticed that when you go to my blog here: http://lastraingirl.blogspot.com/, it redirects here to this new address: https://rainswept7.blogspot.com. Same blog, new url. The reason for the change is to match the name with the url though not quite because there is a 7 there as someone else had claimed the name 'rainswept. I'm not quite sure this redirecting would works on every browser as I only tested on Firefox and Safari, so far, it works. Plus, I always leave a notice to the new place in the previous blog so hopefully my readers can find me.

The reason for the change is to match the name with the url though not quite because there is a 7 there as someone else had claimed the name 'rainswept.' And the second reason is because I wanted to. Perhaps those are not good excuses to change but no matter. It's my blog, if I want to change, it's my business though it is sort of other people's business if I want them to continue to follow me. I know I should just get a url and stick to it but I don't know. I just can't seem to stay in one place. I don't know why that is. But sometimes, change is good right?

How about you? Do you plan on moving to a new blog address or do you prefer staying in the same place since you started blogging?

Top Ten Thursday : Photo Day

June 1, 2017
This week's Top Ten Thursday is random photos of your day or any theme you choose.

Here are photos I took in Manhattan on a day off:
inside the underground subway
01/ inside the underground subway — I actually take the subway 3 or 4 times a day if I don't want to walk, it's just a great way to travel around the city, this is the Canal St. stop passageway

artwork I saw while walking by
02/ artwork I saw while walking by — I think it's a Vincent Van Gogh painting but the color is just too blue though

ordinary morning
03/ ordinary morning with smoke from an underground pipe — totally normal though I still wonder about the smoke so I mostly avoid walking in those area

Atlas statue outside 30 Rockefeller Center
04/ Atlas statue outside 30 Rockefeller Center, fifth avenue entrance —  I actually come out of this entrance often when I want to get to fifth avenue, the subway exit/entrance is below Rockefeller Center

fearless girl / the wall street bull
05/ fearless girl at Broadway & Morris Street — this is one of most popular photo space, totally crowded during all hours, I shot the girl at 9 am and I sort of stood there until people move away and barely captured this shot before I gave up because tourist keeps standing next to it to take a photo (the bull photo is taken a few years ago)

And here are things seen but not photographed on that same day, either because I missed my chance because the subject moved too quickly or because I decided not to photograph them because I'm a dummy.

05B/ a bus that said 'Procrastination is not a bad thing' — no idea what the ad is for as the bus moved too fast for my eyes but I totally agreed with it

05C/ a man asking if anyone needs a good husband because he's new in town & all — he appeared to be a bit worn and tired and pulling a cart full of stuff behind him

05D/ an old lady with beautiful pink here on the street — I wanted to stop her and ask to take her photograph but I guess my shy self decided to show spunk and refused to allow me to do just that

05E/ a young lady with bright red short hair on the train — her hair was gorgeous! & yes, I seem to have a habit of looking at people's pretty hair

05F/ an Elvis Presley impersonator dressed in black and red — he didn't look like Elvis but the outfit was interesting

05G / a poet for hire with his typewriter in union square — actually there were a lot of weird characters in that park, chest players, all types of acts and also that day is market day in that area so lots of vegetables, plants, flowers, cheese...

And here's some sky shots from a different day because I didn't take enough photos:
walking toward the Brooklyn Bridge
06/ walking toward the Brooklyn Bridge — I used to walk the Brooklyn Bridge a lot but now maybe every other year

helicopters in the clouds
07/ helicopters in the clouds — those tiny dots at right are helicopters

view from the Brooklyn Bridge
08/ view from the Brooklyn Bridge — do you see a man with white eyebrows in the clouds? guess it's just me

the Brooklyn Bridge
09/ the Brooklyn Bridge — the path toward the the Brooklyn Bridge started out as smooth pavement but then it changes to wooden planks which I sometimes find it a bit weak and even scary to walk upon but maybe it's because I'm high up because sometimes being that high does things to my mind. does anyone else feels the wooden planks are rather too weak to walk on?

looking up at the sky of trees in Bryant Park
10/ looking up at the sky of trees in Bryant Park — Bryant Park is a great place to look up at bare trees and also have your lunch there if you can find a spot because it's crowded during the lunch hours

Seen anything interesting today?

For more Top Ten Thursday, head toward Tamara's blog.

The Beast's Library

May 31, 2017
'the beast's library'
This week's Scribble Picnic is books so naturally I created a library. This library was first drawn for a particular piece that wasn't used and so I turned it into a library the Beast (as in Beauty and the Beast), would be proud to have or perhaps my own wish for a particular pretty mini library. Can you guess 4 of the book titles I snuck in there? Click on the images for a larger view.

closeup 1
closeup 2
closeup 3
close up 4

Mini Book Reviews

May 27, 2017
mini reviews
Here are some books I've read lately and as always, I only talk about books I recommend reading.



01/ Hunted by Meagan Spooner
01/ Hunted by Meagan Spooner
''Hunted' is a bit one-sided with most of the story centering on Yeva though we do get glances of the Beast's thoughts. Yeva sounds like a person who makes reasonable choices when it's necessarily but she seems more certain when she is hunting, while everything else in her life, she's a bit indecisive. The Beast, well, I really don't know much about him except that on occasions, being a beast makes him behave like an angry animal who doesn't quite know what he is about. At first, I sort of fear these two don't quite belong together but toward the end, the book changed my mind.

The ending is a bit quick but there were moments of being dragged out just before the final scene. Once Yeva made the decision to return to the Beast, she still lingered about for reasons I can't even understand. Is the reason so that we can have a dramatic end? Because the end isn't dramatic at all. It came quick and rather brief on how it all happened. Overall, 'Hunted' is a good retelling of 'Beauty and the Beast' and it would have been great if we have gotten a longer, detailed explantation about the ending and perhaps more of the Beast's backstory because quite frankly, I thought there is simply not much about him, not even his name which is hinted at but no definite idea whether it is true or not.

Favorite Quote: "The merchant's youngest daughter was renamed Yeva, after the temptress in the garden. She would preferred Beauty, for at least there is beauty in all things, not only temptation, but Yeva she was to be."




02/ Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
02/ Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
'Furthermore' is a topsy-turvy adventure book like 'Alice in wonderland' but with lots more twists and turns and very strange places and ideas and all written in a wonderful style. In a way 'Furthermore' is almost like a movie because there are so many imagery that if you can imagine it, it really is a colorful kaleidoscope of events. I love Alice's can-do attitude and her somewhat good opinion of herself. She is just perfect as a heroine with imperfect flaws like the rest of us but unlike the rest of us, we are not in a magical land. She has a magical ability relating to color which I thought is perfect for her. I won't say what that is but the book cover sure tells a lot.

I have to point out the narrator who we are not given any info about but I like his/her narration. If I can compare it to something it would to an announcer of a television show and someone who has a bit too much personality and likes to add their input on the story but somehow it not deterred the story. I thought it is rather fun to have such a narrator telling the story instead of Alice.

Favorite quote: "Alice was an odd girl, even for Ferenwood, where the sun occasionally rained and the colors were brighter than usual and magic was as common as a frowning parent. Her oddness was evident even in the simplest things she did, though most especially in her inability to walk home in a straight line. She stopped too many times, wandering off the main path, catching deep breathes and holding them, too selfish to let them go."




03/ Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett with Illustrations by Helen Stone
03/ Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett with Illustrations by Helen Stone
The writing feels a little dated like reading those old Nancy Drew mysteries but it was first published in 1953. 'Little Witch' is a pleasant and quick read at 128 pages. Minikin or rather Minx is quite ordinary in that she wants to go to school and learn though her witch mother would not allow such thing. I like Minx's sometimes spunkiness and her determination to go to school is something to be admired. And also, there are some magic involved so that adds to the fun.

Favorite quote: "Pray tell what did you do with your time last night?" (from Minx's mother)

"I slept," said Minx.

"Slept! Well, if you're going to be a proper witch you'll have to learn to do your sleeping in the daytime like other respectable witches. You're just not cut out to be a witch, I guess! But I'll see to it that you mend your ways or I'll change you into a flowerpot, or maybe something much less pretty!"




Read any good books lately? Tell me about it.

Top ten thursday: foreign languages

May 25, 2017
 image from donnapie.tumblr.com/ from the show 'Rooftop Prince'
This week's Top Ten Thursday is 'words or phrases we know in one or several foreign language(s)' or what I learned from watching all those tv dramas (with English subtitles of course). The list are all phrases that is used constantly in tv dramas, at least, the ones I've watched and I've watched a whole bunch. I'm really bad at spelling even phonetically so if you really want to learn any of these phrases, do some research. 

~ Mandarin ~

01/ wo shi wan ni — I like you 

02/ wo ai ni — I love you

03/ bu shi — no

04/ duay boo chee — I'm sorry

05/ boo drew doubt — I don't know


~ Korean ~

06/ ande or anya or ani — no

07/ gwen cha na — it's okay

08/ sa rang hae or sa rang hae yo — I love you
 
09/ bienn or bienae — sorry

10/ kalm some mee da — thank you

Know any phrases in a foreign language? Do share in the comments.


Top ten items on my bucket list

May 18, 2017
Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck on the Spanish Steps in Rome in the film 'Roman Holiday'
I did write a bucket list of sorts a while back but somehow I lost it so here's some random things that I want to do:

01/ Write/finish those novels/illustrated books — I've been putting them off for a long while now and I doubt I'll ever finish so it's pretty much on all of my lists

02/ Visit the places Audrey Hepburn had been in her films — I don't like to travel but if I do happen to want to travel one day, I would go somewhere where Audrey Hepburn had been especially the places in the movie 'Roman Holiday' like the Spanish Steps in Rome (see above photo) or even ride a motor bike

03/ Create my own art studio — not just for art but blogging and writing but anything that is classified as not sleeping; the studio would have two doors that will open toward the outside so I can enjoy being outside without going outside

04/ Ride a bicycle — I love them but I don't know how to ride them, okay, maybe this is a bit lame and frankly, it doesn't bother me much that I can't ride

05/ Run a tea cake cafe — where people can relax and sip tea and enjoy some quiet time with a dessert or two

06/ Walk all the NYC parks — I've walked a couple of them but I guess this is the kind of goals that you can't finish no matter how much time you have

07/ Own my own book store/library — part book store, part library where you either sign up to rent books for free or buy new editions

08/ Go on a book tour — no chance of a book of mine would be published considering I can't even finish a first draft & I'm not quite into meeting strangers who lines up just to get a book signed but I kind of like the idea of promoting something I've done

09/ Climb a fake wall — fear of heights makes me avoid a lot of things so I think climbing a fake wall sounds like an accomplishment

10/ Get a hair cut at a salon — I never had my hair cut in a salon before so this is on the list, not really something I would put on a bucket list but I guess doing anything that I've not done before might be considered something for a bucket list

What's on your bucket list?


Honest Taglines For My Blog

May 16, 2017
Every April I celebrate the month that I started blogging by making one or two lists. This year I made two list. The first one is here. Below is the other one.

Here are some honest taglines for my blog:

01/
newly redesigned to be 87% less productive than ever before

02/
blogging for chocolate
03/
talking to myself since 2006
04/
honestly talking about nothing and being honest about it
05/
 have blog, will only semi-work
06/
procrastinating silently & sometimes with bits of noise
07/
blogging without coffee since 2006
08/
daily somethings + other tiny joys
09/
posting things that I am not ashamed to share, at least not right away
10/
blogging ridiculously slow since 2006

What's your honest tagline for your blog?

Note: 2006 is the year I started blogging.