Thaumatropes, Cats and Quotes – How to Accessorise This Autumn

Legend of Sleepy Hollow Thaumatrope Witches Cat

You may or may not know that I am the minion of the Mymble’s Daughter, and, as such, it is my duty to publicise and promote her glorious creations, an undertaking I find to be utterly joyous, for her things are beautiful, affordable, expertly crafted and designed, and, basically, the best thing you could give another human, or, indeed, yourself. So! I’ll be doing a few such posts over the next couple of months because seasonal shopping is a thing, and because I love to share, and because variety is the spice of blog.

So! Here are some starters. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow thaumatrope is an old favourite, and what with there being a TV series (should I watch it? Is it good?) it seemed like a great time to bring back some old classics. You can see all our many Sleepy Hollow-inspired things HERE, do do that! And I haven’t even started on the quotation collection, but perhaps another day I’ll do a more collection-based post.

Finally, what with our over-10,000-sales of Etsy expertise, one of the other many things I’ve meant to do over the years is a collection of some of the Lessons We Have Learnt because Etsy-selling can be a wonderful thing, but there’s a lot of conflicting information out there, and the actually getting stuck into it can be daunting, tiring, or plain weird, so it’s always good to have, I think, a bit of hand-holding on the way if you’re new to Etsy, or indeed to any online selling at all.

Finally finally, speaking of new online selling, have you seen our NEW Mymble’s Daughter @ Folksy shop yet? If you’re an old friend of our shop you might find all sorts of old favourites popping up there – for a limited time, we’re running it as an archive of all kinds of designs! See all our Alice in Wonderland pieces, for example, with more to be added over the coming days!

Anyway, may your Tuesday be bright, and, if it isn’t, why not treat yourself to a thing to make it brighter?

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The Marvel of Study

I discovered Coursera a couple of weeks ago. It’s true, distance learning has been around forever, and there are plenty of archives around and about where you can access whole glorious degree courses of everything from all over the world, but I’ve never quite got a handle on the discipline of following an entire course like that on my own. I like to be spoonfed things, to have organised access to stuff, and, preferably, to be tested on what I’ve learnt throughout. So it was like a half-dozen Christmases at once to find this little selection of wide-ranging courses from all over the world here that cater to my exact and super-specific educational requirements.

It’s difficult for me not to sign up for everything ever, but I started out with three courses. The first is on Kierkegaard, from the University of Copenhagen, and it starts with lovely, concise, introductory video lectures which show me the Copenhagen I could never quite envisage right when studying Kierkegaard as part of my Philosophy degree, and it reminds me of things I remember back then I had earmarked to think about more later in life, and so I’m thrilled to come back to that. The second, I haven’t really investigated yet, but it’s on a series of classic sci-fi and fantasy novels, almost all of which I’ve read multiple times, almost all of which I love. And the third, which has taken up all of this evening, is a course that’s already a couple of weeks in, which I’d dithered about joining, for reasons shortly, on comic books and graphic novels – the whys and wherefores, the what are they and how do we read them.

Already, I am utterly entranced by the videos for this course. The enthusiasm, the passion, that reminder of being taught something that gives your brain a new method of thinking, a new tool for understanding, the feeling that there’s something you did already know, but had perhaps forgotten how to do, or, indeed, to do at all. It’s like when, in the middle of a crazy stressful day, a friend takes your arm and reminds you that you can breathe deeply, and slow your heart down, and everything gets just that bit clearer and brighter. It’s like that, only the starting point was neutral, rather than negative, so it makes for a considerable slice of happiness.

Great lecturing on any topic, and considered, enthusiastic giving of context and storytelling within the education…these things will always make me happy, but to have that level of attention paid to something I have wanted to learn to read, to understand as much as the comic book, well, it’s like being taught a language in a way you’ve always wished you could be, the way that you have long been certain would make it make sense.

I have worked fairly hard to learn to love comic books. I’m so used to reading text quickly, to loving ploughing through paragraphs – the more dense the better – that I couldn’t understand how to take the time to get everything out of a graphic novel, I didn’t know what to look for, where my eyes ought to go, or how much attention I needed to pay to things like what the characters were wearing…all sorts. But, my love for the X-Men franchise eventually convinced me, a couple of years ago, to go and look properly at the comics, and so I did, as many as I could. I have a pretty reasonable X-Men collection now, with many more to read, but I think I’ve covered the major arcs, and a few of the sidestrings that have fascinated me. From there, really, only to a few other Marvel things, some Avengers, Iron Man, etc, and then Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and that’s about it. But that’s also enough to have experienced a wide, wide variety of styles and traits and plots and characters; all manner of panelling and thinking and telling, and it’s exciting, it’s been exciting, and knowing that I’ve only scraped the surface of the available comicry is thrilling enough, never mind what’s always been my favourite part of reading anything – the reread.

So, at this point in my comic appreciation, I’m thrilled to have access to this fascinating course, for, just as studying English at school gave me tools to criticise and contextualise and analyse regular novels, or as studying music allowed me to parse and phrase and ponder Mozart in a way I never could before, so I hope to get some new handles on the reading of comic books, to catch up on the techniques and thoughts and understanding that people with lifetimes of comic book reading have put together, and to, eh, be more enthusiastic about more things I love, and find new ways to love them further still.

The thing that did make me resistant to signing up for the course is that one component of it is to design your own comic, and, yeah, you won’t meet anyone less graphically-minded than me. I really struggle to create anything, anything at all visual. Although I am excellent when it comes to interior design. I can tell you the story of a room, sure. But I really have issues with drawing anything, or, worse still, attempting to storytell through visual means, because I, as you might have noticed, am all about the words. So, yeah. That’s a very daunting, almost upsetting idea to me, to volunteer myself to create something that seems as un-me as a comic.

But, as per previous entries, this time in my life is known as The Time of the Brave Tiger (I can’t tell you how glad I am that Katy Perry decided to provide me with a soundtrack for this time) and brave tigers just get on and do the stuff that scares them. Just in case it turns out they liked it after all. I think this used to happen to Tigger, actually. So it’s all got a good basis in fact.

So that’s a little story about another one of the many things making me extremely happy. And, if you’ve a bit of spare time, an interest in this course, and any loose comic book curiosity, just go and sign up for it and watch a couple of the introductory videos, particularly ‘What is a Comic?’ and see if you’re half as cheered by them as I am.

My Coffee Judges You

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Let’s see, what was this post for? Housekeeping and attempting to stocktake my brain, I think. Lots of loose ends around, and some writerly tribulations.

First up, wtf is with the so-many-views from Mumsnet?! I can’t even see how or what or…strange, super strange. But hi!

Second up, I see now why people who don’t work from home and have the luxury of structuring their day however they would like to fall behind on their TV-watching. I am particularly doing so as I have literally no time or space to myself, and won’t have until I can move into somewhere, which won’t happen until my new (delightful, joyous, cakecentric) job actually yields an income, a time I’m very much looking forward to. I realise now what a luxury a spontaneous 45-minute bath with The Good Wife actually was. Sigh. But in order to move forwards, one must, y’know, move, and that is happening. Hopefully on Thursday I can mainline everything I’ve been missing. And have that bath…

Third…it’s nearly November. And that, obviously, means NANOTIME (my username there is ‘antelope’ – come add me, if you haven’t XD). As ever, I will be doing this, and I will be winning it. I’m tempted to go for two projects again – one memoirish thing, one novel – but I haven’t quite decided. I do definitely want to get cracking on the sequel to because, actually, if I’m honest, because I miss Aiden. I really do. So it’d be pleasurably indulgent to crack on with that in November…

…but at the same time, I have to, really have to, wrap up this other, potentially saleable novel I’ve been wrestling for the last couple of years. It’s missing some really essential bits, as well as the removal of an entire timetravel segment (my silly brain wants to keep it in, but my logical, would-like-to-be-a-real-printed-author self has other opinions) to get to the truthful ‘first draft complete!’ phase, even. I mean, I’ve done a beginning, middle and an end, but there’s certainly a few letters of the alphabet missing, here and there.

Fourth, I suppose, is the lament that I’ve not written anything like as much as I’ve wanted to. I’ve slipped back into that “can’t start until I’m in just the right place” thing a bit, and I’ve been so frustrated and displaced with the living situation that I’ve not got at all comfortable enough to simply write. Obviously NaNo is the perfect remedy for this, and I’ve no qualms at all about completing that, but the stuff that can’t be NaNo-ed and must actually be paid attention to, that’s nagging at me rather a lot just at the moment. After all, one of the greatest lessons I learnt over the last year was that books can be decent, written, edited, finished and published even without having your own mahogany desk and a cat.

Fifth, working out. My body is really not dealing well with work, and being on my feet all day. I’ve not had back pain in years but I spent half of last night flat on my back on the floor coaxing muscles into various stretches and wincing every time I needed to get up. I know it’s because I haven’t grounded myself in weights enough of late, and I know I need to go back and get on with that before I have to start all over again, but, again, I actually have somewhere to be and things to do these days, so I can’t go and run myself into the ground knowing that I’ve got a whole day to recover in precisely the way I want to. Makes me realise how I’ve been training, and how there’s a new sort of balance I have to find. Shorter sets, fewer reps, gently, gently…it’s never really been my style…but then, much of all this upheaval and starting again is precisely because I sorely needed a new style. It only makes sense that something as crucial to me as my workouts changes too.

Sixth…I miss the internet. I’ve only just kept myself up to scratch with the latest on Miley Cyrus (which, I’ve realised, is my internet priority, shortly after the football scores and whether or not my friends have cut their hair). Everything past that, including, as above, all the latest in the world of TV, is all out the window. I’ve barely communicated with anyone, which is rather distressing. I hope you’re all well, etc, and you should probably email me if I’ve missed anything interesting about you because I care, I just, kinda suck. But you knew that, and have put up with it thus far, so, yeah. Email XD

Crikey, this is like an LJ entry or something, isn’t it? Anyway! Onwards…