Monday, November 30, 2009

FPD Color Inspiration Prompt!

Be sure to head over to the Funky Playground Designs Blog to learn more about this week's Color Inspirational Prompt! You can check it out HERE!

Here is a sneak peak at what we have in store for you this week -

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Review Musings: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The extraordinary debut novel that became a modern classic
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose remarkable gift for companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. Edgar seems poised to carry on his family's traditions, but when catastrophe strikes, he finds his once-peaceful home engulfed in turmoil.
Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the Sawtelle farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who accompany him, until the day he is forced to choose between leaving forever or returning home to confront the mysteries he has left unsolved.
Filled with breathtaking scenes—the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain—The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a meditation on the limits of language and what lies beyond, a brilliantly inventive retelling of an ancient story, and an epic tale of devotion, betrayal, and courage in the American heartland.

My Review:
I really enjoyed this novel. It was fairly slow moving and deliberate but in a good way. I just reveled in the language, how well-written it was. The story was crafted so well and I loved how David Wroblewski put his words on a page. He took the time to set up the people and places of the novel in a quiet, restrained way which I loved. The pace was a nice change - slow, meandering, and beautiful. But, never boring in any way.

If you like to read - if words are wonderful and you enjoy excellent writing, then you will love this one.

Edgar Sawtelle is one of those unforgettable characters - one that stays with you and gives you a feeling of knowing that is impossible as he is fictional. I loved reading about his journey. All of the characters are complexly drawn, three-dimensional and the story itself is highly emotional and inspiring.

I can't recommend this one enough ...

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, November 23, 2009

FPD Color Challenge - wk of 11/23

I'm here with yet another fabulous FPD Color Challenge - I love this week's colors and I hope you will as well!

Come check out the details in the Challenge forum HERE!

And here is my layout for the challenge -

Love Me, Love Me kit by Sarah Jones
Layout Guides Set 7: Melanie (AKA melrio)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Book Review Musings: Candor by Pam Bachorz

Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town
where his father brainwashes everyone, he's found a way
to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He's got them
all fooled: Oscar's the top student and the best-behaved
teen in town. Nobody knows he's made his own Messages
to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to
get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape
Candor, Florida before they're transformed into
cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor,
and Oscar's carefully-controlled world crumbles. 

My Review:

Although I think the premise of this book was incredible and had so much potential, I wasn't WOW'd  by the execution. I liked it. It was very readable but it could have been so much more. Which, as a reader, I found very frustrating! The whole brainwashing/messaging element of the book was very interesting and thought-provoking. The idea of what takes place in the book is very creepy and frightening. My primary issue with the book was the character development. Although Oscar was very well written, in many ways he was the only character that I ever felt that I completely 'got' during the novel. The others were fairly weak and let me wanting more. For example, Nia is a critical person in the novel but I never really felt like she was given the substance that a critical character requires.  The relationship between Oscar and Nia felt very contrived to me and I never really felt the relationship was fleshed out properly. Which made me feel on a number of occasions that I must have missed a page or two. I wish I could have given this 3 1/2 stars but I don't feel like it deserved 4. I enjoyed the novel and would recommend it but it didn't blow me away as I'd hoped.

My rating - 3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

FPD Color Challenge - wk of 11/16

Just a quick reminder to head over to the FPD Challenge forums (HERE) to check out this week's color challenge ...

And here's my layout for the challenge -

Girlfriend's Collaboration by Tania Shaw & friends (specifically) Amy Knepper, Jessica Bolton, Kim Jensen, Melinda Staley, Robin Cabana, our friend Rose, and Tracy Blankenship
Miss Tiina's Playtime font

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Product Up at Funky Playground Designs ...

I'm really excited about this week's newest release ... its a template pack based on the pages of Melanie (AKA - melrio) who is an amazing scrapper! I love how this set turned out and I think you will too! Grab it up today because it will be at a special price for just new release day - $1.50!!!! You can't beat that - FOUR templates for $1.50! After Monday, it'll be back to $3.00 so don't miss out! You can pick it up HERE!

And here are the 4 layouts that the templates are based on ...

And here are a few layouts that the FPD Layout Artist Team put together ...

So, I hope you'll take a moment to head over to my store at Funky Playground Designs to check out this week's new release!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Review Musings: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is black. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.
The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl springs up—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.
And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

My review:

I really liked the premise of this novel ... the execution, not as much. The story had a great deal of potential but it didn't quite live up to that potential, in my opinion. I enjoyed the process of reading the novel - it kept me interested, it went fairly quickly. But, there was something missing that I couldn't quite put my finger on as I read.

As I've given it some thought, I think there were two things that got into the way of my fully enjoying this book. One, the character development was lacking. I just never felt like I really cared about them or who they were or what they were going through. They were almost a secondary consideration to the conceptual pieces of the book which were intriguing. I never really became engaged with ANY of the characters. They were very flat and not particularly engaging. It's strange - I didn't dislike them but I didn't really care either way what happened to them. Which is not a good feeling when reading a book that I think in many ways centers around your rooting FOR the very characters that just aren't leaping off the page. Secondly, the 'slang' from the world that Dashner created was very distracting to me for some reason. It just didn't seem to blend well with the narrative. It felt almost like a JOLT every time that I came across yet another slang word in the dialog which took me out of the story.

Perhaps my feelings about this book were colored by the fact that I've recently read some really great YA dystopic novels - The Hunger Games for instance. Maybe if I'd had more distance, I'd have appreciated this one a bit more.

I struggled with the rating on this one - I'd really have liked to have given 3 1/2 stars but I ultimately went with 3 stars since it really had some flaws that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book.

I understand that this is the first in a series of books about this world. I am planning to give the 2nd Maze Runner book a read ... the world Dashner creates is very intriguing so I'd like to revisit it but I do hope that some of the flaws in this one are resolved for the second in the series.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Friday, November 06, 2009

New Releases AND a SALE!

In celebration of International Digital Scrapbooking Day, I have two new template packs up in the Funky Playground Designs shop for sale! And, they are 50% off so you can grab them for A DOLLAR! What a steal! They go back to regular price after the weekend so you might want to grab them (and the others that I put in earlier in the week) while they are on SALE!

Here's what I've just put up for you ...

Layout Guides Set: Funky Sampler:
All of the designers at FPD are putting together samplers in a similar color scheme etc for NSD. This is my contribution ...

And the FPD Creative Team BLEW me away with their beautiful pages using this template set so I wanted to be sure to share some of them with you ... Those ladies are amazing scrappers and I'm so proud to be a part of the team. They inspire me EVERY day. I'm so honored to see how many of them were interested in using my templates!!!

Layout Guides Set 6: Cheryl (aka gonewiththewind):
Another in my series of templates based on layouts of GREAT scrappers. This one is based on some of the beauitful pages of Cheryl (aka - gonewiththewind). Cheryl is an amazing scrapper and I'm thrilled that she was open to the idea of my doing this template set. I think there are a lot of us who would LOVE to scrap like Cheryl!You can see her entire FPD gallery HERE. She's amazing, I promise!

 And here are some of Cheryl's original layouts on which this template pack was based ...

Okay, that is it for now ... thanks to all of you who have already purchased some of my template sets. I can't begin to tell you how much your support has meant to me as I try to figure out this whole template making thing out!

Template Challenge!

Head over to Funky Playground Designs to grab this week's freebie template - HERE! In addition to the freebie template, you can use it to enter into a contest to win $5 to the FPD store! You have a number of days to complete the challenge so that it doesn't get into the way of your shopping all day tomorrow! I hope you will join in! I can't wait to see your pages.

Template Freebie - Check Back on Saturday!

This week's Template Freebie will be a bit late in celebration of International Digital Scrapbooking Day ... check back on Saturday morning to see what I have in store for you ...a template AND a challenge!

In the meantime, just wanted you to know that my shop over at Funky Playground Designs has lots of template goodies at CRAZY sale prices ... head over HERE to check out the deals!  And check back in the store on Saturday ... I have a couple of fun things you might want to check out - and they will also be ON SALE! By the way, while you're over at the FPD store, you might want to check out the celebration going on in the forum on Saturday - LOTS of fun stuff is being planned for you! Don't miss out!

Monday, November 02, 2009

FPD Color Challenge - wk of 11/2/09


Check out the details HERE!

Here is my layout for the challenge:


Take the Fall by Valorie Brown
I hope you'll join in this week! You just might win $5 to spend in the FPD Shop, just for playing along!