Happy Canada Day to all Canadians, no matter where they find themselves on 1 July!
Did you know that Canada Day is not our independence day? It’s Canada’s birthday (happy 152nd!) July 1st marks the anniversary of Confederation, or the day the first four provinces officially joined to create the Dominion of Canada.
Long weekends are also the perfect time to catch up on your reading (how else are you going to digest all that BBQ?) Take advantage of Smashword’s sale and get Love Lies Bleedingfor half price (and Blood Magic, as always, is free). Support Canadian indie writers and have a good day 🍁
If you want to learn more about Canada, watch this short video by a couple of resident experts:
I’m a big fan of crafting. When I’m not reading or writing (and sometimes when I am) I can often be found working on a project, usually needlepoint, but also crocheting/knitting, jewellery making, sewing, or something else along those lines. I get inspiration from all kinds of places: my own tastes, magazines, Pinterest, friends and family–but why not combine forces and get inspired by books? Not craft books, but actual novels?
Well, other crafters thought the same thing and have come up with some great literary-inspired projects. Here are some of my favourites:
Still using old receipts as bookmarks? Nothing wrong with this practical-but-dull approach. Then again, for a little effort you can mark your place in a more colourful–and personal–way with a DIY bookmark.
I’m normally not a fan of crafts that use (read: destroy) actual books, but some books really have outlived their usefulness and can be ethically sacrificed. And this awesome book bag by Mollie Makes is a worthy cause (but do try to find a book that’s damaged beyond repair, is missing pages, or isn’t valuable). Video tutorial and written instructions here.
There are no instructions with these magnets, but they’re simple enough, and can be customized however you want. Use a clean mint tin or jar lid. Glue pictures, quotes, mini figures, and so on inside to create a scene evoking a favourite book. Then glue magnets on the back and adorn your fridge with your handiwork.
This gorgeous terrarium was originally posted on Catch My Party. Although there are no instructions, as with the magnets above it’s a pretty straightforward craft and can be customized for any theme. Keep costs low by looking for the container at secondhand stores or garage sales (you could even use a clean pickle jar, if you want).
Why settle for making book-themed crafts when you can make your own books? Here’s a tutorial from Homemade Gifts Made Easy on how to hand make a hardcover, Japanese-style ribbon-bound book. What’s that, you ask? Why, yes, I do accept gifts…
And just for fun, here’s a cross stitch I made in honour of Love Lies Bleeding. I didn’t use one pattern but put it together from a few patterns I found online.
Do you craft? Have you completed any literary-inspired projects? Do you know of any good patterns online? Share in the comments…
Last year I posted about Writers and Cats, a combination that seems as natural as pen and paper. But just because cats and writers are inextricably linked in most people’s minds, doesn’t mean that dogs aren’t equally ideal writing partners. Judging from all the books about dogs out there, they’re just as inspiring as cats. Poems have also been written about dogs, including this one by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. And no one can dispute that dogs are excellent companions, keeping writers company in their lonely work and getting them out of the house once in a while.
“When an eighty-five pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad.”
Here are a few dog-loving writers and their pups…
What do you think? Are you a cat person or a dog person? Or do you like both (or neither)? Share in the comments…
1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
I mostly like to read in bed, but any comfy spot with decent lighting will do.
2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?
I prefer to use bookmarks, but I hate losing my spot, so anything will do in a pinch, including other books. I wish publishers would go back to including ribbon bookmarks inside hardcovers.
3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?
When I need to take a break I like to stop at the end of a chapter, but if I can’t, then I try to stop at a spot I can remember to go back to.
4. Do you eat or drink while reading?
If no one else is around, I’ll always read while I’m eating. I’ve messed up a few books doing that, though.
5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
Here’s the thing with multitasking–you might get more done, but you won’t get anything done well (feel free to stitch that on a pillow). If something is important enough that I want to appreciate or retain it, then I need to skip other distractions. People who say they can do ten things at once and concentrate on all of it are impressively self deluded.
6. One book at a time or several at once?
I usually have two or three going: my main book, one I read a bit at a time between main books, and an ebook.
7. Reading at home or everywhere?
Everywhere I can. Reading at home is nicer, though–comfier chairs and fewer interruptions 🙂
8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Unless I’m reading to someone, I read silently.
9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?
Funny enough, I’d never skipped ahead–until two weeks ago. I was reading a novel that was getting upsetting and for the first time that I can remember, I peeked at the end to see how it turned out (it ended the way I was hoping, thankfully). Then I went back and read it all the way through. I don’t know what it was about this book that made me feel the need to check the end.
10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I hate the sound of a cracking spine (not to mention the end result), so I try to keep them like new, but I’m not always successful.
11. Do you write in your books?
No, because I’m civilized. I did highlight/underline passages in my textbooks when I was in university, and I sign copies of my book for anyone who asks, but those are the only exceptions. If I want to take notes, I do it separately. For anyone who likes to annotate the books they read, consider ebooks–they’re ideal for that.
12. When do you find yourself reading? Morning, afternoon, evening, whenever you get the chance or all the time?
Whenever I can, which mostly seems to be before bed or first thing in the morning.
13. What is your best setting to read in?
Somewhere quiet, comfortable, and with good lighting. I like reading at the beach too, but it’s rare I get the chance.
14. What do you do first – Read or Watch?
Almost always read. I did watch the first Harry Potter movie before I read any of the books, though, which is what got me interested in the books (and ultimately led to a slight obsession).
15. What form do you prefer? Audiobook, E-book or physical book?
I like physical books (although the paper dries out my hands like mad). Ebooks are also good (and great for travelling), but as a writer I’m staring at screens all day long, so I try to limit my screen time when I can. (If I can find the charger, I’ll start using my Kindle again–those screens are very easy on the eyes.)
15. Do you have a unique habit when you read?
Not that I can think of, although I do have a tendency to (over)share what’s going on in my books with my SO, which probably drives him crazy (he’s very patient about listening to me talk about the trials and tribulations of fictional characters he’s never heard of, though).
17. Do book series have to match?
I assume this is referring to the covers/formats matching. Yes, I’d rather all the books in a series match, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t.
How about your reading habits? Tell me your answers in the comments (or let me know if you’ve posted this tag on your own blog).