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Inky Wings

Wow, I have not posted in a very long time!  Sorry about that.  I’ve been rather hard at work on another blog, Inky Wings!  It’s my writing blog, where I post little pieces of my writing.  If you would like to check it out, here’s a link! 🙂

I will also give you a preview of the kind of things I post there.

The Evil Stepdaughter

 

This has nothing to do with Hitchhiker.
I have no suitable-for-posting blurbs written about that, (one that I just wrote is a huge spoiler) so I wrote something else.  This is a story I’ve been planning for a while.

My name is Morgan.
Undoubtedly, you know me as the wicked witch or the evil queen.  I don’t blame you for thinking that; Snow White has gotten everyone confused.  But I know the real story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and if you want to hear it, I’ll tell you.  Juts be warned that believing me is an act of high treason.  
First of all, I’d like to make it clear that I do not dabble in dark magic.  I’m no witch.  What I do is what my grandmother taught me; I use natural ingredients from the earth from the earth to create things that silly minds call potions and witch’s brews.  Second, I will quite openly admit that Snow White is prettier than me.  Third, I do have a magic mirror.  It’s a treasured gift from my friend Malificent and I hate it when people say it’s evil.  
The fourth thing I would like to point out is that I am only Snow White’s stepmother because my parents forced me to.  I was sixteen when my noble-born father made an arrangement with King Gerard (ugh, how could I marry a man with that name?) for our marriage after Queen Lilla died.  I was ashen-faced throughout the entire wedding.  Want to know why?  Not only was I simply reluctant to marry a 50-year old man, but I was quite in love with someone else!  Imagine telling your true love that you’re leaving him because you must marry a scruffy old king.  Tristan was heartbroken, to say the least.
Snow White is only two years younger than me.  I’m sure you can imagine how much influence and authority a sixteen-year old stepmother has over a sassy, vain, fourteen-year old princess.  We didn’t get along well, needless to say.  But all her subjects, of course, thought she was just the sweetest thing.
One day Snow White was throwing a fit and told me that I was an ugly old peasant.  Feeling I should at least try to take control of my stepdaughter, I punished her by sending her to the courtyard to wash the stones for five minutes.  I also sent Tristan, who happened to be a knight, to guard her (and make sure she didn’t try to get out of her chore).  Four minutes later he came back escorted by guards, accused of having caused “the princess’ disappearance”.  Visiting him in the dungeon, I learned the truth: Snow White had knocked him out cold and then must have run away.  I was a little upset that he’d allowed a little girl to knock him out, but I forgave him soon enough and helped him escape.
Just a couple days later, the kind received a letter from Snow saying she wouldn’t come back unless I was gone, and proceeded to accuse me of abusing her as well as making her scrub the courtyard.  Absurd, of course, but the king promptly divorced me and sent me away quite humiliated and penniless.  On her way home, Snow saw me making a fire with ‘my magical potions’ as I spent the night in a miserable cave.  Therefore, when she got home, she claimed that I was a witch and, naturally, tried to hunt me down…

That’s all.  It’s the introduction to a story where I switch the villain and heroine around.  Might do that with a lot of other fairy tales, too.  What do you think?
-Ashley
P.S. Hey, a post before 11:00! 😀 

 

What did you think?  (“Hitchhiker” is a story that I often post about there.)

Double (or triple?) Dandelion

So, while outside with my siblings, I discovered this really awesome dandelion that was actually composed of two dandelions!

I have no idea what caused this, but it’s probably just one of those times when God reveals Himself in the awesomeness of Creation.

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Happy Birthday, John James Audubon!

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John James Audubon was noted for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations of birds in their natural habitat.  His most widely known piece of work, a color-plate book called Birds of America is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever created.  In his lifetime, Audubon identified 25 new species of birds.

Audubon once said, “I felt an intimacy with [birds]…bordering on frenzy [that] must accompany my steps through life.”  His father encouraged his interest in nature.  “[John James Audubon] would point out the elegant movement of the birds, and the plumage.  He called my attention to their show of pleasure or sense of danger, their perfect forms and splendid attire. He would speak of their departure and return with the seasons.”

Audubon learned to play the flute and violin; he also learned to ride, fence, and dance.  He loved to walk through the forests and collect various natural objects such as birds’ eggs and nests, of which he sketched crude drawings. 

He was committed to find and paint all the birds of North America for eventual publication, aspiring to surpass even the great work of the poet-naturalist Alexander Wilson.  He began work on Birds of North America and tried to paint one page a day, traveling across North America to find new species.  Sometimes he sold extra artwork to raise money for more paints.  When at last, after many years of work, he finished the book, he could find no one in North America willing to publish his expensive project, so he followed the advice from his wife, Lucy Audubon, and sailed to England.  Here his works were received with great enthusiasm, and he was lionized as “the American woodsman”.  In England he was able to raise up enough money to begin publishing his book.

Birds of America consists of 435 hand-colored, life-sized prints of 497 bird species, made from engraved copper plates.  Printed on sheets measuring about 39 by 36 inches (660 mm), the work contains just over 700 North American bird species.  The cost of printing the entire book was $115,640 (over $2,000,000 today).  The magnificent creation took more than 14 years of field observations and drawings, along with Audubon’s single-handed management and promotion to ensure its success.  A reviewer wrote, “All anxieties and fears which overshadowed his work in the beginning had passed away.  The prophecies of kind but overprudent friends, who did not understand his self-sustaining energy, had proved untrue; the malicious hope of his enemies, for even the gentle lover of nature has enemies, was disappointed; he had secured a commanding place in the respect and gratitude of men.” 

Sadly, all but 80 of the original copper plates were melted down when Lucy Audubon, in desperate need of money after her husband’s death, sold them for scrap to Phelps Dodge Company.

Audubon’s method of painting was, at the time, new to people.  He would shoot a bird with fine shot and prop them in a natural position with wire, instead of stuffing them and standing them in rigid positions as most ornithologists do.  He most often painted them in their natural habitats, instead of the stiff representations of birds painted by other artists such as Alexander Wilson.  He preferred to paint them engaging in activities such as hunting or singing.  Using primarily watercolor and smoothing the feathers with chalk, his painting methods began to improve as he worked until he decided to scrap some of his earlier paintings and start anew with his new found skills.  All of the species were drawn life sized, which is why, in some of the paintings of large birds, the subjects are in rather contorted positions, for Audubon had to struggle to fit them within the page boundaries.

Audubon’s health began to fail in 1848, and on January 27th, 1851, he died in his family home.  However, his legacy lives on still, inspiring many ornithologists and artists.  Many places have been dedicated to him:

  • The homestead Mill grove in Audubon, PA is open to the public and contains a museum presenting all his major works, including Birds of North America.
  • The Audubon Museum at John James Audubon State Park in Henderson, Kentucky houses many of Audubon’s original watercolors, oils, engravings, and personal memorabilia.
  • In 1905, the National Audubon Society was incorporated and named in his honor,  Its mission “is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds…”
  • On December 6th, 1010, a copy of Birds of North America was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $11.5 million, a record price for a single printed book.

The End of my first draft!

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This is how I feel right now! After nearly a year of labor, I have at long last completed the first draft of a short novel I decided to write for a friend of mine, Robyn (wanna check out her blog?). My story is based on an Eric Carle book called “Walter the Baker”. Hopefully soon I shall persuade my mother (who is a pro at writing reviews and short descriptions) to write a riveting description of it. I haven’t considered publishing yet because at this point, I’m only concerned about sending it to Robyn! Haha. I’ll let you all know if I want to get serious about this book.

DIY Fabric Roads

So, yesterday was my little sister Bobbi’s birthday. She loves to play with cars and roads, but sadly, plastic racetracks and train tracks can get broken and lost. Plus, you have to connect them together in order to build with them, which is inconvenient for a twisty track. So, inspired by a post from http://lilmoptop.blogspot.com/2010/10/easy-fabric-roads.html?m=1, I made some denim roads for Bobbi!

They were very easy to do; all you need is denim, scissors and yellow paint (you should also have a marker and a ruler if you want to keep all the roads the same width. I tried to do that, but I’m terrible with measurements) If you want to safeguard against fraying, you could probably do a zigzag stitch along the edges…but I didn’t, and the fraying hasn’t been a problem. Bobbi loves it…and so do her brothers 🙂

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DIY Painted Sign

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So, this amazing blog called By Wilma posted an easy, beautiful way to paint fonts on your sign!  I love this tutorial; the picture above is the sign I made using this method.  It’s easy to do and creates beautiful results.  But – word of warning!  This task is not for the shaky-handed! 😀  Want to try this?  Visit Wilma here.

Strawberry Valentine Oreo Cookies

I HAVE ANOTHER COOKIE RECIPE FOR YOU!!!!
I admit I’ve become obsessed with cookies recently. It started because I was craving chocolate chip cookies. But these cookies are PINK! Exclusive for Valentine’s Day. This recipe came from Six Sister’s Stuff, and I changed it a little bit to suit my own tastes. These are DELICIOUS!

Strawberry Valentine Oreo Cookies
Ingredients:
1 package of strawberry cake mix
2 eggs
3/4 cups shortening
Vanilla frosting

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together strawberry cake mix, eggs and shortening until well combined. The dough will be pretty thick. Roll dough into balls, making sure they are all similar in size. Place dough onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Immediately transfer cookies to a cooking rack.
Spread frosting onto cooled cookies and sandwich together.
Makes 12-15 cookies when sandwiched together.
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