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Daily Life, Inspiratie, Inspiration, Wishlist

A Small Wish List [7]

It’s that amazing time of the year: the time of Christmas wish lists! Usually I’m a master in composing page long lists of all the thing that would make my life Amazing, but this year I had to do some thinking. Some hard and long thinking to be honest. And although I still managed to compile a decent list (with the usual suspects being books) I’m also becoming a fan of asking for Useful Presents. Had anyone suggested this to me some ten years ago I would’ve audibly groaned at the idea.

2017 Christmas Wishlist - Books

Let’s start with books…

Because books are always a good idea! I love giving and receiving books as presents and I know I’m not the only one. Did you know people in Iceland give each other books on Christmas Eve? They then spend the evening reading. It’s called Jólabókaflóð and it’s pretty much my favourite Christmas tradition I discovered this year.

2017 Christmas Wishlist - Harry Potter Books

Maybe you were already thinking “strange, there are no Harry Potter books on Eline’s list this year”. That’s not an option people. There will be Harry Potter books on this list until the last tree has been made into pulp! (Ok, that was dramatic and I don’t mean it #treesareimportant). But seriously, this has been an amazing Harry Potter year*, so yes, here are some Potter books.

  • As every year since they started publishing the illustrated Harry Potter books, the new one is on my list. This year they published the illustrated Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban  and I’m so excited to get my hands on this one. The cover looks stunning! And I can already see how amazing the darker stories that will follow this one will look in Kim Kay’s style.
  • Another illustrated edition that looks really awesome is the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I already got 2 versions of this book, but Illustrations!
  • I wish I could visit the History of Magic expo in the British Library but until then the Harry Potter: A History of Magic: The spellbinding companion to a unique exhibition book looks really awesome. The expo and the book are all about the sources of real life magic that inspired J.K. Rowling when she wrote the Harry Potter books and later when they produced the movies, which sounds really intriguing.

(*by this I mean I went to London in September and finally visited the Harry Potter Studios and saw the fricking play! But I might tell you all about it another time)

2017 Christmas Wishlist - Tools

Artsy things

I’m on putting a small part of my art supply wish list in this post, but if you’re interested in art supplies, books for illustrators of graphic designers or if you’re just curious, you can find my complete wish list (a.k.a. a gift guide for designers and illustrators ;)) on the Studio Maddy blog.

  • Every time I see someone paint with gouache I really want to give it a try. I have some old high school tubes that I can barely use, so this set of Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache  would be really welcome.
  • Another thing I would really give a try is weaving. I’m not sure how to start so the workshop weaving at Helen B’s, hosted by Eva V, looks a good way to start. Another workshop on my wish list is a ceramic transfer workshop, also at Helen B’s.
  • This plastic palette ties in with the gouache paint I mentioned earlier. I haven’t found anything like this Reeves foldable plastic palette in local stores, but I think it would make painting with gouache a lot easier (so much space to mix paint!)
  • When I saw the Uniball Pastel Posca PC3 set for the first time my hands started itching. I would love to take these bad boys on a spin and create the cutest art work.
  • Every time I do tradition illustration, with pencil and paint, I remember how much easier things would be with a Lightbox/Tracing Pad. So much easier than drawing on a window!

2017 Christmas Wishlist - Usefull

The dreaded Useful Stuff

Last but not least, some useful things.

  • It’s a sweater with a dinosaur print! Do I need to say more? Really? RAWR!
  • Years ago I found the perfect foldable wallet. But I hesitated and when I returned to the store it was gone. I bought myself a second choice wallet (boohoo) and never forgot about the Perfect Wallet. This wallet’s by Oh My Bag called Josi gets pretty close to what I had in mind back then. And my second choice wallet is starting to fall apart. Coincidence? I think not.
  • I think my boyfriend can attest, but I have such a hard time waking up in winter. I’m pretty sure it’s the lack of light, so the Philips Wake Up Light might save me from sleeping too long.
  • For the past couple of years I made my own planner’s, which I still like. But this cute planner by Frannerd looks so amazing and I’ve seen how much effort Fran put into it, so it’s made its way to my wish list.
  • What I want (I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want) is an iPad Pro with and Apple Pencil. Or the new Windows Surface Book 2. But those are pretty expensive, so I would be happy with stylus for sketching on my Samsung Galaxy tab 2. I’ve done some research and the Adonit Jot Pro looks like the best option from my tablet.
  • Another dreadfully useful thing is this Jieldé look-a-like desk lamp. It’s also very pretty and will make working in the evening so much easier.

So, that’s all peeps. For someone who had to think long and hard about what she wanted I ended up with quite a long list. What’s on your wish list this year?

Inspiration, Tips

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

Sometimes, (eg when you’re writing a blog post a day) you feel your creativity falter. You run out of ideas and before you know it, you’re stuck. I think everyone has their own methods to start creating again, but it can still me very inspiring to see what others do. So, here are 8 things I do to clear my head and start creating again.

Btw, I got inspired to write this post after reading about Hanne’s 10 self-care things she does when she feels miserable and can’t create anything.

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

1. Tea. Heaps of tea.

Preferably black tea, with some sugar, or apple-cinnamon. Just by getting some liquid in me (I’ve a bad habit of drinking too little water) I can feel completely re-energized. Also making tea (boiling a kettle, putting loose tea in a holder, having it soak for a bit) takes enough time to unwind your brain a bit.

2. A long, hot bath.

Especially with a bubble bar or a bath bomb from Lush. The tub is my thinking space and I often get so energised and full of ideas I want to get out quickly again. But most of the time I just write things down (there is a notepad next to the bath at all times) and enjoy the soak.

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

3. Put on some music.

At the moment, I listen to Disturbed when I really need to focus. Their quick metal songs bring me head banging back into ‘the zone’. When I have a little more time, I put on my “Random Dance Party” playlist and start shaking it. Fifteen minutes later you’re ready to rumble! Singing along also helps just clearing my mind.

4. Clean.

Whenever my studio space gets cluttered it means my head space is cluttered. Cleaning my physical space always is a good start to get the gears running again. I do have to be careful not to overdo it, because sometimes I use cleaning as an excuse not to start on something.

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

5. Do a brain dump.

Sometimes I feel like my head gets clogged up with ideas I’m desperately hanging on. By writing everything down I create more space for new things or give myself the chance to actually work them out one by one instead of feeling overwhelmed.

6. Get some exercise.

Start a mini-dance party (see earlier), but also: run the stairs up and down a couple of times, go for a walk, do some yoga, do some high-intensity training. Just moving my body also makes my brain move again. I also have a couple of exercises I can do on my desk chair when I really don’t have time for a work-out. And if this costs too much time, a couple of good stretches also can do wonders.

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

7. Go to a new place.

It’s not always possible, but sometimes I just need to get out of my trusty environment. Visiting a museum in a nearby city, going to the beach or to a forest are things that often help. And if those are not working, it means I need to go farther away from my comfort zone. It’s not always possible, but I think that looking for a country or a culture you haven’t met before and spending some time there might be the most rejuvenating thing you can do.

8. Sometimes nothing helps.

It’s ok; sometimes nothing helps. I try not tho fret when I get to this point. I’ll just make it an early night and pamper myself. Hot chocolate and blankets on the couch in winter (with some nicely scented candle) or spending time outside in the sun, with a book. Enjoying the weather and the sound of birds. Giving my brain some time off always helps to get back into the flow because there really are days you can’t force it.

(Alternatively, when I really need to finish something, I’ll just fake it. By going through the motions I’m used to, I can still create. It doesn’t work if you have to do this daily (it feels like you brain is walking through heavy mud), but pushing through once in a while, isn’t a bad thing)

8 Things I do to clear my head and start creating again

Even though I have all these back-ups for getting me back into my zone, there is only one thing that absolutely 100% makes my creativity peek: doing something I absolutely hate. Whenever I had to study for exams, I was constantly jotting down ideas because my head was overflowing with them. But it’s not really possible to recreate this setting, as it calls for a specific environment.

What do you do to kick-start your creativity again? Anything foolproof you’ve discovered to start creating again?

Inspiration, Personal

10 things I love right now

Going thorugh everyday life, it’s easy to forget how much we’re into certain things at some points in time. I love looking back and re-discovering things I was into at some point, so today I’m sharing 10 things I love right now and who now, in a couple of years, when I look back, I have some happy memories to some of these things.

  1. Last Podcast on the Left. It’s wasn’t love at first listen-session, I thought the humor was a bit crude, but I persisted and now LP on the Left is one of my favourite podcasts. They have a bunch of topics they talk about, but serial killers and the occult are topics that return a lot. And the humor? I can’t go a week without. The stupid jokes, the impersonations, there isn’t a thing I would change. And the podcast always brightens my day when I feel down.
  2. Mastery. With this app you can track how many hours you spend on things you want to master. The goal is getting to 10 000 hours and, as I’m quite competitive, I do like this battle with myself.
  3. Beau Sejour. This is the first series in ages I patiently wait for each week. And it’s coming to an end. I really like this series (about a murdered girl trying to find out who killed her) and even the weekly waiting has been a nice experience (and completely different from the binging and then getting bored-thing I normally do).
  4. PeterMcKinnon’s YouTube channel. The guy is full of energy, he’s sharing so much information and knowledge and his videos are just so pretty to watch. If I ever get into actually making videos, this guy will be a serious inspiration for me.
  5. My “combat” boots. I got this pair of boots from Sacha (I still need to write about it :x) and I adore them. They look like stylish combat boots, they fit perfectly, they look awesome and they are absolutely 100% me. I used to dress goth/punk in high school and combats were my favourite thing back then. I’m still eyeing Dr Martens too, just because I never got to wear those (I bought them once, a couple of sizes too big).
  6. Sketchbook pictures. I love watching pictures of other people’s sketchbooks. Sometimes they actually make my heart do a happy thump. There is nothing that inspires and pushes me as much as seeing someone else’s creativity. True, sometimes they also make feel down, because of the difference in skill, but most of the time they just make me very happy
  7. My Sony RX100 M3. Ok, I’ve barely used it, but I’ve taken this thing anywhere. I want to get into the habit of being on the lookout of pictures, at all time (and taking them). But I still feel shy and hesitant. Something I need to get over, because I love this camera a lot and I want to u-use it.
  8. Finishing an old and starting in a new sketchbook. I don’t fill that many sketchbooks, so when I finish one this is still a big deal for me. Especially because in the past I never finished sketchbooks, I just moved on to the next. But, last year I was a good sketchbook keeper and I filled one about every six months. I really want to keep this up and I also want to experiment more in my new sketchbook. I don’t care if it’ll fall apart by the end, I want to be completely free on those pages.
  9. The Talens Ecoline Brush pens. They are a dream to work with, so smooth, they even make my crappy lettering look good.
  10. My new peg board above my desk. I threw out the old magnetic blackboard I DIY-ed a couple of years ago and replaced it with a white pegboard. Boy, was this a good decision. Not having to look at my black failed DIY really lifts my moods. It probably also has something to do with a fresh white vs a black backdrop. I also really love how versatile a peg board is. I might even do a complete post about somewhere in the next 38 days. 🙂

What do you really love right now?

Inspiration

Merry Handmade Christmas: DIY gifts & decorations

As much as I’d like to make a whole new bunch of DIY’s for this year’s Christmas, I don’t have time for this. No worries though, because I made a couple of christmas-y DIY’s in the past couple of years and when I went through my past DIY’s I realised a lot of them would make nice gifts!

Christmas decoration

DIY Christmas ornaments
I’m still very happy with these DIY Christmas tree ornaments I made last year. They’re currently up in the tree and are super easy to make. The only critique point I have is that I should’ve made more.

Plutomeisje_Geometric_Photoholder_05
My copper geometric photo (or Christmas cards) holders are also still one of my favourite DIY’s from last year. I leave a couple of them out all year, for putting up inspirational cards. When December gets here though, it’s time to get out the big guns and make festive groups of them. Another DIY that is super easy (and cheap).

If you’re in need for some Christmas decoration inspiration you should click the link and take a look at my inspiration from last year. I still love everything I’ve put together back then and looking back makes me itch to finish up decorating our house.

diy wooden poster frame
The handmade wooden poster frame isn’t a Christmas decoration per se, but if you put the right poster in it, it can be very Christmas-y. If you don’t have enough space for a Christmas tree you can create a large poster frame and pick up a Christmas tree print (such as the newest Zilverblauw print). The frame in combination with a lovely print would also make a nice Christmas present. If you’re looking for interesting prints you can always take a look at the Rijksmuseum archives. They have a very nice collection of botanical drawings (among other things) from old masters you can download and print.

DIY gifts


Giving personalised coffee mugs will make any coffee (or tea) love happy. And these mugs are very easy to make.

DIY Panda Pencil Case
The Panda pencil case is one of my favourite DIY’s I ever made. It looks exactly like I pictured it in my head and it’s soooo fluffy and cute. I use mine for pencils, but it’s big enough to be a make-up bag or a toiletry bag. There’s no need for these things to be boring!

DIY Jar Lamp
Another one of my favourite DIY’s are my handmade jar lamps. I still love how they look and they are used very often!

DIY Teacup Planter

If you want to give something small, cute and alive (but puppies are no option) you might consider these DIY Teacup planters. Ideal for anyone with a green thumb or who wants to cultivate one. Depending on the plants you pick these are very easy to care for (especially with succulents). And having plants in the house is the hippest thing you could do right now.

DIY Kussensloop // DIY Pillow Case
Sewing a couple of pillow cases and then personalizing them would also make for a nice gift, although you might want to know how your intended giftee’s house looks like.

Giving somebody a brand new tablet would make for an awesome gift, but giving them a handmade and personalized tablet cover surely is the next best thing.

If you’re not into DIY you might find some gift giving inspiration in last year’s list of 15 books you should gift. As I haven’t read much this year I’m not sure I’ll make a new one soon.

So, I think that’s enough diy gifts inspiration for one post. Did you ever gift or received a handmade present? What did you think of it?

Inspiration, Personal

A Small Wishlist [6]

We popped up our Christmas tree this weekend, which can only mean it’s really almost Christmas! Every year I make myself a wishlist and this year is no different. Read on if you’re curious to find out what’s on my wishlist, and maybe you’ll find some inspiration for your own Christmas shopping.

I used to make wishlists quite often (just check the “wishlist” tag here on the blog). This year really was the first year I needed to think about this list. Since I started working I’ve bought a lot of the things that have been on my list for ages, so it felt a bit like starting fresh. As always there are lots of books on my list, but there’s other things too.

All things Harry Potter

After I saw the movie I immediately went and bought the hardcover version of the screenplay, so it shouldn’t surprise you there’s more Harry Potter (or rather Fantastic Beasts) to be found on my list. I loved the setting of the movie and I’m curious to find out more about this part of the Harry Potter universe.

Some of the things on my wishlist are books related to the Harry Potter universe. Pictured here are the covers of each of these books.

1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Illustrated Edition, 2. The Art of the Movie: Fantastic Beasts and where to find them, 3. The Case of Beasts, 4. Harry Potter: The Creature Vault

For the love of plants

Is it strange to put plants on a wishlist? I’m almost ashamed of buying more plants, so for the couple of lovely special ones that are on my wishlist it would be awesome to get them as a gift.

On my wishlist are three different plants, which are pictured here and two books about plants/natural history.

1. Fiddle Leaf Fig, 2. Medinilla Magnifica, 3. Wonders are Collectible, 4. Urban Jungle, 5. Calathea

Name something, it might be a hobby of mine

Sometimes I feel like I have too many hobby’s. Especially when I try to make a list of them. But I wouldn’t be able to cut some of them, in my mind they’re all part of “being creative” in whatever way I feel like. On the other hand, sometimes I feel like I’m really not creative at all. So I added some extra, creativity boosting, things on my wishlist.

The covers of "Your inner critic is a big jerk" and "1 page at a time", next to images of a GorillaPod camer stand, a light box for drawing and a lens hood

1. Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk, 2. 1 Page at a Time,  3. Lens hood for Canon 50mm/18-55mm lenses, 4. GorillaPod for Smartphone/Compact Camera, 5. Huion Lightbox

Do you make a wishlist round Christmas time? Maybe you need to make one to share with present-hunting relatives? What’s the number one thing on your wishlist?

Inspiration, Projects

July 30 Day creativity challenge

It’s officially summer now, which in my head stands for long lazy days and getting slow from the heat. I thought I would probably get a bit lazy with my sketching, so I made myself a thirty (actually thirty-one) day creativity challenge for July. And yes, you can participate. In fact, it would be pretty awesome if you did!

In the past I already did a drawing challenge and a photography challenge. This time I decided I didn’t want to make it too hard. This challenge is all about being creative and it doesn’t matter how you do this. If you want to make 31 pictures that is awesome. If you want to switch between collages and finger painting that is equally awesome. It doesn’t matter how serious you take this or how much time you spent on it, the only thing that really matters is that you push yourself to be creative every day.

I came up with 31 daily prompts, which I (and hopefully you too) will use for daily inspiration. Click on the image to see a bigger version of the image (or click here for the Dutch version).

Update: Upon request I made a printable version of the Thirty Day Creativity Challenge. You can download the English version or the Dutch version.

Thirty Day Creativity Challenge
I’ll post my creativity challenge creations daily on my Instagram account and I might put up an overview of my favourites once or twice during the month of July.

Let me know (in the comments below or on social media) if you’re going to participate.
If you want to share your creations with me, you can use #createinjuly on social media, I’d love seeing them! (or if you don’t want to share your creations publicly, just sent me an e-mail)

Inspiration, Personal

A first salary wish list long in the making

For the longest time I’ve dreamt about that moment, after years of studying, where I would get my first salary. I decided years ago that I would be ruthless with that first pay. I’d spent as much as I wanted to, without the nagging guilt about not saving. And of course, I made a list.

The list has changed dramatically over the years. When the idea of the first salary wish list first entered my mind I was still obsessed with fashion and I dreamt of a pair of Chanel boots. Later it became the Proenza Shouler PS1 bag (still makes my heart beat faster), which would take at least 2 salaries to buy.

Now the list is filled with lots of smaller items. Some have been on this list for years, others are more recent fancies. Either way, I’m really looking forward to treating myself to these!

A first salary wish list

  • Ever since I bought my Hogwarts patch in January, I’ve wanted to start a little patch collection on a jeans jacket. I think this awesome Pony People mushroom kitty patch would be a perfect addition to this future collection.
  • I’m still very much into everything Harry Potter, so I like at least one of Santa Matita’s Harry Potter sticker sets. They’re pretty much perfect and they’ll fit the hardback editions of the Harry Potter books I’ll finally be able to order.
  • I have an old Eastpack backpack that’s running on its last legs and I think this pretty Fjallraven Kanken backpack in yellow would be a great replacement.
  • Even tough I’ve got a 15″ laptop I still crave a tablet. I’m thinking this Asus transformerbook (or something alike) would be perfect, so I can blog on the go and read new blogposts on my sofa.
  • I think I’ve already mentioned this print of Kelly McKernan’s Pan’s Labyrinth a couple of times on this blog and I still want it, so I’ll finally get it!
  • The Canon 50mm lens has been on my wanted list for ages. I can’t wait to start shooting with it.
  • My laptop can use a bit of a boost and I think the Samsung Evo 500GB SSD would be the perfect way to give it that bit extra.

I’m not sure I’ll buy all of these things when that sweet first pay check arrives, but I’ll treat myself to at least a big bunch of them. Did you do something similar with your first pay check? Or maybe you have a first salary wish list like this yourself?

Books, Design & Illustration, Inspiration

Book review: In Progress by Jessica Hische

I can’t really recall when I first heard about Jesscia Hische, but she kept popping up in the graphic design magazines and blogs I read. When I discovered she published a book called In Progress where she talks about her process and gives you a peek into her sketchbooks, I decided to give myself a little present.

If you don’t know who Jesscia Hische is, or what she does, let me tell you. Hische is a lettering artist, which means she makes typographic illustrations. She makes freakishly clean sketches and her typographic work is absolutely stunning. You might have seen her work already, without realizing, because she’s involved in a lot of projects, from the Penguin Drop Cap series to the design of the typography for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

Book review on In Progress by Jessica Hische, a very informative and inspiring read!

First, let me swoon about the design of Jessica Hische’s In Progress a bit. I really love the cover design, but the inside of the book is also very pretty. They used a red and a metallic silver accent colour and kept the lay-out and design quite simple which makes it very easy to read the book and to process all the information without feeling overwhelmed. The silver colour looks like graphite pencil and is used throughout the book, in all Jessica’s sketches in the book. It feels like you’re really looking at pencil sketches.

Book review on In Progress by Jessica Hische, a very informative and inspiring read!

As for the actual writing and information in the book: I loved it. The writing is informative and you feel like Jessica Hische is sitting next to you explaining her process making little quips here and there. In Progress is split into two big parts. In the first part Jessica Hische talks about her favourite analogue and digital tools and gives you a step by step explanation of her work process. In the second part of the book you get to see many different projects she’s worked on in the past.

A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector

The first part of In Progress was definitely the most informative part and I felt like Hische was very honest, not omitting any steps.When I read books on graphic design or illustration I often have the feeling the author is holding back on certain parts, to keep you from really understanding how to make what they’re making. That’s not the case with Hische, she really want you to understand which steps are involved in making digital lettering. Before she takes you through her lettering process, Hische also gives an introduction into typography and letter forms, which makes In Progress also suitable for absolute beginners in hand lettering.

Even though I’m not an absolute beginner and I already know a thing or two about typography and digitizing designs, I feel like a learned a lot by reading about Jessica Hische’s work process.

A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector

In the second part of the book we get to see many different projects Hische worked on. I expected to get an overview of her work with little extra information, but in the second part there’s more information to be found. Every project is explained and sometimes Hische goes into more details about the specific process for a certain piece. The work in the second part of the book is split into five categories: Editorial work, books, advertising, logos and miscellaneous work. I really liked that we got to see both the initial sketches and the final artwork. I find looking at sketches and sketchbooks always very interesting and seeing the sketch and the final pieces side by side gives you an extra learning opportunity.

A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector A peek into In Progress by Jessica Hische, which gives you a view Inside a Lettering Artist's Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector

I believe In Progress will be one of my best purchases this year and definitely one of my favourite books I read this year. If you’re interested in hand lettering or looking for some very pretty inspiration, you should definitely check out this book!

In Progress by Jessica Hische is for sale on Bol.com or Bookdepository.com for around €20.
(I’m an affiliate with both Bol and Bookdepository. This means when you buy something on these sites after clicking the links above I get a small percentage of the profit they make. This enables me to buy more awesome books to learn from and to review!)

Books, Inspiration

15 books you should gift this year

I read a lot of books in 2015 of which some I didn’t like and of which others I enjoyed enormously.  Some I enjoyed so much I’m putting them in today’s blogpost, which is my 2015 bookish gift guide.

I’ve scrolled through all of the books I’ve read this year and picked my favourite books to put in this bookish gift guide. Although I’ve read all of these books in the past year, not all of them were published in the last year though, some have been around for quite some time. Also, this guide is personal, if you want to read more reviews before you make a decision about a book, you can always check the Goodreads page of that book.

Graphic novels and comic books in my 2015 bookish gift guide

Graphic novels & comics

I’ve mentioned Locke & Key a couple of times on the blog this year. I had a difficult relation with the series. At first I thought it wouldn’t be something I’d like. Than, after reading the first volume I couldn’t wait to read the rest of the series. After I read the fifth volume I was a bit apprehensive of reading the last volume, because how could this series be so good and end in a satisfying way? It did end in a completely satisfying way, it was even better than I’d hoped. Awesome series, but know that it’s violent and gruesome at some points.

I wrote a complete review about Nimona, so you shouldn’t be surprised to find this comic in this gift guide. I really liked everything about Nimona, but mostly just how quirky the book is. This is an excellent book to give to anyone who likes shape-changers, knights, good vs. evil and lot’s of sarcasm.

Seconds is a graphic novel that is the perfect gift for all those people in your life that are “in between”. Where you’re figuring out what you want in your life and nothing is really going like it should. I’ve already mentioned Seconds earlier this year, in my post about four books I really, really like. The other books mentioned in that post are all excellent gift ideas!

Rat Queens has the most kick ass bunch of main character’s I’ve read about all year. Even better: they’re kick as female characters. They’re also really messed up, have social and personal problems and they’re all so different from each other. Reading this was a delight and I’m hoping the second volume can keep up. Otherwise I’ll just be re-reading volume one and mourn about what could’ve been. Note: this series is drenched in gore ^-^

Illustrated Books you should gift this year

Illustrated Books

Last year I worked on my CREARES, an individual project for which I needed to work together with a mentor. I found Peter Goes online, contacted him and thanked my lucky stars the following months for him helping me. On one of our meetings in March he showed a piece of a book he was working on. The book got bought for translation before it was even finished and I can only nod approvingly, because Peter made a little gem of a book. Timeline (or Tijdlijn in Dutch) tells the complete tale of our history and the history of our planet in an awesome illustration style. I think this is the ideal Christmas gifts for everyone between 10 years and whatever age you still can read or enjoy quirky illustrations of dinosaurs, knights, vikings and everything else we came up with the past couple of thousand years.

Another illustrated gem I read this year was A Monster Calls. It’s a short book and it tells the heartbreaking story of a boy who’s in denial about his mother’s disease. One night a monster appears at his window. Although you can buy the book without illustrations, I’d recommend buying the edition with illustrations by Jim Kay, because they add so much atmosphere to the book. The illustrator illustrated the new Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone edition. Another book I really recommend, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s Harry Potter and it has some of the most wonderful illustrations I’ve seen all year.

Short Story Collections on my 2015 bookish gift guide

Short Story Collections

Maybe I’m easily impressed, because I never really read short story collections before this year, but I’ve read two this year and I liked them both enough to add them to this list. First I read Unnatural Creatures, a collection of stories curated by Neil Gaiman. The stories ranges from strange magical realism-like tales, to more eerily and creepy stories. All tell about strange mythical and magical creatures though and although I didn’t love each and every story, there lot’s of tales I still think about fondly, months after I’ve read the book.

The other short story collection I’ve read was A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan. This books tells the story of two woman who’re expecting a baby and who tell their future child stories about loss and love. The stories were really strange with lot’s of magical realism elements. I felt like I was reading some sort of book with fairy tales.

Non-fiction books you should gift this year

Non-Fiction

I’ve read a couple of non-fiction books this year. My first non-fiction recommendation is the The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I listened to Palmer’s book as an audio book and I loved this version. Palmer narrates the book herself and puts a lot of personal extras and musical intermezzo’s in. The downside is that you can’t watch the photos that are in the book. Either way, the content of the book will inspire and touch you in ways you never thought a memoir would do.

My other non-fiction recommendation is Shoot! bij Anki Wijnen. Anki blogs at Zilverblauw and put everything she knows about photography in an extremely pretty book. I can swoon about the design of the book for ages, but that’s not the only good thing about the book. The information about photography is very easy to understand, it inspires and it motivates to get better at photography. I haven’t finished the book completely and yet, I’ve put a lot more effort in my photos since I’ve started reading it.

Fiction books you should gift this year

Fiction

For the last part of this bookish gift guide I’m going to recommend some fiction books. Although I’ve read a lot of books this year, I find in looking back, that a lot of the fiction I read was quite mediocre. I have only four fiction books I want to recommend.

First off, we have Uprooted (in Dutch it’s called Ontworteld)  I loved this book almost instantly! The world building, the characters, the writing style. It all suited me perfectly! If you know someone who likes fast paced books about magic, dark woods that want to consume people and Eastern-European folklore, then you’ve found the perfect gift.

Another book I really enjoyed this year was John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. The main character of this sci-fi novel is a 75-year old who signs up for an intergalactic army. Although the premise might sound a bit dark, the story isn’t. It is written with lot’s of humour and I absolutely loved the main character.

I was already a bit spoiled when I started reading The Girl with all the Gifts (Het Meisje met alle Gaven in Dutch) by M.R. Carrey, but I still enjoyed this book a lot. I’ve once heard it described as “if Matilda and The Walking Dead had a bookbaby” and that’s about as accurate as a description can be.

Although Flowers for Algernon is my last recommendation, it’s certainly not the least. It was the Boy who recommended this novel to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The story is about a mentally disabled man who participates in an experiment to increase his IQ. What follows is an insight into the main characters mind while he undergoes the change and an insight in how mentally disabled people are treated in our society.

So, that’s it for my bookish gift guide for 2015. Do you give books as gifts? Which book you’ve read in 2015 would you recommend as a gift?

Inspiration, Personal

A Small Wishlist [5]

We’ve put our Christmas tree up last night (it’s so pretty) and I’m really getting into the holiday spirit of spending all the money! I’ve spent a lot of time looking for Christmas presents, fruitlessly I might add, although I did found a couple of things I really wouldn’t mind finding under the tree myself this year.

A Small Wishlist

  1. I’m looking for some new jars for my kitchen. I had a pair of pretty tins, but they started to corrode. I do like the simple glass ones of Ikea (Korken 2L, €2,99 & Korken 1L, €1,99) and the glass jars with cork lids from Madame Stoltz (set of 2, €8,95).
  2. I recently discovered Lush’s soaps (I only ever used the bubble bars and now I’m eager to discover more of there facial products. Especially their cleansers with coal, either Dark Angels scrub or the Coalface soap.
  3. A cookie stamp saying “handmade”. I love the idea of stamping your cookies. – Suck UK, €14,95
  4. I already have two brush pens, but I’m completely sold! I want to try a couple more of the Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pen in different sizes and try the Pocket Brush Pen.
  5. I’m having a bit of an obsession with cutting boards at the moment. I really like this strangely shaped one from Ikea (Sittning, €4,99).

A Small Wishlist

  1. How pretty is this edition of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel? I absolutely love this cover! – €12,99
  2. I’ve keep hearing how good Grief is the Thing with Feathers (€12,99) is and how you should read it in combination with Ted Hughes’ Crow (€14,99). I like the idea of Crow, an omnious being, taking up residence with a grieving family.
  3. I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels and comics the past year. I’ve always loved comics and this year I’ve re-ignited that love. I’ve especially enjoyed Saga, Rat Queens and Chew (€13,99 each), so I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment in each of the series . I also think it’s high time I gave Maus (€16,49) a read, I’ve been curious about it for ages!

What’s on your wishlist? Anything very fancy?