Friday, September 26, 2014

Frisbee Tic-Tac-Toe

Let me tell you about our new favorite game that both of us are wholeheartedly in lust with, and if it weren't for having to erase the board with water and feeling wasteful, we'd play all day long every day.

To play, you'll need a flying disc (or several, depending on whether or not you feel like retrieving) and something to draw or make a big tic-tac-toe board with--and so, naturally, a big place to make it as well. Chalk on a driveway or a quiet street works best, but you could also lay sticks down to make a board in a field. Then, instead of playing by selecting where you'll put your X's and your opponent will put his or her O's, the twist comes in when you have to toss the Frisbee onto the board to be able claim spots on the board. Perhaps you'll want to mark a line designating where both players must stand behind to throw the Frisbee(s), to make it fair.

I suppose you could play strictly giving each player one chance to toss the Frisbee and if it doesn't even make it on the board, it still counts, but Silkworm and I played so we each got as many turns as we needed to get our Frisbee on the board in an empty spot--not necessarily in the spots we wanted them to land, but at least so we could mark an X or an O somewhere on every turn. We also drew our boxes quite big for lots of landing space, which worked better than I expected!

When you finish the first round, have a hose nearby to clean off the board.

If you're a great Frisbee thrower, this is your kind of game, and if you think otherwise, let me let you in on a little secret. Once upon a time, my mom went to a dog Frisbee workshop seminar-y thingy and learned from a professional how to throw a Frisbee. It doesn't matter too much how you grip it, but when you're throwing it, try standing with your dominant hand's side of your body turned to your target. Stand with your legs wide apart and both arms out straight--just like a starfish--and when you're ready to hit that bull's-eye, curl the arm of the hand holding the Frisbee into your chest, and then flick your arm out, letting go of the Frisbee at the very moment your arm is directly straight in front of you, but without stopping the motion of your arm and letting it continue until it's back at the side of your body it originates from.

Tell us if you play, and please send us photos if you take any!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Would You Rather: Open Call for Guest Posters

Maybe you saw our first post for our sparkly new Would You Rather guest post series last week. Whether you missed it or not, Silkworm and I are in need of more guest posters for the series, so if you're up for it, get in touch!

Our Would You Rather series is designed to discover the depths of our guest posters and allow them to introduce themselves on a deeper level than a typical interview. Each guest poster gets a question that begins with "Would you rather.." and must choose between the two scenarios they are presented with. Then they explain their choice, picking apart the question with their own unique interpretation and exposing their morals and ideals in the process. We like to think a Would You Rather question is the best way to get to know someone--big talk, not small talk.

We're looking to post Would You Rather guest posts monthly or bimonthly, depending on how many participants we can recruit. If you're interested, have a look at a post to get an idea of what it's all about, and then get in touch via email asking for your question!

If it makes you feel better, here's a few guidelines of what to include in your email:
1. Your name
2. A link to your blog or a social media (Instagram, Tumblr...)
3. A 1-2 sentence third person autobiography, to introduce yourself (or we'll write one!)
4. A photo of yourself for us to use in the post

Anyone who comes looking for an opportunity is going to get one, and we'll give you a question and a deadline to get your answer in by. We can't wait to hear more inspiring answers!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Paint Chip Poetry

Silkworm and I picked up these paint chips with another idea in mind, which we'll revisit in the near future, but upon reading the names of the colors and finding connections, we were inspired to do something different with them.

We wrote poetry--or maybe prose. We tried not to think too much and let the connections between the colors form themselves, and then we'd just build off of the idea. Some of them proved harder to work with than others, because the names of colors didn't sound good together, but the key is just to fit them into a poem. Don't worry about if the colors sound silly or like something you'd never write. Just let them flow. Play with longer and shorter paint chips with more or less colors. Work off of only one color or mix ten different paint chips. Let the changing of the colors create and guide the mood of the story.

(The blue one is our favorite from our bunch. We even folded it up to put in our memory shoebox.)

Paint chip poetry is a wonderful way to spark creativity. Each one can end up sounding other-worldly and naturally magical. Writers suffering from dreaded cases of Writer's Block would probably find them as useful prompts for creating settings, characters, or plots.

Let us know if you write any paint chip poems, and we'd love it if you'd share them with us! And you can read all four of ours below.

Yellow: A meadow of Tropical Cassia and Wild Chanterelle grew under our feet. There were two cottages before us, one painted Eastern Colonial Yellow and the other Vintage Scotch Yellow. A Summer Sunflower grew through the roof of the second house, tall and Rich Curry Gold. The world was the epitome of Warm Autumn Gold.

Green: The air smelled like Wild Lemon Basil. She'd just finished cleaning. Out the window was a field of Golden Wheat Grass and we could hear the Rushing Tiger River behind the house. The witch came in, her face Somber Bitter Green. She carried a basket of lettuce looking much more like Swiss cheese, from which a Garden Katydid proudly hopped off. Salad was cancelled and instead we ate Olive Toast at the Sorrento Estate.

Blue: An enormous Cloud Formation the shape of a fortress graced the sky that radiated the Essence of Blue. We were on an island in the middle of the ocean exploring a Bluebell Garden. We'd gotten Lost at Sea searching for the Cherished Blue Diamond and suddenly we fell into space. We got further lost in the Limitless Cosmos Blue. The inside of Neptune is Deep Heliotrope and so is the color of my veins.

White: The air was Quite White if air can be such a thing. His face, on the other hand, was turning Mountain Ash Gray. We handed him a Pocket Full of White and he mixed it with Cut Crystal. Someone played a Silver Celesta in the corner of the room with playful fingers. Japanese Windflower started to grow through the walls. In return for our help, he gave us the Jeweler's Lavender Gem.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Review: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The fact that I laughed out loud while reading this book practically every 10 pages speaks volumes of praise and recommendation. I have never laughed out loud at a book ever. I thought it was because I was immune to written jokes, but the real reason was because no author I've ever read has a comedic value that could compare to this pair's. Good Omens is so creatively written in a way I can't and don't want to explain. You have to read it for yourself--even a couple pages is enough, if you're not a book reader. Maybe you will be once you get into this one.

Title: Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Authors: Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett
Genre: Fantasy, comedy

Summary: Armageddon is nigh in a hilarious fashion, featuring a righteous angel and an Earth-loving demon who lost the Antichrist and a pair of humans trying to figure out how to stop the holy war before it begins.

Rating: 10/10
Would recommend to those who like: Implied humor, sarcasm, references upon references to other outside works, supernatural fantasy, the show Supernatural

Favorite Moments & Quotes*
*No spoilers!

1. “It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”

2. "It's Tchaikovsky's 'Another One Bites the Dust'," said Crowley, closing his eyes as they went through Slough. To while away the time as they crossed the sleeping Chilterns, they also listened to William Byrd's "We Are the Champions" and Beethoven's "I Want To Break Free." Neither were as good as Vaughan Williams's "Fat-Bottomed Girls."

3. "And on the other hand, you got people [demons] like Ligur and Hastur, who took such a dark delight in unpleasantness you might even have mistaken them for human."

4. "The color that flashes in bursts behind your eyes, behind the pain, just before you die, is infra-black."

5. "Crowley had been extremely impressed with the warranties offered by the computer industry, and had in fact sent a bundle Below to the department that drew up the Immortal Soul agreements, with a yellow memo form attached just saying: 'Learn, guys.'"

6."...Every couple months Crowley would pick out a plant that was growing too slowly, or succumbing to leaf-wilt or browning, or just didn't look quite as good as the others, and he would carry it around to all the other plants. 'Say goodbye to your friend,' he'd say to them. 'He just couldn't cut it...' ...The plants were the most luxurious, verdant, and beautiful in London. Also the most terrified."

7. "'I don't see why it's taken thousands of years to sort out.' 'That's because the people trying to sort it out were men,' said Pepper, meaningfully."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Blanket Fort a Month: Julgustemper '14

Noun. Jull-gus-TEM-bur. A pretend month combining July, August, and September, made-up by Carly and Silkworm because they were silly gooses and forgot all about their blanket fort tradition for two whole months.

We felt like we needed to make it up to our promised audience as well as ourselves. Thus, not only did we rearrange my bed to be able to make a different kind of fort than usual, but inside we worked on and finally finished the cherry on top of this month's blanket fort: a new zine called "A Guide to Building and Festooning Blanket Forts". The 16-page booklet, full of ideas and craft tutorials, is officially listed for sale at our Etsy shop. Go get one, they're $5 each.

As for the decorations, you might recognize them from past tutorial posts we've done! See how to make the star garland here and how to make a dream catcher here.

It's nice to have a fort in my room again. We missed being blanket fort dwellers.

Check out more photos of the inside of the zine on Etsy, where you can order one for yourself!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Would You Rather: Erin at The Halfway Point

Silkworm and I are launching a new guest post series on Zauberbear called "Would You Rather", wherein we're going to give each guest a Would You Rather question to answer as thoughtfully and meaningfully as they can. The whole idea is to get a deeper look at individuals and find inspiration at the bottom of their souls when they open up to pour out their answers.

This is Erin. She is a fairy-like being living in Australia who thinks a lot and blogs over at The Halfway Point about her life in all its crafty endeavors and life lessons learned. Once upon a time, she made the coolest handmade patchwork dress and now she's working on new goals to feed her mind, body, and soul. This is what we asked her:

Q: Would you rather live a casual life and die at 100 or live with a superpower and die at 35?

A: As soon as I read this question I knew what my answer was going to be, although if you’d asked me about a year back I probably would have chosen the other option. I’m going to say that I’d much rather live a casual life and die at 100 than live only 35 years with a super power.

Don’t get me wrong super powers are great. I mean flying and invisibility and whatever other super powers this world has thought up? Yes please! But there is so much more to life than what having super powers would be able to achieve. Even the best superpower isn’t going to make you more likely to find the beauty in the everyday, in fact I think it would most likely make it harder, and that’s what I believe to be one of the most important aspects of life: an ability to find beauty in the places you’ve been told there isn’t any.

As human beings we have a habit of playing down the amazing. Just stop and look around you for a few seconds. If you’re somewhere you’ve seen hundreds of times it’s probably difficult to find something truly awe inspiring in front of you, but keep looking. Now if you’re inside, look up, somewhere above you there’s most likely a light bulb. Do you look at it often? Do you absolutely lose your mind whenever you switch it on and it creates light? Probably not. But I’ll tell you what; if you were to go back a few thousand years and show that light bulb to people like the ancient Greeks they would go crazy, and I can almost guarantee it would be one of the most amazing things they had ever seen, and the ability to create glass as fine as that which encases the light bulb’s filaments? Well that would just be mind blowing. It’s things like this that prove to me how good we’ve all become at ignoring the extraordinary simply because we’re so used to it, and I’m trying a lot harder recently to stop doing this.

So what does that have to do with super powers? Everything. I think that after years of being able to fly etc. flight would lose its novelty just like everything else, and simply become a part of the every day routine that you take for granted. Our ability to walk upright on two legs doesn’t amaze us much anymore, but go back in time and it was revolutionary. People stop finding wonder in almost anything once they’ve become accustomed to it over a certain amount of time, and I doubt super powers would be any different.

But why live 100 years as we do now?

Just think about it. Think about all the things you’ve learned and experienced in your time on earth. That’s a lot of things isn’t it? Now think of all the things you’re still yet to experience or learn. That’s even more things. There’s some things that only the passing of time can truly teach you, and I’d like to make my time pass for as long as I can. If I lived only to be 35 my life would already be more than halfway over, and I know for sure that I still have a lot more learning to do that can’t possibly be crammed into the 16 years that I would have left to live, and those lessons could give me more than a super power ever could. I’d want to dedicate my 100 trips round the sun to learning and to teaching, to finding beauty and reminding myself of the wonders of a light bulb. Because when you have the ability to view life as the beautiful and magical thing that it is, simply living becomes a super power in itself.

- Erin

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mission of Magic: Snap and Scurry

We came quietly in the morning, Silkworm on my shoulder and me holding the means of the mission in my hands. Together we tied it ever so casually on a tree branch at the start of the path and snuck away like backwards thieves. We drove away with butterflies inside us upon watching a pair of hikers approach the camera and snap a photo of their dog.

Several hours later, we returned only to pick the camera up off the ground where it must have been dropped by the wind. It had 18 exposures left, meaning--minus the photo we had taken--strangers had used up 5 exposures. We decided we didn't want to risk losing the camera after we knew it had at least a few successes on it, so we took it home then and there. A few days later, once we'd used up the rest of the film, we got the photos developed. These are the photos we found, courtesy of the strangers who were brave enough to participate.

We did end up printing doubles of the photos and taking them to the park to let whoever used the camera see what they shot and take their photo home. However, I'm thinking most of the photographers weren't frequent visitors, because we returned to the park a week later to find all but one photo still hanging on the sign where we'd left them. Next time, we'll definitely tell people to look for a hashtag on Instagram instead and let people know ahead of time what to keep looking for. We gotta get into the habit of using hashtags; we both know it's a good idea, but we keep letting it slip our minds!

This was a magnificent Mission, though. We can't wait to do it again, with a few tweaks.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 8th's Full Moon

Silly me, thinking it was a good idea to take a magical stuffed bear camping on a full moon. Spoiler alert: it's not.

We got to enjoy the sunset--surprisingly, since we expected Silkworm to start showing symptoms of moon sickness as early as 6:00, with the peak being at 9:38 PM. The sunset was gorgeous, actually, but it was as if it was all in the moon's diabolical plans, because the delightfully hot pink sky stole our attention and ripped our guards down. Let's just say that when Silkworm started talking gibberish and I locked him in the car to keep my mom from hearing him (since she's a Non-Believer, and then I fell asleep, I wasn't necessarily ready to wake up in the middle of the night and battle the magical creature that had been released from the treasure chest Silkworm had dug up from out of the ground.

If we didn't have a guardian dragon watching out for us, we'd be the kind of toast that's so burnt, the crust turns to ashes when you poke at them. Thankfully, Raaisel was there looking out for us, though. Oh my butterfly, we owe so many lives to that dragon. I don't think we'll ever be able to repay him--especially when he keeps taking off so hastily! We never even get to say hello anymore!

And then there's the strange little bit about Silkworm's arm that sounds slightly irrelevant but it must have had something to do with our brawl with the creature. At some point last night, Silkworm lost a piece of fabric on his arm and the stuffing was exposed. He said it didn't hurt or anything. I planned to sew it back up when we got home the next day, but as it so happens, it seems to have patched itself up all by itself. Magic. It's got something for everything.

Monday, September 8, 2014

These Woods Sure Know How to Throw a Party

We fell even more in love with our favorite park when we explored a path we'd never walked on before and found secret picnic tables and lots of mile-a-minute green Dorito vines and a garter snake. I can't get over this place and it's not even all that popular or anything. How can that possibly be when it's so incredible?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sunrise and Sunset Bracelets

There are endless ways to creatively document your life: journals, scavenger hunts, photo collections--but let's get more unusual. What about friendship bracelets?

Silkworm and I have turned some of our favorite sunsets and sunrises into jewelry with this idea. We're going to be selling them at our Etsy shop someday--but we also wanted to teach you how to make your own out of your photos!

Embroidery thread
Method of holding friendship bracelet down (bull nose clip, tape...)
Small metal stamping blank (with hole) or tiny locket charm
Letter and number metal stamps (if using a stamping blank)
Paper and pen (if using a locket charm)

Step One: Pick your favorite photo of a sunrise or sunset. Figure out when it was taken (the date and time), and if you can remember where, plug it into this coordinate generator. Keep the photo and its information readily accessible and move on to the next step.

Step Two: Take your metal stamping blank and, on one side, stamp the coordinates of your sunset or sunrise (i.e. 23 N, 67 S; no degrees symbol unless you have a metal stamp for it, and you can use the "i" stamp sideways for a negative symbol; if you have a period, you can use decimals for a more exact location), and on the other side, stamp the date and time (write the date like an expiration date with no punctuation; leave a space between the hours and minutes of the time, unless you have a colon stamp). If your stamping blank is too thin to use both sides, use two stamping blanks. If your stamping blank doesn't have a hole to thread it onto your bracelet, use a hammer and nail to punch a hole where you want one.

If you don't have metal stamps, you can use a tiny locket charm with a piece of paper with the information on it inside. Silkworm and I actually wanted to opt for this method because we wanted to include a photo of the actual sunset we used, but we couldn't get to the craft store to get lockets.

Step Three: Make the friendship bracelet based off of the colorful sky. You can use any pattern, but ones that make a gradient work best (chevron, candy stripe, diamond, zigzag). If it helps, for finding the right colors for your project, take the photo to the craft store to pick out specific colors of thread instead of trying to find a not-so-matchy match in a bulk package of threads.

Step Four: Use a jump ring or wire to attach your metal stamp(s) or locket. Jump rings may not fit through homemade holes in stamping blanks, but thinner wire will, and you can just make a homemade jump ring out of that. We threaded our wire through the strings right before the last knot closing our bracelet, but you can put them anywhere you'd like.

I think this is my new favorite way of documenting life. It's a wonderful feeling to wear on your wrist the sunset from the day you met somebody, or accomplished a life goal. Let us know if you make any sunset or sunrise bracelets, or even other kinds of life-documentation jewelry, because we'd love to see what your creative mind comes up with. And keep an eye on our Etsy shop if you're up for purchasing a bracelet we made!
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