I have already shared some of my nature photography with you in a previous post. Here are some more of those photos.
What is your favorite photo?
I enjoy taking photos of different sights in nature, so I thought that I would share some of my photos from my travels this past summer and fall. I was amazed at the intricate details that I was able to capture with the camera on my iPad®. I loved how I could photograph each tiny fold in the flower petals, every dot of color on the pear and even the tiny dew drops that adorned the flowers. Although it was difficult taking my photos because I went through much trial and error to get the right shot, the results were well worth the effort. I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them!
What is your weapon of choice for photography? What do you like to take pictures of?
If content is the most important part of a blog, then design comes in a close second. A blog design can lead to either a positive or negative first impression. Fortunately, by implementing an effective color scheme into your blog, you can help make that first impression a good one. The Secret to Confidence With Color Design by Josh Byers is an amazing resource to help you learn the basics of color design. I would recommend that you read it before you read the rest of this post.
Step 1: Picking Your Colors
Now that you've read that article and have the basics of color design down pat, open Adobe Kuler. Locate the drop-down menu labeled "Color Rule" and hover your mouse over it. Then, choose a color relationship. I picked the monochromatic color rule for my blog.
Next, you can start fiddling around with your colors by moving the handles on your color wheel. I eventually ended up with the colors below.
Step 2: Design the Layout of the Colors on Your Blog
Once you are satisfied with your chosen color palette, take a good look at your site's theme. At this point you may want to sketch out the basics of your theme such as the headers, background, site title, menus, typography, etc. Just draw a simple layout of these elements and label them with the color that you want each element to be. It's best to indicate the different colors in your sketch with the hexadecimal of each color. To find the hexadecimal of a color, select the color and go down to where it says HEX. The six character series of numbers and letters is the hexadecimal for that color. Please do not skip this step. It will be very beneficial when it comes time to implement the colors.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 of This Series
Stay tuned for the next part in this series, in which I show you how to actually make the elements of your blog the color that you would like them to be.
Do you plan to redesign your blog or did you recently redesign it? What techniques did you use for your blog design?
As an avid reader and an indecisive decision maker, it has been so hard for me to compile this list. Therefore, I do not think that I should be tortured with the impossible task of ordering this list according to the quality of the books. Instead, I present to you a list of the top ten best books/series of all time in alphabetical order (omitting the words "a" and "the"). On a side note, there is a distinctive pattern in this list of books; I have reread or plan to reread every single book on this list.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
One would think that a book addressing an issue with a communist form of government would be dry and boring. However, in this book, George Orwell expresses his views toward the subject with a deeply touching story about animals on a farm. It was anything but boring and even though I haven't reread it yet, I really want to read it again soon.
The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis's world building skills are amazing. In his series entitled The Chronicles of Narnia, he creates so many multidimensional and imaginative characters and worlds to tell an epic adventure story. Furthermore, as the reader progresses through the seven books, the reader learns so many valuable lessons. I grew up immersing myself in the world of Narnia by reading the whole series twice and I think it's about time for a third run. By the way, I share the love for Narnia with Adonia over at The Stone Table.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Just like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien is an extremely skilled world builder and he really knows how to raise the tension. However, what really helps the reader connect to the story is that Bilbo is such a lovable character and his journey in finding his courage sends an empowering message of self discovery. By the way, the first time I read this book, my dad read it to my brother and I. It was one of those large books with pretty illustrations.
Indian Captive by Lois Lenski
Crease lines crowd the spine of my copy of Indian Captive, and some places on the cover are worn off and folded. My copy isn't battered because I didn't take good care of it. Instead it's because I have read the book so many times; it must be close to ten rereads. Literally. This is a classic story of a Native American captive who learns to accept and even appreciate her Native American family. Do you see that silver medal on the cover? That's the Newbery Honor, but in my opinion, I think the book should have won the Newbery Medal.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This book was so beautiful. It explores the idea of racism, but through the eyes of a child named Scout Finch. Scout Finch's personality is so realistic and her account of the story of her father's fight to battle racism is priceless.
The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Again, I'm pretty sure I've reread this book close to ten times and I've read all of the other books in the series at least twice. When I was little, I was absolutely obsessed with The Little House Series. It gave me a breathtaking view of life as a pioneer, the type of person that I so desperately wished to be. This series made me so obsessed with pioneers that in elementary school I wore bonnets to recess, played pioneers with my friends everyday and centered all of my school projects around pioneers when I had the choice. It was hardcore elementary school fangirling.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
This series is as much of a masterpiece as The Hobbit. Indeed, it is a continuation of The Hobbit and I found it interesting to compare Bilbo's journey and Bilbo's nephew, Frodo's journey.
The Nancy Drew Mystery Series by Carolyn Keene
The Nancy Drew Mystery Series was another one of my childhood obsessions. I loved the heart-racing suspense and cliff-hangers that ended every chapter. I also loved trying to solve the mystery along with Nancy and I admired Nancy's ingenuity. I even went so far as to try to dig my own tunnel with my friend in elementary school to see if we could find mysterious people underground. Just in case you were wondering, we never did; the "tunnel" turned into a rabbit nest.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Yes, oh yes. Peter Pan is "one of the most magical stories ever written." I loved reading about Neverland and I often wished that I could experience its magic for myself. I think my love of this book was also fostered by the Disney movie. In my mind, the book and the movie merged to create a fantastic and ever-lasting story.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Like so many other books by Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities was beautiful and haunting at the same time. The way that the story unraveled in the end just blew my mind and was deeply touching. Granted, the story could get slow at times, but never boring. I first read this story in fourth grade, but I think if I reread it now, I'll be able to appreciate its beauty even more.
What are your opinions on the books above? Is there a book on your list of best books of all time that I didn't put on my list?
The Origin of Fan Fiction
I believe that the creation of fan fiction is driven by a reader's intense love for a book. This love is driven even deeper when a book is part of series. Then, the reader can spend time with the beloved characters of the book and their world for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, a series must always end, and when it does, readers are left pining for more. It's just part of the fandom life. Fan fiction is a way for readers to continue the stories of the characters that they have struggled with, smiled with and cried with for so long.
Fan Fiction Can Be Both a Compliment and an Annoyance to an Author
That said, I find fan fiction, especially well written fan fiction, to be interesting because in order to write good fan fiction, the writer must know the characters and the story world of the book very well. However, a fan fiction writer can only know the characters so well if the author of the original story crafted a well written story with realistic characters. Therefore, fan fiction can often be a compliment.
At the same time, fan fiction can be an annoyance to the author. Imagine spending months creating complex characters, a story world and a plot line for a novel. Imagine spending every minute thinking through the endless paths that your story could take. Imagine laboring over every word in your story to try to make it fit perfectly. Then, someone writes a fan fiction piece based on your story and he/she put the characters down a path that you never wanted your story to go. Annoyingly, the whole story line is now ruined.
Why I Don't Write Fan Fiction
I don't write fan fiction because I don't want to ruin the author's plans for the story. There are so many other ways that I can show an author how much I love their book. For example, I can write a rave review and post it here on my blog or write a fan letter to the author. Additionally, fan fiction just isn't original enough for me. I would much rather make up my own characters and my own unique setting than use another author's characters in a story because I end up feeling more proud of my work.
What are your thoughts on fan fiction? Do you write it? Read it?
A Blog Makeover
On a side note, you have probably noticed that I am in the process of giving my blog a serious makeover. Watch for a new color scheme and custom graphics! Also, if you have any suggestions for my blog design, please comment below.
Yep, you guessed it. While everyone rushes to get their hands on a copy of a new book the day it comes out, I stay at home, burying myself in a book published 1-100 hundred years ago. So why don't I immediately jump on the bandwagon? Well, I have a couple of reasons.
New Books Aren't At the Library Right Away
As mentioned before, I prefer borrowing books from the library over buying books. Libraries usually can not obtain the book for checkout the day of the release. However, they usually are able to get the book within a few weeks. Even then, I don't like to check out the new book, which brings me to my second reason.
I Want to Read Quality Books
I do not want to waste my time or money on a book. Therefore, if a new book with negative reviews comes out, and I am skeptical about the premise, I will not read it. I'd much rather spend my valuable time reading time-tested books such as classics or Newbery Medal Winners. I still read non classic and non award-winning books-just not the day or even the week that they are released. This brings me to my most important reason.
I Don't Have the Patience to Wait for The Next Installment
Nowadays, popular books are typically part of a series. Unfortunately, each installment usually comes out a whole year after the previous installment. Therefore, when a reader ends up loving a book, only to realize that the next book in the series is set to come out a year later, it does not look pretty.
My friends moan about how they have to wait forever for a book to come out, while I just smile and quickly devour a series that is already completely published. I could not stand waiting that long for a highly anticipated book to come out. After all, it's already proving way too difficult for me to wait for the last Hobbit movie to come out.
Do you jump to read new releases, or do you bide your time? Is there a book that you are desperately waiting for right now?
A Message for Writers
Also, if you are interested, Go Teen Writers is holding a word war this weekend. Word wars are a great way to motivate you to push through writer's block and just write. I highly recommend you to check it out and participate in a word war or two.
Why Make a Blog Button?
I'm Convinced. Let's Actually Make a Blog Button Now.
Step 1: Find Your Photos
Find an image(s) that you would like to include in your blog button. I would use your own original image, clip art or a picture under public domain, such as those in the Wikimedia Commons, to avoid copyright infringement. You can also manipulate your photos in Photoshop before saving them to your hard drive.
Step 2: Resize
Open PicMonkey or download it from the Chrome Web Store. Choose edit at the top and then upload your background photo. Select the resize button under the cropping symbol menu. This should come up.
Deselect the "Keep Proportions" box. Then change the size to 125 x 125 pixels.
Step 3: Personalize
Now comes the fun part. It's time to personalize your button! If you have any other pictures that you want to add, you can add them by clicking the butterfly icon and then selecting the "Your Own" button. You can also add pictures and effects that are built into PicMonkey. When you are done personalizing, make sure that you type the name of your blog on the button by selecting the "Tt" icon on the side. Then, save your image.
Even thought the file size is big, I would select the highest quality, Sean, because you want your best work to be on your blog.
Step 4: Generate Your Code
Open a new post and upload your picture. Don't worry! You can delete this blog post draft later. Then, right click on the photo and select "Copy URL". Next, go to "Grab My Button" Code Generator.
Start with filling in the "Your Image URL" by pasting the url of your image. Then fill out the rest of the top section. The section under "Choose Your Colors and Code Box Options" does not need to be filled out. Just leave that part as is. When you have finished filling out the form, click the "Preview" button to make sure the image looks okay.
When you are satisfied with your image, click "Get Code".
Step 5: Upload Your Blog Button
Copy the code in the box. Now go back to your Weebly site. Make sure you are in the "Build" tab and click the icon with the three dots at the top left. Choose the "Embed Code" button and drag the widget over to the sidebar of your blog. Then, paste your HTML code into the box and hit enter. That's all there is to it.
If you want to upload a button from another blog onto your site, all you have to do is copy the code beneath the button and use the "Embed Code" feature to insert it onto a page.
Is there anything that I can clear up for you in this tutorial? Have you made a blog button yet? And please grab my blog button and post it on your blog! I'd be willing to post your button on my blog as well.
Hi, everyone! I decided that for my first "real" post I would participate in a meme involving books. This meme, called Stacking the Shelves, is hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews. Bloggers have to discuss the books that have they have bought, borrowed, received as a gift or won. I don't buy books often, but I do visit the library and borrow books at least every week. In the past week, I have borrowed six books from both the town library and the school library. Here they are, with a picture of the cover. Speaking of covers, book covers are the only non-original/public domain pictures that I will use on this blog because posting book covers is actually publicity for the author, and authors like publicity.
Miss Spitfire By Sarah Miller
I actually finished this book already and it was absolutely amazing. It tells Helen Keller's story from the point of view of Anne Sullivan, her teacher. I love how effectively Sarah Miller evokes Anne's personality; her determination and strong spirit really shine through.
Blink By Malcolm Gladwell
I read Outliers, another book by Malcolm Gladwell and I loved it because it made me look at success in a completely different way. I decided to give Blink a shot, and so far, it is proving to be as interesting as Outliers. This time, however, it is making me see decisions in a whole new way.
Cinder By Marissa Meyer
I am so excited to read this book! For those of you who might not know (who doesn't?), it's a sci-fi retelling of Cinderella and it takes place in China. I just love reading fractured fairy tales.
The Book Thief By Markus Zusak
Where do I begin? I have heard amazing things about this book and have read many rave reviews. Also, a movie was made from the book, which must mean something. The cover is awesome too and that's a mark in my book. Even though some people say that "you shouldn't judge a book by its cover", a cover can make or break a book.
Chasing Jupiter By Rachel Coker
You don't know how feverishly I have been looking for this book! Rachel Coker is only 18 and yet, she has already written and published two books. I was so surprised when I found out that Chasing Jupiter was actually at the school library. Now I have to convince the librarian to get her first book, Interrupted.
The Prophet of Yonwood By Jeanne DuPrau
I read the first and second books in the series, The City of Ember and The People of Sparks and liked them. So, I decided to finish the series. I still have to read The Prophet of Yonwood and The Diamond of Darkhold.
What books have you recently bought, checked out from the library, received as a gift or won? What are your opinions on the books above?
My First Post! Squeal!
Hi everyone! Welcome to Butterflies of the Imagination. Butterflies of the Imagination is a blog devoted to all of my interests, thoughts and fanciful whims. This may include (but is not limited to) posts on the following topics:
I also hope to host events such as Word Wars for all of you fellow writers. In case you don't know what Word Wars are, they are basically a set time for writers to feverishly write as much as possible and compare word count scores. It is also a time to lament to other writers concerning any problems that you experience as you write.
Since I have never really blogged before, I am learning. Please be patient as I figure out where I am going with this blog. I am also still working on the website design as I have yet to create a heading for my webpages and a logo for my site. However, I do have a blog button, so feel free to grab it and post it on your blog.
On a related note, all of the images in posts, headers, my logo, the blog button, etc. will be either my own or under public domain.
I am not sure how frequently I will post. However, I should get that figured out as soon as I really start posting and getting a feel for blogging. Anyways, I hope you enjoy reading Butterflies of the Imagination!
Do you have any suggestions or post requests?