Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Blogger Spotlight: Victoria Grace Howell from Stori Tori's Blog

Wow, it seems like December has flown by. I'm sure you're all a little tired of the Christmas-y goodness, so I thought I'd end the month of with our usual Blogger Spotlight. I'm so excited to bring feature Victoria Grace Howell on SOI today. I've been following her blog Stori Tori's Blog for awhile now, and I'm so impressed with her dedication to her weekly features. It's great to see such driven bloggers in the blog-o-sphere. Now, I'll stop chattering and let you get onto the interview!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Book Inspired Christmas Ornaments


 This is going to be a short and sweet post, but I wanted to share some last minute ideas for DIY ornaments that you can gift to your favourite book-lover (or yourself. Let's be real, probably yourself). I know that at this point you've put your crafting skills away and are simply enjoying time with your family, but I wanted to squeeze in one last Christmas themed post. My sister and I had a grand time making these, so I hope you enjoy!

 This first one is a little Christmas tree covered in book pages. First we cut out a tree shape from a piece of cardboard and then we torn up strips of book-pages from an old book. We then proceeded to cover the cardboard with the strips using white glue. To give it a finished look, be sure to fold the pages over the edges of the cardboard. The final glitter step is optional, but since we love glitter so much, we decided to outline the trees with a bit of green glitter. The final step is to hot-glue a piece of twine to hang the ornament.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Plaid, Sparkles and Hot-Glue: Christmas Bookshelf


I love Christmas decorating, so it's only natural that my decorating extends to my bookshelf. This year I went for a more low key design; most of the decorations can stay up past Christmas. Since it took me so long get everything up this year, it would be a shame to take it down in only a week! If you're running behind like me, but would still like to enjoy some Christmas spirit surrounding your books, maybe this will inspire you!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas (I'M BACK!)


It's been a little while since I've been active in the blog-o-sphere, but I wanted to hop back into it and celebrate Christmas over here at A Splash of Ink!

As many of you know, I'm in my second year of university and working on a double major in English and Medieval Studies. This semester I took an online course in addition to my regular on-campus classes. Let me just say that I admire all of you who do online courses full time. You have my utmost admiration (and a teeny bit of jealously for being able to manage it all!). Anyways, three of my four exams are complete, so I am on my way to being a free woman, at least for a couple of weeks before it starts again in January.

This past week, my family and I went to get our Christmas tree from a local nursery and I was swept up in the Christmas spirit. The pictures above are compliments of that trip. And yes, I was THAT person who was taking pictures in the store; all those twinkle lights are just too picturesque to pass up. After that lovely Christmas-y experience, I thought it was about time that I brought A Splash of Ink into the festivities. I have a few exciting festive ideas in the works, so be on the look out for those over the next few weeks, including my customary bookshelf decorations post. And of course, as soon as this is posted the Christmas header will be going up.

A Splash of Ink has a bit of a past with Christmas-themed posts, so to open the season I wanted to highlight a few of my favourites:


So that's my little update! Here's to finishing 2015 strong! Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Seasons Greetings/ Happy whatever you celebrate!

Do you have any Christmas posts on your blog? Feel free to shamelessly plug them in the comments. And do let me know how you've been in my short absence! Exams? Christmas stuff? Boring stuff? Let me know!

Reading: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
Listening: "You and Christmas" by People You Know
Watching: The Sim Supply on Youtube

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Blogger Spotlight: Victoria Jackson from The Endless Oceans of My Mind

It's the last Wednesday of the month, so that means it's time for another blogger spotlight! It feels like these are all that I've been posting the past few months (and the only stable thing on SOI), but as soon as the semester is done that will all change! Anyways, let me introduce Victoria Jackson from The Endless Oceans of my Mind. I'm so happy to be hosting Victoria here today, and I'm especially partial to her because she shares my Canadian identity (although her's is a bit more complex as you will see)! Onto the interview!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

How to Reach Out to Other Bloggers When it Seems Scary

I just looked at my last post date, and it was in October! Not cool, Sunny. I've been buried in school work, so I wanted to get back to blog-o-sphere with a little list, one of the most fun (and easiest posts to write). Looking at the last post that I published, Blogger Spotlight, it reminded me of how difficult it used to be for me to talk to other bloggers. It's always so great to feature other bloggers on your blog, but it can be hard to make that first step. So, I wanted to compile this little list of tips and tricks I've picked up along the way to help you forge connections with other bloggers.

1. Introduce Yourself Using Social Media

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Blogger Spotlight: Sanjana from Peridot Cove



It's the last week of the month, so that means it's time for another Blogger Spotlight post! I've really been enjoying getting to know other bloggers a bit better, and I'm so grateful for the positive response it's received. Last month we heard from Elizabeth over at Brokeness Aside, a newer member of the blogosphere, and today we're hearing from Sanjana from Peridot Cove. I've been following Sanjana for a little while now, and I always enjoy reading what she has to say. Her blog is definitely worth a visit (after this interview of course!). 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Three Levels of Story: Diegetic, Extradiegetic and Metadiegetic


As some of you know, I'm an English major. Sometimes I learn some pretty interesting things about books, and today I want to share a concept I found interesting. This is the idea that there is the potential for three "levels" of a story:


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sunny Revisits Children's Books (NEW TAG!)


This semester I'm taking a course in tween literature, and one of the books we had to read was The Bad Beginning from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I remember getting books 1-10 in that series from the Scholastic book order at school and then trying to balance them all while walking home. Best. Day. Ever. Anyways, reading that book again brought me back to my childhood of reading.

I really believe that reading as a child was foundational to the person I am today. By investing so much time into reading as a child (and my parents encouraging it), I learned practical things such as vocabulary and sentence structure, but beyond that, I absorbed emotional skills. When you read fiction you are exposed to hundreds of different characters all going through different circumstances, and as a child this taught me how to extend my empathy towards other people. I believe that reading as a child made me more aware of other people and was the beginnings of how I learned to look outside of myself.  

Since I believe that the books I read shaped me, I was curious to see what other people read and what books shaped them. Then I saw a video posted by Karen Kavett about books from the early thousands that she read and thought I should make a tag! This isn't exactly a regular tag with a bunch of questions; it only has one question:

What books did you read as a child?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blogger Spotlight: Elizabeth at Brokenness Aside

It's time for another edition of Blogger Spotlight! The purpose of this feature is to help bloggers get to know each other and to hear a little bit about what happens behind the scenes of each blogger's blog. The first person that was "spotlighted" was H.M. Wilson over at Plottinger Twist, and I think it went over pretty well. Since that was a success, I'm happy to bring you Elizabeth from Brokenness Aside. I've been following this blog from the beginning, and I always find her posts so insightful. Hope you enjoy getting to hear from her today!



Where do you blog and what is your blog about?
I blog over at Brokenness Aside and my blog is simply my life journey. I like to blog about different situations and what I'm learning in every circumstance and season of life. 

What got you started with blogging?
I got into blogging back when I was probably eleven or twelve. I had a random blog that I co-wrote on with two other friends. It was utter madness; I try to go back and read some old posts sometimes, but it's so embarrassing that I end up slamming my laptop and moving on with life. None the less, that blogging experience made me realize how much fun it can be to express yourself using this outlet.

What is your motivation to blog?
My motivation to blog is that it gives me a chance to share some things that I'm learning in life. I think it's a great opportunity to teach others instead of keeping all of the life lessons that I'm learning stocked up in my mind. The idea that maybe someone will learn a thing or two that they feel they can apply to their own lives from my blog inspires me to keep writing. Of course I hope that when people read my blog they'll be entertained, but that's definitely not my main pull to write.

What is your biggest challenge or fear when it comes to blogging and how do you overcome it?
A challenge for me when I'm blogging is just having the motivation to keep writing, and knowing that it's okay to write about things that aren't always positive. Sometimes I can get so overwhelmed with day to day life and I think that I can't write about what's going on. I feel that society advocates so much for world peace or everyone being happy all the time. I end up thinking that the fact that I'm unhappy is almost frowned upon, therefore I shouldn't post about it online. The way that I overcome that is just remembering that my blog is my platform and I have the ability to write about whatever I want!

What is your biggest reward from blogging?
My biggest reward from blogging is when friends of mine tell me that what I've been writing about has really encouraged them or taught them something. I think it's so cool that little ol' me has the power to impact a life in some way!!

And to end the interview off on a fun note, what is one random or interesting fact about yourself?
A random fact about me is that I am so indecisive! For example, it takes me forever to decide what to get at a restaurant and then I'll decide that I want to try something new, but I'm so indecisive that I end up getting what I normally get instead. Also, I'm so indecisive that I'm trying to decide if I should keep this random fact or write a different one...

Thank you so much Elizabeth! Your honest approach to blogging is inspiring. If you haven't checked out Brokenness Aside, do it pronto!

If you'd like to be involved in this feature and be interviewed, please leave me a comment or shoot me an email (sunny.smith@hotmail.ca). At this point, I don't have any particular requirements, so everyone is welcome to take part. Let me know in the comments what you think of the newest installment, and if you have any questions for Elizabeth!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My Experiences with Google Keep (or I'm shamelessly in love with checklists)

By now most of us are back in school and that means back to a crazy schedule. I'm an English major, so I know all about how school can flood your schedule *cough* endless reading *cough*. I've definitely seen the repercussions of that as the blog-o-sphere seems to have been slowing down over the past few weeks. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to do everything that needs to be done and still find time to blog. Today I wanted to share how I (attempt to) stay on track with Google Keep

I thought I was pretty familiar with all the bits of Google (docs, gmail, obviously blogger), so I was shocked when my boss at work mentioned Google Keep, something I'd never heard of. After getting over my initial ignorance, I quickly made this free (!!!), checklist/note keeping app part of my life. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas: Let's Talk about Symbolism


Earlier this week I wrote about the Point of View switches in Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas, and since I got carried away with that topic, I wanted to discuss my other thought about this book in a separate post. It might be a bit excessive to discuss this book in two posts, but whatever, my blog my rules, tehe. Anyways, I highly recommend you check my other post out to get my full feelings on the book, but in short, I really enjoyed this book (even if I have some issues). In my opinion the series has only gotten better; some people don't like where the story went, but I'm not one of them!

As in my last post, this discussion doesn't contain spoilers (only minor spoilers from previous books), so you don't have to worry if you haven't read QoS. At least I don't consider them major plot spoilers. You might find the discussion a very minor spoiler, but it builds on stuff that's happened in previous books.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas: Let's Talk about POV


A few days ago I finished reading Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas which is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series. This was a highly anticipated book by both myself and a ton of other book-bloggers. I even had the release date written on my calendar (#booknerd). In short, I enjoyed the book. It was witty and also had serious moments. I liked the plot and sped through it pretty fast (considering that it's 648 pages long!). It was nice to settle into a fantasy book and get comfortable.


However, there are some elements of the book that I wanted to discuss. These two literary features aren't necessarily specific to QoS, but I wanted to use my recent reading experience as a basis for this two part discussion. So if you haven't read QoS yet, don't worry, there will be no spoilers (although there will be minor spoilers from the previous books) and the discussion won't hinge entirely on knowing the plot.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reading Recap: Summer 2015

I manage to enjoy personal books all year around, but summer comes I get to read with reckless abandon with no thoughts of "required reading" in my mind. For me summer is from the beginning of May until the end of August; lots of good reading time! Since it's the end of summer *SOB*, I wanted to spend a blog post reflecting on what I got around to reading. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sunny Smith's Guide to Understanding Your Camera: Shutter Speed



It's time for another edition of Understanding Your Camera!

For a long time I've wanted to help other bloggers understand their cameras better. I see so many people struggling to get the photos they want for their blog, so this series is my attempt to help. Over the series I am going to be breaking down each part of the camera that you can manipulate to get the photos you want! Some of the different sections that we will look at are aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. Today we're going to look at shutter speed.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Blogger Spotlight: H.M. Wilson at Plottinger Twist

Blogger Spotlight is a new feature that I'm introducing to A Splash of Ink where I interview other bloggers in the blog-o-sphere. The purpose of this feature is to get to know the blogger behind the blog and discover new blogs. I'm always curious to hear more of a blogger's story, so this feature gives me the perfect excuse to ask! I hope you enjoy the answers as much as I do. Hannah @ Plottinger Twist, has so graciously agreed to be the first interviewed, so without further adieu, I give you H.M. Wilson!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Skeptic Reads an E-Book on the Kobo Aura

I'm going to put it out there right away. When it comes to e-readers, I'm not 100% on board. About this time last year, I interviewed my sister about her experiences with her Kobo. Together we came to the conclusion that paper books and e-books can compliment each other, but as you can tell from the interview, I was a bit skeptical of their value. Theoretically, I wasn't opposed to e-readers, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to own one.

Up until recently, I had never actually read an e-book on an e-reader. I had read a bit of a Netgalley arc on my tablet, but I had never read on an e-reader. Quite frankly, I wasn't planning on reading an e-book, but on our last long weekend vacation that changed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sunny Smith's Guide to Understanding Your Camera: Aperture

For a long time I've wanted to help other bloggers understand their cameras better. I see so many people struggling to get the photos they want for their blog, so this series is my attempt to help. Over the series I am going to be breaking down each part of the camera that you can manipulate to get the photos you want! Some of the different sections that we will look at are aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. Today we're going to look at aperture.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Joy of Summer Reading

I love to read, and I am always reading a book. It's rare for a day to pass without me opening a book and settling in to read, even if it's only two pages before bed. There's always a book on my night table (or floor beside by bed or purse or desk or car...) and I'm always working my way through a story.

Throughout the school year my reading "sessions" are very limited due to limited time. I might only get through five or six pages in one sitting. It might take me twenty or thirty sittings to finish a book. I'm used to reading this way, and I never really took note of it until this past weekend.

For us Canadians, we had a long weekend (no work, yay!), so naturally my family packed up our mini van and headed to our family's cottage. It was a vacation away from the electronics of life as there was no internet and iffy cell service. Being bookwormish, my solution was to pack a few books for the trip. After the appropriate amount of socializing, I spent most of my weekend sitting on the deck (or laying in bed) reading. I spent hours just reading, with no interruptions. I can't remember the last time I did that.

I burned through Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson in maximum three sittings. Reading that book was a totally different experience from how I normally read. I'm used to returning to a book and being forced to re-aquatint myself with the characters every time I return. By the time I'm familiar again, I can't keep my eyes open to read any more. With Epic Detour, the time in between readings was so minimal that it was easy to slip back into the story each time. I had the time to really loose myself in the story.

I realized that being able to read a book cover-to-cover in as little sittings as possible is the best way to appreciate the story. Unfortunately, that is not a luxury that is available all year around. As much as I'd like to lay in bed and read my days away, I'm glad that I can't, because it makes reading in the summer holidays so much sweeter.

Reading in more sittings gives you a chance to really think about the themes and the art of the novel, but the beauty of summer reading is that you can escape reality for a few solid hours. 

I know this is a shorter post, but I felt like I had to share my new-found appreciation for summer reading. Have you had a chance to do some good summer reading? What are your reading habits like? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Reading: Changeless by Gail Carriger
Listening: Rend Collective
Watching: The Unpopular Opinions book tags on Youtube

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Make Me Read It Readathon: Recap (Also, a word on meeting goals)


If you saw my post from a couple of weeks ago, you'll know that I participated in Val and Ely's Make Me Read It Readathon. The purpose of the Readathon was to set a goal and read as many books as you can in the week. My goal was to read two books out of five that you guys voted on.


The books that were on the menu for last week were The Unlikely Hero in Room 13b by Teresa Toten and Dustlands: Raging Star by Moria Young.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Why You Should Meet Authors (+ A Year of Living Prayerfully Review)

I've been to a few author talks, and I find that after meeting the writer I'm automatically more warm-hearted towards their work. When you put a face to that name on the cover of the book, it changes how you read the book. You can imagine the person writing it. You've talked to the writer and seen their passion. You can imagine the heart that went into the work. You tend to stop holding the real person you've met to the incredibly high standards that you usually have when reading a book by an author you know nothing about.

It's healthy for us rabid readers to meet authors. It keeps us from getting too cynical about books, and reminds us that authors are people too. I've definitely been guilty of ripping apart books on Goodreads or on SOI, but the more authors I meet (regardless of the quality of their work), the more I temper my public criticism of books that I don't care for. Meeting authors reminds me to be grateful for the incredible service they do us readers.

The latest published author that I met was Jared Brock. I met Jared "Jay" Brock after he spoke at our church one Sunday night. He was the genuine sort of guy. You know, the one who talks to you like he's known you forever because he's interested, not because he wants to sell his book (even if that was his ulterior motivate, he hid it very well, haha). Originally, I wasn't going to buy his book, but after talking to him and having my heart warmed, I wanted to support this author. So I bought his book.

This was one of those cases where I would have loved his book without having even met him.


Friday, July 10, 2015

The Make Me Read It Readathon


Let me begin this post by saying that July has been a crazy month. We started off the month with a tragedy in our community that has shaken us all up. In the midst of grieving, we been planning a summer camp that I will be volunteering at next week. All in all, the first ten days of July have been a blur.That being said, I thought today would be the perfect day to set up my entry for Ely and Val's Readathon linkup!

Here's how Val explained the Readathon:
Look at the books you own, either physical, e-book or ones you've borrowed from the library and pick out a few you really want to read, or feel like you should read. It’s up to you how many you pick, personally I'd pick a few more than you expect to be able to read in a week. Example: if you think you’ll only read two, pick out five books or if you think you can read seven, pick out ten.

Make a list of these books on your blog, or make a video, or a Goodreads shelf or post a picture on Instagram—whatever is easiest for you. Then get friends, other bloggers/booktubers etc. to vote on which books you HAVE to read.

When the read-a-thon comes along, you read the books in the order of most votes. For example, if one book gets 10 votes—you read that first, then the one that got 7 and so on. If there's a tie, then it's your preference. The goal is to read as many as possible.

Read the entire post here.

One of my goals for this year is to read my bookshelf. I have so many books that I've bought and just never read because I've gotten so distracted with library books. I've been doing remarkably well with NOT borrowing books for the library (I work there, so it's kind of hard), but I still have a long ways to go before I've read all my personal books. I'm hoping that this link-up will help me along.

The week of the Readathon is July 20 - July 27, and my goal is to read two books. I'm a terribly slow reader, so I thought that I was a good little challenge for me. At first I wasn't sure if this was for me, since I'm a slowpoke, but both of the boss ladies encouraged me:




So if you're like me and hesitating, just jump in! It will be fun!

Now, for the real question: which two books should I read?
Be sure to vote in the sidebar! Leave me a comment if you've read any of these or heard anything good or bad about them!Which one would you pick?

Reading: The Year of Living Prayfully by Jared Brock
Listening: Owl City's album Of June
Watching: Gilmore Girls season 6

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Why I'm Glad I Go to a "Smaller" University

As school is ending for some and course selection for the fall is in full swing, I thought it was an appropriate time to write this post about my first year of university.

When I started university I knew what I wanted. I wanted to major in English and potentially minor in History.  I had spent a year working after I had finished high school which gave me plenty of time to solidify this plan. When course selection came around and I got my course selection package in the mail, it was time to put my life plan into action. I dreamed of taking all English courses with a smattering of History thrown in. It was going to be great (I was blissfully ignoring the reality of the massive amounts of reading that would have required). 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Why I've Been Reading Short Stories

For a long time, I only read short stories for school. It never occurred to me that I might enjoy reading them outside of class. That all changed when I found a copy of Road Dahl's Skin and Other Stories at a thrift store a few months ago.

Of course I was a fan of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches and The BFG when I was a kid, but as a teenager I was introduced to his adult stuff. I had read his short story Lamb to the Slaughter for -you guessed it- school, and I really enjoyed it. I was surprised with how deliciously twisted it was, so when the collections of stories popped up, school had warmed me up enough to buy it.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Don't Break the Chain: How I Got Motivated (Again)


Maybe motivation isn't a problem for you, but sometimes it is for me.

When it comes to blogging it's (usually) easy for me to sit down and write a post. It was harder when no one read my blog and no one ever commented. But now, I have all the factors working towards me. People read my blog, people (seem) to like my blog, I like my blog, I like to write on my blog. It's easy to create for my blog when I know that there's an immediate appreciation of it. I write a post, I post it and the next day there's comments on it. Perfect.

However, when it comes to writing for my personal projects, it's a different story. I'm a thinker. I come up with all the ideas and jot them down. I make story boards and plot graphs. I'm basically the queen of planning, but after a few weeks of working on a project that I was excited for, I lose motivation. Usually it's because I don't really think the project will be successful.

This mindset led me into a vicious cycle of not creating anything. For a wannabe writer, this is a bad place to be. I felt guilty for not doing something I knew I wanted needed to do for me, and at the same time I couldn't bring myself to put in the work that I knew would relieve that guilt. Normally, if I don't want to pursue a hobby then I don't. Why do something that's supposed to be fun if it's not fun? But writing is different; with the risk of sounding hokey, it's more than a hobby. The need to create something meaningful doesn't go away, and sometimes it's hard, but putting in that hard work is what makes it so sweet. Does that makes sense? I hope so.

Anyways, I was stuck in this guilt/no motivation rut, until the Fall semester of last year when I took a creative writing course. That course, obviously, had deadlines which prompted me to create pieces, finish them, and turn them in. The looming deadline was the motivation I needed. This class was the spark that got me writing again. It took away that strange fear and self-doubt that had prevented me from getting back into it.

However, once the course ended, I didn't jump right back into full-on writer mode. I let ideas stew in my brain for a few months, sometimes jotting down a few words on the weekend. I could feel myself slipping back into my usual habits, and I didn't want that to happen again. As Summer is beginning, so is the feeling of a fresh start, so what better time than now to make some new goals. To meet those goals, I used my tried and true method of the Don't Break the Chain calendar by Karen Kavett.



Don't Break the Chain is all about completing an activity every. single. day. Each day you get to cross off the date, creating a chain effect, that you don't want to break. If you don't do said activity, you don't get to cross off the date, thus breaking the chain. This is a mental game that works very well for me (I've been using it since January to remind me to read my Bible each day). What's even better is that Karen just came out with a specific Summertime Don't Break the Chain calendar for June, July, August and September.

So with my Don't Break the Chain calendar printed and at the ready, June 1st I committed to writing 100 words a day. It's not much, but it's enough to keep me going. It was exactly what I needed, and I'm proud(ish) to to say that I've made it through the first 15 days without breaking the chain.

I wanted to share this little anecdote of what worked for me, because I know that many of you are in the same boat. I also wanted to write this down for my own posterity. I get in these ruts often enough that I need to remind myself how I pulled myself out of them. If you're interested in using this method, for whatever you want to accomplish, you can check out her Summertime Calendar post here, and her full year Calendar post here.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have any projects that are calling your name this summer? Are you going to try the Don't Break the Chain calendar? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments!

Yay! It's the first of many summer posts on SOI again! Click here to read the ones from last year.

Reading: Rivals in the City by Y.S. Lee
Listening: The Astronaut Wives' Club by Lily Koppel on audiobook
Watching: Casey Neistat vlogs

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Readership Survey Results!

Recently, I created a readership survey to accompany my first ever link-up! The survey closed at the end of May, so I thought it was high time to share the results and my response to them.

What kind of readers does A Splash of Ink have?

95% of the people who read SOI are female. Honestly, I'm not surprised. I find the book blog-o-sphere to be a female dominated world. To the guys who read SOI, you're awesome (and you should leave links to your blogs so I can read them!). 

Another non-surprising fact was that 100% of the people that filled out the survey are bloggers (of varying degrees of commitment).

When I asked about ages, I really had no idea what to expect. This was really interesting. 
52% of SOI's readers are between the ages of 11-16. 
29% of SOI's readers are between 17-20 (my age bracket).
14% of SOI's readers are between 20-24.
5% of SOI's readers are between 25-35

I asked about other languages that people spoke (mostly out of curiosity) and some of the answers were: Spanish, Russian (but at a six year old level), Irish, German, Hindi. Some of the more humorous answers were: Geek, Pig-Latin, Fangirl, Sarcasm. In all of the open category sections you guys never failed to crack me up, so thanks for that! 

In response to this answer:

 "English, but I am rather fond of a good Scottish accent, if that counts."

Yes, a good Scottish accent always counts for something, haha. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

In Which I Express My Inner Fangirl

This has been the week of tags! I got tagged twice! So in this post, I'm going to smash them together, alter, and answer them both. I was thinking about what these tags had in common and then it dawned on me: both of this tags look at what I fangirl about. I don't often fall into fits of fangirling, but what's more fun than discussing characters/books/t.v. that I love?! Who knows, maybe I'll find someone else out there who fangirls (or fanboys) about the same things (which would be awesome).

Bailey, a new blogger, at The Curiosity Collections tagged me with the Liebster blog award and asked some good questions that can easily lead into things that make me a fangirl. Since I've been tagged with this before, I only choose a couple of questions. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Find Your Vision and Make Things Happen

I've always believed that having an idea is the most value commodity in blogging.

Not having a nice camera.
Not having Photoshop.
Not having a graphics tablet. 
Not having an Etsy blog template.
Not have all the ARCS.
Not having a quality computer. 
Not having the connections.
Not having endless resources.
Not having money.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Jane and Sunny On: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black




This is a blog series where my sister and I discuss a book. We purposely choose books that are a bit older, that people have already read, so we can discuss them a bit more in depth and get your opinions in the comments. I like to think of it as a little book club between the two of us and all of you guys. That being said, this discussion is spoiler free. Today we're discussing The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Bookshelf Link-Up: Sunny's Entry!

The time has come for me to participate in my own link-up!  I'm super excited to write this post and thrilled that people have actually linked up! If you are interested in participating you have until May 19 to add you link. To see all the entries and read the details click here

Now onto the prompt!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Readership Survey and a Blog Link-Up Party!

With summer arriving, I  have more time to spend on A Splash of Ink, and I'm so excited for the future of this blog. This post features two things that I've been wanting to do for a really long time now:

A readership survey and a blog link-up party!

Survey:
Although I know the importance of the blogger enjoying their own blog, I want to make my blog a (even) better place for my readers. In order to get this feed back, I decided to create a survey. At first I wasn't sure if anyone would bother to do it, but I decided to go for it anyways. If only a few people respond, then at least I'll have a few more opinions than I had before the survey. I recognize that I'm asking you to take some of your time and do this for no reward other than the pleasure of filling out a survey, so if you choose complete it, I sincerely thank you.

While we're on the topic of thank-yous, I just want to say that all my readers are really great. I've never once had a mean comment. You are awesome (but you are more awesome if you complete my survey, tehe).


Click here to take the survey.

Link-Up:
For the first time ever on A Splash of Ink, I'm hosting a link-up party! I love participating in these, so I thought that it was high time that I hosted one. This link-up will run for three weeks, starting today and ending May 19. If you've been following SOI for awhile, you'll know that I have a small obsession with bookshelves. I love bragging talking about mine, and I want to hear everybody else's way of storing and displaying their books. 

The Prompt:
1. If you can, share a picture of your bookshelves (piles of books, boxes of books, anywhere you store your books) or describe the set-up you have. 
2. How do you sort your books? Author, genre, not at all?
3. Do you have any special trinkets or decorations on your shelves, or are they purely business?
4. What genre dominates your bookshelf? Or what genres make up your bookshelf?
5. Are there any books on your shelf that you're particularly proud of?
6. What is the ratio between read books and TBR books on your shelf?
7. What is the most recent addition to your bookshelf?
8. Describe your dream bookshelf setup.

I wanted to provide some questions to get you guys going, but this prompt is pretty general and you're welcome to deviate from it. You can also tack this onto the end of a book haul post, if you so desire. Answer some questions, answer all the questions, make up your own questions, just talk about bookshelves in some small way, and I'll be happy. 

I'm sure you all know how link-ups work, but in case you don't:
1. Write your post based off the prompt
2. Copy the bookshelf link-up graphic (above) and use it in your post
3. Link back to www.splash-of-ink.blogspot.ca
4. Come back and add your link to the link-up tool (below)

I'm excited (and nervous) to see everybody's response to these two new events on my blog. I'm also looking forward to putting up my own response to my link-up! I think this is going to be super fun. If you have any questions about the survey or the link-up, or notice some weird technical problem please leave me a comment.






Reading: Defy by Sara B. Larson
Watching: Gilmore Girls
Listening: Mumford and Sons

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How to Make a Personalized GIF

Today I wanted to talk about GIFS and how to utilize them on your blog. We all know about the fun GIFs of hopping bunnies or the kind that feed the fandoms.

 

Those are awesome and I love them. However, I've always been interested in the GIFs that act as a design element of a blog. These GIFs are the ones that are personalized to you and your blog. I've see them combining book haul pictures, as an animation of the blogger, and used as blog banners. the options are endless once you know how to make one of these sorta-picture-sorta-videos. Here's an example of a personalized GIF that I made for my "About Me" page:

This REALLY needs to be updated! 
I think that personalized GIFs are a design element that are under-used, because people don't know how to make them. So my goal for this post is to provide a fairly simple tutorial that doesn't require any fancy software. I will admit that I made that GIF above using Photoshop Elements. HOWEVER! It can be done without PSE. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to Get Library Labels Off Books

I love buying second hand books, but I always have to pause when I'm looking at the book sale shelf at the public library. Sometimes they have really great titles that have been deleted, not because they're worn out, but because the library has too many copies. And they're ridiculously cheap, much cheaper than any other second hand store. That sounds like a steal, right?

There's just one tiny problem. They're covered with spine labels and other library paraphernalia. 

Call me shallow, but I want my books to look pretty on my bookshelves. I want my books to look nice, clean and not like I stole them from the library! Luckily, my library doesn't use marker or stamps on the sides of pages, so the only real issues I have are the spine labels and the barcode on the front cover. Sick of letting good books pass me by, I learned how to get rid of those ugly spine labels and I want to share my (extremely simple) technique with you.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Few Tips on Being a Master Essayist (or at least an adequate one)

Here's something that I don't talk about often on A Splash of Ink: academic writing.

That term might send you running in fear to your latest YA novel. That's certainly my reaction. Um, professor, could I write this in narrative form? What do you mean it's 3000 words long?! What is a critical book review anyways? 


Well, with my first year of university under my belt, I've learned a few things about academic writing (aka the dreaded papers). I written this post of a combination of tips to first of all myself (because I'll forget by September and make the same dumb mistakes) and for you guys, because I wish I had known this stuff earlier.

Monday, March 23, 2015

I'm Alive and I Talk About Skim Reading

A Splash of Ink has experienced quite a lull this past month. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll have heard from me, but I haven't been posting. I've been writing, but not writing anything particularly fun. As any university student knows, the last month of the semester (i.e. November and March) are crazy. All the papers are due and all the tests are happening. So that's where I've been. I don't believe in apologizing about my blog, but I wanted to give you guys a bit of an explanation.

But thankfully, I'm back! Although, the posting might continue to be a bit spotty over the next few weeks.
Imagine this is your brain when you're skim reading
Today I want to share a few thoughts on skim reading -by skim reading I mean reading quickly through passages and skipping over others entirely. I'm writing a paper on it for one of my English classes, so I've been mulling it over.

Do you skim read?

I never ever skim read novels. Even if they're incredibly boring, I either quit or if I really must know the ending, I suffer till I get to the end. I have friends who can just skim over the boring parts, and I wish I could too, but I never can. I'm too afraid I'll miss a crucial part of the story.

However, with non-fiction, it's a completely different story (no pun intended, haha). A non-fiction book has to be really good for me to read every word. If you've been reading SOI for awhile, you'll know that I am a strong defender of reading non-fiction and every once and awhile write a post featuring some non-fic books. Here's a secret: with the exceptions of memoirs (or any other linear work), I rarely read the entire book. On average I read about 70-90% of a non-fiction book. I skim read.

And I wondered to myself why do I read so differently in fiction and non-fiction genres.

With fiction, I intend to get lost in the story. I certainly have expectations on what the story will be about, but I don't skip over parts that don't fit into my expectations. For example, if I want to read a romance novel, I don't skip over all the scenes with the best friend or the sidekick because they aren't romantic. That sounds utterly ridiculous. As a reader, I think I'm aware that all the scenes matter in creating the main character. How the MC behaves with the friend will add meaning to how they behave with the love interest. With fiction, I'm more aware of how all the parts build on each other to send a common message and create the story.

With non-fiction, I come to the text with an agenda to fill; I know what I want to get from the text. For example, if I pick up a how-to-write book I'm going to skip over the dialogue sections and go straight to description, because that's where I need instruction. I know what areas I want to read about and what I want to "learn" from the text. Sometimes this is a conscious act and other times it happens more organically as I read. I seem to value the building up of book as I do in fiction.

I don't think that skim reading is necessarily bad. In fact, when you have a lot of assigned reading and not enough time, sometimes you have to skim read for the main ideas. But it's important to acknowledge that skim reading doesn't give you the fullest reading of a text. In my experience, when I bring my own agenda to a text, I close myself off to the bigger and better ideas that a text could be offering; that is the danger of skim reading. 

How about you? Are you a skim reader? Do you support it? Have you been "forced" to skim read by reading obligations (ARC reviews, school, book club etc.)? I'm really interested to hear your experiences in the comments!

Reading: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Listening: Rusty Clanton
Watching: Gilmore Girls

Saturday, February 28, 2015

What Kinds of Blogs Do You Read?

 I write a book blog (and I use that term loosely), so naturally I read other book blogs. And for a long time I only ever read other blogs like mine. But slowly -I don't even really know when it happened- my feed became a mixture of blog genres.

In between the posts on book reviews, there are outfit of the day posts, inspirational life anecdotes, posts about weddings, posts about studio photography, fashion photography, lifestyle posts, decorating posts and graphic design posts.

Personally, I feel that my blogging life has been enriched since I have started to read blogs outside of my niche. I've been doing some thinking and here's why I think variety really is the spice of my blogging life.

I read blogs outside of my niche because I want to read them. I read blogs outside of my niche because it's fun.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Splash of Ink: Four Years in Review


Today is A Splash of Ink's fourth birthday! I cannot believe this blog has lasted so long. I'm amazed and so grateful for all your support. This year was a big year for A Splash of Ink. I thought about letting this day pass by with just a mention on Twitter, so I could let my previous post on posterity breath a bit. But I decided that I needed to document the growth that A Splash of Ink has experienced this year.

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