The Wizarding World of Once and Again Books

We did it, and it looked spectacular!

Harry Potter Decorated Bookstore

And, for that matter, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people squished into the store at the same time before.  I didn’t know we could squish that many people into the store at the same time.  It was so much fun, though; and for everyone who thought Barnes and Noble was the way to go for the midnight release, well, did they have Harry’s Birthday Cake Cupcakes?

Harry Potter Birthday Cake Cupcakes

I didn’t think so.

Casey did a spectacular job decorating the store.  She hung tulle from the ceiling in grand Harry Potter black and purple.  Plus she magically managed to make candles levitate several inches below the ceiling.

Once and Again Books storefront

The house banners now hang proudly from the windows, and Casey transformed the front door into Platform 9 3/4.

Harry Potter bathroom

The bathroom may or may not be the home of Moaning Myrtle and the Chamber of Secrets OR the entrance to the Ministry of Magic.  I’m not stepping into the toilet to find out which.

What did I do?  Why am I so tired?  I made three wizard robes in a week.

Angela, Casey, and Alex

I still cannot feel my fingers.

Also I made fancy potions bottles…yesterday…when I also finished the wizard robes.  If you ever have the inclination to make your own, but don’t think you’re fancy enough to pull it off, check out the blog Over the Big Moon.  She has a printable/downloadable set of potions labels up for free.  Print those out, stick them to your bottles with a little mod podge, and you’re good to go.  I used two of her labels myself: my Flesh Eating Slug Repellant and Skele-Grow are better for it.  I really, really, really wanted to make all of my own labels, but, as these things go, I ran out of time and only got to make a few, so having those available was pretty awesome!

Taryn, Angela, Jennifer

Thank you Taryn and Jenny for coming all the way down to Marietta with me.  It wouldn’t have been half as fun without you!

I’m a wee bit on the tired side, but like I said, no regrets.  I’m really happy with how everything turned out.  I know Casey and I both geeked out a bit on Pinterest because we wanted to do everything under the sun, and the store looked/still looks perfect.

If you want to see it for yourself come visit us at Once and Again Books.  The decorations will probably be up until Halloween. 🙂


Floating Down Ichetucknee Springs

Amy, Tripp, and Angela on the Ichetucknee

I went to visit Amy and Tripp down in Tallahassee this weekend.  I was not thrilled when they informed me that we’d be taking a 2 hour car ride at 5:30 the next morning, especially after my 5 hour drive, but I trusted them that the Ichetucknee Springs really would be that fantastic.  And they really were–but I’m going to start this story from the beginning, so that you get the full scope of how the day went.  It was a much longer day than we had intended, and according to all of the people who worked in and around the park, it had never been that crowded before.  Ever.

So basically we won the bad timing lottery.  It was still worth it, don’t get me wrong, but we were in for a lot of waiting–and were not at all prepared for it.

If you want to get into the North entrance of the springs (the longest route), they suggest showing up super duper early…like 8 am…or before…because they only let 750 people in to this entrance.  We were there at maybe 7:50, and we were the second to last car allowed in. Tripp was kind enough to be the driver so that Amy and I could hang out for a while.

Tubing in the parking lot

See that picture?  We literally sat in the parking lot for 3 hours waiting.  Poor Tripp, on the other hand, spent about two hours trying to drop the car off, buy wrist bands, and take the shuttle back.  Only one person is allowed to shuttle back…so there were a million of us (a figurative million, but it really was a lot) sitting on tubes in the parking lot praying for our missing people to appear.  We were soooo excited when Tripp (and sandwiches) showed up.  In our heads, we all figured we’d be done tubing and heading home by 1/2:00.  In reality, we didn’t get our tubes in the water untill 1:00.

But again, the North entrance was totally worth it.  Why?

Ichetucknee Basin

Firstly the water was the cleanest, the clearest, and the downright prettiest at the very beginning.  This is Blue Hole Spring where you can scuba dive down into underwater caves (somehow).  It’s deep, blue and beautiful.  It’s also freezing, but we all dove in anyway…and then promptly swam back out…we were brave and determined…just not THAT brave and determined.

Turtles on a Log

Second, and this sounds silly, but you get to see a lot more nature coming down from the North entrance than you do once you’ve hit the midpoint.  My theory is that the large crowds scare off the birds/fish/turtles in the area.

We saw quite a few of these little guys (are they herons?) preening themselves and fishing for their lunch.

White Heron standing

We didn’t really see much of anything once we got to the midpoint.  No  turtles.  No birds…a few fish, but not really.  The beginning two hours were the most exciting.

Amy with a snail shell


Lastly, and possibly least importantly, starting at the high point gave us a bit more elbow room.  Which really does sound silly.  But we were able to move around more easily before the crowds showed up and find things like the funky abandoned snail shell.

Amy and Trip

Also we were able to take nice photos without random strangers showing up in the background.  Which is awesome in my book.

If you’re interested in the parks, you can find more info here.

Before this, the only “river” I had ever been tubing on were various parts of the Chattahoochee (shudder); Ichitucknee put those trips to shame.  I’d highly recommend it, waiting and all.

P.S. For those wondering how I managed to bring a camera with me (maybe no one, but we were debating whether we should bring something or not and I’m glad we did) …well…I used my lovely waterproof phone…I stored it in my swimsuit.  Which was both awkward and insanely effective.  I could swim without having to worry about losing it, and take pictures when I wanted to…so…for all of you girls in rather useless string bikinis (thinking you’re all fancy), hah!  How impractical!

P.S.S. They say that weekdays are the best days to go!  Saturdays are the busiest.



Dessert Bookmarks–Almost There!

Almost done!  One left to finish!

I thought I’d try coloring it for a second to see what it would actually look like…and then I got hungry and had to stop.  You seriously cannot stare at a chocolate colored strawberry without wanting a chocolate covered strawberry.  You know?

Dessert Coloring Page

That said I hope this is my only food themed art…ever…I think I’ll gain twenty pounds if I try to do this again!

So many exciting things coming up this month, so stay tuned.  Hopefully by Wednesday I’ll have a new embroidery project (earrings!) or Harry Potter project (potions bottles, Hogwarts robes!) to share.  Did I mention that we’re doing a midnight release for the new Harry Potter script at the store?  I’ve got three sets of Hogwarts robes to make.  I think I can do it!

If you haven’t seen my other coloring designs yet, go check out my Etsy shop–> here

I’m going to work diligently to (hopefully) get “Coloring Bookmarks Eat Sweets” finished and up by tomorrow.  Then on to “Coloring Bookmarks Cast Spells”!

Santoro Knives

Greg (my baby brother) has been making knives for about a year now (ie: plaguing us with knives–normal people do not need as many knives as we currently have in the house).  He started off taking classes at GoatnHammer Forge in downtown Atlanta–and still goes down there frequently to use the equipment.  Fun fact: The Hunger Games industrial district was filmed at GoatnHammer.


The first ones he made looked a bit like funky metal banana peels…he’s gotten a lot better with practice.  Many of the things he used to do down at the forge, he now does at the house.  Ex: Below he’s cutting pieces of metal to size…he burned a hole in the garage carpet a few months back doing this exact same thing (it smelled disgusting).  Yesterday, he burned his shorts. 🙂

Greg cutting metal

Greg uses varying types of metal for the blades: O1 Tool Steel, 440c Stainless  steel, 5160 Spring Steel, CMPS30V, and 1095 Carbon Steel.

Knives and sheath

As far as the handles go, he makes them out of stabilized wood, birds eye maple, zebra wood, bocote, micarta, and kranite.  The kranite blue with yellow swirls was my birthday present.  It’s taller than my head.  I still have no idea what to do with a knife taller than my head, but I own one now, so that’s neat!

Three knivesGreg does makes knives to order, and turn around is about two weeks.  He takes requests; if you’re interested in something specific I’d encourage you to email him and ask.  I’ve watched him work at this for a year now, and while he’s made some very normal looking knives, he’s also made some funky ones.  He can make railroad spike knives (see the first photo), or knives out of old files (not his favorite).  Theoretically he could make a knife out of Michael’s broken mother board!

I hope that answers most of the questions from yesterday!  If you’re interested in pricing, requests, or even more about his process, you can contact him at:


Week in Review: Updates and Fun Things

Hello All!  It’s been a crazy busy week, so we’ll call this more of a “check in” than a blog post.

5 Coloring bookmarks and pencils

I know I posted the WIP last week, and I’m happy to say that the candy coloring bookmark is FINALLY finished.  I was up until about midnight trying to get it done last Wednesday–so basically, I showed you guys the lineart and then sat there for 3 more hours making it all fancified.  I’m really happy with how it turned out.  Some of you may have seen this photo up on instagram–I’ve finally started coloring some of my own designs–is it weird that I haven’t until now?  I really like making lineart more than coloring…I can’t help it!  (If you’re not following me, I’m scribblerex on Instagram!)

Angela with concert in the background

Saturday night, Katie, Sean, Stephanie, Simone, and I went down to Duluth Square for their free “Summer Concert Series”  to watch an 80’s cover band called The Breakfast Club play.  The band was good, the music selection was fantastic, and altogether it was just a really fun concert.  Duluth Square is really set up to optimize a gigantic amount of space.  Even if you’re far away you can see and hear really well–and I’m only saying this because we got there a bit late, it was insanely crowded, and we still got a great spot.

Group photoDuluth actually has 2 more free concerts lined up: Drivin N Cryin on August 13 and On the Border on September 10th.  If you’re interested head over to the City of Duluth page and don’t forget that you also live SOMEWHERE!  Most cities host something free over the summer, so google your hometown!  There might be something free and exciting going on nearby.

And there are about 12 Pokestops surrounding the stage…I really did try to catch ’em all Saturday.  Received my first PokemonGo injury Saturday as well.  Walked into stairs, stubbed my toe, it was gross–I was in flip flops, the steps were brick, I wont go into details.  Watch where you’re going everyone!  Don’t be like me!

Lastly, here’s an update on the embroidered necklace front:

Angela wearing necklace

I bought bigger jump rings for it (They’re actually chain mail rings which are a million times easier to use than jump rings.  An actually million, not just an imaginary million.) so it lays much nicer than it did before.  I’ve also switched out the chain for ribbon for 2 reasons: 1. The chain didn’t actually fit the style of the necklace, and we think the ribbon looks prettier, and 2. The ribbon is super easy to adjust.  The necklace is intended to be worn higher up on the neck, and everybody has different sized necks so it just seemed logical to make it so that it could fit as many people as possible.  Plus you can tie it into a cute little bow in the back!

Alright, well that’s all the updates for today.  I’ll be back on Wednesday with more bookmarks (most likely).

P.S. Going to be starting on some Harry Potter robes soon!  Guess what comes out at the end of the month!



Candy Coloring Bookmarks

I’m mostly (haha…okay, that might be an exaggeration…) done with the next bookmark, and I needed a breather because I looked at what I did and it’s way crazier looking than I thought it’d be going in.

Screenshot of Coloring Bookmarks

Yep…that’s a lot of candy.

I have learned (after a few fails) to print these guys out periodically and make sure they’re actually possible to color.  I’m happy to say that most of it is.  I’ll have to make a few things bigger as I start with the line art, but in the grand scheme of things it isn’t horrible.

5 Coloring Bookmarks

Another thing I’ve learned is that they’re all going to shrink once they’re printed out for sale/digital. (converting to pdf does that…) My flower bookmarks are there for a comparison.  They’re not too much smaller, but that’s almost a full inch.  An inch matters a good deal when it comes to teeny tiny little shapes.  My goal is to make a product that can be colored–not just one that you’re going to stare at in frustration.

I am happy that the two I’ve finished so far look so very different!

Thanks Amy and Puvi for the ideas!  I’ll decide once I’m done with  this bit.

And I still want a cupcake.

Cupcake Coloring Bookmarks WIP!

I’m starting up another set of coloring bookmarks.  “Coloring Bookmarks Eat Sweets” or something to that effect.  I’m terrible at titles.

Cupcakes Lineart

I left the purple sketches in just to give you an idea of how these things go together.  I do draw each one individually, however, with this one anyone, I sketched out the cupcake I wanted and then copy/pasted and arranged them so that they made a decent pattern.  I then went and added the cupcake linings, erased the corners of the cupcakes where the tops were and now I’m icing the darn things.

It’s amazing how freakishly hungry staring at cupcakes for several hours makes you.

Blue cupcakes with fish sprinkles

Becky and Mike were kind enough to humor me yesterday.  We made funfetti cupcakes with blue icing and fish sprinkles.  Yes.  You heard (read?) me right!  Fish sprinkles!

Hopefully I’ll be done with these guys by tomorrow and can get started on the next set.

What are your favorite desserts or candy?

Novel word count: 55,653

Cherry Blossom Necklace

Becky and I have been working on a few different projects over the past few months, and I’m happy to say that this one is finally nearing completion.  I made lineart awhile back of a bib necklace–lineart that I later used for my cherry blossom bookmark (which you can fine here).

Angela wearing the cherry blossom necklace

Becky, in her infinite genius, figured out how to digitize the lineart for an embroidery machine.  After a lot of trial and error, we finally printed it out on the embroidery machine, melted the edges (I’m not good with fire–I may have freaked out part way through lighting a match and accidentally thrown it on Becky/the deck…this is how house fires are probably started), and attached it with some jump rings and a fancy chain.

It still needs a little work, but we’re both pretty proud of the result so far.  What do you guys think?

“Book Scavenger” Book Review

Long gone are my Nancy Drew and Boxcar Children days, but I still think there’s something wonderful about a good mystery–especially one that feels solveable.

No, I did not predict the ending of Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s charming puzzle, but I did predict a few other things.  Like, I did know going in that the good guys would somehow beat the bad guys  That was inevitable as the two large, brutish thugs that Bertman introduces us to in the first chapter are inept, at best, and not quite certain how to follow the orders they’ve been given.

Emily, James, and Steve the Cowlick

Horrible drawing, but I really did expect Steve to be larger than the cover depicted.

Book Scavenger is a game (more of an obsession, really) for our heroine Emily who enjoys the thrill of hunting down a hidden book as well as solving and creating interesting puzzles and ciphers.  Her parents, bloggers famous for their desire to live in every state in the U.S, have just moved the family to San Francisco.  The only good thing about the move, in Emily’s opinion, is the fact that San Francisco is the home of Bayside Press, Book Scavenger, and the book’s creator Garrison Griswold.

Unfortunately, someone has shot poor Mr. Griswold on his way to announce his brand new game.  No one knows if Mr. Griswold is going to make it; nor does anyone know what his new game is or if Book Scavenger has a future if he doesn’t make it.  When Emily, her brother Matthew, and newfound friend/upstairs neighbor James (Emily is a little new at this whole “making friends” thing) discover a brand new copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Gold Bug” hidden behind a trash can in the BART station (the exact same one where Mr. Griswold was shot).  After careful examination, Emily just knows that the book must have belonged to Mr. Griswold and that it must be part of his next game.

What follows is an adventure full of word puzzles, literary puzzles, and hidden books.  I listened to it as an audiobook, and it was one of those easy listens where I was a little sad to have to stop the car.  I flipped through the physical book later to discover that all I was actually missing were pictures of the ciphers themselves.  Interesting, but they didn’t make me regret listening instead of reading.

This sounds a little goofy, but in the book, James has a cowlick sticking out of his hair that is so impressive that he names it.  It takes on a personality of it’s own–it will wiggle happily or droop in sadness.  The Steve of my imagination is much larger than the one in the cover art.  Thus the quickly drawn picture in honor of Steve.

Lastly, and this does make me feel like I’m getting old, but sometimes when I read elementary/YA titles as an adult I experience what I’ll call “Where are your parents???” syndrome.  In this case, I knew exactly where their parents were, but was somewhat perplexed by the fact that no matter what happened, neither James, Emily, nor Matthew thought to call the police or tell an adult that they were being chased by grown men.  I realize that they’re kids and that they’re supposed to make a stupid decision for the sake of the plot, but this bugged me to no end and I even went so far as to make sure that my student (who also read the book) knows to call the police in this situation.

And while I don’t want to knock off ratings for something so small, it really did bug me to no end, and yes it was a little harder for me to enjoy the book after that.

If you’d like a star rating, I’ll give it 4 out of 5.  I believe the second in the series will be coming out next year, and I’ll probably pick that up as well–I really did like it.

Lastly, Stephanie, Katie and I have started a new Youtube channel!  We’re AtlantaGeekGirls (all one word), and I’m posting up a video review of the Dorothy Must Die series simultaneously along with this written review.  Please go take a look here and tell me what you think!  We’re still in the stages of figuring out what we’re doing, so constructive criticism really does help!

Ms. Marvel Update

I’m finally almost done with the bracer/cuff/whatever it’s called, and it’s time for an update!

I primed the bracer with gesso (I didn’t take a photo of that) because I already own a giant tub and it seemed silly to buy more.  Gesso is a primer normally used on canvases, but can be used on pretty much anything if you get creative.  I know I’ve used it on insulation foam before to make my giant Heavenly Sword blade.


I think I applied 5 coats to it, possibly more by the time I was done.  I used a hairdryer (set on cool; don’t want to heat up the worbla) to dry each layer in between and then went in with fine sandpaper and smoothed it down.  I’m not going to claim that the end result was perfect; we’ll call it the “well loved” look and not the “I just bought this from a fancy jewelry store” look.

Spraypainted Bracer

Once I got fed up with sanding, I took it outside and sprayed it gold using Krylon Premium Metallic spraypaint (from Joanns).  Handy tip: Political signs are fantastic to spraypaint on!  This one was a post election one (just so people don’t think I go around stealing signs off the road) that we had in the garage, and it’s nice because it’s sturdy yet small and I could pick the whole darn thing up and carry it inside without waiting for the paint to dry.

Lastly, I added the painted details.

Painted Bracer

I want it to look as much like the pictures as possible, but I don’t want it to be very bulky because that will take away some of the authenticity of the piece.  The goal was for it to be smallish and fairly close to my skin.  I experimented with adding little beads of worbla for the upper dots, but couldn’t get them to not look cheesy.  I painted them instead, and while I know they don’t look like they’re popping off of the piece, I like how it turned out.  All I have left to finish for the top is to add the red rhinestones.

Underside of the Bracer

On the underside I’ve attached 8 D rings(only 4 pictured, I promise I can count).  To get them in you take a small fold of worbla, run it through the D ring and heat it up so that it folds over and sticks together.  You then heat the base part up (ie. the bottom of the bracer) cut it open, stick the D ring piece of worbla (which is hopefully still warm) into the hole you just made, and then close the whole thing up.

I’m still trying to work out how I’m going to make the bottom bracelet  part.  That’s most definitely going to be out of the 4 way stretch fabric because it needs to stick to my arm and not roll over.  So…give me till Wednesday and we’ll see what I’ve got.

Is anyone going to the random AWA event on Saturday other than Stephanie and me?  It’s $30 to get in and only $15 if you’re in cosplay.  Info is here if you’re interested!