Category Archives: Bulletin Boards

Spring Is the Mischief in Me

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And then you have to read the next couple lines in the poem.

With the comic finally put to bed, 11 days late, I managed to get a seasonal bulletin board up; the image hadn’t been changed since mid-December and now it’s basically spring in Tucson, even though the weather has been unseasonably cold.

The quote is from Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” which was first published 104 years ago, yet presciently questions the point of a meaningless wall.

The letter art for the word “spring” is all original, of course, although I did look at some animal alphabets for inspiration on the S and the G. The S is supposed to be a vermillion flycatcher, the P is a lemon bud, the R is a monarch butterfly, the I is a desert marigold, the N is a long-suffering saguaro, and the G is a gecko. The small block letter are just the easiest style to cut by hand, and the lettering of “mischief” is based on a Harry Potter inspired font called “Mischief Managed.” The other animals are a hummingbird, a jackrabbit, some kind of fish, and a gambrel’s quail. I feel like it needed more animals, but The Man wanted me at home and the school is closed until Monday (in Tucson we don’t celebrate President’s Day, but we get 2 days for Festival of Vaqueros: the rodeo).

Maybe I should go back Monday and give the rabbit some whiskers, and take a better picture. We’ll see. My massage therapist also suggested that I should let my creating hand rest a little bit.

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No Place Like Home for the Holidays

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You don’t need that white stuff to have a nice December. I promise.

I don’t typically do Christmas-related things, except for making gingerbread with the kids, but I do like a nice holiday bulletin board that somehow celebrates the season of lights. I was thinking about home—my parents just bought a house a couple miles from here, and are in the process of selling the place I grew up—and how much I love where I live, so this is a quintessentially Tucson image: the big adobe, the happy cactus, the chili pepper bundles, and the tiny luminarias.

I meant to post it a couple days ago but it’s been a rough week and a half. First the power cable for my MacBook Air died, and it was a couple days before I could get a new one, by which time I had some mild but debilitating version of the flu. Now I’m 10 days behind on the comic book, but I can finish page 10 tonight and maybe I can do 2 more in the next week and catch back up. I padded my schedule a lot in case of emergencies/apathy/lethargy.

So, Merry whatever if you celebrate something round about this time. No matter what time of year it is, you should cherish your family and friends.

Have a Sweet Summer

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Yeah, and, um…bee good, OK?

All week I believed I was going to make a bulletin board featuring a picture of a date palm, but somehow when I got to school, I made a bee on an opuntia flower. Admittedly, it’s not my absolute best work. The school ran out out of black paper and it was about 100° outside and I just wanted to finish because it was 5 pm everyone had gone home and I still had 3 more engagements for the evening. But it’s not a bad bee. Or a bad flower. Still, whenever I do anything, I immediately see how I could have done it better. But this is better than not doing it.

Anyway, school’s out on Thursday, both my district and the Kids’ district, and the pool water should hit 80° this week, so it’s as summer as it can get. Summer I, I should say, since, of course, we have 2 summers in southern Arizona. But I like them both. There’s nothing like a summer sunset in the desert, especially if you observe it from your own back yard, next to your own pool.

When Life Gives You Lemons…

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If you lived in Arizona, you’d know what I mean.

If you’re on the east coast, or somewhere up north, this image might not make sense, but today in Tucson it’s into the 90s, and the entire city is infused with the scent of citrus blossoms. It’s really wonderful. The Kids’ grandmother gave us a bag of lemons and we’ve already finished our first pitcher of lemonade of the season, spring in Tucson being more similar in disposition to summer in most of the country.

Knocked this one out in just under 4 1/2 hours; it’s much easier when there’s no text, and I think the image speaks for itself.

Happy as Kings Bulletin Board

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Presumably, successful kings of prosperous countries who are beloved by their people and enjoy a reign free from war or internecine conflict.

Look what I made while I was almost too depressed to stand up! Except for the placement of the attribution it’s almost perfect. Good thing the “ALL” is in caps. It sort of mitigates some of the bitter sentiment here. We should all be happy. There’s plenty of stuff for everyone. I’m sure of that.

The quote–or poem, rather, as this is a poem in its entirety–comes from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. I didn’t remember it from my childhood, but came across it in my copy of the book, which the Girl was reading for her English class poetry unit. That’s the whole sentiment. My copy of the book belonged to my mother as a child. She wrote her name and address on the frontispiece when she was a little girl. So that’s wholly sentimental.

The black letters are based on the Minya Nouvelle Regular typewriter-style font. The other letters are, of course, of my own devising. The chalkboard letters were created by hand-tearing each letter rather than cutting.

This piece took about 4 days, working an average of 2 1/2 hours a day. I hope it doesn’t blow away like the last one did.

E Pluribus Unum

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Of course, she did much more than most people, with much less than most people. 

Usually, my holiday bulletin boards are sort of cheerful and joy-themed, but last night, while considering my intentions, I decided that there was a message that everyone needed to hear. E pluribus unum; one nation, indivisible, a house divided against itself cannot stand; we are one. If we can’t find a way to come together, to heal the rifts between people that brought us the most polarizing and depressing election of my almost-42 years on this planet, we can’t expect to achieve much of anything.

After settling the theme of “unity,” I researched for a while and found a lot of wonderful quote, most of which were a bit sophisticated for my primary audience, a number of whom are still learning to read. This Helen Keller quote summed up the intention in words that your average 8-year-old can understand.

Before anything else, I had already decided I wanted to go font-heavy, to use fancy lettering, which takes 4 times as long, but used to be a mainstay of this genre for me. Once I had settled on the quote, I chose the typeface by searching “19th century fonts” and “victorian fonts.” These letters are based on  Longdon Decorative. I smoothed out a few of its peculiar bumps, but otherwise feel like this cut letters are pretty faithful representations.

No visual imagery really jumped to mind, except maybe hands, reaching or helping. Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow and add a picture if one comes to mind, but I doubt it. Had I more time, I could have come up with something, but I was already 45 minutes late to help the Girl with her report about Jane Goodall, plus getting sick due to the overwhelming stench of the laminating machine. Someone said that they might have changed the type of plastic used in this machine, because they’d actually relocated it to the next room and it still smelled twice as bad as when it was behind the library desk. My head still hurts from those noxious fumes. At any rate, it seemed important to have this bulletin board and this blog post available first thing Wednesday morning.

So, what do you think? Can we just try to love each other? And if that’s too much, maybe acceptance? Tolerance, at a bare minimum. Can’t we just tolerate one another?

Night with Robert Frost: Autumn Bulletin Board

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I’ve also been acquainted with the night. 

People seem pretty eager to jump into the spirit of October this year, and my last bulletin board was looking kind of shabby, and I’m just completely focused at this moment, so I took 3 days this week (just under 6 hours total) to put up my October bulletin board, which is always my favorite one of the year.

I was thinking bats, because it’s practically the only trope I haven’t hit in the many years I’ve been doing this. Then I looked for a poem, and found “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost. You can read it in the link; I was working in the rain, so the lighting was terrible when I took this photo. But you get the gist. I decorated the calaveras with Sharpies; everyone in Tucson loves calaveras and I could envision them amidst the candles and piles of marigolds, although I wish I had more time to work on them, maybe make a couple more.

The poem is also in Sharpie. It’s not my best lettering; I’ve kind of been doing a lot of lettering lately and my hand just wasn’t in the game and I was feeling really rushed. The school is having a 60th anniversary party on Sunday and there’s more work to finish up the comic book: resizing the cover and editing the blog posts down to 400 words a piece.

When I wrote those words, it didn’t occur to me that they would exist off the internet. Hard copies seem to change everything.