New Blog Banner by Clarissa Ines

The last time my blog banner was updated was in 2013. As much as I loved the previous design, I wanted a fresh new look for the blog! So I contacted Filipino graphic artist Clarissa Ines to request for her to design artwork specifically for Chachic’s Book Nook. She has designed book covers for romanceclass titles in the past, some examples of which are:

Bucket List to Love Learning to Fall - Anvil Promdi Heart

The Kitchen When It Sizzles What About Today Tame The Kitten

Aren’t they pretty? She doesn’t just design book covers, she’s a romanceclass reader too! That was a pretty good sign that we’d get along well. 🙂 I love pretty things but unfortunately, I can only draw stick figures so I relied on Cla’s expertise in the design process. She gave me some sketches to start with, basically to choose what design to use as a base before moving forward:

chachic-sketches

I loved all of these! I had to stare at them for a long while before I could decide what to go for. Of course they’re all book-themed, but I feel like all of these designs would have worked well for my blog. Cla said the third one was actually based on my bookstagrams and flatlays. 😛 After seriously considering my options, I went with the second one because I love how it’s a throwback to Cla’s work in designing book covers. I gave her some details that I wanted to be included on the design and she got started on it. She does her own calligraphy and she mentioned that it will be included as part of the design, isn’t that awesome? This was the black and white digital artwork that I got as an update:

Cla Ines blog banner draft

No colors yet but even in just black and white, I think the design is already pretty. 😛 I told her that I would love to have a color scheme that we call “malamig sa mata” in Filipino which I think can roughly translate to cool colors that are pleasant to look at. I said I preferred blues and purples, and she really followed my suggestions! This was the next update, which is a colored version:

Cla Ines blog banner - draft color

I absolutely love the color scheme she used, and look at all the details in the book spine. I had mentioned earlier that I would love for the book cover to have the feel of an antique fairy tale book and I think Cla’ss design is spot-on. I can’t get over how beautifully detailed the book spine and cover edges are. I also asked for cake and coffee to be included because you probably all know by now that I equally love both food and books. 🙂 The genres in the book pile that the girl is sitting on are the genres that I mostly read (with a special shout out to romanceclass). This is close to the final design and she just needed to add in some textures and tweak a few details to get to this:

ChachicsBookNook 2017 banner FINAL

IT’S GORGEOUS! I’m so happy with the final outcome, I told Cla that I’ll probably use this blog banner until I decide to give up on WordPress (which isn’t too much of a strech, given how seldom I blog nowadays :P), and I can also use variations of the design in all my other social media accounts. As a bonus, she sent me the full book cover design that she used as the base before cropping and tilting it:

Cla Ines blog banner - book spread

It was a real pleasure working with Cla because she’s super accommodating, she really paid attention to my requests and incorporated them into the design. If you need to commission graphic art, then I highly recommend that you reach out to Cla because I’m sure she’ll do an amazing job like she did with my banner. THANK YOU SO MUCH, Cla! You are the best. 😀

YAY, now my blog looks amazing! I hope this encourages me to write even more posts for this blog. 🙂 What do you guys think of this new blog banner? Would love to hear from you, and I’m sure Cla will also appreciate getting some feedback.

Impromptu SG Indie Bookstore Hop

Last weekend, I did an impromptu bookstore hop. I’ve been meaning to visit Littered With Books ever since I saw pictures of it pop up on my Instagram explore page. I finally got to do so last Saturday.

Here are pictures of Littered With Books, located in the Tanjong Pagar area:
Littered With Books 1

Littered With Books 2

Littered With Books 3

Littered With Books 4

I bought one of these canvas bags from the store, which brings my bookish tote bag collection to a grand total of two.

Littered With Books 5

I’ve always loved this quote because books + travel ♥♥

On Sunday, I met up with friends for brunch at Forty Hands cafe and since we were already in the area, we dropped by Books Actually and Woods in the Books.

Forty Hands

Brunch at Forty Hands. Poached eggs with mushroom and spinach. Bacon. Mocha.

BooksActually - July 2015

BooksActually - July 2015 - corner

BooksActually - July 2015 - cats

Cats of BooksActually

BooksActually - Math Paper Press

Books published by Math Paper Press.

Last but not the least, we dropped by a bookstore specializing in children’s books:
Woods in the Books - July 2015

It was a fun weekend because I got to visit these three indie bookstores even though I didn’t plan it. What about you, have you visited any nice bookstores lately?

Reading makes us strong

I make a point of keeping my blogging life separate from my work life but I just wanted to say that last week was a difficult and demotivating week in the office. I know this will sound vague but basically, there were some big changes that weren’t managed well and that has an effect on morale. Anyway, this quote popped up on my Goodreads app on Friday:

“I feel free and strong. If I were not a reader of books I could not feel this way.” ― Walter Tevis, Mockingbird

I haven’t read any books written by Walter Tevis so I don’t have any context for these lines. But I think they stand well enough on their own and they resonated so strongly with me. I was just thinking that even though I’m bothered by stuff at work, I’m so relieved that I’m in the middle of a good book that is doing a great job of distracting me from my thoughts. Which means reading is indeed making me feel stronger or at least able to handle the situation better. It’s a good reminder of how we should never underestimate the power of a good book.

How did you come up with your blog name?

what

This post was inspired by a similar discussion in my friend Sandy’s blog, Pirate Penguin Reads. I got her permission to also talk about how I named my blog because it’s an interesting topic for all bloggers.

I maintained a personal blog on LiveJournal for years and when I started focusing on more book-related topics, I figured it would be a good idea to move to a different platform and start a book blog. I love the layouts and designs of WordPress blogs, I think they look clean and clutter-free. Now I’m not very creative when it comes to naming things so I went ahead and signed up on WordPress with “Chachic” as my username. After that, I had to figure out a blog name that would include my name and would also be related to books. I wanted the URL to match the blog name because I didn’t want to confuse people. I thought about it for a while and even asked some friends if they had any bright ideas and it was actually a friend who suggested I should go for Chachic’s Book Nook because of how it rhymed. I liked how it sounded so I settled on that name.

Not a very exciting story, huh? If I could go back in time and choose a blog name again, I would do it prior to signing up on WordPress so I would have more flexibility in choosing a name. I would have probably chosen Throwing Inkpots as my blog name if that was the case. That’s what my Tumblr blog is called and it’s a shout out to Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series, one of my all-time favorite series. Actually, I just looked it up and it is possible for me to change my WordPress username but then I’ve had Chachic’s Book Nook since 2010 and that’s what people already know. It might create confusion if I change my blog name now (I have no problem changing blog banners though, which I did sometime in 2013).

Some samples of creative book blog names that I love:
The Book Smugglers
Angieville
SpecficRomantic
Inkcrush
Wear the Old Coat

How about the rest of you, care to share how you came up with your blog name?

Where do you find the time?

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I do a lot of my reading on trains while traveling from the flat to work and vice versa. I’ve been having a hard time finding time to squeeze in blogging though. Moving from one country to another and starting a new job is a huge thing for me, especially since this is the first time that I’ve done something like this. Most of my weekends are spent catching up with old friends currently based in Singapore or going around to explore the city a little more. Week nights are filled up by errands and chores. Doing laundry, ironing clothes (which I hate), doing dishes and vacuuming are things that I never had to worry about when I was living in Manila. Oh and I also spend a lot of time online, talking to friends and family through communication apps. All of those take up time that I could use to read or blog but they are tasks that I need to do.

So I guess I just wanted to ask the rest of you, where do you find the time to blog when life seems so busy? The obvious answer would be to get less sleep and I’ve tried to do that as well. I usually get only six hours or so of sleep on week nights but I feel like that’s not enough, I tend to get sleepy during the latter hours of the work day. I find it a bit surprising that blogging involves so much time because I never had to seriously think about it before, it came more naturally to me back home probably because I was so used to everything else. Blogging’s not just about organizing your thoughts to write a review, it’s also about formatting everything into a cohesive manner and it’s also about responding to comments. I’ve always replied to the comments people leave on my blog because I feel like that encourages everyone to come back to continue the discussion. I’m also a serial commenter when it comes to the blogs I follow and that’s something that I haven’t been able to do much lately because I’ve been focusing on putting up posts. I’m positive that it will get easier in time but for now, I want to hear your thoughts. When do you usually blog – when you wake up in the mornings before heading off to work or right before you sleep at night? Are you a pro at multi-tasking, writing blog posts while doing something else?