Algy’s Photo Challenge and Competition Winners

Algy sends his very fluffiest thanks to the kind friends who submitted photos of the Kindle version of his new book being read around the world. You will all receive a signed postcard from Algy.

Algy is delighted to announce the prizewinners - and would like to add a special commendation for the country of Germany, which accounted for approximately 37% of all entries!

@capiolumen - wins the prize for A PLACE COMPLETELY UNLIKE THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS, for his image flooded with glorious saturated colours and dazzling light, in which even the birds and animals are brightly coloured :)

@tokarphoto - wins the prize for FLUFFIEST photo, with his exceedingly fluffy crow Loki.

@mellygregs - wins the prize for her PORTRAIT PHOTO OF A CHILD reading Algy’s Kindle book.

@seagirl49 - wins the prize for the most ARTISTICALLY IMAGINATIVE photo for her intriguingand most unusual composition.

You will each receive a signed paperback copy of Algy’s new book The Tree with a Golden Heart, as well as your postcard :)

Algy is also making two special extra awards:

@thevortexofourminds is awarded a special GOLDEN HEART prize of a signed print of the Golden Heart image, for his wonderful photo of the light from the Tree with a Golden Heart illuminating Teddy. Algy can see that Teddy evidently has a golden heart himself :)


@bvclairv is awarded a special MOTHER GOOSE prize of a signed paperback book, for her special atmospheric composition with Mother Goose :)

But that only leaves two contributors without prizes, and Algy couldn’t bear to think of them without a prize, so he awards @min-ute-s a special FLEDERMAUS prize and his new friend @hazelcat13 the FIRST CONTRIBUTOR prize. Everyone will get a signed book :)

Thank you all! very much. Algy sends you lots of special fluffy hugs - and prizes! xoxo
Nobel scientist Tim Hunt: female scientists cause trouble for men in labs
English biochemist tells conference women in laboratories ‘fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry’

So apparently, you ladies cause men far too much trouble in science labs.

According to Nobel prizewinner Tim Hunt, women will “fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry”

He says in defense that women should be in science, just in segregated labs because he doesn’t want to “stand in the way of women”. This continues to show that he is, in his defense, a fucking moron.

Further proof that high academic achievements don’t equate to actual intelligence.

To all the champ dancers discouraged with their progress

I see you, doubled over in the studio as you catch your breath after yet another run-through of your treble jig. You’re dead tired, with nothing left in the tank.  You feel like you’re not getting better–you’re getting worse. Your shirt is drenched and the saltwater of your tears mixes with your perspiration as you wonder “Why am I not improving?”

I’m here to tell you YOU ARE IMPROVING.  You are just not improving as quickly as you did before.  When you were a beginner, the leap from good to better was easy.  It was the difference between pointing your toes, or getting off your heels, or really listening to the music.  It was easy to improve one thing and move onto the next, especially when you had good role models that you could emulate–whether that was a novice, prizewinner or champ dancer.

Now that you’re a champ, you’ve reached a level that many Irish dancers only dream of. However, you won’t be improving as fast.  If the difference between a beginner dancer and a champ dancer is five feet, the difference between a prelim and an open dancer is four inches.  If the difference between a new Opens dancer and a WQ is an inch, the difference between a WQ and a WMH is a centimeter, and the difference between a medal and a globe is a millimeter.  Because you’re tinkering and fine-tuning and figuring out what works from week to week instead of “learning the single jig”, it may feel like you’re going backwards, especially if you made rapid progress through the grades only to feel like you’re stalled in Champs.

From week to week you may not see progress.  But I promise, taken over the course of a year, or two years, or the rest of your dancing career, the effort you put in will make a cumulative difference in your dancing.  Every time you think about turning out that back foot a little bit more, or working the consistency of your rhythm, or keeping that pesky right arm in, is going to pay off one day.  It may not be by the next feis, but if you’re a champ, you are playing a long game. Local competitions are opportunities to try out new things on stage or get more comfortable with steps, but they aren’t the end-all, be-all.

The other part that may make you feel like you’re sliding backwards is that your awareness of what good dancing looks like grows faster than your dancing ability.  Instead of feeling sad and trapped about this, use it to fuel your practices.  You can self-correct because you know what looks good and what doesn’t.  You may not be dancing like a world champ today, but you can figure out how to incorporate that into your dancing over time.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Ira Glass, which applies to any creative endeavor, including dance (emphasis mine):

“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. […] It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Happy practicing, y'all.  Let's get into the studio and find our next victory, no matter how small.


I wish I could tell my twelve year old self that she’d get a solo dress one day. I wish I could tell my thirteen year old self that one day she’d stop coming home empty handed from every single feis. I wish I could tell my fourteen year old self that one day she would win that stupid reel out of prizewinner. I wish I could tell my fifteen year old self that she would learn to live with all these injuries and that a crappy oireachtas score isn’t the end of the world. I wish I could tell my sixteen year old self to stop crying that she didn’t qualify for nationals because in a year’s time she’d be 51st in the nation. 

“I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

It’s been exactly five years since I fell in love Irish dancing and music, and I can’t wrap my head around how much has changed since I went to my first lesson. I have come so much further than I ever dreamed, and done so much more than I ever thought possible. Whatever happens next in my dance career is just an added bonus. I’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone that has helped me on this crazy journey, especially my parents, my tumblr family, and of course the Baffa sisters. Where would I be without you guys? So here’s to another fabulous five years ✨🎉 (and I swear I’m gonna try not to cry so much at awards in the furure lol)

Flowers From Shakespeare’s Garden

This week marks the completion of my latest binding, the second edition that I have done of the same text block. The book is, “Flowers From Shakespeare’s Garden: A Posy From the Plays”, the first of which I bound in 2012 for the Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition, the theme of which was William Shakespeare. Although not a play-script, the book contains quotes from many of the plays and all of these quotes include names of flowers. The illustrator, Walter Crane, depicts throughout the book figures wearing outfits made up of each of the flowers illustrating the text.

I was thrilled to be one of the shortlisted “Distinguished Prizewinners” in the competition, receiving a silver Shakespeare “nib” trophy engraved with my name, designed by the jeweller and goldsmith Gerry Summers.

The first physical step was to “pull” the book to remove the original cover and to take it back down into sections. However when I pulled the book I realised that the pages were actually all single sheets that had been stub bound before being cased in.

I decided to trim the pages at the point that they had been punched for the stub sewing and then make them up into sections using Japanese paper strips.

The sections were then sewn up and the book rounded and backed. The edges were sanded and the top edge was coloured using acrylic paint.

The design of the binding was chosen to illustrate the flowers mentioned within the text. A different composition was drawn up for the endpapers, doublures and the cover and I decided to print the pattern for the endpapers and doublures using the soft-plate offset method. I did a variety of prints using different coloured inks and paper until I was happy with the result.

I then worked on the sample board in order to plan the colours of the body leather and some of the onlays, this is board number 44 in my growing collection!

Once I was happy with this I planned the rest of the onlay colours, using a line drawing of the cover design and sticking small swatches of the chosen leather colour onto it for reference.

All of the onlays were then stuck to the body leather and back-pared before the embroidery could be started. Each flower was embroidered using a variety of different stitches, pricking the holes through the leather using a tracing paper template to ensure they were in the right place.

I wanted to include some gold-plated brass pieces in the binding so selected two of the flower types to apply this to. One of which was the centres of the daisies, I filed the end of a piece of brass rod into a dome shape and then added dots by punching small holes with a metal centre punch.

The patterned ends were then cut off using a metal piercing saw and the backs sanded flat.

Onto the back of these I soldered some wire posts so that they could be inserted through drilled holes in the book boards, they were then gold-plated. I like to mechanically fix these pieces in place rather than trusting glues over time and I find this is a very secure method.

Where these pieces were to be inserted through the boards I had to work out where I needed to place the stitches around them so that they would line up once the leather was on the book.

Once this was done I was able to finish the embroidery…



Hundreds of thousands of stitches later I felt I was ready to take the plunge and paste the leather to the book – always the bit that scares me!

Once the leather had dried following the pasting to the book I could get on with the tooling. I did a mixture of 22 carat gold, carbon and blind tooling to add detail to some of the flowers. I tooled these shapes using hand-made finishing tools.

I didn’t want the book to be titled as I felt that would detract from the cover design, so I made a label for the box instead. I wanted this to be in the font used on the title page of the book for which I had no suitable handle letters. To get around this I pierced the letters from coloured paper and backed this with 22 carat gold leaf that was adhered to a piece of paper.

The box itself was made from tulip wood, with the flowers pattern cut into the lid of the box with a CNC machine.

The book has now been photographed, packaged up and is on it’s way to the USA – I hope it gets there safely! Once it gets there it will be on display in an exhibition entitled “The poet of them all”: William Shakespeare and Miniature Designer Bindings from the Collection of Neale and Margaret Albert. This will be taking place at the Grolier Club in New York, USA, from March 23rd to May 28th, followed by the Yale Centre for British Art, USA, from June 16th through September 21st. I also have one other little book in the exhibition, a miniature binding of, “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”.

For now I will leave you with some photos of the finished binding and box, more of which can be seen on my website :

I get so choked up at seeing videos of dancers crying when they do well. Seriously, during worlds, when everybody had those videos up, I was a mess. It’s just like, “you acheived your goals!!! Your dream came true! You did it!! I’m so happy for you, even if I don’t know you!!!!!!” And it doesn’t matter if it’s a win, or a recall, or a huge jump from last year, or that last Prelim or Prizewinner first. All that matters is that somebody set a goal, and they made it. And that is worth celebrating.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna cry for approximately five years cuz just thinking about that stuff gets me all teary eyed

Strand Releasing Nabs Sundance Prizewinner ‘Summer of Sangaile’

The coming-of-age romance tale turns on Sangaile (Julija Steponaityte), a 17-year-old fascinated by stunt planes who meets another girl, Auste (Aiste Dirziute), while attending a summer aeronautical show near her parents’ lakeside villa. As the two girls grow closer and fall in love, Sangaile allows Auste, a free-spirited and vibrant young woman, to discover her most intimate secret, and finds in her the only person who truly encourages her to fly.

A Solution for Jealousy (Chapter 5)

Thanks for waiting! Here’s the fifth chapter of the novel adaption of HoneyWorks’ “Yakimochi no Kotae (A Solution for Jealousy)“!

Masterpost with links to all the translated chapters can be found here.
You can find the masterpost with all the Confession Executive Committee/Sound of Confession series-related translations here.

←Chapter 4 | Chapter 6→

*If you can, I highly encourage supporting the creators by buying the book for yourself at Amazon!

Keep reading


Nicolas Appert (1750-1841) was a French chef, distiller, and “the Father of Canning.” As the story goes, in 1795, the French military offered a 12,000 francs cash prize to whoever could invent the best way to conserve and transport food. For 14 years, Appert experimented with various methods before successfully sealing glass jars with cork, wax, and wire, by submerging them in boiling water. Appert won the 12,000 francs in 1810. He used the money to open the House of Appert, a commercial cannery at Massy that operated from 1812 to 1933. As the prizewinner, Appert was required to publish his preserving methods. L’Art de conserver, pendant plusieurs années, toutes les substances animales et végétales (The Art of Preserving All Kinds of Animal and Vegetable Substances for Several Years) was first printed in 1810 and thereafter was quickly translated into several languages.

Chef Louis Szathmary collected several copies of Appert’s Art of Preserving. Our French copy is a second edition printed in 1813, the English version from 1812, and the German from 1811. I arranged the photos in groups of three with the French at the top, English bottom left, and German bottom right. All three books are wonderful examples of national printing and binding styles. A close look at the recipe for preserving “pêches“ or “peaches” or “Pfirsiche“ shows us that Appert’s French descriptors for peach varieties are maintained across translations. The final image is Appert’s signature at the end of his note to the reader in the second edition.

French, TX603 .A6 1813
English, TX603 .A613 1812
German, TX603 .A615 1811

Qualms of Irish dance

On behalf of dance teachers everywhere:

You know, as a teacher, I think the worst part is when your families find a reason not to trust you. Like the way you do things doesn’t have a purpose or a specific message and it’s only meant to negatively affect some of your dancers while putting others on a pedestal. They forget that I know what it feels like to be a dancer. They forget that I too at one point allowed myself to feel jealous over others accomplishments. But they also forget that I know what it feels like to earn those accomplishments - and this is one of the biggest reasons I work so hard for their kids. I know how badly my dancers want their skills to be validated. But they misconstrue the meaning of what it means to be validated. They think qualifying for a major means your better than becoming a prizewinner in the less than two whole years you’ve been dancing and only one year of competing! I remember being one of those dancers. I remember feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything, but in reality, I made strides bigger than I ever knew I could. As their teacher, I always want the best for my students. Their goals are my goals. Don’t ever think your teacher is against you. They are always rooting for you, especially if they are as invested as I am. Don’t create some kind of unrealistic reality in your head because you didn’t get what you wanted when you wanted it. If your teacher could give it to you, they would, but our hands are tied by commission rules. It hurts us just as much to see you beat up yourself and in turn hurt us. We love you and want to see you succeed. Give your teacher a break and just know that we will do all that we can to help you reach your goals.


It’s safe to say this video is the longest I’ve made, BUT it does have a ton of content in it..featuring Modcloth. :D

Haul starts at 5:00, try on starts at 21:10.

I apologize for parts of this being blurry, it took foreeeeeever to do this video (and I actually ended up having to do the try on’s twice) and I just didn’t have enough time to redo it.  Hopefully you can still see the most important aspects of everything.  I’ll be rectifying said blurriness in future videos.

My referral code to get $15 off of $50 (I get $15 in store credit so thank you if you do use it!): referral code here

Clothes Featured in this:
Apple Blouse ~ x
Ikebana Skirt ~ x
Poetry Prizewinner Dress ~ x
Fresh Farmer’s Market Dress ~ x
Polka Dot Swimsuit ~ x

Flutter You Waitin’ For? Dress ~ x
The a Biscuit, a Basket dress is unfortunately sold out right now. :(

Remember how far you've come

Two years ago today I won out of prizewinner. Today I’ll be in the studio for 6 hours choreographing my TJ for NANs as an open champ. I’ve come so far. It seems like forever when you’re in the middle of it, but looking back now it’s a blink of an eye. I can’t wait to see what the next two years hold for me. 💪🍀 Where were you two years ago?


Hello nice peoples, I’m selling my dress.  It is a Kirations and was made December 2013.  The materials are green sequin, gold sequin, black twinkle satin, and spring green raw silk.  The cape is reversible green satin and sequined gold. It comes with kick pants, a crown/headband (not pictured) and I will even throw in the buckles shown in two of the photos for free if you buy it from me.

I am 5'3" and the dress was made for a women’s size 16/18.  I know this is not a typical size for Irish dancing, so I’m hoping you know somebody in your school who might be interested–maybe a prizewinner who’s ready to get that beautiful solo dress for the first time, or an adult dancer who’s ready to do the &Overs.

Here are the measurements I sent to my dressmaker, so you can get a better idea if this dress is right for you:

Shoulder width: front 14 ¼, back 16
Shoulder to neck: 4 5/8
Shoulder diagonal waist: 20 ½
Neck to bust point: 12 ½
Bust point to bust point: 9
Base of neck to waist: front 16 5/8, back 14
Sleeve length: 24 ½
Bicep: 12
Bust: 46
Underbust: 41.5
Natural waist: 41
High hip: 46 ½
Full hip: 48
Armseye to armseye: front 17 ½, back 13 ½
Circumfrence of armseye: 20
Side of neck to hem: front 38, back 33
Height: 5'3"
Bra size: 38/40C

I’m asking $1000, but that price is negotiable.. If you would like any photos of the dress up close, or measurements of the dress itself, please feel free to drop me a DM.  And please reblog, if you don’t mind, since this is going to be so difficult to sell.