Tag Archives: Writing

Come the spring…..

and it is the time when I get distracted and move from one creative activity to another, but more frequently. There’s so much to DO!!

A buddy of mine says that’s a characteristic of “cafeteria artists.” I’m not quite sure what that means, but as long as it involves appreciating a lot of activities through which I have a variety of creative pursuits, yeah….that would be me. 

 

 The alpacas have had their yearly haircuts, which provides me with plenty of fiber for future projects. 

  And out in the experimental garden, I’ve been thinning mints and herbs to see what else I’d like to add for this growing season. I’ve started seeds in the tiny greenhouse (not shown here) and will have a few vegetables to add in a few weeks. 

Big Garden and Little Garden have a more “traditional” method of planting, and by that, I’m referring to the use of a tractor, a tiller and Mr P maintains a lot of the work for that. We produce vegetables and harvest enough to eat fresh foods, share, and save some for later. I grow a few flowers in Big Garden.  

But in Experimental Garden–E Garden– I try different things in different ways, and when something grows, it grows, and I appreciate that. 

My point is this: when I am in E Garden, I take chances. I’ve learned to trust that things will develop and come to be if I’ve done what I can, what I love, the conditions are right for growth, and I nurture the project. And I look for signs and believe in the balance of luck and hard work. 

Happy Creating!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Directions and Side Trips

     

New York, New York!

I visited Grand Central Station/Terminal, the New York Public Library and attended the winter conference for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators(SCBWI). What a GREAT experience; to be surrounded by so many other creative minds!! Check out the website http://www.scbwi.org for more information about the conference. 

 

There have been so many things to think about upon returning home; plans for future projects, works in progress. Yet, I decided I needed to re-examine some of my ideas, but THIS time, with a different focus. 

I picked up a wonderful picture book at the conference by speaker Kate Messner, with artwork by Christopher Silas Neal called UP IN THE GARDEN AND DOWN IN THE DIRT. It will be a wonderful gift for my granddaughter, and I’ll give it to her–right after I finish using it. See, as I began to review some of my own manuscripts, I felt as though I wanted to know if they could move along in a story line, too. The sketches above are my interpretation of the layout for Ms. Messner’s and M Neal’s book. 

I’ve worked this week on sketching at least six other picture books, by other authors/illustrators. It has been a most rewarding creative learning experience. 

From there, I can use my own words to do rough sketches for possible picture book projects. The next steps, at least for me, will be to get professional opinions about the manuscripts. 

Happy Creating, today and every day. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Heart Made

Making and sharing handmade items for gifts is part of my life and has been for as long as I can remember. 

I have been largely influenced by two grandmothers. One encouraged me to sew and I would make doll clothes using pieces of fabric from her scrap piles. I learned how to remove stitches if they weren’t doing the job and appreciate quality handwork. 

That led me to sewing larger projects–among those were a dress for my first prom, several outfits for formal wear and eventually a design for my wedding dress. It was a simple idea really: chiffon poncho over a crepe flowing, below the knee-length gown with a diagonal hem that pointed down instead of horizontally.  (By then it was the late seventies and my hair was  flowing longer, too.) 

The other grandmother taught me how to crochet, but I never learned how to read a pattern for my needlework. She would encourage me to look at something or visualize how I wanted something to be, and use a series of stitches to make it be that way. And when I taught myself to knit I unravelled almost as much as I created until I felt it was the best it could be. “If you leave it in there and don’t fix it, you will always know it is still in there,” she would say. She was right.  

I hope to pass along the love of making and giving handmade gifts  

 

and when I need those ideas and memories to develop characters in my writing– well, it’s come full circle and I know I’m honoring a heritage of my own. 

Happy creating! 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Good Material

We’ve had several days of rain these last few weeks. 

Wind, too. The windmill went crazy. Pieces here; scraps over there. It is now in the Restoration Stage. 

But the Treehouse escaped damage from every tree that fell in the forest. See? Although just barely visible, we were able to move and cut the surrounding trees and will have wood to use for other building projects. 

  

We’ll haul the wood up to the sawmill we’ve constructed on our property. 

Oh yes. There is now a sawmill. My contribution was to photograph the original sawmill before it was disassembled and then moved. I had to draw and label pieces, as well as make working diagrams in order to be able to put it back together again. 

So the storms have provided us with good building material. We’ll cut the logs here:

  

And build a footbridge and shelter here:

  

We will have good materials for building. 

A creative group of writer friends will be sharing some tips and their knowledge about Writing Middle Grade novels. Check them out if you’d like to learn more:  they are using their collective skills to build something wonderful as they set up their blog tour. 

Check out the Middle Grade Mafia at:

www. middlegrademafia.com and tell them I said “hi.”

Happy Creating!

2 Comments

Filed under Creative Living, DIY, Life on the Farm, Writing

Contemplation

I wonder sometimes if I try to “overthink” things. If I was one to put a lot of trust in astrological readings, I’d most likely say it was because of my Sign. By nature, it says, I tend to be overly cautious. 

Nah. 

I just like to visualize and get the Big Picture.  I like options. Choices. 

And then sometimes, I prefer to just jump right in. Like this:

    

And get all dirty and mess about as I create something new. I do so with enthusiasm.  I feel comfortable “writing by the seat of my pants,” and I enjoy a good splash in a muddy puddle as much as any kid. 

And then I look for signs; I choose keep my Creative Heart open and receive both ideas and inspiration. 

  

Happy creating, today and every day. 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Rolling Up My Sleeves To Get To Work

  

Fall is in the air and along with this cooler weather come even more creative distractions. Festivals and celebrations abound, and with leaves changing colors in the higher elevations–you know when those mountains call, I feel as though I must go. 

I. Am. Driven. To. Distraction. 

To celebrate October and to rein my creative self IN, I am making myself a creative promise:

I will Write. I will Draw. I will Create. I will read and make music, attend writing conferences or take classes, and make an extra effort to keep my You-Know-What in this seat working on my current Work In Progress. 

  

There are lots of writers, illustrators, agents and editors who have tips and tricks on how to work through some of the pitfalls of “procrastination,” and I’ve heard many of them speak to this at conferences. 

Here’s what I know: I’ve gotta write my book. It won’t write itself. I’m the only one who can tell the story I want to tell. And I really REALLY want to tell this story! 

So I’m rolling up my sleeves to get busy. 

Happy Creating to you, too!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Places of Creative Inspiration

  

Have you ever been to a specific place and felt a kind of “one-ness” with your creative spirit? 

It’s kind of like going somewhere and feeling like some part of you, or maybe one of the characters in your Work-In-Progress could’ve lived or visited there. You KNOW this place.

And if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to experience such a thing, well, when you do, it might feel as though you’ve been given a gift of insight. 

  

This view is from the outside of the building in the first photo. 

This is a shelter underneath a rocky outcropping. People LIVED there a longgg time ago.

  

And this last photo is of something I’ve    placed on a different creative spot, to celebrate the beginning of Fall. I’ve built a scarecrow on a site which was the location of a local crafts person’s blacksmith shop somewhere between 1930-1940. 

  

 

These are all stories I’d like to share, and honor those creative people whose voices will guide me. 

The photographs are my visual shorthand for time, setting and character, and when I look at them–I’m THERE!.  Best of luck to you on your creative journey, too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Color, Character and Function

  

Several of my characters in a current writing project are part of me and people that I’d wish I’d known when I was younger. I am getting to know them now. We are having a wonderful time, and I must say–not every one really understands what writers or illustrators mean when they say their characters “speak” to them, or if they mention an idea came to them in a “vision.”  What a pity, I think, for those who cannot imagine. 

I needed a carrying case for one of the dulcimers. Well, one of my characters said she needed one too, so we made one together. She’s a colorful lady herself, and pretty outspoken. We hand stitched the pieces and spent WAY too much time trying to figure out a way to join the sides together without the seams showing. 

That project is completed now, and while my character may finish a few of her household chores today, like ironing, she could just as easily make some tea and music. 

I’ll get something creative accomplished today and hope you will, too. 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

In which there is a Most Unusual Discovery

  

Here’s another Flea Market Find–a small rectangular footstool or bench with a paper rush seat. It looked fairly old and well worn when I found it. I rescued this little gem for practically NOTHING at the sale. It will be just the right thing to use once I repair the torn and sagging seat.

And so, I begin to cut away the old worn-out pieces of paper fiber. A piece here, a piece there; I remove the old dusty newspaper the furniture maker used to shape and support the inside of the seat. The pieces are packed in there pretty tight and hard to get to. As I work my way through and the pieces begin to grow larger, I find a section of newspaper that doesn’t turn to dust in my hand.

  

The print may be really small to read and hard to see, but here is a section of The Atlanta Journal, which “Covers Dixie Like The Dew” in Atlanta Georgia, even as far back as June 22, 1941. That’s the date on this piece of paper anyway.

There were other pieces of paper I found with dates at about the same time advertising fabric, cars, clothing, tools, and appliances at 1941 prices. The social section I found had a few wedding announcements with pictures as well as news articles of the day. My favorite was the miscellaneous section in which a reader could purchase a fine double door, all porcelain refrigerator in A1 condition for the price of $79.50, an extra large crocheted bedspread with a daisy pattern, used building materials, a stationary bike, a Hoover vacuum cleaner and a Luger pistol. If I was looking for a place to sleep, I could call the six digit telephone number and find a room with a meal for about the same price I’d pay for a specialty coffee today.

And then I did the math. I’ll estimate that it was at LEAST seventy-plus years ago when this little bench was restored or built. Creative possibilities for story ideas and My, oh….MY….!

I’m saving most of the paper scraps to look through and glean some story ideas from, because this was just like finding a little piece of history in a most unexpected place. As I work on repairing the seat of the bench, I’ll select some headlines of my own from a stack of newspapers in my recycling bin and pack those into the padding for the seat as well.

Maybe seventy plus years from now, if someone should discover this little bench at a yard sale or flea market find, they will have a Most Creative Experience, too!

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Drawing Board

The weather out here on the farm has been challenging, to say the least. First there was freezing rain. Then ice. We had snow a few days later. Wonderful, white, fluffy snow which was fun to explore and beautiful to see for a short time.

Since my main studio space is out in the barn, I really couldn’t see spending long amounts of creative work time out there–I mean, seriously? It is COLD out there! I moved into the house in an enclosed office space which used to be a garage. It was a little bit warmer in that room as long as I turned on the electric heater and allowed it to warm up for an hour or so before I began to work. That was fine until the temps dropped REALLY low. Dressed in layers and covered in a blanket worked for a while, but ….Okay, so the office space isn’t as well insulated as it needs to be.

Working on sketches for a new project!

Working on sketches for a new project!

I moved my workspace again. This time, my laptop is on a rolling tray and attached to a digital drawing tablet. I will use this time to learn something new. I’ve been encouraged by other Illustrator Friends (hey, you know who you are) to try creating artworks digitally so I’m giving it my best shot. I’m making progress, I think. And I have created a few images that I’m excited about. Slowly–I’m taking “baby steps”– and I learn a little something new every day. Figuratively speaking, I’m probably one of the few people I know who can go from the twenty-first century back to the nineteenth century just by walking out of my house, through my back yard and out to the barn.

Is it a problem to like to do a great many creative things? Not for me. I make stories and poems. I spin yarn, weave, knit and crochet. I like to draw, paint and make collages from recycled papers. Photography is fun too. I can’t choose just ONE thing to do–and not at all sorry; I want to do it all! I call it “research” and move on. What a great opportunity to have those experience(s) which I KNOW will transfer into my writing and illustrating.

I’m happy creating. I hope you are, too!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized