Word of the Day: Pancakes

Do you ever wake up late on a Sunday morning, still sleepy and unsure if you’re ready to really face the day? Then suddenly, there’s a reason for you to get out of bed: PANCAKES!

I am motivated by food. While I realize this isn’t exactly healthy, it gives me something to look forward to, such as on Sunday mornings. Rather than a day of rest, Sunday is for me the day before I have to start the week over again. It’s the last day I can sleep in and wander about my apartment in my pajamas. I don’t need to worry about makeup or fussing with my hair. In short, I can be the oily-haired ragamuffin I truly am.FullSizeRenderAh, but PANCAKES! As soon as the batter hits the skillet I swear I can smell the color “golden brown.” After I get the spatula fully under the pancake, there’s an instant during the flip that it can go from being a perfect circle to sad blob. What am I saying? The shape of the pancake doesn’t matter; it doesn’t change the taste! After both sides have had their turn on the skillet, it’s time to transfer the golden fluffy goodness to a plate. With a light, silky pour of maple syrup, my breakfast is ready. With a belly full of pancake, I’m ready for my mid-morning nap! Yay for Sundays!

Word of the Day: Motivation

When I have time for myself, I like to sit down with a cup of coffee and read the news for an hour. Then, I start my day.

After pulling on my running shoes and putting on a baseball cap I head to the grocery store and buy that night’s dinner stuffs. I come home, unpack my bag and throw in a load of laundry. I change into some leggings and a loose top and walk to the gym. I get to do everything on my time. I can take things as slow or as fast as I want. The pressure’s off; I can just be. I’m motivated to start a new project. I have time to read the latest book club selection. I can look out the window and watch the pigeons shuffle on the ledge opposite.FullSizeRender-3I don’t quite have this same freedom during the week. I wake up, get ready, go to work. When I come home in the late afternoon, I’m tired. My motivation is shot. Nothing sounds better than to plop myself down in front of TV with a snack in my lap and a drink in my hand. But, I don’t want to spend my nights that way. So, I’m going to change out of my work clothes and into my gym clothes. I’m off to go sweat it out!

 

 

Word of the Day: Watercolors

Do you ever try out a new hobby, wondering if this new interest will reveal a hidden skill you didn’t know you had? I’ve done this about a million times. Okay, that number is an exaggeration, but you get the point.

I’ve always loved to paint. My favorite medium to work with is acrylic paint. The plasticity of the acrylic allows me to work the paint into shape; it’s almost sculptural. Acrylic is forgiving. You can make a mistake and with one sweep of the brush it’s the composition is reborn.

Watercolors are less forgiving. Too much water and the paint blooms across the paper. Not enough water and the paint’s too thick, adding water only saturates the one thickly blotted area of the page.

It would be easier to stick with what I know and continue using acrylics, but I want to do something different. To grow as a painter, I need to use different materials and tools to learn technique. Watercolors are my next challenge.

DIY Bullet Journal Tutorial

Hey, guys! As you have probably already noticed by my Instagram, I’m getting a little obsessed with bullet journaling! I had journals growing up but only just now got back in to it after a five-year hiatus. Only this time, my journal is going to be about art, writing and general creative fun!

As promised, here is a new bullet journal tutorial!

Materials Used:

Moleskin Notebook

Mulberry Paper

Colored Pencils

Dual Brush Pens, assorted colors

Writing Pens, assorted colors

Washi Tape, assorted colors

Pencil

Eraser

Scissors

Ruler

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How-To:

 Step 1: First decide what purpose you want the bullet journal to have. My bullet journal (different my reading bullet journal) is to help me do something creative for at least five minutes every day.

Side Note: When I was a kid, I loved to draw; I don’t know at what point I stopped. To get back into it, I draw something that I’ve seen that day or that I want. I desperately want a dog, but I until my lifestyle supports one, the best I can do is cartoon dog, Toby. Yep, that right—I name my imaginary pets and he looks like a Toby!

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Step 2: Draw an illustration on the first page of the journal. If you want a border, mark up the space first so you don’t have to cram it in later. This first drawing will be the introduction to your bullet journal. As a fan of Vanessa Bell’s work, I chose to draw a version of the illustration she did for her sister’s posthumously published diary: “A Writer’s Diary.”

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Step 3: Flip to a new page and draw something from your imagination. Make it something that’ll motivate you and has a positive message. I drew succulents in a pot.

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Side Note: Pen and marker ink bleed through the pages. To prevent bleeding, place a scratch piece of paper between the pages.

Step 4: Take the mulberry paper and slip it between the two illustrated pages. Make sure the edge of the paper is tucked into the journal snuggly. Using your pencil, lightly trace around the edges of the notebook. Remove the mulberry paper. Take the scissors and cut along the pencil tracing.

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Side Note: Stupidly, I did not take any pictures of my actual process, so, yes, the mulberry pages were already inserted at the time this picture was taken.

Step 5: Cut a piece of washi tape the length of the cut mulberry paper (also now the same length as the journal). Tape the mulberry paper into the journal. The mulberry paper acts as a colorful and fun divider between illustrations and written entries!

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Step 6: On a new page, write your first entry. The entry can be about whatever you want. My entries are the first drafts of DIY tutorials.

The drawings don’t need to work together (you don’t need to have a theme unless you want one) and if you don’t want to write anything, you don’t have to. This journal is for you: do what makes you happy!

 

 

Word of the Day: Excuses

In yesterday’s EARTH post, I was kidding around about making the next writing prompt “Excuses.” But, you know what? I think that’s what this prompt is going to be about today.

 Let’s get to it!

  1. I’m sick.
  2. My car broke down.
  3. My child is sick. (This only works if you have an actual child. If everyone in the office knows you have no children, it won’t work.)
  4. Had to take my kid to the dentist. (Again, must actually have a child.)
  5. I blew a tire.
  6. I had food poisoning.
  7. I’m allergic to shellfish. (Best used when trying to get out of dinner plans with friends at a seafood restaurant.)
  8. I’m busy.
  9. Sorry, my mom’s in town.
  10. Sorry, my dad’s in town.
  11. Sorry, my aunt Flow’s in town. (This one can work in a few different ways.)
  12. I lost my phone.
  13. I don’t have Facebook.
  14. I don’t have Twitter.
  15. I’m not on social media.

Hmm..I’m starting to see a theme running here. These aren’t excuses—they’re LIES! Yes, some if not all of these things have been said and were true, but..who cares! Let’s keep going!

  1. My dog is sick.
  2. My cat is sick.
  3. My iguana is sick.
  4. I have the plague.
  5. I don’t drink.
  6. I don’t smoke.
  7. I have insomnia.
  8. I don’t watch that show. (Best used when you don’t want to talk to a work frenemy. Yep, I just used the word frenemy; deal with it!)
  9. I can’t, my S.O.’s in town.
  10. I can’t, I just broke up with my S.O.
  11. I can’t tell you my S.O.’s name.
  12. For privacy reasons.
  13. I didn’t notice.
  14. I didn’t see the message.
  15. I didn’t recognize you.
  16. I ran out of ideas. (Or did I?!)

 

 

 

Word of the Day: EARTH

Hey, guys! So, I’ve already missed a writing–prompt, apologies! I have a reason for it, but won’t give excuses. That should be my next word–excuse! 

Any who, please find my fast and fictitious response to today’s prompt just below this sentence! 

I’m often distracted. No, distracted isn’t quite the right word. Distracted leans further towards not having some self-control. Rather, I choose not to see the forest for the trees.

I wake up, wash my face, change into the new day’s clothes and speed off to work. There, I put in my earbuds and go about my day undisturbed. I pay attention only to the screen in front of me. On my way home I don’t notice the changing color of the sky or the glint of the sun on the city skyline: all I notice is the notification that has popped up on my phone. One new “like.” One new comment. No words written, just a smiley.

Then, as if by some miracle, a new light catches my eye. No, the sudden absence of light, a shadow. A pigeon has flown down beside me and is interested in the sandwich I’m holding. His head flits from one side to the other. He emits a low coo. The world, as if by magic, is all at once loud, vibrant and jostling. I can hear the wind whip through the trees. Cherry blossoms are in bloom. The sky is azure blue. I am unplugged from the digital world and grounded here, now. No one sees this. No one sees the pigeon. No one see the beauty of the day.

 

Word of the Day: Cappuccino

 

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I’ve decided to expand what I do with this blog and have decided that along with writing DIY arts and crafts articles, I’m going to write about the new books I’m reading, and, a short blurb to do with a one-word prompt. By writing a short response to one word every day, I’m hoping to better my writing and keep my creative juices flowing when I don’t have a craft project to work on.

Today’s One-Word Writing Prompt: Cappuccino

The smells of a café, the earthy, nutty aroma that greets you as you walk through the door has the honeyed familiarity of an old friend. The fragrance of the coffee and spices makes the atmosphere feel warm, comfortable and familiar, even when it’s a shop you don’t often frequent.

Anticipation builds as you wait in line. Should your order a pastry? The croissants are flaky and the pound cake moist. A crunchy piece of biscotti might pair better with your order of the day. It’s your turn. The barista greets you with a warm smile and asks you what you’ll have. A cappuccino. A sublime blend of coffee and milk frothed to unadulterated perfection, you cut through the bitterness of the coffee to the sweetness of the milk and…ah, heaven. A well-crafted cappuccino is comfort in a cup. Some like to shoot it like a shot of espresso, I like to sip it slowly and enjoy the notes. Paired with a good book, a cappuccino helps to calm the nerves and bring everything back to the center. The froth and flavor of a cappuccino brings joy to hard day.

One Lovely Blog Award

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To begin with, I am so sorry for being MIA this last week! Fortunately, I think the reason I was unable to check in was a good one: I was in Italy for the last week!

Imagine my surprise when I got home and saw that the fabulous Anni behind Glückgeist nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award!

Rules:

I. Thank the person who nominated you for the award and link to their blog (Thank you so much, Anni!)

II. Write a post about the award

III. Share 7 facts about yourself

IV. Nominate 15 people

V. Let your nominees know you’ve nominated them

7 Facts About Yours Truly:

I. I am an avid reader. I prefer fiction, so being involved in a book club helps me to knock out a non-fiction book or two.

II. I have a difficult time coming up with interesting facts about myself.

III. I wrote my Master’s thesis on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Marin Civic Center.

IV. I love playing Zelda. Unfortunately, I have neither a television set or Wii console, so I have not been able to play its latest installment, Breath of the Wild.

V. I wish I was the third wheel in Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s friendship.

VI. One of my all-time favorite movies is Step Brothers.

VII. I would like to go back to school for an English degree.

The Nominees Are…

Café Book Bean

Busy Bee

Confessions of a Firefighter Wife

valsdarkroom

Brave and Reckless

Oriana’s Notes

The Joy in Crafting

glucrafted

Reading Every Night

The Writing Writers

The Happy Larkspur

The Painted Pumpkin

Lark on the Move

Living Creatively 2016

An Artistic Journey

If you have already been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award, don’t worry about completing another post—just know that your blog is working it!

 

10 Books to Add to Your Shelf in Honor of World Book Day

So far, of the few DIY projects I have done, my favorite has definitely been the reading journal. The journal combines three of my passions: reading, writing and art.

The first book that made me interested in reading was Patricia MacLachlan’s Sarah Plain and Tall. I was in the second grade and it was my first chapter book; a kid remembers their first chapter book!

Soon I began swallowing books whole. There was Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series and Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac Magee. Indian in the Cupboard, The Giver and The Diary of Anne Frank opened my eyes to worlds real and imagined. I learned about a darkness that could consume men’s hearts and alter the course of history. I learned about friendship, faith and ethics. Books, fiction and non-fiction helped me to understand that the world as I experienced it was not true of everyone. I learned that rules were not hard and fast. I learned that sometimes things have to fall apart in order to be rebuilt stronger.

I relished in classroom library visits. I would pour over the shelves in search of the perfect book and would check out as many as I possibly could. In the fifth grade at age eleven, a teacher who believed in the magic of reading introduced me to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Mrs. Burroughs, wherever you are, thank you. Thank you for introducing me to a series that has left a mark on my heart forever.

In honor of World Book Day and to say thank you to the many talented authors who have shared their imaginations and life experiences with the world, here is a list of 10 books that I believe ought to have place on every bookshelf.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl—Anne Frank

“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe people are really good at heart.” A young Jewish girl still believed this at the height of the Holocaust. Despite everything, Anne Frank believed in a future that would sadly be striped from her. Detailing what it was like to have her human rights taken from her and her family’s eventual hiding, Anne’s diary entries tell the story of a young, precocious girl with a wit and sense of humor that could rival any writer. Reading Anne Frank’s diary is to feel that you knew her.

To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee

Told through the eyes of a woman remembering her childhood in the 1930s south, we follow Scout and her older brother as they learn what compassion, envy, faith, prejudice and courage are—how such attributes divide people and can shape a community. The novel that introduced us to the pivotal figure of Atticus Finch, Harper Lee schooled audiences on their willful ignorance. By telling the story through childhood memories, Lee helped to teach her readers that we all need each other, no matter the color of our skin.

The Waves—Virginia Woolf

Most celebrated for her novel Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf’s The Waves is a work entirely written in the stream of consciousness. Following six characters from childhood to old age, the voices of the characters are as loud and powerful as the waves of the sea, a location at which the story takes place. An experimental novel that should receive more acclaim, Woolf proves her writing prowess here in more ways than one.

The Razor’s Edge—W. Somerset Maugham

A young man who having been spared his life during World War I at the sacrifice of a fellow soldier, Larry Darrell returns from Europe to tell his sweetheart that he must leave a journey to find the truth of life. Embarking on a spiritual quest, Darrell’s sweetheart chooses riches over love and all but murders an innocent by her own hand, an old friend who would have love to a life of torment. Maugham illustrates that experience shapes a man, for better or worse. Choice, or lack there of, is everything.

Brave New World—Aldous Huxley

Given the current political climate, this selection is no doubt obvious. In a world where technology and genetic engineering has shaped society, Huxley writes in his novel that if we get lost in tech, pharmaceuticals and machines, we will lose our humanity in exchange for a life of morose abject expression.

The Hours—Michael Cunningham

Told in three parts from the viewpoint of three different women, this novel is a modern-day retelling of Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway. Cunningham follows three connected women in a single day of their lives. In one day of the characters’ lives, the reader is shown what it is to love and to despair. The poet’s life is made up of extremes; but the three protagonists of the novel show that life is a spectrum of wonder and terror.

The Underground Railroad—Colson Whitehead

A 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner, Colson Whitehead’s fantastical piece of historical fiction chronicles the escape of a young slave girl named Cora in her pursuit of freedom. Too often students are taught that white abolitionists are the heroes of the Underground Railroad. Not so with this award-winning work. Though this is a work of fiction based in part on true events, Whitehead has illustrated the hidden history of the running slave’s courage, grit and determination. If found the slave faced certain death. Runaway slaves were willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. This novel helps to show the humanity of the situation in a way that history books have failed. This should be on the curriculum of every high school English course.

The Joy Luck Club—Amy Tan

Generational experiences can prove trying on mother-daughter relationships, especially when both have been brought up in different cultures under vastly different circumstances. Tan’s novel follows four mother-daughter relationships in their search for companionship and freedom—in their search for acceptance and forgiveness. Tan’s strong storytelling shows you what it is to understand, but not conform. Above all, Tan’s novel shows readers that women are strong, vigilant and human.

Renascence, and Other Poems—Edna St. Vincent Millay

An American poet who I believe is greatly unappreciated, Edna St. Vincent Millay’s seminal work demonstrates what it is to love and be loved. Unlike other poets who hide behind a buxom vocabulary in the hopes of distracting the reader from the mediocrity of the poem’s message, Millay’s work is succinct and to the point. For anyone who has ever said, “I hate poetry,” read Renascence; you’ll find it sets fire to your understanding of what poetry is or can be.

Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art—Christopher Moore

A fantastic blend of mythology and art history, Moore’s work of fiction follows the suspicious death of Vincent Van Gogh. Despite his death having been classified as a suicide, Van Gogh’s contemporaries believe he was murdered. A mysterious “color man” who sells an indigo blue paint that embodies a radical spirit and ensnares the artist, was Van Gogh driven mad by the muse?

Though it’s a cliché to say, it’s nevertheless true: reading takes you on an exploration of the world. Find a book that will challenge the way you think. To get going, join a book club!