Going up a level

Upgrading my blog

I have transferred my blog from wordpress.com to my own domain name, hosting and using wordpress.org.  I also fiddled around with a new theme and I’m learning about what serious bloggers do.  I feel like an astronaut cutting off her tether and using a jetpack for the first time, hoping that I don’t hurtle off into deep space and run out of oxygen.

Books on blogging I’m reading:

  • Teach Yourself Visually WordPress by Janet Majure (ok, little too graphically busy)
  • Mom Blogging for Dummies by Wendy Piersall (amazing!  highly recommended)

Out of the box

train

We made a cardboard box train for my son’s birthday party. My daughter eagerly helped, and even pushed the train around the house with three small passengers inside.  I think the cardboard box is a perfect symbol for imagination.  Didn’t everyone play with a box at some point in their childhood?

I found a wonderful blog post on many different cardboard creations:

Tip Junkie/ 32 things to make with a cardboard box

If you are stuck on a creative project, take a moment to look at it with a sense of imagination.  What else could it be?  How could it be played with?  How can I make it more fun or interesting?  Make something out of nothing and try to see from a child’s eyes.

train front

Graham Cracker Houses

If you want to do something like gingerbread houses for a large group of kids, or just your own, a graham cracker house skips all the baking and gets to the fun part, the decorating with candy.

First, start with a cardboard base- I recommend thin cardboard from gift boxes- shirt boxes are just the right size for the template I use.  I created the template using a graham cracker as a measure for the long sides and roof, with half a graham cracker for the short sides.

Use your scissors to crease the folds, then tape the house together.  Regular tape will work, packing tape is better.

Plan ahead- for each house you will need at least 6 graham crackers.  For the group you will need cans of frosting, squeeze tubes of frosting, an assortment of candy, dinner knives for spreading, bowls and plates for keeping supplies organized, and some napkins for clean-up.

Some good things to get- pull and peel Twizzlers, Fruit Loops, Smarties, and gum drops.

Now assemble your house- use the frosting like spackle and paste on the walls and roof.  Snap a graham cracker in half to do the short sides.  There will be a uncovered portion- allow your artist to choose how to fill it in, either with broken graham crackers or some kind of frosting and candy combination.

Step back and let your artists amaze you with their creativity!

Winner!

I have written another novel!  Once again, the experience was amazing.  Writing with other people, having a crazy deadline and no lofty goals when I complete was just what I needed.  I came up with weird plot twists and strange characters doing unexpected things, because I let go.  When I try to control everything in my writing, I end up with tight, bland stories in a white room.  I need to do this more than once a year.  In some aspects that is.  I need to connect with fellow writers, I need to set crazy goals for myself, I need to let go of my inner critic and just run with it.

That being said, I sent myself an auto-reminder message for next November saying “don’t do it.”  Yes it is fun, but I need to find other ways to channel my creativity and drive.  I need to spread out my productivity over the year.  I need to write every day, not save it for one month in the year.  I will continue to support everyone participating, but set a different goal for myself.  Now, to catch up on a month’s worth of lost sleep!

 

Make suggestions for my reading list

I’m currently reading “The Art of War for Writers” by James Scott Bell, and I’ll review it when I’m done.  I’ve read quite a lot of books on writing, crafts, knitting and creativity and I will revisit some of them in reviews. Does anyone have reccomendations?  A book that inspired you, gave you insight or started a fun project?

Here’s my list:

  • On Writing- Stephen King
  • Writing Down the Bones- Natalie Goldberg (revisit)
  • The Artist’s Way- Julia Cameron (revisit)
  • Simple Abundance – Sarah Ban Breathnach (revisit)
  • Brain Storm -Don Hahn

Be a lit Star…

Book review:

How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead: Your Words in Print, Your Name in Lights by Ariel Gore.

Becoming a famous writer isn’t about selling celebrity secrets or field-tackling literary agents at conventions.  Reading this book was like having a wild, shameless writer grab you by the hand and run into the world of being published.  Continue reading