Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Muddy Puddle Weekend

It rained on Saturday and by Sunday morning, the mud puddles in our backyard were the perfect consistency for dinosaurs, pumpkin carriages and fairy godmothers.

Not to mention perfect for mud cakes and pies, mixed from the top of the backyard fort.

I am all for backyard mud puddles (aka Mother Nature's Play Doh), so when the girls asked if they could get their fingers muddy, I said SURE!

And when they asked if they could get their clothes dirty, I said OKAY!

(because what are play clothes for if not for messy mud puddle play?)

Messy fingers quickly turned into messy, muddy arms and toes.

VERY messy toes...

And eventually turned into messy EVERYTHING, straight through to the underpants.

Time spent playing in the mud: 4 HOURS

Time it took to hose them off and stick them in a warm bubbly tub: 4 minutes.

Nothing beats messy Mother Nature! Or happy, tired kids when playtime is done.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Flashback: Winning the Hand of Miss Tilly Anne

I raided my seventh grade poetry folder for this gem of a flashback. And I'm just going to go ahead and say that my poetry skills (as well as my cursive!) haven't changed at all since I was thirteen.

(poem typed-out below)
Winning The Hand of Miss Tilly Anne
by Marisa Myers (age 13)

The humid air was damp and musty
The firey sun shone bright and fusty
A faraway figure caused eyebrows to frown
as the mysterious stranger rode into town.

His monstrous steed was black and silky
His loose clothes clung on, his figure was bulky
His gun was ready and in his hand
For he came for a duel to win Miss Tilly Anne

He rode to the bar that was filled with onlookers
Bartenders, cowboys, cowgirls and dancers
He tied up his steed as he kept a blank face
And walked up to no one but Tux Laverlace.

Tux Laverlace glared like a fool
His beady black pupils swam in a pool
His red puckered lips stuck out like a cows
His nervous sweat formed glops on his brow

"Okay, I'm ready," he muttered in terror
He ran to his stand as quick as a hare
He cocked his rifle with a struggled frown
But the other gunman shot him down

"Hooray!" cried Tilly Anne with a sigh
The mysterious stranger lifted her high
As they climbed on the steed, he started to run
And away they rode into the sun.

The end.

Yeahhh. Fantastic, wasn't it?

Funny enough, I remember my inspiration for this poem - this song by the Australian '80's band Icehouse. I stole the tape from my mom and listened to it over and over and over again.

(I did not make this shrine of a YouTube video, but it cracks me up.
And makes me want to light candles
in front of pictures of my favorite '80's bands)

And I thought it was funny seeing my brainstorm cloud - the root of my current outlining obsession, perhaps?

Have a flashback of your own you'd like to share? Join the fun over at Tia's blog!

Happy weekend, folks!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Writer Who Went Up a Hill... and Now Has To Rappel Down a Mountain

Yesterday was kind of a big day for me. I finished the complete first draft of my book! Yay, complete draft done and it only took one year to the exact week I started! I should probably bust out the champagne and celebrate...

But when it comes to this book, I pretty much feel like a novice hiker who has finally reached the top of a Very Big Mountain, and instead of enjoying the scenery, I am too tired to really care. And I have blisters on my feet from those darned hiking boots. And I ran out of trail mix several hours ago and I'm starving for more. Also, my water canteen is almost empty and the water is warm now. Ew.

Not to mention that as I stand at the top of this mountain, too exhausted and hungry to enjoy the scenery, I'm finding the only way down is to hook myself up to lots and lots of cable-thingies (I'm a novice hiker, remember. We don't tend to know what cable-thingies are called) and rappel down to the bottom.

Now, an experienced mountain climber-type person probably thinks, YAY, FUN! But all I'm seeing is the ten billion bushes and trees that I'll most certainly smash into as I come down and the family of Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep waiting patiently for me to pass so they can ram me into a pulp. And by golly, that blister from my hiking boot is looking gangrenous and I'm pretty sure that I'll have to amputate my whole foot because of it.

Oh, and also, my cable-thingie will probably come undone and I'll plummet to my death because seriously, I'm a NOVICE HIKER!

But for now, I'm still standing here. I might just find me a shady patch and take a nap. And waste some time doing time-wasting things, such as make an imaginary cover for my book:

(I plan on having a draft printed at Lulu.com just for myself,
and this will be the cover for that bound draft)

And make pretty word clouds with my first chapter:

Ooooh, pretty!

What's next on my list of things to do? Revise the crud out of my book or plummet to my death after getting rammed by sheep. Or both.

Also, I wonder if Mohop sandals will look okay on a half-amputated gangrenous foot... because I want some!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Short Love Story

Oh wow, if I could bottle up my love for this stop-motion short by the AMAZING Carlos Lascano, there would be enough love to power the world, because this film = the best thing ever, and I LOVE it, truly and completely!

A SHORT LOVE STORY IN STOP MOTION from Carlos Lascano on Vimeo.

Click all over these links to find out more about the artist, and the making of this short little EPIC love story!


Happy weekend, folks!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Flashback: Toilet Paper Baby

This was one of those moments - you know, the disturbingly quiet, "hmmmmm.... I wonder where the baby has gone as I stand here in the kitchen making dinner," kind of moment.

But it captures life with a baby - and the magic of a roll of fluffy white toilet paper - perfectly! Gracie was nearly one year old, and we were still living in California, the house we rented when we were apartment complex managers (worst job ever, as far as I'm concerned). It was a beautiful house, built in the 1920's... would have been perfect if not for that Pepto Bismal pink tiled bathroom (which had - and I'm not even kidding - BROWN walls. It was revolting).

But that bathroom provided the perfect pink back drop for a curious moment with a rosy pink baby!


Have a flashback of your own? Join in the flashback fun at Tia's blog - www.ChristopherandTia.blogspot.com



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Best Thing I Have Ever Seen.2

Remember the other day when I was like, "This is the best thing I have ever seen!"

Well, scratch that.

THIS is the best thing I have ever seen.



Monday, September 13, 2010

I Gotta P!

So, yeah... I didn't think it was going to take me a hundred years to get my Animal Alphabet collection finished and in my shop. But alas, a hundred years it will probably take, because I'm a terrible multi-tasker, and my to-do list features a million Things-That-Have-To-Get-Done-Or-Else-The-World-Will-Stop-Spinning-Or-Probably-Blow-Up a day.

Yes, I'm making excuses for myself.

But today, I have an update for you all! Introducing P is for Peacock!

A polka-dotted peacock named Penny!

I have a LOT of letters to finish, but next up are R and V!



Friday, September 10, 2010

Extra, Extra, Read All About Me!

I've been interviewed over at Kid Lit Frenzy!

Come on by! (click here) and find out more about me
and my colored pencil love affair!

And there's a TV show quote in there somewhere...
figure out what show it's from and
enter to win a print from my shop! Woo hoo!

Happy Friday, folks!


Thursday, September 9, 2010


(the above image is an art card I bought from
OhMandie to keep me motivated to write
during NaNoWriMo '08.
It still sits on my desk and I look at it every day!)

It's that time again.

What time? you may be asking yourself.

Why it's NaNo-time, of course! Well, NaNo-prep-time, at least. Because in a little less than 2 months (beginning Nov. 1st), National Novel Writing Month will commence!

A whole slew of you readers have seen my posts in which I've said, "Hey! I'm writing a book!" and a lot of you have whispered in my comments, "I'm jealous. I've always wanted to write a book..."

Well, guess what? I CHALLENGE YOU!

Yeah, that's right, I challenge you. To pull out a sheet of paper and mash some ideas between pink margins and blue lines, no matter how fantastic or how dumb you think they might sound.

I challenge you to sign up for National Novel Writing Month, even if you only think you'll hit 5 thousand typed words instead of the required 50 thousand it takes to print up a winner certificate.

I challenge you to stop thinking about what you'd like to achieve "someday" and start thinking about what you'd like to achieve "now" because really, you're not getting any younger, and the days are slipping by one by one and in ten years from now, when you look back, would you rather say "I spent the last ten years writing novels and LOVING IT" or would you rather say, "I spent the last ten years thinking about how I'll write novels some day."

Because time will pass no matter what.

This will be my 4th year doing NaNoWriMo. The first year, in 2005, I didn't remember to sign up, but I did type a whole 15k out of 50k. In 2008, I tried again. Actually hit my 50k, but didn't sign up to get my certificate (the accomplishment mattered more to me than the certificate). Last year... I hit 16k out of 50k. But after NaNo ended, I kept writing and now my book is almost done.

This year - um... maybe I'll hit 50k? That is my goal at least. After being all gung-ho-NaNo, it might be nice to actually get that certificate...

So, WHO IS WITH ME? Go on - shout it loud and shout it proud!

And also, be my NaNoBFF! - you can find me HERE!

No excuses, those of you who have always wanted to be writers but haven't allowed yourself the chance. Not a single person other than yourself even has to see your writing. And if you think you probably suck too much to consider being a writer, me too!! We can suck together!

And if you think you don't have time, tell me this: is there twenty minutes you can find each day where you can scribble words on paper or type them out? Because after 30 days, those twenty minutes a day will magically turn into TEN HOURS of writing time.

You can accomplish a lot in ten hours. And if you give yourself forty minutes a day, that's TWENTY HOURS. You can handle it. Really. I'm not saying it's easy, especially if you work or have kids or work AND have kids... but it is possible.

So I ask again, WHO IS WITH ME!?

And if being a writer "someday" is your secret (or not-so-secret) dream, I really hope YOU ARE!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How Drawing a Picture is like Writing a Book

A few months ago I was asked about my writing process and how it relates to my artistic process when it comes to creating an illustration. My answer - "Uh... they don't relate at all?"

But the other day, I sat down to create the blog banner for my friend Alyson (who's blog Kid Lit Frenzy is one I highly recommend you follow as it is filled with excellent reviews of children's literature, from picture books through young adult fiction) and while I worked, from sketch to finished illustration, I couldn't help noticing that when it comes to process, things are VERY much the same. I'm just so used to drawing pictures I like and NOT used to writing prose I like, that I was unable to see the similarities.

Drawing a picture IS like writing a book, and here is my process for both:

First things first - get those ideas down on tracing paper (or in an empty notebook/word doc - though I always use a notebook for my ideas. I find I am more creative when writing by hand as opposed to typing... and when it comes to floating ideas, the more creative the better!).

My story spark (the initial idea) is my favorite part of the writing process. That's when anything and everything is possible and all I have to do is put ideas down on paper and smile at all of them until I choose one I like best.

The above picture is adorable and would have made an excellent banner, but for this particular project, it wasn't quite right, so I pulled out more tracing paper, and gave it another go.

Once my idea resembles something usable, and I can imagine how it will look finished, it's time to pull out a fresh sheet of paper (or open a new word doc) and lay down the foundation.

When writing, I am a loose-outliner. I lay down a skeleton of events or pencil lines, keeping it detail-free to allow room for happy surprises and unplanned details. Same with drawing.

Not everyone outlines, but for me, a bare bones outline is important. I need to see a beginning, middle and end in my head and on paper, or else I'll write/draw until my hand is cramped and I've spent hours and hours on a project that will only end up in the waste basket.

Outline done, time to get started. Deep breaths. Pick up a color, open a new word doc, and fill the page. Yes, it can be scary. What if I mess up? What if I SUCK!? What if my colors are all wrong, and my words are cliched and everything is a pile of crap!

Well, that's just a risk I have to take. It happens to everyone. And guess what? The more I write, the more I draw, the better I get, because practice makes perfect, no matter what creative outlet I choose.

Bad things happen. My pencil breaks. I accidentally draw outside the lines. I type out eight chapters only to realize my main character is wimpy and I hate her.

I get angry. I stomp my feet like a four-year-old. I'm even known to growl louder than the family dog. I bake brownies and practically burn my house down because I'm a lousy baker. And then I eat the whole pan of brownies when no one is looking.

But then I sharpen my pencils, move those eight offending chapters to my deleted scenes folder (which, by the way, is twice the size of my actual work-in-progress - I make LOTS of mistakes) and I move on, because if I were to stop every time a pencil broke, or I drew outside the lines, or I made my main character into someone I can't stand, how would I ever finish and reach my goals?

For me, the hardest part of any project is what I call the Awkward Teenager phase. My work has potential to be a sparkling diamond, but at the moment, it is a sloppy, scribbly mess that makes me cringe and want to flat iron it's frizzy hair and give it some lipstick and a trendy outfit because it still wears t-shirts with machine-gun-toting fish on them to school.

I used to not be able to see past the Awkward Teenager phase of my illustrations. I would hate how unpolished and rough they looked. Now, I know that they'll get better. Add more color, blend a little more, smooth things out, keep on working, get those details in.

Same with writing. I'll vomit words all over my page and then read them and think, "Am I crazy? Why would I ever think I can be a writer when all that comes out is crap?"

Those Awkward Teenager drafts need more color, too. They need to be blended, smoothed. I need to keep working, add in more details. Anything can get better if I keep at it!

Add some shading, pick up Tuscan Red and Violet Blue and scribble some more. Move chapter two where chapter four is. Cut chapter five entirely, because really, what was I thinking?

Then blend, add more, smooth, add more, delete some, and keep hacking away at that Awkward Teenager until she starts college and discovers where she fits in the world.

It may take a long time. I might set goals for myself, and find I never reach them because I spend so much time deleting, reworking, adding more color, taking it away.

It's discouraging a lot of the time, especially when I doubt my abilities as much as I do... but I don't give up. Not even when I think I'm a no-talent hack and just want to toss my drawing board/computer out the window and run into the mountains to live with the deer and squirrels because they won't ever point a finger at my faults and tell me I'll fail forever.

Because I remember I'm not very nature-y, and squirrels have rabies and the plague, and what I really want to be is a writer/artist, so I might as well keep going or I'll most certainly fail forever.

This is usually when I discover that I'm not as bad as I think.

And it's just a matter of time, paint, glue, and persistence before it's done.

And in the end, all that hard work, foot stomping, brownie-binging, and scribbling until my hand cramped was TOTALLY worth it!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Advice for Young Girls From the Disney Princesses

Click on Belle to be magically
transported to my post at TMD!

I've got a thing for Disney fairy tale retellings.

And a thing for funny YouTube videos that give Disney Princess-style advice to young girls.

I shared both things today at The Mama Dramalogues.

Come on by!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...