Pens, steak and squirrels, not necessarily in that #WeekendCoffeeShare order

If we were having coffee….

*yawn* Pardon me, I just woke up from a nap on the Lovesac. Go ahead, sink into the oversized adult beanbag while I get a cup of coffee. My day started too early subbing for someone at work, starting at 6:45am. People were just weird this morning, and then a woman gave me this red pen. It made my day.

Until you stopped by, of course.

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Right-hand, mid-forefinger heals!

Good news: the doctor says my finger is healing as expected. I will still do exercises because even though the fracture has mostly healed, it could take up to a year for the swelling to completely disappear and my finger to heal. Have you ever broken anything? Let me tell you, this journey has been frustrating. I feel good, but then I wake one morning with swelling for no good reason, and then some days I can bend it well and some days it feels stiff and sore. I’m so happy I’m doing well, but it’s frustrating. I have no control, and that’s really annoying.

What’s not annoying to me is the latest Geico TV commercial with the squirrels. Have you seen it? A mother is talking to her son about squirrels being back in the attic and the father’s decision to not call the exterminator. “He says it’s personal this time.” I love that line! Wherever I’ve lived, from my childhood home to my dorms and apartments, I’ve always lived on the top floor. Because of that, I’ve always heard rooftop noise, be that puddling rain or curious scamperings. My first night in one New Jersey apartment, I wrote a poem about that for my Journal Club. It made me feel not so alone. Anyway, back to the point, I hear those same scrabblings in our house here. Do you hear anything? It could just be me, but I wonder if I have squirrels, like Mom and I always wondered if that strange light in the sky was an airplane or a UFO. We were always disappointed.

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Did you do anything for Paczki Day–or Fat Tuesday, as it is known everywhere outside of Michigan? Here the big thing is basically stuffed donuts, I guess like beignets for Mardi Gras. This year, I got a mix of flavors from Busch’s up on 5 Mile. Last year, we got “authentic” ones from Dearborn through the local corner market up the street. Mangos Fruit Market closed in September, and I miss the fresh lettuce, local pastries and the homemade turkey chili. We could use some of that today.

Enough about food. I’ve got to get ready for dinner tonight. My husband is taking me out for dinner to Morton’s Steakhouse. We’ve never been, and I have to find an outfit that is both classy–just because I like dressing up–and practical, because the parking lot might be a little icy. Let’s catch up again next week.

Dream of an A to Z Challenge

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Welcome to Day D of the A to Z Challenge. What you will learn this month is: 26 Ways to Procrastinate a Writer
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4. The fourth way to procrastinate a writer is to focus on the DREAMS they have.

Every writer daydreams about the successful future they will have. There will be book signings that writers have to turn down because their schedule is already filled with commitments of other book signings and talks. They will be invited for interviews on television shows. Social media will explode with praise of their current book and recommendations from national, reputable book clubs. There will not be enough space on the writer’s walls in their house to hang all their book awards. The author’s Superfans will clamor for the writer’s next book series and demand to know its release date. Bestseller lists. Guest blog requests. Publishers pounding on the door.

Some writers have simple dreams. Writers want to be justified in calling themselves “an author,” and such validation requires a book or three. Writers dream of paying the monthly bills with their income, with enough money leftover to buy a new car and take a vacation. Vacations, however, present a difficulty for the successful writer because they are instantly recognized and will be swarmed for autographs.

The more that a writer spends time dreaming and thinking abut the future-to-be, the more motivated they will be to complete their works of writing art. However, writers must first find inspiration in those dreams, especially when their muse has left them coughing in the dust of writers block. Dream big. Dream often. Take breaks to dream. How else will a writer finish that novel?

Jayne the Dreamwriter

There was a scream. Dark. Hands. Spinning. Cold feet.

Jayne woke up, shivering. She was in bed and her feet had slipped out of the covers. No, Tom had just rolled over and swarmed the covers. No sense in trying to steal the covers back; Tom had a master grip on them, always did.

She slid into her slippers and shuffled out to the living room. 5:23 am. Light was barely peeking over the hills. Still chilled, she brewed a cup of tea and sat on the couch.

Green tea usually calmed her, but at this moment, it did not. Jayne dreamt her character came to life, threatened her to write his story in a different direction than she had already typed, and then he pitched her off the cliff to crash into her laptop.

That, and he stole her shoes so she couldn’t run away.

She looked over at her laptop, yawning open. She should go over there and write, just write, chase her evil demon of a character back into his dwelling. Cupping her hands around the teacup, she wandered over, guided by the nightlight of the screen.

Why should I bother? she thought. My character is right; I can’t write a good story. Of course the story should go in that direction–hey, I better get these ideas down.

Jayne opened a notepad and typed, listening to the dream remnants of her character sitting on her shoulder. Walk this direction. Perform that action. Say these words. Her hands typed with a purpose, her eyes focused on the keys. Keys! Yes, the character needs to open a door. And behind that door is–

Jayne woke up. She knew it was real this time; her feet were still snuggled under the covers. She couldn’t remember a thing about her dream, but a grunt next to her made her think–and hope, and believe, for just a moment–that her character was beside her, ready to whisper his tale in her ears. It was just Tom shifting in bed beside her. Jayne looked at her bedside clock. The time just blinked over: 5:24 am.

It’s hopeless, she thought. Her character was right. Better to go back to sleep and dream of the success she would never have. She was never going to write her story.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Zentangle

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”~Martin Luther King, Jr., American activist

This week enters a new era, Diva Challenge #201. This week’s challenge is the annual awareness to Moebius Syndrome, which her youngest child has. It is a delayed developmental condition.

I look back on my tiles from last year and see the different approach I took then.

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Diva #151: Moebius 2014–1

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Diva #151: Moebius 2014–2

This year, not being near a computer to print the moebius strip template, I created my own using the color associated with the condition, purple. I introduced various shades on Inktense pencils, playing with them for the first time this year.

How appropriate that this challenge falls on the American holiday celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. and his many activist works for advancement, understanding and unity.

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Diva Zentangle Challenge #201

Dream a not-so-little dream

“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.”~Johann Wolfgangvon Goethe, German poet

Di’s Hopeful Words Of Wisdom for March 23

“Hope is a waking dream.”~Aristotle, Greek philosopher

Take yourself on an adventure

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”Oprah Winfrey, American entertainer

Creating an eBook and a Zentangle

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”~Franklin D. Roosevelt, former American president

This was a week to celebrate creation.

It’s late this Thursday night, very late. I’ve been waiting because…I published my first book!

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That’s right, I met the 8-hour eBook Challenge head on and succeeded! Actually, it’s my non-8-hour eBook because it took approximately 18 hours and 45 minutes over seven days to complete: 15 hours to write/edit and 3:45 hours to register and publish through Kindle Direct Publishing. Yes, it took longer than 8 hours, but at this time last week, I did not have a book published. Now I do! I am proud of it, and of myself. I am hungry to do another one. If you want to check out my first foray into the publishing arena, my book Mom, Star Trek and Las Vegas on Amazon. It’s not on any other platform now; I was just thrilled to complete this.

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Tangle inspiration

And then there was this week’s Diva Challenge #138: Borders. I’m not referring to the defunct bookstore chain but to the boundaries that surround us, that highlight and frame the world. The challenge was to create borders, our own borders. My first thought was not very Zen at all. In fact, I can’t really say what those first thoughts were because this is a family-friendly website. My mind went back to Challenge #123 where we were to create a Zentangle without using tangles. That was difficult for me and most of the other participants because we are used to direction. That challenge was almost too freeing. Definitely unstructured.

According to this week’s challenge: “Now take another moment to look around you right where you are at this moment and become aware of border tangle inspirations.

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“Catch” my Diva Zentangle challenge

I was in a doctor’s office with my husband because his cold-sinus-viral-whatever thing was hanging on (and still is, per this writing). I saw archway moulding, straggly branches from some vase…but nothing was inspiring. I looked closer to me, not far away, and saw my purse. The first thought was the logo, then the zipper, then I went back to the logo. The interlocking C intrigued me and I developed what I hope is a new tangle I’m calling Catch. I used that tangle as the actual border, varying it slightly on opposite sides, and filled it in with Zentangle tangles. Creating more was just too much for my mind this week. I was surprisingly pleased with my art.

I feel good about this week, this entire week. The weekend awaits!

Keep shooting

“Big shots are only little shots who kept shooting.”~Christopher Morley, American journalist

Always stretch before crafting

I thought art was a verb, rather than a noun.”~Yoko Ono, Japanese peace activist

My nail polish did not survive the Art Retreat, but my nails did!

The first annual All Things Creative Art Retreat was outstanding, so much fun that we didn’t finish all the projects we had. The attendance was much lower for the two-day event than my co-organizer, Mary, and I had hoped for, but that actually worked out well. As scrapbookers and crafters are known to do, the 11 of us spread out over 23 tables. Next year: more drying and work spaces.

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Re-use in style

Karen presented a fabulous workshop on how to recycle used objects for art. When I think of phrases like that, I think of folksy, grungy art like windchimes made from rusty forks or yard sculptures made from hardware store bolts and tin cans. With a little twist of creativity, forks can transform into decorative garden plant holders. Turns out those same tin cans make a stylish pencil holder decoupaged with paper napkins and and lace ribbon. Trust me, this is not some cheesy macaroni art here.

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We worked on her Upcycled Dream Tin project, using an Altoids tin to create a box for inspirational notes. I used scrapbook papers, National Geographic magazines, acrylic paint and postage stamps for mine. Collage Pauge has become my new favorite medium. Once my current bottle of Mod Podge runs out, I’m giving this a try.

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Beeswax by any other name is faux

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Mary showed us how to make faux encaustic pictures using acrylic gel medium rather than melting beeswax. I demonstrated techniques for the modern-Victorian hybrid art called Steampunk. Think nuts and bolts and keys and watch gears, or think Tim Holtz products. This sounds similar to Karen’s class, but steampunk’s palette is mostly limited to darker colors of browns, greys and black with objects that reflect the vibe of the book The Time Machine written by H. G. Wells.
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The tie-dye tag class, I think, was the messiest and the funnest class of the weekend. Maybe I felt that way because we all completed the project: color manilla tags using Distress Stains or Distress Ink re-inkers. By spraying tags with a mix of the color and water, you can create some intense colors. Mist the tags wet or dry over a large plastic tub to keep from staining the work area or your neighbor across the table.

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My tag mania!

Waste nothing seemed to be the theme for this retreat; swish the tags into the well of excess ink and you get some cool stained dimension to the tags. It’s a simple process that has instant gratification, so you can just go on and on and on. I sure did, and now I have tags to use in my Upcycled Dream Tin. You might think I have tags to last me a lifetime. My inner scrapbooker says: no way, chickie!

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Tamaya takes the stress out of distressing

Tamaya is the queen of distressing, and she showed us ways to alter an ATC blank–or any paper, no matter the texture or color–by using tea, coffee, sandpaper, water, inks, Distress Stains, salt and more. After this, I want to play with the coffee grounds left in my Keurig K-cups!

We had a pile of generous donations from the papercrafting world. Kate from MegaMeet, Carrie from Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine, and Creative Memories consultant Sue Nebe fattened up our goodie bags and provided an assortment of larger items for our door prizes and raffles. A big shout-out to them.

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Swollen finger after spritzing and spraying all day

By the time I got home, a day of pumping left me with a form of Carpel Tunnel thumb. Sore fingers and stained hands: the badge of a successful artsy-fartsy weekend. I’m already looking forward to what we come up with next year. Of course, I will stretch my fingers with a good workout training session first.

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