How To Make A Spring Easter Wreath: Wonky Edition

Happy Spring!!

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So I work really hard on a wreath one afternoon last week, hoping for a real showstopper.

Afterwards, when I pick up the kids, it sure does stop them.

“I made a wreath today.”

They pause mid-step as their eyes turn towards the door.

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After a beat, one of them pipes up.

“What’s wrong with it?”

“What do you mean?” I busy myself putting the key in the lock.

“There, on the side.” The other one says, pointing.

“What side, this side?”

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“No, the other side.”

“Here?”

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“Mom!” They say together.

“Okay, fine. Yes, it’s wonky.”

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“Wonky? What’s that?”

“It’s weird, it’s a little off, you know- it’s wonky.”

“What happened to it?”

“I stepped on it.”

“You stepped on the wall?!”

I try to keep a straight face as I realize they are picturing me pull a Spiderman on the front door.

“No, not on the wall.”

“Oh. Well… it’s beautiful anyway.” One says.

The other one reaches up and pats my elbow.

How To Make An Easter Wreath: Wonky Edition

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Materials

-Fabric
-<a href=”Ribbon
-Three hand-crafted flowers
-safety pins
-scissors
-glue gun & glue sticks
-Small stuffed bunny
-Floral wire
-Wreath form
-Carelessly placed foot

Instructions

-Measure your fabric on the wreath form and cut it to size.

-Step on your wreath form as you gather other materials.

-Mutter curses and epithets under your breath as you attempt to fix the break with glue and tape.

-Wrap the fabric around your wreath form, careful to fold and cover any raw edges. Pin and/or glue in place.

-Wrap the ribbon around the wreath, failing to space it evenly no matter how hard you try. Tuck the end of the ribbon under on itself and add a dab of glue to secure it.

-Secure your flowers and bunny in place.

-As a last and crucial step, attempt to hang the wreath on your front door and watch as it comes apart on one side.

Tada!

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In all seriousness though, it can be easy to get frustrated or to down ourselved when we learning something new. But a sense of humor is essential in order to move forward in the growing process; it makes the hard parts bearable and good parts awesome. So don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself, because you never know, the story might be better than the stupid wreath!

Okay, as much as I love to figuratively listen to myself talk, this is not a one-sided conversation. Your two cents in the comments please (come on its the only coin I’m making right now)!

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Drafting and Drawing

Happy Saturday!

Are you enjoying your weekend? I just finished reading Inkspell. I’m looking forward to finishing the series but I picked these up at a second hand book shop and she didn’t have the third one. And of course, the second one ended on a cliffhanger!

So I promised I’d share a little sketch I made as part of my- I guess we can call it prewriting- process.

I preface this with a disclaimer: I’m not an illustrator. I just drew up a little sketch to help me visualize.

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Little story:

I was sitting at my desk working on a different project and as I cast around in my mind for an idea, my eyes cast around the room and landed on a puzzle I had jammed into the bookcase. Something about the image on the side caught my eye.

I pulled the box off the shelf to get a closer look at the picture on it.

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This! I thought to myself as I rubbed my hand over the surface. Something like this.

And I pulled open my special notebook.

“This” is Noah’s Ark by Chris Thompson. And it just had a close feel for what I was imaging. What I picture is simpler still, with softer edges, like the boat featured in The Going To Bed Book. Ooh and check out this link for an app version of that best selling book!

Let me digress to just say that not only do I love this book (and my twins loved this book) but I am super excited to see a book as an app! I have an idea for an app for the series that I am working on that kids would love. With pottermore and now apps like this opening doors, this dream of mine could become a reality!

But back to the puzzle. I especially liked shape of the boat, (but again, softer) the flags, and the one patchwork sail. I also really appreciate this artist’s imagination. There are two other puzzles in the box that are just as spectacular.

So I used this image as a bit of a model. I even edited the poem several times, first to add the patchwork sails, then I decided they were too busy and I cut that line out again.

Instead of the patchwork sails I think something similar to a coloful circus tent would be best. But like I said, I’m not an illustrator, and that little drawing took me a long time. The idea of creating another with my new specifications felt daunting at the time.

Now that I know I’m done with Le Cirque, I might do another one if the mood strikes me. I bought a sketchpad and I’ve been practicing a little in the evening.

So that’s the sketch. The next post will be about editing Sailing Le Cirque. Then after that, I will post the final piece.

Well I’m off to sit in a wading pool and drink spiked lemonade while my kids splash grassy water in my face. #liveitup

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Oh the Irony

So after all that procrastinating Monday I bet you think I just couldn’t handle the pressure of revealing more on my WIP yesterday. But actually, I couldn’t find the original written draft. I guess that’s what I get for tearing it out of the notebook.

Or maybe not because you won’t believe what I did find? The lost pages from the other project that I’d been looking for back in January when I stumbled on Le Cirque.

I love me some good irony.

Anyway, I did find a version of the first page of Le Cirque in the same notebook as the lost pages. Super weird, I know, but I keep at least half a dozen notebooks around at all times and I don’t discriminate when an idea pounces on me, so each one is an eclectic mix of randomness.

So I haven’t worked on a pitch line or anything because I don’t plan to submit this particular work to a publisher but for clarity before we begin:

Sailing Le Cirque is a picture book about a boy named Mario and a visiting circus ship.

As I said in the last post, this book evolved from a line I loved in Game of Thrones (which I marked below with a star).

And evolve it did. I wish I’d kept a record because I tested so many lines in this rhyme scheme and it changed and changed, especially the first stanza.

Anyway so let’s compare.

First Draft

They sail into your dreams
On sails of colored silk*
Through the dreamy mist they glide
And anchor in a sleepy port
The sun will rise and people will see
The colored sails
And the children’s steps will bound with glee
Even adults will work more merrily
For when that day’s work is done
They will all have some fun
Clamor for their tickets
To see the show firsthand
Feelings of excitement rise
At the start of the band.

So here is the current draft roughly to this point:

Current Draft

Work dawns
before day breaks
Mario yawns
Not fully awake

As the sun rises, Mario spies
Patchwork sails as they’re slipping by.

He gives a shout and points them out.
When work is done,
Its time for fun.

Dancing to the port he goes,
Clamoring to see the show.

Different, huh?

So one thing I did was add a character to the story.  The original draft was just about the boat and the show, but after reading and learning about children’s books, it was glaringly obvious that I lacked a kid here.

So in a mid-early draft, Mario appeared, dropped into the action about half way into the story in a few lines that went something like this:

A little boy named Mario
Is in the center seat, front row.
He’s looking ’round to and fro.
He’s counting down to the show.

Those lines are still there (albeit edited) but as I worked on the beginning of the story, trying and tossing stanza after stanza, and finally, painfully, evolving away from the original line about “colorful sails of silk,” I realized that if Mario was to be the main character, then he needed to incite the incident, he needed to see the boat.

The other thing I worked on was the pace. Actually, that’s probably not the proper term, but what I mean is I made sure each stanza had a similar or corresponding number of syllables and that no line had more than ten syllables (although I think there is at least one exception).

Why ten syllables? Because its a kid’s book and longer felt boring.

So that’s my little draft comparison.

Tomorrow, Next time, I will to share the story of a little sketch I mocked up for this book, the weird way I was inspired to draw it, and how it played a part in the continued evolution of Sailing Le Cirque.

What about you? What are you working on and how has it evolved? Tell me about it or leave a link in the comments so I can check it out.

Oscillating, Procrastinating and Deep Breaths

Hey! I’m back. It’s been an emotional roller coaster this weekend. The computer did this weird crashing thing and I spent Saturday and part of Sunday oscillating between being stressed and thinking positive.

We were going to take the computer over to a friend’s to get it checked but my husband opened it up, did a little research on his phone, tinkered a bit, took a quick trip to the store and had it up and running in less than an hour.

Then he got super annoyed that even after all that work he still couldn’t make music because the baby had thrown the ball from the mouse again.

Sigh, poor guy. We totally need a different mouse.

So last week I posted about sharing my adventure as I write my books. This means I will share about my progress, my process, my failures, my frustrations, my successes and all the lessons I learn along the way.

A big part of writing is the non-writing, the periods I spend doing other things like reading, drawing, crafting or even washing dishes. This is when I work out kinks or what’s next in a story, and when I really grow in my writing by making random connections into fresh ideas.

So in between progress reports on my novels, I may share a sketch, a recipe, a quote, a picture or anything else that inspires me that I think will inspire you too.

Okay, okay, I’ve procrastinated long enough.

(*Deep breath*)

So my first project is called Sailing Le Cirque and it is a children’s book. (Le Cirque isn’t actually my first project but that is a story for another post.) The story for writing this book is pretty interesting. At least, if you’re writer.

I was chillin with my husband watching the first season of Game of Thrones and one of the characters said she had seen a pirate’s ship “with sails of colored silk…”

I repeated this line first in my head then out loud. I liked it so much that I wrote it in my special notebook.

I remember wondering what do I see when I picture this line? And to me it wasn’t a pirate’s ship but a circus ship. Then the words seized me, I seized a pen and a poem spurted onto the pages.

You may think I was pumped, that I picked it up and ran with it, but I was engrossed in another project at the time and had little consideration for poetry. In fact, I didn’t even recognize the poem for the children’s story that it was.

So after that night, it disappeared into the pages of that notebook, not be seen again that year.

Fast forward to January.

I was working on a new project ( one that I will be sharing about here in the near future) and feeling frustrated because pieces of the story were littered everywhere- in spirals, in my special notebook, on my hard drive, on a flash drive and even a few bits in evernote. I had also reached one of those dreaded blocks and decided that transcribing everything into one place was the best way to work through it.

Strangely, I couldn’t find any material to transcribe that day. But I did stumble on the starts of two stories. One of these stories, the poem, got ahold of my mind so bad that I had to abandon my walk to get home to the computer.

It amazed me how fast the story tumbled out. Even the guilt from abandoning my other story couldn’t dissuade my obsession.

Sailing Le Cirque is currently in final edits. I will share more about it tomorrow and through this week. I am always fascinating to see how others do the work and how a book goes from a line of inspiration to a full blown story. So that’s why I’m sharing, in case anyone else finds the process as interesting as I do.

To all the behind-the-scenes nerds out there, this one’s for you.

That’s what the back up was for

So I announced my grand plans to no one yesterday. Ha! Thats ok, in a way I like the annonimity, especially because things happen.

Like how I didn’t plan to post again until Monday, but the mood struck me to write something up. I clicked the green button and went off while our computer whirred to life like an old man struggling to rouse from a nap.

And while I was doing who-knows-what, the baby came by, started banging randomness and opened a screen that asked me if I wanted to back up the computer.

I should have seen it as a sign but no…

Instead I clicked away from this to start a blog post only to have everything freeze two sentences in.

Now its saying something about low memory and won’t load up the desktop screen.

Everything is in there. From my books. Okay not everything, but it feels like everything.

We are taking the computer to our friend to give it a checkup but I can’t stop thinking about that moment. That moment that I could have hit start instead of cancel.

Say Yes to New Adventures

Hey guys, Celeste here! You might remember me, I posted this story months ago. I’ve been busy working on a few different projects, some of which I’ll be sharing here. Yay!

One of the things that I have been spinning circles around lately is this blog. I stressed and agonized over a lot of “They says” (“They say you should pick a topic you can monetize,” They say blogs have to be all about pictures,” “They say…” “They say…”) but finally I’ve decided to do what I want and what my heart wants.

So I’m going to write about books and books and… more books. And about what I’m learning (usually from books).

I’m also posting about my books. The ones I’m writing.

Its funny how, as I wrote those last two sentences, my heart skipped a beat and my stomach flipped but you probably read them as casually as all the others.

But trust me, those two sentences up there, they weigh a lot. Weighted words that represent the start of an adventure.

And that feels odd, to describe me, mostly sitting at my computer, as an adventure. But I am embarking on a journey, one where I build worlds while sitting indian-style in front of my ancient Presario.

So let’s do this! (But first I have to find the ball to my mouse, the baby threw it.)