Deep in the forest, all is quiet and still. Limbs creak overhead as the weight of snow pulls them downward. The only movement is of the flurry as it drifts from the sky in large flakes.
Suddenly, there is a shift at the base of the largest, oldest tree in the woods. The snow falls away as a arm emerges from a tall drift. With a slight grunt, Snow Monster pulls himself out of the moisture and shakes his head.
With a smile, he opens his eyes and looks around for the first time. Welcome to the world, Snow Monster.
This monster was inspired by the rare winter weather we have been experiencing in my area. I made him one day when the snow fell for hours and hours. He is one of a kind.
Snow Monster can be purchased from CandaceOnline Etsy.
New monsters are listed every Friday. A look at a couple of the new ones for today:
You might have noticed that my Etsy shop was closed for a week or so. That’s because the shop went through some exciting changes!
There will be new monsters listed every Friday, with a “Monster of the Week” featured here on the blog.
I have been playing with making new and fun faces for them, so you are going to be seeing lots of different faces on the monsters. Like this:
So head on over to CandaceOnline Etsy to check out the new monsters and keep an eye out for updates!
I’m back from my hiatus and I want to start the new year out on the blog by sharing my favorite books that I read in 2014. I read a whopping 92 books in 2014! These are the ones that stuck with me and that really brought some enjoyment.
I did a list last year, too. Here’s the list from 2013. Previously I wrote a little blurb with my thoughts about the books, but this year I am going to let the books speak for themselves.
In no particular order, here are my favorite reads from 2014:
1.) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
2.) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
3.) It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
4.) Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
5.) Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster by Kristen Johnston
6.) Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer
7.) Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
8.) The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
9.) The Humanure Handbook by Joseph C. Jenkins
(download this book for free here)
10.) Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas
11.) My Nature is Hunger by Luis J. Rodriguez
12.) The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
13.) God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
14.) The Yellow House by Martin Gayford
15.) Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson
I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I wish you very Happy Holidays in everything you do!
To celebrate the holiday, I am offering 15% off in my Etsy shop, now through January 1st 2015. So go grab some awesome arts and crafts by me! Use the code MERRY at checkout.
I’ll be taking a hiatus from the blog for the rest of the year, so enjoy New Years, all!
There’s some awesome stuff coming in 2015 and I’ll be back to share it with you in January.
Enjoy the rest of the year!
This year, my frantic month of writing went very different from last year. I completely “pantsed” it this year- meaning I went into it with no plan or outline, or any clue, really, what I was going to do.
I decided to write a story that I had thought of a year or so ago. It was just a vague, hazy story fog floating around in my head. When I first had the idea, I jotted down a few of the main points and didn’t look at it again.
The week before NaNo started this year I had a few minutes panic over what the hell I would write, so I randomly settled on that idea.
It actually turned into a bit of a sequel for last year’s NaNo Novel. It takes place in the same world, but about twenty years later.
It seems like a lot happened in November. I had surgery. I decided to start a new business (more on that in a later post). There was all this craziness, and my writing was not the first thing on my mind.
On the first day, I wrote very little. So few words were written on that day that I can’t even click on the bar on the stats page to tell me what the number was.
Things were looking bad around the third week, where I had pretty much come to a dead stop at about 32,000 words. I just didn’t wanna write. (insert whiny voice here)
Honestly, the thing that got me to finish, besides pure knuckle-down determination to see the thing to the end, was the 50% off Scrivener coupon.
Yeah. You heard me right. This year, I was in it for the swag.
Which is the first time I have been motivated to write for NaNo for the sponsor rewards, but I can’t really say it will be the last time.
On November 29th, I pushed through and went over the 50,000 words. (It took me 14 days last year to write more than I wrote in 29 days this year, just for reference) Then I immediately fell asleep and haven’t looked at the story again.
It’s not finished. Not nearly. And it was getting to a good part. The grand finale. The big banging, clanging showdown and conclusion.
There’s more work to be done. And I will do it.
My journey through NaNoWriMo this year is a good lesson. It shows that we can do this. Persistence is key.
You want your shitty first draft that I talked about last year? You’re gonna have to work for it. And, if my progress is any indication- you don’t have to work that hard.
I’m not the fastest typist in the world. I can write about 2,000 words an hour. Which means that I if I had just sat my ass down for an hour a day in November, I would have had 60,000 words.
An hour a day. You don’t even have to do that in one stretch. Break it up into 15 minutes 4 times a day.
NaNo always reminds me that yeah, writing can suck. And yeah, writing is hard. But, in it’s basic, most fundamental form, it is so damned easy.
Just show up. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to even be good. That’s the whole point, actually- to give yourself permission to suck.
Look at me- I was pretty close to the definition of underachiever this month. Yet, I’m still considered a winner. NaNoWriMo folks celebrated my accomplishments.
Hell, even I celebrated my accomplishments. Because I wrote over 50,000 words on a brand new story in November. I created new characters, new situations, new worlds. I even, in a fit of procrastination, made a lovely cover for my book:
The month wasn’t an overwhelming success. No one will be seeking me out to write about me in the history books. No one will be calling to offer me major awards.
Yet, it was a success. It still brought me joy and frustration and taught me lessons that I needed to be reminded of.
This year was different in other ways- I didn’t have a friend in the real world working along beside me and checking in almost daily. I didn’t find the same motivation in NaNo Word Sprints that I did last year. I had a harder time focusing. My competitive side fell asleep somewhere and never came back, so I didn’t care what my writing buddies were doing.
To me, it doesn’t really matter how we finished the month. If you had the courage to try, the crazy itch to write, if you just typed your name and couldn’t continue, you still got somewhere. You still came out of the month with more than you had when you went in.
My love for NaNoWriMo is still strong. This thing that I have nurtured and cradled in my brain for over a year came alive last month and became real. That is powerful. That is what NaNo does for people.
So maybe I wasn’t the greatest of winners this year. Maybe I barely made it. But I’m going to finish this story. I’m confident in my ability to just show up and make it happen. And I’ll be back next year for even more.
Today was a lovely day- the sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and the temperature was just right. I took the opportunity to throw open the doors and curtains on my 1972 Holiday Rambler and get some work done.
I spent most of the day out there, working on the ceiling. I also hung up the clock that I have redone. Which lead me to realize that I haven’t shared anything about my Rambler lately.
My RV is made with a clock in the main living area, built into the cabinets over the sofa. The original piece was falling apart and broken when I got it.
So I took it down, ripped off the old numbers (what was left of them), repainted it, made new numbers, jazzed it up, then replaced the hands and the mechanism.
I used acrylic paints on it. I started with a white base and then splattered colors that match my throw pillows and future curtains (I’ll share that with you when they are hung up) across the white.
I used numbers that were cut from scrapbooking paper and added buttons for the dots, using paint to glue them down.
The hands are a dark royal blue and one is a moon, the other a sun.
I don’t know if this is what I will leave up permanently, but I think it is definitely an improvement over what was there when I bought it.
Here’s some before and after pics of the clock, along with a sneak peek of how my new ceiling is going to look.
I forgot to get a close up picture of the original clock before I worked on it, but you can see it in this picture I took of the damage to the ceiling:
To those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving- I hope you have a wonderful holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!
If you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I wish you a joyous week full of great things!
For me, Thanksgiving is a day to really appreciate and feel gratitude for your life and the little blessings. I think it is always a good practice to take time during your day to think about what you are grateful for and the things you found happiness in that day.
I’ll leave you with some quotes to help inspire you in your journey this week.
From Neil Gaiman’s ‘Make Good Art’
“The things I’ve done that worked the best were the things I was the least certain about, the stories where I was sure they would either work, or more likely be the kinds of embarrassing failures people would gather together and talk about until the end of time. They always had that in common: looking back at them, people explain why they were inevitable successes. While I was doing them, I had no idea. I still don’t. And where would be the fun in making something you knew was going to work? And sometimes the things I did really didn’t work. […] But I learned as much from them as I did from the things that worked.”
“So be wise, because the world needs more wisdom, and if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.”
From Chris Guillebeau’s ‘The $100 Startup’
“The most important lesson in the whole book: Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life.”
If you guys are doing NaNoWriMo this year- Just a little more to go! You can do this thing! I’m certainly struggling more this year than last year, but I have faith that I will get it done and I know you guys will, too! I’ll be sharing more about my 2014 NaNo journey in a few weeks.
I’ve got eight of them for sell in a local shop, and I’m working on some for the Etsy store.
These are a lot of fun to make. So far I have been able to come up with countless color combinations and fabric designs to use.
I’m going to be offering them as a custom order, too, so be thinking of monsters you might want made!
Keep an eye out- Monsters will up in my Etsy shop sometime in the next few weeks. I’ll send out an update reminding you when they are available!
Pictures by CandaceOnline.
This documentary, “We the Tiny House People”, is one that I’ve watched multiple times. There’s some really interesting ways to live shown here. Also check out Kirsten’s channel. She has many intriguing videos that are fun to watch. Enjoy!
I went to the botanical gardens a few months back and took pictures. Some of them were of daylilies. I found inspiration in all the beautiful colors and shapes.
This is an abstract painting I did earlier this week, loosely based on one of my daylily pictures.
It is mixed media- a combination of watercolor and acrylic paints, with some marker thrown in. On an 8 x 10 canvas.