Thursday, August 8, 2013

Up-Cycling Is Awesome

Recently I had been making Barbie quilts and pillows to sell at our local Farmer's Market, and that made me wonder if there were some patterns online to make Barbie beds. I had wooden beds in mind, but what I found was an article on making a bed from ordinary items like rectangular baskets and garden edging. The article called it up-cycling, which is basically a fancy term for recycling, re-using, refurbishing, and so forth.

This was exciting because I  have been doing that my whole life. When I was very young, I painted an old wooden crate that had a divider in the middle and I used it for a refrigerator. I saved chocolate syrup bottles, egg cartons, orange juice containers, and whatever I could find and made myself some food to put in my fridge. Then I took a box and made a stove complete with four burners drawn on with permanent marker. I had lots of fun with my homemade kitchen even though it wasn't as fancy as the pre-made one my daughter had when she was small.

As an adult my love of re-using things never diminished. I save almost everything from cards to cardboard. When my daughter was about five, I used large sheets of cardboard to make jungle scene for her birthday. My husband also brought me home brown paper from work that I crinkled to make vines.

One of my favorite up-cycled items, however, was an old washtub which I turned into a planter complete with an attached watering can. I also have several smaller tubs, which I painted, and turned into planters as well.

So, after reading the article,  I was once again struck with the urge to creatively recycle. I set off to the thrift store in search of the aforementioned basket but all I could find were round baskets or baskets with large handles. As I roamed the remaining aisles,I spotted a small brass rack, possibly a cd rack, that I knew would make a perfect Barbie day bed for my daughter's Barbies. And even better then that, it was only a dollar forty nine. I quickly snatched it up and headed for home.

Once home I asked my husband to remove the little divider handle that held the cd's up and then I set about to make a small mattress, quilt, and pillows. Having been formerly into patchwork quilting, I had heaps of fabric and batting scraps to choose from. It turned out quite well and the only thinig I'm sorry about is that I didn't find a few more cd racks just like it.

Do you up-cycle? If so, what is your favorite new creation. And if you have never up-cycled before, what are you waiting for?

Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Blog Hop...hop...hop... Apology Version

As you all know authors are a crazy lot. Recently when my good friend and totally awesome author, Laura Eckroat, invited me to blog hop with her, I completely forgot. No excuse other then the fact that I can be a scatter brain.

I found out about my blunder when I posted an article for a blog hop to which I was invited yesterday. Laura kindly re-tweeted it, and then asked if I was supposed to be hopping with her. You can well imagine my mortification when I realized what I had done. So here and now, I would like to publicly apologize for my unintentional over-site. I would also like to post what should have been posted two weeks ago.

In addition, I want to thank Laura host of  The Books of Laura Eckroat Blog for not only inviting me, but for continuing to speak to me. Laura is not only forgiving, she is one of my favorite modern day children's authors. I have read both her first book, The Life Of Bud which is an excellent story of the seasons of life as experienced by a leaf, and her second book, A Simpler Time which is the story of a mother and daughter who take time out from the hustle and bustle of  everyday life and all it's complicated technologies to enjoy the simple things. Laura has two other books about the dog she adopted which you should check out as well!

With apologies out of the way, let me take a moment to start hopping. The blog hop rules are simple. Each author answers four questions and invites three other authors to participate during the following week. My author invitations  have gone out to three very entertaining and talented authors. You will see their names, book titles and links to their sites below.

But before we get to that, I will attempt to answer those blog hop questions!

 1) What am I working on right now?

This very morning I started a PB about a pig named Percy which I intend to call Percy The Pig Takes A Bath. A friend of mine, who owns a pot bellied pig, was telling me the other day about her pig, Percy, who doesn't like to get dirty. She jokingly told me I could use any of her stories as material for my books, and so I took her up on it. The concept is that Percy is jealous of the Farmer's children who are always clean. He doesn't like to get dirty or roll in the mud like the other pigs and therefore, the other pigs make fun of him. In the end Percy;s dreams will come true, however, and he will get to take a bath!

 2) How do my works differ from other works in it's genre?

This is such a hard question to answer because people have written about pigs before, people have written about jealousy, and being made fun of, and pretty much anything that can be written about. So I'd have to say it is the creation of my characters and their individual personalities that sets my work apart. My only published work so far, Fern Valley - A Collection of Short Stories, also differs in that most people write either picture books or chapter books but rarely collections.

 3) Why do you write what you do?

I write children's fiction because it is my true literary love. I have never outgrown the awe I feel when I read a good children's book and I hope I never do!

 4) How does your writing process work?

I don't really have a process. I get an idea and I write. I don't write every day like many people suggest all authors should. I write until I run out of things to say and then I take a break. When something new penetrates my brain, I write some more. Sometimes I leave a project for several months, but when I lovingly come back to ten it again I am usually full of fresh ideas.

Now that you all know me a little better, I'd like to introduce my three fellow hoppers...

My first hopper is Dicy McCullough author of several children's books of which my favorite is Tired of My Bath. She is a retired music teacher who has turned her talents to writing books that encourage children. Please stop by her Dicey McCullough Blog this Tuesday when she answers her own four questions and leave her some comment love!

My next hopper is Alyssa Pierce author of the Caroline and Rebecca series. I haven't yet read the second book in the series, but I enjoyed the first book Caroline And Rebecca: Rebecca Gets In Trouble very much. Alyssa is currently blogless, something she is working on rectifying, so just stop by her FB page Alyssa Pierce, and leave her some comment love anytime this week!

And last, but certainly not least, is my third hopper Charline Profiri author of  Guess Who's In The Dessert.and Counting Little Gekos. An Award-winning children's author, Charline Profiri is a former teacher and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Her board book Counting Little Gekos has sold over 49,000 copies. Soon to be available, her book  Rain, Rain, Stay Today: Southwestern Nursery Rhymes will debut in 2014. Charline also lacks a blog so be sure to hop on over to her FB page Charline Profiri and give her some comment love any time this week as well.

Signing off for now with Wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

Children's Author Blog Hop

I'd like to welcome everyone to the Children's Author Blog Hop where I will be introducing some sensational children's authors you might not know yet, but should be reading!

A hearty thanks to author Phyllis Griggs at Indie Chatter Blogspot for  inviting me to participate. Phyllis is the author of  Bob Beetle Book Bug and is an avid promoter of  giving children the gift of reading. Please be sure to stop by Phyllis's blog and give her some great comment love.

The blog hop rules are simple. Each author answers four questions and invites three other children’s authors to participate during the following week. My author invitations  have gone out to three very entertaining and talented authors. You will see their names, book titles and links to their sites below.

But before we get to that,  it is my job is to answer those blog hop questions!

What are you working on right now?

Currently I  am working on a YA Mystery with just a touch of romance, titled Anchovia's Quest. It is quite a departure from the middle grade chapter books and picture books I have been working on recently, and will probably take me considerably longer to finish.

How does it differ from other works in its genre?

It differs in that it will be a clean YA read. There will be no sex, no graphic violence, and no vampires, wizards, or zombies. The premise is that a teenage orphan named Anchovia longs to know something about who she is and  from where she has come. On her quest to find answers, she makes a new friend who aids her in her search for the truth. A truth, that is quite different then anything she ever imagined possible.

Why do you write what you do?

I write children's books because I have never outgrown my love of children's literature. I write children's books because I want children to know that "Kids Who Read Can Do Anything!"

What is the hardest part about writing?

The hardest part about writing is actually what I have to do after I am done writing, and that is to market myself, my manuscripts, and my already published book Fern Valley - A Collection of Short Stories. Facing rejection from agents and publishers is a disheartening but necessary evil, and trying to get people interested in my book is hard work indeed. But I am a persist ant soul  and just too stubborn to give up anytime soon!

Now that you all know me a little better, I'd like to introduce my three invitees...

My first author invitation went to Lisa Tortorello. I met Lisa at an author expo we both attended a few years ago, and we exchanged books. Her first book My Hero, My Ding was a memoir about the relationship between her and her Grandfather. It made me laugh and cry, and is still by far one of my favorite non-fiction reads. Lisa then went on to write a children's book called Moose At The Manger. She is currently in the process of having her second children's book published, but I will let her tell you all about that on Monday when she posts at her blog Lisa Tortorello ~ Author and Teacher.

My second invitation went to the the multi talented Bruce Hale. Bruce was nominated for an Edgar Award and is passionate about inspiring reluctant readers to read. He has written or illustrated more than 25 seriously funny books for children, including the popular Chet Gecko Mysteries series and the comics-novel hybrid, Underwhere, as well as picture books like Snoring Beauty. His most current offering is Clark The Shark whose cover alone makes me want to read it. Be sure to stop by Bruce's Blog on Wednesday of Thursday when he will be answering his four questions.


And last but not least, is my third invitee,  Amberly Kristin Clowe, who is known to friends as Krissy Clowe. Krissy is the author of  I Really Love You, Ava. Not that long ago Krissy asked me if I would be willing to give her an honest review. I managed to squeeze this cute picture book into my lineup and was very glad that I did. I Really Love You, Ava is an extremely well written book about a little girl searching for real love. Her mother tells her she will know it when she sees it and Ava does just that. I loved the concept of Ava not just hearing that people loved her, but that she was able to identify love when she saw it. I hope to see more books by Krissy in the near future. Please stop by her blog The Brain of A Children's Author this Friday and find out just what goes on inside her brain.

Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!