I did it! I took the plunge and opened up my very own Etsy store!
There are only a few items currently: bookmarks of various sizes but I have a schedule of releases and soon hope to share original stationery designs, letterhead, stickers and more brightly colored goodies!
This has been a dream of mine for awhile, and while I’m nervous, I am excited about the prospect of being able to share my artwork with a wider audience.
I have a full time job, two wonderful but crazy kids, a husband, a house to keep up with, friends to be friends with and I’m sure a million other things I’ve forgotten. (It’s been a long cold medicine and coffee filled day. I’m feeling very floaty right now!) Something I have gotten quite a bit in the last few months in differing forms is “it’s amazing how you have time to create with everything going on in your life! It is so inspiring!” I don’t want anyone to think I don’t appreciate the appreciation I am receiving from those statements. I am beyond happy and humbled to be inspiration for others. But these sentiments got me thinking: how do I stay creatively active with an already full and active life?
So I’ve pondered and what I hope to present is a list of tips/thoughts/motivations and other random stuff that helps keep me moving forward on projects.
First and foremost I am creative and active in those pursuits because I have to be to feel fulfilled. If you want to be creative you will find time just like with any hobby. I think when we are in school we have a drive instilled in us to finish projects because of grades. As adults working on our own projects their is nothing pushing us to finish something except ourselves. This leads me to my next point.
Reward yourself. The key to this is planning the project out and planning me the reward as well so you can use it as motivation to keep working. It doesn’t have to be big and fancy. It could be an evening of ice cream and Great British Baking Show! A new pen. A Ferrari.
Planning. It often seems like creativity and planning/organization are at opposite ends of the spectrum. However, the only way I get to work on my projects is by looking carefully at my week and my projects and writing down when I’m going to work on it. It is also extremely satisfying to cross things off a list.
Be kind to yourself. These habits take time to build, like anything else worth doing, so be kind to yourself if you fail. It is alright! Also be kind to yourself by breaking projects down into small achievable goals that way you can make forward progress even if it’s super small.
I hope these ideas help. It’s not a perfect plan and it may not work for everyone! Just keep trying! The arts help make life human and in these times we desperately need that!
Here are some quick little collages of two scripts I am working for—what I hope to be—the final edits so that I can send them out into the world to possibly be produced!
La Petite Poisson is a brief fairy tale set in the world of Le Grande Jardin and revolves around Bijou and Pierre and their path to true love. I cannot remember what initially inspired this idea other than I wanted to write something with French names that had dancing, music, sword fighting, and a happy ending. I suspect it came as a direct result of the much darker story of Henry and his airship shenanigans!
It shouldn’t require too much rewriting other than taking out the frame story that just doesn’t work like I wanted it to—ah, well!
Speaking of Henry and his airship shenanigans, here is my collage for “the story I can’t just let go” as some call it. I like to think of it more that I haven’t gotten it right yet. While eleven years does seem like a long haul to work on a project I still love these characters and their stories fiercely enough to keep coming back to it until I get it finished the way it needs to be told. The third act needs some major work and trimming! I hope to shorten it by ten to fifteen pages overall and tighten up scenes in acts one and two to keep the story zipping along.
My deadline is March 31st. Can I do it? I think so! My wonderful, awesome, amazingly talented friend Serena is keeping me motivated! It will be nice to spend the rest of the year sending these out and getting feedback.
Being a fan of steampunk it goes without saying that I love airships—I’ve even created my own alternate-history steam/clockpunk world complete with airships and the people who fly them. What I am about to address is the attire those responsible for the flight and maintenance of such airships might wear. In addition to steampunk, I love fashion and costuming, and feel that it is an important world-building aspect to know what people in very specific fields wear so they can carry out their jobs. So, what follows is a breakdown of the challenges faced by airship crews, how I decided to solve those problems for my world, and how this all works in the context of real-history/alternate-history timelines.
A ship on the sea faces certain environmental challenges: beating sun, crashing waves, and ripping winds; and it is no different for airships. To me, wind is the biggest factor for airships, that and the atmosphere is quite cold and damp. Another challenge is the nature of the work that must be done while flying an airship. It is just as physically demanding as sailing on the seas, if not more. I have, I think, figured out a way to address both challenges in a way that works for the world I have created.
To be comfortable while working on airships, crew members will wear close-fitting breeches of a heavy cloth (like corduroy or denim), tall boots, and thick socks. The breeches may be held up by a leather belt across the waist or stays over a lightweight undershirt.Shirts would consist of layers—layers are a must multiple layers of lightweight cotton or linen shirts worn under a vest, sweater, or both is the key to warmth and maneuverability. This leaves us with the last major part of the ensemble: the coat. My story, The Grand Adventure of Henry Rayne and the Airship Pirates—the one that started all of this world building in the first place—is set in an alternate 1790s and while I love a good billowing frock coat and tricorn they just aren’t feasible on an airship.
The jackets of my world are more like medieval doublets with sleeves (if that makes sense). Gussets at the elbows and shoulders allow for the wide range of motion required in dealing with sails and rigging. The jackets can vary in length from waist length to mid knee depending on taste and would be made of leather or waterproofed denim. Sleeves would be close fitting with small cuffs for decoration and room for fingerless gloves, because given how cold I think it would be flying over the British Isles you would definitely need them! Hats would likewise be close fitting or affixed by straps to stay on during flight. Perhaps an aviator cap of sorts with, of course, goggles.
All of the above described attire is for working above decks but what of belowdecks? Should there be a difference? In my world of Clockwork London, airships are made buoyant by aether. It is magic that is drawn from the very air itself. The ships absorb the magic through runes and spells carved into the ships—I will try not to digress into general airship notes, as that could be an entire post unto itself! But forward momentum is created by large steam engines located belowdecks. The same aether used for buoyancy also helps power the mighty boiler. One of the benefits of steam power is the obvious warmth it gives off. This makes belowdecks warm almost to the degree of unbearable. Remember when I said layers were a must? This would be why! In order to move and work comfortably belowdecks a crew member must be able to remove heavier jackets and shirts so as to not faint immediately.
Obviously, there is no single style for airship crewmen—the people are as varied and unusual as the clouds they fly among but I do like to have a basic look for them based on their occupations. I will say that as far as historical accuracy I am about as close as I am to flying to the moon but since I am working within an alternate reality, I feel like this is an area I can safely expand outside of actual history. One day, I’ll bury myself in fabric research to properly describe Henry’s breeches and vest but for now we will just say ‘of a sturdy cloth’ and let the reader’s imagination do the rest.
Oh, and just to be clear; the ladies of my world know better than to try to run an airship in a corset!
Soooo this is random but the subject of coffee has come up quite a bit on Twitter–it’s a writing community so the Tea vs. Coffee war is always raging! This got me to thinking about why I enjoy coffee.
Yes, caffeine is one of the reasons. I find my brain a little sharper and more focused, my parenting more patient and gentle and all I am all around more perky with a cup or two of coffee. However, it isn’t just the caffeine. A well roasted coffee with the correct balance of cream and sugar (yes, I am one of those) is just a taste of blissful warmth that makes me happy. The only teas I like are super dark black teas that I brew at double or triple strength to try to come close to the flavor of coffee. There is a thick richness to coffee prepared well that I need.
The other aspect of coffee has to do with the nostalgia related to the taste. When I was ten a tiny little coffee house opened where I grew up: Sweetwater Coffeehouse. It was a tiny building with a porch where I spent many hours playing old time and Irish music, eating everything bagels and teaching my palate how to appreciate fair trade organic coffees. I even hung out with my husband before we were officially dating! He had a friend who would call him when I showed up so he could come see me before I went to work.
It could be said that this is where my coffee snobbery began! Ha! All through middle, high school, and even some college I lived at that coffee house. It was a cozy atmosphere that I loved and carried with me as I moved onwards and upwards. Anywhere I would go the first thing I would track down was an independent coffee shop. Even as a stranger there is something homey about a coffeeshop done well. So yeah, there’s a little trip down memory lane with every sip.
So it isn’t just the caffeine. And I harbor no I’ll will against anyone who prefers tea/iced tea/ fancy lattes/wine.
I just like a plain old cup of Joe.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year! Creative posts will start back January 3rd once I’m back at work!
I’ve got to take more quiet mornings for myself. That is something I have felt very lacking this past year–time for me. I’ve got a lot of hats to wear and plates to balance and haven’t been doing a great job at any of it.
I’m changing a lot about how I bullet journal and organize my life and I think the key to this will be quiet mornings. I have to start getting up ahead of my household to stay ahead of my household. One of the key things I like about the bullet journal system is that in going from a month outlook, to a more specific week outlook to a daily spread is what cements the memory to do the task as well as the intention.
Intention is the key.
Now that I really understand this I can move forward with planning and organizing.
I shied away from daily pages when I started bullet journaling because “I just don’t have time for that.” Silly me! It’s what I needed the most! A habit that would force me to plan out my day instead of haphazardly running amok saying “I got this!” I don’t got this. I have a terrible memory and it’s gotten to the point where I am hurting those I really care about with this thoughtlessness. I am going to embrace my faults and have a plan to overcome them.
Here are all the hats I wear:
Mom – I need to organize the girls. School functions. Cleaning and tidying their rooms. Going through clothes (we are swimming in too many clothes!) doctors appointments, and craft projects (it’s a little sad how artistic I am but don’t make time to do it with my daughters)
Wife – This is the big one. In becoming a mom I have pretty nearly given up being a good wife and housekeeper. Not intentionally but through forgetfulness. I want to do better. And I know I can. Here I will keep up with daily/weekly/monthly cleaning tasks as well as larger household projects. Maybe even a date night or two! Ha!
Work – For awhile I added in work things to my personal bullet journal and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It feels like a crossing of two worlds. But on the other hand it is a part of who I am and what I am balancing. So I will try it again–at least for a little while.
Creative Work – All the time people wonder and marvel at how I stay creative while having two kids/husband/full time job. That’s easy–I am creative because I have an intense need to be so. It is part of who I am and informs all of my life. That being said, if I can maintain some organization to it I can be even more creative and produce more than before. In this section I will create to do lists for specific projects. Every little accomplishment is one more step towards the larger goal.
Laying out these four areas of my life help give me an idea of how to lay out my daily pages to be most effective. We will see how it goes!
I hope everyone has a lovely and safe holidays! I’m just going to push to make it through! Haha!
Here are some inspirations for daily layouts I am looking at