Friday, July 4, 2014

Excuses and Solutions for Writers

I've always loved to write. Whether it was explaining the world around me or making up stories in my head, it was always fun. It lead me to roleplaying in forums and creating amusing and sometimes scary characters just to see how they would react in the world they were provided.
I get a kick out of creating characters that are a little bit fun, a little bit abnormal, and a little bit insane. It makes it interesting to put them in normal situations and see "What can they possibly do to make this worse?"
While I love writing, sometimes I let it take a back seat to all my other hobbies (or internet) for a long time. It always makes me feel like I'm slacking in the creativity department when I'm not doing something though.
I'm not the best writer out there, nor am I the most experienced but I do have a few things or two I have learned from writing.

Excuse: Writing is Hard

Putting words onto paper is easy, making it sound good is a whole different matter. If you're worried that you're a bad writer, but have the passion and the story in your head then you can still do it. Sure, it may not sound amazing, but remember:

Other writers and authors have been doing this a lot longer than you have. They read books, they have practice, they took classes. Do the same thing, and compare only to yourself! Join a group (like The Dragon's Rocketship) to meet other writers that encourage you and are willing to read your work to provide pointers. Writing gets easier with practice.

Excuse: I don't have time

This is one of the biggest excuses for anything. If you want something bad enough, you'll make time. Whether it's setting 30 minutes aside in the morning, waking up earlier, writing on your lunch break at work, or cutting back your TV time by a little bit, you can make time. If you geninuly don't have time then record what you're thoughts are in the car on the way home from work, and write it down on the weekends when you do have time! A lot of people, including myself, feel better when they create. They let go of inner emotions and feelings, and they just feel alive when they're in a natural creative environment. Do something for your creative side!

Excuse: I can't write a novel!

Writing a novel is hard, I agree, but it's not impossible. A novel is over 40,000 words. That's a lot of words, sure...but three ideas to consider:
1) Writing 250 words a day will give you a first draft of a novel in 160 days, that's less than six months! If you dedicate time to write only 250 words A DAY you'll have a novel in 6 months!
2) Join up in NaNoWriMo in November. The goal is to write 50k in 30 days, that's 1,667 words per day. If you succeed you have 50k words by the end of 1 MONTH! One month of people in the same situation joining you and pushing you and helping you succeed! If you're tired of making excuses, push yourself for just 30 days!
3) The Magic Spreadsheet. The Magic Spreadsheet is an amazing Excel file in Google Docs that's accesible to anybody. You have a row, where you compete with only yourself (or others if you choose) and you write. Each day you get a sense of pride and accomplishment when you fill in your daily word count, whether it was 250 or 5,000 for the day. You see your days in a row going up which gives you more points. More points means you can level! You can "experience points" by writing! You can compete with your friends or just set your own goals and write for yourself. See if you can write for 30 days in a row, 60, 90, 365.

Excuse: I don't have the motivation

Motivation is something you need to find. It's something you can find by being with like minded people and seeing their accomplishments, or by setting a daily goal and reaching for it each day. Whether you're motivated to be creative or to complete your novel to say you did, push yourself. Spend each day finding things that motivate you, go out on a walk, go to new events, search for photos online (and save them for a rainy day), READ READ READ! Do things that encourage you and give you ideas to push yourself further. And somedays, if you don't have motivation JUST DO IT! Force yourself to write at least 250 words, and maybe the rest will come to you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


The art of zentangling has been an amusement of mine as of late. It's a type of meditation drawing, where you draw differet patterns inside spaces of a picture. Many of them use circles and circles within circles, and each space has a unique and fun pattern.

Zentangle example from Greeley County Library's Website and Zentangle Class

Usually they are done on zentangle tiles, and there are kits and books out there that help you get an idea on how to do certain patterns and what products to use. A lot of that can be found on Zentangle's website .

However, if you're like me, you know how to search the internet for some free pattern ideas and there are A LOT out there. You do need a few things to get started:

  • Paper or zentangle tiles (I use a drawing pad)
  • A pencil
  • Micron markers in different sizes (I bought this pack on Amazon)
  • Oppotional: Micron markes in different colors (I bought this pack on Amazon)

You start with drawing a pattern that you want to fill in.
Here's the first one I did:

  1. I started with drawing the three lines and decided to break it up into different sections. Each section was filled in with a pattern and I shaded using pencils.

2. Then I filled in the left section with circles, patterns and shaded.

3. Then finally I filled the right section with squares and each square had it's own pattern and shade. 

I did this while listening to mediation music and just focused on the drawing. It helped me keep my mind at ease, forget about everything ahead of time, and required no pre-planning just doing. It's a fun little project that costs less than $15 to start (if you don't get the kits and tiles from the website).

Show me some of your zentangles! 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stitchbow Organizer

Recently I invested into a wonderful product called Stitchbow. It's a floss/thread organizer for cross stitchers and embroiders. The only way I ever knew to organize was to do it myself, but it's difficult to find the thread when it's between 6 - 10 different drawers, and it's always messy, and using those cardboard bobbins are a pain to wrap everything around, and a pain to maneuver through.

I saw Stitchbow on (which is very behind in the times, I got everything, but they took my money prior to sending me an invoice or confirmation of my purchase) and basically you buy Floss Holders, and then you buy Binder Inserts.

Here is an example of the Floss Holders (sold in packs of 10), notice that the floss attaches just like the string is purchased from the store, no wrapping around a bobbin! (That's my favorite part!) On the side you can see that there is spot for the DMC # to go, so it's clear and easy to see what color you're looking for.

And here is what the insert looks like after you put in 15 Floss Holders:

It took me a little bit (5 hours, give or take), but I put all the colors I have on Floss Holders, and then put them in numerical order (i.e. I separated them into 3 separate piles, then smaller piles, then orders those piles, lots of piles). It sounds like a lot, but honestly I really like organizing so it was fun for me. Here's the finished product:

I need a bigger binder as you can tell, or at least a second one. Anyways, there are all my threads, a total of 244 different colors after the last 3 - 4 years of collecting on different types of projects. There are a total of 455 normal DMC colors, I made a chart in Excel so I can keep track of what colors I have/need in case I start a new project I can just look at my Excel file and see if I have that color or not prior to looking in the binder. Here's a sneak peek:

It's a very simple each column has a number set (i.e. 100s - 200s, 300s, 400s, etc.) and then it just goes down the list in the DMC order, and there's an 'x' if I have it and there isn't an 'x' if I don't have it, and I colored the ones I needed in red so I knew what I needed to pick up if I did.

Hope this helps someone with organizing some of their floss (if you embroider or cross stitch), and honestly I really like this Stitchbow product so far.
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cross Stitching 2

Recently out of the 99 Cross-Stitch Luvable Pets by Linda Gillum
book I found an adorable pattern. It took me about 4 - 5 hours to finish. Here's a small "creating of".

The colors requested were DMC 151, 310, 792, 816, & 3731. I didn't have those colors, so I used instead DMC 3326, 310, 792, 3733, & 899. I also outlined the paw prints ON the heart with black instead of the same outline color of the heart because it wasn't showing up as well as the picture (probably since I switched up the colors.

Oh, and after doing 40 French Knots on this thing I think I have them down, which is good because I could never do them before, I saw a tutorial on YouTube by Expert Village on How to Cross Stich: How to Do French Knots in Cross Stitching which was extremely simple and helpful.

Hope you like the finished product! <3

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rice Box

I had Chinese food the other day, and had the left over box. While searching through craft sites I've seen a few examples of people redecorating them and turning them into a jewelry box of some sorts. I took the left over rice box and cleaned it out, and decided to paint it. I did a base coat of white then painted over it with oil paints.

I had to let it dry for a few days, the only problem is that oil paint doesn't stick very well so when I went to go back over it I got paint all over my hands and the box.

Here's the finished product:

I really don't like the way it came out because of the lack of paint sticking and not drying. I tried spraying over it all with a clear glaze paint but it didn't settle it. I ended up tossing the finished product because it was making more mess than helping me store anything. I found a Take-Out Box pattern online that I'm going to try using, but I haven't decided what material to use to make it yet.

Shall update with one of those soon. <3

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Paper Flowers 2

I saw this while I was looking on StumbleUpon (Love that site), on Dozi's Blog.

It's another Paper Flower tutorial, that's super easy, fast, and just plan adorable!

It was the first time I made them, so I used an old magazine (GameInformer to be exact). I'm just going to do the same basic tutorial Dozi did, but just used a different media.

First things first, pick a picture you want to use in the magazine, and cut a 4" x 4" section out like below.

Then draw (on the back) the circular spiral design that takes up the entire paper.

Cut it out, and turn it over so you can see the main picture.

Roll the paper up starting from the outside, and using glue or double sided tape (I couldn't get it to stay without it, I used double sided tape) get it to keep the shape. I made two in a matter of about 5 it was really simple.

Here's the finished product!

These are super cute, super simple, and fun to do. I haven't figured out what I'm going to use them for...maybe I'll mess with some floral wire later and see what I get.

Hope you liked! <3
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Framed Artwork

I was looking on StumbleUpon and came across Two Girls Being Crafty in one of their more recent posts about framed artwork. I got to say I absolutely LOVE this idea.

I spoke to Keith about it and he agreed that we can do this for our new apartment (we're moving Memorial Day weekend, and he should be home from the Navy mid-June) in the dining room to jazz it up a little.

Previously we've done black poster board and scrapbook paper. We bought scrapbook paper, green & blue for the room (since we had green walls) and red & animal print for the living room (I just like the color red & love animal print, plus I already had tiger/cat pictures hanging in there.)

I got the scrapbook paper at Michaels

Then we put them on the black poster board, and hung them up. We used foam boards, actually..which was a pain to cut. Next time we're going to use poster board so it's lighter, and easier to deal with.

This is the finished product in our bed room.

And here is the finished product in the living room.

It looks great, and professional but only costs about a dollar a picture because the scrapbook paper was on sale! Got to love the deals! <3

When we create the framed version with the 3D embellishments I'll post pictures. I'm super excited!