Aahh! Bliss!

This is the first day in a long time that I had a chance to shop for something other than necessities. The Michael’s gift card I got for Mother’s Day has been burning a hole in my wallet for quite some time, so I decided to put out the fire. There have been certain colours of paper that I use a lot when card-making, so I replenished my stock, picked up a large scalloped square punch and a variety of other things. As I wandered from aisle to aisle, I found myself in the cake-decorating section.

What a mistake!

I was suddenly flooded with so many interesting items, like shaped cake pans, cupcake wrappers, candy moulds, sprinkles of all designs and colours, how-to books, edible icing markers – I wanted it all! Before I could gather all these marvelous things into my cart, Ms. Sensible popped into my head and said, “No! You have enough crafty things on the go already, you don’t need more to do!”

With a sigh, I left the aisle, but not before I dropped the jungle-themed cupcake wrappers and picks into my cart.

I reasoned I could always photocopy them and cut out more than the dozen sets in the package. They would be cute to use for Grandson’s 2nd birthday party, don’t you think? I’ll make it a jungle theme… 🙂


Crafty Wednesday – preserving memories

I have been a little too busy lately to jump back into creating scrapbook pages, but between 2004 and 2008, I created several memory books – one for my parents’ 50th anniversary, one about my mother when she passed away and one of my Dad for his 80th birthday. Here is a little peek into my family history with relation to my early days of scrapbooking. It goes to show that you don’t need to be really fancy when putting a scrapbook together. There are many other ways you can pretty up a page. These books were created before I had my collection of stamps and fancy embellishments. Let’s start at the beginning.

First there was my dad:

You will notice that I made a collage of pictures with his parents and created a title – “Special times with Mom & Dad” using the ‘text box’ feature from Windows Word. I used a 12″ x 12″ blue patterned paper for the background and embellished it with stickers. You will notice there’s also a strip of antique-looking paper near the bottom.





A few years later, my mother came along. I think there was about 7 years difference in their ages. This page shows Mom & her sisters as children. I embellished the page with stickers (even the oval ‘frame’ is a sticker) and glitter glue. I have found that the glitter glue stays a bit tacky and will stick to the inside of the page protector. Personally, I would not advise using it.

The two pages above show Mom & Dad about the time they met at the office. Mom was actually nominated to be a beauty pageant contestant representing the floor she worked on. From this picture, it’s easy to see why.

Her picture was from the 8″ x 8″ album I made about her. I used a wood-look paper with brick strips on either side for accents. To get the shape of the journaling piece, I traced the shape, printed the comment and used glitter glue around it. I added a flower sticker and a butterfly sticker around the picture for embellishment. Dad’s page was the first of his 80th birthday book for which I used a 12″ x 12″ album. I liked the idea of making it like the old TV series, “This Is Your Life”. The page on the left (below) is also from Dad’s birthday album, highlighting a few moments from his twenties.

After working together for awhile, Mom & Dad decided to get married. The right-hand photo above shows a wedding picture and one from their honeymoon in Minneapolis, among others from that time. The photo directly to the right shows a page from my parents’ anniversary album – the construction of the house where I grew up. I made mats for each photo and arranged them on angles, embellishing them with stickers.




Soon after the house was completed, I arrived on the scene. (I’m the hand puppet!) I was tiny, barely over 5 lbs. A few years later came brother #1, then 15 months later came brother #2.

The page is embellished with stickers and graphics from my Printmaster Gold Publishing Suite disc, printed and filled in with coloured pencils.


Below is an example of how many similarly-themed photos can be bunched together. This represents a few of the 50 anniversaries that Mom & Dad shared. I embellished with stickers and printed labels from my word processor.

After Mom’s passing, I came across a box of material scraps that brought back a lot of memories for me. Mom used to sew a lot when I was growing up (curtains, clothes for her and us kids, even doll clothes), so I thought that I would put these items into her memory book so that people could see some examples of her handiwork. On the left (above) is a sample of the curtain material that made up the living room drapes when I was young – pretty ugly, by today’s standards but definitely memorable! The picture on the right shows her initial attempts at crocheting and smocking. When I think about the many hours she spent smocking my dresses, I wish I’d appreciated them more. She used to make clothes for my Barbie, too, and in later years, would knit or crochet outfits for dolls that were entered into a contest where Dad worked. The entries were then given to the Christmas Cheerboard which added them to care packages delivered to needy families in the city. These pages prove that when creating a scrapbook, it doesn’t have to be fancy. It just has to represent the life you are showcasing at the time, using whatever materials you have on hand. 🙂

The pages above show just how goofy our family could get at times. Mom & Dad were pretty fun-loving in their youth and that humour was passed onto their kids and grandkids, as you can see! Scrapbook collages are fun to do. You can find stick-on word bubbles that you can use to add funny sayings to your pictures, or simply print out the comments or journaling from your word processor.

And now, a final picture from one of Mom’s famous Halloween parties, embellished with stickers. She often used dry ice to froth up her ‘witch’s brew’. Mom enjoyed entertaining, a trait I have inherited. I love any excuse for a party. I remember some of those parties more than my brothers who were sent to bed early on those days. I usually got to stay up until the guests arrived so I could see them in costume. I have pictures of those crazy parties but probably shouldn’t show them as some of the participants are still around!

Scrapbooks these days are more than simple photo albums. The way they are set up can give future generations a pretty good idea what life was like for the person who created them and will be so important for family anecdotes. So many of my grandparents photos did not even have a name or a date on the back, so they have no context for us looking back. They are gone now, so those photos will probably end up in the trash because they are simply nameless people that we don’t know anything about.

I hope you liked this trip down Memory Lane and have picked up a few ideas on how you can dress up your photos so that future generations will know the important people in your life. 🙂


I think I’ve finally gone through all the blog posts in my e-mailbox and can now settle down to write a post of my own. There has been so much diversity in the posts over the past few days, from book reviews (easyondeeyes) to writing advice (jkellerfordRamblings, My First Book) to photography (C. B. Wentworth) to travel (newsofthetimes). There has been celebrations – Sky Diaries got some good news from her critique partners, Jenny got permission to reveal some of the goodies related to her upcoming anthology release Make Believe, and there have been discussions about women-in-the-work place/mommy guilt at both When The Kids Go To Bed and Newsofthetimes.

As for what’s been happening in my life, Grandson’s first birthday bash went well. Although not everyone I invited showed up (which was probably a good thing because I would not have had room for everyone!), we still had a good crowd and lots of food. We even had some unexpected guests – Hubby’s cousin and his wife were in from B. C. to attend a wedding and had enough time to pop by for a visit.

Grandson received many generous gifts (like a remote control car, a racing set, and a JETS hat among other things) and seemed to enjoy the afternoon. Although he didn’t get his nap, he was surprisingly chipper and didn’t get cranky until almost dinner time when it was time to go home anyway. He certainly wasn’t hungry as he had been nibbling all afternoon on fruit, munchies and cake.

Our Sunday morning breakfast with another out-of-towner was fun, too. The food at Smitty’s is always good and the conversation was as comfortable as when we were back in high school. I love when friends who live far away come back for a visit and it’s like they never left. 🙂

Sunday afternoon’s wedding shower for a friend’s daughter was quite enjoyable. We have known the young lady since she was born, so she is more like a niece than a mere acquaintance. The celebration was held outside in glorious sunshine. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to enjoy such lovely weather, wonderful companionship and fabulous food! You can now tell that I was outside as my skin is several shades redder than it’s been in over a year! I should have put on some sun screen, but I really didn’t think I’d been exposed that long.

Well, I should sign off for now and get a few things done that have been neglected over the past week.

Sunday Interview #4 (a day late)

I apologize for neglecting to post this yesterday. It was all ready to just hit the button, but with everything else going on, I completely forgot. (Sorry, C.B!) Anyway, here is my interview with a fascinating blogger:

Today, I’d like to introduce you all to C.B. Wentworth. You may have seen her name on some of my award posts. I have nominated her for many awards (and I’m not the only one) because she has a beautiful blog and shares her creativity in many ways – through her literary work & poetry, her photography where she gives us a glimpse of her garden & places she has been, as well as her lovely ‘Wreck This Journal’ entries.

Hi, C.B.! Welcome to my blog! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a writer, artist, crafter, and optimist.  During the day I am a high school teacher, but after the bell rings I immerse myself in creative pursuits.  In particular, I focus my energies on writing novels, short stories, and poetry.

How long have you been blogging?

A little over a year.

What inspired you to start blogging?

When I finished the final draft of my first novel, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands.  The need to write and create was still there despite the completion of my project.  I figured keeping a blog would give me the outlet I needed to express and challenge myself as a writer.

How has your blog evolved from when you first started?

At first, I focused on writing more than anything else, but as time went by I decided not to limit myself.  Writing and creativity go together, so it made sense to let my blog grow to include everything I do to inspire my muse.

Do you have any tips for newbies who want to grow their readership?

Write with a voice that is entirely your own.  I’ve found that the best way to attract readers is to offer a point of view that can’t be found anywhere else.

In addition, find blogs that inspire you and interact with them.  It is so important to surround yourself with a community of writers, readers, and sources of inspiration. Be part of the community with thoughtful comments and visit other blogs often.

I love your artwork whenever you post a Wreck This Journal page. For those people who are unfamiliar with this, please take a moment to explain exactly what ‘Wreck This Journal’ is.

Wreck This Journal

Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith is a journal full of prompts that inspire reckless creativity.  It’s all about letting go and doing things without hesitation.  We’re all inhibited by our inner critics, conscious filters, and fear of imperfection.  Wreck This Journal effectively inspires you to blast through all of those barriers and explore the true depth of your creativity.

The photographs you’ve posted on your blog are beautiful. For any aspiring photographers who may read this, what’s your secret to capturing the perfect image?

Thank you for the kind words regarding my photographs.  I’ll never get over the fact that people enjoy looking at the pictures I take!

The best piece of advice I can give is don’t try to take the perfect shot.  Simply let go and point the camera at what captures your imagination.  Point of view is what makes a photograph beautiful.

Take more than one shot.  For every image I’ve posted, there are at least 15 more of the same thing where I try different settings or a different angle.  Don’t be afraid to experiment to see what works and what doesn’t.

In addition to everything else you do, you’ve mentioned you are also a writer. In which genres do you prefer to write?

I try not box myself into a specific genre, but I tend to wander into literary and mainstream fiction, while dabbling in fantasy and poetry.

Please tell us a little bit about your process.

I wish I had a definitive process, other than making sure I write every day.  I’m a big fan of free-writing and brainstorming, which means I have notebooks full of partial stories, phrases, and lists.  Whenever, I need a dash of inspiration I’ll page through my journals.

When I’m working on a larger project like a novel, I always keep a spiral where I map out character profiles, scenes, and timelines.  I’m a very visual person, so I make collages for each of my characters that include wardrobe, possessions, and elements of their environment.  I blogged about this process on a post entitled, The Notebook That Built My Novel.

Music also plays a big role in anything I write.  My iPod is full of playlists that serve as soundtracks for my novels, short stories, and even blog posts.   This process is outlined in a couple of posts I wrote: How Music Helped Me Write A Novel and Music for a New Novel.

Part of the reason my blogs includes so many posts about art, crafts, and photography has to do with my belief that all forms of creativity are connected.  I consider all of my non-writing projects to be essential components to my writing process because engaging in multiple creative pursuits keeps me inspired and fuels my imagination. When I sit down to write, I am always stimulated and ready to explore all possibilities.

I agree that all forms of art is linked to creativity in some way.

Do you use critique partners or beta readers to help perfect your writing?

Yes!  I’m a big believer in both.  Critiques in particular are incredibly valuable as they help me see the work in a way I hadn’t considered before.  I learned this lesson while participating on Critique Circle.  This is a fantastic writing community that offers a safe environment to learn the art of giving and receiving critiques.

Constructive criticism can push creativity in unexpected ways and it always helps me find a better path for the story or character I’m working on.  If we stay bottled up inside of our own heads, we fail to see other possibilities.  Granted, no one likes to hear something about a story isn’t working, but I thrive on the challenge of figuring out how to solve the problem.

If my readers want to follow your blog, they can find it here. As well, each of the blog posts you’ve mentioned are already linked, so they can just click on them. Are there any other ways readers can reach you?

Facebook: C.B. Wentworth
Twitter: @cbwentworth
Pinterest: cbwentworth

On my blog, I have follow buttons for all social networks along my sidebar.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, C. B. I enjoyed chatting with you, today! 🙂

I’ll be brief…

Today, I’ve been busy rushing around trying to tidy the house and shop in preparation for Grandson’s first BIG birthday bash. His great-grandma, (great) aunts, (great) uncles, cousins and friends will be joining us Saturday afternoon. I’ve invited a lot of people (family is huge) and haven’t received a lot of RSVPs yet, so have no idea how many will actually show up! I do have a big cake and plenty of ice cream, so we should be good.

Sunday morning I’m having brunch with an out-of-town friend before she has to fly home and in the afternoon, I have a wedding shower to attend, one that was postponed because the hostess was ill a few weeks ago when it was supposed to be held.

All this means is I won’t be doing much blogging for the rest of the weekend, but I have an interview all ready to go for Sunday. It’s just a matter of hitting the ‘publish’ button. By Monday, I’m sure I will have close to a fifty blog posts to catch up on, so bear with me if you don’t hear from me for a few of days.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! 🙂

Summer is here!

Now that it is technically SUMMER (hooray!), it was certainly nice to see blue sky after weeks of gray and rain. It’s noon already and no sign of clouds. We have seen brief moments of sun, but it would soon cloud over and start to sprinkle. Actually, I think April was better than our May and early June. Here, the old adage ‘April showers bring May flowers’ is always delayed a month because of our long winters.

File:NJ 88 construction sign.jpg

In Manitoba, we actually have only two seasons, according to frustrated motorists: Winter and Construction! Because of the extreme differences in temperatures throughout the year, the concrete roads take a beating. The freeze/thaw cycle causes the expansion and contraction of the concrete.

File:Newport Whitepit Lane pot holes 2.JPG

It also affects the ground beneath it. Considering Manitoba was once a lake bed, the silt and clay beneath the surface is greatly affected by this expansion and contraction, as well, especially if the water table is high. The city streets heave and buckle, pot holes appear and grow causing damage to tires and vehicle suspension, not to mention making our daily commute a very bumpy ride!


File:Aedes aegypti biting human.jpg

We had relatively little snow this past winter, which is highly unusual, but this spring has certainly made up for that lack of precipitation. We could sure do with a little sunshine to dry up all those mosquito breeding grounds! Every puddle has the potential to hold thousands of eggs. Last summer was wonderfully dry and relatively mosquito free. Here’s hoping for another season like that so people can stop saying that our provincial bird is the Mosquito! 🙂


By the way, the blue sky photos were taken from my back yard at noon today to prove to you that the skies are (were) clear. We do have a few fluffy clouds moving in as I type, but I hope they won’t accumulate any more than that. 🙂

So, how’s the weather where you are?

Crafty Wednesday

I have another couple of cards to share, but I will be brief today as I have to rush off to work later. Both are birthday cards, one for a young lady who loves to read fantasy, the other was for my grandson.

For the fantasy reader, I used a part of a large note pad I had that measures about a foot and a half (see picture at top of page) with a rainbow, clouds and unicorns. You may recall from a previous Crafty Wednesday that I used the rainbow half and one of the unicorns for a wedding card. This time I used the other half with just the unicorns. I glued this to a base of blue card stock and ran a string of satin hearts across the top. The sentiment is from Stampin’ Up‘s Word Play set.



Inside, I had some 8 1/2″ x11″ fancy ‘clouds’ printer paper, from which I cut a 3″ square and glued it down with a glue runner before applying the sentiment, which is also from Stampin’ Up. The eagle is from Close To My Heart‘s Pure Adventure stamp set and the pen is from SU‘s Rue des Fleurs set. All the elements were first stamped using a Versa Mark sticky pad and black heat-embossing powder, then attached with 3-D squares.



For Grandson’s card, I fell back to the Recollections Zoo set I originally bought to use for his shower invitations. One of the pet names I used with my kids was ‘monkey’ so when I saw this cute little guy, I had to buy the set. (I also wrapped his presents in paper with animals on it, including a monkey, so thought this would go with the ‘theme’). I stamped him with brown ink on white card stock and carefully cut him out with my small sharp scissors. I used a brown cream chalk and a Q-tip to give him a bit of colour.


I used white cardstock (8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ folded in half) as the base. I cut a piece of blue paper that measured 5″ x 3 3/4″. The polka dot paper measured 4″x 3″ (I think) and used a glue runner to hold it in place on the blue piece. I wrapped a piece of green velour ribbon around the blue paper attaching it to the back with Sookwang (it has a very strong adhesive) two-sided tape and used this tape around all the back edges to hold it firmly in place on the white card stock.

Inside, I stamped ‘Happy Birthday’ (I think it was a bargain stamp from Michael’s) onto a 3″ square of polka dot paper, using Versa Mark and black embossing powder. I also stamped the vine (from the Zoo set I mentioned earlier) using green ink then used a Versa Mark sticky pen to fill in the outline and embossed it with green embossing powder mixed with green glitter.  I used a glue runner to attach the polka dot paper to the card beside the vine. I printed the sentiments onto white card stock, which I trimmed to size and used SU’s ticket corner punch on the corners. The sentiments were attached with 3-D squares.

That’s it for another week. I think next week I’ll share some of the pages I created for my Dad’s Memory Book about my Mom. Until then, happy crafting, everyone! 🙂

A whole year!

Yesterday was our grandson’s first birthday. It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since I first held him in my arms. He has amazed me from the second I laid eyes on him. He was so alert, turning his head and looking towards his dad’s voice whenever he heard it. In the past year, he’s acquired most of his teeth, his hair has lightened a bit from the dark brown he started with and grown long enough to start curling a little bit at the nape of his neck. His eyes have turned brown to match his dad’s. He’s walking/running all around the house now, chasing their three cats and dog. He’s on solid food now and has a voracious appetite, eager to try new foods as long as it’s something he sees Mom & Dad eating! He’s curious about everything and has to check out every new thing, but he’s pretty good about stopping whenever he’s told, ‘no!’

I know I sound like a proud grandmother – and I am! I couldn’t let this landmark day go by without a little bragging. Every time I see his smile of joy whenever he looks up at me, my heart simply melts.

Who wouldn’t melt to see this smile directed at them! 🙂

Interview Sunday #3

Happy Father’s Day, all you Dads, Grandpas & Great-grandfathers!

Today, I have with me a talented young man whose blog I follow faithfully because of the variety of things he posts and because he rarely fails to draw out a chuckle from me. He has a marvelous sense of humour and writes about some pretty awesome stuff.

Welcome to my blog, Matt! Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Perhaps the first thing I should tell you is that I am rarely brief. So much so, in fact, that my Dad once said, “Son, you don’t speak in words, you only speak in sentences and paragraphs.” If there was such a thing as “The International Rambling Award” it would already be sitting on my shelf, basking in the warmth of the…see, I’m doing it already.

Right, about me. I was born in England in 1986, a fantastic year for the whole world (mostly due to my birth). A few years later my family migrated to Australia. We moved around a fair amount, but I now currently reside on the Central Coast, about an hour north of Sydney, working as a high school teacher teaching mostly English and History, but also (increasingly) Maths. I am a lifelong writer and reader, drink far too much coffee, tea and wine, have watched Monty Python far too many times (or not enough), still watch cartoons, am an avid music collector (albums number in the thousands), and am also a collection collector (I just like collecting things). One of my long-term goals is to become a published novelist, but my day to day goal is just to make people smile, laugh, and hopefully help people learn, too.


(If you are interested in learning more about Matt, I’ve linked his picture to his post My Personal Timeline. Just click on his picture above)

You recently published your 100th post. What prompted you to begin blogging?

At the start of this year, I set myself a lot of outrageously difficult goals, including getting my health back on track (two months later my health dived to frightening lows), writing 12 novellas in 12 months (more on this in a later question), and, come to think of it, a whole lot of various writing goals. Among them I decided to try blogging, so I would actually be writing for an audience. It was difficult initially though, because I have tried blogging before only to give up after several entries. But by the time I finished the first month, I realised I was really enjoying it this time, and, more shockingly, people were reading the nonsense I was writing.

Would you please describe some of the topics one might expect to read about when they visit your site?

One of Matt’s mugs from his collection. Click on the picture if you want to see more of his coffee cup collection.

My blog mostly revolves around the fact that I’m a nerd, so the topics to be found on my page include books, poetry, writing, music, history, and the occasional posts on art, coffee, tea, and whatever else takes my fancy. For a while I felt a duty to stick to books, but I have found as time goes on I am branching out more and more. I just try to keep my blog honest and true to myself. And sometimes silly.

Some people prefer to write their blog posts ahead of time and some just sit down and write them on the spur of the moment or when a topic moves them. What is your preference?

I briefly tried writing posts ahead of time, but I felt they were either uninspired, or when I finished them I changed my mind and just posted them immediately anyway. So generally I write them on the spur of the moment, although sometimes I let ideas stew for a couple of days too, especially when it comes to reviews. From time to time I like to time travel, writing a post in the future and then publishing it before it was written…I once nearly caused the universe to not exist because of this.

Have you done anything to specifically draw in more followers?

I’ve been trying to figure this one out myself, because I am a little stunned with how many followers I have gathered in only a few months. I know in my first couple of months I spent a lot of time wandering around looking at other blogs, and commenting here and there. I ended up following a lot of these blogs, and a lot of these blogs followed me back. But recently I find myself so busy with the blogs I already follow, and, of course, my own blog, it’s hard to find time to just wander around the blogosphere like that.

Aside from this…I guess I just try to be consistent, and make an effort to respond to every comment and make people feel welcome at my blog, hopefully giving them a reason to return.

Have you learned any secrets to creating a successful blog? If so, would you please share them with other newbies?

As I say, being consistent in both the timing of your posts and in responding to comments is super important to making a blog work. I also think it’s important to be reasonable with yourself about how often you blog – you don’t want it to turn into a chore, because that shows. Blogging should be something you enjoy, and if it feels otherwise maybe give yourself a day or two off, and return when you’re feeling more inspired. Also, this might be stating the obvious, but make sure you proofread – readers can forgive the occasional typo or clumsily worded sentence, as no doubt we are all guilty of it from time to time, but I occasionally stumble across a blog that is just littered with mistakes, and it’s just really off-putting.

But most importantly – be yourself! I love a good blog where you can really see the blogger themself in their writing. So be honest, and write about what you know.

Good advice! 🙂

Of the many categories you have listed in the sidebar of your blog, one of them is ‘12 Novellas in 12 Months’. You referred to this earlier, so I know you like to write stuff other than your blog posts. Please tell us a little about this challenge that you have set for yourself.

Ah yes, that little challenge. About five years ago I found myself suddenly reinspired to write creatively, after a several year absence from crafting stories for fun. In 2009 I found out about NaNoWriMo, the worldwide novel-writing event in which hundreds of thousands of people write a fifty thousand word novel in a single month. I completed this in 2009, 2010, and then in 2011 I completed the sister event, Script Frenzy, as well as challenging myself to write seventy five thousand words for that year’s NaNo (which I managed to pull off courtesy of an eleven thousand word day towards the end of the month – don’t try that at home, please, whatever you do).

So what does all this have to do with 12 Novellas in 12 Months? The problem with NaNoWriMo is that it only inspires me for one month of the year, and then it leaves me feeling burnt out for a while, and I end up not writing much over the remainder of the year. So I devised a plan to write all year round, but under more manageable circumstances – write 12 novellas in 12 months! Why novellas? Because if the average novella is thirty thousand words, this comes out at a thousand words a day, which is quite manageable even around a full time job. Or so I thought…but there’s six months left in this year, and I’m determined to beat this challenge. So far I have one novella finished, and several part of the way through. By the end of this month I should have six finished…uh oh.

I completely understand how real life can interfere with the writing life!

Is there a specific genre you prefer to write or do you enjoy stretching your creativity to try different genres?

As part of my 12 Novellas challenge, I am trying to write in 12 different genres. I think I like to genre hop a little anyway, though I have been more comfortable when writing in historical fiction, fantasy, and humorous or comical fiction. But really I just write whatever I feel like at the time – genres should be places to explore in writing, not restrictions to limit yourself.

That is very true!

What is your approach to writing? Is it similar to the way you prepare your blog posts?

My approach to writing changes from story to story. Out of the three novels I have written in the past three years, two I wrote entirely on the spot, with no planning whatsoever. The novel I wrote in 2010 was my historical novel, and so I actually did plan it (a little), and researched a fair amount before writing it. After finishing the first draft, I realised it was terrible, and I am now slowly researching a lot more before I attempt to rewrite that story.

Most stories for me start with an image, or a quote, or something simple. I just sit down and start writing, squeeze my brain and force the words out, and see what happens and where it goes. As the story progresses, I try and determine the characters in as much detail in my mind as I can, so that they can drive the rest of the story forwards. Normally by about the halfway point, the end begins to form in my mind, at which point I purposely throw twists into the story, twists that surprise even me as the writer (if I can surprise myself, hopefully I can surprise my readers too), so that the real challenge becomes trying to find a way to get to the ending I foresee.

Basically my approach to creative writing is ridiculous.

You sound like a ‘pantser’, like me! 🙂

Do you have anything else to share with us, today?

My advice for anybody wanting to become good at anything – just keep practising! If you want to become a successful writer, I truly believe reading broadly and writing relentlessly is the ultimate key to reaching this goal. The same goes for just about everything in life – don’t ever let somebody tell you you’re no good at something, or you’re never going to be good at it, because when we really apply ourselves fully to the task at hand, humans are capable of incredible things.

Very inspiring, Matt, Thank you!

For those who wish to experience your blog, they can visit you by pressing here. Are there any other ways in which people can enjoy your words of wisdom? 

Absolutely! You can find me on Twitter at @abritishperson, and on Goodreads I am listed as Matt Watson (they’ve been linked so just click on the underlined words).

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Matt.

Thank you for the great questions (and sorry about the rambling).

That’s not a problem. I have a rambling problem, myself. When I write a letter or email to someone, my hubby says it looks like I’m writing a novel – which isn’t all that far from the truth! In conversations, if someone asks me about writing, I’ll talk their ear off! Maybe we should start a group called Ramblers Anonymous! 🙂

Thanks, again, Matt for joining us today. Good luck with your challenges. 🙂

I’m sure you all have enjoyed our little ‘chat’. Please follow the links to learn more about Matt and his blog. 🙂

Just in time for Father’s Day

Someone made a comment on my last Crafty Wednesday post wondering if I was going to make a Father’s Day card, so I sat down and made this one for my son to give to his Dad. I used the motorcycle, flame and the ‘Feel The Wind’ stamp from Close To My Heart‘s Born To Ride set. The letters for ‘DAD!’ are from the CTMH Hero Alphabet stamp set. The ‘Incredible’ sentiment and frame on the inside of the card were from the CTMH Pure Adventure set. The ‘Happy Father’s Day’ was from the Stampin’ Up set Plane Simple.

For all the stamped elements, I used my Versa Mark sticky pad and heat-emboss powders. The ‘DAD!’, ‘Happy Father’s Day’ and motorcycle were embossed in black. For the flames, ‘Incredible’ and ‘Feel The Wind’ I used copper embossing powder. Using my Cuttlebug, I cut/embossed an orange ‘Fanciful Label’ with a folder by Provo Craft. I brushed a non-heat gold embossing powder over the label to make it shiny.

The base of the card is half of an 8 1/2″ x 11″ white card stock, folded in half, making the final card dimensions 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″. The brown paper on the front of the card measures 5 1/4″ x 3″. The polka dot paper is 5 1/4″ x 1 1/2″ and tucks under the brown, slightly. The paper was fastened to the card base with double-sided sticky tape. The flames were attached with a glue runner. The motorcycle and letters were attached with 3-D squares.

Inside, I glued a brown square, 3″ x 3″, to the centre of a strip of polka dot paper measuring 3″ x 5 1/4″. ‘Incredible’ and ‘Feel The Wind’ were glued to brown paper and trimmed to add contrast to the orange paper. The ‘Happy Father’s Day’ was attached with Sticky Dots. The orange label and sentiments were attached to the card with 3-D squares.

Well, the instructions weren’t step-by-step today, but I hope you got the idea. If you want to used this as a model for a card for a dad in your life, go for it! Make changes, add your own embellishments, if you like. I’m sure the dad you give it to will love it and appreciate that fact that it is home-made by you! 🙂

Happy Father’s Day to all dads, grandfathers and great-grandfathers! 🙂