And all you, my dear friends & followers, definitely warm MY heart! I want to take a moment during this busy time to wish you all the best, no matter how you celebrate this winter season. I wish I could share a cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, eggnog, apple cider (or whatever tickles your fancy and warms YOUR heart!) with each & every one of you. Merry Christmas and the happiest, healthiest New Year! 😀
Today, I am talking with Jenny Keller Ford. For anyone who has been following this blog for any length of time, her name will sound familiar, I’m sure. Last year, she launched a story in J. Taylor Publishing‘s anthology, Make Believe. At that time, she took over my blog and, for those who haven’t read it or have forgotten what she talked about, you can go back here and read (or re-read) it. She was also one of the first people I interviewed when I started blogging at the beginning of last year. You can find her interview here. Anyway, interviewing her this time was like chatting with a long-time friend. 🙂
Hi, Jenny! I am so glad you’ve dropped by, again. May I offer you a cup of coffee or tea? Black, cream, sugar?
Oooo, thank you. I’d love some coffee please, with a little cream and sugar.
How about a little banana bread or a homemade chocolate chip cookie?
Oh, chocolate chip cookies please. From the glorious smell in the house, you must have just brought them out of the oven, didn’t you? Mmmmm, nothing better than a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie.
Would you prefer to do the interview at the dining table or in the living room where the couch & chairs are a little softer?
If you don’t mind, I’d rather sit in the living room. It’s much more informal and cozy don’t you think?
Now, let’s get down to business. A little bird told me you’ve written another story for J. Taylor Publishing for their anthology One More Day. Please tell us a little about your main character.
Amanda Jenkins is a 17-year-old book nerd extraordinaire. She’s also an acrophobic, meaning she’s absolutely terrified of heights.
I think I’m getting a sense of what the story might be about but have to ask, what is her predicament?
Amanda likes this guy, Dean McCall. I would, too, if he really existed and I was her age. So hot. Anyway, she’s had a crush on him for years and she never thought he’d ever ask her out. But on Grad Night at Granbury Park (the local theme park), Dean corners her by the popcorn stand and asks her to ride the tallest roller coaster in the park, Dragon Flight, with him. Her insides tell her no, but it’s Dean McCall, right? What else can she say but yes. It doesn’t take her long to question that decision when her biggest fear happens. Time halts, I mean, it literally freezes, with Dragon Flight stranded at the top of the first hill, 300 feet in the air and her in the front row. As she is the only one who is not frozen in time, she has to figure out a way to get down from the beast and restart time.
As much as I love the thrill of a coaster ride, I, myself, am afraid of heights, so I would find that terrifying, too!
Did Amanda whisper in your ear about her problem or did the story line come to you first because of the publisher’s prompt?
I have to admit, I never really thought about this until I read the prompt. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t going to submit anything, but then this story came to me in a dream and I had one of those ‘ah ha!’ moments and had to go with it. I tossed it off my teen son one morning before school and he gave me one of those ‘Yeah, okay, Mom’ looks, but I had to go for it. At that point, I HAD to write the story as it wouldn’t leave me alone.
Ah, the muse that cannot be silenced. 🙂
Why did you decide on this particular setting for the story?
I love theme parks and I love roller coasters. My biggest fear is getting stranded on one. As I could relate to Amber Jenkins (because she is a lot like me), I thought the theme park idea would be perfect. Also, what teen doesn’t like theme parks, especially on Grad Night?
I know you have a penchant for dragons, will we be seeing any in this story?
Only in name. When I thought about what kind of coaster would freak me out, it would be one like Dragon Flight. One that flies high and then dives low and twists and turns and corkscrews. When the story came to me, I was a bit baffled that it didn’t have a dragon in it because almost all of my stories do, but then I realized the coaster WAS my dragon. It was a feared beast that needed to be conquered, and Amanda Jenkins was just the perfect knight to save the day.
Back in 2000, our family visited Florida. One of the kids’ favourite ride was one called Dueling Dragons at Universal Studios. Is the coaster in your story based on one that really exists or is it your fantasy coaster?
Ohh, Dueling Dragons, now Dragon Challenge in the Wonderful World of Harry Potter, was one of my favorite coasters, but not the basis for my coaster. Dragon Flight would be more like Millennium Force at Cedar Point, fused with Kumba and Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida: tall, fast, twisting, with lots of corkscrews.
Sounds like one I’d like to ride! 🙂
Okay, final question: What is the title of your story?
Of course! lol Well, I guess that’s it, for now. Good luck with your story. ‘Talk’ to you soon!
Thank you so much for inviting me in your home, Susan. The coffee was perfect and the company even better. Oh, and you should market those cookies. Fantastic!
For those of you who want to learn a little more about this exciting new anthology from J. Taylor Publishing, here’s the blurb about the premise for One More Day:
What if today never ends?
What if everything about life—everything anyone hoped to be, to do, to experience—never happens?
Whether sitting in a chair, driving down the road, in surgery, jumping off a cliff or flying … that’s where you’d be … forever.
How do we restart time?
How do we make everything go back to normal?
The answers, in whatever the world—human, alien, medieval, fantasy or fairytale—could, maybe, happen today.
What would you do if this happened … to you?
J. Keller Ford is a quirky mother of four, grand-mother and scribbler of young adult fantasy tales. She has an insatiable appetite for magic, dragons, knights and faeries, and weaves at least one into every story she conceives. Her muse is a cranky old meadow gnome that follows her everywhere she goes and talks incessantly, feeding her ideas for stories 24/7.
When she’s not writing or blogging, the former Corporate Paralegal enjoys listening to smooth jazz, collecting seashells, swimming, bowling, riding roller coasters and reading. Jenny lives minutes from the beaches of the west coast of Florida with her husband of twenty years, her two sons and a pair of wacky cats and three silly dogs. The pets have trained her well.
If you hurry up and head over to Jenny’s website, you might still be able to take part in the J. Taylor Publishing Christmas Cracker Scavenger Hunt, which ends at midnight today. Good luck! 🙂
In my post, Crafty Wednesday – Something new, I described how to paint on silk and use the painting in a card. Today, I will show you a few more silk paintings that I have completed for some very special people.
Above is the finished product containing the silk-painted penguin family I started in the demo. I used one of the mid-sized dies from the Labels Eight set by Spellbinders to cut out the centre window of the card base and a slightly larger one to cut out the blue window. (I like the Spellbinders dies because you can place them anywhere you like.) I taped the penguins to the back of the card front so that they were centred in the window, trimmed off the excess material, then placed a piece of white card stock over them so the silk was completely covered, securing it with Sookwang. The blue label piece that was left over from the process was used for the inside sentiment, along with a smaller piece die-cut from white card stock. The front sentiment was stamped on 1/2 a small label. (The sentiments were from the Close To My Heart Polar Bear Holiday stamp set.) I stamped all the blue pieces with snowflakes from the Inkadinkado snowflake stamp set and Versa Mark then heat embossed them with clear white embossing powder.
I found a pattern for a poinsettia (Scrapbooks etc, Winter 2002) that I thought would be about the right size for a silk-painted card feature. I picked up some red, green and gold paint I thought was the right kind for dying the silk. It turned out to be a much thicker consistency than I expected so it didn’t look exactly like I thought it would, but the colours were more vibrant than the dyes would have been, so I’m not too unhappy with it. This time, though, instead of cutting a window into the card base, I cut out the red-plaid background with a 3-1/2″ scalloped circle punch, then placed the painted silk between it and the card base, securing the silk & the background with Sookwang double-sided tape.
The last card design was from a book I’d bought years ago, Making Christmas Cards by Judy Balchin (Search Press, 2005). The instructions basically said: “Place the silk into a bowl of water, squeeze out the excess and scrunch up the silk into a ball. Over a sheet of plastic, dab on the silk dyes to create a tie-dye effect. Lay silk flat out on the plastic and let dry.”
I photocopied the tree image from the book, as instructed, and used it as a guide under the silk to apply coloured glitter glue. Once the glitter glue was dry, I measured out the size of the backing, wrapped the silk picture around it and secured the edges with Sookwang. I cut out blue card stock that was 1/2″ larger on all sides than the matted image. I added all that onto a snowflake patterned paper cut 1/4″ smaller than the base card and added the ‘Noel’ sentiment. I’ve never been crazy about using glitter glue on my projects because it always seems to remain a little tacky, even after drying for days, but it does look pretty, don’t you think?
So, there you have 3 cards with silk-painted images added to cards using three different methods. 🙂
Since next week is Christmas Day and the following week is New Year’s Day, I will not be posting another ‘Crafty Wednesday’ for a couple of weeks. If I find time to post more Christmas card pics, I might do it on other days, though, so pop by over the holidays, if you aren’t too busy celebrating! 🙂
In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys whatever special days you celebrate during the next few weeks. 🙂
The crunch is on! I’ve been getting cards ready for the mail, writing letters about our year, and printing off pictures of the Grandson to send with the cards, which I hope to get to the post office today. I may already be too late getting the two across the sea to my cousins, but at least the thought was there! Anyway, I’ve got a couple more cards in blue to show you.
I found this cute penguin stamp at Michael’s and fell in love with it. I stamped/embossed it in black and filled in the image with markers, this time, to get the more vibrant colours I wanted. I glued on some cotton batting to the fluffy collar and hat trim areas, with mini pompoms on the hat ends. After cutting out the image, I placed them on a 3-1/2″ scalloped circle embossed with the D’vine Swirls plate & the Cuttlebug. I also embossed the base card, added some snowflake ribbon and tacked on the sentiment, stamped onto velum, with two white brads. Inside, I covered the brad backs with snowflakes, added the simple sentiment and stamped/embossed snowflakes (from a tnowflake stamp set byInkadinkado) directly onto the card using Versa Mark & white embossing powder with a bit of glitter.
I ordered the stamp for this card from Stampin’ Up at the end of the season, last year, and finally had the chance to use it. It’s a bit more complicated, needing a lot more painting than some of the other stamps I’ve used but I love the whimsy of all the children gathered around Santa and the sentiment that came with the set. I embossed the base card with the swirls, glued on some blue glitter and added a bit of ribbon. Inside, I stamped the sentiment (from the Polar Bear Holiday set from Close To My Heart) & cut it out using an oval stencil. I placed it on the oval die-cut I made, using the middle-sized Beaded Ovals (Nestibilities) by Spellbinders, which I sponged lightly with blue ink. I added a few stamped/embossed snowflakes, also from the Polar Bear Holiday set.
Next week, I should have a few more of my painted-silk card creations, so stay tuned! 🙂
I spent a good part of yesterday searching for a particular item to complete a Christmas card I’m making, but still could not find it. It’s funny, I can find pink, red, and yellow google eyes, but brown? Not possible. I’ll have to settle with black. 😦
I was supposed to visit my sister-in-law, today, to use her Cricut for some Christmas card design elements, but blustery conditions made me hesitant to travel the highway out to her place and the huge snow dump would make traveling the back roads a little precarious. So, instead, I stayed home to compose a Crafty post, even though it’s a day late, that focuses on more traditional green and red cards.
To start the first card, I stamp/embossed the pine embellishment using black embossing powder & Versa Mark. (The stamp was from a Close To My Heart set called Yuletide Greetings) I painted the boughs with a flat green water colour. The rest was painted with my shiny paints. Once the paint was dry, I carefully cut around the image, making the edges look as feathered as possible to highlight the pine needles. I decided it looked best on a white background, so measured out a rectangle that was just larger than the image and trimmed the corners with a corner-rounding punch. I cut a dark green piece of card stock that was just slightly larger (about 1/8″ more on all sides) than the white, trimming the corners. I recently picked up a 12×12″ Christmas paper pad by Recollections called Sugar Plums with this lovely pale green plaid that I thought would compliment the image. I decided to place it all on a plain white card stock base (1/2 sheet of 8-1/2×11″). Before attaching any of the pieces with a glue runner &/or Sookwang, I sponged around all the edges with green ink. Both the front & inside sentiments were stamp/embossed in black, using Versa Mark and Stampin’ Up‘s Many Merry Messages. The final touch of the front was the red silk bow, attached with Zots sticky dots. Inside, I recreated the pattern of plaid paper, along with the green and white card stock, similar to the front. I also stamp/embossed & painted a holly sprig (by Craft Smart), cut out the image and embellished the swirls with red self-adhesive ‘jewels’.
For the second card, I began with the horn image from Yuletide Greetings, stamped & embossed it with black embossing powder & Versa Mark. Again, I painted the pine needles in a flat water colour and the rest with shiny paint. Once dry, I cut it out and placed it on a 2″ circle punched from music paper. I punched out a 2-3/8″ red scalloped circle and embossed it with my Cuttlebug and the Victoria embossing plate. From the Sugar Plums paper pack, I chose this swirly green-on-green patterned paper, cut to 4 x 5-1/4″ and sponged the edges with green ink. I added a red satin bow to the top left corner, sticking the long ends onto the card with Zots. The ‘Merry Christmas’ was stamp/embossed in black using a stamp from Inky Antics‘ Ornament Birdy onto a 1″ scalloped oval punched from cream-coloured card stock. Inside, I layered the white card stock (stamp/embossed with a sentiment from Many Merry Messages), red paper and swirly green paper after trimming the corners. I also stamped a small holly design on either side of the sentiment using a stamp I bought from the St. James Rubber Stamp Co. here in Winnipeg.
The last card is a little different. I tried the Holiday version of Flower Soft to create the wreath and red flocking powder for the bow. I used a stencil to draw the outlines for each, filled in the designs with white glue and sprinkled on the Flower Soft & flocking powder, respectively, setting them aside to dry. (I left them overnight to make sure I didn’t mash them, which tends to happen when I’m impatient. Another hint I should mention is, I did not press the glue down, but left it puffy so it created a more 3D effect.)
I cut around both the bow image and the wreath, attaching them to a piece of cream & white snowflake-patterned paper with Sookwang, because their weight needed a strong adhesive. I rounded the paper corners with a punch, as well as the solid green behind it and the Christmas paper beneath that. I attached all the papers to the cream-coloured card stock base. (4-1/4 x 5-1/2″). I sponged green ink around the edges of the base. The sentiments, both inside & on the front were stamp/embossed in black using Ornament Birdy stamps. The ornament stamps were from both the Ornament Birdy and Inky Antic‘s Decorating Snowman sets, stamped & embossed in black, then painted. I strung some red & white twine through the sentiment’s green background and used black thread to tie the ornaments onto the twine. The thread was taped to the back of each ornament with Sookwang and stuck onto the card base.
I really liked the way the Flower Soft wreath & flocked bow turned out. What about you? 🙂
Write a Story with Me is a group endeavor just for the fun of it. A different writer adds a new 250 words each week. It is the ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge!
For those who may need to catch up on this collaborative story, head on over to Jennifer M. Eaton’s blog to read previous chapters to this fanciful tale. She is keeping the archives since it was her idea to start this story in the first place. She wanted to do something different for her blog anniversary, so she wrote the first part and asked others to continue the story. I have written 4 segments, already – you can read them here, here, here, and here. Today’s bit is the fifth. I’m pretty sure Jennifer has lined up others to continue after this, the 72nd ‘chapter’. Personally, I can’t wait to read what someone will write to conclude my part! 🙂
I’ll give you a brief summary before reading my 250 word bit. I’ll highlight the key players to help you keep track. Hope it’s not too confusing. If it is, you can always go read the other installments on Jennifer’s blog and come back.
It all began when Marci picked a leaf from the sacred Gleaming Tree and gave it to her fairy friend, Jenelle. Her sister, Bethany, saw the exchange and overheard the conversation and, because of her jealousy, planned to expose her sister’s traitorous act. Their father, Yoran, is a member of The Establishment’s Planetary Raiders, on a mission to locate the fairy stronghold and wipe them out. When his eldest daughter, Sian, spoke out against The Establishment, she was taken to be ‘re-educated’ and the family was warned never to speak of her, again. However, she re-appears as an Establishment officer, who convinced her superiors that her conditioning was successful, although the reader knows she still has loyalties to the fairies. When this all began, Marci’s mom, Natalia, was heavy with child, but has since had a son, which we discover is supposed to be the Saviour of both fae & humans.
Jenelle’s brother, Janosc, is head of the fae army and Jenelle is being groomed to be queen. The former queen, Morath, who had been missing for a long time, returns to help with the conflict and protect Natalia’s new-born son. A war has been brewing between the fae folk and humans, a matter of real estate, that culminated into a conflict a few chapters ago. Just before the fighting began, Yoran was brought to the fae court and told a horrible truth, that Natalia was a fairy in disguise, so all his children are half-fae. Morath removes the Establishment monitoring device in Yoran’s head and now he risks exposure. After the battle, when Yoran returns to his ship, an Establishment officer questions his commander’s dedication to their cause, at which point Yoran has the officer arrested for treason. No one questions Yoran’s authority like that without consequences!
And that’s where we’re at:
“These are serious charges that you’re bringing against Officer Dawes, Protector Sumner.”
Yoran stood before the High Council, sitting on their tall benches and peering down at him with suspicion. His stomach was in knots.
“I tolerate no insubordination on my ship,” he replied. “Dawes had the audacity to suggest I was consorting with the enemy. I could not let him undermine my authority.”
“Do you think Officer Dawes was consorting with the enemy?” one of the councilwoman asked.
Yoran knew he had to tread carefully. “No, Madam Castille, but I treat my ship as a dictatorship. Anyone who threatens the chain of command is committing treason, as far as I am concerned.”
The five members of the council huddled together, whispering and glancing at Yoran, occasionally. He clasped his hands tighter behind his back, concerned that he would soon be the focus of treason charges. Finally, they straightened and leaned back in their seats, blank-faced. Yoran could not tell whether the news would be good for him or not.
The President spoke. “It is our opinion that, while Officer Dawes was wrong to question the chain of command, you have charged the young man unjustly. He will be reprimanded and retrained to be more respectful in future. We want you to know, we have no intention of undermining your authority by lessening the charges you have pressed against him. We simply believe that the death penalty does not apply, here. As for you . . .”
Yoran’s face paled.
Nothing like leaving things on a cliff-hanger, is there? (hee hee hee!) Drop by Jennifer’s blog next Monday to see what happens next! 🙂
I was just over at Jennifer M. Eaton’s blog. Her friend, The Little Blue Lady from Mars, interviewed Jonathan Lister on his launch of Crossroads. He’s holding a Rafflecopter – a chance to win an Advanced Reader Copy of his book, among other things. I thought you might be interested in getting in on that action, so pop on over to Jennifer’s blog (link above) so you can learn a little about Jon and his book as well as meeting the Little Blue Lady, if you haven’t already.
Happy Sunday! 🙂
I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday with all the trimmings!
How many of you know how Thanksgiving became a holiday? You owe it all to a determined woman named Sarah Hale. If you pick up Mike Allegra’s book, Sarah Gives Thanks, you and your children can learn all about how Sarah “dedicated her life to making Thanksgiving a national holiday, all while raising a family and becoming a groundbreaking writer and women’s magazine editor.”
It’s available on Amazon. Aren’t the pictures lovely? They were done by David Gardner. To get your copy, click on the picture. To read Mike’s interview of his illustrator, head over to heylookawriterfellow and, again, I wish you all a . . .
Today, I have a couple of very different cards, which both have a blue base or background. I used my D’vine Swirls embossing plate for the first card and Polka Dots for the second, running them through my Cuttlebug. Although the D’vine Swirls plate is the one that came with my machine, I think it’s the one embossing plate that I use the most, especially with winter-themed cards because it looks like swirling snow. The Polka Dots plate looks like snowflakes, so I use it fairly often at this time of year, too.
With this first card, I was experimenting with the packet of Mr. Ellie Pooh’s Elephant Dung Paper I got at the Zoo a couple of summers ago. Each sheet of paper was heart shaped so I was mostly using it for wedding, anniversary and Valentine’s Day cards. However, a blogging friend encouraged me to think outside the box, so I did. Along with the pink poop hearts, there were some sheets that were a cream or off-white colour, which leant themselves to other ideas. Above, the tree was stamped on the cream-colored paper. The polar bears were stamp-embossed on the off-white. The paper is not completely smooth and the texture works really well as fur. You will notice that I added a bit of sparkle to the tree and painted the sweater & scarf with my shiny paints. After adding a piece of sparkly ribbon to one edge and cutting out the sentiment to look like a cloud, the front was done. It might be hard to notice, but I also stamp-embossed snowflakes onto the sentiment ‘cloud’. In case any of you were wondering, the tree is from a stamp set by Stampin’ Up called Christmas Lodge and the polar bears and sentiments were from a Close To My Heart stamp set called Polar Bear Holiday.
The inside, above, shows another of the bears from the CTMH set, along with the sentiment & presents. Again, I used the poop paper for the bear and added the colour with my shiny paints. There is also a splash of sparkle in the way of stamp-embossed snowflakes on either side of the sentiment, which was cut out using a 2″ circle punch.
This card is my favourite. Not only do I love the cute snowman (Decorating Snowman by Inky Antics), who looks very festive in his shiny blue coat, but also because of the surprise on the inside. I stamp-embossed his outline, then filled him in with my shiny paints. I cut him out and placed him on white card stock with red card stock (cut 1/2″ taller & 1/2″ wider than the white) behind it. I stamp-embossed the sentiment on white card stock and placed it on red, cutting it so that 1/4″ showed on all edges. To the sentiment, I added a red ribbon bow, attaching it with a silver brad and paper snowflake before placing it on the card with 3D squares.
Honey POP (by Inky Antics) honeycomb paper is so much fun, because it flares out when you open the card and it’s not all that difficult to do. Last year, I made Christmas trees with the plain green Honey POP. This year, I found Peppermint Strip, a red & white honeycomb paper, which could also be used to make candy canes. For the inside of this card, I stamp-embossed the snowman image directly onto the card, lining him up with where I wanted the ornament to go. I also stamped the ornament hanger and assorted ornaments onto the card, then painted everything. The sentiment was done in a similar manner to that on the front of the card, but I added small ornaments cut out of sparkly paper with a mini Sizzix die-cutter & my Cuttlebug to embellish the sentiment.
Well, that’s it for this week. I’m off to do more crafting as there’s only 4 more weeks until Christmas & I’m only halfway through all the cards I need to make! Hope you’re all having a great day. 🙂
As you may already know, I married into a huge family and have a lot of friends, which means I have many cards to create, each year, including cards for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc. With Christmas just over a month away, I have to make sure I have prepared enough cards and completed in time to be posted and delivered before Christmas Day.
A while back, I showed you the cards I made during a Creative Gathering event and also the painted silk card elements I have prepared for future cards. To date, I have made 26 cards, including the ones I made last weekend, when I completed 10 that were part of the Close To My Heart Frosted card-making kit.
In the kit, one receives paper & card stock, a stamp set, embellishments, & an instruction booklet.
I love the Close To My Heart kits because the instructions are very detailed, from the best way to cut out all the pieces . . .
. . . to the layout.
While I liked the different layouts, I didn’t love them, so I changed things up a bit to better accommodate my personal tastes.
The first set of 5 cards (above) required the use of a green paper, stamped with the border stamp that came with the enclosed stamp set. I am not very good at stamping over and over, so thought it would be easier to emboss the pieces with my Cuttlebug. I also did not particularly like the green, so switched it up with some dark teal card stock I had on hand. Also, the stamps were supposed to be in an ink colour I did not have, so I used my Versa Mark sticky pad and blue embossing powder, instead.
For the next set of cards, I pretty much followed the directions . . . .
. . . but, for some reason, ran out of the brown craft paper, so substituted a different paper for a couple of the cards. Again, I did not have the right ink colour for the background snowflake pattern, so I used a silver ink pad. Here are the two variations:
Which of the three variations do you prefer?