Stress and Fear Relief in Your Inbox

An example of the poem-by-email you’ll get. © Laurie Blackwell, 2017

Been stewing in fear and stress for a while? Scared to go online for fear of what you will find? Need some good news? My friend Laurie, who runs LoneBlackBird, is starting a month of daily mail that will relieve your stress and put a smile on your face. And yes, this is a giveaway post!

Laurie is a teacher who helps kids who have difficulty learning how to read. Now she’s helping anyone who wants to open their email anticipating good news.

Every day in April, Laurie is sending out a hand-drawn email with a short, encouraging poem from well-known and lesser-known writers. April is National Poetry Month, and Laurie wants to introduce people to poetry who have never thought about it, those who don’t know what to think about poetry, and those who love poetry.

There will be a link to the entire poem, or the poem in an anthology of similar poems. Best of all, you can print out the entire image.

What can you do with the printed piece?

These poems beg to be colored and put into your journal. © Laurie Blackwell, 2017.

Well, if you are among the huge group of coloring fans, you can print out the pieces, color them, and create a journal with them.

Or you can simply print them out and put them in your journal the way they are.

You can share them with your kids and have a real conversation about what the words mean, who the poet was (or is), and, if you are home schooling parent or teacher, use them as a prompt for poetry writing.

There is a perfectly good reason to open your email every day in April and know there is a smile waiting for you.  It’s an excellent way to anticipate the best every morning and be rewarded for it!

What a way to start your morning–coffee and coloring! © Laurie Blackwell, 2017

How to win a month worth of smiles: Laurie is giving away three free subscriptions to the poem-a-day for the month of April. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post and keep your fingers crossed.

Three winners will be drawn at random on Wednesday, April 5, after 6 p.m. in Phoenix and announced on Thursday’s blog.

You can also follow Laurie on Instagram and see what she is up to. She teaches online and in-person courses that are kind, gentle, and a welcome relief from our frenetic world.

Quinn McDonald is a poet and non-fiction writer who is delighted to support the positive poetry posting.

 

 

Book Giveaway: Creative Strength Training

I’m giving away (and reviewing) Jane Dunnewold’s book on  my other site.  There are a lot of readers on this site who will want to read the book, too.

Here’s the beginning of the review. At the end, there is a link to the other blog site, so you can leave a comment there for the giveaway. Please do not leave a comment here–the winner will be chosen from the other site.

“There are a lot of books on creativity that combine art-making exercises with encouragement.  All the more reason to love a new book that is wonderful, tempting, helpful and encouraging. When it turns out to do what it promises–help you become creatively stronger, more sure or your creativity, and more curious about the world around you–it’s a keeper. One you will want to read quickly, just to enjoy, then read more slowly to work through and use regularly.

Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius by Jane Dunnewold is just that book. You will find yourself nodding your head in recognition. ”  Continue reading the review here.

Book Review and Giveaway: Journalution

Cover

Cover

Sandy Grason wrote Journalution in 2005, and it still stands as one of the best books on deep-writing journaling. She writes in an easy-to-understand way, and combines the wisdom of Julia Cameron with the emotional nurturing of Shakti Gawain. (One of my favorite lessons from Gawain is, “to feel more love, you have to let go of more anger.”)

Grason handles journaling in a simple, direct way. If you have been swamped by the responsibility of art journaling, if you are tired of trying to think of something to journal about, if a sketchbook journal disappoints you because you can’t draw, you will enjoy this book.

The subtitle of the book says it all: “Journaling to Awaken Your Inner Voice, Heal Your Life, and Manifest Your Dreams.” That’s a lot of journaling, but it’s packed into 200 pages that you can dip into, study, or read from front to back.

Table of Contents, page 1.

Table of Contents, page 1. Click to enlarge the image.

If you haven’t been deep-writing journaling, start now. Grason helps you getstarted and answers some simple-sounding but meaningful questions like “Where do I start?” and “Why do I need to journal?”  The answer to that is in a quote from the introduction:

“You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.” –Margaret Young

Grason gives you tips on writing when you don’t feel like it, figuring out what’s important to you, getting to your truth, and facing a blank page. There are tips for keeping track of your hopes, dreams and visions. There is an index to find all the exercises, from playing small to living large and how to set intentions and remain detached from the outcome.

The book is gently used, and from my book shelf. It’s time for it to bring ideas, clarity, and inspiration to someone else.

Table of Contents, page 2.

Table of Contents, page 2. Click to enlarge the image.

Quote from the book: “Inside, we are all just little children trying to heal, trying to do the best we can in this world. Many times it doesn’t look like that to others, though. Often, the child inside is angry and resentful; it may even want to hurt others.”

Giveaway: Leave a comment telling me why you want the book, and you’ll be in the drawing. There is just one book. The drawing is random, so you don’t have to be brilliant. International entries are welcome. I’ll announce the winner this coming Saturday, March 14, so stop back and check in!

Quinn McDonald is making room on her shelf for more books.

 

DIY Giveaway

Book1DIY isn’t just updating a kitchen. I’m a fan of making journals, too. You can use the paper you like, whether you sketch, write, or paint. You can mix paper types, include pages of interesting looking books, or maps.

Handcrafted Journals, Albums, Scrapbooks and More by Marie Browning is a how-to books for updating your studio–with some handmade books. This is not a new book–it’s a 2000 edition, but it is a useful one. It’s packed with information, color photos and templates.

You don’t have to have prior knowledge, the first three chapters discuss materials, bookbinding terms and techniques. Chapter 4 is a basic procedure for making your own album or journal. Brave creatives can take off from there.

Book2

Examples of how-to: different surface decorations techniques.

Need more help? There are chapters for folded books, paperback journals, wood covered books, closed- and open-spine books and novelty books.

Bookplate or decorative templates you can print out of the book.

Bookplate or decorative templates you can print out of the book.

There are terrific photos and ideas in this 128-page paperback book. And a binding guide, complete with measurements and templates for miniature books as well, too.

Miniature books are fun to make and give as gifts.

Miniature books are fun to make and give as gifts.

Giveaway: I’m giving away the book. Leave a comment and check in again on Saturday to see if it’s yours! (I won’t hunt you down, so check back on Saturday).

–Quinn McDonald has made a lot of books and knows the creative satisfaction of seeing a book completed.

 

The Past (Tense?) of The Word of the Year

Note: Congratulations to snicklefritzen43! She’s the winner of the Natalie Goldberg book. I hope your word of the year brighten with the book! Contact me at quinncreative [at] yahoo [dot] com with a mailing address and the book will be on the way!

Many of you have chosen your Word for 2015. Some of you are trying out the last cull from the ones you thought of. This is excellent work, thinking about the word or phrase that will serve you well for 2015. How it will fit you, how you will have to make room for it in your life.

2014-calendarBefore we leave 2014, let’s think about the year that is quickly coming to a close. What word would you use to describe 2014? Did the word you chose for 2014 match your experience?

Was it close? It doesn’t have to be, after all. You could have had a big intention word and constantly worked on it, while 2014 plotted against you.

Or maybe your word was not big enough and it was an easy word, but not a challenge. Not everything has to be a challenge. Some things can be a treat.

How would you describe 2014 if you thought of it in an overall sense? Was it a year that pushed you to grow? One that you negotiated with a bit of stress but made it through? I like to pit my chosen Word of 2014 against the word (phrase) I’d use to describe 2014 and see how thy line up. Then see if that balance is reflected in my Word for 2015.

Here’s my own example. I started 2014 with the word Scatter, with the Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 2.22.31 PMintention of broadcasting ideas like seeds–in big, joyous arcs. Halfway through the year, I felt too scattered. I was doing too much, too little, not doing enough well enough and feeling confused. I switched the word to Distill, which I loved doing for the rest of the year.

The year 2014 had some tough challenges for me. There were a few big, crushing disappointments, and a few pleasant, unexpected developments. If I had to choose a phrase for 2014, I’d choose “Give up control.” Every time I try to control the future, the path is too narrow, too paved, too engineered. And every time I think I want that, I experience a big tear in my plans that shows just how foolish that idea is in my life.

Summary: My words for 2014 were both Scatter and Distill and the year was a year of Giving Up Control. The words were a good match for what I experienced, but it felt a bit removed from digging in.

Moving Ahead: My Word for 2015 is Heart.  Yes, I am the one who hates heart shapes, I have no talismans shaped as hearts (to my view), I don’t use them in my artwork. So why choose that word? Because I am working on a book, and I have slowly discovered that I need to write it with Heart, because that will make it come alive, while writing it with brain will just make it accurate. Because passing ideas through my heart will show me what my work really is, not what I think it should be. In a world where I give up control, when I do not compete, or become attached to winning, Heart will help me find balance at the point where I so often fail–going with what is soul-satifying instead of career building. Because soul-satifying will attract the participants who build career. And it’s time for the Tribe. You know, the one you are part of on this blog.

Quinn McDonald is a writer who keeps a Commonplace Journal.

Book Giveaway: Just My Typo

No, the title is not a typo, the book title is Just My Typo, a compilation of mistakes, goofs, slips and typos by Drummond Moir.

9780385346610I talk a lot about making mistakes, so it seems like a good time to give away a book full of them, from misheard instructions to fat-fingered keystrokes. Twelve chapters that will make you grin, cringe, and push the comma over just a little.

From page 42: “In 1924 Mr. Rockwell compiled the genial orgy of the Rockwell family.”

The chapters include:

  • To be or To Be: typos in Literature
  • The Fourth Mistake: typos in the media
  • The Word Stage: typos of historical and political significance
  • The Lingua Franca: typos abroad
  • Food for Thought: grastronomic typos
  • The Cost of a Comma: the most expenxive typos
  • Immaculate Contraption: kids’ typos

It’s a short book, 168 pages of typos and an excellent index so you can find your article-1290338-0A3CD984000005DC-923_634x402favorites again.

From page 68: “Chocolate potato cake: 6 oz. margarine, 1 oz. cocoa, 4 oz. mashed potato, 5 oz. self-raising flour, 433 eggs, size 3.”

There are typo photos and collected typos and favorites of editors and writers.

How to win the book: Leave a comment, letting me know why this is the book for you. Winner will be announced on this coming Friday, October 10 on the blog. Be sure to check back in to see if you won!

–Quinn McDonald loves typos unless she makes them.

Mixed and Stitched: A Giveaway

Time for a giveaway! This time it is Jen Osborn’s wonderful book, Mixed and Stitched: Fabric Inspiration and How-to’s for the Mixed Media Artist.

mixed___stitched1You have to love a book that starts with a whole chapter on forgetting the rules. It starts with tips for the beginner on setting up your space, fabric, stove-top dying, and using bleach to remove color (but not all the way) from fabric.

Information on stitching is covered in the next section–from sewing machine to sketching with stitches to embroidery and faux felting.

If you aren’t excited by now, consider the projects done by painting on fabric–an inspiration board, a sketchbook, bunting, trinket box, and jelly picnic blanket. There are a lot more projects, too.

It’s published by North Light (who is the publisher of two of my books, too), so

"Out and About Purse"  © Jen Osborn

“Out and About Purse” © Jen Osborn

there are plenty of how-to photographs, tips, templates and an inspiration gallery.

Whether you love machine stitching or hand stitching, embroidery or just love fabric, this is a wonderful book to keep you busy and inspired.

Leave a comment if you want to win the book. I’ll choose a winner and announce it on Saturday, July 5th. Check in then to see if you’ve won!

Note: I purchased the book and an giving it away to make someone happy.

-Quinn McDonald can’t sew, but loves playing with fabric.