Tips, Quotes, Ideas

aleph1On this morning’s walk, I photographed some “alien alphabets” –marks on the street left by the utility company. The name needs to change. In Arizona, “alien” is not a little green humanoid from outer space, it’s a slur for people not born here. On the same walk, I added other alphabet figures  based on shapes–gates, grates, tree limbs. No new name yet, but a lot of exploration ahead.

You probably have a file of quotes someplace on your computer. Me, too. I got a aleph2gift of a bunch of quotes from Traci Paxton Johnson, and added to it. Today, I noticed I had 27 pages of quotes. Printing them out (back and front of the pag, of course) and storing them in the studio for future use (I have that alphabet to try out) made sense. So did sharing some of the quotes that slid by on the screen on the way to the printer:

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” –Japanese proverb

“Fear is the natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” —Pema Chodron

“If you think you are too small to have an impact, try going to sleep with a mosquito in the room.” —14th Dalai Lama

aleph3“In the end, we remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” —Martin Luther King

“Patience is not about how long you can wait, but how well you behav while you’re waiting.” —Buddhist Bootcamp

Tip: If you live in a hot climate and have sliding doors, don’t grease them with oil. The heat degrades it and makes it stickier. And it collects cat hair.  Instead, rub the runners with plain candle wax. Works wonders.

Tip: Tired of drinking water all day long? Gather up some stray tea bags, brew them and make a blended ice tea. Choose a mix of fruit flavors and green tea–rose hips, hibiscus, mango, blackberry, and green tea. A great refreshing drink. No calories, lots of flavor, lots of antioxidants.

Tip: Have blank pages at the end of your journal? Fill them with an index–using page numbers or dated pages, so you can flip to the back and know what’s in each journal. Or use the back pages to test colors of new inks, paints, or pencils.

–Quinn McDonald is switching to summer hours, not because she likes getting up at 4:30 a.m., but because the sun rises early and so do the cats.




Journal Page: Inventing an Alphabet

OK, I’m a writer, so I like different alphabets and codes. They also make great additions to a journal page. A new alphabet, a code–it’s a clever journaling piece that adds an easy design element through writing.

Could be someone cheering.

This morning on my walk, I saw interesting writing on the street. My mind went to an interesting story line–what if visitors from another planet came down and took notes on the street on what they saw and learned? What I saw on the street would be a kind of alien journal, written in code. That idea appealed to me, and I took some photos of the “writing.”

Looks like it could be a back-to-back letter.

That idea led to another one: why just use the regular alphabet in your journal? Why not add some new ones? New letter shapes, new designs are all around you. You can use alchemy symbols,  the Greek alphabet, numerical symbols.

A really interesting one is the Mormon Deseret alphabet (below). When you use shapes from an alphabet, you can invent what they mean to you–what the letter shapes are going to mean in your world. You can translate interesting letters into whole words if you like.


My favorite of the street was the one below–this is definitely the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything:

I made a journal page with a new alphabet. First I collaged various shades of white and cream on the page, then I used a brush and wrote quickly, without hesitation, inventing as I went along. And here is what the journal page looks like with a new alphabet:


And if you want to check out a few more different alphabets, this page should get you started.

Quinn McDonald is a writer, and artist who makes things up as she goes along.