Sunday, January 30, 2011

Valentine's Day "Zines"

My friend Sandra introduced me to the "zine", a mini-magazine written and illustrated on one piece of paper, then folded to make a booklet.  She sent me two of her creations "Rosemary is Magic" a fairy story  (with me as the main character) and "A Sky of Blue and Gold and Cotton", poems about the weather. I loved the concept (and her works of art), and wondered if I could use the format to make individualized valentines for my grandkids.

The answer is YES!  They end up being a six page booklet with a front and back page.  SO guess what I did all weekend??

Here's the front of all of them, designed specially for each child.

Here's what pages one and two look like.

And pages five and six.

They are each made on one piece of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, divided into 8 sections.  I used clip art, valentines, and stickers.  I traced some of the pictures and colored them with colored pencils and crayons, cut and pasted others.  It was great fun!  I took over every inch of the office and made a  grand mess of the desk, but it was worth it.  I think they will enjoy their own personal Valentine message from Grandma and Grandpa.

The trick is to fold them carefully, cut the correct edge, and refold them to make a booklet.

The finished product looks  like this.

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Need help spelling?

I’m taking Ann’s Writing Essentials class and experienced an awakening when we completed the chapter on spelling. I’ve always thought of myself as a decent speller. Did well in school and the red squiggly line doesn’t appear that much when I’m pounding away at the computer. But the exercises during and at the end of the spelling lesson made me realize how much I needed this class, especially now that I'm editing my WIP.

Along with lots of rules, guidelines and helpful ways to remember how to spell the most troublesome words, she recommended one idea that I have already started to use: a TIP CARD. I jotted down the words I have trouble spelling on a 4 x 6 note card, have it sitting on my desk, and will continue to add to it. It’s easier than picking up my 5 pound dictionary every time I have a spelling question. Yes, I have spell checker, but it sometimes leads me astray, like it did with this guy.

Eye Halve a Spelling Chequer

I have a spelling checker.
It came with my pea sea.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in it's weigh.
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when I rime.

Sauce unknown

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Childhood memories

Do you remember when you were a kid and your only worry was what time your best friend could come out to play? Or how late you got to stay up? Or if your Mom was going to make you sit at the table until you ate all your peas?

At what age did we changed from carefree to careful? When did the boundaries of our safe neighborhoods shrink? The children of today have to make the transition from carefree to careful much earlier than the children of my era (the 1950’s). I love this picture because it reminds me of what fun it is to be carefree and full of laughter.

Think back to your childhood. What is one memory of you and a childhood friend that comes to mind where laughter was this spontaneous and contagious?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Maya Goes to the Dentist

I’m pissed, in case you can’t tell. See that bulge in my cheek? Well, it’s not a bird.

Impacted tooth is what I heard my Mom say. She shoved me inside the pink box and drove me to that torture place. She thinks I don’t remember what happens every time she takes me there.

I caused a bit of a ruckus, I’m happy to say. They thought they were going to stick me with that sharp thing. But they didn’t know who they were dealing with. Ha! I escaped and ran for the front door. Except it was closed and there was nowhere else to go but the bottom shelf of the bookcase. Darn. I was sooo close.

Blood – they wanted my blood! It was worse than any cat fight I’ve ever been in. Well, I haven’t really been in any cat fights, but I’m sure that’s what it would have been like. I gave them my best yowl, hiss, and even threw in a growl or two, but it did no good. They ganged up on me and Mom didn’t help me at all.

The lady said I needed dental surgery, whatever that is. At least I got to come home. Bella hasn’t given me much sympathy either, but she is staying close. We were both relaxing by the fire when Mom caught me unaware and squirted some yucky tasting stuff in my mouth. Antibiotics she says. “It will make you feel all better, Maya.” I’ll fool her. I’m staying under the bed for the rest of my life.

Except this morning I’m hungry, and there’s no food in my dish. Or water. What, now she’s going to starve me? Oh no, Dad’s in on it too. He held me while Mom put more of that yucky stuff in my mouth and then he put me in the pink box. Crap! I’m going back to that torture place, I just know it. Mom talked to me all the way there, telling me I would be just fine, but I wasn’t listening. I’m just too pissed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Natalie's story through Gabe's eyes

(This is a rewrite of To Lock or Not to Lock as seen through the eyes of Natalie's Guardian Angel, Gabe)

Things couldn’t get any busier tonight, Gabe thought rushing to steady Natalie as she slid on the ice and went careening towards the barberry bush outside her work place. He had almost missed her leaving.

They always gave him the young ones. They said it was because his reflexes were better than most of the other Guardian Angels. It was true, and he was proud of it.

In just the short time his mind had wandered, he saw that Natalie had gotten a glass of water and poured it on her frozen car door lock. When it released, he watched her open the door and get inside. He saw her wait for a few minutes for the heater to come on, then decide to go back inside the office. But when she pushed on the door to get out, it wouldn’t budge; it was frozen shut. “Good, she’s locked in and out of trouble for now,” he thought.

At that moment he heard Lucy yell, “Gabe, watch out for Jake!” He moved with lightening speed to steer the sled of the 10 year-old boy that was sliding out of control down the snowy unlit road behind his house. “Time to go inside for the night,” he suggested to the boy’s conscience. He left as he saw Jake pick up his sled and head for home.

When he got back to Natalie, she was leaving the parking lot with only a small circle of clear space to see out of on her windshield. “No, no, you were supposed to wait for the windshield to defrost before you started out,” he shouted. She cocked her head as if she heard something, but kept on going. “There’s no one left at the party; they’ve all gone home because of the icy weather.”  If she heard him, she didn’t react. The younger ones listen, he had learned, this one was 22.

Lucy shouted again, “It’s Sandra now.” He was glad Lucy had his back. The three people he was responsible for tonight were almost too much without his Assistant.

He got to twelve-year-old Sandra’s second story window just as she was climbing out to run away from home. Her backpack was bulging with all of her important possessions. She clutched her pillow pet monkey in her left arm and grabbed ahold of the gutter. Gabe caught Sandra as the gutter fell away from the house, and he slowly eased her to the ground.

“It’s not safe,” he whispered to her. “Go back inside and talk to her. She understands.” He watched as she wiped away her tears and walked through the front door into her mother’s arms.

He caught back up with Natalie and was impressed at how slowly and carefully she was driving. But as she made a left turn, her car door suddenly flew open and the car began sliding towards the embankment on the right. He knew there was a creek below.

Gabe took control of the wheel and steered the car back onto the road. Natalie was holding the door closed as best she could while gripping the steering wheel with the other hand. He could tell when she made the decision to head home instead of to the party.

Gabe wanted to make sure she got there without any further mishaps, so he followed her as she drove the rest of the way. When she turned the corner onto her street, he winked at the porch light causing it to gleam brighter. He noticed the silhouette of her mother standing at the front window watching for her.

He saw Natalie visibly relax, then try to stifle an uncontrollable giggle. Yes, she would have a good story to share. And he would add three more saves to his list of accomplishments tonight.