Category Archives: Mostly About Reading

Happy New Year!; news; word for the year

2019! 2019! 2019! 2019! 2019! 2019!

It’s hard to believe it is 2019 already, but that’s what my calendar says so it must be true, so …

                    HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!

I have a bunch of news to share with you.

About LIFE: Looking back, 2018 proved to be a more challenging year for me on a personal level. Sometimes you learn surprising and/or disappointing things about people. It can be quite impacting. Enough about that, except to say I’ve also learned more about myself, and that there is more to self-care than I realized. Although we are soon completing 8 years of daddy-care, I’m now giving myself time for new things, which I’ll tell you about. First I’ll mention that in November 2018 I passed a landmark birthday. It doesn’t even bother me; in fact, I’m rather happy about it. There really are some benefits to getting older.  🙂 My family had a surprise party for me, too, which was fun.

About HOME: We have a new kitchen and I love it! (did I tell you this before?) My husband completely renovated it from a tiny space to a very large and up-to-date one. I have an ocean theme happening in there and it brings me such peace. Did I say I love my new kitchen? From start to finish it took a year, but it wasn’t that bad living with my kitchen things stored in several rooms, and using a two burner hot plate, knowing what was coming. We still got along fine, despite a few enthusiastic discussions, and it has all come out better than expected.

About WRITING: You all know that writing was my main reason for this blog, well … writing and books, books, books. Because of … stuff in my life … stresses, depression, much tiredness, and so on, the joy of writing disappeared and writing became a burden to me. All that hoping and planning and effort had to be set aside; I did the minimal and stopped expecting more of myself than I could manage. The heaviness lifted which confirmed it was the right thing to do for now. I still am interested in writing and believe I will come back to it again as I always do. Can’t stay away. My blog suffered and I feel I’ve let you down, for which I apologize.

About ART: Since I have to be doing something creative, you might be wondering what I was led into now. In July, thanks to a set of situations that God put together so beautifully, I began PAINTING LESSONS!  Yes!  This is something I’ve been wanting to learn since I was 17, decades ago. It didn’t work out for me then, but the time is right for me now and I am loving it. My teacher is a very talented professional artist who is patient, easy to work with and fun to be around. That’s what works for me. 🙂  I started with private lessons, then joined others for two sets of classes spanning eight weeks, and now I am renting space in his studio and getting help when I need it – which is still very necessary. I’ve met other interesting painters, all women, and two in particular I paint with the most. They’re funny,  talented, and great to spend time with in the studio. Being the only one with no background experience in painting, I learn something every time I’m there to work on something, which is only one morning a week at this point, but I’ve completed two oil paintings that now are hanging in my house. If you are interested in seeing some of my teacher’s work: ARTCAN

About READING: If you happened to peek at my reading progress, which you can access from the menu at the top of the page, you’ll have seen that I did a huge amount of reading last year. My total?  1389!  I can hardly believe it myself! Most were pictures books, but I read several novels and also enjoyed audio books. Goodreads sets a reading challenge every year, so in 2018 I set mine at 500. Guess I beat that one with no problem! This year I may have set my personal goal too high – 1000 – but I’ll see what I can do. 

About EVENTS: The exciting news for 2019 is that another of our daughters is getting married to a great guy. They’ve set the date for April and are having their ceremony in Jamaica, following that small event a few weeks later with a big  celebration with family and friends in May. It’s going to be a busy spring!

About MY WORD FOR 2019: The past several years I’ve chosen a word for the year. Actually, I wait for it to be given to me, and this year it was immediately revealed. FLOURISH. That’s got an expansive feel to it, freeing and creative.

About GOALS: As you know, I don’t set new year resolutions, I set goals. I didn’t do very well with them last year, so for 2019 I simply want to improve in my painting skills, read lots, and gradually get back what I lost. 

Now it’s time to stop and let you do some sharing. What were the highs and lows of your 2018? Do you have goals for 2019? And do you have a word for the year? 

I hope to hear from you. ♥  Sending you love.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

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BOOKS quote

Today, to let you know I am still around and to keep in touch, I have a wonderful quote for you.

BOOKS are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

– Charles William Eliot (American educator, 1834-1926)

I can’t argue with that!  Any thoughts?

Thanks for reading, and Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Excellent Ed – by Stacy McAnulty

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Excellent Ed
Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Julia Sarcone-Roach
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Date: 2016
Genre: Picture book; preschool - 3
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99
My rating: Enjoyable story showing everyone is excellent 
at something

Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty is an enjoyable and funny read. But more than that, it is encouraging and hopeful.

The Ellis family had many talents. Each child excelled in something, but Ed, their dog, didn’t seem to excel in anything positive.

What the five children did Ed didn’t do in quite the same way. He was not allowed to eat at the table with the rest of the family, or sit on the couch, or use the inside bathroom. And he had to stay home when everyone else left in the van. He just couldn’t understand why. Julia Sarcone-Roach‘s fun illustrations reveal to the reader the reason … one hint – Ed could be quite destructive.

Ed wanted to be excellent too so he would be allowed to do what they did, only he always seemed to make a big troublesome mess of things. Each time he thought of something that maybe would earn him that privilege, one of the children excelled in his or her more acceptable way. Poor Ed began to think he wasn’t good enough to be part of the family! Then one day he was praised for being excellent at something without even trying! It was so easy he didn’t even have to change himself.

The subtle message in Stacy McAnulty‘s Excellent Ed is that we’re all good at something and we are okay just the way we are. It’s a wonderful story with a funny ending, and with great illustrations by Julia Sarcone-Roach.

You can find Excellent Edwritten by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

The Valentiny stories are ready for your vote

Hi, Everyone!

Sorry I haven’t posted in over a week. I’ve been swamped.

I’m writing now to let you know the Valentiny stories are ready for your vote – if you are interested in participating in that. It’s very easy.  Susanna Hill has posted the twelve she and her helpers feel are the best ones and she’s made it easy for voting. Just read the twelve little stories, and then select in the poll the one you like best. I’ve voted.  And, no, mine didn’t make the cut.

Thank you so very much for all the kind and encouraging comments about my story.

 

 

 

GO HERE TO VOTE.

I’m still plodding along – reading many books, mostly picture books (as you can see on my books I read this year page), and hoping that I’m learning as I go. I’m behind in the writing class I’m taking (no surprise) but I find that interruptions – frequent interruptions – set me back a lot. It’s frustrating.

So, that’s all for this time.

Have you written anything fun lately? or read a book I might be interested in?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

and blessings on your day.

Book Review: I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! – by Karen Beaumont

 

 

 

 

 

Book: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!
Author: Karen Beaumont
Illustrator: David Catrow
Publisher:  HMH Books for Young Readers
Date: April 1, 2005
Genre: Picture book; age 4-7; Gr Preschool - 3
Pages: 32
Price: $17.99, hardcover
My rating: An excellent book in every way!

This is one of the select few picture books I would not want to have missed – ever.

First of all, look at the cover illustration! That child is creating a blissful experience, totally immersed in his art. 🙂

On the inside of the jacket it says “To the tune of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More” … so I sang it merrily – albeit rather badly – to my dad. And he enjoyed it. Dear man.  :)

This story is hilarious! Karen Beaumont‘s words fit perfectly with the rhythm of the song, and David Catrow‘s illustrations? Oh. My. Gosh. Stunning. Full of expression and colour and fun and hilarity.

The little boy loves painting. The problem is, everything is his canvas. Everything. By the time he has painted the floor and the walls his mother enters the room. “WHAT?” Immediately the paints are put up onto a high closet shelf. Undeterred, he climbs a pile of teetering props – with his little dog nervously watching – and rescues his beloved paints.

This is where the story really kicks in. To the tune of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More”, our little artist begins painting himself, his dog, and everything he missed before. The way Karen Beaumont has each page spread and page turn planned out is so funny with the illustrations. It gives the reader the opportunity to guess what’s coming next and the clue is in the rhyme. Yes, this is a beautiful rhyming book! Right to the very last page there is humour and rhythm. It’s delightful.

Karen Beaumont has other picture books out, and a new one coming this year. You can find I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

About books and writing them

It’s the first day of February and I am happy to say that I am now a student of Susanna Leonard Hill’s picture book class called Making Picture Book Magic! Susanna teaches small personalized classes that run for a month each. I chose to sign up for February to follow immediately after Storystorm which was the whole month of January. 

Storystorm, run by Tara Lazar, was very inspirational, as usual, and yet it seemed a little different this year but I can’t say just how. All I know is that the ideas I got this time around seem to be improved over previous years in that there were a greater number of possibilities among them. I had more clear ideas for stories whereas in past years they were more vague with many as simply titles and character names. My total this year, after the month of brainstorming, is 41 ideas for stories.

So, back to Making Picture Book Magic … Susanna gave us a list of books she suggests we read if we can, so, of course, I made my requests at the library. I have a few of those books now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also had already been going book crazy – about which my librarians are very happy – and I have “a few” others out now. You can see for yourself.

 

 

They’re three views of the same box of 90 books, most of which are picture books. Another 60+ are on hold for me and will arrive as they’re available.

So, yes, you can guess I’ve been doing a lot of reading; over 100 books in January as recorded on my Books I read in 2018 page. I’ve immersed myself in picture books with the occasional chapter book or novel tossed into the mix. Maybe that’s why my Storystorming was improved this year.  hmm

My only regret is that my book reviews here on my blog have been lessened, and the books that are in my queue to review are still … in queue. I apologize to those authors waiting to see theirs highlighted here. I have yet to figure out how to make progress in my own writing while keeping up everything else, too. Even on Goodreads I write mostly short blurbs after reading a book, but that’s something.

Now I have to get back to my notes for the writing class.

Will you share with me what you have found works for you when you want to learn something? Do you take classes? Do you immerse yourself in trial and error? Do you shadow someone who has the experience? What do you do?

Happy February everyone!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

Plugging along, and quotes for readers and writers

I should have been twins. 

If I were twins I could divide between myself all the things I want less to do so that it takes half the time to do them. Then all I want to do and have the most interest and desire for can be enjoyed … giving me a better chance to feel accomplished in completing things – or getting better at them.

Or maybe not.

If I were twins I would most likely take on twice as much, get hopelessly overwhelmed with no recovery possible, and continue to not have enough of me to go around.

So, I am plugging along. Not getting nearly as much accomplished as I want to. Being way too tired too much of the time. And behind as usual. Almost hopelessly behind with little chance of catching up. That’s me, plugging along.

The good news is, I found some quotes to share with you today.

For the writers:

I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later i can build castles. – shannon hale

I like that quote. 🙂 

Now this one for readers:

ordinary people have big tvs. extraordinary people have big libraries. – Robin Sharma

I think I would have a fairly decent-sized library if I could shelve all of my books in one room. I’m aiming for a big library. One day I hope to be that organized. 🙂

And a final one for today:

Dinosaurs didn’t read. Now they’re extinct.

Keep reading, folks! 🙂

Anything you want to say about anything today?  What book(s) are you reading – or writing – now?  🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂