Usborne and Kane Miller books are the most exciting, engaging, and educational books on the market today. They are high quality, innovative, lavishly-illustrated and best of all they are the books kids love to read. Choose from almost 2000 bright colorful and fun titles covering a wide variety of subjects.
30 years ago Peter Usborne pioneered a new generation of books that prove that it is possible to create books that compete with the vast media that attracts children today. From activity books, to neat fiction series, to internet-linked science and history encyclopedias, Usborne does books better.
Kane Miller books come from all over the world to bring a different feel, culture, or just a silly story that kids everywhere can enjoy. Fantastic fiction series make Kane Miller a wonderful choice for the readers in your life.
Check out our New titles or shop by category, or start with our great collections to build a wonderful library of books for your family!
How Did I Find Usborne?
So today I wanted to take a little time to write about Usborne Books! I was invited to an Usborne Online FB party by one of my local friends. And I thought, book, great, I love books. I was really curious to know more about this Independent Consultant Company that was a bout children’s books. I was very familiar with the Independent Consultant set up. Basically you order a kit, and then you sell stuff for a company. And for a long time I thought what a neat way to ear some extra money and have a bit of a part time, to sell on comission. But I never signed up for anything like that beacuase I didn’t believe in the products. Sure they were fun and cool and great, but I wasn’t in love with them. And I can’t imagine selling something to others that I wasn’t toally in love with and wasnted to buy for myself and my home on a regular consistent basis.
So I went to this FB party and I was immdiately hooked. This is a publisher who’s books I already owned. I HAD Usborne books and I didn’t even know it. the sheer variety pf books they offer is mind blowing. And as a publisher, of course there are new books coming out every year. So right off the bat, I knew that this was something that I could enjoy, my daughters can enjoy, and I know most of my friends are always looking for fun new children’s books and they will enjoy these as well.
So I signed up on a whim pretty much immidiately to become a consultant. And I set up a couple of online parties to get started, but what I was really looking forward to was having my kit, and planning some in person presentations and parties and just having an excuse to get together with other adults and do some shopping. I’ve always found it fun to show with friends at these Consultant Parties.
I got the “Big” Kit which is only $125 (I honestly forget if it was $119 or $129 when I got it?). I can tell you, that I ordered it mostly just toge a stash of books 😛 I figured I wanted to order so many from the party that it would be worth it to just sign up and get a bunch of books. There is no requierement to host parties, no need to sell an X amount of books. You just buy the kit, that’s it. But who would I want to stop there?
I’m sure some people really want to know what’s IN the kit, specially if they are considering becoming a consultant. So I recently made a Periscope Video about all the items I got with the kit. You can check out that video bellow!
This is the kit that I will be bringin with me on the parties to give people a tates for Usborne and the quality and variety of their products.
Here is a photo of my Kit Layed out.
If you are interested in the books, before you just go shopping online I would like to invite you to host a party. Why? Because when you hhost a party, you get rewards! And those rewards earn you FREE and HALF OFF books. So if you are ready to shop, definitely put on th breaks for just a moment and lets plan a party so that you can really get all the books on your wish list for the best deal posible.
Here is my first hostess’s stash of books. I can’t even tell you how amazing it was to add in those hostess rewards and see that bill shirnk and shrink and shrink. Her kids banked!
PS, That hostess happens to be an INCREDIBLE seamstress. Go check out her website if you think you need some handsewn love in your life.
Usborne and Doodling
And here is something that just sort of magically happened. Remember that Magic I have been walking about?
It turns out that my favorite Doodle Girl, Diane Bleck from the Doodle Institute, loves Usbornes and uses those books in her home a lot! She sometimes periscopes to draw with her Doodle Friends (me!). And I can tell you Little Lue LOVES to do this with Diane. We have since been grabbing Step-By-Step Drawing Book (which came with my kit) to draw different people and animals and practice some writing and story telling. This stuff is seriously prefect homeschooling material as well as pure fun doodling.
Diane and I have teamed up so that any time she uses her Usborne Books in her videos I follow up with links to the specific books she used. I really hope we can do some “planned in advanced” events so that people can HAVE the books in hand before the doodle session. I think that would be a blast!
Here is a recent video of Daine’s where we drew some mermaids and pirates together.
And here is a picture of my 4yo’s drawing she did following her video. I’m always so impressed at how great she does following along!
And THIS is the book we were drawing from.
My daughter then wanted to draw some more so we drew this Knight together!
A year ago today I was landing on the tiny island of Key West. I would be staying with my wonderful dear friend, Kelly, and Little Lue would be reunited with her friend Miss O. My little Wild Child would be seeing Key West for the first time. It was to be a good trip.
But I was so home sick for Key West when we visited that every moment was painful. I wanted to stay, and never leave. I took photos, but I didn’t even look them over when I came home. I couldn’t. It hurt too much. So the photos just kind of floated around in my computer… Every now and then I would pull them up and look through them…
I really miss Key West. It was where my first daughter was born. It was where I made some wonderful friends and created my first Mommy Tribe. It was where I learned photography and started this blog. Camera Latte used to be filled with photos of cute kids running around in the sand. It was my favorite sight, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
I now blog about pretty much anything running thought my head instead of focusing on family photos… but today, as the “Memories” on my FB Feed started to pop up, I couldn’t help but open up that file and run some of those memories thought my head. It was such a wonderfully fun vacation. So here they are… The photos that I had buried deep in my heart for safe keeping. I wish I had capture every second of the visit, but the camera was, in fact, not glued to my face. Here’s what I do have.
So what’s the first thing we do? Hit the park of course.
Walk down Duval St and get a snack.
Wave at our friends from Key West Pottery who had just moved into their new location.
The next morning we have breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants. I had a list of must go places, unfortunately we never made it in to a couple. Too much delicious food on that rock.
We then walked around and visited our old house… We didn’t go all the way in, but we waved.
Off to the butterfly museum!
And the Accuarioum
Lots of friendly birds there…
The beach of course.
Another day we took a ride on the Conch Train. It takes you on a tour of Key West so I took advantage to get photos of all my favorite spots.
Can you spot anything?
More park time.
We ate a ton of ice cream here…
Ahhh… I can almost feel the warmth…
Thanks for the memories, you fantastic island, you. Miss you terribly. Any will always have plans to return and visit with the wonderful friends we’ve made there.
However, you can only purchase Neuland from their website. My husband and I are avid Amazon shoppers, and ok this is kind of ridiculous, but it’s quite the disappointment when I can’t just add everything on my personal wish list to a single shopping cart…. on Amazon.
So as per usual, husband had purchased me some stuff on good old Amazon and had added some Staedtler pens to the cart for me. I was pretty excited about new pens, regardless of brand but we were surprised to see that these pens looks identical to the Neuland pens. We figured that we are likely dealing with the same makers and just 2 diff brands. The pends are pretty much identical.
8.90 euro + shipping from Neuland.de
10.57 euro + Free Shipping with Amazon Prime
Can you see why Staedler was so tempting?
For a moment there I thought I might start replacing my Neulands for Staedler since I could hardly tell the pens apart. But I guess I was mistaken!
Today I was unpleasantly surprised by not one, but 2 defective Staedler pens that almost ruined a logo I was working on.I would now argue that the Neuland pens are higher quality. As I reached for a 0.3 Fineliner Staedler Pen (the equivalent to the Sketch One Neuland series) I found the tips of the pens to be hardly a solid round tip and instead almost brush like. The ink splattered a bit as I used the pen totally screwing up as I was making a really fine line… I switched to a 0.2 from the same set thinking perhaps my daughters had gotten their hands on the pen and ruined the tip, but once again, the tip was messed up.
Both Made in Germany with Identical Packaging
Identical pen casing
Staedtler Left. Neuland Right.
Hard to tell, but the Neuland pen is perfectly round and solid. Staedtler is pointy with tiny brissels sticking out almost like a brush tip, which is not the way they are meant to be.
You can almost see how the ink flares out on the Staedtler marks where the Neuland marks are more defined.
Extremely sight difference and poorly captured on my phoneB but I can tell.
I looked through the entire set and found that the finer tips (0.3mm and below) all seemed to have the same issue for the Staedtler Fineliner pens. When I pulled out a Neuland Sketch One pens to compare, I could see that the tips are much more defined with no loose ends/hairs making for a “brush” like end.
Now, wether or not I simply got a bad batch of the Staedtler pens or they simply have lower quality tips for the pens I can’t really say as this is simply ONE experience. But I certainly noticed the issue immediately and made for a very frustrating doodling session.
Needless to say I will continue to order directly from Neuland and just make sure I pack in a few items into my orders to save a bit on shipping. 😛
Hope this was helpful to anyone doing some Fine Tip Pen shopping and were, like me, wondering if these pens were, in fact, identical or not.
If you would like to learn more about Neuland, Diane Bleck has quite a few videos about Neuland Markers and why she prefers them over other options.
And if THAT interests you, definitely check out a recent blog post about the upcoming event, Doodle Summit 2016!
Very exciting stuff happening over at the Doodle Institute with Diane Bleck! She will be hosting the Doodle Summit 2016. A virtual conference for Doodlers everywhere who want to take doodling to the next level. Doodle Summit will feature various Special Guests as well as Doodle Institute Students.
Diane asked me to create a visual agenda for the event and I was very happy to do that for her. (The poor woman has had a house full of sick kids for well over week! Gahh!) I was happy to help out with some doodling
Highlights for the event Agenda include
Unlock Your Awesome
Creativity & Sustainability
Importance of Doodling
Building a Global Community
Building a Daily Practice
Doodle for Wellness
Learn to Doodle: Doodle to Learn
Mini Sessions by Doodle Institute Students
Meet the Presenters
This is a payed event, but your ticket is a party of TWO so I think that makes it really fun as you can share the experience with a friend. If you sing up before February 15th you get $20 off your ticket price so definitely sign up sooner rather than later. Because the ticket includes 2 people, it’s definitely a great idea to partner up and split the cost! Buy the Early Bird Special and that’s only $13.50 for a total of 8 hour long presentations as well as 12 Student Mini Sessions! (PS Yours Truly *might* be one of those presenters!) So definitely sign up!
I was playing around with the idea of creating a video collage of some of my Divine-Mothering images. So I started messing with Animoto and I’m on my laptop and the images I want to work with aren’t here, but I saw the option to use Instgram photos. So what the heck. I did a little smash up of all my drawings. It was fun and quick and easy. Only downside is that this is a trial version, so I’m stuck with the lame water marks… Oh well… Nothing is ever really “free”. But it was a fun way to give it a try IDK If I will end up using the upgraded version of Animoto, but it sure was easy to make this!
Honestly… You really can’t get any better than the recent Sarah Palin endorsement of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump… These guys, they’re just… They funny… If you missed the riveting speech by Palin, please be my guest.
Before this year started I was inspired by Diane Bleck to create a Vision Board. It felt like a really powerful exercise and I really enjoyed creating it despite not really knowing if anything would come of it. It just felt good, and it seemed like a nice positive thing to do.
This is my Vision Board, I talk about it a little on this Video.
Despite how playful this exercise was, it’s been quite strange how those Positive Intensions have really started to manifest. You know that thing those people talk about? How you can mold the Universe with your mind and how you can bring things into your life by simply asking the Universe for what you want? (If this is new to you, check out this talk by Jim Carrey, I love him and I love this. Beautiful words here.) Well… The Universe is vast, and mysterious, and full of magic… I believe it. And the more I give into that thought, the more I accept the mystery and magic… Well, I’m starting to see it everywhere. This week, I felt it. The Universe molding, the manifestation, the Universe quietly winking at me, daring me to take what it so graciously put in front of me for me. Because I’m starting to see the Universe as a Mysterious Cosmic Mother. And how do mothers are, they give, give, give, give. It’s an endless gift giving, an endless love, an endless surrender. And not simply because mothers are selfless creatures, but because our children are part of us, they are us, living breathing outside of ourselves in a completely independent and unique way. Each and everyone connected by that line of mother and child, and the cycle continues when two meet and love together. It’s pretty mind blowing when you think about it really. Too deep? Ok let’s beck back to the Universe manifest thing (way less deep right? ha!) Well… The more I think about it, the more I’m realizing that… that is it! This is exactly what is starting to happen in my life. I am opening up to the possibility of the universe answering my call, and I’m starting to connect those dots, that bread crumb trail, and seeing the connections. After making My Vision Board, I saw many of the things starting to manifest immediately. But I also knew I had some form of control over the these things. I could see my creative mussel starting to flexing and exploding new venues. I could see my inner efforts to connecting with others. I was pursuing ways to grow and learn knew techniques. I started pursing different sources of knowledge spiritually and mentally. All of these things were on my board. And even as I pulled these things towards me, I was starting to feel the universe responding, I could feel the response, the welcoming arms giving freely of what was being asked. But there was one element that I left open to suggestion. My “surprise” if you will. And that was my little compass symbol, which I drew to symbolize adventure… Something “new” something “unexpected” and making myself open to such changes, challenges, and discoveries. Guess who came knocking to my door and calling me to a new adventure?
You see, to most people, yoga is just a bunch of pretzel like poses not accessible to the general populous. I would challenge those people to go to a yoga class. Yoga is so much more than the poses (Asanas) it is a way a of life. It is not a religion, it’s a philosophy, a way to view the world, to understand the world, a way of living. My practice never really left me, I was simply not focusing on the physical and instead subconsiously focusing on the Yamas and Niyamas like self-education (Swadhyaya) and devotion (Ishwara-Pranidhana). And while I lamented my lack of sun salutations in the mornings or evenings, the knowledge of the Sutras was cementing itself in my heart. (I love this book and recommended it to anyone interested in Yoga. It’s pretty magical.)
And it was no surprise to me that my heart would jump with joy when one morning this past week I woke up to find a post on FB regarding a new yoga class in a location less than 5 miles from my home, at the very time my lovely husband is regularly home. The first class was that very evening. Perfect.
As I excitedly rolled out my mat and took in the lovely music playing it was like time traveling back to my first yoga experiences at Gretchen’s beautiful studio in Key West. I could feel the joy and relaxation. I could feel my mind coming back to the now and putting away the worries of yesterday and tomorrow. I will be honest and say that I didn’t quite enjoy the class as much as I had hoped, but as I sat there on my mat, one thought suddenly came back to me.
“Yoga Teacher Training”
This is something I had considered pursuing a little over a year ago, but the timing was simply off and I had put that thought away. I had thought, maybe some other time, but not now.
And as I walked out the door I made it up in my head that I would ask if there was any local training happening this year… I stepped out that door and I didn’t have to ask. Because as I walked out, there was a large poster for a Yoga Teacher Training, happening that month, in less than 2 weeks, within a 30 minute drive of my home. As I stared at this poster I started to feel it, the magic. I felt the pricking in the back of the neck, the energy pulling me towards this idea. It should so happen that the director of the studio was there that evening (not a usual occurrence I’m told). She was an older woman, very gentle but obviously an experienced yogi. And I asked her about the training, and you know what she said to me?
Maybe this is the reason why you came tonight? Maybe it was so you could find out about this training?
And she smiled warmly and wished my a lovely evening.
I can’t explain the type of excitement I felt as I drove home. It was as if I had just shaken hands with the universe and made a deal. Because this was it. This was exactly it. A moment where you look at an opportunity and you feel like it’s meant for you. But what do we do when we see these things? Sometimes we ignore them. Sometimes we shake our heads and say “No, I can’t.” We listen to our self-doubts and fears and we give in. But not tonight. Because like every good relationship, there has to be a give and take. If you are going to ask for something from the Universe, you better be ready to pick it up when it is handed to you.
Let me explain. You can’t just ask for an iPad for Christmas and then when you get it at your birthday several months past Christmas say “Oh sorry, wrong time, never mind.” and expect more gifts to be offered up over and over again. That’s not how gift giving works. There has to be gratitude, and gracefulness, and acceptance of what is provided when it’s provided.
So here it was, the Universe saying “Hey! Remember when you were looking for Yoga Training and you were so frustrated because you were pregnant and it didn’t work with your schedule, and you couldn’t figure out how to make it happen? Well I remembered! And you wanted adventure this year right? Tada!!!”
What was I supposed to do? Say no thanks?
“Oh, I’m too scared today.” Or “I don’t know, what if I don’t like it?” Or “But I’m too busy right now!” Or “I’m not sure it’s the right time.”
Are you kidding me?! YOU WERE JUST THINKING ABOUT YOGA TRAINING 5 MINUTES AGO!
Come on guys, you can’t be any more obvious here.
So I shook hands with the Universe. I see You and You see Me. Thank you for acknowledging my thoughts and responding. Your response is not waisted, not tonight.
So I drove home and excitedly announced my discovery of the yoga training to my husband. Who seemed quite pleased with the idea of having a yogi in the family.
Two weeks later, here I am! Yogafit Trainee, finished with my Level 1 & 2 and looking forward to the next upcoming trainings in May and already visualizing finishing my RYT-200 within the coming year or so. I can do this!
So cheers to this new adventure. I am extremely excited to start teaching and equally terrified. Looking forward to putting all this new knowledge to work and starting something incredibly different and fresh in my life.
I am even MORE excited to have found so much magic in this year already. Seriously, I get chills just thinking about it. I felt it, guys. I felt that super strange, I can’t explain it, but this is where I am meant to be feeling. And that’s pretty damn cool.
To celebrate I am sharing with you a little behind the scenes look at one of the simpler processes of how I turned one of my sketches into digital art.
Once the design is digital, the skys the limit! Customize your website, make custom items for your shop, print out coloring pages, create post acres, posters, t-shirts. It’s totally infinite, use your imagination!
Hope you Enjoy.
Hilarious conversation to custom T-Shirt Line
After posting a few of my breastfeeding cartoons (here & here) a good friend and colleague, Eva from Eva Creel Photography, reached to me wondering if I would like collaborate with her on making a funny breastfeeding awareness shirt.
“So I was thinking about boobs.
I got boobies on my mind and damn right my milkshake is better than yours. So MILKSHAKES.
Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate…” – Eva
Yes… That is how it all started. I couldn’t stop laughing at the idea of mommy milkshakes.
It quickly expanded to milk boxes, cartons, and gallons. I love the idea so much I immediately started doodling some milk containers, giggling along the way. Oh how fantastic this would be.
Because let’s face it. As breastfeeding moms there’s no way of going around it. We feel like cows. Like dairy cows. Some of us even pump on a daily basis, only cementing that idea even more. We sit here, with babies and pumps at our breasts… being milked.
But you know what? It’s amazing. Human milk is totally incredible and I am thankful every day I am fortunate enough to be able to provide this gift to my children (I know many women who simply could not breastfeed despite their best intentions). The benefits, bonding, and comfort that breastfeeding brings will last a lifetime and I know that it is the right choice for my family. I am proud to be providing human milk for my human baby.
So with giggles in my chest, I drew chocolate milk, strawberry milk, and whole milk cartons and milkshakes.
After I was happy with my pencil sketches, I traced them with markers.
After that’s done, you move onto the digitalizing process. I will make life easy on ya and tell you that CamScanner is the best phone app in existence. This is the result! Pretty nifty huh?
With a little Photoshop magic, I use layers to strip off the background and add color. A little back and forth and we pick a catchy hashtag for our proposed clothe line and create our logo. Done.
The entire process I’m chatting back and forth with Eva about ideas, plans, and cracking jokes. We can’t stop from making it happen. It’s just too much fun.
After I send her the images, Eva puts together these amazing shirts. I love them. There is an element of naughtiness in the innocent illustrations. That inside joke we’ve all made… A hilarious shout out to all the nursing moms out there. It’s pure fun and with playful intentions. Designed for all the humorous badass breastfeeders we know.
Thanks, Eva, for reaching out to me for this fun project. It definitely tickled me to work on this and hope to continue collaborating with you and others bringing ideas and designs to life. What fun!
More ways to Connect with Me
Do you want to Learn to Doodle?
I am a Doodle Institute Affiliate and I can tell you that Diane’s courses cover everything from the very basics, to the digitalizing process, and, most importantly in my humble opinion, doodling for the heart, mind and spirit. Do you want to learn to draw and use those drawings in work, home and school? The go check her out!
Oh boy… It looks like the shaming and negative breastfeeding commentary is only just beginning this 2016. Does no one care about the crying, hungry, cranky infants who simply need a boob? Must we all suffer through the infernal screaming? Why can’t I nurse my child/ren in peace, whenever, however? Why? Is it really so difficult to avert your eyes and move along without wagging your toungue?
*deep frustrated sigh*
Read / watch the unfortunate comments by Wendy Williams towards Alyssa Milano here:
Even Milano’s attempts at explaining the biological purpose of breasts were lost on the daytime personality: “They’re more sexual than a feeding thing,” Williams said. “I’m a mom also, but breastfeeding is only a particular amount of time. The rest of your life, your breasts are sexual things . . . They’re fun bags!”
Enjoy my Cartoon Reply
Did you miss my previous breastfeeding commentary cartoon? This one is for NH Representative Josh Moore, read the blog post and get the coloring page HERE.
There’s this weird thing called women’s intuition.
In my experience, women’s intuition makes you… curious… stubborn… unreasonable… but it leads you to magic. I’m talking about real magic. Encountering things that can’t be explained or reasoned. Magical wonderful things that bring joy and mystery into your life. I’m talking about following your inner gut, falling down a rabbit hole, and emerging into some land of magical fairy unicorns and talking flowers. Because that’s what happens when you’re tuned into your inner voice. That’s what happens when you hear it loud and clear and without a beat you march straight ahead right where you are being lead. That’s what happens when you completely ignore doubt, and reason, and logic, and you reply to your fears “My voice is telling me to go this way, my heart is leading me, and I am following.”
The more you listen, the easier it becomes to follow this voice. The more you let yourself go into the realm of your inner curiosities the greater the discoveries. The more obvious the benefits and the bigger the magic.
I can only imagine what it must have been like for women who followed their voices and they were called mad, they were made witches, and their magic… called witchcraft. Women have been taught that they are overly emotional. That they are irrational. Women are told they are too sensitive. We feel too deeply. But that is because we are connected to this earth in different ways. In tune with a certain magic that comes and flows like the cycle of the moon, like the rhythm of the oceans. We are the instrument of the endless cycle of birth, death and regeneration. Our energy swirls high and low with the dance of the cosmos. Our very bodies mirroring these earthly cycles with our moon blood, our pregnancies, our wombs. Our wombs the very mirror image of the cosmic womb of the universe which we inhabit. Many myths talk about people coming forth to existence from deep caves in the earth, I can’t think of a better metaphor for our earthly womb than that of the incredible caverns scattered across this Earth, our Mother Nature.
Women are naturally supernatural beings. Our bodies often defy logic and reason. Our physical and emotional limits are pushed far beyond our comprehension. Lean into that magic. Let that inner voice flourish and guide you. Let that voice call out to you and lead you down your unique path.
Today I took a quick moment to make a short video review of CreateSpace.
While I was researching my options for self publishing I was really hoping to make a hard cover book with color pages so I was strongly considering IngramSpark, but the ease and affordability of CreateSpace won me over and I ended up going through them.
So, if I wanted to make a Hard Cover Children’s Book…
Why did I choose CreateSpace, which only offers Paperbacks?
This was my first attempt at creating a book. I wasn’t sure how “successful” this new venture would be. I had no idea how much interest I could generate or how many sales (if any) this book would have. So I was really looking for a way to “try it” without too much heart ache.
CreateSpace had no fees. Zero. Zip. Nada. I only payed for my proof copy and any other copies wanted to have on hand. That’s it. IngramSpark has some modest sign up fees, and you also have to pay an additional fee for uploading “fixed” documents. I ended up uploading 3 different documents to CreateSpace because of small errors and changes. That would have made for a sad paypal account over here.
The cost of production / royalties were very comparable and reasonable. I did a bunch of reading on this at the time, but that was about 3 months ago and I can hardly remember the details. I feel like IngramSpark was somehow better here, but I also had a bit of an upfront cost, and, like I said, I had no idea what kind of revenue this would generate and if I was going to make anything back.
Hardcovers, as glamorous as they are, come with a bigger price tag. Meaning the end product would be more expensive and possibly making it an even harder sale to my potential readers.
Getting that Proof Copy from CreateSpace was pretty damn wonderful. I couldn’t really find any faults, the book looked great, everything was exactly as I envisioned, I had done it all myself. It was totally perfect even if it wasn’t “perfect”.
As for the COLOR PAGES.
I found a lot of talk about people self publishing novels and what not, but very little information regarding children’s books and color pages. Which was deeply frustrating since that’s what I was making. I repeatedly read about IngramSparks having higher quality especially for color pages. But because of all the reasons stated above, I decided to give CreateSpace a try and see how I felt. If all else, I could pull the book and not hit “publish” if I decided the quality was bad.
I was pleasantly surprised. The photos in the book really look lovely. The pages are thick enough that you don’t see anything from the other side of the page. Sure, it’s a flat page, no glossy pages or anything fancy like that, but as long as my images looked good good I would be happy and they did look pretty good. My only complaint is that I find the cover to be a tad grainy, and I’m not 100% sure if it was a bad file or just less than stellar printer. But it certainly wasn’t a deal breaker!
So If you would like to see my video where I show the inside of my book and talk about some of the things I mentioned here, feel free to watch at the bottom of the post.
I hope this was helpful to someone thinking about using CreateSpace.
Step Away from the Nursing Mothers. They have fangs, razor sharp claws, they’re hormonal, they’re sleep deprived, they’re some serious momma bears… and…
Mothers DO NOT want to be groped by sick pigs who’s brains shut off at the sight of breasts. I know it’s difficult to understand that men don’t in fact have exclusive rights to women’s breasts. They are pretty damn fabulous, I personally own a pair and can see why everyone seriously needs some milk producing sexy gold mines. (I’d really appreciate it if my husband could nurse the baby every now and then… ) But sorry, no. They happen to be attached to perfectly independent human beings who own their own bodies.
So let it be clear that NO ONE has the right to harass, embarrass, or physically violate the body and personal space of any woman feeding their infant.
A Voting Nursing Mom
PS. I like make Coloring Pages… If anyone would like to mail Representative Moore, or any other ANTI-Women’s Right To Feed In Public Idiot a lovely picture, you can download a version of this cartoon HERE. Or just color to get your “Is this really 2016?!” frustration out. Enjoy.
Today I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the people who have inspired me this past year to take up an old and quite neglected hobby of mine, drawing. Including Diane Bleck, and her incredible Doodle Institute.
A Girl Who Loved to Draw
You see, I’ve always drawn, and painted. It was my first creative outlet. It was my first talent. The thing I knew growing up that I could do, and could do it well.
But as those middle school years press into childhood and you become riddled with insecurities, I quickly realized I was not the “best” at drawing. I learned that others drew quite well too. Others were in fancy art classes developing their skills. Others where involved in local programs, their art displayed. So I quietly stopped drawing, I settled into the myth most of us fall into. If you aren’t the best at it, you might as well stop. So I stopped.
A Skill That Never Left
It wasn’t until a fateful encounter with art class during my high school years that I once again realized I did posses a talent for art. I would not only create paintings that were well liked and admired, I also created them quickly and with ease. I would finish projects that were intended to take up weeks in a few dedicated hours. But again, I certainly didn’t think I was the “best” artist, nor particularly talented, but it was certainly a “thing” for me.
Somewhere around this time I met the man that would later become my husband. I even gifted him a giant canvas of ourselves. And I believe that it was at that moment that he learned something about myself that maybe have been obvious to everyone else but me, I was an artist. I made art. If you leave me be, to toil alone, I make art. I will always make art.
Too Busy To Doodle
But as I got immerse in my college education, in finding a “career”, in nourishing my new marriage, in adjusting to a military lifestyle, in becoming a mother. Well, it’s easy to see how drawing took a bit of a back seat. But I never stopped creating. I learned to sew and quilt and make dresses. I learned photography and shot weddings and families. I learned to blog and started writing. And for a long time this is what I did. I kept joyfully busy.
A Little Black Cloud And A Journal
And then… one day… feeling exhausted from adjusting to being a new mother of 2 living in a country a million miles from family and support, I stopped. A dark little cloud made it’s way into my home and it made rain. Lots and lots of rain. I didn’t want to do anything. Feeding and clothing my children was about the most I could get done. I stopped making. I stopped sewing. I stopped blogging. I stopped shooting. I stopped.
It took a long time to realize what was happening, what I was becoming. But as 2015 rolled into existence I tried my hardest to shake off that negative energy and start again. the first thing I did was pick up that camera again and start taking photos of my family, my loved ones. The second thing I did was journal. Journal. Journal. Journal. I wrote every single bad feeling into a lovely leather journal. And then one day, I didn’t have anymore bad feelings, I didn’t need my journal any longer. Instead ideas started to flow and I needed my journal to keep track of them all. My journal was no longer a blood bath, it was a garden of ideas.
I was once again blogging, and shooting, and writing funny pieces. I even began to work on a project far beyond my imagination, Divine-Mothering.com. I even wrote and published a book!
Opening Up My Heart Channel
And then, as the energy from my photography project started to slow from the downpour, out of the blue, my mother gifted me something odd. Oh, how mothers know.
My mom excitedly told me about this woman she had found on Periscope called Diane Bleck. She told me how she had started drawing with her and how much fun she was having. She told me of the cool markers and books Diane used and promoted. And when my mom visited me, she brought me new pens and markers and doodling books.
At first I thought, “What am I supposed to do with all this?”
But for whatever reason, curiosity got the better of me. So I took those markers and I started to draw. I looked up Diane and I wondered what it was that my mother loved so much about her. It didn’t take long for me to see the enchantment.
Diane wasn’t just teaching people how to Doodle, she was connecting people with their creative energy. She was using her Doodle Institute to promote a love for creativity and drawing and coloring for EVERYONE. It’s not about being the most talented artist, or the most skilled, it is about, in her own words, “opening the heart channel” and developing a new skill that can help you with your home, work and school by using the power of visual learning. Again, in her own words, “Practice makes PROGRESS not perfect.”
And feeling inspired I followed her, I drew with her, and in that process I stumbled upon my old love for drawing. Something I had not explored in years. And yet here I was, filling notebooks with drawings and designs and sharing my work with friends and family. Soon I realized that my creative energy was spilling over to my friends. Just as Diane’s enthusiasm had gotten me to put pen to paper, so did mine infect my friends. Among all the excitement, 3 Girls Doodle was created. My website got a complete new make over. I am now dedicating myself to some old hidden talents that had been put away for far too long. And the most incredible part? The connections I’m making. Somehow this energy is spilling over all across my life. Creative collaborations of all kinds are coming into my life and I am so incredibly pleased and excited to see where it all leads to.
Do You Want to Open Your Heart Channel, Too?
Happening RIGHT NOW to Help You Unlock YOUR Creativity
I believe so much in Diane’s Message that I became one of her Affiliates. I am an official promoter of the Doodle Institute and will I start to offer local Doodle 101 Lessons with her supporting materials. Please go check out all the AMAZING free material she provides and consider taking her course (which am a part of) to start learning a new, transformative skill.
Disclosure: As an affiliate I do get incentives to promote the Doodle Institute, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out these student testimonials that helped me decide if the Doodle Institute was right for me!
2016 looks to be equally promising… Our time in Germany is almost up and we will soon be heading for new adventures in goodness knows where! Looking forward to starting fresh again, even if there’s always a bitter sweetness to moving your life. As always… Once you start feeling at home somewhere, it’s time to go again… Oh military life, how ironic you are.
So what’s coming up for 2016? A lot. I will be doing…
New Years Resolutions Include #3030WriterChallenge 30 minutes of writing for 30 days, only to renew the commitment at the end of the 30 days. And this one I’m a little scared of but equally excited about #365Poems write a poem or draw a visual poem every day of the year. And most fun of all #3GirlsDoodle a collaborative project with two dear friends, more info HERE.
New Years resolutions always start off with a lot of energy but it can often tapper off after a few weeks, months, or when life gets too complicated. I know, because I’ve had this happen many times. But I see this as me BLESSING the year with positive INTENTIONS. Attempting my goals is better than not trying. Reaching for my goals is better than not having any goals. Wanting to make a change is the first step to change.
And so here I am. Attempting, reaching, and wanting to see a few small, totally plausible, totally reasonable, highly desired changes for the coming year.
What intentions are you blessing your new year with?
Most introverts feel pressure to become extroverts, or more “social”. But I’m here to tell you, from an extrovert’s perspective, that you got it all wrong.
You see once you start to circulating your 30th birthday, it seems like your social life will come to an end as you know it. Somehow between work and family life people just stop being social. No one seems to have time for casual get togethers, or parties, or even grabbing coffee. So unless you happen to have fantastic coworkers or your kid is friends with your bff, you better get ready to start your new life as an introvert.
I myself thrive around people, I like to talk, I like to make jokes, I like to be outside of my house as long as possible, I don’t go to movies by myself, ever, and ending up at a restaurant alone was possibly the lowest form of punishment and humiliation.
But things have changed. I now have two children and a few moves under my belt, thanks to the military lifestyle. Suddenly, the effort it takes to find, keep, and entertain new friends seems to be as fun as extracting molars from my mouth. Which I refuse to do, by the way. So I’ve decided that from now on I shall be an introvert.
So here are my 5 Reasons why being a mom turned me into an Introvert
1-Technology. This is a controversial topic, tech shaming is all the rage now. People are being put down for their screen time, the endless hours spent on FB, and it’s just bad. Or is it?
You know what? I don’t have to leave my house to see my best friends. And even if I did leave my house, I wouldn’t see them! They all live a million miles away. So guess what? I’m having social hour, in my kitchen, on my phone, while the kids destroy the house, and yes, I’m laughing out loud standing there physically alone be cause my friends are totally funny, even in chat version.
2-The parents at the dance class, educational groups, play dates, sports teams, etc. are too tired to socialize. Seriously, have you had a coherent conversation with a mother of children under 4? It’s a hit or miss. They’re all lacking sleep, and severely cranky. They’re all on some mad juggling act of play times, chores and errands, and “don’t have time”. They’re all too worried about being judged, or too busy being judgmental to be open enough to have a real conversation. Even the moms you meet and sort of get along with are subject to these effects, making any small argument a great excuse for dropping the friendship because ain’t nobody got time for drama.
Social time at kids events seems to be some unicorn I can’t seem to find.
3-Having lunch, coffee, or ice cream with friends and kids is a special kind of hell. You remember how great it was to grab coffee with that friend when both your kids were non mobile? Cherish those memories. Now you both have crazy toddlers not suitable for civilized life, and the conveniently located “in between” cafe is not an option. So instead you get to decided who has to drive over 35 minutes to see each other. Got a screaming I-hate-car-seats child? Yeah, see you never.
Want to know what my best lunch date was recently? I went to a restaurant I don’t even like, because it has a kids play area. Older kid played, while younger was asleep. I quietly read a book while I nibbled on some overly salty food I didn’t cook. Heaven? Close enough.
4- When you have friends over it’s like having a hurricane in your house… Congratulations! You finally found the time, the schedules both worked, the star alined, and no one was sick, or had diaper blow outs, or missed naps. But beware, if house work felt overwhelming before, now it’s about to get better. And by better I mean so much worse. Before the friends show up, you are cleaning things here and there, not because you can’t be “real” with your friends, but rather because it really would be nice to have a a few inches of space on the table in case you need a snack, or maybe you’re friends don’t have dogs so you have to vacuum to spare them the reality of living in dog hair, or maybe you just haven’t cleaned the floors in over week (or month) and this is a good excuse as any to self motivate to do chores. And then of course there’s the toy collection. You know, where you hide the toys that can’t get lost, ruined, or damaged. You’re mad dashing through the house and shoving the chosen ones into the closet for safe keeping. Then, the play time. Oh boy. While mommy friend and I completely spaced out trying to have the first adult conversation either of us has had in over a week the kids take it upon themselves to pull out every single toy on the shelves, every single crafting material, every single book. They quietly get into as much mischief as possible which usually isn’t immediately obvious, those are surplices you find later. You laugh it off and shrug at your friend, “Kids! Don’t worry about it!” And you mean it, but dear god, how is it even humanly possible to make such a massive mess?! Guess who’s cleaning that up?
And while it was fun while it lasted, probably more fun than I will have till next time, boy was that exhausting… and on to more chores, cooking, bath time, etc. Oh and no, the kids are not tired out, like at all… Yikes!
5-It’s 5pm on a Friday night and there’s a Mom’s Night Out group getting margaritas. And I don’t want to go.
You know what? I want to spend the evening relaxing at home. I have no desire to force socialize with people I barely know. I’m tired, it’s been a long week and I just want to cuddle with my husband, have some wine, pop in a Disney movie and call it a job well done. Maybe I will even take a bath, alone, and it will be the best fun ever.
Perhaps the transformation is now complete? Introvert high five!