28 October 2019


I've mentioned many times before that I love books! I do have a preference for physical books over E-readers...admiring the cover art, savoring the new print smell, and flipping the pages are all part of the life affirming experience. 

Here is my favorite book find of the year:

It's called Bibliophile (published in 2018) written and illustrated by the talented Jane Mount.

She did the art for the book The Ideal Bookshelf. She also does commission work, creating illustrations based on people's favorite books (what a thoughtful gift idea!) as well as pretty little tokens for book lovers. 

This is her signature style: a stack of colorfully illustrated books...TADA! 

I love Bibliophile because it has pictures! Lots and lots of them.

It has lists of books organized by topic with notes on particular themes of that era or genre.

It has quirky information like bookstore cats and writer's pets.

As well as quizzes to determine how well-read you are.

It features many bookstores from all over the world...  

As well as impressive libraries that I would like to visit someday.

This was exceptionally cute: non-traditional libraries with the goal of spreading literacy and the love for reading. 

And the most adorable Little Free Libraries!

There's also a section on rooms of famous writers like Dylan Thomas, Roald Dahl, and Virginia Woolf.

A feature on book design because isn't that how we first judge a book?

Of course, a list of the top best selling books of all time.

As well as the books the author/illustrator is requested to paint most often.

Here are my favorite stacks:

Books about writing 

Books on harnessing creativity

Food writing


And picture books for adults

Too bad there's no stack for books about crafting and all things handmade. If I were to make a list, these books would definitely make the cut:

Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts, Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts, Grace Bonney Design Sponge at Home, Paul Lowe Eat and Make, Joy Cho Oh Joy, Joy Cho Blog Inc., Meg Mateo Ilasco Creative Inc., Lisa Congdon Art Inc., Kari Chapin The Handmade Marketplace

In the introduction, Jane says, "The goal of this book is to triple the size of your To Be Read Pile." I can only agree and I can't wait to dive in.

How about you, what memorable books did you read this year?

21 October 2019

A Writing Totem

Today I'd like to share a tip for all the writers out there who struggle to find the time to write every day.

I was watching the show "Late Night with Seth Meyers" and every so often he invites authors like Margaret AtwoodTa-Nehisi Coates and Judy Blume to discuss their books.

One evening, CJ Hauser talked about the concept of a writing totem (hers is a little chicken figurine). She says that wherever you are, put the writing totem on a surface and it instantly becomes your writing table. So whether you're in your bedroom, at a coffee shop, or the office break room, the simple act of taking out a writing totem puts you "in the writing zone" and you can tune out your distractions and just write. 

I thought that was such a great idea!

Here is my very own writing totem. 

He tumbled out of the hood of my winter jacket one night. Earlier on the bus that day, I had noticed a little boy and his mama at the seat behind me. It must have been his toy and maybe he put it in my jacket for safe keeping. I feel so bad that I unknowingly left the bus with it! I would have returned it. Really, I would. But how? I hope it wasn't his favorite. I hope it didn't leave him with sleepless nights. I'm so sorry!

In honor of that little boy who lost his precious toy, I vow to use this action figure for a good cause -- to keep me focused whenever I write.

Now based on my research, this guy is professional wrestler Stephen Farrelly more commonly known as "Sheamus/Sheamus O' Shaunessy".

I think he makes a perfect coach and personal trainer, don't you agree?

He's so ripped.

And so chiseled. With flawless hair!

He'll give me fist bumps just for sitting down in front of the computer or when I make my outlines.

He'll give me a good shake (or a smack down) when I feel stuck, insecure or suffering from writer's block. 

He'll be a motivational speaker as I battle deadlines.

And when I finish a blog post, an article, a chapter, he'll be the first to give me a high five!

My victory will also be his victory!

He's now part of my writing essentials. I tuck him inside a pencil case together with my supplies. I stand him on any table. His presence anoints it as he declares, "Behold...your writing table." 

If you are looking for your own writing totem, here are some other options :

A small toy like a rubber ducky 

 Or a memorable travel souvenir (I got this from Brazil) 

Wherever you are, may a writing totem help turn your words from blah to TADA! 

14 October 2019

Autumn Rituals

It's officially Autumn in the East Coast and with the arrival of the new season, old rituals are performed.

We go to a bonfire by the beach to celebrate the Harvest Moon. Beach. Bonfire. Full Moon. What's not to love?

There's a smaller bonfire where everyone is welcome to roast marshmallows for S'mores or as a topping for their hot cocoa.

We bring our own picnic in the form of a simple wine and cheese platter...TADA!

It's a fun community event! Some folks even bring instruments and sing the night away.

We hope this fire will keep us warm when the winter months arrive.

I've also started decorating my front door. This is a wreath that I made at a workshop in our local library. 

It's a grapevine wreath with Magnolia and Eucalyptus leaves. The bows are handmade from wired ribbon...TADA!  

In the summer, you'll hardly find me in the kitchen because it's too warm! But when the cooler weather arrives, I'm always in the mood to bake. These are peanut butter cookies.

Using Bartlett pears for these tarts...TADA!

And because it's pumpkin season, I make these breakfast muffins.

I also like to go on long drives to see the colorful leaves.

And attend a fall festival like "The Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze".

And speaking of jack o' lanterns and pumpkins, maybe you'd like to try your hand at needle felting? This needle-felted peach is from my blog archives but it can easily become a pumpkin, too.  

Or why not acorns? The caps are real acorn cupules and the body is needle-felted...TADA!

These are some of my autumn rituals. I'm curious to know what are yours?