My Creative Projects

Babes & bookworms, dreamers & professors, wizards & creatives unite

Readers are what make writers possible.

We’re all storybreathers, day in and day out. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of books, the power of words, but I moreso believe in the power of readers.

As I work toward publishing “I Know You Like a Murder”, I have so many ideas to share and ways to bring readers into the process. Want to be a part? 

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If you want more regular updates, follow me on Patreon. You can easily sign up with Facebook and follow me for free. Plus, you can get extra goodies if you sign up as a Beach Babe, Bookworm, Dreamer, Professor, or Wizard. You can sign up for any & all of the following:

  • Tips to keep your creative spirit going and achieve your dreams
  • Give input into early pieces of the story process
  • Behind the scenes sneakpeeks
  • First chance to beta read, bookblog, and receive advance copies
  • Alternate endings, deleted scenes, spoilery discussions and Q&A
  • Share fanart, fanfiction, headcanon
  • Practical gnitty gritty how-to’s for writing, publishing, and the creative process
  • A monthly wizardry roundtable to discuss our dreams and work toward making them happen together

You lead the charge. This is my baby Patreon and rewards are up for debate. Tell me what you want to see and let’s make it happen.

And go follow me there and tell me:

 

*Answer to the question you haven’t asked: Yes, occasional blogposts will still happen here. Patreon is my place for more regular updates and more creative community collaboration that a blog is less conducive to.*

for the Creatives, My Creative Projects

Sometimes you don’t need skill

In your creative pursuits, strive for excellence of course. “Study to show yourself approved.” Don’t put out rubbish and expect people to pay for it because it’s authentic and from the heart. Ech.

But also branch out. I’ve got a reasonable amount of skill in music and writing and arguably fashion – though not runway fashion, just artsy fun fashion 😉 What do I not have skill in? Visual arts and rhythm. My coordination is seriously lacking there.

Yet it’s okay to fumble and explore.

  • Last year I choreographed my own personal dance in the privacy of my home that will never be seen by anyone. Anyone.
  • I took a 30 minute drum lesson a few years ago.
  • I remember as a teen taking:
    • a pottery class
    • a cake decorating class
    • a sewing class
    • brief mandolin and harp lessons
    • I even tried acting in church plays

Just to try it out. (I have my parents to thank for opening me up to exploring new pursuits even if I sucked at them.) I always wanted to be good at everything, but let’s face it:

We can’t excel at everything. But we can still try.

The sketching class most stood out to me. The students who had been there awhile were sketching a self-portrait and I eagerly tried and failed. The teacher walked over belatedly and said something along the lines of, “No, that assignment is for the advanced students. You’re supposed to be drawing this grandfather clock.” She was not very happy. And neither was I. I “learned” that I cannot draw.

But I’ve been working on allowing myself to explore and enjoy visual arts even if I suck at them.

Last year I took an art journaling class.

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You don’t have to be good at something to put it in your journal.

I sporadically draw pictures in my journal, to make it visual. And it sucks, but that’s okay, because it’s for my eyes only. (Until last month when I lost my journal at Starbucks and they probably thought it belonged to a preschooler as they flipped through it for contact info….Don’t leave journals at Starbucks! But that’s another story.)

A couple months ago I did one of those painting classes that’s like an “Everybody can paint!” sorta deal. The difficulty level was low – he said an 8 year old did the same painting and it looked great. But on my painting the dancer’s legs were excruciating and I finally had a friend help fix them (but all horrible awkward legness is my fault…)

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Most notably though, the colors I picked out makes it look like a taco dancer, let’s be real. Just flip it upside down and it’s a taco bowl…. see?

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Now I’m hungry.

But the point is, dabble. It might be bad, but it’s fun and it’s stretching those creative muscles.

About that time I was deluded and teeny-handed with an atrocious wardrobe…

There once was a time I was bad at writing – and worse, I thought I was good. There once was a time that the piano teacher wouldn’t let me learn to play piano because my hands were too small and my fingers lay flat on the keys. I used to wear drab or terrifyingly horrible clothes, embarrassingly so, and say I didn’t care about what I wore and maybe I didn’t. How naive. But I got back on those horses and I’m basicly a cowgirl now 😉

So, dabble. I guess that’s all I’m saying. Also, look at all the proof I’m not good at everything! *gestures wildly in every direction* 🙂

And finally, to all the hypothetical naysayers out there – “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”

Fashion, My Creative Projects, Showcasing other Creatives

Pirate queen photo session

Just to remind us who we are, me and Kim dressed up as steampunk pirates for a photo session. I only needed one for the earlier blogposts, but how could I not post these!

  • Costuming by Kim Kouski. Check out her site for geeky discourse.
  • Photography by Yasmeen Hudson. Check out her site for real talk – inspiration, in the trenches, heart to hearts.

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Fashion, My Creative Projects

Superhero divas need a cape

Unless you’re in the Incredibles of course 🙂

When my sister said it was superhero day for my Lil Niece (world, meet niece 1 of 3), it was way past halloween and she was just going to drop by the store and look for a cape the night before. Of course they don’t have a pink batman cape readily available year-round.

Auntie to the rescue! …see, some superheroes don’t wear capes 🙂 hehe.

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We found the following quite quickly:

  • shimmery pink cloth
  • a batman birthday card with a huge batman symbol to stencil
  • fabric glue (I’m not much of a seamstress)
  • black fabric paint

Then it was just a night of cutting, gluing the seams, and painting the batman symbol. Now Lil Niece is off to the rescue!

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She didn’t win for best costume because some girl wore a cop costume and said her daddy was her superhero (yeah, sweet, cheesy, and heroic, but not superheroism…mehh…) Still Lil Niece won life with a determined mama, creative auntie, and rockin’ diva cape!  She swooped around the house to save the day and loved her cape. And I have leftover material to make a matching one for Baby Niece when she gets older. Squeal! 🙂

I love finding a creative solution in everyday life. I’m no seamstress, I’m no painter, but it doesn’t turn out bad if you try.

 

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My Creative Projects

A quick & easy treat

With the holidays around the corner, everyone could use a quick breakfast that isn’t cereal. No worries, this is easy peasy and I have fallen in love with it.

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  • Crescent rolls.
  • A dollop of jam in the triangle.
  • Fold all 3 corners up and over the jam.
  • Heat in oven per the instructions.

Enjoy. Repeat. Again and again and again, cause you just can’t get enough of it… you get the point.

You can also try* any combination of the following:

  • peanut butter
  • nutella
  • chocolate chips
  • icing
  • marshmallow fluff
  • bananas
  • or the non-sweet breakfast option, biscuit gravy

And some savory options to make a dinner appetizer instead:

  • Garlic & butter
  • Marinara and parmesan (maybe a slice of pepperoni or sausage)
  • taco salad
  • mashed potatoes
  • queso
  • chili queso

The possibilities are virtually endless! Let me know if you try any and how it turns out.

*Note I haven’t tried any of these ideas except jam so far. I have some sort of figure to maintain, gotta pace myself! 😉

 

Oh, were you looking for something healthy? You’ve come to the wrong post! You can see my quick ways to cut watermelon post for a healthier quick and tasty treat 🙂

 

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Fashion, My Creative Projects

My Christmas tree guards the gifts

I don’t need an Elf on a Shelf. My Christmas tree is my own gift guard, and she makes less of a mess. Meet Delilah. You can see her adventures (or misadventures) on my facebook and twitter under #DelilahTales. delilahtree

 

Delilah’s Christmas tree outfit didn’t just happen. Last year I had a test case (that turned out gorgeous!) and wrote a post on how you can make your own Christmas tree dress form too. This year, Delilah decorated herself, as you can see by the string of lights in her hand. (Yes, this is my cop-out – since it’s not the fanciest tree yet, she gets the credit 😉 ).

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Maybe next year I’ll get better and have it more elegant. Maybe next year I’ll find some way to make the skirt cover all her legs to be more tree-like. But for now, I’m so proud of my tree. Talk about a conversation piece! 🙂

If you want your own conversation piece, maybe see how I made mine and get started on your own. Then comment and let me know what you came up with!

Already have a creative tree? Why don’t you share in the comments? I’d love to see other creative holiday decor!

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for the Creatives, My Creative Projects

The Award for Saying “No”

I recently attended an awards ceremony with some coworkers. As the host rattled off all the achievements of the award recipients – career, parenting, volunteering, church involvement, chair and member of various boards, alongside various other activities and accomplishments – wow! I realized:

“I will NEVER receive an award like this.”

Maybe you think I’m just not ambitious enough, but no really, I won’t receive that award. It’s not that I can’t, per se. But all of the commitments, throwing oneself wholeheartedly into leading so many initiatives….I never was one for multi-tasking 🙂

I applaud those who go full-throttle in many directions and make the world a better place for it. But some people need to hear that it’s okay to have more focus, more quiet, more single-minded devotion to one thing. This post is for those who make the world a better place at a quieter, slower pace. You don’t have to do it all.

I wish there was an award for saying “no” to one more good task that needs doing, but not by you. Being wholly committed to your one or two things – that takes guts and leadership and trust. That deserves an award. If you’re neglecting something you should commit to, try saying “yes.” But if your schedule is so full you can’t wholly commit to what you need to do, start saying “no.” Prioritize. What is really important? Make that happen.

And since we don’t necessarily get an award all the time, maybe award yourself this certificate 🙂 Here’s to being committed to being you, to growing into whoever you are made to be, whatever that looks like to you.

Award for Saying No

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for the Creatives, for the Writers, Musings, My Creative Projects

Do You Have a Book in You?

If you’ve ever wondered if you could write a book, should write a book, or if you’ve dabbled with writing and wondered if it’s worth a shot to pursue it more seriously, I have news for you!

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I have a new FREE online class to help you answer these questions:

–Do I really have a book in me?

–Can I write a book?

–What’s the process?

–Is this really something I want to take on?

–What am I taking on?

I’m give you a brief overview of the writing world and help you decide if and how you fit into that. This isn’t supposed to be the end-all-be-all decision-maker, but I hope it gets you going in the right direction, whatever that may look like.

This free course has approximately 30 minutes of online material that you can go through at your own pace. After this course, you will have a more firm grasp of what you’re getting into when you sign up to become an author.

What are you waiting for? Sign up now here 🙂

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Fashion, My Creative Projects

Fashion First

If I were to say there’s something I’m known for more than my writing, something that people comment on regularly throughout my day, it’d be my fashion.

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This blog is about all my creations, and writing isn’t my only way of creating – I also create my style 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m some fashion queen, carrying around Coach and Prada and who-knows-what-brands-are-the-big-thing-right now. I’m just talking about fun clothes, whatever I can find that’s unique and strikes my fancy. In fact, I’m all about the deals and the steals – where can I find a bargain?

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Ya know what I realized with my most recent spring cleaning? I have ALOT of clothes. Goodness, most of them aren’t even worn I just have so many. I go through clothes so fast, wear them and move on to the next fun item.

The news is out that “decision fatigue” can be prevented by wearing the exact same outfit every day…..but how boring is that?! I thrive on letting my creativity flow through my style, so I’ll settle with being indecisive in other matters if I can wear my outfits 🙂

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I’m sure many can relate, but I’m here to share the spoils. I gotta clear out some of this stuff, and you can get in on it! You can now purchase my style, have it shipped straight to your door.

If you’ve never joined PoshMark, you can use my friend code – JMSCH – to receive a free $10 to shop my (or others’) closets.

So what can you buy? Here’s some of the items in my closet right now:

That’s not it though, there’s over 50 items available in my closet, and I’m adding more constantly. I find the deals and share the spoils with you 🙂

Head on over and go shopping, ladies!

  • Remember to use my code – JMSCH – for your free $10 to shop. 
  • Mention this blogpost in the PoshMark comments and I’ll give you a blog-friends discount.
  • Comment here on this post and let me know your PoshMark username so we can connect – and if you ever start your own sales, I’m here to support you in that too. Share the fun! 🙂

 

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Fashion, My Creative Projects

How To Make a Christmas Tree Mannequin

If you were around the interwebs leading up to Christmas, you probably saw the mannequins-turned-christmas-tree. Here’s one example. 

When a friend shared this with me, I was quite excited to try it out myself, but all of the how-to’s I found had elaborate steps with obscure materials I didn’t have the time or know-how for. This is how I went about creating my own, just so you all have another option. Whatever you have to work with, I bet you can figure it out with a little persistence and creativity 🙂

 

My Main Supplies

  • Dress Form
  • Old Christmas Tree
  • Dress Top & Tree Decor

I saved the Dress Form from the junkyard, got an old tree from new friends, and got the top & decor by thrift shopping. Hopefully you’ll find everything as easily as I did, but in case you need help with the dress form and have some money to spare, you can always buy one here: http://www.mannequinmadness.com/collections/dress-forms

 

Step 1, detach the tree branches. 

I was lucky enough to be given an old tree with hooked branches. Like so:

Hooks

 

The branches were attached to the tree, not just hooked on, but thankfully I had a boyfriend handyman who used a drill to detach it.

Drilling

See that wire fake-tree garland wrapped around the middle bar? That’s important! I saved that too.

 

Step 2: Get that fake-tree garland off the bar

TGross Hairhis part wasn’t supposed to be difficult. It certainly wasn’t supposed to be tedious. Just untwist it, right? Wrong. Ya know how they keep it all on there? Hair. Okay, maybe that’s not really what it is, but just look at it. Appearance and texture of hair.

After much cutting, detangling, unknotting, and unwrapping of all this hair, I would be blessed with some tiny fluff branches (also important) and the garland.

This is the approximate ratio of hair-to-branch:

Hair-To-Branch Ratio

 

Step 3: Compile the tree-skirt

This is the main work.

  • (Have top on the dress form already, so that it will be “tucked in” to the tree-skirt.)
  • Wrap the garlands around the dress form, and twist tight for hold. One garland should be at about waist level, the other at about hip level.
  • Hook the branches, first at hip level, then at waist level, varying branch length at random.
  • Hide excess gaps with the little fluff branches as needed.

 

At this point my tree looked something like this:

Branches Are On

 

Step 4: Decorate

Then it’s just the final touches. Fluffing out branches that lie flat, or pushing down branches that jut out weird. Adding ornaments or ribbon or accessories to give it some final flare. Making the tree look something like this. Isn’t she a beaut?

Full Tree

Finished Tree

Finished from Above