Tag Archive | writing

NaNoWriMo has started!

Let the writing begin!

National Novel Writing Month… is November and last year I signed up when I heard about it from my fellow blogger Corrina. That book which I called “September Moon” practically wrote itself and I smashed the 50,000 word count for the month.

This year I have decided to finally write that travel memoir that I’ve always wanted to write, so today it began. First day, I forced myself to stop at 4,006 words. I’m happy with that start. This month is also my busy work month, I only work one month of the year, and a few odd days here and there, I am a Chief Exam supervisor and that means I do the setting up, supervising of, collection of the exams and take them home to await the courier. The first day was yesterday, English is the biggest in number and the longest exam. Today it was psychology and smaller group and less time 9.00 am till 11:45am. So November is my busy month.

Last Month I did my first “Inktober” art challenge, which meant that all the prompt for that had to be drawn in ink. I got mixed messages, some people said only to write in ballpoint pen, some were using real ink, some were painting with ink, some were using ink markers, some used colour, some none colour. Confusing much?! I ended up using ball point pen and the odd marker, and some I added a touch of water colour paint to.

At the same time, I participated in #Jentober with Jenny Manno over at Next JENeration Art in a Facebook group. So Jenny offered prompts and we were invited to interpret them in any medium. I had never heard of most of the characters, thank goodness for Google!

Then over in #Kickinthecreative another Facebook group, I chose the challenge #outandaboutOctober, because I knew we were going away to Cairns. The idea here was you take your sketchbook out and about with you and paint, or sketch what you see. I did that a few times, bit the rebel in me ended up taking photos and using them at home sometimes. Some days I felt like I pushed myself too hard, especially when I slipped behind for a few days. But at the end of the month I am so happy to look back and see what I have achieved! One thing I did achieve was I stopped pre drawing with pencil and just started painting with watercolour. Yay me!

In #kickinthecreatives this month, I am doing #kickcollageNovember each day we are to make a collage, whether it s a whole image or just a background or some element of collage.

Here are some I prepared for today.

So I will check back in and update you on NaNoWriMo, if you are there and want to add me as a buddy my user name is Kkitten. Lets get writing!

Something to think about..

Occasionally you read a post that makes you think.. “How would I answer that?” and so this morning as I was having a quick peek at my emails (I say a “quick peek” because I was supposed to be doing my bible studies.. so I skim and then go back and read in-depth) I saw this post Wish and the title was “Wishing well” so I went to read it and it made me think… “How would I answer that?”

The original question was… ” What do you wish for the most?”

Back in the day a year or so ago, before I started my “Walk with the Lord” I would have answered it as “I wish for a million dollars and to be able to travel anywhere I want” but then I met the Lord, started reading and following his words and I realized it’s not about “the money” “IF” he wants me to travel and when indeed he does want me to travel the money will be there.. so I don’t answer that way anymore.

Ever since I was a little girl, 10 yrs old, I have wanted to go to America, it’s been the only long-term goal I have ever had. I am the Australian Gal that sings the American national anthem at the Olympic games, I am the Aussie Gal that Cheers for the American motorbike rider, Nicky Hayden #69.. even when he was beating the Aussie guy and I was surrounded by Big burly leather clad patriotic Aussie bikers.. and there is me yelling “Go Nicky!!”

There are wishes that are so deeply buried that you can’t think about those ones.. the ones that make your heart ache and tears well in your eyes. I know Diana from Holistic had the same response she said so here: “I couldn’t speak. The question distilled my deepest desires down to sudden tears that stung.” I know that feeling.

In the meantime I “thought” I wanted to be married to one man and live happily ever after, that didn’t work and that dream changed.

Then I wanted to be a “Mother” that dream has happened and continues to happen, and now they’ve added the “Grand” to it. So it’s a whole other level, funny when you think of being a “Mother” do you think about one day becoming a “Grand-Mother“?

I didn’t, until they both told me if was going to be happening..It was never on my radar, I could always imagine myself “old and bent and grey” but never did I imagine wearing the title “Grandma

I “thought” I wanted to be a career woman, so I got a job at 16 and worked my way up from rock bottom to the manager of the Deli department, and then decided it wasn’t that much fun telling everyone else what to do.. I quit..

I became a “Mother“, I can’t quit from that job, oh maybe some women can in fact I’ve heard tell of a few that have, they’ve just picked up and said “I’ve had enough of this job“, and quit but that’s not me at ALL.

Then “I thought” I wanted to be a “Writer“.. so I signed up for a Writing Class and started learning that, and I broke two type writers (yes back then we typed with type writers and sent off “hard copies” to places to be critiqued) and finally my then husband gave up and got a friend to set up a computer for us, so I could type and print… and then we got the internet and the world opened up to me.. and the writing never went much further. I did co write a piece which got published I wanted to win the $2,500 prize money to go to America, instead I won $50 but I got published and I did end up going to America the same year.

Then “I thought” That I would be “an artist“.. so I did a class and shocked almost everyone when it seemed so easy to do pastel drawings, but REAL artists sell their work, so I started doing an online class to market my work and sell my art..and again, I had to Sell myself which I am not good at so… I quit!

Then “I thought” I wanted to be a “Party planner“… they don’t have a course you can take for that.. so I decided to be a “Wedding planner” and use the skills to plan parties.. well that lasted about as long as it took for me to pay the money for the course and start the first module and I decided that once again, I’d have to be telling people WHAT TO DO.. and that if it was a JOB I wouldn’t love it as much as I do now.. so I quit!

Then I asked God… “what do YOU think I should “be”?”  because everyone tells us we have to “be something when we grow up”  Then I realized I am “doing something” I am a Wife, I am a Mother I am a Grand-Mother, I am an artist (So I don’t sell my work I still do it and it gives ME joy) 

Then I spent sometime with my journal and I again realized… these Ah Ha moments have been pretty powerful..

I am doing all the things on my “wish list” it just looks different from when I first wished it.

I am a Wife… The Bloke thinks I am a Great wife who compliments him.

I am a Mother.. four born and one inherited child

I am a GrandMa… Three and counting..

I am a Party Planner.. I give great parties, I can pull them off as easily as breathing, and I love nothing better than a good theme. And I’ve helped plan three weddings as well (two were my own!)

I am an Artist,.. So I haven’t sold anything, I have nice works of MY art of my walls, that I look at as I pass and saw “wow! I did that!” 

I am a Writer… Because I write my journal, because I write  this blog, I love this blog, it’s like my journal, I can’t imagine NOT doing it.

The only thing left now is “Travel“… it’s still there.. I STILL want it, I crave it.. I watch any travel documentary, I read travel memoirs, I pour over maps, travel guides, I am obsessed.. America is still top of my list I want to and I WILL do all the 50 states of America, I WILL do that… some day,right now the Lord has blessed me with a husband that has no desire to go overseas, that and the fact that he HATES to fly.. but for now, we are working our way through Australia. I can say I have now been to every State and Territory in Australia, some more than once. In September we will add a bit more of that sight-seeing to our list.

So What do you wish for? My simple answer…. a never-ending plane ticket….

Remember picking dandelions and making a wish and blowing on it… I still do that and I wish to travel!!

But my readers… What do YOU wish for?

Feeling pretty excited..

do you ever have a moment when someone, a stranger, comes into your life and you just kind of “click” I’ve had a few I’ve met through blogging, and of course on Facebook there are people that I feel are my soul sisters, have I ever met them? No, Will I ever meet them? Possibly not… But on Facebook we have a connection. I never did understand that whole whohar about “online friends not being “real friends” because I have better cinnections with some of them than my own siblings. 

This morning I had a deep conversation with one of those souls.. I call her my soul sister/ friend, she’s exactly 10 years older than me, and we were doing an online art class together and some how, some way we clicked, we chat most days, through comments on each others posts, or we do the same quiz, which ironically are either complimenting each other or exactly the same, today we decided that we are best friends like “Orange and purple” I am the orange she is the purple, today we chatted more so than other days. She and her husband are saving to come to Australia, so I told my Bloke and he agreed, wherever she is in Australia, we will go and meet her. I am excited for September or October 2016. Its only next year!! Every so often we sent a little care package and its my turn to send to Carrol, so I was thinking “What shall I send Carrol?” In her last care package she made me a beautiful painting and added  ephemera, which is just a fancy word for “stuff” some people might call it junk, we artists, use it for back grounds, or journal page spreads, things like ticket stubs, or bible pages, maps, tourists guides or even pages out of the phone directory, why? Because you collage with it to add layers, texture and interest. So its my turn to send to Carrol, but I am sending her a painting, a little piece of Australia!

Just a little while ago, I got a friend request from someone who I’d never heard of, the name wasn’t familiar so I went to see if we had “mutual” friends and indeed we do all artist friends, including Lucy Chen with whom I just finished painting “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” So I added this new “friend” and she was online so we started chatting, and talk  about ego boosting, I think we are going to be friends and ironically enough, she is from Pennsylvania, I have two penpals from that state, its calling me!! Lisa makes “Santa’s” and on her profile I was able to find a link to her website, http://www.scherersantaclaus.com and her work is just beautiful, I am not a huge fan of Christmas, but I know lots of people are, but one tradtion that I started with my children was each year I buy them each a new ornament for the christmas tree, and when my grandbabies were born, I started buying them one as well. I think this year I am going to buy my Christmas decos from Lisa! She has never shipped to Australia, so I’ll be her first, but I think its great to support artists whenever you can, I know how much joy I get from my art, so if I can help someone with their joy I’ll do that. Lisa asked me “Where do you sell your art?” Well I don’t until now I’ve only ever done art for myself and my house, I did a montage of Disney Princesses for my eldest daughters 18th birthday, and once I did a blue tongue lizard in pastels for my cousin who is reptile crazy!  but thats it until this Mothers day when I did the Pug for my Mother-in-law. And now I am working on that secret project for an overseas friend, remember the orange preview from yesterday? I did a bit more of it today!

Lisa made me feel so good, when she said “You should paint people’s pets, you would make money doing that!”  That raises all kinds of questions “Am I good enough?” “could I commit to doing that?” How do you put a price on your “joy”? Who would I even ask about these things… Immediately my inner evil art critic answers me “too hard, too much, not good enough, shut that idea down” but then my other inner voice says “YOU can do that! You just have to start!” Hmmmm, on my bucket list is a goal  “sell one piece of art” maybe 2015 is the year to do that, my “50 before 50” bucket list runs out in October 2017, so I do need to get moving on it… I feel a bit nervous though.

Lisa has started me thinking, and Carrol also said something yesterday about my writing a book,  these ladies are planting seeds, that I could water and nourish and make grow, or I could lock them in the dark and let them die away… Now which road to take?!

How was your Wednesday??

P is for……


This challenge is brought to you by :http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

 Click the above picture or the link to find out more.


Today I am presenting the Letter “P” 

Today I’m going to talk to you about my “other family” called Pen Pals..

How is that a family you might ask? it’s amazing how much you can get to know someone through writing letters? Some of my penpals are like sisters to me, I probably get on better with them my own sisters and one of my penpals was a much older lady and when her eyes were failing and she couldn’t read much I would call long distance to Pennsylvania  in the US and talk to her, she said I was like a daughter to her.. I called her “Mumsy” and she called me “her darling girl“. So we became a family from afar.

“How it began”

I have been penpalling now for 13 years, my Star Son was a little baby and I was in a new suburb and not knowing anyone, so I found myself a penpal.. she was and still is from Germany and we still write. We occasionally email as well.


Writing a letter to my new Pennsylvanian Penpal Terri..

My motto for penpalling is “ask me and I’ll tell you”, I don’t have any secrets when you have to get to know someone through writing letters why would you hold yourself back? My pals and I have an open-ended conversation and it’s like we are sitting down across from each just chatting. Plus if you don’t make yourself a fake version of yourself, you don’t have to remember the lies you invented.

“Strange letters and things inside”

One of my pen pals who lived in the UK,  I no longer have, used to go to visit the castles and take photos of her wrapping her arms around parts of the castles and caption it… “Hugging history for Kimmy” because she knew how much I loved history and the whole Medieval era. One of my pen pals who I found accidentally, was much younger than me and she used to be involved in the “WOOF” movement, “Woof” stands for Working On Organic Farms.. and she used to travel all over the place and stay and work on farms. “Lady James” as we called her used to go to second-hand shops and buy old books, or libraries and get the old discontinued books and write her letters on those, one day I got a vintage magazine page with her letter on it.. and a set of vintage postcards in a book form and she’d written on each card, she was really inventive and used to send all kinds of things through the mail, one day I opened her mail and there was a hank of hand spun wool, she had been learning to shear sheep and to spin the fleece and so sent me some to use for an arty projects, another letter from Lady James I found a scrunched up tissues full of moss still damp, knowing my love of all things medieval, she picked it up at Stonehenge in the UK and sent it to me.. I still to this day don’t know how it got through customs!! Another day from Lady James, was a bunch of tourist guides from her trip back home to California and she’d been to a forest hiking and sent me the guides but also a pine cone! a whole pine cone… wow!!


An Art project I made with “Lady James” letter… I accidentally put the “e” on backwards.


Close up this was an old version of “Hansel and Gretel” and so Lady James had used the book to write her letter on.

Other pen friends have sent tea bags in their letters and one letter from my UK pen pal thought she was being “arty” so she sent me hand-made paper with rose petals in it.. I got a letter from customs saying that the letter had been “seized” by customs and they had photo copied the letter and sent me the photo copy but if I wanted the original paper I would have to pay a “fine” for trying to import illegal plant material.. at least I got her letter, but I sent her the letter from customs and thanked her for the thought but please don’t waste your time or money again.

For our Medieval wedding my penpal from Germany sent me a beautiful card with a packet of Sunflower seeds.. it’s some kind of custom, not sure whether it was just her family or German in general, and they got through, I’m so not sure how she managed that. Also for our wedding “Mumsy” from Pennsylvania sent us a beautiful wedding card and when I opened it $100 US dollars .. cash fell out of the envelope.. don’t know how that got through either!! But we rang and told her off for sending any amount of money and wanted to send it back she refused so we brought ourselves our first DVD player.

“Questions and answers”

These days I have less penpals but they are good quality, they write nice long chatty letters and ask lots of questions. My penpal in Pennsylvania, Terri, she asks the best questions, last Easter we were away camping in Queensland and I took my mail with me and replied to her letter and sent her a postcard, by the time I got home her reply was here and her question was “How did they get the name Queensland?” Hmm, she made me think so then I had to go Google and find out.. another letter I got from Terri was her whole house floor plan so I could get an idea of the rooms she was telling me about. So then I replied to her with a floor plan of my house. we have fun, Terri and her real life friend Janet, are the ones who spiked my interest in learning more about Jesus and God, and they have been so wonderful helping me with questions and pointing me in the direction of which scripture to read etc etc. Terri has now joined the “Good Morning Girls” bible group and we are “reading through the bible in a year” together, with our S.O.A.K method and our colour charting..


Journal or diary, important “pen palling” tool, I write when a letter comes in and when a letter goes out.

 Penpalling is not really a hobby for me its a passion and so I take it seriously. I keep a diary and as the letters come in I write who from and where from and then as I reply I tick them off and write on the day when they are posted out. To be a good penpal you have to be serious, and reply promptly and answer and ASK questions, how else will you get to know someone? The more questions the better because it shows me that you care about where I am from, I love to share things about where I live and who I live with, I send postcards and clippings from magazines or newspapers. I love it  when my pals do the same. I’ve had newspaper pages from Japan and from America, and I love it, I usually file it away because who knows one day I might be able to use it for a piece of art. Terri in PA does amazing “envelope art” and I keep them and either reuse them from my daily journal or I have used some in an art page in my art journal. I also cut the pieces of the stationary out and use that to decorate my daily journal.


Home made envelopes and template.

“Meeting penpals”

I am very blessed that I have met three of my penpals to date. Sonja from Austria was the first one I met, she was going to The Cook Islands for her yearly holiday and I joked that it was fairly close to us. I also joked with the Bloke that we should go to the Cook Islands to see Sonja and her husband Rob. My Bloke agreed and so we ended up going to the Cook Islands to Rarotonga for a week to meet Sonja and Robert. We snorkeled and shopped and spoke Samoan and had a lovely time. “Happy Hour” around the pool each afternoon. The prices were low because it was off-season. That was January 2012.

Then in October 2012, we went to Queensland on the way home from our Big Lap and I got to meet a long time penpal Trudi and her daughter Hailey, we met half way between their house and where we were staying and ended up in a pub in a little town called 1770. We had a lovely lunch and it was all so nice and easy because we have been writing for so long we had lots of back ground on each other as well. The last pen pal I met was my New Zealand penpal Janine and her husband Aaron, who was over in Australia for their 25th wedding anniversary and it coincided with Valentine’s day. so we were lucky to be able to meet them and show them around our home town and we had a lovely lunch at the local bowling club. Janine came bearing gifts and she gave me the above “envelope template” it’s been the best thing I’ve used it heaps, I use magazines with photos of Australia on them so my pen pals can “see” where their mail is coming from.


Stamps and address labels already to go..

“Supplies needed”

I’m not as fussy as some of my pals, I have been known to write long rambling letters on plain white paper, some pals use very fancy stationary and I sometimes feel bad for cutting up their stationary for use in my journals. I figure that at least I am writing, so what supplies do you need to become a penpal?.. nothing too fancy, on the budget side, a note pad and a packet of envelopes and the most expensive part of it all would be the postage stamps. If you want to get a bit fancier you get better, fancier paper and lined envelopes and then you can spend a small fortune on stickers or rubber stamps and ink pads to decorate the envelopes… me I like to experiment on the cheaper envelopes, sometimes I’ll do some zentangle or I’ll splash some paint around, or use some stencils. It adds a lot of colour and a bit of fun to the letter. Sometimes I’m just too busy to do envelopes so I’ll make one or send *gasp* a plain white envelope, hey it doesn’t matter as  long as the letter gets there. Maybe a diary or calendar is a good thing too, well, for me personally I like to keep track of when I receive and send but that’s just me, I have a goal to try to reply to all my mail within a week of getting it. I don’t expect that my pals do that, but for me I like to know that I’ve sent out a letter within a week of getting it.

So that brings us to the end of “P” and my “pen pal family” my family ranges all over the world,I have two in NZ,  I have two in UK now, I have two in PA USA,I also have another one in Oregon I think.I have one less frequent pal in Japan who calls me “her big sister” because I help her with her English. I have two in Germany now, I have  regulars in Sth Australia, Queensland and Victoria in Australia. My Original goal for Pen palling was one in every state of America and one in every state of Australia (so few in Australia!!) I have not managed either but I love the ones I have they are wonderful bubbly friends that are like sisters. I have even written to a few wordpress bloggers!! if you’re in the look out for an old-fashioned “snail Mailer” then lets chat!!

It’s nice to open the mail box to see colourful envelopes and pretty stamps and the odd postcard rather than bills and junk mail!