Archive for February, 2012


Seeing as my last Wreck This Journal post was a little sad, I thought I’d share a much more lighthearted series of pages this time around.  How about a little game?

At one point in the journal, there is a page that gives directions to hide a secret message somewhere in the book.  There are, of, course, a million ways to approach this so I had to think about it for a little while.  Besides the method of secrecy, there was the message to consider.  I wanted it to mean something special to anyone who might take the time to figure it out.  Finally, it came to me in the shape of a firefly, (or at least my best rendition of one):

Follow the firefly!

My little firefly shows up on various pages throughout my journal and each leads the way towards the secret message.  The last one shows up towards the very end of the book and leaves the rest of the journey to the reader.  Can you figure it out?  Click on the images to blow them up to full size and give it a try!

Think you’ve solved the message?  Put it in the comments below!  Have fun and stay inspired!

What would be your secret code message?

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For previous Wreck This Journal posts, please visit my sidebar and tag cloud.

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c.b. 2012

It Never Gets Old

Of course, after I posted The Last 11, I got tagged again!  This set of questions come from a blogger that inspires me so much with his travels, photography, and poetry.  There’s no way I could turn it down! My thanks to RedJim of notyethere for thinking of me and sending a very unique set of 11 Questions.  Once again, I’ll leave the game open to anyone who wants to play.  Leave a link or answers in the comments if you want to play along.  Have fun!

1. Sea or Mountains?


Mountains.  I live in a place surrounded by mountains and I never cease to be amazed at their beauty.  Besides, I’ve never been much of a beach person.

2. Sky blue or Fire red?

Sky blue, but can I have a few clouds?

 3. The Film or The Book?


The book. Always the book!  As much as I love movies, they can never tell a story quite like good old-fashioned printed words on paper.

4. Summer or Winter?

Winter.  I love snow, fireplaces, hot café mochas, and a cat snuggled in my lap.


5. Sounds, smells, pictures or touch?

Pictures.  I’ve always been a very visual person, both in reality and in my imagination.

6. Wild woods or Manicured park?

Wild woods.  I spent a huge part of my childhood in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, where the trees are thick and ferns grow tall.  I’ve never seen anything more beautiful.

7. Do you know where North is without a compass?


No.  I am directionally challenged to the degree of total embarrassment.

8. Paper map or GPS?

Paper map.  I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life and I can honestly say a paper map has guided my every move.  They are far more reliable and they never need a power source.

9. Notebook or Laptop/Ipad/Tablet?

Aside from GPS, I’m a total gadget geek.  I use both a laptop and a tablet.

10. SLR OR Automatic?

Automatic.  Though I wish I knew a bit more about how to use SLR.

11. Leap of Faith or Logical leap?

A little bit of both.  I’m a big believer in balance.  There are moments in life that require logic and moments where the only logical thing to do is take a leap of faith.

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c.b. 2012

February Status Report: 2012 Goals

The second month of 2012 has gone by so fast, I can hardly believe its time again to check in on my 2012 goals. February is typically one of the busiest for my day job, so I didn’t get quite as far on some of my goals as I would have liked, but I’m still very happy at the progress I’ve made this month.

1) Submit five pieces of writing.

I’ve done a bit more research on literary magazines both in print and online that might fit my writing style.  It’s a slow process and I have to keep telling myself that I am accomplishing something by doing painstaking research, even though I haven’t sent anything in just yet.

Research aside, I’ve written a new short story that might have some potential for submission.  I’m in the final stages of revision and should have a final draft in the next two weeks or so. I may post it to see if its working, so stay tuned!

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

I got as far as yanking out a previous hard copy draft and opening it up to the section I need to reinsert into the current draft.  After reading through it, I’m contemplating whether it should go back into the same place or if moving it somewhere else would better serve the story. It’ll work either way, but I remain in a quandary. The perfectionist in me is hesitant to do anything until that little knot in my stomach unties itself.  Believe me, I know I need to bite the bullet and just do it.

3) Work on my second novel.

The word count for this month stands at 857. While the word count isn’t nearly as high as it was for January, progress behind the scenes has been monumental.  Much of the work took place in my novel notebook, where I created two new characters and constructed a new development in the plot line.  For a while, I found myself battling between the original plan and a new idea that came to me during the writing process.  The word count should actually be around 1600, but I deleted the other half once I made the decision to work with the new scene. I’m really excited about this turn of events and I can’t wait to see where it takes the rest of the story.

Currently, the total word count for Novel #2 stands at 49,561.  The goal of reaching 60,000 by the end of the year is well within reach!

4) Send out five query letters and be ready with a synopsis.

Developments on this goal have only recently materialized.  I’m starting to feel the burn to get moving on this, thanks in large part to an e-mail I received from a friend.  Not only did she dream about the main character in my novel, (which is really amazing), but she had some ideas on what to include in the synopsis and how to structure it.  When I combined her ideas with mine, something finally clicked and I think I have a place to begin.  I’ve set a deadline of March 15 to have a rough draft for the synopsis completed.

5) Keep up with my blog.

Anyone who is a regular reader knows this goal has not been a problem at all!  In terms of posting, February has been my busiest month with 21 posts.  Thank you to all my readers for continuing to stop by to read and leave comments.  Your support is so encouraging and greatly appreciated!

6) Network more with other writers.

I’ve always viewed this goal as the most difficult as it pulls me the furthest out of my comfort zone, but I did make some gains this month:

  • I joined the Fourth Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign via Rach Writes . . . . So far, I’ve networked with 30 new bloggers and completed the first challenge, (see The Call).  The process has been tough for me, but on the whole its been a fun experience.  I’m grateful for the chance to connect to so many wonderful new people and fantastic writers!
  • I joined Pinterest as a means to network with people beyond the blogging world.  If you enjoy crafts and travel pictures, click the red Pinterest button on my sidebar and follow me!  I should warn you, however, that Pinterest is very addictive!
  • My Facebook page continues to grow as I’ve gone from 20 followers to 32.  If you’re on Facebook and would like a direct line to new blog posts, musings of a writer, and cool links, click the like button on my sidebar and follow along.  Feel free to post on the wall!
  • Over on Twitter, I watched my list of followers go from 65 to 81.  I’m hoping to hit 100 by the end of March.  If you’re on Twitter, you can follow me by visiting my sidebar and clicking on the Twitter button.

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

All I can do is hope that I’ve encouraged others to write by visiting and commenting on blogs whenever possible.  They say writing is a solitary act, but the longer I stay in the game, the more I realize this is a team sport!

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c.b. 2012

Peaceful Respite

An open gate
calls your name
Wrapped in solitude
listen, be free
Green sings
in myriad hues
The breeze invites
a soft embrace

Grounds of St. Alban's Cathedral, June 2011, c.b.w.

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c.b. 2012

Project Art Journal: Page 6

Sometimes inspiration comes from the strangest places . . . like credit card junk mail.  For a while, I was getting a steady stream of American Express card offers in the mail and frankly I was pretty annoyed with the daily barrage of thick, paper wasting envelopes.  One day, I opened up one of those envelopes on a whim and spotted a brilliant piece of printed paper.  Part of the campaign was how American Express was my passport to whatever and they included a paper passport full of stamps.  I was instantly inspired to use it in my art journal!

A motto for those brave enough to wander.

Supplies: 

  • Brown card stock
  • various printed papers (maybe from junk mail!)
  • tag or tag template
  • word stamp
  • black ink pad
  • brown ink pad
  • ribbon
  • silver thread
  • glass beads
  • paper piercer
  • sewing needle
  • hole puncher
  • eyelet
  • decorative fibers
  • metal tag
  • double-stick tape
  • small glue dots
  • standard tape
  • scissors or paper slicer
  • hammer
  • marker

Layer 1: Foundation

  • Measure and cut a brown card stock square slightly smaller than the paper bag journal page.

Layer 2: Word Background

  • Using printed paper, measure and cut a square slightly smaller than Layer 1.
  • Ink up a word stamp of your choice and fill the square from top to bottom.  Tip:  Test your stamp on a test paper of the same pattern to see how the ink and stamp look before putting it on your final piece.  Also, remember sometimes less is more when it comes to word stamps!
  • Attach Layer 2 to Layer 1 using double-stick tape.

Layer 3: Passport Frame

  • This where my junk mail makes its artistic debut!  Any printed paper, however, will work.  Measure and cut a rectangle slightly smaller than the height of Layer 2.  Leave about a 1½” clearance along the left-hand side.
  • Crumple the paper over and over again, until it starts to feel “soft.”  Then, lightly drag a brown ink pad over the whole thing.  This gives the paper a worn, antiqued look that really adds some character to the page as a whole. Tip: Memories makes a translucent series of ink pads that work really well for this technique.  My favorite for antiquing is a color called, “Sand.”
  • Attach Layer 3 to Layer 2 along the right hand side, using double-stick tape.

Layer 4: Quote Tag

  • This layer can be achieved by using a pre-cut tag or simply creating one yourself.   To make a tag, its as easy as cutting out a rectangle that is smaller than Layer 3 and nipping the top two corners at an angle.  Punch a hole in the top and you’ve got a tag!
  • Cut a square from printed paper that fits the middle of the tag from edge to edge, but leaves considerable space on the top and bottom.
  • Cut a smaller square that fits from edge to edge on the tag and previous square, but leaves clearance on the top and bottom to allow for a framing effect.  On this square, pencil in the quote and then go over it with marker.  Attach this square to the larger square with double-stick tape.
  • Attach quote block to the tag using double stick tape.
  • Grab some silver thread and wrap it around the top and bottom of the smaller quote square multiple times.  Secure the ends with standard tap on the back of the tag.
  • Add metal “wisdom” tag, using glue dots.
  • Insert eyelet through the tag’s hole and hammer into place.
  • Thread several strands of decorative fiber through the eyelet and secure into place with a simple slip knot.
  • Attach tag to Layer 3 using plenty of double-stick tape. Don’t be shy about loading it on pretty thick!

Layer 5: Ribbon and Beads

  • Any ribbon will work for this part, but I used a thin silk ribbon because it bends and lays flat with more easily than standard ribbon.  Trying to plan this layer is like trying to pour water in a straight line, so you’re better off  just going with the flow.  Let the ribbon decide where it wants to go and where it wants to bend.
  • At each bend or curl the ribbon takes, tack it into place by stitching a glass bead into place.  To make this easier, keep a needle pre-threaded (with left-over silver thread, maybe?) nearby and use a paper-piercer to make a hole through all layers so your stitch has an instant place to go. Come up through the hole with your needle, catch the bead, and then go back down through the same hole.  Tip: Instead of making a knot at the end of your thread, hold onto the ends and tape them down with standard tape.  Knots can tear through paper!
  • Continue your ribbon path until you’re happy with how it frames your page.  Secure the ends of the ribbon on the back of Layer 1 with standard tape.
  • Attach the completed page to the paper bag journal with plenty of double stick tape.

Junk mail has never been more beautiful!  Stay inspired!

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c.b. 2012

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