Friday, July 13, 2018

To the 60s and Back

It is no longer 115 degrees here. Now it’s just in the 90s with unusual humidity. So any way you look at it, it’s still uncomfortable. I have been dragging all afternoon, feeling sapped of energy. I wondered what I’d write about this week and then between stuff I called up on my phone and dealing with my computer later, the subject presented itself.

While I was lolling on the couch trying to re-energize myself, I played with my phone. Something I usually don’t do. I guess it started with an ad I saw in the paper for a show that featured some groups and individuals from the 60s performing at the Orange Country Fair over the summer. It stirred up nostalgia in me and I started Goggling Gary Puckett (he’s one of the performers in that show). I was just curious what he looked like. Well I ended up watching a YouTube performance from the 60s when he was in a band called the Union Gap. I chuckled at their outfits which I suppose were suppose to look like Union uniforms from the Civil War.

The music took me back to the 60s. It was like the way a fragrance trigger’s memories and emotions. I marveled at the wonder of my phone as I found another YouTube video of a favorite song. The duo was Chad & Jeremy and it’s called A Summer Song. Even all these years later that song gets to me. It took me right back to my room and all that was going on in my life then. I was absolutely back being that me.

But the song ended and it was back to here and now. It was also the end of the upside of dealing with computers and the Internet. My desktop computer turned itself off and back on during the night. I assume Windows sent some command to it that made it do it. When I went to it this morning, the file I had open was now closed and there was a window in the middle of the screen telling me that Goggle drive would no long sync and I had to download something. I’ve seen that window before and just wanted to close it. But the red box with the x didn’t work. Worse, the box stayed on top of anything else I tried to do like work on my manuscript. I had to leave this morning and thought it would go away during the day. It didn’t. Finally, my only choice was to shut down and restart my computer. Only the window was back. At last, I figured out a way to close it. If you’re interested, I went to the icon on the bottom of the screen and it gave me an option to close it.

I was left with time wasted and my frustration level up. But it only got worse. I don’t know if it is because of the end of net neutrality or something with my Internet connection but it started to tease me. I would see that I was connected and try to do something online. And then the connection would be lost. And then it came back and was lost again. More time wasted and frustration level going up. All the poignant nostalgic feelings from the Chad & Jeremy song were blotted out . The irony is that I was trying to access a meditation session.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Layout Kits to the Rescue

A few months ago, I was finally able to find a storage unit that fit my 12x12 scrapbook albums. I could finally display them out in the open, in one area, rather than having the albums in bookcases or shelves in different parts of the house. Now that the albums are accessible and out in public view, my family is looking through them more often.

Seeing my family enjoying the albums has made me want to "catch up" on scrapbooking. There are tons of pictures (daily life, vacations, special events) that are still in drawers or boxes. I want to share those photos with them rather than just storing them. Some weeks though it doesn't seem like I have much time to craft. Other things get in the way. And while I've been able to craft at least once a week, the time can be limited and I do small projects rather than layouts that can take more time.
Not to mention there are days when I'm not feeling that creative.

Sometimes writing can be a big drain on my creativity. When I'm done working on a new book or editing, my brain is tired and I just can't think of anything new, even a page design. How could I accomplish my goal of more layouts in albums when I'm feeling short on time and creativity? The answer for me is layout kits. I can do the layout exactly as the instructions show, or I can change it up a bit if I'm in the mood. It might be that my mind can't figure out the starting off point for a layout, but once shown the main foundation of the page, I can see how to place the other elements and I'll go off the directed course.
Page 1 of a layout kit

Page 2 of a layout kit...just need to add photos

 Sometimes, like these two photos, I'll do the layouts and then add the photos later. This page I made at a class I took at the Stamp and Scrapbook Expo. I really loved the style of the layouts and colors as it will go nicely with our California pictures, and I have a couple more of these kits that will complement it. Most times my albums are a mix of styles and colors, but there are times I want a more cohesive design for the pages in an album. Other kits, rather than having the components cut out and ready for use, are more of a collection of pattern paper, cardstock, and embellishments that work together to create eye-pleasing layouts, taking out the guess work if the patterns work well together.

My favorite kit companies are:

Quick Quotes. Their kits can be easily customized (elements moved around).
I love that the pieces pieces are punched out and not that much cutting
is needed. Saves time. Instructions are included.

The Whole Kit-N-Kaboodle. They have more than just Disney theme kits,
but those are my favorite. The instructions for the layout are easy to follow.
The die cuts are not assembled. You have to glue them together.

Kiwi Lane. This kit comes with an idea sheet and step-by-step
instructions for one of the layouts on the front. Kiwi Lane
templates are used for the design (the templates are
sold separately).


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Conference Preparation




As I mentioned last week, I'll be at the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Denver later this month.  In fact, when I blog here next week, I'll be on my way there! 

I'm looking forward to it for many reasons, but I'm especially excited about celebrating my 25th Harlequin Book Milestone.

I didn't request a place at the Literacy Signing when I should have, but fortunately I'm allowed to participate, though I'll need to bring my own books to sell.  It's always an enjoyable event.

Then there are parties and meals and general fun I anticipate engaging in.  I've gone to a lot of RWA conferences, although I didn't last year, and I always have a good time.

So what will I talk about here next Wednesday?  Don't know yet, but I'll probably do a recap in my folllowing blog post.

Oh, and by the way, I'll be doing a chat on the Writerspace Facebook page tomorrow, discussing my books in different genres... and dogs.  Come on over and say hi!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Music Ancient and Modern




The piece of vellum my niece sent me is authentic, a page from a fifteenth century Italian antiphonal hand lettered and notated (is that the right word?) in Gregorian chant.  It’s worth about a hundred dollars.  Cool!


When I was in US Navy boot camp about a thousand years ago, one of the songs we learned was “WAVES of the Navy,” which I have never forgotten.  It’s a “counter melody” to “Anchors Aweigh,” and very pretty when sung with the latter.  By the words you can tell this dates to the founding of Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES) in World War II.  This past Sunday I was visiting a friend.  She’s a musician and an avid looker-upper of things on the Internet.  I mentioned that I had never heard that counter-melody outside of boot camp, and she picked up her iBook and seconds later presented me with several links.  Here’s one.  If you’re musically inclined, try playing it while listening to “Anchors Aweigh” and prepare to be charmed.  (“. . . [He] will find ashore his man-size chore was done by a Navy Wave.”)  The Internet is wonderful.
ered and notated in Gregorian chant.  It’s worth about a hundred dollars.  Cool!

When I was in US Navy boot camp about a thousand years ago, one of the songs we learned was “WAVES of the Navy,” which I have never forgotten.  It’s a “counter melody” to “Anchors Aweigh,” and very pretty when sung with the latter.  By the words you can tell this dates to the founding of Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES) in World War II.  This past Sunday I was visiting a friend.  She’s a musician and an avid looker-upper of things on the Internet.  I mentioned that I had never heard that counter-melody outside of boot camp, and she picked up her iBook and seconds later presented me with several links.  Here's a good one.  If you’re musically inclined, try playing it while listening to “Anchors Aweigh” and prepare to be charmed.  (“. . . [He] will find ashore his man-size chore was done by a Navy Wave.”)  The Internet is wonderful.

WAVES of the Navy,
There's a ship sailing down the bay.
And she won't slip into port again
Until that Victory Day.
Carry on for that gallant ship
And for every hero brave
Who will find ashore, his man-sized chore
Was done by a Navy WAVE.  

Words by Betty St. Clair 
(Written to harmonize with "Anchors Aweigh")
.