Things I learned by doing #ICAD 2016

Holy crap, I had no idea I would be able to do it.

I mean, I know that I am good with a challenge but I didn’t know if I would be able to draw something every day for 61 days. It helped to be able to switch to lettering or a quote when I needed it but I am super happy to have actually drawn as much as I did.

Here are some things I discovered

1) I can draw a lot more than I realized.

I guess I have it in my head that artists just get the idea in their head that they want to produce and they just pick up the pencil and create it. But they have to practice and learn too, of course. So my looking up tutorials and the like is not ‘cheating’ it’s learning. 13754189_10157277350680232_5055351563028626821_n

2) I really LIKE creating images for some things.

It was a challenge to come up with a visual that I could create in some cases but I enjoyed the process of thinking about it and turning the prompt one way and another to decide what to do with it.

3) I also like making hand lettered quotes.

I’m not particularly good at it yet, but I am enjoying the process of learning about it. Figuring out what words to emphasize and how to present them best has been really fun.13726597_10157258890280232_2849975848315329334_n

4) Drawing things helps me organize my ideas.

I have added a lot of drawing to my to do lists and gotten into figuring out a bullet journalling process so I can maximize my fun in creating a list.

5) I don’t have a big desire to learn to draw ‘real life.’

There are few things I would like to learn to draw accurately – like an apple and a person’s face – but mostly, I like my sort of quirky style that has been emerging over the course of this challenge. I haven’t fully developed it yet but I am getting there.

6) I think I might like to create a web comic.

I don’t know exactly what it will entail but the idea is growing for sure. 13770530_10157271139745232_3161780484514843029_n

7) I feel like I can communicate differently with images.

I have always been good with words and I love to make words do what I want BUT I have discovered that there are things that I cannot say in words that sort themselves into an image – a visual representation – and have a lot more impact. Well, an impact on me at least. YMMV.

8)I really like art supplies.

This isn’t exactly a new piece of information, but I have developed an even greater affection for specific pens and paper since this challenge began.

9) I am inspired to share my drawing.

I think because I feel like I have a handle on my writing, I generate a set of expectations for myself about it and then I think twice before sharing it. With my drawings, I don’t take them as seriously so I just fire them out into the world, no matter how bad they might seem to me. I like sharing my work more frequently and I want to figure out the best way to do that for my writing. 13692712_10157245967030232_6804984998824703204_n


I though, before this challenge, that it was just writing on index cards that was fun. Turns out I like drawing on them just as much. Index cards are perfect for keeping intimidation at bay.

11) I want another art challenge so I keep drawing.

I want to find another challenge so I can keep myself drawing every damn day. This is exciting and the prompts (and the size of the cards) give me enough of a sense of limits to keep me focused on what I am doing. I have a tendency to do too big too soon with projects but there is no way to do that with a challenge. Especially if it is limited to cards or to a square in a notebook. I am looking forward to figuring out this next step.

12) I want to create something that helps people as much as the index card a day challenge has helped me.

I want to find a way that makes it easy for people to create like this. It’s exciting and easy-going but yet, somehow it helped me move my drawing forward. Go team!

Pyramids – visions and real – #ICAD2016

Today’s prompt was pyramid and I had this idea in my head of an Egyptian pyramid and I was going to write about how I decided (at age 7) to become an archaeologist because of the Nancy Drew book ‘Secrets of the Forgotten City.’* The book is about an archaeological dig (although not in Egypt) and for me it tied archaeology in with detective work and drew me in. I remember telling my Mom that she shouldn’t count on me having her grandkids because it would be too dangerous for me to having them crawling around in tunnels with me on my digs.*

Meanwhile, it turns out that I could not reproduce the image I had in my head and instead I ended up with this odd shape that I couldn’t do anything with. Sooooo, I started thinking about other types of pyramids and came up with my hierarchy of needs.13325648_10157054710345232_824833378574359367_n

Ever since I was introduced to it in university, I have been interested in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. And I find it weird when people expect people who are unable to get enough food to find the mental space to be philosophical. I am grossly oversimplifying it, of course, but it is good to remember that humans have very real physiological needs that MUST be dealt with before we start branching out into other areas. That’s an oversimplification, obviously, but still.

Anyway, a few years ago, my friend Megan Francis posted a mother’s hierarchy of needs  which borrows from Maslow’s but adds some things very specific to parenting. That was a really huge connection for me. OF COURSE, we can’t function well if we haven’t slept well, if we aren’t eating properly, but until she laid it out, I had been expecting myself to just function the way I wanted to, no matter what the circumstances. Once I saw her pyramid, I stopped being so hard on myself about quite a few things.

So, today, when I messed up my pyramid vision, my mind wandered to the hierarchy pyramid and I started thinking about the things I need for my own personal satisfaction. There are lots more things I want and need in my life, of course, but these are the things that popped up for ensuring my own satisfaction with how my life feels from the inside.

I’m curious now, though, what would be in your hierarchy of needs?

*As an aside, one of the most fabulous gifts I have ever gotten was a copy of that very book. My dear friend Krista remembered that I had lost my copy years before and knowing that it was important to me, she picked it up on her travels somewhere.

**Funny how my 7 year old self assumed that 1) I would obviously work after having kids 2) the kids would automatically be with me all the time 3) all archaeologists spent a lot of time crawling around in dangerous spaces.

Mixtape. Something About You. #IDAC2016

I’m doing another challenge!

This time, it’s the Index Card A Day challenge and basically, all you have to do is produce something creative on an index card every day until the end of July. I love index cards and I love having a reason to doodle so I am running with it.

I’ve decided that I’m going to use each card to tell a little story. Some of them will be fiction, some with be true stories about things I remember and some will be based on stories I like to tell when I perform.

I may or may not use the prompt each day (or the weekly theme) but I did use it today.13325483_10157050390550232_1623327644707398414_n

Here’s my ‘mixtape’ index card.

And here’s the story.

I know that some people used to make a VERY BIG DEAL out of creating and receiving mixtapes. That wasn’t a thing for me per se but there was one tape that was very important for me.

Before The Man and I are starting seeing each other, we were just friends. I had gotten out of a horrible relationship that took a huge emotional toll on me and it was a bit of a struggle for me to remember who I was outside the context that my ex had constructed for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Man’s company though and we would drive around for hours most evenings with me lying down in the passenger’s seat, looking through the sunroof at the streetlights zipping by and pouring my heart out about how hurt I was, how empty I felt, how much I felt cheated by the time I had lost in that relationship. The Man listened, reminded me that I was kind and good and not at all at fault, and when I had cried it all out for that evening, we would turn on the music and just listen and drive.

We listened to all kinds of stuff. I remember listening to Tom Petty, to Concrete Blonde, and to hours and hours of radio. Then, at one point, a couple of weeks into this routine, The Man puts a mixtape into the machine in his car and lets it play.

Now, to be fair to me, I was never the kind of dame that guys made mixed tapes for. And the songs on the tape were playing on the radio on a fairly regular basis. And we listened to all kinds of tapes both of us had already owned – stuff recorded off the radio, stuff from other tapes at home – so it didn’t occur to me that this tape was special in any way.

In fact, we had a little routine of jokingly arguing about one song from the tape. I don’t remember the whole list of songs but I remember enough for the argument to make sense.

In my opinion, Level 42’s ‘Something About You’ didn’t belong with Sting’s ‘I Burn For You’, U2’s ‘All I Want Is You’ and Bryan Adams’ ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ because it was a whole different tempo, a whole different style of song. There was fun, but no yearning, in that one – at least in my mind.

After a while, The Man and I stumbled into a conversation that led to THAT CONVERSATION and we realized that our friendship was something more than that. Something a lot more. Something that is, to this day, one of the cornerstones of my life.

It was years later, when we were driving across the country to move to Winnipeg for me to go to grad school and we were listening to every tape in our collection, that I finally heard the message that was in the mixtape.

He was right, of course, ‘Something About You’ fits in perfectly.

I may not have gotten the message from the tape, but, luckily, I got the message very clearly from the man.

And, there is still ‘Something About’ him that makes this whole adventure work very, very well.

Maybe…May. Be.

I have two challenges for myself in May.

I am learning to take better care of myself and I am doing the Story-a-Day writing project.

I already know that I CAN write a story ever single day – I have written 2000 words per day since January 1 – but what I want is to complete those stories and get them ready to submit for possible publication.

Here’s the image I am using to remind myself of my priorities this month:

Yoga mat and notebook – tools of the word warrior.



I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and I thought I had posted it. I also thought I would get back to the A-Z challenge. Things don’t always go the way I hoped. I am getting better at being okay with that.

So, on Tuesday past, my oldest son, a.k.a. The Boy, was diagnosed with diabetes and we spent the rest of the week in hospital learning how to manage this new part of our lives.

Obviously, the A-Z challenge took a backseat to that.

He is okay, we are home from the hospital and getting used to our new normal.