Sunday, January 30, 2011

I need your advice...

One of my goals for the years is to find a way to make money off of my website. There are many ways that one can do this but none that appealed to me. I don't want to charge for the toys. I want to keep them free. This was really important to me.

I thought about having ads or sponsors, but who wants to see another car insurance ad cluttering up the place? I didn't want to be paid to blog about something or sell other people's products.

Then I found out that Barnes and Noble has an affiliate program that pays a percentage for every book that people buy from links on your website. And I get to pick the books! This seemed like an acceptable solution to me. I can sell my books, as well as feature books that I care about.

Here's a page that I set up.

What do you think?
"Neato, Marilyn. I love it! Books are awesome!"or
"Euuuh, yuck! You money-grubbing wanker. I'm never talking to you ever again!" or
"What books? I don't care as long as you keep the toys coming!'

And while you are talking to me, what are some books that you think other like minded creative folks should know about?

Thanks so much!



"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library."
~  Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, January 27, 2011

UPA Style Trees

This year, my treat to myself is art lessons from Bob Singer. I want to learn how to draw in the UPA style. UPA was the animation studio that produced Gerald McBoing Boing and Mister Magoo. It's a flat style, full of textures and exciting colors.

If you want a treat spend some time wandering through You'll find a treasure trove of beautiful pieces.

Draw on!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Team Rhubarb

I've never thought much about rhubarb. Heck, I can barely spell it. It always seemed like some pink celery from outer space. Over the holidays, the wonderhub and I ate at Knott's Chicken Restaurant and I ate rhubarb for the first time. It was horrible... cold, soggy chunks that tasted like glutenous sachets from an old lady's sock drawer. So I decided that rhubarb was the devil, an evil, vile,  barely food, on the same list as lutefish or pickled pigs feet.

But there were rumors of another kind of rhubarb, that perhaps I was being hasty in my decision to never let this pink celery pass my lips again. Friends wrote me about the heavenly properties of the stuff, sang the praises of rhubarb pies and jam. Descriptions like, "Best ever" and "so delicious" were thrown around with abandon. What did they know that I did not?

Then this package arrived by parcel post all the way from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. A mom and her eight-year-old daughter had made jam for the first time and they sent me some.  For three days I stared at these two little jars sitting on my desk, glowing like rubies... wondering.

This morning I toasted a whole wheat English muffin, poured myself a cup of coffee and popped open the jar of gingered rhubarb. I spread a tiny amount on the tiniest piece of bread and ate it.

  It. was. amazing.

It tasted like summertime and sunshine. I ate more. Then I tried the raspberry jam. It tasted like fresh fruit picked that morning, not like chemicals. Absolutely incredible. Moreish. Crave worthy. Perfect.

So thank you, Michele and Hannah. You have made a believer out of me. I will always be a member of Team Rhubarb.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Some paper mandalas

I don't have anything in mind for these little paper designs. They are just practice testers. They might make nice tiles or coasters.

They are made out of cut paper that I spraymounted onto watercolor paper. Then I filled in the spaces with watercolor.



 “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” ~ Theodore Levitt

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Perfectly good guitar...

It is the most delightful thing that ever happens to me, when I hear something coming out of my guitar and out of my mouth that wasn't there before. ~ James Taylor

A couple of years ago the wonderhub decided to take guitar lessons. He played in bands when he was a kid and thought that it would be fun. He has a wonderful teacher who is really talented and they have worked their way through a smogesboard of musical genres, from Gypsy Jazz, Classical, Rock, you name it, they've played it. And I have to say, there is something very nourishing about being in a house with music.

And the Wonderhub doesn't do anything by halves, he started building guitars. He done a bunch now, all different, a steel string, a classical (for me) an electric, a twelve string, a tenor uke (for me!) and now he's working on another electric and a mandocello.

Yesterday, there was a guitar show at the fairgrounds so we wandered over and looked around. We only saw a couple of classicals, which I find droolworthy, but it was great fun. The people watching was something else too, mostly older guys in their fifties and sixties, musicians in trilbies or with thinning long hair. Sadly, there weren't a lot of younger folks there, except one teenage girl who had bought an electric guitar and was clutching it like it was the Shroud of Turin. Gives one hope. :-)

 Country western guitars...

Lovely, old amps

The color scheme for the hub's next project

Wonderful wood and bindings.
Do you play an instrument?  What kinds of music do you like?



Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart. ~ Andres Segovia

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Perfect Date...

For Christmas I gave the Wonderhub tickets to see Chris Botti. He's a jazz trumpet player. Lovely music, the band has been touring for seven years now and very tight. We had awesome seats, the very back row of the top balcony with no one around us. It was just cool.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.  ~Berthold Auerbach


Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Hundred Drawings

It takes a long time to make a book, months... sometimes years. I've been inking like a printer's devil putting together one hundred drawings that are going into a new book called Haunted Histories. The first book will be about castles, dungeons and palaces.

My writing partner, J. H. Everett, is a historian and we are checking and double checking to make sure everything is accurate. We are using professional historical methods to present the information, something kids usually don't have access to until early college.

There are so many details. It's like putting together a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. We are also checking and double checking to make sure the book is read-worthy. Will a kid find this book funny, relevant, interesting? I sure hope so. We've managed to pack it full of information about what kid's lives were like through the ages, which I'm finding were less then stellar.

Today we are scanning the rest of the artwork and compiling it into a giant packet to send to our editor.

What time in history would you like to visit for a day?