New Children’s books.

I haven’t been blogging lately. The reason? I’ve been writing. A children’s book to be precise. Well, two if you want to be totally accurate. One is so close to being published that I can hardly focus on writing a blog.

I did think about my blog. I did think about what to write. But those thoughts were fleeting. And then, back to my book. Now I can think about other things again. Things like writing my blog.

But my mind still isn’t quite focused on a blog yet. It really does take time to write a good blog article. A good topic takes research, writing, editing and proofing.

Sometimes it’s off the cuff. It can be about what’s going on right now. Or something you’re very familiar with.

Many times I’ve seen blogs from writers (I use that term loosely) that are nice to read. But, there’s so many misspelled words or incorrect grammar. It really doesn’t take that long to re-read what you just wrote. Does it?

All ranting aside, back to the main point of this blog. My children’s book. The title is “The King’s Riddle”. It’s about a king who wants to find the bravest and wisest man in the kingdom to marry his daughter. (Not very original, I know.)

The King comes up with a riddle. The winner, (you  guessed it), marries his princess daughter. Again, not very original.

What is original about this book?  The characters. The names are customizable. For instance, this first book is an anniversary present for my sister. So her name is the name of the princess. The brave knight that wins, that’s right, it’s her husband!

Voila! A great anniversary (or wedding) present.

It was a ton of fun to write this 20-page story. And it will be available for purchase soon.

As for the second book I mentioned in the opening paragraph, it’s called “Not Enough Worms”. And it will also be published soon! It’s a great children’s book. No customizing in this one. Just a good old story for kids!

Creatively Speaking,

Cynthia

 

Inspiration from Crazy Horse

monument-1631403_1280I spent the Labor Day weekend in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This is truly an awe-inspiring place. The natural beauty of the rock formations along Needles Highway is breath-taking. And of course, there’s Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore close by.

The difficult part of using the Black Hills and all it’s beauty as inspiration is imagining something different than sculpting a huge head in a huge rock mass. But it’s not about doing something on a huge scale. It’s about using that to inspire our designs.

The process which the artists used for those huge projects was to first design it small scale. They started with sketches and drawings. Then used clay and plaster to make their design in small pieces. Making their vision small allows them to show the beauty of their design vision. When I say small, I mean compared to their finished visions, not miniature.

Most of us are not going to make sculptures or projects that have a 40-foot nose. So how can we use this design method for our everyday projects? The method of making sketches and models for our projects may not be practical. Why make a sketch and model of a necklace? The point isn’t the actual steps it’s the concept.

Some projects can be completed quickly, while others may take years. When a project will take a long time, it may be good to make the design with a quicker medium first. Like making a sketch or model. This way the design stays alive during the years it takes to complete it. You’ll be able to show others what your ultimate design will be.

Think about the Crazy Horse Memorial. It’s far from being finished. When you learn the history of this project and see the scale model of the finished sculpture, it makes seeing the progress much more fun. We can anticipate the beauty of the finished artwork. Without the scale model, it just looks like a huge piece of rock with a little bit of sculptured work on it. By knowing how the finished piece will look and all the sacrifice and work that has gone into it up to this point, we can have a greater appreciation for the artist’s vision.

When we have a vision for a project, we can imagine it in our mind’s eye. It may not be a complete image, maybe just the concept, but either way, we have an idea which we want to create so we, and others can enjoy it.(Or hopefully buy it). Whether we jump right in and make it from scratch, or we sketch it first, we have a design in our heads longing to come out.

It doesn’t matter if it takes us a few minutes or a few years to complete our designs. What matters most to us as creative people, is getting that design out of our heads and into the hands of those that appreciate and enjoy it.

Creatively Speaking,

Cynthia

Creative Cooking

Cantaloupe mini-cupcakes. Yum

 

Today my creative juices inspired me to bake something out of cantaloupe.

IMG_496
Cantaloupe mini-cupcakes

Every summer I enjoy this sweet melon. I eat it cut fresh, in salads or in smoothies. It’s a refreshing flavor, but I have never baked with it.

I decided to try making a sweet bread with it. You know, like banana bread. I didn’t want to use the same recipe as banana bread and just switch out the banana and use cantaloupe. That just didn’t seem right. Cantaloupe has its own sweet flavor and I didn’t want it to taste just like banana bread – except it has cantaloupe in it. So I revised a couple recipes for the cantaloupe.

Instead of making a loaf of bread, I like to make mini-muffins or mini-cupcakes.  Everyone loves popping a mini-muffin in their mouth on the way out the door. And they’re easy and fun to pack in a lunch.

Here’s the recipe I used and baked at high altitude.

  • 2 cups very ripe cantaloupe puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a mini-cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and the cantaloupe puree.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and pumpkin spice together.
  4. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
  5. Add the walnuts and stir until mixed through.
  6. Spoon into mini-cupcake pan filling about 3/4 of the way.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Or if you don’t like putting your arm in a hot oven try this trick.
    IMG_462
    Use spaghetti instead of a toothpick

    Use a piece of spaghetti instead of a toothpick. It’s longer and you won’t have to reach into the oven as far. And you won’t have to throw it away like the toothpick. Keep the spaghetti and cook it later!

  8. Makes about 60 mini-cupcakes.

These come out  moist and yummy, with a delicate flavor. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Creatively speaking,

Cynthia

 

 

Freelancing

Freelancing is a great way to make an income. It may be scary to step away from the corporate grind to go it alone. Freelancing could allow you to spend more time with your family and provide a decent income. Or it could suck up every waking minute of your time for a minimal income and you’ll hate it.

Starting out as a freelancer isn’t easy unless you already have a huge network of potential clients waiting at your door, which most of us don’t.  So the first challenge is finding the clients. Then there’s  meeting with the clients, presenting a proposal, and waiting to see if they’ll accept it. What if the client rejects the proposal, what then? Should you lower your rate? Promise to do more than the proposal stated? Guarantee to get it done sooner ?

How you respond to those questions is a vital step. If you lower your rate you could get the business, but it probably  won’t help you reach your income goals. It would be like getting hired to work for $20 an hour but when you get there the boss says he’ll only pay $10 an hour. Would you stay and work anyway?

Another potential negative outcome from lowering your rate is that when the client gives you a referral, that referral has been told that if he balks at your price, you’ll cave in and charge less. That’s not good for business! And it’s not vey professional.

The problem is getting the first few clients without having a portfolio or past clients to provide commendations that you can use. This can make you feel like an imposter. Then the “imposter syndrome” starts to creep in. You know the saying  “fake it until you make it” or “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. While doing this you may feel like an imposter for awhile. But think about this, are you good at what you do? If you are, then go ahead and strut those tail feathers proudly. But don’t go overboard and become cocky just be confident in yourself and your abilities. Cocky won’t win clients, confidence will.

Here’s a link for “Charge What You’re Worth” It’s a free 9 lesson course. If you’re new to freelancing or not getting the business you want, take a look at it. It may change your perspective and help you get more clients.

Freelancing isn’t for everyone. It takes courage, confidence, and skill. But it could be the best job you ever have.