Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Nadine's Notions to the Fourth Degree

Notion:noun 1. idea, conception. 2. opinion, view. 3. whim, fancy.*

The above dictionary definition is how I decided on the name of my blog.  I dug through the N section of the dictionary looking for alliteration- a word to go with Nadine. 

Now I wish I would have given my blog name a little more thought. Notion seems like such an old fashion word. Back in the day there used to be a "notions" section at Woolworth's and K-Mart that had all sorts of stuff for sewing.

Notion:noun 4.small useful articles (as pins, needles, or thread)*
A sewing selfie!

This week, my blog is about the fourth definition of Notion.

Typically, this time of year, Tim and I choose someone from the angel tree at church to buy for. This year, I had an overwhelming need to make Alzheimer Activity Quilts. I first saw them on Pinterest, (Pinterest is my friend.)  and thought "I can do that!"  Take a look at what I've created. I'm pretty happy with my novice work.

This is my first activity quilt. It's approximately 3ft by 3ft. and it had quite a learning curve. I used a green crush velvet dress in 3 of the squares. Never again. Crush velvet material is not for beginners! It moves all over the place when you're trying to sew it.
1. Lace & velvet collar 2. Silk ribbon to tie (from dress)
3 Tassel balls from the end of a scarf 4. Zipper pocket from swim trunks with a stuffed pup inside 5. Sliding buttons on red ribbons 6. Puffy gingerbread boys
7. Taggies from ribbon 8. Lace crinoline from dress 9. Buttons of various size and color

My next two lap quilts are Christmas themed. I decided to make two smaller 2x2 quilts instead of one bigger 3x3 quilt and I'm happy with the way they turned out too.
Top Left: Beads inside a "tube" and felt fringe.
Top Right: Velcro hands Santa stuck to felt Christmas trees.
Bottom Left: Soft snowman picture frame.
I cut off the back, added beads and buttons and sewed it down.
(After I chased beads around the room a few times!)
Bottom Right: Big pocket stuffed with needlepoint coaster (someone else made)
and little wooden shoes.
Top Left: I call this my Father, Son, Holy Spirit square. Ribbons and sparkly white buttons.
Top Right: Wooden Christmas tree beads strung on embroidery floss.
Bottom Left: Soft Santa in a pocket
Bottom Right: The Star of Bethlehem. With a yellow brick-a-brack tail.

Every piece of these quilts were made from reclaimed materials. I bought items at Goodwill and Salvation army. Also, my teacher friends my recognize some of their old bulletin board fabric. Because I like to craft, I had plenty of left over doo-dads to use as well.

I plan to deliver these to a local nursing home tomorrow. I hope they will be put to good use!

Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Nadine

* The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 1974. p.480.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Writer's Block and Other Things

So this is what being a writer feels like. I have a deadline to meet and I’m not really interested or invested in an idea at the moment. Yet the deadline looms.

One of the reasons I decided to start my own blog was to learn how to hold myself accountable to meet deadlines. Deadline. Wednesday. 8:00 AM.

Another reason I decided to start my own blog was to learn how to create my own ideas and expand upon them. It’s 9:16 PM on Monday night…

Journal entry June 2007:
Got A Block?
Write around it! Maybe you're afraid of what you have to
say. Maybe you're too lazy to see a project through to the end.
What makes you decide to not keep going? Are the details too
tedious? Is the organization too difficult? Maybe you think too
much. Maybe you don't think enough.Maybe ideas are right in
front of your face. How do you take them from personal
narrative and give them story life? Rough draft is the first
step, don't you think? Just do it. Get something- anything
on paper. Go for it. It will be o.k. or it will suck...
This writing problem is sometimes called Writer’s Block. When I get stuck (AKA have Writer’s Block) writing my stories, I just keep writing. I put ridiculous things in the story. Just to keep it going. Eventually I find a way through the Block and can fix my work. 

That’s what I’m doing right now.

Just writing. I have no idea if I will scrap this before Wednesday or not.

I got the oil changed in my car today. I take it to the shop on the corner, about a mile away from my house. I’ve been going there for years. For the very first time a young woman mechanic took care of me. She wore the blue pants and blue button up shirt that is the uniform of mechanics- that included her name (Tammera) stitched onto a patch over her heart. She wore makeup and pigtails. She told me her mother’s name had been Nadine and that she’d never ever met another Nadine before. I was enchanted. When my car was ready I told her that her Nadine raised a lovely young woman. She beamed and said that meant a lot to her. And I wished her Merry Christmas.

You know, and the thing is, I debated saying anything at all to her. I thought that maybe her mom didn’t raise her, or that she’d be sad if I said something because her mom has obviously passed away. Or that saying something would be corny. It’s easy to be quiet, to just get in the car and drive away. But she put herself out there for me. She made an impact on me. I decided it was the very least I could do for her. It was right for me to acknowledge her mom in that way. It felt good.

It appears I’ve written myself out of a Block. In full disclosure, I had a few sentences about Dan Patrick wearing his socks inside-out today but I deleted it. The oil changing story was what I needed to talk about.

So this is what being a writer feels like. Another successful blog post. On time? Check! A small idea expanded upon? Check!

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself,


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Writing a Synopsis

This past week I queried (that means send a “PICK ME! PICK ME! letter) to another agent. I don’t like to send out mass mailings. From what I’ve read, it’s a waste of my time. Instead, it’s more important to do research for an agent that specialized in what I’ve written. It’s also important to kind of “know” the person. 

So, after I find an agent that might be interested in my work, I surf the internet for any snippet of information about that agent. Oftentimes I can find interviews that I will use to make mention of in my query letter. I check out their web sites, Facebook and Twitter pages too. (It takes a good bit of time to get all the information I need and the courage up to send all my stuff out once again.)

Typically an agent wants a letter that tells (sells) about the book, the genre, and word count. They also want to know what I’ve published (yikes!) in the past. I just skip that part and talk about my education instead, hoping that they’ll think I know what I’m doing. (HAH!)

Courtesy of Google Images
Anyway, the agent I queried this time wanted a synopsis of my story, THE INK OF TIME, along with the good ‘ol query letter.  A synopsis is like a summary. It tells the main things that happen and how the story ends.  That’s the most important part—how the story ends.  An interested agent wants to know what’s what in the book without having to read the whole novel before deciding Yea or Nay.

Writing a synopsis is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mean, I know this story inside and out. Frontwards and backwards. I was required to make the synopsis one to two pages long.  I ended up with two pages. (I have no idea how I would cut it down to one, but some day, I may have to figure that out too.)

My synopsis of THE INK OF TIME
My lovely beta readers – Erin and Bekka -and this time TIM also beta read for me- helped immensely. I put that novel on the Jenny Craig/Weight Watchers/ Beachbody diet. I took my fifty-one thousand plus word document and shred over fifty-thousand words. Yep. Yep. My synopsis is a slim, no skinny, nine-hundred ninety-six words. Less than one thousand words.

I haven’t heard anything back yet. Typically it takes a few weeks to get a reply- if any. I debated about the wisdom of putting myself out there before the holidays, or if waiting until January would be better. I thought I might get lost in the hustle/bustle, but I went for it any way. 
Strike while the iron’s hot, as they say.
Courtesy of Google Images

I’ll let you know how it goes…

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself.