Friday, January 31, 2014

Sketchbook Friday: To Market, to Market

After last week's little mouse, I had several requests for a cat. Alas, the cat is apparently in London visiting the queen for I can find no drawing of him anywhere. Instead of a cat, how about a bag of groceries. A trip to the market during a snow storm can prove dangerous, but it's nice to know the pantry is full of the necessities: bread, cheese, wine, and chocolate!


It's kind of dark and a wee bit blurry. I was in too much of a hurry to grab that wine and cheese before it spoiled. Oh, and see! I did pick up something green. You know, for a salad...sometime...

Happy weekend everyone! Enjoy yourself, stay safe, and create with wild abandon!!



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday Wake Up (the Muse)

Good afternoon! Bet you thought I'd forgotten about you (and this weekly post theme). No, just sidetracked by the Atlanta Snowpocalypse. It's been crazy around the metro area; thankfully we're both safe and sound and home and NOT trapped on the interstate. If you think about it, send up a prayer or three for those people who are still trying to get home. They've been on the road since noon...YESTERDAY!!!

Here's your five Wednesday Muse Wake-ups! As before, I'll post the photos, a link back to where I found them, and a line or two of writer/artist prompting. This week, everything revolves around snow. It's only fitting.

If you do anything with these prompts, I'd love to read/see it! Shoot me an email (jstantonchandler (at) gmail (dot) com) or leave me a comment below! Enjoy!

1.  

A lonely path? The road home? An enchanted road to an unknown realm?
You decide...


2. 

He shouldn't jump, that much was certain, but the temptation to fly was just too great.


3. 

Perhaps the way out leads through the dark forest and not around...


4. 
I certainly couldn't let this topic go without an image of the White Witch. Found on CBN.com

Her lonliness finally became too great a burden to handle alone. She cast off all warmth and vowed to share her pain with everyone. The whole world would suffer because of what she's been forced to endure...

5. 
Speaking of armored bears...a still from The Golden Compass found at CGSociety.org

Friend or foe? Wisdom or folly? Would you ride an armored bear? Would you befriend the enemy?

Happy writing, dear readers! Stay warm.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Makes: laMMMMMMMb

Hello dear ones! For this episode of Monday Makes, we're talking LAMB.

Thursday I took an adventurous ride from Hampton to Decatur. Forty-five minutes and much highway annoyance later, I found m’self at The Dekalb International Farmer’s Market. I’d LOVE to show you some pictures of this small universe but, alas, no picture taking aloud L. The city of Decatur is a designated refugee site, meaning, people who are displaced from their own countries may be sent to Decatur, GA once they enter the United States. Who knew? It’s not like it’s New York or anything. This explains why one can venture into Decatur and find this bustling world market extravaganza! Seriously: every country and nationality is represented here in the form of food, spices, wine, cheese, meat, employee background, even vegetables and chocolate. Oh, dear friends, it is a feast in every sense of the word!


I brought home a couple of lamb chops. Now, I’ve never cooked lamb chops. They looked scrumptious and the felt a bit guilty looking over the meat while the butcher looked at me with a gaze that said, “Your eyes touched that; you must buy it.” So I did! And this, dear readers, is what I did to these little lamby-kins:


My First Go @ Lamb:

Rub your lamb chops with sea salt, pepper and some curry spice
Put a dab of olive oil in a skillet and turn the heat on to medium
Lay those little chops in the oil and let brown on both sides
Cover and cook for about 10-13 minutes, depending on how you like your meat (for me, medium rare to medium)
Serve with cucumber dill sauce. Eat. Enjoy. Rapturous.

Cucumber Dill Sauce:

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together:

1 cup of plain, unflavored and unsweetened Greek yogurt or Kefir
1 tsp of dried dill
1/2 tsp of dried mint (or fresh, whatever you've got!)
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 tsp sea salt or to taste
1/4 cup chopped red onion (optional)

Spoon liberally atop the lamb chops. This also makes a fantastic salad dressing or sauce for just about anything. Or you can just eat it by itself with a large spoon.

How was YOUR weekend? Cook anything fantastic?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sketchbook Fridays_A New Adventure!



Good morning! I have an idea and I want you all to be privy to it. I’ve devised a way to keep this blog neat and tidy (until the hailstorm of April arrives…more about that later). On Fridays you’ll get a peek into my notebooks. Seriously. All my little doodles, ideas, quote collections, and book excerpts will be here. There might be an essay. There could be a rant.  May even toss in a tea stained photo. Think of it as a virtual sketchbook. It’s an experiment and one that I hope will keep me committed to sketching and writing and exploring. I do hope you enjoy it!


WHAT'S IN YOUR SKETCHBOOK?

Happy Friday & Keep on Creating!


(All sketches, photographs, stories, essays, recipes and/or ponderings –unless otherwise noted or glaringly obvious- belong to Jennifer Chandler. If you wish to use anything, please send me an email! Thank you for not stealing. Thieves go to Mordor and die horrible, gruesome deaths  J.)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Meanwhile in the library...

Hey guys! I'm posting over at Boots and Bluestockings today for Denise Covey's Write...Edit...Publish bloghop! Sorry for the lack of "real" post here; I'm playing catch up and tag with time right now. Promise I'll get it nailed down before February sneaks in.

Have a marvelous Wednesday!
Cheers!

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Bunting we will go!

(Sorry for the delay! My emails refused to send these pictures through!)

Yes, it IS the middle of January! I know the new year may be in full swing for many of you, but January has always been for me a bit of a worm hole. A blip in the fabric of space and time that allows one to nestle into the new year and figure out just where one would like to go. I like to think of January as the Tardis of the New Year. I get to tumble about in space for 31 days before settling on where I’d like to go (oh, and if you’re wondering, the Ninth Doctor doth accompany me).


I’ve been working on this little lovely since the turn of the year. Recently, thanks to my unashamed addictions to Pinterest boards and British Magazines, I’ve developed a very healthy addiction to Scandinavian Style. Scandi Style, as it is affectionately known in all the Brit Lit I read, is clean, crisp, and oh so glorious! Behold these images: 



I decided to do a bunting for the new year that would reflect this love of the north lands as well as the desire for a crisp, clean slate on which to write a new chapter. 

Displaying 20140120_093735.jpg

Ta-da! Our own little Scandinavian Style bunting proudly hangs in our kitchen. It says Happy New Year in Dutch: Gelukkig Nieuwjaar.

To make this, I simply free handed a little triangle then traced it onto some old dictionary pages. I then free-handed some letters. You can always print directly on the dictionary pages (or whatever you use) or even use stencils. Or, if you're feeling very industrious, embroider each letter. That was my original intent; had I stuck with that this would have been ready for the new year...2016!

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After the lettering, I used the same little triangle to draw matching fabric buntings. Now for the fun part (and all the work!): choose your color and blanket stitch around each little bunting (if you need a tutorial on how to blanket stitch, THIS LINK will take you to a video which will show you how. It's a little blurry but it gets the job done). Trace over all the letters (if you did them in pencil like I did) with black ink so they can be seen from at least across the room. Then, grab a lovely piece of ribbon, length of fabric, or some hemp twine and attach.

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Hang your bunting where all the world can behold the glory of your creative prowess!

Anyone out there crafting for the new year? Oh, lovelies, there’s much more to come here J Won’t you join me?

Cheers!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Waking up the Muse

If you've been to my writing blog, you already know this has been a crazy week. Now you know again :P Seriously, I've been hunting for some quiet time to make my reading rounds. I think I found it...tomorrow! Ah well...extra work is better than no work!

Here's a little something I've been wanting to start for a while. A weekly post featuring a selection of images I've discovered while wandering. Most of them are courtesy of Pinterest (*slight* addiction) but all have the original link attached.

As a writer, I find myself constantly looking for inspiration. Once a week, I'm slapping some visual inspiration right here! Little somethings to jog your memory, wake up your muse, or just make you laugh hard enough to get your creative juices flowing again. Who knows? There may be a story tucked in here, just waiting for you to discover it! Cheers :)


Be Quiet!
this should be in every library :)

Got a character that won't shut up? Let him have it! Better yet, what IS he trying to say? Why won't anyone listen to him? And why is he so desperate to be heard?

♥

This lady's pinboards are always gorgeous. Sometimes I just like to stare at them and imagine my own life in a canopy of white... (original photo found here)

An inn tucked away in the snowy mountains. Relaxation and rejuvination. The scene of a romance? Or a grisly murder waiting to happen? Or maybe those candles start to flicker and there's no wind...maybe the table begins to creak across the floor and no one's around...hmm...


It is a collection of vapours from 3 graveyards around the world-Salem, Highgate and Sighisoara (Romania, Transylvania

The caption reads: "It is a collection of vapours from 3 graveyards around the world: Salem, Highgate, and Sighisoara (Romania, Transylvania)". Not sure what kind of vapours, but very interesting! There's a story here...

"Where on EARTH did you get THAT?" "Grandma's old trunk. She'll never miss it."
Or will she?


chocOlate ice cream with marshmallows
chocolate ice cream with marshmallows...yum, yum! The original post is in German but I'm sure you could either translate it or find a recipe in English. Unless, of course, you speak German ;)

Hot summer day, your characters need to cool down. Serve up some ice cream. Start a new cozy mystery based in an ice cream shop and share some recipes with us after the crime is solved. Better yet, ever thought of writing a cookbook? Oh, I have...


Oh, to have a vintage library.

A library of vintage books! Pinned from HERE and found HERE.

Something fantastic ALWAYS happens in libraries. Give your characters an adventure or two from a book, a library or a bookstore. Or write an essay about something magical that has happened to you in connection with one of those.


Travel Journal...

Gorgeous idea for a travel journal!! Pinned from HERE and original found HERE!

Create a travel journal for your characters. Cut out pictures or sketch the places they've been or the places they must go. Give them a map, tear it out and burn it, let them take it with them but leave the important parts blank...

And last, but not least, a writer's prompt:

Daily Writing Prompt - Writers Write Creative Blog
This could be a fun way to get to know an new character, or add a bit of interest to an old one! Pinned from HERE and found originally HERE!

Have a wonderful weekend! See you in the comments! xo

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hello Wednesday, how did you get here?

Have you ever had a week day sneak up on you? Better yet, have you ever felt stuck in a replay of "Groundhog Day"? I was called into work yesterday, a last minute thing, and my week has again been thwarted! Since Christmas my work schedule has been funky. I honestly don't know what day it is! Normally, I work Wednesday and Friday and when you throw in an extra day, my brain is like, "HUH? Where am I?"

Of course, my brain is usually like that...this just makes it worse.

That said, I haven't had a chance to visit your writing. Apologies. I shall pick up tomorrow (hopefully) as long as there are no more phone calls in the night.

THANK YOU all so much for your encouraging words on my last post. Three days into this new eating and I feel as though I've been deprived of everything! And that's a frightening feeling. There are moments when I feel out of control and others when I feel, oddly, claustrophobic. Who knew that not being able to just go dip into the pantry whenever I please could make me feel claustrophobic? And that makes me curious: am I a slave to food?

Food addiction. Now there's an interesting topic. I never noticed how much my comfort depended upon certain types of food. I'm not really hungry all the time; I'm just used to eating whatever I want whenever I want it. This is definitely a learning process.

Those of you who have given up foods, either for good or for a short time, what was the hardest part for you? Not necessarily the hardest foods to give up. I think we determined those were cheese and wine (is wine a food?) :)

It's a growing process, friends! Thank you for the encouragement and the cheers. and if anyone wants to smuggle me a piece of cheese, I'll love you forever and a day...wait, who's typing this??? Aaaaahhhh!!










PS: Over at the book blog, I'm talking about book club selections and reading books blindly given...oh, and I've posited a bit of a design question...

Monday, January 13, 2014

I'm going on an adventure!

original photo HERE. PS: This entire article is a fun read :)

Alas, no, I'm not going to Middle Earth, New Zealand nor, sadly am I embarking on a quest with Thorin Oakenshield to help reclaim the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor from the vicious Smaug. *sigh*

Over the past 10 years I've dealt with some annoying health issues. Loads of research (and mounds of frustration later), I've decided to tackle a long-term detox diet as well as adopt some other, alternative health methods to try and get myself back on track. Sounds like fun, eh?

I'm not going to bombard you with information or gory details (unless you WANT that) but I will, from time to time, post about what I'm doing, what's working, what isn't, any progress I make, and, if you're interested, some of the new recipes I'll be trying. No militant health food junkie here, folks, I promise! Just me trying to make things right so that the next 36 years of my life will be more energetic (and less painful and tiresome) than that last.

Huzzah for adventures! Even if they mean no chocolate, wine, or cheese for six...long...months.

Is it too late to sign up for that trip to Erebor?


Friday, January 10, 2014

New Year's Revolutions


You've probably seen these commercials as many times as I have. A man sits at a small table surrounded by elementary school-aged children. He asks them a question and them the children give varying -and hilarious- responses. The most recent one has a little boy declaring that the New Year is when you make your "new year's revolutions" to which the man responds with mock fear. The little boy, of course, isn't talking about uprising; he wants to eat more jelly beans. But it got me thinking: what if this year, instead of resolutions or goals, what if I DID make New Year's REVOLUTIONS?

What would I revolt against? What would my Revolution look like?

I'd fight against the tyranny of Fear and the prison of What If. I'd revolt against Trying to Please Others and Worrying about What Others Think (or might think) Of Me.

I'd fight for my right to be ME; fight for my right to be REAL.

New year, new opportunities. It may not seem like much, but 365 days is a long time. Every year I'm amazed at what I COULD have done, at what others DID do.

Let this year be YOUR year, the year you rise up against the fears that have been holding you back, preventing you from living the best life you can live. All those things that prevent you from going after those long held dreams and desires. Get started. Make a list and do one thing on that list everyday towards these new, shiny goals.

Will it be scary? Yes. Will the fear go away over night? No. In fact you'll probably deal with fear the rest of your life. But DEAL with it; don't let it deal with you!

Happy weekend dear friends!






PS: I'm blogging about choosing new books to read over at my Book Blog! I'd love to see you there and get your thoughts :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Everyday Luxuries

We've been spending a lot of time lately in front of the fireplace. With the cold, Arctic air and and wind whipping the frost from the trees, the hearth seems like the best place to be. Yesterday, we kept things simple: soup for lunch, a quick run for burgers for dinner and always a fire burning.

(In other news, Jon finally made it through The Hobbit! I've been watching it since Christmas day and, bless him, he's slept through it as many times as I've watched it!)

While we've been huddled in the house, I've been thinking about how we tend to incorporate little luxuries into our everyday life. With the soup, I grated cheese and made garlic toast, put those on small plates and we communed around the coffee table with a friend. Last night, we sipped tea in the bonus room (know affectionately as "The Nest") while the radiator gave off the most delicious heat. The tea drinking has become a nightly ritual, one that I look forward too during the day.

It isn't much. We don't spend hundreds of dollars on fine china and imported teas. We simply use what we have to make everyday things, necessities, a bit more special.

I encourage you to slip some everyday luxuries into your own life. A bit of garnish for that tomato soup. Add some vanilla beans to your sugar dish. Feast on toast from china plates as if you're the Queen of England.

Stay warm, my friends. And stay creative!



Monday, January 6, 2014

It is a Cold Wind that Blows Ill Will...

Or just an Arctic windchill factor that sends the patio chimes into a frenzy.

Where to begin? At the beginning? How about right where I'm at.

So much has happened since last we met. I am now a college graduate. Huzzah! The garden we so painstakingly planned and planted last spring floated away. And I have spent nine months harboring ideas which will finally (finally!!) come to light here...on this little blog.

Christmas was a feast of light and food and family. In lieu of felling a Christmas tree, we constructed one out of pallet wood, one from two snipped cedar branches (graciously donated from the cow pasture behind our yard), one from an old, quasi-stolen wood ladder, and finally, one wound upward from the carpet from stacks, and stacks of books!

Wanna see?



For those of you who read my other blog, I apologize for the double inundation of Christmas tree addict photos. But seriously, how do you not post a picture of a book tree?

Right now, I'm sitting in our bonus room which we've lovingly dubbed The Nest. The radiator is on full blast and a cup of tea is soon to follow. A candle is lit, the computer is humming (not sure if that's good or not...) and outside the temperature is plummeting down, down. We're headed for single digits I hear. To those of you suffering ice and snow, stay warm! Oh, and send some snow my way! I haven't had a snow day in two years...



Come nightfall, the fireplace will be lit and large amounts of cocoa will be consumed. Jon is off tomorrow because (shock!) The Company has deemed it too cold to work tomorrow. One has to wonder what spurred such compassion on their part, considering THEY don't work in the elements as Jon does. Ah well, I'm certainly not going to complain! I'm happy he'll be here and warm!

There's a lot of fun in store this year, dear readers! I'm looking forward to sharing some long overdue plans with you all! Keep in touch, keep warm, and pour another cuppa for me!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time there was a blog. It was a little blog, a happy place where the author could go and write about whatever she wished.

The author went through ups and downs and eventually got frustrated at many, many things.

The blog stopped and the author went to other blog addresses, other universes to see if what she was looking for was out "there".

After her long journey through the stars, she remembered her little blog and became homesick. So she came back.

A bit older.

Hopefully a bit wiser.

And full of wonderings and wanderings.

I'm back, dear-hearts. I don't know if any of you still have me on your radar. If so, do stop by! I'm looking forward to the new year and the resurrection of this blog.

Cheers!