100 Day Challenge 2021

It’s Springtime on the Illinois Prairie. This is the third year I am participating in a 100 Day Challenge.

On April 1st I created my first creation. The final creation will be created on July 9th.

My first creation is on a 4 X 4 inch watercolor piece of paper.

Day 1

I painted paper with acrylics and then I cut the paper to create mixed media. Watercolor was used for the branch.

For the next nine days I continued to create more 4 X 4 inch creations using acrylics and/or watercolor and painted paper to design more mixed media with cut paper.

Day 4

Today I am posting the first ten I painted and created during the month of April.

In about ten days, I will share and post another set of 4 X 4 cards as I continue with the challenge.

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Summer Lights on a Summer Night

By Suzy Leopold

Sun slants low. 

Twilight follows. 

Shimmering, silvery! Moonlight shines. 

Scent of honeysuckle seeps through the air. 

Screen doors slam. 

Footsteps follow. 

Whirling, twirling! Children swirling. 

Hear their excitement and the laughter. 

Summer nights. 

Sparkly lights. 

Blinking, flashing! Fireflies aglow. 

Chase the bright, fluttering lanterns.

Nets and jars. 

Capture the glow. 

Reaching, jumping! Catch one if you can. 

Tighten the lid. Remember to punch holes. 

Eyes focus. 

What do you know? 

Observing, wondering! Asking questions. 

Starry mysteries. Amazing insects. 

No more time. 

So set them free. 

Shimmer, sparkle! Into the nighttime. 

Dancing diamonds. Summer nights. Summer lights. 

Word Count 96

Photo credit: @csak
Photo credit: @BBCAmerica

Thank you Ciara and Kaitlyn for the opportunity.

For more information and the rules of the Spring Fling 2021 read Ciara’s blog post.


Good luck!

Let’s catch some fireflies!
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Time to Make a Journal

Many people, young and old, keep journals-artists, students, teachers, librarians, gardeners, farmers, athletes, politicians, scientists, writers, chefs, and many, many more. 

A journal can be used to record every day events and topics that interest you. A journal may include daily entries that record news and events that are personal in nature. Some journals become similar to a diary and are private. The journal entries include personal experiences, thoughts, and dreams.

Journal Creations

Some journal entries share thoughts, recordings, and reflections. Journals can keep favorite quotes, jokes or delicious recipes. A working journal can record observations and facts, such as crop, plant, and weather data.

Journals can be a written conversation for learning and growing in a double-entry journal. This type of journal is a way to share, read and respond while rotating the journal between two writers. For a writing workshop, a double-entry journal dialogue is shared between a teacher and a student.

Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci kept over forty notebooks?  He wrote about his activities, and recorded plans for his engineering projects. 

If Meriwether Lewis had not kept a journal while exploring across North America, we would not have a glimpse of his travels nor the geographical information recorded in his journal. 

The beloved, world class diary, The Diary of Anne Frank, was written while Anne and her family hid from the Nazis during World War II. Reading her remarkable child diary connects the reader to the horrors of the war.

Our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, kept a kind of diary. On little scraps of paper, he jotted down thoughts and sometimes referred to these notes during his speeches, as a powerful orator.

I am an educator who reads, writes, and creates. I have many journals that I created over the years. Journals support my writing journey.

Let’s make a journal.

Materials needed:

1.  A composition notebook

2.  Four pieces of scrapbook paper 12 X 12 inches. Cut two pieces 12 X 8 inches for the outside front and back covers of the notebook. Cut two pieces of scrapbook paper 6 x 9 for the inside front and back covers of the notebook. Note: Be creative and mix and match pieces of scrapbook paper. Consider using gift wrap paper, construction paper, card stock, linen type paper or even craft paper.  All work great.

3.  Glue stick and hot glue gun

4.  Scissors

5.  Ribbon, rick rack and/or twine

6. Embellishments, such as scrapbook letters and/or stickers, recycled greeting card cutouts, buttons, rhinestones, etc.

7.  A Paper Folding Tool or Straight Wood Ruler [optional] I use a plastic kitchen bench scrape!

Folding Tools
Suggested materials needed.


Using a glue stick, generously apply glue to notebook.  Place one piece of paper to the front of the composition notebook.  Repeat for the back. The scrapbook paper should line up next to the spine of the journal leaving the black binding of the note book exposed.

1st Step

Line up the piece of scrapbook paper next to the black binding of the notebook on the front of the composition notebook.  Repeat for the back of the notebook.

2nd Step

Repeat for the back of the notebook.

3rd Step

Use folding tool to make crisp folds. If you don’t have a a folding tool, press firmly with your fingers. Create mitered corners [triangle shapes] by folding the scrapbook paper inward. Do this for both the inside front cover and back covers.

4th Step

Once four triangles are folded, use the glue stick to adhere the corners to the notebook.  

Fold in three sides on the inside and back covers. Make crisp folds using a folding tool or finger presses. Glue and secure.

5th Step

Use a generous amount of glue to attach the 6 X 9 pieces of paper to the inside front and back covers of the journal.

6th Step

Open journal to the center seam. Using a glue gun attach two or three pieces of ribbon as shown in this photo. Tie a knot at the end of each. These are bookmarks.

7th Step

Final step—Time to decorate the cover of your new journal.

8th Step

Enjoy making and creating journals. Hope your new personalized journal provides you with many opportunities to write.

Have fun making journal creations for various writing events including an annual writing event, ReFoReMo hosted by Carrie Charley Brown and Kristi Call.


Over the years, I made and shared journals for gifts and recently sent one to Carrie Charley Brown.

Journal for Carrie Charley Brown
Journals galore that I made for teacher friends.


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A Creative Life

In general finding a balance in life can be a challenge. Adding creativity to days already filled from sun up to sunset can make life even more demanding. However, it doesn’t need to be.

Think about your priorities.

What is important to you? Consider your beliefs and value system.

I’m quite certain many would agree with me. My personal well-being and my family come first.

Everything and everybody else will receive time and attention after I care for me. Now, I am not selfish or needy. It doesn’t take much for me to be happy. I am thoughtful and giving. In order for me to give to others, I must make sure my basic needs are met. For me, this includes healthy food, a good night’s sleep, exercise, and precious time with loved ones. When these needs are met, I find I have more energy to give to others and more time to create, which includes writing and creating.

I am thankful for my husband and family who support and encourage my creativity. They recognize my desires to read, write, create, learn, and grow. It is reciprocal. We offer the same understanding and love to each other.

Respect your reality.

Finding time to fit everything in can be stressful. It doesn’t have to be.

The laundry and dishes are piling up. Press pause. The chores can wait.

Perhaps you have 15 minutes to spare. It’s not much time. However, you can use it wisely. Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Write. Open a box of watercolors and begin painting. Read a picture book or two to your sweet littles.

Block out days and specific times on your calendar for your creative self. This is your time. Carve out chunks of time for you. When I read, write, and create I feel stress free. When I’m out and about riding bikes or walking the country roads on the Illinois Prairie, I use the time to recharge; even reflect and reimagine a current project. Planting more seeds in the garden also allows my active brain to slow down and enjoy nature all around.

I respect the fact that my reality exists. I choose to allow my personal life and and my need to create to exist together.

Riding the country roads

Social Media

Gosh! I don’t have a desire to be popular. I do not need to be a friend to all who share, post, and tweet on blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and so forth. Yes, I have these accounts.

There is no way to read and comment on all of these social media accounts. Again, it’s about prioritizing my time. There are many amazing bloggers, Facebook groups, interesting Instagram photos, and Twitter happenings and events that I don’t want to miss. I am selective. If I need to step back from an account that has become negative or perhaps zaps my creative energy, I move on.

I want to share my creative spirit with others and support their endeavors, too. Especially during a global pandemic when we are staying safe at home. When I can, and I do, I read, share, retweet, and comment to support my fellow creatives.

Read more thoughts from a GROG Blog post, July 2020.

Rethinking Social Media Time for Creatives


I feel I am more productive and creative when I remember what my priorities are. Sure, there are days when I question why a particular day didn’t come together as I had planned or hoped. Perhaps I did not find the time to revise a manuscript, critique a writerly friend’s story, paint a bookmark, create and decorate a journal for a friend, go for a walk, or tend to the garden. I can’t do it all. I will not blame myself with guilt and negative thoughts.

In theory, if we all lived in a perfect world, where everything works out just right for creatives, would we truly be happier and more productive?

This is my reality. I accept that and continue to move forward, knowing tomorrow may come together better. These are my priorities. It’s what is important to me.

A watercolor bookmark
I picked these flowers for you.

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#50 Precious Words 2021 Contest with Vivian Kirkfield

Illustrated by Vicky Fang


I begin as a striped seed.

Planted in the garden.

Spring rains. 

I sprout beneath the soil.

A root digs deep. 

A shoot breaks through. 

A seedling sprouts. 

A woody stem.

I reach for the sky.

Summer days.

Tight buds. 

Sunny, yellow petals appear.

I make a debut.

Hello, world!

Hello, Sunflower!


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Picture Book Party Contest

Mindy Alyse Weiss is hosting the 7th annual Picture Book Party Contest. Thirty favorite entries will be selected. From there many literary agents and editors will read a query letter and the first 60-70 words of a manuscript to make a selection.

Thank you Mindy Alyse Weiss and the dream team of judges for supporting the creatives in the kid lit world.

Read all about this Picture Book Party Contest on Mindy’s blog post.

Good luck everyone!

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ReFoReMo 2021

ReFoReMo 2021

It’s almost time for Reading for Research Month!


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Nonfiction Fest 2021

It’s time for the second annual Nonfiction Fest hosted by Pat Miller, Lisa Amstutz, Stephanie, Bearce, Susie Kralovansky, Linda Skeers, and Peggy Thomas.

Sharing a link to the first post written by Melissa Stewart.

Literary Nonfiction https://www.nffest.com/

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Book Giveaway: EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS by Joanna Ho

Read about a book giveaway on Kathy Temean’s Writing and Illustrating Blog.


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Storystorm 2021

Storystorm 2021

Every January Tara Lazar, author, hosts Storystorm.

Participants read inspiring posts from published authors and illustrators.

Each post is filled with creativity, innovation, and imagination for picture book writers and illustrators.

Today is day fifteen and my journal is quickly filling up with thoughts and ideas for possible stories.

Registration is now closed to be eligible for prizes. However, you can still read all of the great content


My Storystorm Notebook from Michele Ziemke
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