Plans for the weekend

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Just when I was making grand resolutions to pursue my dreams with passion and courage, I got a little reminder to slow down and savour the moment. Mary has a fever and a bad cough. Nothing serious. Just enough to need lots of extra cuddles and naps. It’s in these moments that I know, without a doubt, what is the most important. My work is my passion; drawing and writing flow from my fingers, and when I can’t create on a daily basis I start to feel scratchy inside. But, the most important thing is nurturing my little family. So when someone needs hugs and kisses, I drop my paintbrushes and pens and run to their side.

This weekend I’m planning to do lots of sketching (for my big deadline on Monday), as well as lots of cuddles and cartoons with my baby. 

What are your plans for the weekend?

Dream plan do

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Want to know something? You don’t have to know your whole plan before you set your goals. You just need to have a dream. As your dream gets brighter and more tangible, your plan will become clearer. It is like a path leading through a misty forest; you dream of the glimmering, fantastic destination you want to reach, and as you walk, step by step, the ground becomes firmer and clearer and the path becomes wider. Just take one step at a time. And, most importantly, do your best!

What are you starting this week? I’m diving straight into the sketches for the next novel in the Princess Angelica series. Let me know what you’re working on in the comments! We’re all in this together!

Imagination for a day

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 “Do you want to be a doctor when you grow up?” I asked my daughter as she pushed her stethoscope against my chest. “I already AM a doctor,” she replied. -

Of course. -

She is whatever she imagines. She gets so immersed in her make-believe that it is more real to her than anything else. -

Isn’t that a wonderful way to live? -

I’m wishing you all a wonderful weekend, filled with creativity and flights of the imagination that are so tangible that you truly believe they’re real.

My bullet journal: welcome to my brain...

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Welcome to my brain… 

I’ve been using a bullet journal system to keep my life organized since my daughter was born in 2014. I always thought I was a fairly efficient and organized person, but when I become responsible for another little life, and my to-do list more than doubled in length, I realized I needed a more detailed system to keep me from going insane. 

After much experimentation, I have settled on a weekly spread in my @moleskine_world dotted notebook. I rule all the weekly pages in advance, so that the entire year is ready. What I love about this system is that it’s so flexible, there’s lots of room on each weekly page for notes and brainstorming, and there almost half the notebook is still blank at the back for more detailed lists or thoughts. 

For each week, my top tasks for each day go at the top, and other to-dos go beneath. 

Over the next few weeks I’m going to give a more comprehensive tour of my bullet journals, past and present. Is there anything in particular you want to see? Just let me know! 

Be warned, my bullet journals are loved, dog-eared and messy. They go with me everywhere. They sometimes get scribbled in by my three year old daughter. They are my brain: creative, chaotic, and friendly!

Launching “On Our Street”

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Today’s the day! I’m celebrating this week, and not just because it’s pancake day and valentines day… It’s also my new picture book’s Book Birthday today! I’ll take any excuse to party, especially in dreary mid-February. Do you agree?

Over the last year I’ve been quietly working on a series of picture books called “The World Around Us” which is published by Orca Books and written by none other than Jaime Casap, Google’s Chief Educational Evangelist, and Dr. Jillian Roberts, child psychologist extraordinaire.

The first one, On Our Street, comes out today! It is a compassionate look at the complicated topics of homelessness and poverty, perfectly aimed for children. Kirkus reviews calls it “Clear and accurate.” Plus, part of the profits from every book support UNICEF’s programs around the world. Isn’t that amazing?

Tell your friends, your library, your local bookstore. And be sure to get yourself a copy! Sign up to my mailing list on my home page to learn more about the book and my creative process. 

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Bullet journals and self care

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In this busy season of work and life, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I can care for myself more conscientiously. For me, this entails pulling back to the absolute essentials in my life: naps, water, drawing, reading, writing, eating protein, playing with my daughter and going slow. What do you do for self-care when you’re feeling threadbare and unravelled? I’d love to know! Why not share below?

My week in drawings

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Every afternoon Mary and I go for a wander around the block. Sometimes we stop at the corner store for a few things. Sometimes we watch the chickens in the garden at the local nursery school. Sometimes we admire the pink clouds in the sky. Yesterday the sky was particularly showy. I am so grateful for these little moments of joy. 

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It is an extremely blustery, windy and rainy day. Perfect for curling up inside with a warm cup of something soothing and a good book.

What about the one I just illustrated? 😉 It launched yesterday, and I’m over the moon excited about it! 

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Reading one of our favourite stories  

Go slow

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It’s ok to go slow. This is something I’m reminding myself on this cold snowy Sunday afternoon. I hope you have a relaxing and reflective day, and a wonderful start to your week. Go at whatever pace feels right for you, and maybe slow is best!

Twinkle time

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This morning Mary saw the morning star shining brightly when we opened the curtains. She sang “twinkle, twinkle,” softly, and in awe. What a wonderful way for a three year old to start her day. 

Invincible creativity

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In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back. — Albert Camus

 

I’m collecting quotes to give me strength as I embark on the busy creative voyage of 2018. Care to share in the creativity? I’m going to be sending monthly meditations on the creative life to those on my mailing list. Sign up on my home page.  

A chain of holding hands

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Sometimes we walk to the corner grocery store just for the sake of getting some fresh air. Sometimes we’re all in a cooperative mood; sometimes it takes a lot of compromise.

On this occasion, little one had to hold her doll’s hand before she would consent to hold mine. So we made a holding hands chain: doll, toddler, mama.

Sometimes life is like that. Chains of compromises to make everyone happy and comfortable. Hope you’re having a happy Saturday! 

Space Light and Inspiration for 2018

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On the first day of the year I always take a deep breath and tidy the house to create space for new possibilities to arrive in the coming days and months. There is a deep connection between breathing and space and creativity.

This is something I want to explore in the coming weeks.

“Inspiration” means “to breathe in” in Latin. Does that resonate with you? I’m going to send out a newsletter meditating on breathing and inspiration at the end of this month.

Why not sign up to learn more? 

Start today

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Happy New Year Friends! This is the season of new beginnings. I’m sure you, like me, are making lists of goals and habits that you want to incorporate into your life in 2018. Perhaps they’re big changes, or perhaps they’re small tweaks to things that are already mostly working. I, too, have those dreams. But, as I was getting ready this morning I realized that we can start afresh every day, whether or not it’s New Years day. Every new day is the start of another 365 day sequence. Every day gives us the opportunity to make new decisions and slough off old habits that no longer serve us. Thus, I have resolved to start (again) every day. It takes the pressure off and helps me feel so much more relaxed.And also, perfection and excellence aren’t synonymous.Something can be imperfect and also excellent. So, while I’m striving towards things that overwhelm me, I’m not going to worry about a perfect outcome. What are your 2018 resolutions? I’m excited to share this new year with you, as we go on our creative journeys together. 

My week in drawings

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Today is deadline day for me. The book sketches are finished and soon to be sent off, and I'm taking a moment to experiment with new art supplies for the joy of discovery. Studio time. Nap time. Play time. In that order. That is my day in a nutshell. What are you up to today? 

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When we got married, our first dance was to Nat King Cole's rendition of "orange coloured sky." Seven years later, on our anniversary, hurricane Ophelia turned the sky above London into an acidic orange colour. The sky was tainted with Saharan sand and smoke from the fires in Portugal. When I looked at the clouds they reminded me of the Sudanese haboobs (dust storms) of my childhood in Africa. It was uncanny, eerie, and beautiful. As the song says: I was walking along, minding my business, When out of the orange colored sky, Flash, bam, alacazam, Wonderful you came by.

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Thursdays are dance days, and both Mary and I look forward to them with great joy and anticipation. She loves putting on her tutu and ballet shoes and prancing in front of the huge mirrors in the light, airy warehouse studio. I love the fact that I sometimes get to dance with her as her partner. Encouraging her along. Helping with her steps. I miss dancing. And this is one little way to stay connected.