Celebrating creativity, imperfection and life’s simple pleasures…
This Dutch magazine is a gift. With monthly international issues (available in English), it’s filled with surprises. You might find cute stickers tucked inside, a little notebook to jot down your gratitudes, or bookmarks for your next read. The articles span topics of self care, enjoying life, and creativity.
They are pricey at $24.99 but I find them well worth it. They can be hard to find at times. You can order them online but I’ve also found them at: Walmart, some Shoppers Drugmarts, and Chapters.
smith JOURNAL is published quarterly out of Australia. It’s filled with great little stories and eccentric pieces. For example, in the issue above, was the story of an artist who loved the typography and design on old racing cars. He found old cars and removed their doors to create an exhibit. It’s a fun read that aims to take unexpected, interesting, funny and sometimes complicated stories and tell them the way you would to a bunch of friends at the pub.
You need to try it. It’s only a few questions and my results were bang on.
According to the quiz, I’m a visionary.
My Creative Strengths: Full of big ideas, ability to see potential and possibility everywhere
Untapped Potential: Using your visions to fuel consistent daily action
Ideal Collaborator: The Thinker
You live in a world of infinite possibilities, preferring to see things not as they are but as they could be. You know that life is limited only by the boundaries of your own beliefs, and you’re driven to push the limits of, well, everything.
passion-driven, and full of ideas, the VISIONARY combines a vivid
imagination with a desire for practical solutions. Your introspective and intuitive nature is balanced by a keen interest in the world around you and a desire to contribute to society.
Charismatic and expressive,
you love sharing your ideas and visions with others and creating
community around shared values and ideals. Your greatest gift? The
ability to see the spark of potential in everything and everyone, and to
inspire others to see it, too. You’re able to guide people toward an
invisible horizon with a rare generosity of spirit and strength of
Don’t get stuck in the dreaming stage, VISIONARY. Your greatest challenge—and true power—lies in learning to take consistent daily action to create the future you envision.
Seek out the “voice of reason” of the THINKER type to help you take a grounded, rational approach to your creative work. The THINKER’s deep perception and probing intellect lend a powerful clarity that can bring your visions into sharper focus.
So needless to say, I need to find some thinkers out there to help me get my ideas together and out there! Take the quiz and let me know what you get.
It’s easy to make your own little readers at home.
Books based on your child’s interests and experiences will make reading relatable and enjoyable for them.
Here’s how you do it…
1. Find a story structure.
You’ll start to notice repeating sentence stems in books for early readers.
My Family. This is my mom. This is my dad. This is my brother. This is my sister. This is my grandma. This is my grandpa. This is me! This is my family.
This is my is repeated over and over. This is a story structure that you could use in your little reader.
Other examples of repeating sentence stems:
Here is ___________. Here is ___________. Here is ___________. …
Look at the ___________. Look at the ___________. Look at the ___________. …
The _______ is here. The _______ is here. The _______ is here. …
and many more!
2. Choose a Topic that Your Child would Love.
Does your child love cars? Create a book that highlights their interests.
Do they have a favourite stuffed animal? Create a book that features objects around home that have meaning to them.
Is the local farm their favourite place to go in the world? Create a book about a recent trip or adventure you went on (…adventures can be to the park near your house).
The overall goal is to create a book that has meaning for them. Just add your own words to the sentence stems and you’re on your way.
3. Take Some Photos
This is the fun part! Get creative and take some photos for their book.
It’s easy to go overboard (as in taking waaay too many pictures); it’s fun, right?! But try to keep your book to 8 pages or so (I notice that in most early readers, there are 8 pages total). Use this as a guideline to keep your book short and engaging for your little one. You don’t want a book that seems to drag on.
4. Create the Book.
Set up your Document
I use Google Docs to create books for my kids. Whatever word processor you use is totally fine (e.g., MS Word), just try to keep it easy and quick for you – otherwise you won’t feel like making them.
Feel free to make yourself a copy of the document so you don’t have to start from scratch (Just go to ‘File’ and then ‘Make a Copy’). Personalize it with your own photos and change up the text. My hope in sharing it is that you can see what it looks like as a document.
I use Comic Sans font because it’s the only font that has a proper shaped ‘a’.
Upload your Photos.
I found that the fastest thing to do was use AirDrop. If you have a MAC computer, go to that magnifying glass (search / find) icon in the top right hand corner of your screen. Then search AirDrop.
Then open up the camera roll on your phone. Select the photos you want to send yourself. You’ll notice once you hit the arrow in the bottom left hand corner to send it (either through text, email, etc.), tap AirDrop instead. Your photos will instantly go into the downloads folder in your computer. Save your pics and drag them into your document.
If you don’t have Apple products, email yourself the photos and save them to your desktop. I used to do that before I figured out AirDrop.
5. Print your Book, Cut & Staple. Done!
This baby doesn’t need to be perfect. Let’s be honest, there are going to be little hands all over it. That’s the whole point. We want them to read the book over and over. It’s going to get wrinkled and crumpled, and we can just print off another copy. No big deal.
I stack the pages and hold them up to the window to see through them. I quickly hack across with scissors doing my best not to cut off the words. Seriously. It’s meant to be quick and easy.
Arrange the pages as you wish and staple together. I use multiple staples along the edge versus one in the corner because I don’t want pages being ripped off while turning. It’s totally up to you.
Note from the writer (Lainie):
I decided to start making little readers for our son, Tate, when he started getting leveled books sent home from his junior kindergarten class. The books felt so outdated and low interest. The book about family was very nuclear and the book about Dad was about fixing things and working out. It’s not a judgment of the school or the teacher. You use what you have. I just decided to make my own.
I thought Tate might find it fun to read books about his favourite stuffed animal doing silly things (he has a funny little sense of humour) or to see photos of his family. Now we have three books and are looking forward to making more.
Although I was once a teacher, I do not have the same background in early reading as my friends and colleagues, so I reached out and asked them to share their knowledge and experiences with you by commenting on this post. Make sure you read the comments below. Just in reading them, I learned more. Thank you, Heather!
I hope you found this post helpful.
You can see other projects I do with and for the kids on my website: verylainie.ca There’s an option to follow my site to get updates right to your inbox (because who has time to search out someone’s website regularly). I’m also on Instagram sharing crafty projects at @verylainie.
I so badly need to go into hibernation. I’ve been filling my head with ideas and images for the last 3 years; collecting pieces I love on my phone, in notebooks, in Google docs… I’ve been squirreling away stuff. I keep telling myself that I’ll need it later. Now it’s time.
I’m ready to do a brain dump. To go back through everything I’ve gathered and create something with it. I don’t know what it will look like, but I’m excited and hopeful. It feels important, and at the same time, I’m also afraid. What if it ends up being nothing?
I know that I care about stories and making things with layers of meaning. I’m not sure how these pieces will come together, but I’m hoping that by the spring, I’ll be able to answer this question.
I also know myself. I can easily list 10 projects or more that I would love to tackle this winter. I want to sew a lap quilt made of wools from home. I want to sew a Canadiana quilt. I want to host more mitten making workshops. I want to make an online course: How to Sew Upcycled Mittens from Sweaters. I want to help my Mom finish her online course: Sew Your First Quilt. I want to do more printing with wood. I want to learn how to sew my own clothes. I want to offer my Writing Acts of Kindness e-course….
See how this brain of mine works?! I am very good at filling my time with a whole bunch of projects that could easily veer me away from doing the work that I need to do.
So in thinking about my creative hibernation, I’ve asked myself, What will inactivity look like for me this winter? Meaning, how will I stay focused and settled? Because I need to keep my head clear in order for everything to come out.
This is my plan:
no work on the weekends (I need to turn it off, even though I enjoy it)
sticking to work blocks versus family time (not grabbing time here and there while the kids have a snack or watch TV)
saying no to things that are not aligned to my goals (even if I really want to do it). Note to self: I need to really pinpoint goals so I can use them as a filter.
slowing down and being intentional with my time and work.
one thing / one place at a time. “I am eating lunch versus I am eating lunch and scrolling Instagram and thinking about my next project.“
So if you notice lots of projects popping up in my Instagram (@verylainie), please ask me how my writing is going. It will be the reminder I need to stay the course rather than avoiding it – because I’m afraid.
Here’s to an interesting winter…
If you’d like to follow along with me as I figure out what this looks like, you’ll find me on Instagram (@verylainie).