Category Archives: Uncategorized

Baking the Bug

I kept this little lady bug for probably 6-7 months after her accident.  I could not find it in me to toss her out just because she had a wee fall.  Ok, yeah, she’s faceless/headless.  Most would’ve just tossed her in the can w/maybe a tear.  I’m not most.  Her beauty still shined despite that one nagging little detail.  Yup, you probably guessed that I’m one of ‘those’.  In all honesty, I wouldn’t truly categorize myself as ‘one of those’ simply because I do have my dark moments where my optimism annoys the hell out of me (it’s oh so much easier/less tiring to be a pessimist).  Optimism is my curse and defect.  It has turned me into a problem/puzzle solver when things go bad.  For me there is always a fix or a way–yeah, again, exhausting.  Eh, it’s my nature so I deal.  So, moving along…

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Again, not willing to let my lady go, I decided I would ‘fix’ her.  I have, in the past, sculpted a wee bit.  A few bits and pieces of nothing truly amazing have come from my dabbling w/Sculpey and other oven bake clays.  They are fun, inexpensive, and great if you don’t have a kiln in your kitchen (yeah, if only).

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Let’s just say that I’m a noob/newb.  I did not lend much thought as to the ‘process’.  Images of what could work popped in my head and that is what my hands worked out on their own.  I started out with a lump of clay, rounded it, and then molded it around the jagged edges (so it would place similar to a puzzle piece) and then carefully pulled it off – thinking to use hot glue to hold it in place.   I cooked said piece and while it worked, I was not content w/some of the flaw.  Thoughts of ‘what to do’ filled my mind because my OCD was having a fit over the very noticeable (to me) imperfection.  You know that saying, ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’?  Well, there ya go.  I decided that she was going to be ‘right’ and that was that.  I was not certain of my actions, only of the knowledge that I wanted her whole.  I took a wee bit more clay and smoothed the annoying flaw over and attached it better to the body.  Ok, wet clay was not happening so I grabbed my cookie sheet and showered my bug w/hope as I set her on it then….shoved her in the oven.  For 15 min I held my breath (metaphorically of course).  After 6 min, I had to open the oven just to check.  Was anything melting?  How was her little jewels holding up to the heat?  Was her paint running?  How was the rest of her body holding up (yeah, not sure what she’s really made of btw)?  Was anything possibly going to go boom?  There’s only so much you can realllly see through the sketchy oven door even w/the light on.

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Well, my oven didn’t make the bug explode nor did her metal legs melt.       

 

 

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The pics don’t really do her justice.  I think the paint was still wet and the camera on my husband’s phone doesn’t really care for me.  Anyway, my lady bug is whole, she looks like she was never in any sort of fall and I am happy.  Moral of my tale:  don’t count something/someone out when they are broken–anything/anyone can be fixed if you have the resolve/stubbornness that it/the person will be fixed!  Another way to look at it: I’m a stubborn woman who refused to throw my weird little dollie away!

It’s Rare, But Sometimes The World Stops

Ever driven yourself so hard that part of your mind pulls away and your body just stops moving?  The logical side says you must because, well, you’re supposed to (it’s program).  Then this, minute and rarely heard from, side says, “I’m done.  I’ve nothing left.”  With energy drained and reason no longer mattering, you falter ever so slightly. It’s as if you’ve temporarily stepped out of a whirlwind.  A peaceful drain settles over you and you’re hyper aware of how trivial the logical matters really are.  Perhaps, the true matters, that are normally pushed to the side, need to be addressed.  Of course in the end, the inevitable happens.  The logical side reboots and its will prevails.  The minute side retreats quietly.  Still, just for that moment, the world stops.

Yeah, that wee epiphany came to me during a walk at the park. Long week at work-the kind where you sit in your car after you get home and stare blankly at the dashboard.  I know that I am without a doubt OCD.  My mind works constantly and latches onto a task to make certain it is accomplished thoroughly.  I also seem to put way more into what/how I work than a few around me.  Though in all honesty, I don’t think those few are capable of anything more than what they bring as is (so it’s probably not their fault).  It can get a tad frustrating when you feel as if you do the work of two employees to their one (also not being able to rely on their assistance w/o fear of their usual mistakes).  This little revelation actually hit me several times that evening.  My husband kept looking at me strangely and asking me why I was stopping (along with the ever tiring, ‘are you o.k.?’).  A few times he tugged me along because I just couldn’t bring my body to continue.  Eh, I was done.

Pushing yourself is fine when it matters to you. Pushing yourself when you’ve really little choice in the matter and you dislike what you do, is the pits. I tend to believe that the latter takes more out of you.  I take pride in everything I do.  Yes, I’m that anal or perhaps I’m secretly a robot programmed that way. So, no matter if I hate a task or like it, it is accomplished with all that I am.  For one, if I have to put my time to it then why half do it?   Two, uh, I did it and it will be done to my best ability-it’s a pride thing.  Three, if I’m to say I did it then I refuse to have someone look at it and think cheaply of me.  Sadly, I’ve found not everyone believes as I do and it just confuses me.  Perhaps, this is why I’m so exhausted all the time?  It also doesn’t make friends. Ah well, my social skills suck anyway.

Sounds as if I need a loooonnnng vacation.  One day.  Somewhere in the mountains is where I’d go.  I live around beach area, but I’m not really a sand/water person.  Maybe I’m like a cat in the regard that I don’t do water (yes, I bathe).  I’d rather wander about where there are trees ( I have planted over 16 in my yard-so yes, tree lover I am).  Then again, perhaps a new lifestyle (a reboot, if you will) would be best.  I’ve often told my husband that I would love to move to the mountains to make jellies (yup, I’m a jelly/jam maker-dandelion, cactus, fig, pear, & peach so far) and write/illustrate my books for a living.  A reboot like that though, takes a lot of courage.  Right now, debt and kids in school seem to also make that reboot a little fantastical.  It’s frustrating that my life has me excelling and making a living doing the things I dislike.  I think…no, I know I need to turn that around.  I need to work at excelling and making a living doing things I actually like for a change.  Hopefully, when the world stops again and the reboot happens, I may have the courage to do just that.

Introvert with Extrovert Tendencies

Yup, that’s how I often describe myself.  I’m like a malfunctioned Ying/Yang as well.  What sucks about it is that I’m also an author sooooo, when I am advertising/marketing anything goes.  It also depends on how much sleep I’ve had and how the mood swings with the lack of sleep.  I do like when the “I don’t care, I’m exhausted so it WILL work” mood kicks in.  It’s the “Why do I keep doing this, no one seems to be paying any attention and I obviously suck” mood that really bites.  It’s not that I don’t believe in myself or my work.  Far from it.  I love my characters and stories so I could never be embarrassed or ashamed of them.  If anything, I want people to meet them.  They are, after all, a part of me so in a way, my characters/stories introduce me.  Yes, even the villains are a part of me.   

In crowds or at large social gatherings or even the small ones…well, let’s just say I’m a wrapped up nerve about to burst if I can’t find a quiet corner to hide…er exist in until the event is over.  Of course, if books or writing is mentioned….well then, there is no off switch and that bundled nerve unravels (so run).  So why do I find it so hard to market/advertise via social media?  Well, I’m not a pushy or ‘assertive’ type (I’m the horrible meek, quiet, you don’t see me).  Stupid, right?  Yes, it bothers me too.  It’s this annoying little malfunction or glitch in my programming that says it is impolite and people don’t want you to shove your ‘wares’ (in my case, books) down their throat-mention maybe, but don’t suffocate them.  I really don’t mind seeing Tweets or FB posts where others are presenting/selling their work (even if it is like every five minutes)–if anything, I will retweet/repost for them (well, not every five minutes). I seriously want them to do good and I hope my wee bit helps.  I always hope they do the same for me (for which I’ve learned that most don’t) and I, for some annoying reason, feel embarrassed at asking them to do the same for me (I have this silly notion in my mind that people should do things because they want to and not because they were asked).  Yes, I’m afraid that I am really that simple and silly.  I probably need to see a shrink for this defect.

Ah well, my psyche will always be an issue I guess and writing/drawing will always be my therapy.  I just need to work A LOT more on the ‘speaking up’ part and maybe learning to ask people for things.  Fortunately, we are all ‘works in progress’ so there’s still time/hope.  So with that said, while I am in the ‘just give it try’ mode, I will beseech those that read this to aide me.  Lulu (who I mostly publish through) sent an email saying that if the author gets family/friends to Tweet about their book then they will add the author to their giftguide.  I really don’t know how many Tweets must be tweeted before they decide or even if there is an end date.  I don’t imagine the same Tweeter posting loads of times would be of any help so one tweet per tweeter would most likely do.  So if you have a Twitter account and could, please, copy/paste/tweet this for me: 

Please RT @Luludotcom http://www.lulu.com/shop/christy-condoleo/pell-shade-and-the-mysterious-paper/paperback/product-18622243.html?mid=cjaffiliate #lulugiftguide for “Pell Shade and the Mysterious Paper” to be in their gift guide
 
I always return courtesies so if you are ever in need, I will definitely assist! Thank you!
 
Just so you know what your tweeting about: “Pell Shade and the Mysterious” paper is a middle-grade chapter book about a little girl who has discovered that there is something more to the origami paper her aunt gave her as a gift. It has received really wonderful reviews.  You can check them out on B&N, Amazon, and (of course) Lulu — unfortunately, each site has different reviews (I wish I could group them together so people didn’t have to site skip).
 
Here’s what one reviewer wrote on B&N (Author Anna del C. Dye for Readers Favorite) : “What a riveting tale is found in Pell Shade’s story! It is a must for elementary age, tween and young adult homes. It will receive their parents’ and teachers’ complete approval. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the most interesting plot I have seen in a long time. It has a refreshing new concept, one that will be loved by many readers as they discover this new well-written series. Aunt Syne is looking for a gift for her niece Pell. She wants something special and finds it in the “Rare Find Store.” The owner doesn’t want to be paid, and he knows exactly what she needs. When she gives it to her niece, the girl isn’t very impressed. The gift only consists of origami paper and a thick, probably very boring, instruction book. Everything changes when Aunt Syne makes a bird with it, and the creation starts flying. Well, all is swell and fantastic until a very disagreeable man wants Syne to give him the stack of paper. He says the papers belong to him and he won’t give up until he gets back what is his. More problems arise when the man kidnaps one of the two heroines and wants to exchange the papers for the person in his hands. Their only hope lies with two unlikely friends they find in kids that have nothing but each other.
 
This tale is quite unique and will be very compelling to many readers. I know you will love it, as I did. It is, without a doubt, a page-turner. I can’t wait for the next piece in the series. Well done.”
 
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Statua Magis = Imagine More
(In Pell Shade, it is what brings the origami paper to life)
 

Turtles!

Holidays bring out the baker in me and this is such an easy treat that the wee ones can help through all of the steps (maybe not the oven though).  While these little treats don’t require ANY fuss (other than unwrapping a bazillion chocolates), they still require a bit of ovenly heat and assembly.  I would say that they are cheap to make, but pecans are pricy.  It’s not necessary to use the exact brands I did – well, except for the Rollos, of course I think there is a knock-off brand out there.  I had one bag, but thought to purcahse another (I’ve loads of goodie recipients).  I asked my dear husband to pick up an extra bag of Rollos and of course, it has become the ‘hot’ thing to buy so he picked up a few rolls from the checkout area as a substitute.  I don’t know how cost effective it is, but there are 6 to a roll and that’s 6 I didn’t have to unwrap.

 

Ingredients:

Bag of small pretzels (I like to use the square ones)

Bag of Pecans

Bag of Rollos

 

Utensils:

Cookie Sheet

Oven (350 degrees)

 

1) Take your ingredients and prepare.  You could, unwrap all those lovely chocolately carmel candies at one sitting and put them

all in a bowl until you are ready to assembly OR you can just unwrap as you go.

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2)  Place pretzels onto an ungreased cookie sheet-leave a wee space between them.

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3) Place unwrapped Rollo candy onto the pretzel.

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4) Heat on 350 degrees in oven for 3-5 minutes.  You may want to keep an eye on them-three minutes goes by faster than you think.

 

5) Once warmed enough, take a pecan a press (gently) it into the softened Rollo.  I like mine to keep the carmel inside the chocolate.  In this picture, I actually left them in too long so the one with the pecan was already flattened.  The others somehow managed to stay in form (so I pressed the pecan in them after the picture was taken).

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6) Let them cool and you have a great little treat!

 

7) There are a few variations however that you can use in this recipe–only you probably shouldn’t call it Turtles if you use them.

  • Instead of pecans, you could use M&M’s, walnuts, or any other type of small goody.
  • You could choose a different shaped pretzel.
  • You could use a white chocolate disk instead of the Rollos.

 

However you make them, have fun and then share them with everyone!

Pell Shade!!

Hello there! I’d say good morning, but not everyone is in the same time zone as I am so hello instead!

 

L pell shade coverI’m reading “Pell Shade and the Mysterious Paper” today on Blog Talk Radio and World of Ink Network’s, It’s Story Time, Gather ‘Round soooooo…..

 

To listen in at 10am EST or later on it will be archived….

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork/2012/12/01/its-story-time-gather-round-12-1-2012

 

For this weekend only you can download a free copy of the ebook (pdf style) at Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/christy-condoleo/pell-shade-and-the-mysterious-paper/ebook/product-20546893.html?mid=social_facebook_pubsharefb

 

Also, here are two origami instruction pages so you can have a bit of fun. They’re two characters, Nibs and Quills, from the book:

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‘Twas the month before Christmas…

Hehe, couldn’t find any Thanksgiving themed pages, so…  Besides, I love trees.  Just thought to put in a wee little post with some upcoming activities plus it’ll push the Halloween posties down so it doesn’t look like I’ve gone holiday mad.

I’m currently working on a pressie for Christmas for the blog.  ’12 days of Christmas’ I shall dub it.  I love giving.  Small gifts are the best, because they usually mean more than some big flashy thing that costs oodles of money.  I have found that when I send off a ‘goodie’ package in the mail to someone, I feel like I’m on top of the world–because I know the person who gets the package wasn’t expecting it and that it’ll make them smile.  Everyone needs a good surprise once in a while, especially when life drags you so far down–I’ve been in that dark abyss many times.  Ohhh, I love making goodie packages with little treats and such!  So, from the 13th to the 24th I’ll have something of that nature here.  I have an advent calendar at home (2 to be exact-hey, one for each kid) that I find little gifts and put in for my boys (who are actually teens now).  So I’ll have a mini one here so be on the lookout for them!

Just a little backstory here: One year, I snuck into my mum’s car (I was in my young thirties) and placed a wee gift in it everyday leading up to Christmas eve.  It was more fun than the time I stuck a big rubber spider on her steering wheel column at Halloween!  I left everything from sweets to homemade items (ie candles, potpourri sachets, etc).  I really had a blast doing that.  Hey, I even played Santa to her one year–I snuck in her house and stealthfully snuck some gifts and a stocking under her tree.  Heh, ninja-style!  When she woke Christmas day and called me she asked if I’d been there.  Nope, it wasn’t me, it was SANTA-I was bringing my gifts to her house later that day for dinner!  Even her cat had a wee stocking from the sneaky old man *wink*!  Wish she were still here with me, there’s soooo many cool things that I think she would get a huge kick out of now.  Ah well, whenever I see something I think she’d appreciate, I smile for her.  Ohhh, the treats I’d make for her now–she always loved my mad cooking skills!  Potato candy, cream-cheese pumpkin log (her fav), jello squares (the kind that has the condensed milk), my oyster-cornbread stuffing (old fam recipe), my corn beef and cabbage, my zuccini bread, my cinnamon candy, and the list goes on.  I will never have any low confidence when it comes to my cooking-I get that gene from her side of the family!  Ah well…hug those you love NOW because they can go from you very quickly.  Do little things for people and watch them smile!  That’s what it should be about-the smiles.  My mum was gone in 6 months so I don’t get to think of a little gift making her smile anymore.  I still find it odd not to see or hear her even though it’s been near four years.  It’s like walking by a hole-it was once filled, but now it’s there and it stays empty.  It’s the way of life I suppose and I’m not really liking it no matter how I think it out.  Although the world would get really crowded if we all stayed around…still, I don’t like it and I don’t really have to.

Well, speaking of gifts and such…remember in your gift buying that books (ahem, HINT) make really good gifts.  They don’t need batteries, they don’t get taken up at school, I don’t think too many people steal them (heh, a book thief), and they can be hugged (yes, I hug good books).  I’ve six wonderful little morsels that you can give at my lulu store: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/eppy -whether you need electronic or the really good ol’ reliable, my favorite, paper kind I have them there.  I really would like to have my latest project finished and out for readers, but we’ll see.  If you’ve a chapter book reading kid–my Pell Shade will keep her/him entranced with its quirky characters.  Of course my pic books have loads of great color and characters.  Hehe, shameless promote huh?  Ah well, how else will you know if I dont’ mention it?  Of course, you could be a really nice person and mention it for me by pointing people to my books.

Happy Halloween!!

13 days of activities have passed and I’ve enjoyed sharing them with you.  Now, I’ve a treat.  For today only, you can download (for FREE) an ebook copy (PDF) of my third children’s book, ‘Something Greater Than Fear’-written by me (of course) and illustrated by my wonderfully talented friend, Chris Goguen. Now, no worries if you don’t have an ebook thingy–if you click on the link below, it’ll take you directly to Lulu and to the page where you can download thebook. When on the Lulu site, scroll down and look to the right side and you should see a box that has the Adobe Digital Editions Installer for your computer in it-it is FREE as well.

So go on now, Figs the mouse is waiting for you to join her inside the book!

http://www.lulu.com/shop/christy-condoleo/something-greater-than-fear/ebook/product-17478667.html

Stitches the Cat (Pull)

I love making these, even after making over fifty! I like to give them out at readings, book signings, or sending them out with my books. My chapter book, “Pell Shade and the Mysterious Paper” and “The One Sock Princess” both have cats so it works out as a nice little extra. It’s also my final activity for my 13 days of Halloween. What would Halloween be without a black cat?

Materials:

Black Felt sheet

Plastic zipper pull/fashion key clip

Green embroidery thread

Embroidery needle

Cardboard sheet (to create the cat head template)

Scissors

Stuffing

Directions:

1) Cut a cat head design from the cardboard sheet. This is your template.

2) Use the template and cut out your two cat heads. Once finished, cut out a five inch long x 1/2 to an inch wide strip.  Set strip aside.

3) Thread your needle and knot it.  Insert the needle into the bottom of one of the cat head felts and pull your thread through. You will want to keep the ‘knotted’ end on the inside of the cat head so once you push the needle through, pull the thread until it stops, turn the felt over and place it on top of the other felt head. Now begin your stitching. When stitching, try to keep a small ‘edge’ as you use a ‘straight stitch’ to go around the cat head.  You will want to stop a few strokes from the top center of the head. This is where you will add the strip and key pull.

4) Take the felt strip and thread it through the key pull loop. Tuck both ends of the strip between both cat head felts and continue to stitch until are almost all the way around.  Just before the final few stitches, stuff your cat head-just a few tufts will do. Continue your stitching until you are all the way around. Insert the needle one last time, only don’t pull it through both pieces-just the one because you will knot it and tuck it inside.

5) Now you can attach your black cat to a bookbag, a purse, or a gym bag.