Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Willy Wonka

"There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you’ll be free if you truly wish to be." - Willy Wonka/Gene Wilder

Of all the things I credit with nurturing and fueling my childhood imagination, I suddenly realized that I seem to always manage to leave out Willy Wonka. Or, more accurately, Gene Wilder's portrayal of Willy Wonka.

His passing left me quite saddened but the fact that he hid his Alzheimers because he was afraid that it would lead to sadness if people knew is a last gesture of grace from the great dreamer of dreams himself. He, as his nephew said on NPR, "could not bear to be responsible for one less smile in the world."

I am only now sifting thru the memories of the Chocolate Factory and how the movie was such a part of my youth. How my friends and I would make our own "golden tickets" to hide in our Hershey Bars. How we all wanted to be the enigmatic showman who made dreams come true.

How we emptied out a few cans of chocolate syrup in our day because all wanted to know what it might be like to tend to have our action figures explore a chocolate waterfall and river.  : )

Somehow I forget to list it among the influences of my place in the world today.

But today, when I look at the things I create and the impetus behind them. . . it seems so clear. I may never be the caretaker of a chocolate factory but I do believe that any of us who build, dwell in or create little worlds of imagination probably owe at least a bit of thanks to Willy Wonka.

Gene Wilder made me laugh thru the years. Some of his scenes from later movies remain etched in my head and heart. . . but none more so than that of the reclusive Willy Wonka, straining to make his way to the front gate with his walking cane,  then lose said cane, fall forward face first only to roll over and bounce up on the soles of his feet with the biggest, most wonderful and warm smile on his face. . .  doff his top hat and then, he let us ALL in.

The truth is, I never left Mr. Wonka.

I never left. . .

Thank you
"If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it."

"We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams!"

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Unwinding of Days and Small Magic

So the last two weeks. . . ummm so much for blogging more often.

Just busy. . . some good busy some bad

Family visits
Lost almost two weeks worth of writing (learn to use AUTO SAVE!)
Pinched neck muscle = no sleep
Extra busy Etsy shops
Summer's final deadlines arrive out of nowhere! lol

We are constantly amazed at how the days fly by and for those of you who also have families at home, social scenes, outside commitments . . . how do you do it? : )

But what I want to share is my experience last week of something coined as "small magic" by one of my favorite bloggers. You can read more about the idea here: How to find Small Magic

And you can see her first monthly Small Magic post here: Small Magic at Falling Ladies

Unfortunately, due to another glitch in my last two weeks, I have only words and just a few borrowed photos (thanks drained camera battery!) of my own experience to share but will share more about this in the future.

In the midst of the craziness of the past few weeks I knew, though it is rare for me, that I needed a day off to unfrazzle and decompress.

So to "earn it", I chose to do some errands early Friday morning and then, to reward myself with a trip to our county's main library followed by an indulgence in one of my favorite activities . . . one that I do not do often enough.

About five miles from our home is a lovely out of the way place called Kilchis Nature Reserve it's a roughly 2 1/2 mile trail loop through some of the most beautiful, dense woodlands and, if you take the full trail, it leads out to the shore of the back end of Tillamook Bay where you can bird watch (herons, Egrets, Eagles, Ravens, And a multitude of water animals all year long.

Now, I'll post about the trails another time because it is quite the place. When I first moved to this part of the coast 4 years ago, the trails were simply wetland paths thru the forest for the most part. Impassible in areas except in the peak of summer. But the love and inspiration of one couple, the  Albrights, Gary and Carla, turned Kilchis into a magical destination for everyone and not just the intrepid explorers. A small brick loop allows every one to access the woods to a point.

Now,  finely groomed but natural looking trails wind through the forest and across wooden bridges built over the seasonal streams and wetland areas. Massive volunteer hours to move the tons of materials into the forest to make these trails alone is mind-boggling.

Not far from the entrance, this is a favorite bridge to cross. It feels like a "boundary". You step off the brick path on the far end and cross into the dense forest and natural trails. It can feel cooler just as you reach this end. Early Spring here finds huge, prehistoric looking Skunk Cabbage in abundance under the bridge!

But, for me, the small magic of this place is that every so often there are natural, mossy tree stump "benches" that await. I rarely see anyone sit on them as there are also more modern, wooden benches along the paths too and it is easy to miss the log benches as they blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape.

But the small magic of Kilchis reserve for me is this.

On any given weekday, and even weekends in the off season, it is possible to take a favorite book, (preferably one about faeries, magic or other worlds) walk a half mile into the trail and find a mossy log bench. Then, I'll sit on the mossy bench and read my book and I can hear almost nothing but the sounds of the forest. The wind whispering through the trees. The trickle of leaves tumbling to the ground. The scurry of wrens and robins in the underbrush. There are banana slugs, Rough Skinned Newts and an occasional squawking Stellar Jay. You may even see a Barred Owl and Bald Eagles close up when you sit still enough to become part of the scene.

Not far from my mossy log bench, this little bridge turns you out towards the bay trail. 

But that hour or two, reading a magical book in this enchanted setting. . .

That is a dose of small magic for my soul. :)

And this is the back end of Tillamook Bay at the very end of the trail.

So please visit Falling Ladies at those links above and, as Andrea gets the monthly Small Magic theme going, join in, won't you?

And lastly I could not resist sharing one new creation. My "Little People" figurines are taking off quite nicely and I am working on a variety of looks for them to encompass all the tiny folk of the "otherworld". I am just about to list this little guy.  The first Little People "Troll", named Volker!

I've been making larger figurines for a few years but, let's face it, mini is my thing! lol

He's just 2.5" inches (6+ cm) tall!

Thank you for dropping by and I will get caught up on all my favorite bloggers soon I promise!

Have an enchanted weekend!


Monday, August 1, 2016

New Work - August 1st

Another month came and went soooooooo quickly!

I wanted to give you all a quick update on the writing of "The Ledgerkeers",  the book of short stories I am creating built around the world of the Bewildering Pine. It is going so well right now and I am currently fleshing out a bout 20 different short tales with another 10 or so to go. The challenge is in trying to create lots of little vignettes about the folk, commerce and daily life while hinting at a darker undertone to the Pine's distant (and future) history that I hope will lead to a full fledged novel later on down the road.

Right now I am still hitting the 750 words a day writing goal, 6 days a week!

I also stumbled upon a delightful writing podcast called "Writing Excuses" which has also been a huge help just to keep the brain thinking and working on all sorts of aspects of the process. I highly recommend it. It's 15 minutes per podcast so it takes just a bit of time each day. and the backlog of shows is well over a hundred episodes so there are topics from worldbuilding to pacing to dialogue to descriptive details . . . and you know I am LOVING the details! Always the fun is in the details.

I just ordered a few books, one called "Dirty Old London" that I used an online excerpt from for a story to help flesh out my bake-house / tart cart scene. It was so detailed and brought the early victorian era to life. I am amused by the thought of an entire book on Victorian London's filth and the ways they tried to keep it in check as well as the underside of what we think of as the romantic aspects of that life. I may only use a half dozen details from a book like that but each of them is a true little gem for bringing a world alive!

And finally. . . setting a larger goal, I just booked my trip home to Pennsylvania in February on the Amtrak train. It's a 2 1/2 day trip and I am looking forward to it because, this year, I got a sleeper car for the longest leg of it from Portland to Chicago and back as well. I intend to spend most of that time finishing the final drafts for the stories for the book. I'll have a tiny room to myself and all my dining car meals paid for and I can just focus on editing, reading and watching scenery. This trip gives me a definite goal to have the first drafts and first revisions done by the time I leave.

I've also decided that, once done, I am going to print and hand-bind the first 25 or so copies here, maybe more, we'll see.  I have the flame-throwing Epson 3880 printer to do heavy duty canvas  paper cover work and page layout so I may end up just doing them by hand all around while I shop it for publication.

Of course, I realize I still have to think about illustration, map printing, cover art etc etc etc  So maybe February is a bit ambitious but we'll see. . .

Now, as for August, here are some new pieces I finished the last few days. I had one of my tiny houses featured in the Home/Living/Terrarium section of the Etsy email a week or so ago and it's been CRAZY!

I decided to begin making even tinier houses as I know a lot of terrariums are too small for some of my regular fairy houses. So these cuties may be just the thing for the very tiny indoor garden fae who need the smallest of dwellings!
The houses on the left and right are just 1 1/2" tall!

And these are meant to evoke some of the Venice, Italy color and style in tiny, tiny scale too!

Little Fairy Garden figures for the wee gardener. :)

That's a Hob above, a Brownie here and a Nisse below

I've been working on transferring some illustration skills to these little figures, just simple lines and forms and not too much unnecessary detail. It's working well I think!

I showed you my first dragon a few months ago and here is the next, her name is Roxo (purple in Portuguese )

And I am getting more elaborate with some of the bases on a few statues in Shadow of the Sphinx.
Anubis looks rather pleased to be perched there. :)
Well, that's the news for now. A busy month ahead again with the start of stocking for the holidays. On the calendar is the making of 20 Fairy Houses on Stars and a range of stand alone towers and houses too.

I can't believe i only posted twice last month. . . I hope to have more consistency this month and I look so forward to seeing your lovely comments and thoughts here, as always!

Thank you!!