Critique Matters

red-hands-woman-creative
Hello!

Today I have been working on a novel that I had abandoned. For what reason, I don’t know. I probably got off on another creative adventure. Shocking, huh!

So, here’s what’s on my mind. I’d like to revisit this novel. I haven’t really fully edited it yet, but, I’d like to take an honest approach to getting it published. I know I have work to do and have reached out to groups for some honest critiques, but I thought I’d give my readers a chance at it first.

Let’s be honest, you would be my audience, right? Or maybe intrigued enough to read through this first page and tell me three things:

~ Does it capture your attention enough to turn the page?

~ Are the characters, this far, likable?

~ Should I trash it and try again?

Please leave comments or feel free to email me at Debbuckingham (at) yahoo (dot) com. I always enjoy hearing from my readers.

Thank you! Write On!

Deb


All Lacy Parker wanted was a little breathing room and the only place she could find it was in her bathtub. Even though the bubbles were flat and the water was getting cold, Lacy took this time to reflect on her complicated life, especially the last few months concerning Dawson’s infidelity. The four years they spent married was rocky, some would say . . .  insane.

Dawson was frantically packing for his tour to Iraq; a tour that would hopefully prove more successful on his return.

The letter sat unopened on the kitchen table.  A promise of a new tomorrow felt deep within Lacy’s heart as she heard the front door slam.

“Dawson . . .” Lacy howled louder. “Dawson.” Tears ran down her face leaving track marks through her makeup, only to realize he may not return.

Lacy sank further into her cold water, tears of anger welled up inside. A goodbye would have been nice.

“Hey . . . Lacy,” Dawson’s voice took up the silence, “You here?”

How didn’t he know where she was? Maybe he thought she went outside.

“Yea, Dawson, I’m up here.” Lacy jumped from the tub and wrapped an oversized towel around her thin frame; long blond tendrils lay wet against her shoulders. The knock on the bathroom door indicated Dawson was there.  She opened the door wide enough for him to walk in. Her towel fell to the tile floor as Dawson wrapped his strong tattooed arms around her.

Rebellious Introspection

In my journey as an artist and blogger, I have leaned toward the rebellious side, seeking out ways to make my work different, breaking the rules, in my own way. Finding content that inspires, yet challenges.

I’m persistent in everything I do, because I keep practicing. That’s the key to anything consistent.

People love to see that I’m not perfect, that they aren’t perfect. They love to see the real me. So, I give it to them.

As a blogger, I have been random with my posts. Rebellious again, in not following any rules. As a creative, I often find myself being real; putting it out there. Embracing imperfection comes naturally. So, I encourage you, do it with all your heart, do it every day. Be the best YOU, you can be.

 

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Blogging is hard work. I used to think it was as easy as pouring a cup of coffee in the morning.

It’s not.

It’s a lot of work. Disciplined, dedicated and creative come to mind. There are times I feel frustrated and not motivated. I often felt it was a struggle to find content, so I’d just put anything out there.

This blog is about to change. It’s a good change. With the reintroduction of my books, a new line of handmade products, and a blog that will be consistent.

I need a new challenge. One that is scary.

So, I ask you to join my tribe, my village. Embark on this journey with me. Take a seat, because it may be bumpy at times. A good bumpy.

Blogging as a creative can only be that.

{Hugs}

Deb

 

 

Creative Journey

Hello Creative Friends!

keepcalmcreating

How do you describe a creative journey, or better yet, YOUR creative journey?

Creative journey can have many meanings. One which describes what it does, how it makes one feel, or how it helps one learn their strengths.

For me it’s inspiring others to create something that brings them joy, maybe relieves a bit of stress, or just allows them creative freedom. It’s what makes me happy. It’s what drives my day. If you’ve been following for awhile, or you’re new to my blog, you will have seen me go from writer to knitter to designer to author. I threw in some quilting, as that’s always a go-to for me. Then I discovered coloring and drawing. That led me down a path to learn more about micron pens and what else I could do with them. And oh, did I mention the beautiful lines you can draw with KOI markers?

I’ve been on a creative path for quite some time. It has allowed me to play with different mediums, bring new friends into my world, and even opened my eyes to a new form of art. I have so much to share in the way of this journey, yet I want to hold back a bit, as this may be my next WIP (book). There’s something in me that feels I need to bring my story to life. You may be interested, you may not. Either way, it will be a journey in itself.

A written journal of sorts, maybe blog style. I do love to write, so for me, this journey will be filled with pictures, projects and words of wisdom.

I found this and had to share. Oh, but look at the lettering. One of my favorite pasttimes is to figure out a different way to write a word. Hand Lettering how-to videos are my constant youtube obsession.

creative life

So what brings you joy? What drives your day? Your Creative Journey?

Let’s discuss…

Create a Creative Journey all your own and find your joy!

~Deb

Grow Your Art

Hi Creative Friends!

As a creative person, I’m always looking for outlets that will put me in a happy place, or happy space.

I mean, who doesn’t, right?

I wanted to show you a creative space I walked into today…

Grow Your Art is a phrase I noticed as I walked into this beautiful, creative space. Heartseed Studio. It’s a place one can go to be inspired with paint, pencil, marker, yarn (I will be teaching a knitting class there soon), and just about any other medium you can think of. It’s a place I would love to own. My brain went wild on the drive home. That would be my dream, to have a studio space like that. I felt instantly in my (new) happy place. My happy space. They have it all figured out.

Heartseedstudio

heartseedstudio2

They believe artistic expression and creativity is vital to a happy life. You know what?

I do too! Now, more than ever. It’s a way to find YOUR happy. It’s a place you can go to find what inspires YOU. It makes life infinitely more fulfilling. Imagine YOUR life without a bit of creativity. Boring, huh? Imagine working a 9-5 job, coming home to kids/husband/chores, bed, then doing it all over again without squeezing something creative into your day. Fortunately, for me, I don’t have to punch a time clock, but you better believe, if I did, I would certainly have a creative outlet that would release tension, allow me to pull back from a stressful day.

Art makes you happy

Art is a true form of happy. It’s the expression of human creative skill and imagination. Doodling and drawing are my new art forms. Really new. I’ve began “coloring outside the lines” and am very proud of that. My friend said to me last night as I was taking one pattern and making it new, “Way to color outside the lines, Deb.” I hadn’t thought of it that way. I’m a left-brained thinker, coming from the nursing field, and have learned that both sides of my brain can, and do work well together. Most days, anyway.

paintoutsidethelines

So, what’s your creative happy? I’d love to know. Please leave a comment below and lets chat about it.

CoLoR OuTsIdE ThE LiNeS and Find YOUR happy!

Deb

 

Embracing my LoPsIdEd Thinking

I really thought my blogging days were over.

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I wanted to title this blog post, Embracing my Crazy, but, well…I didn’t want you all thinking I was crazy. *smiling*

 

This past year, I found myself reflecting on how my journey began…

as a knitter, then learning the ins and outs of being a designer, then starting a business and beginning the next phase of my life. It really was the next phase. I left a nursing career in 2008 and went blindly into a creative field.

A BIG step. Learning to think with the right side of my brain rather than my left. Though, both work together in my world.

I was excited to see what was next. Where my creativity would take me. Etsy was my first business venture. Online was a safe place where I could show the (virtual) world what I was selling. October 2009 was the grand opening of Dishcloth Diva Knits On. Who knew the name of my store would one day be the title of my book(s). 

Even though I was ready for a change, I was excited to see where it would take me next. “Oh, the places you’ll go“, I kept telling myself. Or maybe, hoping. I was filled with doubts of, can I do this, and I want to be like (this designer). Comparing yourself is so easy at times, yet it fills you with self doubt and , can I be as good as them, type of questions.

ohtheplacesyou'll go

In 2012, I felt in my heart it was time to produce a book, Dishcloth Diva, geared toward those beginner knitters that I was teaching to knit. Their enthusiasm was contagious and often left me feeling proud of them for accomplishing this craft. Then in 2013, just one year later, Dishcloth Diva Knits On was published.

This past summer, thoughts of closing my Etsy shop quickly surfaced. I was facing burnout, and it was happening quickly. I was suddenly faced with mental turmoil and how or if, I could turn this around. It continued to get worse.

And then, late summer, I was introduced to coloring. Adult Coloring Books. My husband, Mr. Engineer, ordered one from Amazon. I remember him coloring down in our studio with these crazy cool markers. Oh boy! I became instantly curious. Maybe I could do this and take my mind off of my burnout. That led to drawing, then art classes online. Coloring offers me a place to go where nothing but me and my pencils/pens live. The stress of the day melts away. Have you tried it? Oh, you SO should!

coloring page1

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So, I’m coming back. Blogging is my way of being creative. And I have so much more in me. It’s helped me to grow and love writing, though writing has always been a part of me. Etsy will remain open, though I’ve narrowed it down to a pattern shop only. A (creative) type of nonfiction is being developed.

I’ve made a long list of topics to cover. Some will be short. Some will be “are you ever going to stop writing?”.

My message (or theme/motto) for 2016 is #inspiringacreativelife. I hope you’ll jump on my wagon and # along with me. I’m on Instagram as well. Come follow. My days will be filled with fun pictures of all things creative to include: knitting, designing, coloring, drawing and even sewing. I love my life and everyday am thankful for what I have, for the gifts I receive, and the talents that live inside me.

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Take care and remember, being creative is NoT a hobby, it IS a way of LiFe. #inspiringacreativelife

~Deb

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: Warm Days, Cool Knits

When I receive a book to review, I immediately sit down and flip through. My first thought was, well done Corrina! The layout was simple. The sections referenced the four seasons. And, the photography showed off the details of each piece.

Author: Corrina Ferguson
Paperback: Warm Days, Cool Knits
Publisher: Interweave/F+W
Number of pages: 144
Retail Price: $24.99

This book allows you to create a versatile, any-climate wardrobe. 

After living the majority of her life in Ohio, Corrina moved to Florida where she experienced a bit of culture shop. The weather is definitely different, though this book will provide you projects for Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. 

All the projects included in this book are made with DK weight yarn and lighter . The perfect anytime knitting experience. Stitches that are textured, cabled and lace will be closet staples that are fresh and wearable.

I highly recommend this book. I found (at least) 4 things I will definitely knit and wear. Socks, shawls, a cute tank, and a hat. All the projects in this book are titled with Old-Fashioned Southern names. You all know how I love that!

Emmylou

Leora

Weldon

               Williston



I really enjoy a good accessory knit. I know you will too. So,  pop over and have a peek, or visit your LYS and pick up your own copy. I would even get in ring bound on the side. This will be a constant go-to. 

As I always say,
Knit On!

Deb Buckingham, Author/Designer


BOOK REVIEW: 3 skeins or less FRESH knitted accessories

  

I‘m in love with knitted accessories. From mittens, to hats, to scarves, and oh yes, socks! 

We all love projects that are 3 skeins or less. Think of the investment when it’s more than that. That’s why when I was asked to review this book, I jumped on it. Sweater in 3 skeins or less, bring it on. A cowl using 1 or 2 skeins, oh yes!

Author: Tanis Gray
Paperback: 3 skeins or less Fresh knitted accessories
Publisher: Interweave
Pages: 143 Pages
Retail Price: $24.99


I’m going to show you some of my favorite projects in the books. The photography is spot on. There are 25 glorious projects for you to knit. 25 designers. 

This book opens with an introduction by Tanis herself about how magical the process of knitting is.

Here we go:

Of course I’d start with a hat. Melissa LaBarre designed this Little Vine Beret. It’s made up of knit and purls, increases and decreases. Complete with a chart. I truly love this beret. It’s knit with Quince and Co yarn.

Another favorite design of mine is the A Case of Lace Socks. Though, it’s a bit intense with its cabling detail, the end result will certainly leave you feeling satisfyied. 

My third favorite design is the Right Round Mitts. Truly a quick knit. The lace repeat is easy to memorize and mirrored. 

What do you think? 

My overall impression is: 

1. You should go out and buy 3 skeins or less FRESH knitted accessories. 
2. You need to know if you are NOT a chart person, this book may not be for you. It it filled with them on most patterns. With that said, there is a great selection of patterns that do not have charts. 
3. This price point for this book is great at $24.99 with 25 patterns. That $1.00 a pattern. 
4. Christmas is coming and I’m sure theres someone on your list that you still need to knit for, right?

It’s an accessory book that will keep you knitting. The photography is beautiful, the color choices in yarn are beautiful. 

So, I bid you much love knitters, and encourage you to take a peek at this book. You won’t be sorry. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts.

Knit On!

Deb

Book Review: Brioche Chic 22 FRESH KNITS for women & men

How many of us have always wanted to learn the Brioche stitch, but was too intimidated to try?

*raising hand*

Well, let me tell you, this book leaves you fearless when it comes to the ever-so-intimating Brioche stitch.

Author(s): Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark
Paperback: Brioche Chic: 22 Fresh Knits for women & men
Publisher: Interweave
Pages: 152 Pages
Retail Price: $26.99

Let me give you a virtual “tour” through the book:

The book opens with Brioche Basics. Ok, here you go…non intimidating step-by-step instructions that will leave you feeling as though you have worried for nothing. I, recently decided to break out my yarn and needles (shocking, huh?) and get to work on this stitch.

Magic!

It IS a bit of extra effort, but the minute you see the texture appear and your piece come to life, it will seem quite obvious.

Helpful tips along the way to ease the “pain” a bit. Go slowly! That’s what they suggest and that’s what I suggest.

Next appears the beautiful 22 patterns. The photography is awesome, with colorful yarns and simple textures. Everything from a basic Brioche scarf, to an Arrow Yoke Cardigan. 


Arrow Yoke Cardigan

Other projects in this book are pullover sweaters for both women & men…
A beautiful pair of mittens. It has a matching hat. So love this.
And this Star-Crown Beret is a definite in my que.
My love for knitting cowls is endless. I adore this project. It’s a Reversible Scarf, loop, circle. Wear long or wrap twice to create YOUR favorite look. 
What do you think. I’ve only given you a hint of what’s in this book, so you’ll run right out to your LBS (Local Book Store), LYS (Local Yarn Shop) or Interweaves website to get your hands on it. 
I give this book a *thumbs up* for photography, original design, creativity, and choice of projects. I feel it’s worth the buy and a chance to try a stitch you may or may not have tried. 
So, I bid you much love knitters, and encourage you to take a peek at this book. You won’t be sorry. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts.
Knit On!
Deb


Book Review: New Vintage Lace – Knits Inspired By The Past

Interweave has asked me to do another great review. You are going to love this one. 
Do you love knitting lace? Have you ever wanted to but felt like it was too challenging? You will find this book to be enlightening as well as informative.

Author: Andrea Jurgrau
Paperback: New Vintage Lace
Publisher: Interweave
144 Pages
It sells for $24.99.

A great value for the money. 18 fully-charted projects for hats, scarves, wraps, and small and large shawls, all inspired by the ever-so traditional lace doily patterns. She shows you how she creates patterns, adjusting motifs, then reworking them into original works of wearable art.

Beautiful cover design too.

So I took some time to dig deep into the delicious book, page by page. I wanted to make sure that each and every nugget she put in here was something I could convey back to you…

Here we go…

For starters, I love the Photography. As a photographer myself, I appreciate well edited images that showcase detail. The lighting is perfect. They captured all that!

Andrea begins with an introduction of “What’s Old is New”. She talks about her Grandmother Rose. A delightful, well written introduction. 

New Vintage Lace has 5 chapters:
~Materials
~Techniques-where Andrea gives you all the “tools” you need to have a successful project (or two). It includes, binding off, blocking, charts, decrease, increase, joining yarn, picking up stitches, beading, and much more.
~The Fine Art of Swatching-I know what you’re thinking, Swatching? YES! She gets down to the knitty gritty and also include swatching with YOUR yarn choice. 
~Projects
~Doily Dissection-This is where she walks you through the process she uses, for you to design your own shawl. This is the one section, I love. 



This project is YOUR introduction to lace knitting. You begin with a doily and build from there. It’s brilliantly written with a tip for working in the round. 



This has to be one of my favorites. Yes, I love the color. But, the design is very elegant. Doily inspired in the late 1600’s, which the pamphlet is now out of print. There are beads in the design that add that additional WOW factor. 



Another of my favorites, okay, they all are, but this one stands out. THIS beautiful blanket is part of a trio of patterns. The doily, triangle, and blanket demonstrates how you can gof rom a triangle shawl to a blanket. She includes the doily as the third pattern so you can practice the technique. Very versatile in my opinion. This is also the featured shawl on the cover.

As you can (clearly) see, I’m in trouble, yet again. No, not by anybody but me. Yes, I have things that need to get done, work related, but there’s always time for some project making that doesn’t involve work. And my newly found love for lace knitting has opened up a world of new things to knit. 

So, I totally recommend this book. I mean, I seriously do! It’s full of great photography, well written patterns, a plethora of additional knowledge that will give you the confidence you need, if in fact, you need it.

Again, It’s published by Interweave, the name of the book is New Vintage Lace, and all the sorted details can be found HERE. Please click over and see for yourself how beautiful this book is. I wouldn’t steer you wrong, I promise! You will find many reviews that will convince you it’s a good value for the money. 

Also, check with your LYS, I’m sure they ALL have it. 

So, with much love knitters,

I bid you farewell for now. I ask you to review this book for yourself and report back. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts and maybe even see some finished work.

Knit On!
Deb



Book Review: Vintage Quilt Revival

With the help of Interweave, I’m thrilled to do (yet) another book review for you.

Are you a quilter? I am. I believe that most knitters are also quilters, well, in my circle of friends, anyway…

Paperback: Vintage Quilt Revival: 22 Modern Designs from Classic Blocks
Publisher: Interweave (2013)
Language: English
Authors: Katie Clark Blakesley ~ Lee Heinrich ~ Faith Jones

It sells for $27.99 US

That’s a steal. For all those projects, tutorials, quilt blocks, and inspiration, why wouldn’t you buy this? 

I truly believe the cover of the book can make or break your decision to pick it up/buy it. Am I right? 

Look at it!

This cover draws you in immediately. In fact, if you could crawl under the beautiful quilt and read a good book, or knit, you would be one happy camper. I know I would. 

These three ladies joined forces in the summer of 2011, and hosted a series of tutorials based on vintage quilt blogs on their blogs. I linked above to each of their names, and will definitely bookmark each of their blogs. They all seemed to have a family heritage of quilting. They each searched for inspiration in new and different places and were drawn to heritage quilts–quilts of the past. 


They talk in the introduction about themselves, the path and where it led them.

I caught up with Faith on Facebook and here’s a bit of advice she gave:

 “My advice would be – when paper piecing blocks (which is the piecing method of a lot of the blocks and projects in this book), be sure to always print out your templates at 100% or “Actual Size”, and always make a sample block first to make sure you are comfortable with the amount of fabric for piecing. Some people might be comfortable with smaller cuts, some people might be comfortable with larger. It’s a very personal preference.

Also, something fun with the book….Several of the projects use 12″ finished squares. You could easily take a project and swap in a different 12″ finished block to change up the project.

Finally You can keep up with book related information at www.VintageQuiltRevival.com

You will find step-by-step instructions for making a mini quilt, full-size quilt, table runner, baby quilt, wall quilt, and more, all with twenty classic traditional quilt blocks that are fresh and modern in style. 

These ladies outline the tools and techniques used in this book. 

Then, they take us through the patterns/projects: New Settings, New Color Approaches, Re-Imagined Blocks, and Sampler Quilts. A CD is included in the back with 12 printable template patterns. SCORE!

I then caught up with Lee on Facebook, and here’s what she had to say:
 
“This is book is great not only for people who want patterns to follow, but also for quilters looking for a book that will help inspire them to create their own designs. We’ve tried to give readers all the tools they need to put their own modern, unique spin on any traditional block. We hope you’ll come away from this book feeling like the possibilities are endless!”

And finally, I caught up with Katie on Facebook, and she had some fun information to share as well:
 
“One of my favorite things about Vintage Quilt Revival is that each chapter includes a history note. We enjoyed researching many aspects of vintage quilts– from pattern companies of the early 1900s to vintage feedsacks and many things in between.  I think connecting with the past, beyond just historic quilt patterns, is valuable for today’s quilters.

I just started a new series on my blog called “Grandmother’s Quilts: A Vintage Quilt Series.” I hope to feature vintage quilts from all over, including family heirlooms, quilts purchased at flea markets, great quilts and quilts with great stories. If you have one you would like to share, I hope you contact me at swimbikequilt at gmail dot com.”

Though I’m a knitter first, I couldn’t help but be excited about this book. Quilting falls a close second for me. I have SO many favorites in this book. I took some pictures of the pages so you could get a sneak peek. I dare not ear mark, so I’ve put in sticky notes to mark these fantastic projects:

Make The New World Pouch

Twinkle Mini Quilt

Double Dutch Table Runner

Spiced Chai Quilt


 

Sorbet Mini Quilt

As you can see, I’m clearly in trouble. No, not by anybody but me. Yes, I have things that need to get done, work related, but there’s always time for some quilting.

I’ve been a fabric-a-holic of modern fabrics for quite some time now. The colors and designs. The combinations of colors. All of this inspires my own knitting designs. I have a secret fantasy…to create my own line of modern fabrics. Shh…

So, I totally recommend this book. I mean, I seriously do! It’s full of great photography, fun and informative projects, along with a variety of quilt blocks. Go check it out. Order it online at Interweave.  You won’t be disappointed.

So, as I always say,

Knit On! (Or in this case, Quilt On!)

Deb