Tabitha’s bedtime stories, illustrated!

It looks like I found an illustrator for Tabitha’s bedtime stories–my bestie in New Zealand! (How talented is she??) Now we just need to find a publisher and we’ll be all set. I’m planning some exciting adventures for this crew, so stay tuned…

A duck, a puppy, a kitty, a monkey named Bananas and a giraffe! © CDR, 2014.

© Sarah Conrad and Next Page, New Chapter, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Conrad and Next Page, New Chapter with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Art of Creative Journaling: Essential Elements

Obviously, I’m a fan of the written word (the more, the merrier!), but I like looking at pretty things, too. I’ve always wished I could turn my journal into a more multimedia experience with doodles, illustrations, or random ticket stubs or clippings from magazines taped here and there to individual entries . I imagine that would be so much more fun for Tabitha to peruse many years from now when she’s going through Mom’s old things (hopefully many many MANY years from now!)

I think journaling is a great way to work through a variety of emotions, and I want to set a positive example for Tabitha and show her that a journal can be anything she wants it to be, and she shouldn’t feel tied to writing, “Today I did X.” Or, “Today I feel Y.”

If I lived in a perfect world and had unlimited funds and unlimited time to create the perfect art journal, here’s what I’d get:

It all starts with an awesome journal, like this Midori Traveler’s Journal.

And for doodling inspiration, this 20 Ways series from Quarry Books looks fun (I this this will provide lots of ideas for activity time with Tabitha in a few years!)

Of course, sometimes free-handing is a bit scary (especially if you’re like me and can’t draw), and it’s good to have prompts and a bit of structure. I think I’m going to get this art journal for my niece for her birthday (or maybe I should wait and give it to my older niece for Christmas? I wonder if it’s too ‘old’ for my youngest one.) I might get one for myself while I am at it.

And for more inspiration on how you can combine words with pictures in beautiful, sophisticated ways…

Philographics takes big ideas and reduces them to clear, simple images.

Jane, the Fox, and Me looks like an intriguing graphic novel about a bullied girl who finds solace in Jane Eyre (and later a Fox and, ultimately, herself.)

 

janethefoxandme_cover

Aside

MyFace

I’ve started a facebook page! I’m sort of envisioning it as a place to brainstorm future post ideas, share with you the random fun links I like that won’t really fit into a post, complain about my job, etc. You know. The usual facebook fare.

Now go like it so I can feel all popular and whatnot!

 

How to Pack a Handbag!

How to Pack a Handbag!

 

Although I have mixed feelings on giving up pumping at work, I will admit that one tiny little silver lining in all of this is being able to downsize from a tote bag that was roughly half my size (needed to carry pumping stuff to and from work) to a smaller, more organized handbag. I’m essentially allowing myself to start from scratch, and want to include a brush/mirror combo with hair ties (it’s often windy when I’m walking to and from the metro, and these cute hair ties from anthropologie are a little different. I like them! Vogue also has some ideas for gorgeous ponytails.) I like a bit of scent (a tiny bit–you don’t want to be that woman who fills up a room with fragrance! I love Stella because it’s super light and hard to overdo), and of course it’s always nice to have some color on your lips.

And then I’ll be so fabulous that everyone will want to do lunch, so it’s a good idea to keep business cards on hand, and then a notebook and pen for when genius strikes me. Not pictured but equally important: tissues (it’s Springtime, after all; allergies abound…), antibacterial hand gel (Metro–ewwww), breath mints (because no self-respecting woman should ever chew gum; it’s tacky), my iPhone and, of course, my kindle.

Heaven in a bag…

Tabitha’s Bedtime Stories

A Merry Group of Friends, Vol 1: In Which Our Friends Find Each Other

Once upon a time there was a duck and a puppy and they were the very best of friends. They loved to relax by the river.

“Quack quack,” Duck would say. “Nice day we’re having.”

“Woof woof,” replied Puppy. “Very nice, indeed.”

And then one day the duck was quacking and the puppy was woofing and they were interrupted by a kitty cat.

“You two look so happy,” the kitty cat said. “Can I be your friend?”

The duck and the puppy thought it would be lovely to have kitty as their friend, so the three of them went on their merry way.

Then one day the duck and the puppy and the kitty were relaxing by the river, when all of a sudden, they were startled by a monkey falling out of a tree!

The monkey stood up eagerly and said, “I’m a monkey and my name is Bananas. Can I be your friend?” The duck and the puppy and the kitty thought it would be lovely to have this monkey named Bananas as their friend, so the four of them went on their merry way.

Then one day the duck and the puppy and the kitty and the monkey named Bananas were relaxing by the river, and they saw a gorgeous giraffe with a beautiful long neck taking a drink of water. And the giraffe thought it would be lovely to have the duck and the puppy and the kitty and the monkey named Bananas as friends, so the five of them went on their merry way.

A duck, a puppy, a kitty, a monkey named Bananas and a giraffe!

A duck, a puppy, a kitty, a monkey named Bananas and a giraffe!

But something was missing.

Or someONE, rather.

“Friends,” Duck quacked,”gather round.” And so they all gathered round by the river.

“Friends,” Duck quacked, “we have a good group here. But I feel what we need is a girl, because girls tell wonderful stories and are always ready for wonderful adventures. I would like to hear some stories and go on adventures. Should we find a girl?”

And the puppy and the kitty and the monkey named Bananas and the giraffe all nodded their heads and thought how lovely it would be to hear stories and go on adventures.

So they searched far and wide to find the perfect girl. They searched high and low. There were plenty of girls, but some were too old and some were too young. Some were too loud and some were too quiet. Some did not like stories, and some did not like adventures.

And then one day, Duck saw the perfect girl. This girl had rosy cheeks, large blue eyes, and hair that looked golden in the sun. Duck waddled up to the girl and quacked, “My name is Duck and we would like to be your friend. Do you tell stories?”

And the girl replied, “My name is Tabitha. I love telling stories!”

“What about adventures,” quacked Duck. “Do you like adventures?”

“Adventures,” said Tabitha, “is my middle name!”

And Tabitha thought it would be lovely to have the duck and the puppy and the kitty and the monkey name Bananas and the giraffe as friends.

So our merry group of friends–a duck, a puppy, a kitty, a monkey named Bananas, a giraffe and a girl named Tabitha, relaxed by the river, told stories, and began to plan their very first adventure…

The girl named Tabitha.

The girl named Tabitha.

© Sarah Conrad and Next Page, New Chapter, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Conrad and Next Page, New Chapter with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Things I’d Like to Remember about Right Now

How good the sun feels after the seemingly endless winter we endured. Last weekend Tabitha and I sat outside on a pink blanket knitted by my grandmother, and she smiled and opened her mouth every time the wind started to blow, as though she could catch it on her tongue. And wind chimes! She can’t get enough of those.

Such a doll baby!!

Such a doll baby!!

How much I enjoy an old fashioned doughnut from Starbucks with my venti, one-tea bag Awake. It’s the little things that make my city mornings worthwhile. (Judge not and all that…)

guilty pleasures

guilty pleasures

How much I love those last few minutes each evening when I cradle Tabitha before putting her to bed. Our routine is bath, books, nurse, sleep. I know “they” (“they” being the endless pile of parenting books stacked on my bedside table) say it’s not good to associate food with sleep, but this is a pattern that works for us at the moment, so I’m not changing it (and she has definitely fallen asleep without nursing, so I don’t think it’s a crutch.) Regardless, she inevitably falls asleep as we’re nursing, and I’ll just sit back for a few minutes and put my feet up and cradle her. The poor little thing has had one cold after another and now might be struggling with allergies, so she sleeps with her mouth agape. Those few minutes are absolutely the highlight of my day.

Evening cuddles

Evening cuddles

How incredibly lucky I am to have such an amazing daughter and an amazing husband. We don’t have it all figured out yet (far from it!), but we seem to be having a good time so far, and that’s all that matters.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

(Giving credit where credit is due…I stole the idea for this post from the gorgeous hithertodc!)

Sealed with a Kiss

I’ve always been somewhat obsessed with letters, and am sad that the days of beautiful stationary, postage stamps, ‘air mail’ stickers and carefully weighed words are quickly coming to an end. Texts and emails simply aren’t the same–what we gain in efficiency and immediacy, we lose in thoughtfulness and romance. I always get excited when I see excerpts of letters; here are a few favorites…

I’m in love with brouhaha’s letter to her daughter. It is both hilarious and heart-breakingly tender.

“The main thing is just to try to be nice. You already are – so lovely I burst, darling – and so I want you to hang on to that and never let it go. Keep slowly turning it up, like a dimmer switch, whenever you can. Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you in order to feel happy, and to read things more clearly. You will be bright and constant in a world of dark and flux, and this will save you the anxiety of other, ultimately less satisfying things like ‘being cool’, ‘being more successful than everyone else’ and ‘being very thin’.”

And there are always great letters from fathers over at brainpickings; here is an excerpt from John Steinbeck’s letter to his son, upon his confession that he is in love.

“First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.”

Here’s a priceless, illustrated letter from J.R.R. Tolkien (as Santa Claus) to his children.

“It all happened like this: one very windy day last November my hood blew off and went and stuck on the top of the North Pole.”

And here’s a lovely quote from Vladimir Nabokov to his wife Vera. Forgive me for not posting a link along with it.

“I love you, my sweetheart. Try to be cheery when I come back (but I love you when you’re low, too.) If it weren’t for the two of you–I have felt this perfectly clearly–I would’ve gone to Morocco as a soldier.”

(get a kick out of reading other people’s mail? Have at it with the upcoming Letters of Note: The Book!)