Archive for the ‘warm fuzzies’ Category

Today is Halloween in California where the youngest son continues his dream trip, ‘A Californian Adventure’ thanks to Koru Care NZ. The charitable trust is run by volunteers, who raise funds to send a group of seriously ill and disabled children on the trip of a lifetime to Disneyland each year.

When your child suffers so much due to ill health, as the parent, you want good things to happen to them.

Yet, as the parent, you’re also a bit jaded, and you tend to think, will this trip really be the ‘trip of a lifetime’ or will it be a series of disappointments? However, I’m happy to say the Californian Adventure has been all they promised and more.

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As was detailed in A California Adventure and Californian Adventure, Part 1, in the first week, the kids had been to meet the California Highway Patrol, to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to Universal Studios, and SeaWorld, and in the last blog post, the team were on their way to Disneyland. Imagine being a child at Disneyland for the first time, and you can stay all day through to the evening and go on as many rides as you can handle! Ha ha, I can hardly imagine the joy.

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The next day, they went to Knott’s Berry Farm, renamed “Knott’s Scary Farm” for the Day of the Dead. And, then, they visited Disney California Adventure Park.

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I love the fact that the kids aren’t being treated like kids. They aren’t expected to be in bed early every night. The team of adult carers have taken the kids out to see the sights in the evenings as well.

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They’ve given them a taste of the nightlife. They stayed at Disneyland, Knott’s Scary Farm and Disneyland California Adventure until after dark, so they got to watch the parades and ride the lighted roller coasters at night.

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They’ve dined in cool restaurants, seeing the bright lights along the way, and they’ve attended different dinner theatre, things most of these kids would never normally get to do.

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In the second week, they had another fun educational visit, this time to the LA Coast Guard and then a day at the San Diego Zoo.

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Today was a free day, and they’ve been at the beach all day. Tonight, they’ll have to fasten their seatbelts, because they’re going to a Halloween party! Then, the kids have one more day at Disneyland and California Adventure before they finally depart LAX for home.

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I expect the youngest son will come exhausted, satiated, and also, that his life will be forever enriched by this formative experience.

I’ve enjoyed watching on from afar and getting to live every minute vicariously through him, even the scary ones. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. The trip of a lifetime? It’s proving to be the trip of at least two!

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44877107_2379645158715632_414595559609860096_nI think one of the greatest things Korucare do with this trip is make it ‘device-free.’ The kids aren’t allowed to take phones or ipads or any sort of handheld gaming devices.

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They are thrown together for two weeks and without their phones and what-have-you, these kids are forced to communicate. And, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. You can see through the photos how close they’ve grown.

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These days, with the research done on the effects of the internet/personal phones/devices on our kids, the research has shown a decrease in the ability of children to hold a conversation.

What a brilliant idea, to make these vacations device-free. It really brings the group of kids together in a way they rarely get to experience, one-on-one, in the moment, and interacting with one another. It’s healthy for them and they need that reminder about how to function in real time with other people.

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At an event like this, where the kids are not allowed to bring their phones, you see them instantly revert to sitting in groups on the floor talking, and playing handgames, it’s the most heartwarming sight in the world. I’m so thrilled and pleased and honoured our family was one of those chosen for this special life-changing event.

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Thank you, once again, to all those who contribute to KoruCare NZ. We’ll never forget this.

Thank you!

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal!” – P. Vaull Starr

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

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I have talked about my homemade festive cards in previous posts, however, since there have been lots of new subscribers to this blog in 2017, in the spirit of the season, I’d like to welcome everyone aboard and share the idea again.

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I make a festive card featuring my kids each year. The tradition began with the birth of my middle child, Samuel in 2002, and continued when the youngest was born three years later, featuring both the youngest boys on the cover.

In one little festive-themed image, I could instantly update friends and family about the kids’ progress, and using cards recycled from the year before. It was a win-win situation. The homemade card is easy, super cheap being made out of mostly recycled materials, and most importantly, it’s fun to do.

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Every year, towards the end of November, I make my kids sit and pose for the Xmas photo. There’s always a lot of moaning and groaning. But, eventually they cooperate, and we always get a good picture. Sometimes they help with the crafting of the cards, yet even if they don’t, that really is the fun part, crafting the end result.

So, if you’d like to start a new family tradition and try making the card yourself, here’s the process:

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Start by taking your chosen photo and reducing the size to fit your choice of card size. I like to do miniatures so the pictures are small and dinky. I am able to get eight miniatures onto an A4 page. Once you’ve set them out on the page the way you want it print as many pages as needed. I usually limit it to sixteen cards in total, as they do take a bit of time and one has to divide one’s time between a lot of activities at Christmas.

Next, cut out the pictures.

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I make templates for the size of the card and the layer of decorative paper in between, and the photo, so a bit of the decorative paper and a border of the card itself will show around the image, in other words, each is progressively larger. Using a template keeps things uniform and pleasing to the eye, and saves time each year.

For the cardboard, I buy cheap bulk packs of old Christmas cards from charity shops. Sometimes, I save the cards we’ve received from the year before and recycle them by pasting white paper over the writing inside.

Either way, cut out sixteen pieces of cardboard to the size of the first template.

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Cut out sixteen pieces of festive themed paper, to the next size template.

Glue the paper onto the front of the card. Don’t worry about whether the patterns match or if you’ve got the layers running in different directions. This is art. Be funky and wild and have fun with it. Go crazy, man!

Then, trim your photo to the size of the picture template.

Choose your bling. I use a type of synthetic crafting fibre which my mother bought for me at a crafting fair many moons ago, which forms a sheet of shimmery stuff. With names like Cotton Candy and Lemon Sparkle you can’t go wrong. I take a clump of that, and iron it flat, then I cut the sheet into small strips or rectangles to add a touch of shimmer. You could also cut up cellophane or tinsel. Alternatively, you could use good old glitter.

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Paste your family photo on top of this background decorative paper, trapping the synthetic fiber, tinsel or cellophane in between.

Decorate! Let ‘er rip and have fun embellishing the fronts of the cards. Sometimes I use glitter, beads and doodads. But, this year, I just added stickers, using up all the kids’ festive themed stickers. Double bonus!

Write a personal message inside each card and send them snail mail to friends and family.

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Fifteen years later and the satisfaction hasn’t waned. I’ve just mailed fourteen handmade cards to friends and family and it feels lovely.

I always make sure there are two cards left over, one for me, as a keepsake, and one “spare.” The funny thing is, every year without fail, I get asked by a random person whether they could receive one of our cards, and I say, ‘yes, I happen to have one left over.’ The spare always finds a home! Last year, the spare went to Paeroa, New Zealand, and this year, it went to Istanbul, Turkey!

We get a terrific response to our cards. Let us know if you do, too!

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

Have you heard of the Art of Positive Reinforcement? Rewarding the behaviour you want in children with your attention, in order to encourage more of the good behaviour. According to aish.com, ‘Warm fuzzies, also known in the 1960s as “positive strokes,” is something that parents who want to raise emotionally healthy children cannot do without.’

I’m here to report: warm fuzzies make adults feel good and ‘emotionally healthy’ too. 

We can give warm fuzzies to others by being generous with supporting others, and we can give them to ourselves through practising self-appreciation.

This week, a dear friend, author and illustrator, Teresa Robeson posted a terrific piece on her blog called Decades of Progress.

‘Kim Zarins shared a post on Facebook of a well-known illustrator’s art as a child versus a piece he did recently, contrasting the improvements in his craft. I thought that was a fun thing to do.’

Me, too. I like the whole concept behind this post idea and it seems to me that this could be a good way of giving ourselves as artists, warm fuzzy material. First, we get the positive reinforcement from other people, our friends and peers who see the post.

Through the images on her blog, Teresa demonstrated how her artwork had evolved over the years. We all said, wow, your artwork is awesome.

Then, Teresa also got to bear witness to her own growth.

So, second, there is the fuzzy warmth inside of saying to ourselves, ‘Wow, your art has changed and improved.’

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A visual retrospective is a nice way to chart our progress. It creates positive reinforcement of ourselves. Warm Self Fuzzies.

This morning, I went back through the archives and scanned my artwork, which I’ve faithfully kept from the age of five. This is about taking stock.

So with this is mind, here are a few examples to show the evolution of my art…

Family portrait, age 5

Family portrait, Age 5

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Character portrait, Age 8

I loved drawing pictures at school. As a lot of writers do when they’re little, I made my own books. The above drawing of Roma is from my book, The Spring Fairies.

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Character Study, colour pencil, late teens.

This picture is from ‘The Colour Secret.’ ‘The WaTEOW,” or Woman-at-the-end-of-the-world. It marked my first attempt at an early chapter book series, The Great Adventures of Splat the Wonder Dog.

MaryThought, pencil sketch, age 27

Teddy bear portrait, pencil sketch, age 20

I enjoyed art and I continued to sketch in pencil as a hobby after I left school.

 

Self-portrait, pencil sketch, age 25

Self-portrait, pencil, age 25

In my spare time, side-by-side with writing, and raising boys, I always did some sort of drawing and art.

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Character Portrait, ‘Free Wally!” age 29

When I was in my twenties, I started writing and illustrating picture books, experimenting with painting using gouache on simple watercolour washes. I took one of my picture book manuscripts, ‘Free Wally!’ to show a friend, Liz Sutherland, an artist and art teacher. Liz said, “They’re good. But you should learn oil portraiture, because you need to learn how to be bold.”

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Oil portrait, of my youngest son, Nathaniel, age 40

I studied oil painting with Liz for the next three or four years, through two pregnancies, when I could hardly reach the easel for my enormous stomach. By the time I finished my last oil portrait class, I had learned how to be BOLD!

Nice one. Retrospective done. Warm fuzzies abound!

How do you give yourself and others warm fuzzies? How have you kept a record of your creative evolution?

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Keep Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ~ Henry Miller

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