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The thing about writing is that spending endless hours in front of your manuscript can turn your brain into mush.

Fortunately, when I steal away somewhere to do some editing I always make sure to bring my sketch book with me. I find that alternating between activities, in this case writing and sketching, helps me stay engaged for longer, ultimately being more productive.

While I finished writing summaries of all of my chapters yesterday (a kind of outline for those of us who decided we didn't need an outline) I also did some urban sketching.




These girls didn't let on once that they knew  I was sketching them.  Even when I held the image up and photographed in their general direction.  


This is part of the Aqueduc (water treatment) in Verdun. 






What a weekend!
The problem with these conferences is that they go by too quickly.

I was grating cheese for Taco Tuesday tonight and I noticed my thumb feeling tender, right on the side of the joint. Such a weird feeling. It suddenly occurred to me that it was from the insane amounts of note taking I did on Saturday during sessions with Linda Urban, Cheryl Klein, and Bruce Coville.

Hélène Boudreau talked about her path to publishing her latest book, I Dare you Not to Yawn.

I was so impressed with all of them. Their passion and knowledge, and how they connected with us was wonderful.

I usually attend SCBWI conferences as an illustrator, but this time around I decide to go for the Novel Intensive Track. I've been working on a fantasy novel for a few years now. I'm in revisions and this weekend was exactly what I needed to give me that extra boost.

The critique circle at the end on Sunday was pretty great, too. I love hearing what others are working on. We are so diverse. And imaginative. And crazy.

The main thing that I always walk away from SCBWI events is faith in humanity. Truly. I have yet to meet someone there that wasn't a sincere and warm and beautiful person - some quirky, some boisterous, some quiet, all genuine. I'm always left with a sense of awe at the children's publishing industry.

Check out http://canadaeast.scbwi.org for information and event listings in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Go to SCBWI.org to find out more about this global organization.


A photo posted by Julie Prescesky (@julieprescesky) on


Sometimes I lie in bed at night under a heavy blanket made for me by my grandmother, and I set the intentions I want from my life. Simple words like peace, love, kindness, joy - okay, maybe this sounds flaky but I think it's more mechanical than that. It's a way for me to feel grounded when I'm overwhelmed. Like things are on the cusp of spinning out of control. This can happen when I'm at a certain place in my cycle (ladies, of course you understand. Sometimes there's a day or two in there when things feel like they could just slip away, or you just want them to slip away. Hell, maybe you want to run screaming and flailing your arms and yelling obscenities while sprinting headlong into oblivion).

Today I feel like I'm on, or at least close to, those proverbial cliffs of insanity. So, I shut off  my lights and I crawl under my grandmother's quilt. I lay totally straight, arms down by my side, everything tucked in (ahem, yes, kind of like a modified straight jacket ...), and I do a bit of self soothing. In essence, I let myself know that everything's going to be okay.

As a creative person with 3 children and two animals and renovations and to-do lists,  I live in chaos town.

So I lay here and fantasize about nothingness and cleanliness because I know I can't possibly do anything about it with any amount of sanity at this particular point in time. My best course of action is to steal away and crawl into my own mind. Into my cocoon. I set the intention for my life - to be better organized, to live more simplistically, and to let go of control beyond what I think I'm able to. I close my eyes and design my life, my space, my hopes for the future and then come back to the stillness in this one moment. I let myself come back to me. I shut off all expectations of myself and what I believe others may have of me. Right now it's just me.

Last weekend my daughter and I went to Camp l'Estacade with Harmonie Verdun, a fantastic music school for children. My daughter plays clarinet, and I went along as support/kitchen staff to help make sure all the rug-rats were fed and happy.

The camp is situated along the Richelieu River in southern Quebec. It was still pretty cold out, snow on the ground turning to mud in the sunshine and back to ice at night. Parts of the river were still frozen enough for ice fishers to drive their 2 ton trucks on, which we saw on the opposite shoreline.

I found a little time to do some quick sketches of some of the kids - mostly the guitar players because they practiced close to the kitchen where a handful of parent volunteers were hard at work.





We had a great time and the kids were all so wonderful and talented (aka, dedicated and hard working).

Early spring and late fall are two crucial feeding times for bees. In early spring, the colony is small and hungry and needs access to food quickly for a strong start to the season. In late fall, many plants have died off and winter looms. Bees have less foliage to chose from and have to contend with neighboring colonies, and thievery of their honey stores from other insects, like yellowjackets and even other honey bees if other food sources cannot be found.

Sadly, my bees did not survive the winter, despite my supplementing their food stores (I suspect it just wasn't enough, and they starved - I don't suspect disease). So, I made this handy infographic to show which plants are good for these crucial feeding times, and which provinces these plants grow well in. We can arm ourselves with knowledge and do our part to help provide these magnificent creatures with as many food options as possible.

Bees need both nectar and pollen to be healthy. I've indicated, below, what each plant offers to the bees.


Find out other province specific bee friendly plants for the entire growing season, here: http://newsite.pollinator.ca/plant_canada/.

Why Window film? Well, because you can have natural light, great design and privacy too.  Even beyond these reasons, there are other benefits like energy savings and added security and safety, depending on the type of product you choose.

I recently did some work for a Niagara based, high-end, window film company, Evolution Window Films.  You can check out their blog about it here.

They install window film in your home or office, back it up by a great warranty and have been known to go as far as the wild west (Alberta) to do so.

If you want a custom design - this is where I come in - let's chat.

Who knew window vinyl could be so much fun?



 I did these mock-ups in photoshop. The original photos came from here, here, and here.