Be Happy

God wants us to be happy.

That’s all it is really all about.

That’s why God made the beautiful world,

put on it and in it everything we would ever need

to live,

grow,

create.

God made people

so that the things God made could be enjoyed and cared for.

God also loves to hang out with people.

God loves it when everyone is happy,

caring for each other.

That is what it’s all about.

In our short lives we can do just that.

Hang out with God,

take care of each other

and be happy.

That’s what we want for our children.

We want them to be happy,

care about each other

and spend some time hanging with us.

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I created Elsie’s Easter to show how happy I am when the family gets together to play and eat and enjoy each other’s company.

Family members come in all types of ages, sizes and colors. They don’t all live in the same house but they still belong to each other. Each member of Elsie’s family is different but they all have a green bow.

Each family in the larger family are also different but they love and enjoy each other and come together to play and eat and care.

I love the Rabbit family. It feels like my family. My family is not perfect and we have had a lot of struggles, each of us is very different from the others but in the end my family is the perfect family for me.

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I have been making a coloring and activity book to go with Elsie’s Easter. In this post I am giving you a chance to download some of the pages to print and color. I hope you will do that and that you love coloring them. If you want to share the colored pages on Instagram, use the hashtag #elsieseaster so that I can enjoy what you have colored as well.  Thank you.

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Here are the downloads.

Coloring Pages

If you haven’t had a chance to buy the book yet, you can find it here and on Amazon.

Thank you for reading. I’m looking forward to seeing what you color.

Hanna

Chloe’s Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake

Here I am again, only this time I’m writing about Chloe’s cake.  We have been watching a show called the Great British Bake Off.  Chloe would like to bake all of the bakes from season one.  Every weekend we also watch a show called, The Great British Baking Masterclass, where the judges bake their favorites so that all the people at home can enjoy the wonderful bakes.  A couple of weeks ago Chloe baked Paul’s Ciabatta.  This Sunday she baked Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake.

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Chloe planned ahead making sure she had all the necessary ingredients.  Some things were unusual to find in our area so she looked up substitutions.

Self-raising flour can be made by adding 2 tsps of baking soda and 1/4 tsp of salt to each cup of regular flour.  (We can get self-raising flour here, but I had plenty of organic flour and I don’t want to buy whole bag of flour for one cup.)

Castor sugar can be made by putting regular sugar into the blender and blending until fine.  Castor sugar is fine like icing sugar but icing sugar also has cornstarch in it.  We didn’t want to risk adding ingredients that the recipe didn’t call for so we made our own.  It worked out really well and I am happy because I use unbleached cane sugar when I bake.

We found out that ground almonds, almond meal and almond flour are all about the same thing, just different terms.  We used almond flour from Bob’s Mill.

We couldn’t get glacé cherries this time of year since they are considered seasonal here so we used maraschino cherries.

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The recipe isn’t difficult and we found that most of the time went into making these substitutions.

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It’s different using a recipe from another country as almost everything is measured using weight.  So we got the postal scales out.  It was cool because we had been watching Paul and Mary baking on the show and how they use the scale.  Chloe was quickly a pro with it.

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Soon the batter was mixed and ready for the oven.

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How beautiful and golden it looked and how delicious it smelled.

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After a cooling time it turned out easily onto the rack.

Lemon icing was easy to make.

Toasted almonds took a couple of tries.

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As soon as the cake was cooled the decorations went on and the cake was served to the family after the Sunday dinner.

Delicious.  There is something magical about the almonds, the cherries and the lemon.  I highly recommend this cake to everyone who is allowed to eat cake.  Even if you’re not the smells are well worth it.

P.S.  It was slightly over-baked which was my doing since I’m the one who took it out of the oven.  But no one even noticed because it tasted so good.

Hanna McCown

I have been making art everyday, although you may not have seen me much on instagram or facebook.  I spent the summer mostly in bed and now I’m building up my strength and cleaning up the house.  Lot’s of changes are going on around here that take time and energy.  My focus has been more on the actual work I’m doing than on the sharing of it.  I did not put in a garden but there were still some things for me to dehydrate and freeze.  There are certain area’s of the place that need a lot of attention before winter.  I have been taking long walks and have discovered some new places around here.  I will share more later on that.

Don’t forget to check out my book if you haven’t already.

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I am also selling some of my artwork at Spoonflower, Society6 and Redbubble, you can see more in my store.

Thank you for reading this.  Leave a comment if you enjoyed it, I look forward to hearing from you.

August

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Beach days

beans and peaches

birthdays and difficult goodbyes.

Cheer me up with

gladioli.

One bean led to another and likewise with the peaches.

Jam was sweet and snapping beans a much needed down-time.

Grandpa must have his favorite cake as he has turned 81.

Being that age scares him and makes him sit in his chair.

It was hard to say good-bye to my oldest and her two children.

They are joining our Joanna out West as opportunity for a better life awaits them there.

We comforted ourselves by taking supper to the lake and later buying the gladioli for the dining room.

Flowers wilt and die but the cheer they bring lasts for a while. About a week and then I’m looking for new ones.

Art projects experiments and trials, letting ideas flow.  The color green challenges and pushes me, but I love the way India Ink looks on watercolor.

 

 

 

 

I am delighted with the response to my online shops.

 

 

 

 

These are just a few the items I’ve created for Spoonflower, Redbubble and Society6.

Cover graphicElsie’s Easter is still making her way into homes around the world. It is an amazing feeling knowing that Elsie is so loved. If you would like a copy you can still get one here.

Ten Essential Picture Book Elements

Valuable information here for picture book writers by Kathryn Evans.

Kathryn Evans

By Kathryn Evans

Sorry for the delay SCBWI friends – here, at last, are my notes from the Winchester Conference Picture Book  Intensive. The aim was to explore the essential elements that make  a breakout picture book with Sarah Frost, Commissioning Editor for picture books at Hodder, and Author/Illustrator Melanie Williamson.

The morning session covered the ESSENTIAL  basics:

1.  Title:

A great title should be  memorable, intriguing and match the tone of your story. Rhyme or alliterate, highlight the theme of your book, try and use the main characters name,  is there a catchy refrain from your story that you could use?  e.g Time for Bed, Sleepy Head Be short snappy specific. Check to see if your title has been used before! Be immediate – get attention fast.

2. Popular themes:

Bedtime

Siblings/new baby

Mum/dad

Love

Hugs

Worries

Importance of kindness/sharing

Counting

Feelings

First experiences of toddlers and…

View original post 604 more words

Why did I write Elsie’s Easter

May 15th, 2017 I self-published my first children’s book, Elsie’s Easter. It is a wonderful feeling to have this project finished but also scary since I have been working on it three years and wasn’t sure what life would be like, post-publishing.  I am however, overwhelmed with gratitude for how well my book has been received. Today I am beginning a series of posts about the process of making the book.

I’ve been asked the question many times, ‘what inspired me to write Elsie’s Easter’. In this series of posts I would like to answer this and other questions that I have been asked.

As always, it is the children. It’s all about the children and my excitement at having them all home again for Easter. Not all of them came home that Easter but they had been home just the fall before and so I had finally met all my dears at that point. I wanted to bless them each with a little hand-knit rabbit. I had plenty of yarn from a previous project. It was a lightweight yarn in as many colors as possible. I remember the yarn arriving the October before in a huge box. One of each color.

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I used it to weave scarves and knit hats for the children. It had been a lot of fun with yarn everywhere and so many colors. They had loved the scarves and hats and wore them proudly. 

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I was sorry later to find out that it wasn’t the warmest yarn for hats in the bitter cold of our Ohio winters, but it was great for knitted rabbits. I made each one a different color. We had so much fun with them as they emerged from the knitting needles. Each time the kids came to visit they would inspect the progress. They picked out the colors of their own rabbits.

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The book is the story of that Easter day that we had here. Elsie represents Chloe and all the rabbits represent her own dear nieces and nephews, my grandchildren. Little Harry has since been born and has a sister now as well. We traveled out to see her and had quite an adventure which will have to go into another story book. Elsie’s Easter is about family. It is about the anticipation of being together. It is about being part of the preparations and contributing to the overall fun and excitement. It is about belonging.

I want to talk more about other aspects of this story but that will have to wait for another blog post. Thank you for reading. I would like to hear from you. If you have a question about the book that you would like me to answer in a future post, just leave me a comment. Leave me a comment anyway, I love reading the comments. I hope you enjoyed the story.

If you haven’t gotten your copy of Elsie’s Easter you can buy it on Amazon. If you would like me to sign it for you and send you a green bow like the one Elsie is wearing you can order it here, directly from me.

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This post contains an affiliate link.

Dance Again

For Jenny

Stand up.
Go outside.
Take a walk
And breathe in the scent of the earth.
Breathe in the scent of all living things
the aliveness of the soil
and the spirit of Existence.

Stand up.
Go outside
When it is dark
And look at the sky.
Breathe in the expanse
the depth and the soul of all that is.
The power and peace that rests in the stars
and the the silence of darkness.

Stand up.
Go outside
Leave your grief
Breathe in the mighty presence
of all that lives
Breathe in the strength
Until your sorrow
Is overcome
And your heart strings beat again.

Listen to the music
Of all that is.
Of the earth and the wind
and whispering weeds
Of the sky and the stars and the deep
Listen to the song of life
That fills the sky in the day
And woos the soul at night.

Stand up.
Go outside
Breathe out
the tension
the worries and fears
Breathe out
The complaints the guilt and excuses
Breathe in the strength the love and peace.
Until you are full
Of love and life and hope
And your soul dances again.

written by hanna mccown

Scribble Picnic – Ladder

It’s Scribble Picnic again.  This week is ladder.  I noticed that my Instagram account had received a following of over 400 people.  It’s pretty amazing and really cool for me.  I love seeing all the work being posted over there and love the interaction I’ve been having.  It’s an inspiring place to go at the end of the day, or just before I get ready to draw or paint in my journal.  I love Scribble Picnic as well.  I’m meeting folks over here that are also on Instagram and it’s a lot of fun to share, see all the art work, learn to pay compliments and give encouragement as well as to get it.  Scribble Picnic is a fun thing to do.  If you are interested in it and haven’t been there yet then click on this link.  Here.20170419_144040small

Painted on Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Sketchbook paper with Sennelier professional artist watercolor paint and penned with Pigma Micron Archival Ink.    These are Amazon Affiliate links.  This is where I buy most of my supplies.