New Year 2018

Going from one year to another is the most difficult thing for me.  Each year is just as painful as the last.  As a mother I never wanted to go into a new year without my children and to have one child gone now makes it painful.  Almost as though I don’t have a right to see the new year without her. 16700551_10210427906167475_8391435040196537565_o Yet there are still reasons to keep going.  People to love and live for.  Difficult and painful doesn’t mean impossible.  14379866_10210099889047252_8232384665382823267_oI have a lot to do in this new year and a lot to learn.  Yes, I am still learning and I do have much to look forward to.  24250847_10212849997518245_121709383_oI am comforted by this scripture and I want to share it to comfort others who are bereaved.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise.

After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.

Therefore encourage (comfort) one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18


Seeing a New Year or even a new day means that I still have life.  I’m grateful for life and for each new day and each New Year.  I plan to live it to the fullest and to be grateful.  When that trumpet sounds I hope that I will be living that moment with joy, grateful and to the fullest.  It will be the happiest way to be reunited with my child, my love.  I hope that for each of you who read this.  Just because it’s painful doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Hanna McCown

Happy New Year 2018

Thankful – 1

The other day on my way home from physical therapy, aching and tired, I began to list in my head things I’m thankful for.  When I got home I sat down to begin writing them down.  The first item on the list, is and always has been, at least since I got them, my children.


I’m thankful for my children, the ones living far away with families of their own and the one still with me at home.  Each child contains an entire world of experiences and a wealth of potential.  They grow up, in-spite of me, and love.  The ability for a child to love their parent is phenomenal.


They are the most forgiving and courageous people I know.  It’s not that it has always been so lovely, but through it all and in the end of all of it they love me and they are good to me.  I watch them parent, the ones who are parents and I’m filled with pride.


I watch them go through trials of dark night and I am humbled by their courage.  I watch them come through and rise above and my humbled heart swells with joy.  I have one in heaven watching over us, her son, a beautiful person, I’m sure she sees him.  The youngest child came along 18 years after the one before and I begged God to let me do better, be better and not forget the lessons, so hard to learn that came with the first four.


The night is no longer dark and the days much brighter and hope fills the air around me.  I search for the right words to comfort my daughter who is now where I was so many years ago.


The bond between myself and my daughters grows as they experience motherhood.  My son knows I will always listen and care.


God has a special design for mothers after the children move away and they have families of their own.


The roles change with the years and yet, there is always a place for me in their lives.  I’m thankful for my children.





Yes, I am missing them

a lot this time of year.

Especially, the one in heaven.

I don’t like to celebrate without her.24259732_10212849985797952_1654478087_o


Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.

Psalm 127:3 (CEV)

Written by Hanna Elizabeth McCown November 29, 2017.

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,



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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


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.


Soon the batter was mixed and ready for the oven.


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


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

Lemon icing was easy to make.

Toasted almonds took a couple of tries.


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.

Cover graphic

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.


WhatsApp Image 2017-09-01 at 5.25.41 PM

Beach days

beans and peaches

birthdays and difficult goodbyes.

Cheer me up with


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 Author & Public Speaker

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:


Siblings/new baby





Importance of kindness/sharing



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.


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. 


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.


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.

Cover graphic

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