Thanks to everyone who participated in this program and made it such a success, it is always an achievement when our patrons join us to spend some creative time at the library.  It has been a great year!

I hope to be able to provide another similar program for you all soon.  Unfortunately for now my services are needed in other areas of program development.  Make sure to check out the Writing Club and all the great programs that the Central Branch is offering through our Self-Publishing lab.


Miss Katie



Last week we had the first meeting of the New Year.  I thought it would be fun to discuss some resolutions and wishes for 2015.  As our members are not currently working on any long term projects, we filled out some worksheets about what we hope will happen in the New Year for the nation, what 3 newsworthy events might take place and for fun, what creature would we want to change into once a year, if we could. Surprisingly a bird was the top answer, as we all felt it would be very cool to be able to fly.

Here is a sneak peek at the worksheets I was able to find through Pinterest.


After chit chatting about our hopes for the future world, we tried out some ice painting!  I had frozen some Popsicle sticks into a tray of ice to use as our brushes.


As the ice began to melt, it made an interesting medium with the water based paint. It was a bit difficult to really get into detail with the paints but the abstract pieces looked great!


And an inside joke turned up this work of art:


That was it, we had some time to clean up and finish our hot chocolate and snack and it was time to go.  See you next Tuesday, Feb 10! Also, take a quick peek in the ABOUT section for the remaining dates this year for the club.  Thanks!

New Years Resolutions

I thought it would be a good time to make some writing resolutions.  The New Year is a great time to start thinking about new projects or committing to yourself to finish projects you’ve already begun.

That is first on my list – finish my novel!  I am so very close to having finished my first draft of my very first novel.  It is a YA fantasy novel and I hope to finish it up soon so I can start revising and get it ready for publication.  I am not sure yet if I want to pursue finding an agent or going the self publication route, it will all depend on the feedback I receive from my first selected audience.

If you are in the club or are thinking about joining us this year, what writing or illustrating resolutions can you think of for this year?  Do you have a project in mind that you have been thinking about starting?  What is holding you back?

Do you have a story or illustration in the works that you just can’t seem to finish?  When can you set aside some time to complete it?

Being a writer or illustrator is a way of life.  The more you write about yourself or about your characters, the better you get.  The same goes for illustrating.  Experimenting with different techniques and subject matter will help you grow as an artist.  If you ever need any help with a project you have in mind, I would be happy to help!

So think about what you want to accomplish this year for yourself, not for anyone else.  And get to it!

writingtips illustrating tip

Stretch it, Rip it!

A big thank you to all the members who came out this year to make this club such a success. Thank you for your inspiring creativity and enthusiasm and writing and illustrating, stick with it and it can take you anywhere!!

Our last meeting of the year started with some readings from last weeks “Horrible” writing activity.  Albert and Connor shared their stories and we had some laughs.

We then moved on to and exercise called “Stretch a Sentence.” It’s basically just about how to write more descriptive sentences by think about the Who? What? When? Where? Why?.  I had this template printed out and they created their own sentences:

Then we completed some construction paper landscapes.  I showed them an example of a landscape created simply from ripping strips of construction paper and then pasting it on to a background. Here is what they came up with:


We also feasted on popcorn, hot chocolate and some yummy chocolate treats that I received as a gift (thanks Albert and family!) I also got some very cute cards from Ashley and Abigail, thanks girls!!  Have a great Holiday everyone, see you next year!

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Night!

Despite the title of this post, we had a great meeting this week!  We started off with a reading of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.

It is a cute little story.  I have not seen the movie yet but am looking forward to the library receiving a copy of the dvd.  The basic plot of the story is from the pov of Alexander who wakes up and instantly starts having bad luck.  He begins to wish he were someplace else (Australia). I kinda felt bad for him, he always seemed to be getting ignored by the people he loved.  While I did enjoy the illustrations and funny things happening, I was disappointed at the ending when he just gets in bed and his mother explains that some days are just terrible.  Sort of like saying, deal with it kid, this is life!  Now while that may be true, I would hope that as a parent we can offer our children empathy and ways to cope with the challenges of life rather than accepting misery as a recurring theme.  I could however be over analyzing and I am definitely getting off track!

After we read the story I let the members know that they would be re-writing and re-illustrating the story with their own characters.  I used a free template I found on the Teachers Pay Teachers site which has now been taken down, so unfortunately I can’t share the link.  In a nutshell it had a title page to enter a new character name, and about 8 pages with a starting prompt and ending sentence.  The members had to create a character (or use themselves as the character) and re-create the story using new adventures.

No one had a chance to finish the complete booklet but I’ve been promised a return of them to share when they are complete.

We did get on topic of name meanings last night while chit chatting and the group seemed very interested in knowing what their last names meant and what their cultural heritage was.  We took some time looking up last names and finding out some information.  We had backgrounds from Scotland, Ireland, Korea, Britain and France.

That wrapped up our night.  Only one meeting left this year and it’s on Tuesday December 2 at 5pm.  Then we won’t see you again until January 27, 2014 at 5pm.  Looking forward to it!

Cubes and Canvas

We had a very laid back session last week, but still tons of fun!

Our opening activity was with our Story Cubes.  I had made these myself from a template I found online here:

The group wrote for about 20 minutes while I set up for our next activity… Acrylic Painting!

Since it was the first time we were working on canvas I didn’t plan too much for this.  I thought it would be nice for them not to worry about following any sort of directions and just have them get used to what it was like to paint with acrylics on canvas.  They did great!  We talked a little bit about self-portraits and abstract paintings but most decided to paint landscapes.


That took up most of our time!  Now we only have 2 sessions left this year (Nov 18, Dec 2) and then we will be taking an extended Winter Break.  I plan to start the program back up on Tuesday January 27, 2015 at 5pm and will continue every other week until May 5, 2015.

See you soon!

Zentangle and Poetry

This week I wanted to mellow out! With school in full swing and Halloween just around the corner I felt the need to plan something a little less complicated than previous weeks.  What greater way to accomplish this than with some basic Zentangling and Black-out Poetry!

We started first with Poetry.  There is a Poetry and Prose contest going on right now through the Kitchener Public Library.  It’s actually The Dorothy Shoemaker Literary Awards Contest for Poetry and Prose and submissions are being accepted until this Friday on Halloween.  So we went over the details of the contest and I wanted to get the group involved in creating some poems.  Now I know not everyone has a knack for poetry so I thought the easiest way was to create some Black-out Poems.  This is when you take on old discarded book and rip out some pages.  You start at the top of the page and you begin to black-out words until you come to a word you want to use as part of your poem, you leave that word un-marked, then continue to black-out words until you reach another word you want to use.  The end results look something like this:

blackoutpoetry2 blackoutpoetry3 blackoutpoetry

Here are some examples of the Poetry in text form:

This bird
took a bite out of Colin
Molly bit Zack
In five beats he
spat out the food
get that bird!
I’m going to –
I’m going to –
I’m going to –
Zack regained his breakfast
Molly gave Zack a bill.
By Albert

She kisses their water bottle
She lost skin
A large black bird soaring
beside his eyes
She digs into her bottom
It is the only food
that she and John have left
A feather recognizes the rules
By Albert

Look around the corner
the shiny waist called down
on belay creature
surprised how blank
hang Linda nonetheless
she was the slack
straddled corner little way
fingers coming carefully
each move quickly
gracefully together
stopping place
so small time
wait long
carrying upward him
When stopped
level a few steps
preoccupied with climbing
that she looked into back
as something took
a silvery item
climbing gear
the crack
rope higher
yelled “Awk!”
This would be the end!
Humans falling stopped
Instead boulders dangling
way below was incredible
humans figured it all out
By Noel


Next we moved on to the Zentangle technique.  If you are not familar with Zentangle I wrote a brief description right from the book “Joy of Zentangle: drawing your way to increased creativity, focus and well-being.” By Suzanne McNeill.

What is Zentangle?

Zentangle was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Rick spent many years living as a monk practicing meditation and other spiritual exercises while Maria is a botanical art illustrator and lettering artist. Together they wanted to create a method for illustration to allow anyone to experience peace and tranquility while creating a beautiful piece of art.

Zentangle Basics

  • No artistic talent required. Zentangle builds images up from one tiny stroke at a time. If you can draw lines and dots or circles and repeat them in a pattern, you can create a Zentangle peice.
  • Simple portable tools. Zentangle only requires a black pen, white paper and a pencil. No erasers are needed, if you do make a mistake while creating it is up to you to ‘own’ your mistake and figure out a way to use it in your drawing.
  • Purposeful. Zentangle art has a specific important purpose. Because of this each line or mark made should be given thoughful attention and made with care. Doodling is mindless and not always a work of art. Zentangle method is mindful and always produces a piece of art!
  • New Perspective. Gives you a new way of looking at the world. Soon you will see patterns everywhere you go and begin to appreciate the simplicity or complexity around you.
  • Individualistic. Just as no two people are the same, no two Zentangle creations are the same. Never try to imitate another piece, always put some of your own style and personality in your work.
  • Ritualistic. Humans are creatures of habit, what better way to indulge in a habitual experience while relaxing and creating at the same time.
  • No required outcome and no right or wrong!

Here is my first Zentangle (incomplete in this picture):


Here is Abigail working on her Zentangle:


And some pages from our book to get inspired:


Everyone seemed to enjoy both activities this week.  I’m looking forward to starting some new painting techniques during our next meeting on Nov. 4, 2014!  See you then!

Ink it!

Thanks for making our transition to Tuesday nights at 5pm a success!  We had a great turn out for our first Fall session.

For our opening activity we explored different techniques to create texture using ink. We had a selection of different coloured pens to work with as well as blank sketch paper.  I handed out this sheet:

ink textures

The group then spent some time trying to learn the different techniques to make texture with ink. Here are a few examples of what they accomplished:




After our experimenting the group had the choice between creating items with modelling clay or using some Indian Ink and paint brushes to write in calligraphy.

The clay lesson was from a previous session where we explored different ways that Illustrators use clay as a medium for their published works. For example, Barbara Reid publishes all her picture books using clay illustrations.  However, this week I showed the group how to make beads, we are going to paint them next session:


I also had a few books on modelling clay out, so some members followed some easy directions and made a turtle and a snake, while some did their own thing like making and eye ball.  I did not get a chance to get pics of these but hopefully after they have dried out and are painted I can snap some shots to share here.

I think everyone though had a chance to try their hand at Calligraphy. What a wonderful way to display the written word! I had several books with lessons and complete alphabets to copy from. Here are some shot in action:






We’ve also started a small list of supplies that our members hope that we can purchase for this year.

1. Tracing Paper

2. Medium size canvases

3. Construction paper

4. More paint colours

Ask and you shall receive!!  Keep a mental note if you see anything out and about that you think would help contribute to our materials collection, it won’t hurt to ask! Thanks everyone for their support, see you Tuesday October 7th at 5pm!

We love to Chain!

We had a great time with a small group last week. We explored chain stories and chain drawings. Our members Willow and Albert were having such a great time that we basically spent the entire meeting taking turns making up characters and then creating stories to go along with each of our drawings.

To start, we used the Brainstormer App to help us come up with a character and a setting. Then one member would begin the story and pass around the ipad to record the story using the Educreations app. We came up with a lot of wacky characters and plots. I will try to add our recorded stories at the end of this post so you can have a listen as well as some pictures of our chain drawings.

To create the drawings, one person would start to draw and as soon as their pencil lifted off the page it was the next persons turn. This was a bit tricky and some members would try to retrace their work in order to keep drawing but it was very laugh inducing!

We ended our meeting by completing a few pages in our “Wreck this Journal“.

Before I end this short note, just a quick reminder that our meetings are now going to be held on TUESDAYS at 5pm!  I hope all of our dedicated members can make this change effortlessly and we will see you at our next scheduled meeting on Tuesday September 23, 5:00 – 6:30pm. See you then!

Chain Drawings:

Chain Drawing

Chain Drawing1

Chain Drawing2

Brainstormer Character:


Recorded Chain Stories:

Chain Story 2

Dumb ways to Die

Story Cubes!

This week we had a chance to try something new. One of our members, Meredith, had brought in a set of  Rory’s Story Cubes to show us at our last meeting. We didn’t get a chance to use them that week so I did a bit of research about them.

There are 4 different sets of 9 cubes you can purchase. The Original, the Clues, the Enchanted and the Prehistoria. The basic premises of the game is to roll the die and create a story from the images you roll in front of you. The different sets allow users to introduce the different genres and themes to students. The sets themselves are not pricey at all and I was able to find them for sale at Chapters and at Indigo. There is also an App for Rory’s Story Cubes available thru iTunes. However, being on a limited budget for our Club, I wanted to see if there was a way for me to create my own cubes for our group.

Hello Pinterest!!! Pinterest is my go-to when I am looking for ideas for writing and illustrating activities for our club meetings. A simple search for “story cubes” brought me to this site:

Story Cubes

You can just print off the templates and make your own cubes! Very easy! Plus they are much bigger cubes than Rory’s which makes them easier for everyone to see while they are writing their stories.

So after a bit of sharing, this was our first activity for this week.  We rolled the dice and then everyone had to write a story based on the sequence of pictures that showed up. Here is what our sequence was:


I told everyone to write a story with at least 2 or three sentences for each image. There was no time limit so they took their time and came up with some very creative and entertaining stories.

Willow and Albert agreed that I could use their stories, with my own, to share on the blog for this week.

The Dysfunctional Dinosaur’s ADVENTURE
By Albert

     One day a dysfunctional dinosaur was stuffing dirt into his face when he noticed a brown pile of droppings. He had never seen one before. So he tasted it and passed out. Then suddenly, a magic wand appeared out of nowhere. It cast a spell on the dinosaur. The spell made everyone in the world call him dysfunctional dinosaur even though he was the only one that lived on Planet Ruasonid.
     One day when the dinosaur finally woke up (in 37 minutes), he found a lock. The lock was golden so he was very happy. He knew he would be rich. But later, it turned out to be a very weird looking outlet.
     One day when he had nothing to do, he explored an old house. There was rumour, that the apples in the house were haunted. He didn’t believe that until he bit into an apple. The apple contained a ghost with a human eyeball. The eyeball gave the dinosaur the creeps. So he ran out of the house dysfunctionally. As he was running, a shooting star tripped the dino. When he got up, a sign directed him to look up. So he looked up.
     The dinosaur saw a shooting star that threw an arrow at his tail. He screamed so loudly that every country on Earth had an earthquake 10 times worse than the one in San Francisco in 1905. Then he used a horseshoe to stop the earthquake. That was the end of the dinosaur’s adventure.
The End

The Very Crazy Thing That Happened
By Willow

     Once there was an apple. The apple was very yummy. The apple was also very happy. Then a person’s eye saw the apple. The eye belonged to a happy person. The person was happy her eye saw the apple. Then a monster came from under the person’s couch and ate the eye. The monster was green and slimy. It was very hungry but it was full now because it ate the eye and the person that the eye belonged to.
     Then a giant magnet came along and since the monster also ate some metal, the monster was picked up by the magnet. The magnet flew into the air. It went far, far away.
     Then a shooting star smashed into the magnet. The monster got scared. The star attached to the magnet! Then an arrow came. Someone from another planet shot the arrow. It smashed through the shooting star.
     Then the magnet fell into a house. The house had no floor and no roof. Because of that, the magnet fell into a huge hole. Then, the magnet landed at the bottom. It saw a keyhole. The magnet had a lot of keys with it. The third one worked. The magnet went through the door and got bounced very high up.
     Then a magic wand came. It made the apple come out of the monster who detached from the magnet which separated from the shooting star. Then the arrow broke.
Finally everything went back to what they were doing before and were all very happy… until it started all over again.

The End.

The Forgetful Fairy Godmother
By Miss Katie

     Once upon a time in a magical land far away there lived a fairy godmother without any children. She could have sworn that she had some children at one point but she couldn’t remember where they lived. She decided that it was worth her time, as she was very bored without any children to make wishes for, to search for them.
     The first place she decided to look was in her closet. She always kept her closet locked, so she pain iced for a minute thinking that perhaps she had locked all her children in her closet. She found her key and opened her closet, but no children, thank the Light!
     The next place she decided to look was the house next door. She seemed to remember her neighbour being an old man who like to hunt. She would see him often coming home at dusk with some deer or fox skins, which she never really had a taste for. But the house was empty, no kids, no old man, only an arrow left alone in the grass out front.
     The fairy godmother was trying to decide where she could look next when she saw a shooting star! She made a wish to find some children to grant wishes to. As she walked along back up to her house, she tripped over a horseshoe! A sign of good luck! She knew that she would find a new child to dot over and spoil and love.
     She decided she might look out in her garden, perhaps she left a child there to wander or plant flowers or play, whatever it was children liked to do these days. She didn’t see anyone at first but then she noticed some movement in her pond. Was it a child? Did it want a wish? Her excitement grew.
     As she moved closer to her pond she realized that there indeed was someone swimming in it. Oh how delightful, her own wish had been granted.
     “There there child, come out now, I’m here to grant you a wish!” She exclaimed. The child began to walk out of the water. He was a strange child, he was green. He was a juvenile lagoon monster! Oh my, well at least he had come to her and his eyes told her that he indeed wanted a wish. They were green eyes, much like her own, so she took him and gave him a kiss right on his forehead.
     “What is your wish my child?”
     “Well ma’am”
     “Fairy godmother”
     “Ok well fairy godmother, I sure would love an apple”
     “An apple? Is that all child?”
     “An apple will do just fine”
     So she granted his wish and produced a fresh juicy apple from an acorn. The juvenile lagoon monster ate the whole apple in one bite and then dove back into the pond and disappeared. The fairy godmother stood and stared and wondered where he had gone.
     Oh no, she thought. Now I have to find more children. Where should I look first?
     The End

After the writing with the cubes, the members starting designing a background for our next project with clay. I showed them some of Barbara Reid’s picture books like these two titles:

We talked about how she must of produced these clay images and what it would take to reproduce something similar.  We didn’t have enough clay to go all out, so I told them to design a background and then add clay to the pencil drawing. Once the clay had dried then we could worry about colouring in the entire image.  We didn’t get too far into this as we ran out of time. Some backgrounds are ready, I think one new member, Veronica,  was able to add some clay to hers but I will save these to share for our next post when they should be closer to complete.  (That reminds me, Welcome Veronica!!)

Hope you enjoyed reading our Story Cube stories!

A quick reminder for members, I will be away on a cottage vacation up north so our next meeting will not be until Monday September 8 at 6pm.  This will be the last Monday Night we are able to meet and then meetings will switch to Tuesday nights at 5-6:30pm on September 23.  Enjoy these last few weeks of Summer, see you when school is back in full swing!