Loose Ends (CATALOG 3/24/2023)

  1. More than 7,000 people across the country—including yours truly—recently signed up to volunteer with Loose Ends, an organization for knitting and crocheting volunteers. Our mission? To finish the projects of those who have passed away. (I did this some years ago on my own—read about it in my story “Knit Together.”)
  2. New favorite author alert! Jacqueline Woodson‘s “Another Brooklyn” turned me into a fan, and I so look forward to reading more of her incredibly tight-yet-deep work.

  3. I love resources like the book Uncommon Sense Teaching that recognize the big picture of living as educators (there’s also a free Coursera course by the authors).

  4. I am especially wowed by art projects that involve repurposing. I was reminded recently of a local organization called Art Start that provides both materials and instruction!

  5. A recent purchase: Haikubes! I can’t wait to play around with them both on my own and with my writing group.

  6. My fifth-grade students and I read Amelia Lost together and wrote our own informational articles based on our learnings. What a fascinating personality she was and reckless venture she undertook!

  7. Journey to the Cross: A 40-day Lenten Devotional by Paul David Tripp rings of his poetic voice but offers some great practical insights on what sacrifice and humility can really look like in life.

  8. I can’t wait to watch this “Many Beautiful Things” documentary about Christian artist Lilias Trotter. Given what I’ve watched and read so far, Trotter is going to bound to make the list of my favorite artistic ancestors.

  9. I haven’t tried my hand at a crocheted tapestry of this scale before, but I’m eager to give it a try over the next couple months. My yarn stash is ready for the assignment!

  10. I am currently judging writing contest entries for The Writing Revolution, a makes-sense curriculum I used among students who struggle to learn and a powerful method for anyone who wants to write better.

The War of Art (CATALOG 2/16/2023)

My latest list of recent likes and favorite links…

  1. How did I not know about the wisdom of author Steven Pressfield. I am devouring his book The War of Art with joy and appetite for more!

  2. I scored In Praise of the Needlewoman for a pittance at the thrift store recently. It’s full of all kinds of glossy artwork featuring women busy at their knitting, embroidery, weaving, etc. A keeper for sure!

  3. I guess winter is for books… The Writer on Her Work features essays by Alice Walker, Anne Tyler, Joan Didion, and others and is convincing me of the sisterhood, passion, madness, etc., I share with these women. It’s also inspiring some writing of my own!

  4. …and more books! As Lent approaches, I plan to dig into Journey to the Cross by Paul David Tripp. I became familiar with Tripp’s work when gifted his My Heart Cries Out, a book of faith-based poetry. I trust Journey will be just as rich in content and creativity.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed Storystorm 2023, a month of daily blog posts by children’s book authors. At the same time, readers were encouraged to “create 30 story ideas in 30 days.” Mission accomplished—and then some!

  6. On my to-do list: Winter Writing Sanctuary 2022 complete with PDFs full of prompts. The “classroom” implodes at the end of July so, if my current schedule doesn’t allow for it, I’m fine with embracing the notion of winter writing in the heat of summer.

  7. I finally began crocheting a log cabin afghan and love the feeling of sweet progress with each completed spiral. Photos to come of my creation, which already bears that awesome lead-vest feeling as I work on it.

  8. I’ve got a DIY air-dry clay recipe ready and, of course, a healthy stash of yarn… I can’t wait to experiment with crochet and clay fusion!

  9. I think this is my fourth crochet-along with Breann Mauldin at the helm, but my first making blocks. Lord willing, I will eventually have at least 28 blocks to piece together into a blanket. Talk about texture galore!

  10. The first episode of Dear Edward on Apple TV Plus rocked me to the core. And its various storylines around the psychology of grief continue to keep me riveted. My heart is truly with dear Edward.

Praise the Rain (CATALOG 5/6/2022)

My latest list of recent likes and favorite links…

  1. Poet laureate Joy Harjo poet describes poetry as “a tool to uncover the miraculous in the ordinary” and “a sense of play.” What a treat to hear her read “Praise the Rain” for National Poetry Month a couple weeks ago!

  2. I’ve relied on an old-fashioned spreadsheet to keep track of writing project progress and queries, but I’m tempted to give Kanban a whirl, specifically Trello.com, to make it more of a visual exercise.

  3. A couple years ago, I attended an encaustic painting workshop by artist Jodi Reeb. Wow, her landscape paintings really make my heart sing!

  4. From none other than Austin Kleon, learn how to make brush pens in any color!

  5. Being a knitter/crocheter, I love this video showing the Netflix bumper replicated with yarn. For more about the process, check out this extended version.

  6. My daughter and I, along with some friends, are signed up to volunteer with My Very Own Bed later this summer. We can’t wait to deliver and set up new beds and bedding for some kids in need of consistent and comfortable sleep!

  7. Have you seen the Oscar-winning movie “CODA” yet? I was so moved by the story and music—and can’t seem to get “Both Sides Now” out of my head.

  8. My hometown boasts a cool art and nature experience called Green Island. Poetry by yours truly will soon adorn the walking path!

  9. I became new to pickleball last summer and agree with Caryn Sullivan’s article deeming it “a model for a better life.”

  10. I would never describe my church as “uncool” or “boring,” but I really resonate with the “instead of” statements in this article celebrating church as I believe it should be.

Ode to My Socks (CATALOG 4/15/2022)

My latest list of recent likes and favorite links…

  1. In preparation for their standardized testing next week, my students and I analyzed a couple poetic gems: “Ode to My Socks” by Pablo Neruda and “Rivulet” (page 16) by Aramis Quintero.

  2. I love using Canva for all of my basic graphic design needs—it offers a lot of different templates to make just about anything, and many of them are free to download without payment or watermark. My daughter, who is just eight years old, also uses it to design notes to her friends, flyers, to-do lists, and calendars!

  3. As a two-time Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor, I am proud to be associated with the publisher’s “Hallway Heroes” program, a creative and stirring social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum. In fact, I will be trained in the program this summer in preparation for leading it next fall!

  4. Speaking of SEL, All Learning Is Social and Emotional by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fischer, and Dominique Smith is a must-have for educators who would like to become more familiar with SEL’s five key factors: 1) Identity and Agency, 2) Emotional Regulation, 3) Cognitive Regulation, 4) Public Spirit, and 5) Social Skills.

  5. As soon as my iPad is up and running again, I am totally putting the learnings of Stacie Bloomfield‘s free mini course on making greeting cards into practice.

  6. The timing stinks for me, but I still dream of somehow making it to this Writing for Your Life Conference in Colorado. I’d love to learn from Philip Yancey!

  7. My Heart Cries Out by Paul David Tripp has become part of my every day. It’s a grand collection of faith-based poems, along with related Scripture leads and journaling prompts.

  8. I first became aware of artist Jane Davies when I saw a print of her work in a major department store. Wow, does her web site feature a lot of great resources, including a very generous list of free tutorials!

  9. Austin Kleon shares how he can easily document favorite quotes from his reading with the help of a couple standard features on his iPhone.

  10. The AoPS (Art of Problem Solving) podcast is in its infancy, but it promises to offer some great content on the joy of learning.

Patchwork Pants (CATALOG 4/10/2022)

My latest list of recent likes and favorite links…

  1. I see a lot of ripped up or patched together pants among my middle-school students. These Dolce Gabbana jeans—and their price tag—caught my eye. The question is… What came first, the patches or the pants?

  2. Super creepy, super cool, or a little bit of both? If Stephen King is looking for his next muse, the “American Decay” photography collection by Bryan Sansivero may be it.

  3. Figure out what makes you tick—and enjoy some great art in the process—with Lisa Congdon‘s “Values Deck.”

  4. Let’s save today’s youth from becoming even more device dependent—let’s engage their brains! Learn more through the “Raising Problem Solvers” podcast, a new production by the Art of Problem Solving (AoPS).

  5. So many people changed careers during the pandemic, including yours truly. Still thinking about your next move? Fast Company offers “6 things to consider…

  6. Get a load of Charlie Puth’s creative process for writing and recording “Light Switch“—plus his bouncy curls are amazing!

  7. To think that my sleek silver MacBook Pro all began with the quaint wood stylings of the Apple 1 computer, which now fetches $400,000 at auction!

  8. A friend recently treated me to Susie Larson‘s latest book, May His Face Shine Upon You. Such a beautiful collection of little blessings for both parent and child!

  9. Another great resource for mothers with lots of creative ideas and ambitions: try “An Artist Residency in Motherhood.”

  10. What a cool marriage of music and visual art, presented by children’s author Mo Willems of Piggie, Gerald, and Pigeon fame. His “Beethoven Exhibits Extracted” recently wrapped up at the Kennedy Center, but I intend to visit all nine pieces online and listen to the corresponding symphonies from the comfort of my own home.

I love to collect cool resources on writing, learning, and creativity—so please send me yours! Thanks for reading!