Making a SCRAP-Booky Thing ~ A book/card made from stationery scraps, featuring my Rubbermoon Stamp!

IMG_2968When it’s time for me to do a Rubbermoon post, that’s when my creativity is really challenged. What can I create that’s unique from the scrap materials I happen to have around me? What fun activity can I come up with?

This month I wanted to use a card my mom sent me as inspiration to make something. My mom used my Rubbermoon stamp, “Sending Love,” on a special card she made for me. It was a wonderful surprise in the mail! I wanted to try doing something similar, but ended up going in a very different direction once I realized I didn’t have ANY of the same materials my mom used for her project. I didn’t have a blank card, I didn’t have embossing tools, I didn’t have special shape cutters, etc.

That’s when I became desperate and asked myself, “Okay – what DO I have?” I have a LOT of unused stationery and birthday cards. Yep. A LOT of them. I became interested in using some of my old fashioned styled cards/stationery for this project, and had fun gathering cards and things that worked together as a theme.

What began originally as a goal to create a card made from scraps of my unused cards became more of a fun scrap-booky thing. Okay, that’s my official name for it.


  • Stationery/birthday card/scrapbooking scraps
  • hand held hole puncher
  • Ribbon/decorative yarn to tie at holes
  • stapler
  • Rubbermoon Art stamp, “Sending Love
  • scissors and/or small paper cutter


1. Collect similar-themed cards/stationery/scrapbook materials.

Collect unused stationery with a similar theme - I chose old-fashioned styles.

Collect unused stationery with a similar theme – I chose old-fashioned styles.

2. Start chopping them up, and work on covering printed areas with scraps so you can keep the card/book blank to use only for your own sentiments/thoughts/writings.

Chop up your cards

Chop up your cards

I decided to add a sheet of stationery to fold around the other "pages."

I decided to add a sheet of stationery to fold around the other “pages.”

3. Put pages together as wanted, and use hand held hole puncher to punch two holes (top and bottom) to use for inserting decorative yarn/ribbons.


4. Tie decorative yarn/ribbons through holes – not too tightly, so pages can be opened.

5. Add embellishments as wanted. I added a pocket on the front as special housing for the “Sending Love” note.

Used a piece of decorative unused scrap from birthday card to make a pocket on front. Added antique image as embellishment.

Used a piece of decorative unused scrap from birthday card to make a pocket on front. Added antique image as embellishment.

Stapled top and bottom of added pocket piece to create pocket to slide in "Sending Love" message.

Stapled top and bottom of added pocket piece to create pocket to slide in “Sending Love” message.

6. Use Rubbermoon “Sending Love” stamp as embellishment on removable pocket card.

7. Now you have a fun giftie to use as a keepsake journal or to send in the mail to someone with special sentiments. Since I used birthday cards as a base, the whole thing fits neatly inside a card envelope! Handy!


Fits neatly inside original card envelope!

This is a fun project to try when you just want to play around with scrap materials – to see what original creation you can come up with!

Talking to Students About Writing, Art, and Dreams!

Speaking at Porter Ridge Middle School

Speaking at Porter Ridge Middle School

Caricature Demo at Porter Ridge

Caricature Demo at Porter Ridge

I made the choice to drive down to NC during my kids’ Spring Break week to spend some much-needed time with my family and to come full-circle by speaking to my old Middle School in Monroe, NC.


Because the books I have recently self-published were originally written when I was sitting in the courtyard during recess at Piedmont Middle School, Monroe, NC. This was my way of bringing my journey full-circle. The amazing thing is that my nephew now attends Piedmont Middle as a seventh grader… the same grade I was in when my written journey began. How totally amazing!

I was also lucky enough to have a connection at Porter Ridge Middle School, a school I have never visited before. What a blessing! I ended up giving two days of my trip to visiting Porter Ridge – the first day to give a writing talk series, and the second day to speak about art and answer questions. I also gave an impromptu caricature demonstration, at the end of my last talk.

Overall, I gave about 12 30-45 minute talks, speaking to well-over 600 students – in three days. What a marathon run!

Sometimes you just have to test yourself to see what your limits and capabilities are. That’s perhaps one reason I did this as well. Speaking to Middle School aged kids was very different from the wide-eyed audience that welcomed me at Sunview Elementary. I was fortunate, though. I was so engaged in what I was speaking about, there were very few students who nodded off… and there was the occasional snicker in the group, which I was happy to realize didn’t phase me in the least. I proved to myself that I am SO over that level of self-consciousness that used to paralyze me as a kid and young adult.

Again, sometimes I just have to push myself into something to test how much I’ve truly grown.

I’m so happy to have tested myself in this way, and to hopefully reach at least a few kids who are dealing with the same things I dealt with as a teen. It’s the hardest time of life to get through, I think.

What a blessing! I’m grateful to have had that opportunity, and grateful to have some time to recuperate – I pushed myself so far, I ended up making myself sick with a bad cold (ugh!) – well, at least I know my physical limits now as well!  :)

Below you’ll find a series of clips from my writing pep talk day at Porter Ridge MS.

Giving Writing Pep Talks to Kids ~ At Sunview Elementary School and BEYOND!


Photo taken during my Writing Pep Talk at Sunview!

On Thursday, Feb.6, I gave what I call a “Writing Pep Talk” to the kids of Sunview Elementary School in Lyndhurst, Ohio. Both of my kids attend Sunview. I also have been leading a mini group of kids in my daughter’s class which I call the “Sunview Star Writers Group.” When the school teachers caught wind that I released my first book series, I was contacted to speak with their Third Graders who have been going through a Treasures Reading Program. I was ecstatic!

Inspiring and encouraging kids to be creatively expressive is my personal JOY, and I was SO thankful for the opportunity. Besides, this is something I’ve been wanting to get started anyway… visit local schools here in Cleveland and around my hometown in Monroe, NC, to not only promote my books, but to tell my personal writing & publishing story to the kids, encouraging them not to give up on their own dreams.


Thank You notes from the Sunview 3rd Graders!

Giving this talk to the kids was a great experience – and the Q&A was very soul searching for me. I was proud of myself for being so “on,” I was able to answer most questions quickly to get as many in as possible. I spoke to four third grade classes, gathered into two groups. I also created artsy bookmarks as giveaways to the kids, and learned how to quickly create 100 of these little gifties! It was wonderful when I also announced to the kids that I was donating a copy of each of my books to the school library, too. My heart swelled from their enthusiastic response!! About a week later, on Valentine’s Day, I received the most wonderful gift from my daughter’s teacher… a packet stuffed with beautiful handwritten Thank You notes from all the third graders, thanking me for my visit, for donating the books, and for the artsy bookmarks. They also wrote to me about their favorite parts of the talk, which was pretty cool to read about, and through reading their responses, I made an adjustment to the book I’m currently writing (3rd  in the series), to include a story I told to the classes, realizing it’s a very important story I need to tell in the final book of the series.

Now I’m planning a trip during my kids’ Spring Break to visit my old school in North Carolina, Piedmont Middle School, and give the same talk to some students there. I am so excited to do this. And ultimately I’m hoping to take a trip to my Elementary School in Canada, Meadowbrook Public School, to do the same thing, bringing my book journey full circle!

The Last Canadian ~ My Father’s Dream Remembered

513wYOkKMjL._SL500_AA300_This piece of music was co-written and produced by my dad, Robert Carrick from Toronto, Ontario (in the very early 1980′s). My dad and his friend, Paul Conlin, were on a mission to produce a film about the book, The Last Canadian, by William C. Heine. They ended up coming short of their financial goal to gain rights to produce the film and the project was instead granted to another company, Americanized completely, and re-named “The Patriot,” starring Steven Seagal – his first “direct-to-video” film. (Wow – yeah, THAT was worth crushing a man’s dreams for, eh?)

Honoring my dad by posting this piece of music for the world to enjoy! A haunting piece of music, intended as soundtrack proposal to the original “Last Canadian” story.

The story of my dad’s lost dream is not an uncommon one, but as dreamers we often feel very ALONE (as on the book cover pictured). This music comes into my mind when I feel sad and lonely or when I feel downtrodden – like the world of REALITY is trying to stamp out my dreams.

As I listen to this music and write this, I see many dreamers like my dad (and me) out there who often feel the sting of reality bite away at their dreams. Each of us stand in this empty, vast sea of despair at times. Cold. Frozen. Does it make any difference to move forward? – We ask ourselves – Why should I even BOTHER? Nobody cares about this dream other than me anyway. In the end, what will all this pain cost me? I should just bury myself in the snow and die here. What’s the freakin’ point?

And then a voice beckons us forward.

It urges us to move on through the frozen wasteland of doubt and fear.

Because if we stop moving, we will freeze here and die… like all the others… the millions of others who have succumbed to the plague.

So I dedicate this music I’ve shared here to all the dreamers out there like my dad, and like me… who get discouraged, fearful, and angry.

It’s okay. Feel the pain. It’s all real. But don’t stop moving, because it is in moving forward through the snow that warms us… and brings us closer to hope.

My Art Licensed on Rubbermoon Art Stamps!

IMG_2660For the first time I’ve learned what it feels like to license your artwork on product. I’ve designed products for other companies, but this is the first time I get to see something produced using a piece of my ART on it. Not just an illustration, but something that came out of my heart and soul.

These little gems express how I feel about sending my art and books out into the world. By sending out my heart’s expressions through art and writing, I am sharing my humanity with the world. This includes  sharing my imperfections, making me vulnerable.

What’s cool about having your art on rubber stamps is that it teaches you not to be too much of a perfectionist. Each time you use a rubber stamp, it will look slightly different each time. You might think the whole purpose of a rubber stamp is to create something exact every time you use it – as if it’s your own personal printing plate. Not the case. I you WERE using a printing press, maybe that would be the case, but you are using your own human hand to apply the stamp to paper – and that allows for human error (pressing just a little harder sometimes, or not enough at other times).

Therefore, it’s important to use rubber stamps as a way to challenge your creativity. How creative can you be with the stamps? How many uses can you find for a single rubber stamp? And how can you mix and match different stamp design sets? I’ve been thinking about this as I play with all my Rubbermoon Art Stamps.

I’ve only begun to play with my own set, and I have to admit I haven’t been too creative yet because I’m so close to the designs – I see them as little art pieces themselves, so I want to highlight them to make my own notecards and use to decorate parcels I send out.


Here’s a little tutorial on how to customize notecards at home:

MATERIALS: Paper of your choice, patterned or solid-colored notecard from your stash at home, Scotch double-stick tape, oil-based paint marker or gel pen, and of course a Rubbermoon stamp of your choice (I chose my new creation, the “tree hugger”, which you can find in my Etsy shop).

1. Stamp on paper of your choosing (I just found some loose notecard material I found at home). I really love my “tree hugger” stamp and wanted to highlight it as art on a notecard.

2. Grab a patterned or solid-colored notecard at home (I have plenty that I feel I can recycle because I simply don’t use them enough).

NOTE: I happened to feel like using these notecards with a golden sheen to them – so I decided to use an oil-based paint marker to create shiny gold accents/embellishments to the stamp art. This was fun to play with. I suggest doing this BEFORE attaching your image to the card, in case you don’t like how it looks, to allow yourself some time to experiment.

3. Attach the stamp art paper onto your notecard. I like to use double-stick tape (I know – not too artsy, but it works). I trust Scotch double-stick tape. It just works well. No buckling or peeling to worry about. Simple. If you’re more picky about using an archival quality tape, feel free to use the kind found in scrapbooking aisles in the craft store.

And VOILA! You’ve transformed some store-bought notecards into your own personalized pieces of art to send through the mail with love! This particular set of stamps I designed would work out well to use as valentines (rubber stamping works very well to use for your kids’ valentines to had out at school… that will be my next project!  :)

Self Publishing Your Book is The EASY Part!! (HOW TO)

Book1cover.newI was writing a message to a friend tonight and my thoughts wandered (as they often do when I write letters), into motivational speech mode. I ended up writing the following:

It is so freakin’ easy to self publish now that it is kind of embarrassing.

All you really need to self publish is a computer, Word, and internet access.

You don’t even need money!!! (that’s the awesome part)

Writing the book is really the hardest part. Not because it’s hard to write something (although that is a motivational obstacle as well – writing a GOOD book is far from “easy”) – but mostly because it’s the hardest thing in the world just to motivate yourself JUST TO WRITE.


I’m a little nervous because now I have Book Two out, with a promise to have Book Three published by Spring, and I still have a lot of writing to do for Book Three. I’m PRAYING that I meet that deadline. I don’t know what my future holds this year. I might be insanely busy with freelance next month or two months from now, or get a new full time job soon – who knows – but regardless I know NOW is the time for me to get these books out, because NOW is the only time I KNOW I have.

Some people have been asking me how I’ve published my books, and I figure right here is a good place to write my “HOW TO” list!

1) Write your book. Don’t worry about the cover yet. Don’t even worry about how to publish it yet. Just write your book, and don’t let anything stop you from writing your book!

2) Create a free account with (I only advise it because I used it, because it was referred to me – it feels like a good place because it is so well connected with Amazon and Kindle – one stop publishing!). So far I am very satisfied with my results and experience there – and I’m not being paid at all to say that (not an affiliate).

3) When you’re ready to start, choose “ADD NEW TITLE” and go through the “GUIDED” steps.

4) You will first be asked to set up your title, etc. Don’t worry – you can change the title up until you approve the project to be printed, so don’t let that be an obstacle to move forward right off the bat. Then you’ll be asked to set up your book SIZE, which is important. Choose a size that you feel works best for you. I chose a size slightly smaller than what CreateSpace advised, and I’m happy. After you’ve chosen your book size, grab the TEMPLATE (I used the formatted template) to plop your story into. The hard part is finding where the templates are, so here’s a handy linky-doo: – just scroll down to find the size you chose for your book. Easy-piece-y!

5) After you finally have the interior of your book proofed to a point you are satisfied, then you move on to the cover design. And here’s the good news to people who are afraid of this part… If you don’t want to pay someone to make a cover for you, and you are not a Graphic Designer/Illustrator yourself (or if you don’t have a friend named Wendy who would be happy to help you out – hint hint), you can simply choose from a gallery of PRE-designed cover templates right there on Yep. Just add the written info on the template, customize (for some templates, if you want) with your own image/photo and VOILA! You have a cover for your book without any stress or cost. OKAY… granted. As a designer, I am well aware of the fact that the cover is a very important part of the book… but I am also a huge advocate of JUST GETTING THE JOB DONE. If you choose the route of creating a cover yourself, there is a template for that as well. Again, the hardest thing was FINDING OUT where to get that template. So, HERE:

6) After you’ve either filled out your cover information on the template or uploaded your own custom cover, next is the proofing stage. It takes 24 hours for to review your files and check for print-problem areas. You’ll receive an email notification when it’s ready for your final proofing.

7) At this point, when your proof is ready for your final approval, you can review a digital proof, or order a printed copy to proof. The digital proof has worked for me so far, because I like the convenience of it, but it’s up to your personal preference.

8) Once you’ve approved your final proof, you’ll be asked to fill in the final information about your book which will appear on your sales page for your book. You will also have an option to create a Kindle version for your book (easy too).

9) CONGRATULATIONS! Your book is ready – time to promote the heck out of it! :)

If you are interested in independent publishing and still feel a little daunted by this process, I want to reach out here! Please comment to connect with me and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about it. I’m no expert yet, but I’m happy that now I can say I’ve actually gone through the process and have been getting started with the last part which is marketing/promoting my books! I have a feeling that is truly the hardest part. And don’t let people tell you that when you traditionally publish you don’t have to be involved with marketing/promoting. The more involved you are in promoting your own book, the better your book will do in the marketplace!

So I’m off to contact a few bookstores today. See ya later!

Adding Gifties to my Book Orders – with Rubbermoon Stamps!

IMG_2464I’m having a lot of fun finding different things to gift along with the books I’m sending out. I just published my book, Wearing My Weird, a couple weeks before Christmas, and was SO excited to get some autographed copies out when I received my first batch! The first batch was sent during a time when I had some materials to make some little tag bookmarks. I didn’t have much time to get too crafty, but it’s fun to see what a simple amount of marker and rubber stamping will do to create a little something special.

When I purchase something from a creative person, I often am surprised by what I call “little gifties.” Just small little somethings that make me feel the person I purchased from is thankful for my order. I like to try to do the same for those who buy my autographed books!

For these little bookmarks, I simply used the following:

1) Some 1 x 2 ” tags.

2) Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (the same I use for signing the books – they are great because they don’t smear like other pens or markers!

IMG_24653) The typewriter Rubbermoon art stamp. What’s cool about this stamp is that the heart shape is separate from the typewriter stamp, so you can have fun with the little hearts. For this tag/bookmark I placed the typewriter at the bottom, and stamped the hearts to look like they’re emerging from the typewriter.

On the reverse side (not pictured) with the Artist Pen, I wrote little sayings related to the title of my book, like “Embrace your Weird,” “Write your weird,” or “Express your Weird.” I made sure to sign the bookmarks to show it was a little handmade something from me.

The next time I make a batch, I’d like to add ribbon/yarn tassels to the end, and do some painting as a base, to dress it up more. But sometimes I just have to go with simplicity to make sure I just get an idea out.

I’ve been having fun using various Rubbermoon stamps as simple embellishments like this, finding new, creative ways to use them simply when I don’t have much time to get artsy. Loving this easy tool!

The Publishing Dream of a 12-Year-Old Girl FINALLY Comes True!

1499473_10202539900319288_2051712005_nLet me tell you a story.

This is a story about a book that took 28 years (YES… YEARS) to become a glossy-covered reality!

In 1986-87 I hand wrote my book in two blank books when I was thirteen years old. Then I typed it up (104 pages typed – with a typewriter) to send out to publishers. I don’t remember how many manuscripts I sent out, but I received 3-4 rejection letters back. The first letter was a Canadian publisher and was quite a nice, supportive letter. The last one was merely a postcard form letter with my name written in the blank.

NC deck2

Young author, Wendy, in Monroe, NC (that’s me in the flowered skirt in front) – sister Laura behind me, and Daddy at the grill!

I quickly lost hope of getting my book published and plummeted into a pit of self loathing for even trying. I burned several pages of my book (the ones I KNEW were horrible), and I cannot thank my younger self enough for NOT burning the whole thing.

In the year 2000 I took a Creative Writing course at my community which turned my writing life around. I needed material to bring in every week for eight weeks of the course, and with a lack of inspiration to write something brand new, I turned to my old manuscript to see if it was worth saving. There were bits of it that I still thought were good, and one chapter that even won an award when I was in high school. I decided to use the course to see if I could turn the book into something I could be proud of.

The course, taught by Debi Bucci, was the best writing course I’ve ever taken – not only because of Debi, but because of all the amazing and gifted writing friends I made through the class. I took this 8-10 week course TWELVE times during a 5-year span, and by the end I had two out of the three books COMPLETED, and learned more about editing my own material than I’d ever learned before – and I say this having graduated with a Minor in Creative Writing from CASE Western Reserve!

writing group

CAWG writing group turkey fry gathering (around 2005-ish). Left to right: Craig, Christy, Christine, Alan, and me. Craig’s dog, Tucker, in front wearing the cone of shame.

When our teacher, Debi, decided to move on, I was fortunate enough to be included in a writing group formed by my writing workshop classmates. I continue to meet with most of these people and we call our group CAWG (Cleveland Area Writers Group). Our group still meets monthly at The Coffee House in Cleveland’s University Circle, and I try to make it as often as I can (which has been seldom these past couple years, but not giving up).

Finally in 2012 I discovered NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo as convenient and cost-free resources to motivate me to add to my collection of chapters and to revisit them once more to fine tune and explore how I should actually complete the book(s). I decided I wanted to include illustration and ultimately decided to use loose doodle art in the book to make it look like something I would have scribbled down in my journal when I was twelve.

All along I’ve kept the original humorous and adolescent tone as was originally scribed. That was important to me, to keep it authentic to what the story was originally – a collection of thought-provoking memories by a 12-year-old girl. I was just as thoughtful at age twelve as I am now – I just know a lot more about writing, thank goodness!

My finished cover!

I’ve known for years that self publishing was the way to go for this book. Really, I have to admit… What publisher would say yes to an autobiographical story about a 12-year-old girl who moves from Canada to the States? I’m not interested in trying to morph my story into something a publisher would say yes to.


What I am interested in (and this brings tears to my eyes) is to make Little Wendy’s dream come true. To publish her intimate stories of struggle, and to tell her she doesn’t need a busy editor behind a desk to give her validation that her story deserves to be printed and shared around the world. I love this little girl, Wendy, and I admire her for her courage and gusto to never give up on her dream.

So what was the final “boot in the rear” to getting this book OUT?

Perhaps it is because I’m turning forty soon.

Perhaps it is because I look at my own daughter, age eight, as she also exhibits an interest in writing and passion for books.

Or perhaps it’s because I have a huge pileup of book ideas that I need to get moving on, and this series just HAS to get out the door before I can move forward with the other projects.

Regardless, I’m glad the “boot in the rear” finally came.

Please check out my book website – the platform I set up for the book series. You can order an autographed copy directly from me, a print-on-demand copy from, or a Kindle version – links are all on the book website!

If you are a writer who is interested in self publishing your book, feel free to contact me. I am happy to share more about my experience with you! We writers need to stick together!  :) We need to CREATE-A-WAY!!!!

Blessings and YESsings to you!

Recycling Calendars and Unused Notecards to Make Christmas Cards – Featuring Rubbermoon Art Stamps

It’s Christmas Card time! And it’s also that very sad time of year when I have to say goodbye to my wall calendar (yes, I still use a wall calendar). I am very choosy about my wall calendars. I like to choose calendars that inspire me visually – so naturally it’s a shame when the calendar has to be folded up and put away. There are times I’ve framed calendar pages because I love the art so much. But I’m running out of wall space, and it’s getting harder to figure out what to do with my precious calendars (and other calendars I’ve received through the year but never use).

So why not make Christmas cards out of them?

In this post I’m not only recycling old calendar pages, but also making use of old note cards I know I will probably never use. It’s very handy to refurbish these old note cards into something more interesting. They already have matching envelopes, which is also very handy.


So let me show you my process of making these recycled/refurbished cards to create really cool Christmas cards.

The only supplies you’ll need are:

  • Old calendar(s)
  • Note cards (blank inside is preferred) & matching envelopes
  • Double sided tape (or glue sticks)
  • Scissors
  • Faber Castell PITT Artist pens (or Sharpies)
  • Stamp ink pad
  • Rubbermoon stamp(s) to embellish the envelopes and blank inside area of cards. I used the New Moon and Angel stamps.
  • Various scrapbooking materials

This is a project that is easy to come back to over time. Set out the supplies at an unused table so you can keep coming back to it throughout the day/week and get little bits of time in here and there. Since there are no paints or glue used here, if you’re pulled away by some kid-related emergency, it won’t matter. You can return to your materials any time, using whatever snippets of time you can.


Step One: Trace the area of the calendar image you want to use on your note card. Always trace the area on the back side of image, not the front, so you won’t see pen lines after cutting. I simply find my area of interest by lifting the paper up to a ceiling light.

Step Two: Cut out your traced area – you can use scissors or an exacto knife if you prefer.

Step Three: Place double-sided tape or use glue stick on back of image to adhere to your card. Make sure the tape/glue goes as close to the edges as possible.

Step Four: Place the image carefully on your card and burnish it down with your fist or by placing paper on top of the page and using a flat object to burnish the area down (start in the middle and work your way out when burnishing).

Step Five: Apply Rubbermoon stamp and marker embellishments to inside of card and envelope. This lovely New Moon stamp seemed to match the feeling of the calendar art, so it seemed fitting to use it for the embellishments.

Step Six: I decided to use the art pen to write a simple “Christmas Blessings” message on the front image of the card to customize it a bit.


Step One: Go through your scrapbooking supplies to find papers and embellishments that work well as a theme. I used a vintage look to go with the crafty paper of the note cards I found. Used note cards that didn’t have a Christmas feel at all and dressed them up to give them a Christmas vintage look. I found some old vintage Santa embellishments and some metallic paper that would simply dress up the card.

Step Two: Since I wanted a crafty look, I tore the edges of the metallic paper. Then I used double stick tape again to adhere the Santa image and metallic paper pieces.

Step Three: I went on the computer to type and print out an appropriate verse/text for the front of the card, measuring the area first to be sure I used the right size. Then cut out the printed area and applied it to the front of the card.

Step Four: Apply Rubbermoon Stamp embellishment to envelope! I liked the angel for this one.