Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Learning new skills

 As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been learning how to make "junk" journals. I put the name in quotes because I don't really agree with the term, even if I do understand why they're called that. Simply put, a junk journal is one make out of "junk" -- the stuff you'd normally throw away or recycle. At its origin, nothing went into such handmade journals but the papers you could salvage. Things like notebook paper leftover at the end of a semester or year, old ledger paper, magazine pages, old maps...that sort of thing. Often, artists making these original journals would use the junk mail that came, recycling it by covering it with other old papers to make new, firmer, writing surfaces. Hence the term, "junk journal."

By the time I discovered them (a little over a year ago), they had evolved into "vintage" journals. Still called by their original name, the overall look now had turned Victorian and an entire industry had risen up to make faux (fake) advertisements, paper dolls, wallpapers, etc., available to creators. 

And the purpose of such journals changed as well, which is still causing some confusion among those who are just learning about this newer art form. While many use the journals for writing, for keeping track of their thoughts and ideas or for making lists, still others use them as a place to collage, as an art book or record of their day through scenes. Which is the right way to use a junk journal? Both of course. All of the above. A blank journal can be used any way you want, no matter what term you use. Junk Journal, Bujo (Bullet Journal), Blank Journal, Art Journal...the use and the construction have become entwined, leading to this confusion.

I prefer the term "handmade journal" although that sounds a bit like something you made in 6th grade. In fact, I've had women stop at my booth and say, "Oh, what a great idea! We could do that with our Girl Scout troop/4-H Club/6th graders!" Thanks, ladies. It took a lot more effort, time, and talent than you think it did to construct that book. Your kids are not going to sew in their own bindings, make their own covers, dye their own papers, or collect their own "junk." Sigh.

That said, learning a new skill is always a positive. As I head into my years as the Crone (the Temptress is LONG behind me, and the Mother is always with me), keeping my brain active as well as my hands busy is important to my mental health. My husband and I have always been creative in some manner: he's a theatre director, a musician, a songwriter, a painter, and most recently, a playwright. I've always written stories, I weave (on a loom), now I also am learning the arts of collage, bookbinding, and journal making. 

Why not? It's fun. I think I've spoken before about my mom, who turned her hand from painting by number to liquid embroidery (after having done real embroidery in her teens), moving to painting greenware, then using plastic canvas to create an entire Christmas village as well as several practical items (her napkin holder sits beside my desk since I often eat at my computer). Her hands were always busy, as were my grandmother's before her. My grandmother was a whiz with the knitting needles and not a year went by when we didn't get mittens as we grew up. I still have a blanket she knitted thrown over the back of my couch.

So I'm joining a long line of creativity in my family -- and I've t passed onto my daughter (who, besides painting ceramic pieces for Halloween and Christmas, also makes the best crocheted hats and very cool lap rugs) -- and it's a line I'm happy to be a part of. Keep learning new skills, keep that grey matter from solidifying!

Play safe,


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Still Here. Honest!

 So much for being better about blogging!

It's been an interesting four months since my last post. I've made several handmade journals, lots of videos (if you haven't checked out my channel yet, you should!), and now have a new knee. Well, a partial one, anyway.

Yes, my right knee has been giving me grief for a while and an arthroscopy to get rid of the arthritic build-up and repair a small tear in the meniscus only showed I was bone-on-bone and the next step would be a partial knee replacement. My left knee already had a replacement and I'd been hoping the right one would last longer, but, after all those years of skating with clamp-on key skates, of being a rambunctious tomboy, of running around the neighborhood like a hooligan, it was time to pay the piper. I don't remember a summer when I didn't have skinned knees. Now I have scarred ones. 

And I'm fine with that. Modern medicine is wonderful. The advances have progressed to the point where a five-hour stint out of my day results in a new knee that, after a few weeks (and several physical therapy sessions), I'm back to doing pretty much everything I could do before. A few weeks from now and I'll have trouble remembering I even had surgery. Paying the piper is hard, but worth it.

I'm fully retired from any outside job now, and that gives me a luxury I have never had before: Time. As in I can order it how I like, spend it on anything I want, do what I need to do when I need to do it without having to work around a job's demands. I love it. I appreciate it. I cherish it.

Probably more so because I've gotten older and realized I'm on the other side of middle age. If I've already passed the middle, I have fewer years ahead than I do behind, right? So spending them wisely has become more important. 

Although, admittedly, "wisely" is a relative term. Sometimes that means going places, seeing people, being social. Other times it means nothing more than sitting in my chair with my feet up and a good book on my lap. What is the purpose of life? I think that's a post for another day. :)

In the meantime, play safe!


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

 I haven't posted anything since January, mostly because I've been busy with projects other than writing. I've started a business making and selling junk journals, my daughter just got married -- which is a story in and of itself -- and I've been learning to relax and enjoy just being. Of those three, I'm pretty sure my daughter comes first and the other two vie for second place.

Am I still writing? Yes. And no. I am no longer writing erotic romance. I AM still writing an epic fantasy, although that also has taken a back seat (or 4th place) these past few months. Why? I'm stuck. I know what needs to happen, but can't seem to figure out how to write it. Been struggling with it for weeks now and finally decided to walk away from it for a bit and come back to it fresh in July. Hopefully, the time away will help?

One of my new ventures regards craft festivals. I did the Celebrate/Commemorate Festival in Waterloo, NY at the end of May and, while I wouldn't call it a rousing success, there was enough interest that I'm doing two more -- one in July and one in August. I'm selling my journals as well as my books, so we'll see. I only took Hardship and Hardtack to Waterloo and it sold well, so I'm hopeful for the remaining two festivals for this summer. Depending on how they go, I'll make decisions about next year. If I decide to keep it up, I'll let you all know.

And yes, I'll be better about getting blog posts up. Really, I walked away from everything these past six months -- and I needed to. I needed time to reset, to relax, to, as I said at the start, learn to enjoy just existing. That last is actually harder than it sounds, but living in the present is my goal and I'm getting better at it. Only took me sixty-six years! :)

Play safe, and take deep breaths, Diana

Tuesday, January 10, 2023


As always, January is a good time to look back as well as forward. How did last year measure up? And what will I do differently this coming year? Well, that depends...


Not my best year for reading, I have to admit. At least looking at the last several years.

In 2017, I read 69 books, not including December (I forgot to keep track. Sigh.).

In 2019 (didn't keep track in 2018), I read 73 books, again not including December. Apparently I get really caught up in the holiday spirit of the month and, although I read, I forget to write it down.

In 2020, I again read 69 books. Including December.

In 2021, I read only 58 books because I was performing in a play during the months of October and November and my reading time was taken up with learning lines.

And in 2022, I read only 52 books, partly for the same reason. After decades of not being on stage, I've been in two plays in two years. Both times was in plays making their stage debut -- works in progress by playwrights needing to see their words in front of an audience. We did talk-backs after each performance so those from the audience who wanted to give feedback could do so. A lot of fun and very exciting to help fellow authors (even if a different genre).

I keep track of the genres I read as well and fantasy tops the list with romances following close behind (I'm a sucker for a good Regency or Scottish Highlander). Historicals come next, followed by the rare non-fiction. I do read chick-lit on occasion, although I didn't this past year. Oh! And I had two books I started and didn't finish this year. Didn't include them in my 52 read, though. If I didn't finish, I can't count them in my list, according to my criteria. 


You know I'm a weaver, with a 36" 4-harness, 6-treadle loom. I made several pieces in the beginning of 2022, one of which has been mostly eaten by mice. 

Yep. I made, out of old rug yarn, two small rugs, using old towels for the weft. Put them down at the cabin, one to go under shoes/boots near the front door, one in the kitchen. The rug yarn, because the skeins were leftovers from other people's projects, was of many colors: beige, dark brown, purple, yellow. Interestingly, the mice really enjoyed the purple. They ate/stole nearly all of it from the rugs. They've left the towels alone (so far), and only lightly gnawed on the other colors. But the purple, they loved, leaving gaping holes where that warp used to be.

No, I'm not mad. The whole project was an experiment to begin with, and I learned a lot doing it. Now I've learned more from watching the rugs slowly disappear. A win!

The end of 2022 brought a new interest: making junk journals. I'll write more on those later, but suffice it to say, I've been down the You Tube rabbit hole and now am hooked. LOVE playing with paper!


Romantic Seas, my latest (and quite likely last) Diana Hunter novel released this past July. The protagonists are older (as am I) and I had fun writing it. 

But I'm really enjoying writing this epic fantasy. I've split the first book into two and given them names: Threads of Earth and Sky and Threads of Power and Loss; Parts I and II of The Companion series. I've sent them out and gotten a few nice rejection letters -- and ignored by other agents/publishers. I'll keep trying, but in the meantime, I'm at work on the third volume of the series. There will be four all together. With any luck (and more sending this puppy out), I'll find that person this year who will take a chance and get this published!


I hit the big 6-5 in 2022, and found, for the first time, a little difficulty with my age. Normally, I like being the age I am. Sixty-two was a little nerve-wracking because three of my four grandparents died at the age of 62. My parents both lived into their eighties, but still -- a year I needed to get through.

Obviously I did and went on Medicare (sigh). This year I'm eligible for Social Security. While I will welcome the money, there is an implication of old age that goes along with it. I'm definitely in my later years -- the "Old Crone" stage of a woman's life. I prefer the "Wise Woman," however. No matter what my knees tell me.


We did a lot that had to do with Steven's plein air painting. Ellora, Canada; Towanda, Pennsylvania -- he painted (and sold!) and I used the time to engage in the three R's: reading, writing, and relaxing. We also took the opportunity to visit Nova Scotia. We have friends there and stayed with them for several days, doing a deep dive into that part of the province. I love it there!

This year will be closer to home. I'm sure he'll do the plein air festival in Ellora again, but I'm not sure if I'll go with him this time. We have a cabin we didn't get to spend much time in last year; I'm thinking this year, it will become a second home! Needs a new fridge, but otherwise, it's very livable for weeks at a time.


More writing, more reading, more of making junk journals -- and more aging. Maybe some small traveling, lots of staying at the cabin. Enjoying the adventure -- always!

May your year be filled with joy and excitement of the good kind!

Play safe,