Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Research Rabbit Holes

 As I research original sources from the 19th century, I find myself curious about little tidbits I might find. If I see an advertisement or a letter with an address, I will hop over to Google Maps and look it up. Bonus if there's a street view! Here's a recent example:

Note the ferns on the cover!

And, this got my attention; a name and address!
Ethel Kershaw, Radcliff House, Pudsey

Who was she?  Lookit! I found her in a 1911 census!

Ethel May Kershaw, only daughter of Hugh, 50 & Eleanor Mary, 42. They've been married 17 years. Hugh is a "medical practitioner."  Who else is living in the house?

The Hyland family: 
Samuel, aged 70, retired cashier & Eleanor, aged 59; married 31 years  
Only son/ child, Frederick Hunter Hyland, aged 19 and in medical school. 

Annie Dales, 58, general domestic servant. Single.
Marie Roze Buxton, 19, the cook. Single. 

Charles Suffield Brown, 24, medical student. Single.

What can we surmise about this household?
They only had 2 servants, so they were not regarded as wealthy. They have two young men who are medical students, which leads me to believe that Dr. Kershaw was a teacher at the local school or a mentor of sorts. 
What about the relationships of the Hylands and Kershaws?
It's possible that Eleanor Hyland & Eleanor Mary Kershaw were sisters. It seems strange to us that they would have the same first name, but this was common practice to name daughters after their mothers. E.g. Marie Antoinette's sisters were all Maria Something. They were then called by their middle names or a nickname by their families. Just the name Elizabeth could become Lizzie, Eliza, Bess, Beth, etc. etc. allowing for all the daughters to be named after their mother Elizabeth.   

Back to Ethel, who started this whole thing! What can we gather about this young girl?  Either she was interested in drawing or this was a textbook. It was published in 1878.

There are questions in the back which suggests this was a class she took or a book someone lent her because she had an interest in drawing:

But what about Radcliffe House in Pudsey?  Was it a grand estate? Is it still there?  I searched for Radcliffe House, Pudsey, England on Google Maps.  YES!  It's still there. And . . . it's a mental healthcare facility now. You'll be able to see some disappointing photos of the exterior and interior of the house. The current decor has wiped out original architectural features and the character the house would have had originally. 
If you click on Street View (Upper left corner of the screen) you're facing a row of back yards. What pretty gardens everyone has!  Turn around clockwise, and you'll get a view of the side of Radcliffe House. Those trees (or shrubs?) must be very old. In front of the hedge are rocks all along the lane, which could have once been a garden wall. 

Keep going clock wise and follow the lane of Radcliffe Gardens and you'll see a sign for the house. There's no really good view of the whole house from Google Maps. Here's a view from Radcliffe Lane. It's a fun little jaunt around the block, tho.

Further research :
*History of Radcliffe House
*Old maps of Pudsey
*What exactly was a "retired cashier" in 1911?  Accountant?  
*What happened to the medical students? 
*What happened to Ethel?  Did she marry? Have a family? Stay at Radcliffe?  

But this is where I need to stop. Seriously. If I were researching family history, or working on a project specifically for this, or getting paid for my infernal curiosity, then I would continue. But I will end it there and leave you with a coupla ferny illustrations:

Friday, August 26, 2022

Finally! A Writing "How To" Book for The Rest of Us!

 "There are as many different ways of writing a book as there are writers, but we all end up with a finished book regardless of how we get there. You have to find the process that works for you." ~Joanna Penn

What a breath of fresh air Joanna Penn is! The books I've read on writing have all stressed structure, plotting, and outlining--all of which stressed me out and made me wonder what was wrong with me and why wasn't I more disciplined. She doesn't dismiss non-outliners as "pantsers." Instead of appealing to those who naturally have an outline, she reframes this kind of writing as "discovery writing." When I'm writing fiction, I often think, "Oooooh, what's going to happen next?!" Because I don't know. "Creativity is not linear," she says. Exactly. She cites other writers (Stephen King, Lee Child, Nora Roberts, to name a few) who are Discovery Writers and she shares their processes.

Joanna gives permission NOT to know the ending, not to know all the characters or events. You don't have to write in order of beginning, middle, and end. "You need to know enough to finish this novel, but you don't need to know everything before you write it." You don't have to have everything perfect before you begin.

The book is divided into 5 parts:
1. Mindset and writing.
2. How to do research, create ideas, and find what kind of writer you are (Outliner or Discovery Writer).
3. The nuts and bolts of a novel: story structure, characters, etc.
4. First draft and writing tools.
5. Editing.

Throughout the book at the end of each chapter is a resource guide of books, websites, etc. for further exploration. In addition, she has a list of questions (GREAT for journaling!) that help you take a deeper dive into your writing and your process.

When I read "That's not how my creative brain works," it made me realize that I had been carrying some subconscious baggage from my old English teachers about the "right" way to write. It's refreshing to read from an actual author that Discovery Writing is a proper, legitimate method AND used by many authors. 

 At the time I was reading, all I had was a pencil for underlining, because I can't read without also writing! Here are a few pages:

I highly recommend this book to the "That's not how my brain works" writing crowd. This book will guide you through how to write with your natural writing style and not tell you that you're doing it wrong. For those of us who wrote out required outlines after we wrote papers in English class, this book's for the rest of us!

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Sherlock Mystery Folders for A&P Class

  My sister is teaching A&P for the T.A.G. (Talented And Gifted) program this week for 10-14 year olds. So I helped her design some learning centers. Each day will have medical mysteries correlated with the system they are studying. We're also incorporating critical thinking and scientific inquiry. I won't post the whole series here, but here's the first one:

Creative Commons photo of 19th century Sherlock. I just printed in B&W on parchment paper. 

Each story is printed on cardstock and I have incorporated some critical thinking / scientific inquiry questions:

Answer can be deduced by flipping up the card:

On back of story is a pocket holding "The London Times" front page:
Vintaged up.

I printed this out on parchment & distressed:

Here's an easier version to read:

I'll prolly do a video demo after the class is finished to show all the folders.  :-)

Friday, May 6, 2022

News from the Coop

 I've been chicken-sitting for some new friends and being the compulsive photographer I am, I put together a newsletter for their time away. These are from the last two vizzies and I'm getting ready to do another one this week.  


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Custom Journal for THE John Morgan

I wanted to write a blog post for my latest journal, since I didn't do a video flip-thru of it before I sent it to its recipient, John Morgan. I wrote a more extensive post in honour of John Morgan on my Labyrinth Gal blog. This post is more about the journal. I'll show some photos, and then I will have links to supplies, tools, and information on how to make the journal.

Here's the journal:
It's a Booksmith journal, of course! It has a 3 1/2 inch curved spine.

 John is the author of GrasshopperNotes.com
hence The Grasshopper in all its festive glory.
I made the frame using a creative commons 
image I got in MS Publisher. 

I used gold paint to accent, and a gold-ribbon tie closure:

The inside opens to reveal that it is also a Traveler's Notebook:
Green elastics.  I included 3 inserts, but there
is LOTS of room and elastics to add more.

I glued an envelope down on the inside front 
cover with a note inside. Ferny wax seal on the 
envelope in keeping with the green theme. 

The letter inside says:
"Listener Food" is defined on a page down 
below. A "Remote" is a radio term for being
out of the studio on location. Often remote. Ha!

A pocket made with a green file folder for cards, ephemera &c.:

Here's the first insert:

I designed the inserts in MS Publisher and included a lot of family photos, which I won't share here. I also included some of his birthday-related blogposts. Here are a few pages:
Photo of him and his dad, secured with Tim Holtz paper clip.

John & his mother in a photo booth:
Looks like a Tim Holtz photo strip. That's another 
one of his tiny paper clips holding it to the page.

Photo of Steve Martin that John took at one of his shows:
So I signed it a la Steve Martin.

Last page:
Magnolia May was really John's idea! So I 
had to have "her" sign his book.

The idea for this is that friends and family can sign The Birthday Book, taken out of the Traveler's Notebook, so I included a pen loop and  (NON-fountain) pen:
Pilot G-2 rollerball pen.

Back cover of the Birthday insert:
John is wearing one of his granddaughter's 
hats, taken at her birthday party.

Second insert: I have notebooks & journals filled with notes I took over the years for John Morgan Seminars. I've often read them to him, but he's never seen them. So I included a few pages in an insert for him:

I copied the entries onto parchment paper:

The third insert is Radio-themed from his days in radio:

Inside has a pocket made with a photo of him when he was a DJ at KCMO (Kansas City). He rode a bull for some radio stunt:

Inside the pocket is one of his blog posts, Friendship,
 printed onto parchment.

Here are a few pages with quotes and stories:

John had Gary Owens (from Laugh-In) record some 
"drop-ins" for his show.

Center of insert:
Newspaper article from DJ days at KCMO.

Back of insert:
He was "Chuck Taylor" in Wilkes-Barre for 2 years and 
told a lot of corny jokes. E.g. "Today's secret word is 
PEANUT BUTTER. Spread it around." Hahahaha

Back cover of Radio insert:

I included one of his Grasshopper Notes journals:

If you want to make a journal like this:
1. Take the Adventures in Booksmithing course by Nik The Booksmith.
2. Take the Hollow Back Book Binding course.
3. Then make a Traveler's Notebook spine with elastics.

Sound like a lot of work?  Exactly. However, if you want to make high quality, fool-proof journals and books, it's still the best course to take. She has taken the guesswork out of making a Booksmith tome, and you won't have to try to deconstruct or reinvent how to do it. Clear instructions, all the best materials, supplies and tools to use.  She does a lot of free tutorials on her YouTube channel, too. OK, that's my testimonial.  ;-)  

For Booksmith-specific materials & supplies, you'll need to take the course. E.g. cover material, spine construction, etc. etc. For the rest, here are (non-affiliate) links to supplies and materials:

HP laser 32 lb. paper  Decent for photos and great for rollerball or fountain pens!
Elastic (1 mm):  The elastic in this journal is from Tuesday Morning from years ago. Your local craft store should have basic white and/or black. White is good because they you can dye it whatever colour you need. I just lucked out with the already-green for this journal!
Double-sided tape (used in making the back Ephemera pocket)
Fern wax seal  I can't find the exact one I have, but this one is close.
Coloured hot glue sticks (The ones I used are currently unavailable)

If I've left anything out that you want to know about, leave a comment below & I'll answer.

Lastly, 2 videos on how to make non-wax "wax" seals. The first with hot glue:

Here's a video tutorial from Nik with a different method:

OK, I think that's all!