Ain't No Ninny

Where Creativity and Everyday Life Collide


Hope is the thing…

Today Dawn DeVries Sokol put out her second set of prompts for the 12.31 holiday art journal workshop. Every Tuesday and Friday she gives a thought prompt as well as a word of the day, a quote of the day, a song of the day and a suggested visual focus for your page.  None of these are required.  The prompts are there to provide inspiration for your holiday art journaling, if you need them.  If you are interested in finding out more about her free 12.31 workshop, you can find it here: .

The only prompt that called to me today was her visual focus which was to create a shape on the page using torn bits and pieces of paper and then to doodle and/or journal on or around the shape.  I already had a tall and narrow piece of red scrapbook paper as a page in the journal so I decided to use that as the base.  My first thought was to create a cross, which I did.  But that cross morphed into the shape of a Christmas star so I decided to go with that. The shape of the Christmas star reminded me a little of a tree so I drew a bird on one of the branches (rays).  I doodled and collaged scalloped shapes around the bottom and sides of the page and then doodled over the star.  I wrote the word HOPE on top of the scallops at the bottom of the page. I’m not sure where that came from, but it seemed to fit. Then I doodled small white and black stars on the background to mirror the large one.   I used Posca paint pens, a Fude ball pen in black,  and a white Signo Broad pen for all of my doodling.


As I was looking over the page, the word HOPE and the bird came together in my mind and I journaled the first verse of Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope Is the Thing With Feathers” in the center of the bottom scallops.  For those who are unfamiliar with that poem it reads:

Hope is the thing with feathers

By Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers  
That perches in the soul,  
And sings the tune without the words,  
And never stops at all,  
And sweetest in the gale is heard;          
And sore must be the storm  
That could abash the little bird  
That kept so many warm.  
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,  
And on the strangest sea;         
Yet, never, in extremity,  
It asked a crumb of me.

I rather like my patchwork Christmas star/cross and its association with Emily Dickinson’s poem.  Christmas (the birth of Christ) is, after all, associated with hope in the hearts of many.

This was an interesting creative exercise, pulling almost everything from some source inside that had nothing to do with planning or thought.  I love that about creativity.  It has much to do with intuition and process and less to do with the end product.

I hope you find some time in your day to creatively express your own intuition!


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Poem a Day Challenge – Day 9



Sometimes I just don’t want to do what’s expected of me or what I expect of myself.
All day I procrastinated instead of writing a serious poem about something that has been in the news recently.  That was the prompt.  I’ve been following prompts so far this month for my daily poems but today I just. Didn’t. Want to do it.  What kept running through my head was, “I don’t want to”.   So that’s what I wrote.

I Don’t Want To

I don’t want to read the news
I would rather take a snooze
I don’t want to watch TV
It’s nothing but reality

I don’t want to write a poem
I would rather clean my home
But I don’t want to do that too
So I will sit here in a stew

I don’t want to take a shower
I’m sure I smell just like a flower
I don’t want to feed the cats
They can find their own damn rats

I don’t want to post this blog
I’d rather feed it to the dog
I’m feeling something, maybe dread
I think I will just head to bed


Stencil It!

It is week 43 of 52 in the year 2014 and the last week in October. That’s apropos of nothing, I suppose, except that there are only nine more weeks in this year to create what I want to create . . .  so I better get crackin’!

In my weekly art journal group  the prompt for this week is “Stencil It!” and the instructions were to either use a stencil on our page or to create/cut a stencil.  Well, it just so happens I have a TON of stencils.  I have been going through all of them this week to organize and hang them on a special rod I created in the closet in my craft room so that I can more readily find them when I want them.  The whole pile was just sitting on my desk when I saw this week’s art journal prompt.  So I selected four stencils that I thought I could use together to create a background in my art journal.

I started with a page in my large Ranger Ink Dylusions journal where I had previously cleaned off a paint brush with dark blue paint.  Over that I laid a StencilGirl stencil by Traci Bautista called Circles Circles ( ) and dabbed coral pink, light blue, yellow and white acrylic paint through it using a cosmetic sponge.  This is what it looked like.


I then stenciled over the top of that with the StencilGirl exclusive club stencils by Mary Beth Shaw for October 2014 ( using the same four colors.  This created a background 3 layers deep with blues, pinks, yellows and whites.


I knew I would be putting a quote on the page but I thought it needed something more, a focal point.  I saw a ‘girl’ in the page and I sketched her in with a charcoal pencil, using the larger circles as an outline.


I then painted the girl but decided to leave her eyes closed to go with the quote.  I also used a smaller circle by the girl to paint a cat sitting next to her.  I printed out the quote by Marcus Aurelius and collaged that onto the page.  I finished by outlining the girl and the quote with a Stabilo All pencil in black, smudging it a bit.

Journal52 Week 43 - Stencil It!

Overall, I’m very happy with the page.  I made use of my stencil stash, I used a page in my art journal that had previously just been sitting there with smears of blue paint, and I painted a whimsical girl (something that’s very difficult for me).

I’m glad I created today and hope you’ve been creative too!


Here, Let Me Prompt You


Every Tuesday, in a Facebook poetry group (of which I am a member), there is a “title” challenge.  We call it Title Tuesday.  Original, huh?  The moderator posts several “off-the-top-of-his-head” titles. Group members are encouraged to write poems inspired by one or more of the titles and are also encouraged to submit titles of their own for others to use.

I use to write prolifically.  Every day.  Once I wrote over 500 poems in one year, short and long, serious and humorous, terrific and terrible. Some were written to daily prompts, some to poetry challenges or exercises, others came from inside my soul.   But not lately.  I have been suffering a severe poetry block for months. I probably have not written more than ten new poems in the last twelve months and most of those were haiku.  Today I wrote poems to three titles.  Three!  I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel.

So what’s my point?  Sometimes you just have to slog through the mire to get to the other side.  Suit up, show up, do the drill.  Today I did the drill and I’m glad I did. I’m not saying you’ll succeed in creating something that is great on days when the flow just ain’t there.  But the time spent slogging will be worthwhile. You’ll discover something about yourself or your technique will improve or you will break through the ice.  And who cares if your inspiration comes from a prompt, a challenge, an external source?  It is still inspiration and inspiration spawns creativity and creativity is what it is all about.

Here is one of the poems I wrote today, unedited.  The title is unchanged from that given in the Title Tuesday challenge.

The Garden of Edam

She met him there
Under the fig trees
Timid as a mouse

Her voice squeaked as she whispered

We shouldn’t be here
It isn’t right
Someone might see

He flicked his tongue and winked

He handed her a treat
Waxy red on the outside
The inside white and sweet

His golden eyes blinked while he watched

She nibbled at the flesh
And scrambled back inside
To give some to Adam

He coiled and hissed in frustration

I merely wanted to know you
Mon Cher Souris
Nothing cheesy, I assure you

Eve licked her naked paws with glee