Thursday, January 9, 2020

Time to Create!

Hi Y'all!  2019 is gone and 2020 is officially here. What? How can that be? 1990 was just ten years ago! Hahaha!  2019 was a rough one for my friends and family. We had to say goodbye to too many wonderful people. So here's to hoping 2020 is a better, happier year for all!

I am not one for making New Year Resolutions but I do try to set some accomplishments that I would like to do that year. These are usually related to my writing.  This year is no different.  I want to get a new children's book written in 2020. I have oodles of ideas and started one back over the summer. Writing is the easy part though. It's getting all the illustrations and formatting complete that is the time consuming part.  Over the years I have gotten better at the whole process thanks to experience and help from others. It's great to have supportive friends in this career.  That is my first tip to anyone who is considering taking the self-publishing route.  Find a group in your field that you can talk to and bounce ideas off of.  There are so many wonderful free groups on FB, you just have to join and see which one fits you best.  There are also paid sites that can be very beneficial, especially if you live in a area where you can attend meetings and conferences. I liked being a part of SCBWI (Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators). Since I haven't been able to focus much on my writing the last couple of years, I didn't renew my subscription.  However, this organization is a wonderful source for any writer/illustrator.

Write, write, write! Create, create, create! That is my next tip. It doesn't matter if what you write or create turns into anything significant. If it is something you really love doing, it can be a great stress reliever. It seems to be a part of you and setting aside some time to do is good for your soul. At least, that's how I feel. Who knows, you may surprise yourself. 
My first painting in 2020. 

Formatting makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Haha! It's really not that bad but it is time consuming and can be frustrating, so be patient.  My number three tip is to really read up on the platform you want to publish in first.  For example, if you plan on publishing in ebook and hardback on Amazon, then read the how to guides first to understand how you need Word setup, or what image size you need for your illustrations.  Knowing this ahead of time will save you a lot of time, because everything will already be ready to upload and you won't have to go back and change everything. 

That's all the wisdom I have to share right not but I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes. 

Sunday, December 8, 2019

December Dreamin'

Merry Christmas! This is a season when memories are made, family is brought together and traditions are made. Please join me and my as I share “Holiday Traditions that Ring in My Season.”
Check out my personal reveals, then visit the other #Gr8Blogs linked at the end of the post for more shared recollections. We hope you'll be inspired to dive into special December Dreams of your own!

And finally, my favorite holiday tradition is driving around looking at Christmas lights!! These pictures were taken on a mini vacation we took to Pigeon Forge, TN.


Traditions can be passed down from generations or created totally new as a new chapter in your life begins. I have shared some of my holiday traditions, in the comments area, feel free to share some of yours. Also be sure to check out the other wonderful #Gr8Blogs links below. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! #Gr8blogs Cat Michaels:
My Ups, Downs and In Betweens on the 2019 Writing Road

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Happy HallowSCREAM!

Happy Halloween!!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. We don't decorate much at my home but at school is a different story. We go pretty big for our big community event.  Each year, I start October by having my students collaborate and come up with some ideas we could use to make some cool Halloween videos. They always come up with great stuff! Time is limited though, so not every idea can make it into a video but I do my best to include everyone who wants to be a part of it. This is also a time I discuss with my students on what copyright means. My videos are only for school purposes and are not uploaded to any site or platform on the internet or copied for parents or students. 

So what do we do? Every class does something different. I collaborate with the PE teacher who works with the students on a particular song, dance, story etc and in my room, the students get to wear costumes and use props to help bring their choice to life the best we can. With my older grades, they are also the ones videoing. 

So the tech side of it. I use the app DoInk on my classroom ipad and a green screen I bought off of Amazon (Together I  only spent around $40 for app and screen) Don't want to buy a screen? No problem. A cheap green party tablecloth from the dollar store works great too!  I use them for the "Magic" part of our videos.  Shhhh! Don't tell.  Also, maybe you just want to use puppets and tell a story. Paint an old cardboard box green and use paper puppets. Just make sure the object being used to move the characters is green and you're good to go!

Here are some pictures of just a few of videos this year.  I love the outcome but man am I glad they are done. LOL 

Green masks were used to help create these spooky effects!

A green tablecloth was used here to help our fourth skeleton dance around. These Spooky Skeletons did a great job with their video

These guys showed off some great dance moves! 
The "Invisibility cloak" was a big hit!

By far, this was one of my favorites! How cool that we got to dance with one of the official Men in Black!

These are just a few of the amazing videos we were able to create this year. Maybe it's inspired you to create some of your own. 

Thanksgiving and Christmas, here we come! 

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly....of Technology

Happy Halloween!!!! Oh, I'm getting a little ahead of myself but I love Halloween! I love watching the paranormal shows, scary movies, kids Halloween movies, and seeing all the decorations and costumes. Plus in my classroom, Halloween makes the best green screen videos. Last year I shared some of what my students and I came up with and I will try to do the same this year. So watch for my November blog.

i do not own the rights to this image. Image found on

This blog, I want to talk about technology. There are so many advances in it these days. Some I like and there's a lot I don't. I think just because something can be created, doesn't necessarily mean it has to be.  It definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. So tell me, what technology do you like and what do you not?  Has it helped you out professionally? Connect you with your friends and family?

I like being able to draw on my tablet. I use a Surface Pro. I still adore drawing and painting in the traditional way but digitally is easier for me when it comes to my books.  I also like using it to bring my books to life. I would like to do more and I'm always keeping my eye out for better software. I currently use Powerpoint.  Over the summer I did a free trial of one of Adobes animation programs. It was so cool and so fun to play with. I really wanted to do the whole monthly subscription thing but my computer and internet just wasn't up to the challenge. I used it to create several fun short animations and when I went to export it into a format I could post, it was taking hours! Needless to say, I was bummed.  I need stronger internet and a better computer. So if anyone is needing to find such things a good home, I am your gal. Haha!

I am wanting to share yet again my three preview read-aloud book videos.  I am hesitant about uploading them to youtube. I know there are so many great videos on there. I use may of them in my classroom but i worry about copyright and infringement. What is your opinion of youtube? Safe or not?

Book available on Amazon:

Book available on Amazon:

Book available on Amazon:

Please share my page if you like my videos, I would much appreciate it.  That is all for this months blog. Remember to stay tuned for some Crazy Halloween green screen videos next month. Happy October!!
I do not own the right to this image. Image found on