WHY NOT: The Story Behind my “Why Not” Sketchnote

Last month (July 11, 2016) was  International Edcamp Leader  day. Not only was I super excited to be part of this day, learn from and be inspired by local Illinois leaders but the organizers of the Edcamp thought it would be fun to have ignite speeches after our lunch.  I jumped at the chance to give an Ignite Speech (actually I squealed in happiness and then thought what the heck have I gotten myself into…eeekkk).  After a day or two of brainstorming I had my theme.  As I wrote the speech, I knew I wanted to use this opportunity to really push myself  as a creator and as a presenter… not only would I share a belief I am deeply passionate about, I would draw the entire ignite speech. Continue reading “WHY NOT: The Story Behind my “Why Not” Sketchnote”

The Bulletin Board

I walked into my classroom.

The room seemed bigger than I remembered it.

I sat at my desk and started writing my to do list. It was filled with paperwork that needed to be organized, things that needed to be cleaned, materials that needed to be made. So like all highly efficient people I decided to start on the least important and the most fun item on the list…the creating and decorating!

I looked around the room skimming the walls and pausing to look at the bulletin board.  What was I going to fill that space with this year?

Would it be filled with the tech ninjas again?

Maybe a visual of gamifying my classroom behavior modification system?

or maybe…

I looked at the space some more. Nothing. No idea. No sparkle of inspiration. No use of idea….Nothing. Instead my bulletin board shouted, “Decorate me! Make me pretty. Make me inspirational.  Make it colorful… do something at shouted!!!”

I had nothing…

The first day of school arrived and the bulletin board hung, black space.

I spent the early days of the week, welcoming this year students to my classroom.  My students and I shared our first days of nervousness, new expectations, new routines and excitement.  The bulletin board took every opportunity during my plan time, during each time I had a chance to think, during each spare moment to whisper what about this idea or maybe it could be that.

Nope… Continue reading “The Bulletin Board”

Meet My Muses and Fred too

“Mommy come color with me,” Francine asks after dinner.

“I’m sorry sweetie mommy has tons of chores I need to do.  You can color and I’ll come when I am done.”

I turn to see an understandably frowny, disappointed face.  My hands reach for the sponge and the next plate that needs to be washed.  The kitchen is suddenly silent.

“Mommy what can I do to help you finish your chores faster?” Francine inquires

After lifting myself off the floor in shock…

I turn to Francine and smile, “Really, you want to help Mommy?!”

“Yes, Mommy,” she smiles and says in the sweetest and most sincere five year old voice.

“OOOOOkaaaay.  You can start by helping make the lunches.”

As I rinse the last dishes, move on to the load of laundry that needs to be washed and the other one that needs to be folded Francine puts pretzels into sandwich bags.  I send out reminders of what to do next from the laundry room.  I pick up my pace, working faster to get these chores done so I could sit and color with her.

With time left to spare and a couple of chores left for later, because seriously how can I possibly let down a little girl down who is willing to help Mommy with chores.  It was time to color!

I still never know what is going to happen when I craft or color with my girls.  I am constantly inspired by them and blown away by their imaginations.  This night at the table was no different.  After taping together and coloring two cardboard toilet paper rolls and a paper towel roll (don’t ask… she’s five… it’s her vision. I don’t ask)  we did some free drawing.  After doodling a bit the pink crayon called for me.  My mind took me back to a note I had made for myself months ago.  My hand faught me.  I had never been any good at drawing with crayons.  Before I know it the crayon is in hand, obeying my movement and Fred was born.Fred1

 Fred has dreams…big pink accessorized, leotard and legwarmer dreams.  Dreams of toes pointed, tutus and twirls and pirouettes…


. . . . .

My daughters inspiration does not end here…

I seriously can not tell you how incredibly..oozing with excited I am for the coming weeks.  My daughters… Olivia 7 and Francine 6 are going to start joining me here!   They are going to take their picture, drawings, stories and life experiences and start to share their words here too!

I can hardly stand the wait… the wait for Olivia to share her words with you.  Her  illustrations will take  you to fantastically magical worlds that intertwine her life’s experiences with creatures, superheros and magical worlds of her imagination.

You can even follow all things Olivia on
Twitter by following the hashtag #OliviasWorld

Francine is also excited to share.   A little of this, a lot of that and who knows what else?!   She loves to help me cook and bake, but dislikes almost everything she helps me make. She can even show you which exact tooth is her sweet tooth.  She is colorful, crafty and is always looking for the next thing to make out of anything she can find.  I really never know what fantastically crafty, imaginative creation she will cook up.

You can follow Francine on
Twitter by following the hashtag #FrancineCooks

Creativity is oozzing!  We have so much more to share!


12 Days of Joy: Day 5


For the last few weeks I have struggled to find balance between writing and drawing.  I often only have time for one, but I love both.   I absolutely love that I have both of them as creative outlets.  Today I bring you Moose.  Throw in a holiday cupcake and some bubbles and…well…so much fun!!!


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12 Days of Joy: Day 2 Inspiration


Kirsten Piccini of The Kir Corner is nothing new to this space.  I have talked about her often here.  Now if you told Kirsten that she was inspiring… no not inspiring… I would go so far as to call her my muse… she would smile (I imagine she would and share  huge pearly white make you have to smile too smile) and politely say, “Oh, Laverne it isn’t me that is inspiring it is you sweetie!”  Regardless of what she thinks, she inspires my quite frequently.  Someone who inspires me this often can only rightfully be described as my muse.

Which brings us all to her latest inspiration…

Kirsten had been going through a rough patch in November.  Painful life events, coupled with the changing seasons and some other things had left her sad.  I think it is something we all can relate to.  I know I can.  I had noticed in November the absence of her make you smile, then giggle, then cry posts (what!  a lot of her posts make me cry happy tears).  I also noticed that her fantastically written stories that took me to another place and left me lost in a world of romance, passion and emotion posts had been fewer.  Now the average reader may not suspect any change.   I likened it to the bustle of the holidays, working full time and being a mom/wife.  It often leaves very little time for blogging.  So when Kirsten shared her post on Facebook it not only made sense to me, but it  also inspired me!

You see wrapped up in the words of her Facebook post were also simple words about being deeply grateful for some of the things in her life.  As I read the post I was instantly moved to want to flood her with gratitude and joy.  Actually, I wanted to get in my car, drive out East, knock on her door, give her a huge hug and cry until it was all better.  Well, that wasn’t going to happen so I decided I was going to do a link up and we would all share our joy and show everyone that when we all look at life have a lot of good in it.  I was going to smother the blogosphere with happiness.

Note: When you have an idea to bring together tens of bloggers for a link up in December best not to have the idea 3 days before December… doesn’t work so well for planning and getting others on board.  Also, not the best idea to be overly ambitiously when planning.  For example,  aiming to post for 30 days in a row while working full time, spending time with my family and then thinking I was going to run a blog link up and promote it all.  I just going to go on pretending  that my ambitiousness is cute… but seriously what the HECK was I thinking.

So yesterday I began.  Little old me.  All by myself.  No link up.  No big promoting.  No 30 days.  Just me and my 12 days.  12 Days of Joy that I will share with whoever visits this space.  12 days of noticing the little things in my life.  12 days of noticing the little things we do everyday that we miss but when you really stop and notice bring you joy.  Most of all I will share my 12 days of joy for a friend I adore and who’s happiness and heart warms my life.  I will share because she reminded me how important it is to look and find joy in our lives!


Inspired Illustration Week#1

Everyday my daughters create something.  They draw, they paint, they glue, they color.  Their imaginations over flow with inspiration.  They write lists, they author stories, they draw pictures of their day, they illustrate princesses and superheros.  As they have grown I have worked hard to encourage their infinite inspiration and boundless imagination.  It is a piece of them I want to exist and flow through them for the rest of their lives.  In the last two months Olivia’s drawings have consistently become fantastic and left me more and more in awww of her ability to go to some other place and share it through her drawings (yes, total and complete mommy bias).

Suddenly I found myself looking at the world in a very different way.  Maybe instead of writing about a memory I could draw too?  Maybe instead of taking a picture or sharing words I could share an emotion or thought through drawings.  Could I?  Could I turn a vision, a thought, an idea into a drawing? So I found a great app on my iPad,  bought a stylist and I began to draw….and draw and I drew some more.   I began to study my daughters drawings.  I watched the details they added.  I took notes on their feelings.  I remembered how they were inspired.  And then I drew some more. Soon I started to find my own style.

After months of studying them and drawing my own pictures I realized it was time.  It was time to share my drawings with other.  Actually let other human beings (not just my daughters…who are totally bias. I could draw a wiggly lopsided stick figure and they’d say that’s beautiful mommy!!)   I channeled a pinch of whimsy and a cup of sweetness and drew for someone I knew would love my art even if it sucked.  With a million nervous knots in my stomach I hit the share button…

and when no one told me my drawing was awful I drew some more.   Today I find myself with a brand new creative outlet.


While I am still terrified to share my drawings with others I love it too much to let my new found love be effected by what others think.  So today I start what I hope will be the first of many, many, many more inspired illustrations.

I owe this new found passion all to my daughters!