Monday, February 9, 2009

living a creative life - book reviews

Today we're taking a break from offering you a specific craft and giving you a little direction in creativity with a few of our favorite creative books. We Three Birdies are always looking for new and creative ideas. But some days we're stumped. We hit the creative wall. We get crafter's block. That never happens to any of you, does it?

Well it must, because Jill Badonsky created this wonderful almanac for a creative life, called The Awe-manac: A Daily Does of Wonder. Each day she gives you fodder for creativity by way of inspirational creative prompts, outrageous insights, a little wisdom, and lots of humor. Her own whimsical illustrations are enough to make you pull out a pen and start doodling.

Check out today's page--you can't help but be inspired! (Click on picture to enlarge)

We had an opportunity to interview Jill and find out a little about what makes her tick.

LBS: So, tell us about yourself.
Jill: Hi. I'm a rather quirky, artist-writer person who dropped out of the corporate world when I realized being an individual got squashed in that arena. I invented a business in 1997 called The Muse is IN which specializes in facilitating creativity for joy, prosperity and the occasional miracle through coaching, workshops, teleconferences, and publications. I designed and teach a coaching model called Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching which works especially well with the resistant and rebellious artist. My first book was an upgrade of the nine Greek Muses into 10 creative principles, The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard): 10 Guides to Creativity for Artists, Poets, Lovers and Other Mortals Wanting to Live a Dazzling Existence; and my second book which just came out is The Awe-manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder. I also wrote and performed a one-woman play called I Can't Always Handle Reality, But it's Really the Only Place to Get a Good Cup of Coffee. I err on the side of long title.

LBS: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Jill: Eccentric, graceful, spunky and hilarious.

LBS: What would you have been in a past life (if you believed in one)?
Jill: A whippoorwill. I know this because I still sound like the bird I was when I say the name and I enjoy bird seed on my oatmeal.

LBS: What inspires you?
Jill: Asking myself: "Wouldn't it be funny if…", music, walks in nature, colors blending on a page, musical theater, rugged individualists, play, making people laugh.

LBS: What was your "A-Ha!" moment?
Jill: I have them daily… which one? I think, the notion that all we have to do is believe we are creative to be creative was a wonderfully liberating moment that continues to orbit around my memory centers.

LBS: Tell us about the book.
Jill: The Awe-manac is a book designed to make wonder, joy, creativity and laughter easy. It's a take off on the Old Farmer's Almanac so it's a daily guide that has between 3 to 6 creative prompts a day. I illustrated it with over 400 quirky illustrations designed to make you laugh or simply smile. You can read a full description here. Here's my favorite review so far. Also, I have a free monthly Muse Flash that provides creative inspiration to seekers all over the world. Please visit and play with the icons.

This book would make a perfect Valentine's gift for the creative person in your life (even if that's you!)

If you're looking for ways to simplify this year, here are two books we loved about just that. The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life: How to Sew a Sampler Quilt & 49 Other Pioneer Projects for the Modern Girl by Jennifer Worick takes you back to pioneer times, and teaches you all the crafts, recipes, and parlor tricks we've forgotten in our modern world. From rhubarb pie to making your own candles, she'll satisfy your need to live the simple life.

Along the same vein is Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life. Jenna Woginrich takes you through the steps of creating your own homestead lifestyle and becoming more self-sufficient, even in the middle of a big city. With a recipe for home-churned butter and a chapter on the ins and outs of beekeeping, her personal experiences are priceless and give you confidence to try anything--even keep a few chickens! Most of all, you'll learn about the joy that accompanies learning skills to become independent of a "consumer-driven culture."

Our last book is one for kids and adults alike. An Awesome Book is about dreaming big, and losing the fear to reach for those dreams. Dallas Clayton wrote this book for his young son, but it's a tale for all ages. The illustrations are magical and the message inspirational. We love this book! Check out Dallas's site to read it and experience the artwork.

We got to ask Dallas a few of the same questions.

LBS: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Dallas: I draw things for children to look and and write things to make people happy, which I suppose is a close to being anything/growing up as I might ever come.

LBS: What would you have been in a past life (if you believed in one)?
Dallas: In a past life, judging by how past lives are supposed to work, I was obviously some slightly lesser version of myself so whatever that might be an angry moose, a worried gremlin, an unsettled worm. Take your pick.

LBS: What was your "A-Ha!" moment?
Dallas: My Aha moment? I don't know that I've had that yet. That's where I discover the secret to life, right?

LBS: Tell us about the book.
Dallas: I wrote the book first and foremost for my son, but also for anyone who needs to feel better about their day and was looking for a reason to be happy. About the book, you should know that I am very excited to share it with the entire world. Perhaps one person at a time, perhaps all at once. Perhaps in a giant room, that is nice and warm. Whatever the case, I am looking forward to it.

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Hopefully one or all of these great books will help you live a more creative life. Because creativity=happiness in our book.

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2 Responses to “living a creative life - book reviews”

Jennifer Worick said...

I hope you're enjoying The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life as much as I loved writing it! Check out my blog at or my website at

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I am super excited that someone thinks I'm Saucy. I love to read, so I am going to have to check out these books you've posted in your blog!

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