Monthly Archives: December 2019

Pull Up a Seat, 2019 Week 51


My offering for the last challenge of 2019: IMG_2982 What a lovely spot for a picnic! Well worth the walk.


ARHtistic License: 2019 in Review

ARHtistic License: 2019 in Review

Last year at this time, ARHtistic License had almost 600 subscribers. As of this writing, readership has grown to 807. (I was hoping for 1,000—serves me right to set a goal over which I have absolutely no control.) If you occasionally read ARHtistic License and like what you see, please sign up to subscribe in the sidebar on the right. You will get email notifications whenever a new post drops, or, if you are also a WordPress blogger, ARHtistic License will show up in your Reader feed.

My Top Ten Most-Read Posts of 2019:

  1. NaPoWriMo 2019 #13 I participated in National Poetry Writing Month in April. This poem, What If, was featured on the official website.
  2. Phoenix Folk Dance Festival Photographs and videos of the annual festival my folk dance group puts on. We get participants from all over the country (and even some from Canada).
  3. Interview with Author Paul Mosier Fabulous Young Adult author, whose fourth book, Summer and July, is coming out July 2020.
  4. #DC383: Ratoon Three posts in the top 10 are my responses to the Diva Challenge, a zentangle challenge that is on a long-term hiatus due to a hand injury to the Certified Zentangle Teacher who ran it.
  5. Ugly Fabric Quilt Challenge This post is an examination of a phenomena that occurs in quilting groups.
  6. #DC385: Valentangle Another Diva Challenge response.
  7. Hiking in South Mountain Park, Phoenix Full of photos taken on my first hike in this beautiful desert park.
  8. An Interview with Quilter Stephanie Finnell I’ve been following Stephanie’s blog for years, and I love her quilts.
  9. Interview with Author Kathie McMahon Kathie is a former teacher and musician who has written several children’s musicals. Her first children’s book recently came out.
  10. #DC386: Drawings and Dewd Another Diva Challenge response.
elements of fiction

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on

Interspersed among the top most-read posts of 2019 are earlier posts which still receive lots of visits. Here are The Top Ten Older Posts Most Read in 2019:

  1. Jan van Eyck’s Crucifixion and the Last Judgment: Painted By a Committee This 2016 article explores the painters’ workshops and apprentice programs of the Renaissance.
  2. How to Make a Meme on a Mac Step-by-step instructions, first published in 2017.
  3. Escaping the Khmer Rouge: Review of Beautiful Hero by Jennifer H. Lau This review was written in 2016. The book went on to win at least 5 big awards.
  4. How to Practice Piano: Doh! Dohnányi The unplayable exercise book that is the bane of every pianist’s existence.
  5. 10 Best Zentangle Sites on the Web I wrote this in 2018. I need to write a sequel to this article, because I’ve discovered so many other good websites.
  6. Ballet Feet They’re not cute and dainty. Ballet dancers literally suffer for their art. This article was written in 2016.
  7. Hawaiian Quilting with Pat Gorelangton If you don’t know about Hawaiian quilts, you need to read this article, posted last year.
  8. U is for Unicorn Quilt Patterns During last year’s A-to-Z blogging challenge, I combined two of my obsessions—quilts and unicorns—for the letter U.
  9. 20 Tools Every Writer Needs Last year I posted this list of writer’s essentials.
  10. Review of The Accidental Tourist, or Why I’d Rather Read the Book than See the Movie I wrote this in 2016.

Interestingly, all of the above posts had more views than my second most-viewed post of 2019. Does that mean I’m not as good a writer as I used to be, or did those posts just have better SEO (something I rarely consider)?


Another way to gauge a post’s popularity is the number of “likes” it garners. Here are My Top Ten Most Liked Posts of 2019:

  1. Hiking in the Arboretum Beautiful Boyce-Thompson Arboretum.
  2. Hiking in South Mountain Park, Phoenix Also made the most-read list.
  3. NaPoWriMo #13 Also made the most-read list.
  4. Wordless Wednesday/ Flower of the Day: Assorted Vincas Wordless Wednesday and Flower of the Day are two popular photography challenges. Sometimes I combine my offerings into one post.
  5. Creative Juice #159 Creative Juice is a weekly feature. Every Friday I post links to 12 artistic articles I find on the web. It has its own following.
  6. Wordless Wednesday/ Flower of the Day: Red Bird of Paradise
  7. OctPoWriMo Day 1 A poem during October Poetry Writing Month.
  8. Flower of the Day: African Daisies
  9. Creative Juice #156
  10. OctPoWriMo Day 17 (5-way tie with the following:)
  11. Wordless Wednesday: Desert Path
  12. Wordless Wednesday/ Flower of the Day: Bloomin’ Barrel Cactus
  13. Wordless Wednesday/ Flower of the Day: Lantana
  14. Creative Juice #123

The saddest thing about this list is that these posts only received 19-32 likes. NaPoWriMo #13 had 260 views, but only 24 likes. I did the math—it’s only 9.23%. What does that mean? Did 90.77% of my readers hate it? Should I just give up blogging? It would free up a lot of my time if I did . . . I know this is a serious character flaw on my part, but I am so jealous of bloggers who get 100 likes on every post.


I also contribute to A Writer’s Path. Here are My Guest Posts for 2019:

  1. How to Do an Author School Visit
  2. Recycling for Writers
  3. Why Do Authors Need a Newsletter?
  4. How to Choose a Writer’s Conference to Attend
  5. How to Attend a Writer’s Conference: Before, During, and After
  6. How to Keep On Blogging
  7. Thinking About Theme When Writing
  8. Elements of Fiction
  9. Where Do You Write?

My Other Writing:

  • I rewrote The God of Paradox and gave it to my pastor to read. She identified two aspects she thought needed further study, and I’m rewriting again, almost halfway through.
  • The Unicornologist is at a standstill. I don’t know how to fix the manuscript the way it is. I’ve decided I need to start from the beginning and write it all over again, since I know the story from beginning to end.
  • I’m still submitting my poetry chapbook to every contest. As soon as I lose one, I do some tweaking and enter another. I was going to stop entering contests, but then I read one of the winning chapbooks and realized mine is comparable in quality.
  • I’m writing poems and drawing zentangles. I also joined a photography group at my church so I can improve my picture-taking.
  • I started a short story that is a retelling of The Nutcracker, but I’m stuck. I know where I want to go, but not sure how to get there from where I am.

My Goals for 2020:

  • I’ve said it for years, but I want to finish The God of Paradox and The Unicornologist and submit them.
  • I also want to find a home for my poetry chapbook.
  • I want to finish my other projects, like my children’s poetry book and the Nutcracker
  • I’ve done very little practicing of piano, guitar, and recorder. Greg and I have had health issues, and we’re on the “medical merry-go-round” with constant doctor appointments, test, blood draws, surgeries, etc. I hope we’ll get off the carousel soon so we can pick up some of the activities that have fallen by the wayside.
  • I need to decide whether to continue blogging, cut down on it, or give it up entirely.

Now it’s your turn:

  • How have you done with your creative endeavors this year? What are your creative goals for 2020? Share in the comments below. If you’ve posted about it on your blog, feel free to share the link.
  • Have you read all of my most popular posts this year? No? Make my day and choose, say, three of the ones listed above and let me know what you think.
  • If you read a post on any blog, not just mine, that you find well worth your while, please “like” it if you’re given the option. Or leave a brief comment. It gives us bloggers such a lift. Feel free to click the “like” button below, and share the article on all your social media. Build some good blogging karma for yourself. Or if you don’t blog yourself, wouldn’t it be a shame if your favorite bloggers quit and took up skydiving instead?

Monday Morning Wisdom #238

Monday Morning Wisdom #238

Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving. ~Terry Pratchett

From the Creator’s Heart #235


Image 8-4-19 at 12.51 PM

Sculpture Saturday


I’ve discovered a new (to me) photography challenge at the Mind Over Memory blog.  My offerings this week were taken in the Phoenix Art Museum in 2017:


Nude Man by Viola Frey, glazed ceramic


Facade from a house in Hue, Vietnam



Upside Down, Inside Out by Anish Kapoor, sculpture made of resin and paint


Column Interminable by Betsabeé Romero: 17 “tires” inscribed with symbols from pre-conquest North, South, and Central America, the Aztecs, the Paracas people of Peru, and the ancient Hohokam people who lived in what is now Arizona. Romero’s themes are migration and borders.


Message by Matthias Goeritz; gold painted perforated metal on painted wood


Detail of Message


Bust of Julio Contarini by Alessandro Vittoria


Hopi Flute Player by Emry Kopta

My Favorite Memes of 2019


Every Friday I publish a meme meant to inspire the creative people who hang out at ARHtistic License. Here are my favorites from this year:

Brand New

Write On

Keep climbing

Offer it

Power of Nature


Take creativity

Nature's canvas

Fan the flames

Quiet Moments

Stop holding back


Be bold

Take stock




Follow your dreams

When faced with a mountain

The Imposter

If you find these memes helpful, feel free to share them on your social media.

Creative Juice #170

Creative Juice #170



Our last collection of curated inspiration for 2019:




  • Photographs of balloons.
  • Beautiful architecture in Lyon, France.
  • A designer talks about a chair.
  • What the UPS guy was really doing when he should have been delivering my packages.
  • When dancing on the walls, watch out for the windows.
  • Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to see patterns in a random stimulus. This condition can lead people to assign human characteristics to objects. Here’s what an pareidolic artist does when he sees faces in inanimate objects.
  • If you haven’t had enough Christmas yet, here’s a lovely Christmas quilt.
  • The Brownings and others muse on artistic integrity.
  • This museum is on my bucket list.
  • A children’s book illustrator describes her path and her process.
  • So far I’ve never found a podcast that I actually wanted to follow. Maybe one of these recommendations will inspire me.
  • 1960s architecture in Brasilia.

In the Meme Time: Reach



Guest Post: 5 Mistakes Writer Make on Their Author Websites (And the Easy Fixes)


This article has been reprinted with the permission of Web Design Relief.  Whether you’re just starting out or a best-selling author, Web Design Relief will improve your existing website or build you an affordable, custom author website to support your author platform, boost your online presence, and act as a hub for your social media outreach. Web Design Relief is a division of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. Sign up for their free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit the site today to learn more.


Did you know that every website needs regular care and housekeeping? So unless you have a fairy godmother or can sing well enough to inspire woodland creatures to assist you with your chores, you should keep a virtual broom and wrench handy. Even the most meticulous author website design may experience issues that arise over time: Links break, information becomes obsolete, plugins stop working, etc. Thankfully, the most common mistakes writers make on their author websites have easy fixes!

Check out these website blunders and Web Design Relief’s tips on how to fix them without IT support intervention.

5 Easy-To-Fix Common Website Mistakes

Broken images: Uh-oh, has your beautiful photo been replaced by a sad face or what looks like a torn piece of paper? This means that the file containing the image may have been corrupted. But this can be fixed simply by re-uploading your photo to your author website or installing a handy plugin to solve the problem for you!

Typos: Some of the most damaging mistakes on an author website are typos, grammar mishaps, and incorrect punctuation. After all, you’re a writer—you’re held to a higher standard of web content than your online neighbors. Typos and grammar gaffes on your website may cause visitors to question your writing skills in general.

And you can’t count on website building elements to alert you to typos; they don’t feature spellcheck like word processing programs do. Thorough, expert proofreading is the solution to this common mistake and can ensure that your author website is up to professional standards.


Dead Links: Is there anything more frustrating than a link that leads nowhere? If the hyperlinks you have included on your website are no longer active, your site will look abandoned and poorly maintained. Worst-case scenario—improper use of links can even get your site banned.

Fortunately, reviving dead links is easy! If a website has a new web address, simply update your link with the new URL. If the site you are linking to no longer exists, remove the link altogether or find another source. And remember to check your hyperlinks often to make sure you aren’t letting dead links lurk on your website!

Slow Response Times: Does your website take a long time to load? Having too many elements running can cause lagging. Download time is an overlooked issue on many author websites. And if your website is taking too long to load, visitors will bounce off your site.

To fix a lagging website, reevaluate what you really need on your web pages and what is simply clogging up response times. For example: There is no need to have images larger than 1500px, so you may want to resize large photos so that they do not take up so much space. However, don’t lose the resolution—make sure your photos have at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). Another tip: Instead of uploading videos directly to your website, upload them to an external website like YouTube and then embed them on your site to save space!

Design Is Not Mobile-Friendly: Your author website may look perfect on your desktop computer, but nowadays more and more people visit sites using their cell phones and tablets. So it’s important that your website looks great on mobile devices too! The key is sizing. Make certain that your buttons are big enough to be seen on smaller screens, but that your photos and graphics aren’t so big that they are cut off.

Our pro tip: Test, test, test! View your author website on as many devices as possible and adjust your design elements accordingly.

Check out these 7 tips for a more mobile-friendly author website!

BONUS TIP: While most mistakes on your author website can be easily fixed, there will be glitches that require more complicated intervention. But don’t panic! Regular website backups can still save you lots of grief. Backing up your website frequently gives you the option to revert back to an earlier version (before the error kicked in!).


QUESTION: What are some overlooked mistakes you’ve found on websites you’ve visited?

Video of the Week #233: Hand Basting Your Quilt