Author Archives: Andrea R Huelsenbeck

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

From the Creator’s Heart #289

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19 More Best Zentangle Sites on the Web

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19 More Best Zentangle Sites on the Web

In my recent post, ARHtistic License: 2020 in Review, I mentioned that my 6th most visited post in 2020 was my article 10 Best Zentangle Sites on the Web, which was actually published in 2018. It needs updating, because I’m aware of many more Zentangle blogs that are also awesome.

As I worked through as many tangle blogs as I could find, I discovered something interesting: some of the blogs on the original list have not been updated in many months, or even years. And some of the blogs I wanted to put on my new list had also been abandoned.

I know that at least one CZT (certified Zentangle teacher) has had issues with her hands and is not drawing very much anymore. I suspect that blogging became a burden for some of the others.

I decided not to list any site that has been inactive for more than three months, even if I love it so much that I draw from it for Creative Juice.

In no particular order, here are the best ones I found that still seem to be updated regularly:

Now it’s your turn. Do you know of another great Zentangle blog that is not listed (and is still being updated)? If so, please share in the links below.

Creative Juice #224

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Creative Juice #224

On Tuesday, my husband’s podiatrist told us she got her flu shot. Somehow, that fills me with hope for 2021. So do these awesome articles:

  • This one made me cry. The video is too echo-y. Scroll down and read the essay.
  • Writer’s playlist.
  • When we can travel again, maybe we can go to Mexico.
  • This article from 2018 may help you set your creative goals for 2021.
  • 12-year-old Jesus didn’t have all the answers.
  • Interesting shots.
  • Everything I know about physicist Richard Feynman I learned from watching The Big Bang Theory. I didn’t know he liked to draw.
  • Good advice. And some not as good. And some I don’t understand.
  • These signs made me laugh.
  • There are reasons why you shouldn’t drive drunk, and there are reasons why you shouldn’t sing drunk. But they’re not the same reasons. Apparently, singing drunk is great fun, and nobody dies. Read about the Australian Pub Choir.
  • A quilter shares the 17 quilts she made in 2020.
  • This is an interesting idea: praying with index cards.

In the Meme Time: Make Art

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Guest Post: 9 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid–and the Easy Fixes, by Web Design Relief

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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.

Blogging is a smart way for writers to grow their audience. But just because you can write a great short story, poem, or novel doesn’t mean you’ll also be a natural at writing and maintaining an interesting blog. The experts at Web Design Relief know that new bloggers as well as those who have been blogging for a while can make some common mistakes. Here are the 9 biggest blogging mistakes to avoid, along with the easy fixes!

Common Blogging Mistakes To Avoid

Posting Only For Yourself

Your blog is not a diary! While it’s important to enjoy what you write about, your posts must be geared toward a wider audience. Talk about what your audience wants to know—not just what you want to tell them. Your content should be user-focused and educate, instruct, or entertain so visitors will want to return again and again to read your latest blog entry.

Constant Repetition

Your blog posts should make a point. It’s important that they have a point. One thing your post should definitely include is a main point. Do you see how annoying this is to read? While some repetition helps with SEO, don’t get carried away. Be sure to have something meaningful to say without reiterating the same information over and over again and again. The same goes for your blog topics—posts offering a range of topics will be more interesting than fifty-three posts about what to name a particular character.

If you search for your blog topic on the Internet and find thousands of similar blog posts, you might want to consider writing about something else—or choose a new angle for familiar content. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but try to keep your content fresh. If you need some inspiration, check out these forty blog post ideas.

Not Professional Looking

The writing for your blog articles should be conversational and casual, not stiff and formal. But that doesn’t mean you can skip formatting your posts! Your blog style should be professional and consistent. For example, if you title your posts, make sure you title ALL of your posts. Similarly, you should use the same design theme for each post.

Incorrect Length

You shouldn’t try to write a 50,000-word novel on your blog, because no one wants to read an overly long post. But your post shouldn’t be just three or four sentences, either—put something so brief on social media instead! A good rule of thumb is to aim for about 500 to 1,000 words per blog article.

Wrong Font Choices

Your font and the size of the typeface you use can make or break the readability of your blog post. If your text is too small, readers will have to zoom in to see your post. Likewise, using overly large text or fonts will have your visitors scrolling excessively or trying to shrink your posts. Choose a text size that visitors can read without adjusting—12 point often works well.

Avoid fonts that are too decorative, and don’t make your text the same or nearly the same color as your background. You can’t go wrong using Times New Roman or Calibri in black on a white background.

Posting Inconsistently

Whether you post once a month, once a week, or every day, choose a schedule that works for you—and stick to it. If you post every day for a week, then skip two weeks and post once, then don’t post anything for a month, your followers won’t know when to return to read your next installment. Being inconsistent when posting is one of the main ways that blogs lose readers. Use a calendar to plan your posts in advance.

Inaccurate Information

The only thing worse than a “this is old news” blog post is one that’s littered with incorrect information. Unless you are an expert on your topic, you should research your blog articles and include links and references for your readers. Your blog posts are more worthwhile to your audience when based on data that supports your claims. If you post inaccurate information, you risk damaging your credibility with your followers.

Being Unresponsive

When a reader comments on your blog, they’re often hoping to receive a response. When you don’t take the time to interact with your followers and respond to their comments, it limits all future engagement from your audience. Fans who get a response will feel a personal connection with you and your blog and are more likely to return.

If you’re not getting any comments, here are some tips on how to get people to comment on your blog.

Not Proofreading

Your blog article isn’t a casual throwaway piece—it’s an important way to build your audience and connect with your fans. Make sure your blog posts are proofread and edited just as thoroughly as your short stories, essays, poetry, or book. A post filled with typos and poor grammar will reflect poorly on your writing as a whole. A sloppy post will lose readers and leave any visiting literary agents or editors unimpressed.

Blogging can be a fantastic marketing tool and a way to stretch your creative muscles. Avoiding these common blogging mistakes will help you grow a larger audience and effectively engage your readers.

Question: Which blogging mistake do you see most often on blogs?

Video of the Week #287:Quilt Fever

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From the Creator’s Heart for Epiphany

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Wordless Wednesday: Rainbow Over Phoenix

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Origami Pinwheel Quilt

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Origami Pinwheel Quilt

Do you know Teresa Down Under? She is an Australian quilter whose website I discovered years ago. She posts many quilting video tutorials there and on her YouTube channel. I saw this a long time ago and posted it to my Pinterest page so I wouldn’t forget about it:

Cute, right?

Back before Covid, I joined a quilt ministry at my previous church that makes baby quilts for a pregnancy center (also baptism quilts and comfort quilts). When the church was renovated a few years ago, we had to empty the ministry closet and store the fabric in our homes. We all selected material that spoke to us personally. I took a lot of fat quarters of batiks and hand-dyed fabrics, and also fabrics that looked like batiks and hand-dyes. Also, a lot of colorful abstract and geometric patterns and metallic accents. A lot of those fabrics would not be thought of as especially appropriate for a child’s quilt, but I was determined to find a way to showcase them.

Then I remembered that video.

And I thought it would be a perfect vehicle for all those cool fabrics.

So I began to pair them up. Whenever possible, I made two blocks out of the same two fabrics, switching out the background and the pinwheel fabrics. It’s amazing how different the blocks look when you change the position of the fabrics, almost like a positive/negative:

See what I mean? Here are some more:

The most challenging part of the quilt was assembling the top after I had enough blocks made. I decided I wanted blocks made out of the same fabrics to be next to each other, either horizontally or vertically. Here’s one attempted layout:

I kept switching the blocks around until I was satisfied. I wanted the placement to draw one’s eyes around the whole quilt.

I had a cute parrot fabric that I thought would make a good backing:

But I didn’t have enough of it, so I had to piece in a panel of something else:

I machine-stitched-in-the-ditch around each block. I’m pleased with how it turned out. It’s not a traditional baby quilt, but I think it’s interesting and hope a kid would find it appealing.

Monday Morning Wisdom #291

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Monday Morning Wisdom #291

Every breath we take, every heartbeat, every evolution of every cell comes from God and is sustained by God every second, just as every creation, invention, every bar of music or line of verse, every thought, vision, fantasy, every dumb-ass flop and stroke of genius comes from that infinite intelligence that created us and the universe in all its dimensions, out of the Void, the field of infinite potential, primal chaos, the Muse. To acknowledge that reality, to efface all ego, to let the work come through us and give it back freely to its source, that in my opinion, is as true to reality as it gets.

~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art.