Make a postcard out of any photo.

Here is a pretty simple tutorial for making a 4-6 postcard out of any 4-6 photo. You can also put this in an envelope and make it a normal card. But whatever you do with it, it is sweet, simple, and fun. Plus you get that feeling of being wickedly creative again, and that is a good feeling to have. All the pictures are terrible and blurry because I took them all very fast because I was tired. But you get the idea.

You will need....

Laminator, laminating pouch, and laminating sleeve.  
Good sharp scissors







Pencil
At least two 4-6 photos (you can do up to three at a time)







At least a half sheet of card-stock per photo, of a color complimentary to the photo.







Glue (optional)







Paper cutter (optional)










Now we are ready to begin. 
1. Place your photos on their paper and outline it with the pencil. Use your paper cutter or scissors to cut out the 4-6 rectangles.










2. Cut at least a quarter inch off every side of your photos. You can cut more if you want, depending on how much of your photo you want on the finished card. But don't go under a quarter inch or it won't laminate properly. The cut photos should fit on the paper with a nice frame around them.








3. Now if you want you can put a circle of glue in the middle of the card-stock rectangle to help keep the photos in place while laminating.








4. Open the laminating pouch and put the photos on their cards in the pouch. You can see that three would fit nicely, but we are only doing two for starters. Make sure the side of the card with the photo on it is facing up.








5. Take your laminating sleeve. It is made of two parts to go on top and bottom of what you are laminating. 





open it up and peel the halves apart. (You can use the other half for another set of cards, so don't throw it away.)
Lay the half sleeve over the cards in the pouch, shiny side up.








Close the laminating pouch.








6. Put the laminating pouch with its contents (careful now, you don't want to dislodge the cards or the photos will not stay in the center of the paper) into the laminator. (Minor detail, my laminator only has three settings, but others might have more. Make sure it is set to regular laminate. Don't do foil or cold laminate. The machine should feel a bit warm.)








7. When it comes out, the sleeve should come right out with your cards attached,
 if not, run it through again and/or make sure the settings are right. Cut out the cards and make sure the laminator has secured the photos to the paper some times one edge is still loose, if so, go ahead and run it through again. Once you make a rough cut, slide the open scissors right along the edge of the card (it's okay if you shave off a little bit of the card itself). If your scissors are good and sharp, the excess plastic sleeve stuff should cut like butter. Now you have a card which is shiny and smooth on one side, and the same as a piece of paper on the other.










You can put a stamp on the other side and make it a post card, or you can put it in an envelope as a note card. Or you can just give them to people like a nicely framed and glossed photo. Whatever you want, but they are really cool. 


Enjoy!


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Envelope Glue!

I have finally found a recipe for envelope glue, and it actually tastes nice and is comparatively healthy, having only four ingredients, which are to be found in pretty much any food lover's kitchen. Like any recipe, this could be doubled. But don't do that, it doesn't seem like you are making enough, but you are because you only need to lightly spread it over the edge of the envelope. Besides, it is a food product and will go bad in about two weeks, so have lots of envelopes lined up before making. 
OK, just encase you got me wrong, I don't mean envelope glue to make the actual envelope. I mean envelop glue that dries, and when you lick it it becomes sticky. For those of you who like to make cards and stationery, you can just buy boxes of envelopes that are standard sizes, but it's fun to make your own, because that way you can do weird shapes and sizes, and the envelopes really match the cards. Anyway, they taste nicer this way. Also, when you make your own envelopes, cards, and envelope glue, you get this warm feeling of satisfaction, and feel wickedly creative. 
Moving on to the actual recipe. The one I found called for one envelope (no pun intended) of gelatin, but a tablespoon worked fine for me.


3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar

(The sugar and vanilla are not strictly necessary, and the glue will work fine without them, but it will taste like vinegar to lick, which is horrible. Trust me. Of course it would make a good April fools joke.)

Put the vinegar in a plastic tub or microwave safe bowl and heat it in the microwave until it is hot. About 30-45 seconds. 

When the vinegar is hot, add the gelatin and stir.
 (The tub is best because you will need to store the mixture in the fridge and transferring it is a waste of time. If you don't have a microwave handy, you can do it on the stove. The point is to get the vinegar hot and dissolve the gelatin.)
When the gelatin is completely dissolved, add the sugar and vanilla. (You could experiment with different extracts and flavors. But I like vanilla.)
When you have done all this you should have a mixture the exact color of honey. At some point I thought that it would be fun to add red food coloring and use it on Christmas-y envelopes, but I haven't tried it.






This photo is really grainy, but you get the idea. Honey color.









Now you have envelope glue. All you do is get a paint brush and brush it onto your envelope (or anything else you want to lick and make sticky).
It takes about two hours to dry, so do a whole bunch all at once.




The last things are that this is a food product, so it will go bad if left out. Therefore you must store it in the refrigerator. But, it will turn into jello (which probably tastes pretty good) and you must heat it before you can use it again. It only lasts for two weeks, so use it fast. I like to make sets of cards and envelopes, put this on and give it as a gift. But you can do whatever you want. 

So, good luck with all that, don't forget to experiment with other flavors. And for those of you who are like me, try not to hurt yourself. 

Once it is on the envelope, the moisture goes away as it dries so it won't go bad on the envelope. When you lick it, it becomes sticky. And its actually pretty fun to lick because it tastes sweet and vanilla-y. Also, for those of you who simply despise licking envelopes, you can just get a paint brush damp and use that instead.
Enjoy!

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Interviews With Authors

Our next interview is with Charlotte Ostermann, the author of The Crystal Queen. If you are interested in reading this story; you can contact the author at charoster@yahoo.com or contact me and I will make sure your request reaches her.


Write a little bit about your story. Try to give the basics of its plot line:
The Sky King’s wife is a crystal lady, who goes through their kingdom with their rainbow of little glass daughters enjoying the lives of their subjects. Trouble starts with rumors of the kingdom being divided into dowries for the girls. After a lot of misunderstanding and down-sliding, they gradually find their way back to peace and better understanding of one another’s contributions to the kingdom.

The title of your story is The Crystal Queen. Where in the development of your story did the title come to mind? At the beginning; in the middle; at the end? What sort of other titles came to mind? Why did you choose this one in particular?
It was named as I saw the lady rising from the sands as the Sky King beamed down upon them with his heart full of yearning for a wife.

Is The Crystal Queen a story you would ever consider publishing?
I’d love to publish it! Alas, it is maybe too wordy for a picture book (tho’ it DEMANDS to have lovely pictures!) and too Christian for a secular publisher and too high a vocabulary for children (tho’ it’s meant to be read aloud) and too poetic for people used to modern dialogue….sigh…!

How did the idea for The Crystal Queen come to mind? What sort of things inspired it?
I saw the Queen rising and it all came from there….then, the rainbow imagery came from dear (now deceased) Chiara Lubich, who has taught so many about the love of Christ and the way to live in unity with others through uniting yourself to His passion and desire for unity among His followers (John, Ch. 17)…she speaks of the many ways in which different people express love in community, and saw the rainbow as a way of illustrating how all our ways and gifts must be united to be most effective.

The main character in this story is the near invisible Queen. Does this name have any particular meaning or connections for you?
Her near-invisibility, combined with her graceful and commanding presence, transparency to the light of her King, love for all his subjects, and beauty remind me of Mary, the Mother of Christ. Her flawed humanity, need for a sense of humor, and self-protective response to attack remind me of all the moms I know. I’ve often reminded young moms that they are meant to be Queenly like this in their own homes, so that thinking got in here.

Have you considered writing a sequel to The Crystal Queen?
No, but I’d like to add a photo album (in the same illustration style as the book) at the end, with ‘pics’ of the girls’ weddings.

Is there anything about this story that you would consider changing at some point?
If there were some minor point that an illustrator thought was important, I’d change text to correspond to their visualization of the story.

Are there any particular scenes in The Crystal Queen which you especially enjoyed reading and/or writing?
I love the one with Rhubarb, the monkey!

How good do you consider this in comparison to your other stories? Is it better than most of them? Worse?
I’ve not done but two whole children’s stories, and they are so different it’s hard to compare them…..I love each one most when it’s the one on my mind!

Out of all the characters in The Crystal Queen, which one do you identify with most? Tell a little bit about that character.
I guess I’d have to relate to the Crystal Queen herself, since she’s the Mom. I like the way people can look through her, and see whoever she’s looking at with her love. I think this is a big part of being a mother….to hold people in your heart as they are held in God’s, and not just see their current smallness, lameness, brokenness.

About how long did it take you to bring this story to its current state of completion?
About 20 hours writing, 4-ish to type, a few more for editing, rewriting, retyping.

Is there anything else you would like to say about The Crystal Queen?
I am happy just to have this story, whether it gets published or not…it makes me happy!

Would you like to give any contact information, give a pen name, or remain completely anonymous?
I’m happy to be known: Charlotte Ostermann, and would be happy to be contacted if anyone had comments or questions: charoster 'at' yahoo 'dot' com.


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Interviews With Writers


Our next interview is with the author of The Pendant. If you are interested in reading this story; contact me and I will see that your request is sent to the author. 


Write a little bit about your story. Try to give the basics of its plot line:
It starts out with Reniseb finding the Pendant, then she meets up with a group of men who are also trying to find it. Then the enemy group, the Snakes, steal the Pendant. And they go on a search to try and get it back. They are accosted by the enemy and captured, and then in the end…well if I told you the end it wouldn’t be very interesting to read.

The title of your story is The Pendant. Where in the development of your story did the title come to mind? At the beginning; in the middle; at the end? What sort of other titles came to mind? Why did you choose this one in particular?
Actually, is started out as untitled story. I wanted some interesting and intriguing name for it, but I couldn’t think of anything. Not even an option to turn down. Except ‘The Pendant”. I didn’t like it at first because it seemed so obvious, but it grew on me and I just accepted it.

Is The Pendant a story you would ever consider publishing?
Possibly. Not right now, not when I finish it. But maybe in a few years when I have published something else (hopefully) I might consider it. For now, it is just the first story I have ever really undertaken to finish. And I am not doing very good at that, but it will be finished eventually.

How did the idea for Pendant come to mind? What sort of things inspired it?
I didn't really have any story line written down, and I don’t really have one now. I just started writing, and eventually I said. “Hey! This is actually pretty good for a start, maybe I should actually think about it” and I made a story line in my head.
I think that it was mainly inspired by Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s Mara: Daughter of the Nile.

The Pendant is set in ancient Egypt. Did you think of Egypt, and write a story that went in it. Or did you have a story that Egypt just happened to fit?
Neither one really; I just sat down to write without any idea of what was going to happen. And somehow Ancient Egypt became the setting. I don’t really know how it happened. But Egypt didn’t just happen to fit either. They all came together at once.

The main character in this story is the young daughter of an Egyptian lord, named Reniseb. Does this name have any particular meaning or connections for you?
Not really. I was reading a murder mystery set in ancient Egypt by Agatha Christie. And that was the name of one of the women, not even the main character. I just liked it.

Tell us a little bit about the development of The Pendant. What sort of things were there at the beginning? What changed and what stayed? How much was influenced by things around you?
I haven’t finished writing it yet, so I haven’t gone over it in detail and eliminated stuff. So mostly I haven’t changed anything yet. But there was one part where the hero and heroine let the world know that they are in love, and I hadn't really let them spend much time with each other before that. Thankfully, my dear friends made me go back and put in the scenes that had just been in my head. It was a huge improvement on the story.
I got about ten pages into it on my own, and I doubt I could have gotten any farther without the support of my wonderful friends, and that fact that they also love to write. I was also greatly influenced by my mom, who is also a writer and who first taught me the beauty of words.
Thank you!

Have you considered writing a sequel to The Pendant?
No. It is going to be a very stand-alone book. I never intend to write a sequel.

Is there anything about this story that you would consider changing at some point?
Aside from minor issues with consistency and such; no. I am happy with my story line. Though it is a little bit sad.

Are there any particular scenes in The Pendant which you especially enjoyed reading and/or writing?
I have enjoyed them all equally so far, but there is one scene I haven’t got to yet, and I really look forward to writing that. It will be my favorite to write I am sure.

How good do you consider this in comparison to your other stories? Is it better than most of them? Worse?
Pretty much in the middle. My Niradde series will be the best of my stories, but that isn't saying much.

Have you written any other stories set in ancient Egypt?
No.

Out of all the characters in The Pendant, which one do you identify with most? Tell a little bit about that character.
I don’t really identify with any of them; for one thing I have none of their skills or anything. But Tseskos personality is similar to mine. She has a very small part in book, but she is very bubbly and giggly. One of Reniseb’s closest friends.

Out of all the characters in The Pendant, which one was most interesting to write for?
Nefru. Definitely Nefru. His character is very complicated and he is fascinating to work with. He can be really unjust and annoying at times, but he has great depth and a good heart. He has a very strong temper that is hard to excite, but when you do it is not a hot temper but a freezing cold temper. There is only one scene in the book where he completely loses it and becomes fiery and furious. But I can’t talk about that scene because it would give a lot away. My hint is that it is part of the scene I most look forward to writing.

Did you do any research on ancient Egypt, or was it all just from general knowledge?
I did a ton of research. Somewhere in the story, Nefru is telling Reniseb about bloodlines of kings and people who did such and such. Every name in that list is a real name and in the proper relation to the other names. I know what year my story is in, and I know what year each king or relation thereof is in. Their characters may not be what they actually were in history, but their lineage is. I stretched things a bit with Tiye because I wanted her to be the only wife of her husband, and of course she wasn't. But he is a real pharaoh whose wife really was Tiye. And she has a son who really is in the history books. It took me forever to find an ancient (even for those times) king whose lineage fitted with what I wanted, but I found him in the end, and it worked. All this is of course based off the fact that Wikipedia is telling the truth. If not; I am sunk.

About how long did it take you to bring this story to its current state of completion?
It hasn't even been a full year. I started in fall of 2013.

Is there anything else you would like to say about The Pendant?
Just that I have really enjoyed writing it, and even though I have always loved making things up. The Pendant is the first story I ever really wrote. Since it began, many others have come up, and suddenly I have no time for something that I never even thought of a few years ago. It may not be very good, but I am grateful to it for drawing me into a world that I now love so much. I also want to thank all of the dear friends who have been a part of it and I hope that they will help me to bring it to full completion.

Would you like to give any contact information, give a pen name, or remain completely anonymous?

Actually, I have always thought that a pen name would be fun, but I will only ever publish under my own name, which I cannot give. However, I have liked the idea of writing each story under the name of the main character of that story.

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Interviews With Writers.

Our first interview is with the author of True Freedom. If you are interested in reading this story; contact me and I will see to it that your request is passed on to the author.


TRUE FREEDOM

Write a little bit about your story. Try to give the basics of its plot line:

Well, the summary I’ve written for it is as follows:
Medieval France is a hard world for a slave, and well does Maurelle know it. All she wants is to be free from Gabrielle, her silly mistress, and, one way or another, she's going to be! Maurelle is hopeful when she is told she will be escorting Gabrielle on a long journey, so full of dangers and difficulties that she is promised freedom at the end. Maurelle hardly minds the long journey, for what are a few months of inconveniences compared to a lifetime of freedom?
Maurelle could never have predicted what would really happen; nothing could have prepared her for the tangle of deception, sorrow and evil that she must face.


The title of your story is True Freedom. Where in the development of your story did the title come to mind? At the beginning; in the middle; at the end? What sort of other titles came to mind? Why did you choose this one in particular?

With some of my stories the idea for the title comes first, but with this story I finished it before I decided on the title. I really had no ideas for a title that were any good; I considered descriptive things like Medieval Slave, French Slave, A Medieval French Slave’s Journey through France to Paris, etc. All very terrible ideas, leaving me no choice but to go with True Freedom, which I took from the last sentence and somewhat of the overall message of the book.

Is True Freedom a story you would ever consider publishing?

Yes! I have several edits in mind for this story; in a few months or a year I’ll come back to it, make the necessary changes and then I’ll try to submit it for publishing.

How did the idea for True Freedom come to mind? What sort of things inspired it?
True Freedom is set in medieval France. Did you think of France, and write a story that went in it. Or did you have a story that France just happened to fit?

I have always loved the Middle Ages and so when we did the One Year Adventure Novel in my 8th grade year, that was the story that came to mind. I’ve also always been interested in slavery – the Civil War time period was also a fascinating time period to me, and I always liked pretending to be a slave or servant. Honestly, the only reason I set it in France was because I felt like I’ve been setting too many things in England! France is just more interesting to me than the other European countries on the Continent in the Middle Ages.

The main character in this story is a young slave girl, Maurelle. Does this name have any particular meaning or connections for you?

Maurelle is a French name meaning “dark, Elfin”. Maurelle is pretty short, so Elfin kind of fits, and her story is somewhat dark. Really l just chose it because I like the “elle” sound and it is a French name.

Tell us a little bit about the development of True Freedom. What sort of things were there at the beginning? What changed and what stayed? How much was influenced by things around you?

Mostly small things have changed. The beginning chapter when through many stages. In chapter 11, Maurelle switches clothes with Gabrielle to help Gabrielle escape. That was going to be a pretty big part of the climax originally, but now it is pretty minor.  Maurelle’s personal journey was originally to learn compassion. That has morphed into learning to trust people and God and be less guarded and independent. Maurelle herself was very cold, sharp and jaded when I first wrote about her; she had always lived with the De Surs. I think it works much better to have her just coming to them at the beginning of the story; she is still guarded and you could see that in years to come she could become that jaded person she was in the first draft, but she hasn’t had time to become that yet. A big thing that changed was that in my first draft there were only four people going on the journey: Lazare, Gabrielle, Maurelle, and a guard (I honestly can’t remember whether this was Jaque or Quain). I quickly realized I needed more characters, and added Quain/Jacque (originally Jaque was called Jim, incidentally), Bridget, Gustave, Raoul, and Nouvelle. Later I added Gaspard (Raoul used to serve as both of them). The death toll grew as well. Another minor thing, One Year Adventure Novel has you write a 12-chapter story, but True Freedom finally finished at fourteen chapters plus a small epilogue.
Maurelle herself hasn’t changed much, though; and most of the story I would say hasn’t changed so much as it has grown. Rather than taking things out, most things were simply added: Bridget’s identity, for instance, has always been in keeping with her character, although I didn’t have that in the story at first. My sister and a friend of mine were both influential in the changes, such that when I was up against a wall and tired of banging my head on it, they would let me come bang my head on them and would give advice or commiserate, respectively.

Have you considered writing a sequel to True Freedom?

Yes, I have. I left a few things open which could be continued into a sequel. I don’t know at this point if that will ever happen, considering how many other stories I want to write, but it is definitely a possibility.

Is there anything about this story that you would consider changing at some point?

Yes, I have a list of some small things that I’d like to come back to before trying to publish it.

Are there any particular scenes in True Freedom which you especially enjoyed reading and/or writing?

Oh, yes. Chapter twelve and thirteen were particularly enjoyable. Maurelle’s dream scenes were also some favorites. And I took strange pleasure in writing the second half of Chapter five.

How good do you consider this in comparison to your other stories? Is it better than most of them? Worse?

Compared to my finished stories, I think it is better than most (there aren’t many to compare too!). I don’t think I can compare it to my unfinished stories because I can’t foresee how they will change or grow.

Have you written any other stories set in medieval France?

No, this one is unique in its location.

Out of all the characters in Trued Freedom, which one do you identify with most? Tell a little bit about that character.

That is a hard question. I don’t think I identify that much with any of them. Probably Gustave. Gustave is an honest, somewhat dense, very teasing sort of character, and I would say I am all those things (not to mention we both like horses!). I think he’s a little more insecure than I am, though. To a lesser extent I identify with Bridget because she loves her family so much (she is much wiser than I am, needless to say) and Maurelle because she is headstrong and doesn’t like change.

Out of all the characters in True Freedom, which one was most interesting to write for?

Ooh. Lazare and Raoul were pretty fun because Raoul can say anything nasty at all and Lazare is a character if ever there was one. Nouvelle I enjoyed because she is very innocent, though that was, at the same time, a challenge to write. Gregoire, though a very small character, was also very interesting.

Did you do any research on medieval France, or was it all just from general knowledge?

I researched a few specific things, though most of the things, ironically, didn’t end up in the story. I learned how fast horses travel and I looked at maps to see how long the journey would take. All the placed named in the story are real places, though the characters are completely fictional. I had planned for Maurelle to stop at an abbey, and I found a real abbey that was around in her time for her to go to, but that isn’t in the finished version.

About how long did it take you to bring this story to its current state of completion?

Not quite a year; I started in September and finished in the spring of the next year.

Is there anything else you would like to say about True Freedom?

Yes; most of the names in the story have some sort of meaning connected to the story. I won’t say what they are, but you can look them up!

Would you like to give any contact information, give a pen name, or remain completely anonymous?


My pen name is Awdur, which is Welsh for writer. You can contact me at my blog thepenofawdur.blogspot.com. At this time that’s all the contact information I can give.  If True Freedom is ever published I may give more information.


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