Picture Book Templates

Monday, January 7, 2019
Some of my best picture book ideas bounce around in my head for days, even weeks. They haunt and taunt me, and do not want to come out. I think they may be stuck in my head because they're incomplete. They are bounceing around so much, there is no space to complete them. It's a real brain battle, or at least that's how it feels.

I need to stop using incomplete ideas as an excuse for not writing my stories and get my thoughts organized. So, today, I am on the hunt for picture book templates so I can put these partial ideas in a place and focus my energy on filling in the blanks.

Here are some of the places I have found picture book dummies and templates.

Where have you been?

Saturday, January 5, 2019
I wasn't far. I've been learning (and still creating but no time to blog).

For the last year, I have been taking courses, again. This time I have successfully completed the Creative, Critical & Design Thinking certificate program through the McMaster University Continuing Education program.

Now that I have completed it, I want to get back into writing and other arts.

For example, I have a children's book manuscript I am going to revisit, and possibly submit to an agent. Also, here is a watercolour painting I recently finished:

I will also be spending more time blogging. I'm very excited and look forward to getting back into the groove.

Cats in squares? Really?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Here kitty, kitty!

i.e. vs e.g. - An easy (and fun) way to remember how to use the abbreviations properly.

Thursday, March 2, 2017
To help me remember the difference between these abbreviations I started saying, “i” vs “eggs” instead of i.e. vs  e.g. But, before I explain what I  mean, let’s learn the meaning of the real abbreviations.

Abbreviation meanings

Both abbreviations are Latin expressions. The table below displays the abbreviation, the Latin expression, the English translation and how each abbreviation is used.
Latin expression
English translation
id est
that is
Used to clarify.
exempli gratia
for example
Used to list some examples.

Understanding the meaning of the abbreviations does help. Some people suggest substituting English for the abbreviation to check, but I sometimes still find that confusing.

Here is a little, fun trick I use to remember which Latin abbreviation to use, and why I like to say “i” vs “eggs”.

They all have “i” in common.

Use i.e. when you want to say “that is” or “as in” – they all have an “i” in them.

Sample sentence:
He will be here shortly.

How long is shortly? An hour? Two days? Shortly is a relative term.  In this sentence, I want to clarify what I mean by shortly. I don’t want to give examples; I want to specify what I mean.

Here’s how i.e. is used:
He will be here shortly (i.e., two hours).

Give me an egg-sample.

I love eggs, but what I really want to do with the sentence below is to give an example; not really an egg-sample or e.g.-sample. (Did you see what I did there?)

Sample sentence:
He likes field sports.

When I’m giving examples, I use the e.g. abbreviation. The list isn’t the only sports he likes, but some of the sports.

Here’s how e.g. is used:
He likes field sports (e.g., football, soccer and baseball).

So, next time you are trying to figure out which abbreviation to use just remember the “i” or “eggs”  trick and hopefully it will help. Then go eat some eggs.

Who's vs Whose - I've made the mistake.

Monday, September 5, 2016
This week there was a spike in a post I wrote on the POV and Picture Books. I decided to take a look at the post, since it's been five years since I wrote it, to see what was so interesting.

Though the content is good, I cringed. Ahh! A grammatical error.

Who’s eyes we see the story through.”

Do you see the problem? What am I trying to say here? If we expand the contraction out, does the sentence make sense?

Who is eyes we see the story through.”
What? No! That's not what I am trying to say.

Who has eyes we see the story through.” 
I do! I have eyes. 

Well, that makes a little more sense, but it's not a question and that's not what I'm trying to say.

The sentence should read, “Whose eyes we see the story through.” “Whose” meaning belonging to or associated with which person. Yes, that is the correct who's/whose. Though, for me, the sentence still feels awkward.

I hope the increase of views for the blog post was for content and not as an example of the mistake. If it was for this mistake, I guess the number of views will decrease, because it has been changed to a less awkward sentence. :) 

The DNA Results Were Not What I Was Expecting

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
The results from my dog's DNA test are in!

This photo is a result of a different kind of test Benny took.

To read about the test visit http://madelinebarr.blogspot.ca/2015/08/my-dog-benny-is-getting-his-dna-tested.html

We suspected that he was a Labrador/ Border Collie cross and speculated that he might have some Boxer in him.

To our surprise, he doesn't have any Labrador or Border Collie.

He does have Boxer.

According to http://dnamydog.com/ , Benny is:
  • 37-74% Boxer
  • 20-36% German Shepherd
  • 10-19% Rat Terrier
Boxer (37-74%)

German Shepherd (20-36%)
Rat Terrier (10-19%)
With a little math, we can determine he is actually about 45-70% Boxer.

If he was the minimum percentage of the secondary breeds then he could be up to 70% Boxer
(100% - 20% - 10% = 70%)

If he was the maximum percentage of the secondary breeds then he could only be a low as 45% Boxer. (100% - 36% - 19% = 45%)

The one thing I know for sure is Benny is 100% lovable!
What do you think?
Do you think it's accurate? What would have been your guess?
Have you ever had a DNA test on your dog? What were the results?
Is there anything else you would like to know? Comment below!

My Dog Benny is Getting his DNA Tested!

Thursday, August 6, 2015
This is my dog, Benny. He's a rescue.
If I had to choose one word to describe him, it would be fabulous!
I know that he's loving, smart and generally a good dog.

What I don't about him is his breeds. I've taken a pretty good guess but I wanted to have a better idea. So, I decided to get his DNA tested.

After some research and review, I decided to order a testing kit from DNA My Dog - http://www.dnamydog.ca/

The kit arrived relatively quickly. I ordered it Tuesday night with standard shipping and received it on Thursday. Part of the reason I received it so quickly is because I live an hour away, but it also means the company was able to ship it out Wednesday morning. That's quick service!

In the kit I received:
  • A congratulations letter with easy-to-follow instructions.
  • A set of two sterile polyester tipped applicators (swabs with long sticks).
  • A specimen envelope.
  • A prepaid return envelope.
  • A card to write down my customer ID number
Of course, I did the test Thursday night so I could mail it out Friday morning.

Before I began, I copied my customer ID number from the form/letter to the card.
The test was much easier to perform than I thought is was going to be. Benny couldn't eat or drink (except water) or be around other dogs or other dog toys for an hour before the test, as it could impact the results. That was easy enough since we didn't have another dog. Then, without me touching the tip, I was to swab the inside of his cheek for 20 seconds! I thought this was going to be a problem but it wasn't too bad. Benny just gave me that what-the-heck-are-you-doing look and pulled back a little. I was able to get the two swabs done without any help.  In the event your dog does destroys the swabs, which I imagine happens quite often, the company will replace them.

The swabs were placed in the open specimen envelope to dry for 25 minutes before sealing it. The specimen envelope and the form/letter were places in the return enveloped, sealed and mailed the next morning. The form/letter had my customer ID, a checklist of things to include and asked me what I thought were Benny's breeds.

I also emailed the company a picture of Benny, as suggested by them, for the certificate.

I'm so anxious for the results I've been checking everyday and sometimes several times a day. If the company is recording how many times I use my ID I'm pretty sure they would think I am crazy.

Results will be available online within two weeks after processing begins. They must have received the samples on Monday because the processing began on Tuesday. So far, a very prompt company. About a week later I will receive a certificate and breed information in the mail.

Now the waiting game.

So what breeds do you think Benny is?

Fan Favourite Winner- TURN IT ON - JUNO 2015 HAMILTON ANTHEM

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Congratulations to 110 Studios for winning the Fan Favourite contest for their version of the  JUNO 2015 theme song. Read Kristin Lee B's full article about their win at http://ihearthamilton.ca/110-studios/

Below is the very cool lyric video of their song.

Freedom to Read Week Quiz

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
As part for Freedom to Read Week, I am posting the Which Challenged (Canadian) Book Should You Read? quiz created by McMaster University Library.

My result was, A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence. Read how this book was challenged at http://www.freedomtoread.ca/challenged-works/a-jest-of-god/

Take the quiz and let me know in the comments which Canadian book you should read.

A Goal Reorganization - a 10k update and more.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Well, after talking to my brother, it looks like we might not be running the 30k relay in March. (10k each)

I'm disappointed and relieved at the same time. Disappointed because I want to do it, but relieved because I didn't think I would be ready by March.

So, to fix that, here's what I did.

I've set some new goals and taken action!


  • I finally bought new running shoes that I love, love love! (I'll post about those later.)
  • I've started to go jogging again.
  • I plan to jog at least three days a week. Either outside or on the treadmill.
  • I'm going to time myself at the 5k Run for a Cure next month. Donations to support my run and help fight against breast cancer can be made at www.runforthecure.com/goto/madeline
  • I'll sign up for a timed 5k race somewhere.
  • I'm going to look for another 10k race to do in the future. Maybe early Spring.

Learning a New Sport
  • Remember that new sport I was talking about? It's hockey! Yes, I have signed up for women's hockey! Yup. I'm pretty sure I am a little crazy.
  • I'm going to blog about hockey here and add the label "hockey @ 40". Note: I am not 40, yet, but I'm sneaking up on it.

  • I've started my final course for my Technical Writing certificate. Technical Editing. Should be done by the end of October. I'm very excited!
  • I'm blogging more.

And today, I am going to try to set some realistic writing goals, other than bloggin and my course. I need to pick one thing, focus on it, and follow it through to the end. 

So, there you have it. Watch for posts labeled "hockey @ 40", I'm sure they are going to be entertaining.