100 days of words by daintydora

Words. Words. Words. Words. We use them everyday, all the time.

In speech, in private, in public, in text messages, emails, stories, poems, chats, transactions, when talking with strangers and with loved ones. Sometimes we write them in the air with sparklers, or arrange to have them written in the sky.

I write every day (one of my 'mantras' I set for myself at the beginning of 2015); words are my currency, my love, my passion, the essential hard-working tools of my chosen career as a writer.

Last year I took part in the 100 day project pioneered by Elle Luna and publicised by The Great DiscontentInstagram the mechanism for accountability.

I chose to write 100 Haiku poems (#100daysofhaiku), although it wasn't a unique project to me or a unique hashtag. I didn't mind sharing.

Some days it was hard, some days it was easy. Some days I left it far too late to get a proper shot that looked 'nice', but the point was the act of creating each day in a big, unbroken, chronological chain of accomplishment.

I spent time breaking my words down into syllables, the root of their sounds and meanings, moulding them into 3 lines about what I was feeling that day or what was happening in my life.

Then I promised to make an eBook out of them.

No-one asked me to, it was just my own idea to 'complete' the project, come away with a tangible body of work comprising 100 days of creative output and effort. But I haven't done it yet. The guilt ebbs and flows. It will get done (I know it will - it's on my to-do list. Right after 'complete my novel'.)

I'm single-focusing you see. I have to get my novel completed. I'm three-quarters through the first re-write.

So this year when the murmurings about the 100 day project popped up, I decided I wasn't going to play along. I would eschew the tyranny of daily creativity (oh the misery of it!), for slow, steady, regular progress on my book. Nearly there, nearly there, I whisper to myself at night. Just another week, fortnight, month. Maybe.

But then on 100day eve, I was sitting in bed and I had the urge to write down a list of my favourite words. It was an act inspired by an art journal prompt, part of the Get Messy Art Journal 'Season of Lists'.

"Write a list, you could make it a hundred items long."

So I got to about 25 and realised it was a quarter of 100 (yeah, I'm simple like that). I carried on writing, squeezing words all over an A5 page instead of taking a new sheet, until I got to 100 and beyond.

100 days of my favourite words, The 100 day project 2016

All those lovely words crammed between lines and over lines; diagonal, horizontal, bleeding into each other.

I put my list away. I wrote in my journal. I read my book. It was just a list. 

Then the next day I saw everyone posting on social media about their 100 day project, about all the cool things that people were going to document and achieve between 19th April and 27th July. I felt like I would be missing out (the worst kind of creative FOMO?) and then I remembered my list. 100 of my favourite words, in complement to this starter for 10. It was a creative 'do or die' moment.

As the night ticked on I wrote down my first word, dated it, and uploaded it to Instagram under #100daysofmyfavouritewords. It's a bit unwieldy but it's unique to me. My words. My favourite words.

I'm doing it. I'm in.

Some people might think it's cheating to already have my list, but I think the creative commitment is choosing and focusing on a specific word each day, and part of the challenge is being experimental with capture, presentation and display. I want my words to shine.

Day 1: Oxymoron. White on black.

And so it begins...! Day 1: 'Oxymoron' @elleluna #100days #the100dayproject #100daysofmyfavouritewords #words #oxymoron

A photo posted by Rebecca Johnstone (@daintydora) on

Day 2: Gypsy. A fragrant herb-word.

Day 3: Yoyo. Coloured pins on a corkboard.

Day 3: 'Yoyo' #100daysofmyfavouritewords #the100dayproject #100days #100 #words #pins #pinboard #corkboard #yoyo #yoyos

A photo posted by Rebecca Johnstone (@daintydora) on

I'm giving myself these 100 days to get my Haiku eBook completed too, because sometimes you need a new challenge, a different deadline, the creative pressure to just get shit done.


There's over 800 here already...

50 days of Haiku by daintydora

So, a whole 50 days of haiku...

50 days of haiku - figs, quinces, plums, pears

Halfway through. I can't believe it. I'm impressed with myself.

Creating a 5-7-5 haiku poem each day has really become a habit; words twisted into a semblance of order but with no rhyme or reason (though I still throw in some rhyme now and then. I can't help myself.)

Today, Day 50 of my #100daysofhaiku journey (shared every day without fail on Instagram), I've delved deep into the evocations of hot summer in a faraway finca in the hills of Italy or maybe Spain. A delicious remembering of all that nature provides, of the richness of the earth and also of language:

Figs, quinces, plums, pears
seductive fresh finca fayre
intense night flavours."

Taste those succulent pears and feel the juice run down your face and sticky your hands.

Draw your eyes over the lush green swathe of trees and plants and flowers laid out before you, watch day slip into night where a new menu of seductions await, and know, really know: this is living, this is the true essence of life, this is the nitty-gritty pleasure of it all.

I welcome the illusions, allusions, thoughts, ideas, images, simile and metaphor that swarm into my consciousness for the next 50 days.

Thanks so much to The Great Discontent and Elle Luna for devising this amazing challenge.


One + Four = Life: seedlings, sewing, flowers & poetry by daintydora

I've not been blogging as much as I normally do, because I've been enjoying lots of offline time and time spent outside. And I thought I was too late to join in with Pip's One + Four = Life this week (ideally suited to a Sunday afternoon's reflection), but it turns out I'm not, so here goes:

Seeds growing in an old record player!


Shown here are tomato plants and coriander shoots after just 3.5 weeks. Nature astounds me every time. I think the vintage record player box I am using for them must have a lovely mellow beat helping things along!

Last week I also planted: verbena for tea and another tray of spinach and some broad beans in window-sill pots.

Beautiful bunch of flowers


My husband bought me these beautiful flowers as a little midweek treat. I think I might try and draw/paint them. The colours are gorgeous together and really cheer me every time I see them. I love the natural foliage too. Green, green, green with peach and red and lilac and yellow. Spring days. And it was nine years on Friday since we got engaged.

Day 32 of 100 Haiku poem

Haiku poetry:

Today's haiku is still to be done, but my favourite from last week is this one from Day 32/100 that I wrote on a napkin and left in a bar.

The Great Discontent's 100 day project is really working for me and it feels great to say I'm already up to day 36 (today) and haven't missed one yet.

Work in progress: Orange Floral Hairband

Floral Hairband:

I started making another little floral hairband for myself, which I discuss on my creative blog, Dainty Dora's Inspiration Emporium. So much fun to be had with florals!

This week I also built a hammock, myself, and it felt great. I couldn't quite work out how the ropes were supposed to go, but I felt the 'happy' of building something with my hands, quietly, confidently, immersed in the simple process of it. (I also got that sense from building a make-shift raised bed in the garden from old bricks.)

And I made soup with leeks, carrots, sweet potato and parsnips and tons of garlic. And baked my favourite soda bread. I also disinfected the drains but no-one really wants to know about that so I'll stop right there.

It means so much to me to document my life, through the photographs I take on my phone and with my camera, and also through writing - personal journalling, blogging, calendars, notes, cards, postcards, scrapbooking. But it's also great to get out there and live it first.

Here's to another week of creative pursuits and growing and sewing and words channeling through me from everywhere into somewhere and something and One + Four = Life.


Friday Diary: Day 19 #100daysofhaiku by daintydora

It's day 19 of #100daysofhaiku - the challenge I set myself as part of The Great Discontent's #the100daysproject. Each day is an opportunity to record the thoughts of the day in a beautifully pared down and edited form. I think Haiku poetry is my cup of tea.


A diary brings
the secrets of myself from
the darkness inside.

I loved keeping a diary as a young girl and a teenager, and now as an adult, I call it a journal and just write down my thoughts. I can't imagine not having access to pen and paper to do such a simple but wonderful thing, as a regular (if not daily) practice.

For now and for the next 81 days, I'll have my daily Haiku to remind me what I was thinking/doing/seeing/feeling.

And I've tried to experiment with how I share my progress for this project because, well I don't want to say 'it's just words'. But... It is just words, rather than something more arty and visually attractive.

Here's some of my favourite Haiku shares from Instagram:


Friday Diary: This week I... by daintydora

This week wasn't an exceptional, extraordinary week, but it started with SPRING. Spring in the garden and a spring clean. There was a lot of sunshine and that felt good.

#100daysofhaiku Day 5/100

And this is a Friday diary and so this week I...


  • Wrote 2,000 words per day for three days = 6,000 words towards my novel. That felt great.
  • Finished reading Lena Dunham's book 'Not That Kind of Girl'. Wow.
  • Started reading Cyndi Lauper's Memoir. Wow.
  • Discovered the benefits of Aloe Vera gel. Wow.
  • Went to a gig & wore a vintage dress & wrote postcards while sitting in my car & drove home at midnight feeling alive & buzzy with ideas.
  • Found out that my eyes are so dry I may never be able to wear contact lenses again. How did this happen? What can I do?
  • Met a friend for lunch & chatter & cocktails & it was so sunny it felt like we could have been abroad. We should have been abroad!
  • Bought new sunglasses because it was so sunny.
  • Had my hair cut and discovered a new salon above a bridal shop. (My last haircut was in November.)
  • Bought a teapot as a gift. And some lemon shortbread. And nearly burst into tears when the sales assistant asked me if it was for anything special.
  • Noticed the blossom budding on my cherry tree.
  • Got out my summer clothes that were packed away last autumn.
  • Signed up for The 100 days project, choosing haiku to do as my 'creative act'.
  • Noticed the positive knock-on effect in my creative life of committing to 'show' up' for 100 days.
  • Signed up for an illustration class.
  • Had strange dreams of spiders and fairy nymphs carried in a satchel on a horse and cart in London...
  • Heard great news from two friends.
  • Heard not so good news from another friend.
  • Made bread.
  • Ate cake.
  • Felt happy.
  • Felt sad.
  • Thought about the future.
  • Thought about the past.
  • Got up early.
  • Slept in late.
  • Got inspired.
  • Got disheartened.
  • Got inspired again.
  • Started a new art journaling season of BRAVE.

What about you? What does your diary say for this week?


Midweek Poetry: 100 days of Haiku by daintydora

I signed up to show up, as part of The Great Discontent's 100 days project. And I'm excited.

I picked Haiku (#100daysofhaiku) because:

1. I've never done it before
2. I love poetry and words
3. I thought a simple 5-7-5 syllabic formula was...manageable

It's day 3, inspired by the gig I went to in Glasgow last night: Lone Lady groovin' it out:


Low ceiling red light
beats like dreams dripping from beams
tripping on the night.


Sign up if you haven't already, and just add on the days you missed. Just do it! Show up.