Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Book Review: Whole Whale by Karen Yin and Nelleke Verhoeff

Whole Whale

Words by Karen Yin

Art by Nelleke Verhoeff

Barefoot Books, 2021

Thank you, Kidlit411 and Karen Yin for sending me a copy of Whole Whale! What a wonderfully huge and engaging picture book!

I follow several picture book and book blogs to keep up with what is going on in the book business. I love reading about new picture books and encouraging authors and illustrators. Several blogs share updates about agents, editors, and publishing houses, which is always interesting. And sometimes, to my joy, I comment on blog posts and my name is pulled from the hat and I win a copy! I have met many wonderful books (and authors and illustrators) this way. Plus, I’m keeping up with what’s happening in the kid book world. Win-win-win.

A recent post at Kidlit411 shared about Whole Whale and Karen Yin. Whole Whale is her debut picture book. What a splash! Be sure to hop over to Kidlit411 and read her interview.

Why I LOVE this book:

~ The book size is huge – just like a whole whale! 12 x 12 inches!

~ How do you fit a whole blue whale in a book? Can you? What a fun mystery for young readers.

~ Fun, rhyming language builds suspense

~ A catchy repeating chorus, “But can we fit a whole blue whale?”

~ A fun fold-out surprise at the end

~ The final page which lists all the animals in the book

~ Can you count 100? Fun, fun, fun!

~ A wide variety of animals, land, sea, and sky

~ Encouragement to make room for just one more

~ Fantastic colorful illustrations

Congratulations, Karen and Nelleke! What a fun book!

You can find Karen:

KarenYin.com (sign up for the Purposeful Prose Newsletter)

Twitter: @karenyin, https://twitter.com/karenyin

Instagram: @karensoffice, https://www.instagram.com/karensoffice/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/karenyin

Karen sent me this book via Once Upon a Time, a bookstore in Montrose, CA. Thank you!

Monet was trying to help me post this review. Can we fit the big fat cat?


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Rubber Stamping Requires Assistants

Many of you know I love stamping. For those who are not familiar with the term “stamping,” stamping = making rubber stamped cards using (but not limited to) rubber stamps, ink pads, decorative paper, fancy tapes, cardstock, and bits and bobs of fascinating leftover craft supplies.

Pip has decided it is time he helped make cards. You will notice the excellent placement of his body right in the center of my work pad. This of course is very helpful and what is expected of a good assistant.

One of my college roommates (waves at Alyson) and I have been getting together for decades. Yes, I guess I can say at least decades. We are a bit fuzzy on exactly when the rubber stamping bug caught us, but it has been around for a long time.

Spring break is usually one of the times we get together to stamp. We missed out on many of our usual stamping retreats last year (and we all know why). So this spring break was extra special because it had been sooooo long since we really stamped.

Pip is not moving, and is quite unhappy about sharing the limelight with his cat-mom, Alyson. I think he might be giving her the subliminal brush off, or at least the “talk to my back” posture.

The assistants were unusually helpful this year.

Daisy did not help as much this year at the rubber stamping table. She was however, an excellent neck and face warmer. Early morning wake-up calls required much purring, loving, and fur up my nostrils. Barely room to squeeze the phone between my chin and her face, but we managed. As far as bed warmers, Daisy is quite a wonderful assistant, always up for good lap snuggles or sleeping on top of me.
How long can one cat be? Notice the helpful tail, which is used to swish items off the table or capture different open ink pads for a “painted cat” look.
A ribbon! MY ribbon…

So. My spring break was fun, entertaining, and productive. How about you? Did you do anything different this spring break? Do you have special assistants for those fun projects?


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear ones!

May peace and joy fill your hearts and homes.

Thinking of you and praying for a new year overflowing with God’s blessings.

xo


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Happy Fall, Y’all! Rubber Stamped Fall Cards

Fall, oh, fall, how much I love thee!

‘Tis the season of pumpkins, colorful leaves, cool nights, whipping winds, rustling cornstalks, frosty mornings, and cozy thoughts of snuggling in for the winter.

But I digress.

Fall. I love thee. I also love making rubber stamped cards. My quite comprehensive collection of autumn rubber stamps, combined with the even greater vast array of my stamping buddy, Alyson, provides ample fodder for harvest-y creations. I must note that one is NEVER done searching for yet another “favorite” fall stamp. The hunt continues!

I thought it would be fun to set the season dial to autumn and share a few card samples.

Happy Fall, Y’All!


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Rubber Stamping in the Time of COVID

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I know I’m not the only-NOT EVEN CLOSE-person who has had plans and lives totally disrupted, cancelled, or ruined by COVID-19. It is a pandemic, and many people around the world have suffered, lost family members and friends, or even lost the battle themselves. When you consider those staggering losses, the tiny little loss of my regularly scheduled stamping weekends seems trite and uncaring.

But I do care. This pandemic has challenged us all in many different (yet similar) ways. I pray for our city, state, nation, and world to be healed. So I mask up when I go out. And I stay home.

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Having a hobby is necessary as we are staying at home, working from home, eating at home, recreating at home . . . everything at home. I’ve recently noticed that I am even getting bored of reading! I can’t believe I said that! Please. Libraries. Please open! (On a side note, I was able to visit my local bookstore for 15 minutes-that’s the time limit-to pick up my 2021 planner. Thank you, Inklings, for being open enough to allow us to request and do curbside pick up.)

I digress. Rubber stamping. My hobby. Usually, by this time of year, I’ve made between 3-5 trips across the Cascades to set up rubber stamp shop with my stamping buddy. These trips come with assorted college friends’ get-togethers, meals out, shopping, walking, exploring. And Stamping. With a capital S.

The total this year? 1.

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ONE. This occurred in February, before most of us had even caught on to the seriousness of COVID. Even before the winter snowy weather was complete. My trip required my honey to drive and pick me up. Too early, as my friend and I popped awake to the pre-dawn sound of studded snow tires. Rats.

I am thankful that we risked life and limb, slick roads and storms, to kick off the year of stamping. We all know how life came to a screeching halt shortly thereafter.

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We finally realized we could, like everything else anyone does, enjoy short times of virtual rubber stamping. I think it took so long because of school duties (she is a teacher, and I was helping homeschool my grands) and we thought things would open up sooner rather than later.

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So. Later. We use the Messenger app and call each other and visit while we stamp. With my phone, I have to wear ear plugs, so my phone sits in a measuring cup, tipped up but able to hold the ear plug jack. She props hers up on something. Actually, I can’t see it, so I don’t know. We stamp, chat, show and tell our projects, offer advice, and generally try to enjoy our hobby. If I have to move, she goes with me in the measuring cup. If she goes, I wait on the table (I’m on the phone after all, heh-heh) or she hauls me along and I try not to get seasick.

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It works. I have a tiny cat food can box tray of projects in process. Just looking at the box brings me joy and hope. And I know I can pick it up and work on my nearly finished creations at any time.

How about you? What hobbies do you enjoy? How have you adjusted to the pandemic? Have you tried virtual hobbies? I’d love to hear how you are filling the time. Besides snacking, which has turned into another unfortunate hobby.

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Hang in there, friends. We will get through this!


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It’s Not Just Rubber Stamping

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We LOVE getting together to play with our toys. Some call it making messes, but we call it fun. And you can’t create and make rubber stamped cards without the creative process, and that means messes are made. Also mistakes, but we use mistakes as opportunities to be even more creative with our oops.

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It’s not just rubber stamping.

It’s crafting

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chatting

applying (or ignoring) theories of art composition

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using our imaginations

sipping tea (or coffee or a special dessert drink)

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solving world problems

singing the oldies, sometimes badly and off-tune (me, always with the wrong lyrics)

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sharing life

telling stories

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listening to music

keeping cats off the table

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playing games

getting older

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sharing resources

enjoying fine literature (or just literature on a CD)

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making goals

going for walks

9A774B91-B6DC-4B24-8213-EAC0DD08F0DEbuilding from each other’s ideas

paving the way to send snail mail messages to friends and family

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making gifts to share

eating too much

0DA4FC29-EC44-49F3-A78E-BBE8624C9BC8recycling (saving rubber stamps from the landfills and reusing paper and craft items down to the tiniest scraps)

storing memories (and collectively attempting to recall long ago events)

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visiting friends

and building love.

 

Completed card totals for this trip: 76

Friends involved in this weekend: 7


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Need Stress Relief? Take a Weekend Trip

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What a week!

Our daughter ended up in the hospital due to cellulitis from a bug bite. As a result, we juggled child care, transportation, hospital runs, and assorted other duties while she received aggressive IV treatment to stop the infection (previous antibiotics did nothing to stop the infection from spreading).

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Every week is busy and we tend to go full speed. Writing, working, cooking, cleaning. But add one off-kilter event, such as a parent (our adult child) being hospitalized, and chaos rules the day.

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Good thing for me, I had a weekend away tucked in my hip pocket. Of course, I would have cancelled had my daughter not been released from her expensive spa treatment (that’s what we called her stay). Hooray, her bite improved, the high powered antibiotics did their job, and she went home in plenty of time for my retreat.

After handing off care of 3 grands to my daughter-in-love, I loaded the car with the important things (rubber stamps, food, clothes) and headed to Seattle to stay and play with my crafting partner. And boy did we pack in the fun.

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I was amazed at all we managed to fit into our weekend. We

~rubber stamped cards (36 total for me)

~took a ferry ride to Hood Canal

~relaxed at a cabin where we sipped hot tea, read a magazine, read the newspaper, and attempted a crossword puzzle

~completed a four-mile walk through the state park where we saw one spawning salmon and several done spawning and deceased fish, bald eagles, a seal, seagulls, gorgeous fall colors, and sparkling streams leading to Hood Canal

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~stopped at a craft market AND a thrift shop

~enjoyed a new apple crisp (with cheese!) recipe

~tasted creative and delicious meals

~talked much and solved world problems

~watched the Seattle Sounders win the national championship game

~walked to the University Village

~listened to a mystery on cassette

~kicked off the Christmas season with traditional music selections

~planned Christmas gifts and adventures

~traveled to Southcenter (a shopping area in Renton) where we perused Impress for more rubber stamping ideas and supplies, braved crowds and long lines at IKEA (plus I had coupons for a free birthday meal and stuff), and used coupons at JoAnn’s

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~slept in and snuggled kitties

I’m sure that’s not all we did, but the change of scenery and responsibilities refreshed my body and energy. I was sad when my weekend away came to an end and I had to reload the car and drive home.

What a wonderful way to recharge! Should you find yourself needing stress relief and relaxation, consider a weekend getaway. Choose a new or favorite destination, pack your bags, and hit the road. It will be worth all of your time and efforts.
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How do you relax? Where do you go to get away? What was your favorite weekend away?


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Rubber Stamping Alert: Success Despite Losing Battle with Concrete Curb

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Last weekend was my first foray into Stamping Land over the Cascade Mountains since fall. I was long overdue for hours of creativity, messes, visiting, snacking, and generally solving world problems.

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Initial bruising and future scar (at end of eyebrow). That tiny hole caused so  much bleeding!

But first! After tripping mid-street and saving myself 3 times before reaching the cement curb, I landed right-face-side smack on my eye bone and glasses up against the edge of the curb. Curbs do not give way. Glasses and faces do!

Alas, the nearby young lady was probably scared for life after witnessing my bumble and being unable to prevent the collision, but she was extremely helpful in procuring napkins, tissues, and aids of phone calls or rides someplace. Any place!

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Gold duct tape for my poor glasses.

Lots of Good Samaritan help came my way, despite the blood pouring from my eye lid bone (the part at the end of your eyebrow, whatever that bone is called). A passerby offered a package of tissues and advice to get it checked. The restaurant owner repeatedly came in and out, bringing napkins, concern, and reassurances that I was not the only one to find this edge in the middle of the road. The young lady stayed with me until my ride arrived. And my ride came post haste after I remembered I had her number stored in my phone. Whew! Thanks, Connie! Otherwise, a long walk up steep hills with broken glasses and napkins held to my swollen eye/head…

Back to Stamping Land. Ahhh. The glorious experiments and messes we made. Interspersed with walks for meals, snacks, chatting, even a book on tape! Not that we could solve the mystery…Alyson’s B & B fit the bill for a weekend of crafting. Thanks, hostess!

After my initial concern of decreased productivity (due to head injury), you can imagine my relief when 66 cards were completed. Good progress!

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Wow, when I compare then and now, I might just look worse now!

Rubber stamps, ink pads, markers, colored pencils, chalks, booger dots, patterned papers, cardstock, glue sticks, tape, scissors, paper cutters, bits of ribbon and scrap paper-just a little bit of anything and everything. PLAYING is what we call it. Playing with our stuff. And what do we get? Fun cards!

Have you ever given yourself a black eye? Or a wound with ample amounts of blood? What do you do when you get creative? Here’s to grace and play time!

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New glasses! Worse color. I promise, I am getting better!

 


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Fun Friday: The Habit of Rubber Stamping

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Making rubber stamped cards is one of my favorite pastimes.

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So much so that many of my escapes are planned around rubber stamping adventures. Two of my college roomies are fans of rubber stamping and scrapping, so weekends spent enjoying both creative pursuits are both relaxing and invigorating for me. We occasionally try to lure other college buddies to the bright side of stamping in order to multiply our fun.

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Shopping usually involves a trip to craft stores or thrift shops to peruse donations and products to add to my stamping ‘stuff.’ The habit of shopping for rubber stamping craft supplies runs strong in my tribe.

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One entire side of the over-the-table RV cupboard is dedicated to storing completed rubber stamped cards. I love sending them, but I adore making them more.

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One half of the boot (what we call the beneath the bed area, outside entrance storage area in the RV) is home to a solid amount of rubber stamps, papers, ink pads, tools, and a large variety of craft supplies relating to making cards.

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My Pinterest Rubber Stamping board is filled with photos of new cards to try, techniques to learn, and pictures of cards I’ve made. You can see my board here.

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So, if you find yourself winterized and stuck inside the house this weekend, maybe it’s time to dig into a new craft. Let these card pictures inspire your creations.

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As for me, I’ve penciled in my first stamping get-together of the new year. This girl is ready for a mental and creative break.

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Sadly, we are pre-mourning the February closure of one of our favorite stamping stores, Impress Rubber Stamps. The University Village store (Seattle) is closing. Fortunately, the Tukwila Impress store is remaining open. Forever we hope!

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2018 Word of the Year: Roots

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My 2018 word of the year was ROOTS.

It sounds odd now, when I say roots, but by choosing it, I claimed the focus of concentrating on my roots.

Not only my spiritual roots, but the roots of who I am as a woman, mother, daughter, sister, wife, Nana. The importance of roots in the natural world, my love of nature and gardening, hiking, photography-all played a part in my word choice. My roots anchor me to who I was, am, and will be. With my roots firmly attached to Jesus, I know I am secure and safe from the storms of life, ponderous and damaging though they be.

My art project incorporating the word ROOTS didn’t pop into my head until well after the year got underway. Using watercolor paints, permanent markers, glitter glue (after all, life can always use more sparkle), ink, and rubber stamps, I created a piece to remind me of my word of the year.

My art was not stagnant the entire year. As I found more Bible verses or sayings, had thoughts about the word, or saw something missing and filled it in, I added to my project. I really like the finished look. It occupied a space on my work bulletin board where it was easy to see.

Tomorrow I will share my new 2019 word of the year. I’ve had some thoughts about it, some unique applications already in place. Just recently, the image for my art project popped into my mind, but it is not yet on paper.

Read about The Year of Peace here.

Do you choose a word for the year? Maybe you choose a phrase, sentiment, or goal. I’d love to hear!