Finally, the weather cooperated enough (barely) to allow me to get over Snoqualmie Pass and hit up my college roomie and longtime friend for some stamping fun! The Pass (Cascade Mountains) played it a bit dodgy at first, as workers decided to close it for avalanche control at the very time I needed to be crossing over. And then the road between my city and the next one up north (which crosses three humps and is often awful) closed for semi-truck slide outs due to icy slick roads. EEK!
But we have “The Canyon” road. It’s lovely, slow going, windy, and beautiful. So off I went through The Canyon and hit a white out! Sheesh. I nearly cancelled the whole trip, but my honey said just keep going to see how it was in Ellensburg.
And whew. Roads were fine. I made it. We stamped. We had extra new kitty help (oh, my). I lost things (socks) and found my shoes downstairs when they used to be upstairs. Lots of loves, fur, and excitement. “Incoming!!!” (which means a cat has jumped in the middle of our resources-strewn work surface).
I was even able to connect with 3 other college-met longtime friends on two different nights for dinner and quick catch-ups. Waves at Ann, Roxan, and Renee!
59 cards later, success at using up certain stamping supplies, frustration at the clock moving so fast, and it was time for me to pack up my little white “truck” (actually a Mazda front-wheel drive car) with all my stuff and head back over The Pass to our little home in the pasture.
Yummy meals, lots of chatting, creative messes, staying in jammies until late, walks to the Village . . .
Here are some Christmas card ideas to help you get started. I suggest creating together with at least 1 other friend, possibly 2 or 12. Share resources (stamps, inks, papers, ribbons, etc.) as you chit-chat, and those ideas will just fly off your stamp pads!
Plus, it’s great fun to visit as you labor away on your cutting, coloring, and works of art.
Stumped? Just glance at what’s on the table or in the hands of your co-conspirators. Or scroll Pinterest or stamping-related websites. Stamping magazines are also full of completed cards for inspiration.
Stamp, cut, color, glue, and glitter. Add embellishments. Ta-dah!
Christmas greetings are ready to go.
The hardest part is trying to figure who gets which card. Or, in our case, how can we give up our FAVORITES? That is always a challenge.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas season!
P.S. Thanks for the inspiration, Alyson and Renee!
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!
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.
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.
The assistants were unusually helpful this year.
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?
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s not just rubber stamping.
applying (or ignoring) theories of art composition
using our imaginations
sipping tea (or coffee or a special dessert drink)
solving world problems
singing the oldies, sometimes badly and off-tune (me, always with the wrong lyrics)
listening to music
keeping cats off the table
enjoying fine literature (or just literature on a CD)
going for walks
building from each other’s ideas
paving the way to send snail mail messages to friends and family
making gifts to share
eating too much
recycling (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)
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).
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.
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.
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
~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
~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.
How do you relax? Where do you go to get away? What was your favorite weekend away?