Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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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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Rubber Stamped Cards: A Time of Creativity

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Last week I had the privilege of enjoying a writing residency/retreat at Holly House through Hypatia-in-the-Woods. I really worked my days, writing, planning, editing, sorting, exploring, eating, and drinking tea. This list was interspersed with moments of complete quiet when I just stared out into the green forest or wandered to the deck or windows to locate who was chasing and chattering. The entire week was lovely and I feel my writing benefited from being at Holly House. (So did my soul and stress level, but more on this in a later post.)

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I decided to bring my toys. Rubber stamps, ink pads, papers, tools. I set a goal of creativity one different card each night and make 6 -8 of each design. This plan turned out beautifully. The different type of creativity allowed my brain to wander and my fingers to work away from the keyboard. Lovely! And we all know how much I enjoy making rubber stamped cards. 🙂

Here they are, 7 designs, 50 cards total.

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If you ever get the opportunity to go on a writing residency or retreat, go! It’s with every second.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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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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Holiday Haiku – 25 Days of Christmas Haiku: gift

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pinterest attempt,

Baby, Christmas gift, story

told in painted rock

 

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by Angie Quantrell

 

Thanks for joining me on a Christmas Haiku journey as I celebrate with words, thoughts, and photos that take me deep into my family’s Christmas traditions. Read more Christmas Haiku here.
May this Season of Light brighten your life and fill your heart with true gifts.

 


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Sewing in an RV

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The RV life. Let’s just agree that certain jobs, chores, and hobbies require flexibility, working in tiny spaces, and unimaginable chaos.

For instance, for my birthday I thought I’d sew my new flannel nightgown. I used to wear flannel nightgowns all the time, compliments of my mommy. I loved those gowns and wore them to rags. Once I could sew, I made a nightshirt version of nightgown, easy to sew, roomy, comfy. And I wore those to rags. I haven’t had a flannel nightgown for at least a decade, as menopause negated any desire for cozy pajamas.

But now, sensing the end is in sight (of hot flashes and general always-hot flashes), I found a very cute woodland animal flannel when shopping for my soon-to-be-born nephew and decided I needed a matching (to his quilt) flannel nightshirt.

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The fun begins when one makes the choice to sew. In an RV. Steps for me included:

-clear the table (dining room, office, rec room, living room)

-clear counters for work space

-wash the fabric (next door in the Quantrell community laundry room)

-dig out the sewing machine, mini ironing board, iron, tub of sewing supplies (stored beneath the bed)

-set up sewing machine and accoutrements on table

-use TV tray for extra work space

-postpone any plans for cooking, relaxing, or doing any other sort of work until completion of project

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Of course, this is just setting up. As I worked on my new jammies, I had to creatively fight my foot around the table leg to work the foot pedal. I had to iron carefully, as the top of the board plus the iron totaled more than available space before hitting the stove hood. The table is not wide enough to contain all the fabric, so slippage from the table made me use all hands to control, hold fabric, and press controls. Putting in snaps required a trip to the shop for a hammer and working on the floor with the wooden cutting board. I only broke one snap and put one on backwards. Haha! Besides ironing something that was not supposed to be ironed (thereby melting it to the iron), everything went pretty smoothly.

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The news is not all dire. In such a tiny space, the TV and Hallmark Channel are a mere 5 feet away. Normally, I’d be watching my Seahawks, but since they won Thursday night, they had the day off. So Christmas frivolity and cozy romance played as background to my stitching adventures. The kitchen is at my back, so snacks and drinks are literally within arms’ reach. Benefits are to be had when living in an RV.

Et voila! New jammies!

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Takeaway: You can do anything you want in an RV. Just know creativity, perseverance, and patience are key.

What challenging hobbies (chores, tasks, work) have you done in an RV or small space? Not in an RV? What fun hobbies to you enjoy?


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Fun Friday Cereal Necklace

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What craft can you make and eat at the same time?

Circle cereal necklaces!

Materials: yarn, tape, circle cereal, scissors

1. Cut a generous length of yarn that will fit easily over heads.

2. About 4 inches from end, thread and tie a piece of cereal in place to keep cereal loops from falling off the end. On the opposite end, form a needle by tightly wrapping tape around the yarn and cutting off the tip at an angle.

Tip: For really young crafters, I love to tape the end of the yarn to the table. This keeps the necklace from falling off the table and helps them know which end to use.

3. Fill a bowl with circle cereal loops. Show how to thread cereal on the necklace, pushing it down to the knotted cereal. Let crafters add as many cereal loops as they want. I always tell them they get to eat the broken ones!

4. Tie the ends together and trim off the ends. Ready to wear! Snack on the go.

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For older crafters, use colored cereal circles and challenge them to create a pattern as they make necklaces.

SAFETY: ALWAYS remove necklaces before sleeping or playing on playground equipment.

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Fun Friday: Rubber Stamping Holiday

Welcome to the wonderful world of stamping!

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Stamping is always a holiday of sorts, taking me away from the regularly scheduled program. Mixed media (stamps, inks, water colors, markers, patterned papers, trinkets, ribbons, glitter glue) form the foundation of creativity.

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One other ‘most important’ component of rubber stamping and creating is engaging with a partner. The back and forth bouncing of ideas, materials, and suggestions energizes the joy and productiveness of the hobby.

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In addition, two or more crafters mean combined stamps, tools, and resources! In essence, the community of supplies multiplies opportunities for creativity!

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Besides, it’s much more enjoyable to chat and solve the world’s problems with a friend while I’m involved in a fun pastime.

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I suppose this habit of working with a partner to be applied to nearly every pursuit in life: writing, rearing a family, hiking, building a career, preparing meals, cleaning, going to college, pursuing spiritual growth…

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Thanks, friends, for joining my journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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This Is My Dollhouse ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

This is what a homemade doll house looks like.

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

This Is My Dollhouse

By Giselle Potter

(Schwartz & Wade Books, 2016)

I’ve always loved doll houses, so I was instantly attracted to This Is My Dollhouse.

A young girl uses an old box, craft materials, and toys to create and decorate her own doll house. Her imagination is in full swing as she makes food, clothes, and props for the little family that lives in her dollhouse.

Her friend, Sophie, also has a doll house. It’s a fancy store-bought dollhouse with pretty furniture and a family. When the girl goes to visit Sophie and play with the dollhouse, their imagination is stilted and comes to a stand still.

After seeing Sophie’s doll house, the girl is afraid of showing her own dollhouse to her friend. But one day, when Sophie came to play, Sophie discovered the hidden house and was delighted. Many hours of creative play followed and the girl was once again pleased with her own dollhouse.

I don’t think this book is against store-bought doll houses at all, but rather This Is My Dollhouse celebrates creativity and ingenuity of those who build from scratch.

It was so much fun to see the creativity of the young girl and the way she used her imagination to create scenarios and adventures for her little family. This book will inspire little ones to create from miscellaneous materials found around the house.

This is a little sewing room I made in a wooden box. Can you find the tiny mouse?

KID KANDY:

Make A Doll House

Materials: box (any size will work), cardboard, paper scraps, fabric scraps, ribbon, markers, scissors, tape, glue, toy figures, wood scraps or blocks

1. Make a doll house. You can use ANY type of container to make a little house. I once made one from a teapot! Cut cardboard and paper to make walls and floors. Ask for help in cutting a door and windows.

2. Use craft scraps and other materials to decorate your house. Add curtains, rugs, furniture, and whatever else you want. Use markers to add color.

3. Make your little family comfortable. Cut blankets, clothes, and other household necessities from your supplies.

4. Give your family (and their pets) names. You are now ready to imagine adventures for them!

P.S. This would be a fun activity to do with a sister, brother, or friend!


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Stocking Number 5 (Or 11) – Christmas Traditions

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I just completed stocking number 5. Or 11, depending on how far back you want to go.

Autumn, the youngest grand princess, wore her Christmas stocking just in the nick of time, since all other stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and mommy and daddy were patiently waiting for Nana to finish sewing for the fourth family member.

Christmas is a very short time away, right?

Making Christmas stockings became a tradition as soon and my honey and I were married. I strip-pieced matching stockings for both of us about 31 years ago. They have been used every year, except this one, when they are hiding in storage. And maybe next year, which will most likely be the same.

After each of our two children were born, I made them giant strip-pieced stockings. Somewhere (again, in the storage unit) are pictures of them wearing their stockings. As adults, Taylor and Chelsie both have their stockings in their own homes. Spouses (and child-of-our-hearts) received their own stocking. All that was missing were the baby pictures in stockings, but, well, they are just too big to wear them!

Jump forward to the next generation of grands.

First came Hayden, our 4-wheelin’ boy. Nana got busy right away to make him a stocking.

Next came Khloe, Princess of the Blue Eyes. Nana stitched and sewed to get her set for Christmas.

Donavyn, the brown-eyed ducky boy, came next. Here he is wearing his stocking beside his baby sister. He barely fits!

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Gage, little wild man, made his appearance over a year ago. Nana dusted off the sewing machine and created his stocking.

And finally, Autumn. Last winter, when I was making Gage’s stocking, I cut out the base for another stocking, since we knew grand number 5 was on the way. Good thing for me, as we didn’t know we would soon be shoving all of our belongings into a tiny storage unit. When my Christmas senses kicked in, all I had to do was pull out the trunk with my fabric, dig out the stocking base and Christmas fabric, and I was reading to sew.

Stocking number 5. Or 11, depending on where you want to start counting. For us, it all began 31 years ago.

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