Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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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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Using Up Scraps (What Leftovers Can Make) #woodworld

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Barely 2 generations removed from the Great Depression and old enough to have heard many stories from grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, and parents, throwing ANYTHING away is hard to do. Every single item must be used to the end of its’ life, threadbare and loved into shreds. I’d rather make do, recycle, borrow, reuse, or give away than toss things in the trash.

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I’m so happy to see my honey using some of those creative-good-to-the-last-drop (or piece) urges. He’s been using up his stash of scrap wood. Leftovers from other projects like building a deck, making a potting bench, and adding a bit of this and that to make a unique Chevy tailgate bench for our Chevy-man son. Once he gets an idea, I can count on him to disappear for hours and turn up later with something very clever and cute.

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Each piece truly is one-of-a-kind creation, in part because using up scraps requires the builder to use what is on hand. And what is on hand changes on a daily basis. Occasionally new items must be added, like screws, a 1×3 or 2×4. But the outcomes of his dedication to using up stuff to make something new and useful are truly beautiful.

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Hobbies are good for the mind, body, and spirit. My honey calls what he builds his Therapy Creations. A retirement project? Perhaps. But for now, he’s just enjoying after-work and weekend time spent with the drill, hammer, saw, and piles of stuff, waiting for attention.

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I’m not complaining, not at all. My garden is graced with many special pieces and I love each one.

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Heading back out to watch him use up some more scraps. What do you do with your scraps? We might need some new ideas. Or your old scraps.

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Scenes from a Writing Residency: Holly House & Hypatia-in-the-Woods

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Holly House

Last January I was elated to learn I had been granted a special writing residency and retreat at Holly House and Hypatia-in-the-Woods. What a great way to begin a new year!

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Beautiful tree-lined drive into Holly House. Loved this walk!

Located outside of Shelton, Washington, not far from Olympia, Holly House would be overlooking Hammersly Inlet if it weren’t totally surrounded by a mixed forest of deciduous and coniferous trees. The setting is absolutely gorgeous. Cool, green, shaded, quiet, peaceful. Did I say peaceful? And all mine for the week.

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Welcoming front patio. Spiders especially loved this area.

After shopping for enough food to last 3 months, as if grocery stores did not exist 5-7 miles away, I arrived before lunch on my appointed Sunday. Outside appearances did not prepare me for the spacious and beautiful inside environment. Incidentally, Holly House is very close to the small house size my honey and I want to build for ourselves.

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Cozy living room. This chair is perfect for reading!

I’ll let the pictures do the talking. I had everything I needed for a creative, imaginative, stress-free week. Loft bedroom, large bathroom, living room, dining area, kitchen, and even a deck with the most perfect table and chairs.

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Perfect tiny kitchen. Ignore my mess. It was everywhere!

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The side deck let in so much natural, green light. Ahhh. I enjoyed reading and working outside in the soft green sunlight.

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The loft bedroom had plenty of storage and space. Wide open windows brought in light and fresh air.

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Me and more of my mess. This was my main working area (can you tell????). The view in front of me was a HUGE and very pleasant distraction. I didn’t mind in the least.

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TV window. No electricity required.

I was so blessed to visit and stay at Holly House. The neighbors (a couple and their huge dog) were fantastically helpful and reassuring. After all, I was in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere. And I heard there had been evidence of a bear. My imagination supplied the rest of the excitement.

The Hypatia-in-the-Woods board was wonderful. I enjoyed a potluck one evening, getting to meet most of the members. I was met by Carolyn at Holly House. She brought me some snacks and gave me a working tour of the cabin. Every single thing I could have wanted or desired was provided. Or all I had to do was ask. Thank you to all who gave me the opportunity and welcomed me to Holly House.

I’m so thankful for my writing residency. Thank you, Holly House, Hypatia-in-the-Woods, neighbors, and the Hypatia board. Thank you!

If you ever have an opportunity to go on a writing retreat or residency, do it! Worth every second.

 


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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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Haiku Moment: immerse

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dance, whisper, reach

effervescent life, calling-

immerse in nature

 

immerse by Angie Quantrell

 

This Haiku Moment is brought to you compliments of Holly House and Hypatia-in-the-Woods. My kitchen table view is glorious – windows that make me feel as if I’m living in a tree house. Such wonderful windows of light, movement, trees, glimpses of water and sunlight. This is what it is like to live as a wild thing in between the canopy, understory, and floor of dense forests. Like a bird, or squirrel, perhaps a bear, life is found in movement, fragrance, sound, texture, even taste if but a few berries are ripe – a rich sensory environment inviting you in.

Come, be welcome.


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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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Storystorm Winner!

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I’m a Storystorm winner!

Storystorm is a month-long brainstorming project for writers of picture books organized and hosted by Tara Lazar. Mark your calendars for January 2020 when Storystorm will blast off the new year with daily posts, ideas, tips, and interactions with other writers. It’s that good.

Everyone who participates in Storystorm is a winner. I have a full notebook of ideas from this past month of Storystorm and previous years of Storystorm. I just began my second notebook. Those notebooks are gold mines for writers of picture books. Really!

I can’t tell you my ideas. They are SECRET. For now. Let me tell you there are some real gems lining those pages.

Whoop!

What do you do to brainstorm?

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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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Tuesday Tots: Bubble Wrap

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This post is NOT about wrapping preschoolers in bubble wrap. But it is about how much fun tots have popping bubbles.

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Today during a sorting marathon, I discovered two small boxes filled with hand-sized rectangles of bubble wrap. Bubble wrap became the seed of creativity for my two young charges.

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First, the fine motor skills used in attempting to pop the plastic bubbles brought intense concentration. Next came sound effects-boisterous shouts for each successful popping noise. And after introducing the ‘stomp-til-you-pop’ game while standing on the kitchen floor, squeals of joy and excitement filled the house.

30 minutes. That’s the minimum time they spent focused on small squares of bubble wrap. Moms, I was able to complete several tasks while supervising the giggly kiddos.

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Mom tip: Get (save) bubble wrap!

Other activities to do with bubble wrap:

– use bubble wrap taped to a cardboard tube to make a paint roller

– add bubble wrap to cardboard strips to make bumpy roads for toy vehicles

– experiment with the protective properties of bubble wrap (drop an egg?)

– press bubble wrap in play dough or damp sand to make prints

– add bubble wrap to doll beds for mattresses (tape securely with duct tape)

– cut bubble wrap to fit inside a freezer gallon ziplock bag; seal with duct tape; let younger tots pop bubbles through the bag

– make bubble wrap shoes and walk around outside to see how well they work

CAUTION: Always supervise any play with plastic. Keep plastics and bubble wrap away from faces and mouths.

It might be noisy, but bubble wrap fun will be music to your ears.


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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!