Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


2 Comments

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!


Leave a comment

Book Review: Backpacks and Baguettes, Coloring the World through Young Eyes by Sam Morrison and Angus Morrison #BookBirthday

Backpacks and Baguettes, Coloring the World through Young Eyes

Written by Sam Morrison and Angus Morrison

Illustrated by Marco Primo

Mascot Books; October 6, 2020

Happy book birthday to Backpacks and Baguettes, Coloring the World through Young Eyes by Sam Morrison and Angus Morrison! Coming out on October 6, this interesting travel and coloring book is filled with fun tales, adventures, and coloring pages.

I was sent a copy of this book by Mascot Books in exchange for a review. Thank you, Mascot Books and Sam, Angus, and Marco, for the many adventures! Read more about Mascot Books at http://mascotbooks.com.

Why I Like This Book:

~ This chapter book is written by a boy who has been lucky enough to grow up in Paris and Washington D.C.! How cool is that?

~ Sharing his own experiences, Sam tells of travel adventures he has enjoyed with his father.

~ I love how Sam tells of friends he met along the way. Making friends as one travels is definitely a perk of being an adventurer.

~ Sam gives interesting factoids about the different locations he has visited.

~ How many locations are included? 16 chapters, though at least one features more than one place. I wish my passport had that many stamps!

~ Coloring pages! And extra blank spaces for readers to draw their own pictures.

~ Great voice! I enjoyed getting to meet Sam through his travels and stories.

~ Well written, engaging, and a page turner. Each chapter is not too long, which kept me reading on to see what came next.

~ The title is perfect! When I first searched for this book on Amazon, I put in Backpacks and Baguettes. And what showed up? Backpacks and baguettes. I didn’t know you could order baguettes on Amazon.

~ Great read!

Check out Sam’s adventures at @samrmorrison on Instagram. He wants to hear about your adventures!

Amazon Blurb:

You’re only a child once. Capturing the world through young eyes is difficult. Backpacks and Baguettes attempts to better understand what children think, see, feel, and smell when they are traveling. Everything is new, and everyone is a possible friend.

Your guide is Sam, a half-American/half British boy who so far in his young life has been lucky to grow up in Paris and Washington, D.C.. Sam loves soccer and food and is curious about how people in other countries lead their lives. He thinks graffiti and street art are better than postcards to truly understand a place. He’s even included some authentic global graffiti in the book for you to color. He’s also left space on the back of each image for you to draw your own graffiti or take notes.

Backpacks & Baguettes is a reminder of what it was like to be in the world before the pandemic hit – the sound of mopeds in Rome, the smell of chicken turning on a spit at a French market, a water fight in Bangkok, mushroom hunting in the hills of Tuscany, the feel of fog on your face in San Francisco bay–human contact.

Sam’s stories are ultimately about asking questions until you’re exhausted. They’re about not caring what people think. They’re about smiling and laughing until it hurts and playing until you scrape your knees. They’re about letting your imagination run wild. They’re about realizing in one breath that children are different, but ultimately the same all around the world. They’re about being a kid once.


4 Comments

Rubber Stamping in the Time of COVID

9B393AA7-BF19-4EAB-947A-689543E27566

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.

51D38BA3-859C-424D-80F0-1C381E978715

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.

8E086E9D-937B-4C2A-8AD0-6D88B4DEBC94

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.

560D5847-BA7E-4928-802F-C12819C792A3

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.

DEEC882A-CEC8-4B86-91CF-A762F4997D80

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.

B21E0997-7C4A-47A9-A713-964FD773DB3B

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.

E8623757-4B6F-4CB2-AEED-7C9022AA1624

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


8 Comments

It’s Not Just Rubber Stamping

6DCE0150-4C90-4223-BE83-E3EE429A5B27

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.

1523A5C5-B6B6-4303-B0E2-8989F8A81E34

It’s not just rubber stamping.

It’s crafting

E99182AE-37C8-499B-8777-EF59423CE8FC

chatting

applying (or ignoring) theories of art composition

FD553B83-49B6-4BB9-A6E6-BCCC86A4C74A

using our imaginations

sipping tea (or coffee or a special dessert drink)

648D07A4-9A5E-4F99-A160-7430AF24744B

solving world problems

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

02E109F9-1291-48C4-8FF4-035955110901

sharing life

telling stories

D3DF7558-26F4-48E1-B54F-A3A34193B0F2

listening to music

keeping cats off the table

9F11B79D-4DDB-470C-B2BD-8F36F353C556

playing games

getting older

72E609EB-B7ED-4F01-BE4C-7D5D3434559C

sharing resources

enjoying fine literature (or just literature on a CD)

B732D983-F7CC-48BE-9FF9-7037B5D2081F

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

36AA1EE9-667E-408A-B0D3-54133D15B799

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)

F942FA1A-EA2A-4CD5-8906-BFA570D0EEDB

visiting friends

and building love.

 

Completed card totals for this trip: 76

Friends involved in this weekend: 7


2 Comments

Haiku Moment: coffee with friends

BE13EB1D-ECBF-45E2-AE58-90E38762F1AB

steaming black, sip, chat

sable dunked, savored, enjoyed;

coffee with good friends

 

coffee with friends by Angie Quantrell

F8DA4F6D-55CB-41F7-B519-46AB446E1CB9


Leave a comment

First Birthday Photo Challenge

4D3E8C8D-77E7-4B46-BECA-8B954C7F13E2
There’s a 10 year challenge going around on Facebook right now, as well as a few other challenges for this and that. I posted last week about having my first birthday without my mom. I searched high and low and through every jump drive I own for my first birthday pictures. I was so sure I had scanned them.

Turns out, I was incorrect. Oops! Instead, I had taken pictures of the pictures-on my phone. Looking for something else, I found my one-year-old birthday photos. Well. I am 57 now. My data banks are too full and need defrag services to restore order.

This is me at my first birthday (circa November 1963).

BE77D062-8FB4-4DCF-B78E-2FB6B019F3E1

Did you catch that? I’m old enough to use “circa.” Don’t worry. Time flies, and soon you too will be able to use that special word. Check out the definition of circa. Anyone can use it.

Let’s start a different challenge. This is your first birthday photo challenge! Post a photo of you on your first birthday and tag me. Post your photo in the comments below or on any of the other links.

Let’s see all the cuteness! Thanks for playing along.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn

 


Leave a comment

Need Stress Relief? Take a Weekend Trip

69BCC30B-48BE-4C41-ADAF-AD927C07E24D

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).

AF2036FB-C1EA-4DAB-BEFF-112DC7601914

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.

12D27999-0C58-44AC-A848-D5EAFF09F25E

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.

D4BE2AD5-BF3D-4997-BFA4-CBB23BAD40F8

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

DF5B42EA-B406-401B-82A9-45F1EE7F4DDF

~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

63328524-4EC0-4E04-80CB-52C1F833F60F

~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.
0DF62F7A-2363-429B-9A18-34C8855DC290

How do you relax? Where do you go to get away? What was your favorite weekend away?


Leave a comment

Welcome, November!

8305879F-D4FF-4D78-A4C0-156102CC4A5F

I love November.

The scary stuff is gone. Pumpkins still hang out. Leaves whirl down and crunch underfoot. Nights and early mornings crisp any remaining plant life to bed. Birds flock and insects tuck in for the winter. November is perfect.

Also, let’s not forget Thanksgiving. When we lived in a house (bigger than the RV), I loved hosting Thanksgiving dinners. The good smells, tastes, and fun made the work all worthwhile. And after dinner, our traditional putting up and decorating a tree and watching a Christmas movie.

Notice I said “a” tree. Since I am a lover of Christmas trees, we usually had at least one in each room. Thanksgiving evening was just the harbinger of festivities in decor and traditional pastimes to follow.

AND November is my birthday. I’ve always had a fondness for my birthday month. So much fun anticipating not just my birthday, but also Thanksgiving with Christmas gaily tromping on its heels.

Apple crisp, pumpkin pie, juicy turkey, stuffed squash, toasty hot drinks. I guess I think and remember with my stomach. The nip in the air gives way to red noses and tingling fingertips. And if it’s to be perfect, the first snow falls. Just enough to whet my whistle.

November is also a time for me to focus on gratitude. Not only Thanksgiving Day, but each day of the month, I like to consider and remember the things for which I am thankful. God has been so good to me and my family. Giving thanks and naming the many blessings is the least I can do to honor Him.

Today, I am thankful for:

God and His provisions, my honey, my family, my veteran (our son), my RV (no matter how tiny), fall in all its glory, pumpkins, food, my health, friends, chocolate, our hunter kitty who keeps the fields free of tasty kitty morsels (mice and voles), warm clothes, music, and trees.

Which is your favorite month? How will you celebrate in November?

Blessings to you and your family.

5D9429D8-5AB7-4D9D-BBBA-911939AB9DA1


54 Comments

Author Interview: Meet Vivian Kirkfield & Giveaway

Welcome, Vivian Kirkfield! Welcome, readers! Let’s get this party, I mean Author Interview, going!

Happy Universal Music Day! We decided to celebrate Universal Music Day by introducing Vivian’s new picture book, Making Their Voices Heard, The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. Read more about Universal Music Day here.

I met Vivian Kirkfield online through the wonderful kidlit community. She is a fascinating online friend. I can only hope our paths intersect some day so we can meet in person. Think WASHINGTON state, Vivian. Yakima Valley.

I’ve enjoyed reading about Vivian’s new picture book releases and her fun travels and adventures. To celebrate her newest picture book release, I’ve invited Vivian to visit and answer a few questions. But first, here is her new book.

*Be sure to read all the way to the bottom. Vivian Kirkfield is offering a bound ARC of Making Their Voices Heard to one reader. Be sure to comment below to get your name in the hat!

cover 2

Making Their Voices Heard, The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe

Written by Vivian Kirkfield

Illustrated by Alleanna Harris

Little Bee Books, January 14, 2020

 

The Interview

I was so excited to read Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee, January 14, 2020). I had no idea Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe knew each other. How did you find out about this special friendship?

At the end of 2014, soon after I took a class in writing nonfiction picture books, I was surfing the internet, looking for ideas for stories (a homework assignment for that class) and came across a photo of Ella and Marilyn, sitting together at a nightclub. The blurb under the photo talked about how Marilyn had helped Ella get a booking at a top nightclub in Hollywood. I was intrigued…and I started digging deeper to find out more about it. But, as is the case with many story ideas, I couldn’t find anything to substantiate whether or not Ella and Marilyn were friends. So, I had to get creative.

I discovered that one of the books on Marilyn Monroe was authored by a former professor at a California university. I went to the school’s website and found her email. I contacted her and she suggested I ask the president of the oldest Marilyn Monroe fan club, Greg Schreiner. I was able to get his email on his website and he gave me the phone number of the woman who had been Ella’s promoter for thirty-seven years. I called her – we spoke for hours – and she verified that Ella and Marilyn had been friends and both had a tremendous respect and admiration for each other.

What was your inspiration to turn this friendship into a picture book?

They say we need to make a book relatable for kids. Kids help their friends all the time. I thought it was important to show how Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe helped each other. Marilyn put her career on the line to a certain extent because in those days, there was a lot of racial discrimination and movie studios controlled what their actresses could and couldn’t do. By calling the nightclub owner and insisting that he book Ella, Marilyn stepped up and spoke out. The Civil Rights movement was just in its infancy…in fact, the nightclub incident happened in 1954 and it wasn’t until the end of 1955 that Rosa Park refused to give up her seat on the bus.

I also wanted to show how we are all complex individuals. Most of us know Marilyn as a sexy Hollywood star…and kids probably don’t know her at all. Similarly, most kids may never have heard of Ella, but her music was genius…in fact, at the first Grammys in 1959, Ella Fitzgerald won for best female pop vocalist and best improvised jazz performance. I thought it was time for kids to discover these two special women.

What was your writing journey for Making Their Voices Heard? How long did it take? Did you work with others or share your manuscript with a critique group or other writers?

As I mentioned, I wrote the story late in 2014/early 2015. I researched – using online sources and lots of library books. When I felt I had enough information to craft the narrative around these two icons, I began writing. By June 2015, I had a polished rough draft. Hahaha…that sounds like an oxymoron, right? I had the story…but it wasn’t there yet. I submitted it to Rate Your Story, an online service of kid-lit professionals who give a rating from 1-10 (1 is the best…it means the story is just about ready to submit). In June 2015, Ella and Marilyn…at that point titled: A FRONT ROW SEAT, received a ‘3’ and the judge suggested I add something about how Ella helped Marilyn to balance the story out. GREAT ADVICE which I took!

I worked on the story, gave it to some of my critique buddies, along with the feedback from the judge. And then I revised and polished it some more and brought it to a writing retreat where an editor fell in love with it and asked me to revise and send it to her. I did revise it and submitted it to Rate Your Story again in August 2015 with the title: STANDING UP FOR FRIENDSHIP. It received a ‘2’. Then I signed with Essie White as my agent and she submitted it to that editor. But even though the editor loved it, she couldn’t get acquisitions to buy it.

In the summer of 2016, I went to another writing retreat and pitched it to a different editor who asked to see it. Essie sent it to her and she asked for revisions. I revised and gave it to critique buddies again. And in August 2016, I sent it to Rate Your Story one last time with the title: DREAM A LITTLE DREAM. And it received a ‘1’. The editor loved the revision, but that acquisitions’ team wouldn’t buy it either. That’s the thing about this business…you can have a fabulous story but if it doesn’t get to the desk of the right editor…or, if it does, but acquisitions doesn’t think they can make enough money…or if the publisher isn’t looking for a book about that topic…they will pass on it. You just have to keep on writing other stories and submitting that one.

Early in 2018, the manuscript was still circulating (Essie really believed in it) and the editor from Little Bee Books asked for a revise and resubmit. I revised (are you seeing a pattern here…no matter how polished your story is, every editor or agent sees it with their own eyes and from their own perspective of experience…and we have to be willing to make changes as per what a particular editor is looking for), with the help of my critique buddies, and the editor bought it. And the week after she made the offer, we spent five days of back and forth emails as she made suggestions for a few minor tweaks and additions. Every day, my inbox would have her marked up manuscript…every evening, her inbox would have my revision. On the fifth day, she said…We’re done! It’s time to get the illustrator.

And she did. The illustrator, the fabulous Alleanna Harris was signed on almost immediately and the publication process began.

Which just goes to show that if you believe in your manuscript and your writing is good, your story will find a home!

What special plans do you have to celebrate the book birthday of Making Their Voices Heard?

I have several thoughts…the book launches January 14th, 2020. And the NYSCBWI conference is the first week in February. If Little Bee Books can arrange a book launch at Books of Wonder or some other NYC bookstore for that week, I might do that. One of my dear friends, Maria Marshall, is going to interview me for her Picture Book Buzz blog series on January 13th…and she’ll also do a Perfect Picture Book Friday review on January 17th. Several other friends are already doing posts (like this one here on Angie Quantrell’s blog!). I don’t have a book birthday post yet…but I think maybe Kathy Temean might have said she wants to do that. The mid-winter ALA is at the end of January in Philadelphia…I’d be happy to go there if I could sign the book at the Little Bee booth. And of course, the Grammys are January 26 – that’s a special day for this book because, as I mentioned earlier, Ella Fitzgerald won Best Female Pop Vocalist and Best Improvised Jazz Performance in the very first-ever Grammys in 1959. I’d also love to attend the LASCBWI next summer – Greg Schreiner, the president of the oldest Marilyn Monroe fan club, thinks Hollywood is the perfect place for this book. 😊 And I am always open to suggestions – if anyone has a great idea, I’m all ears. 😉

What else would you like to share about this lovely book, your writing, or your life as an author?

I feel like I am the luckiest person in the world…I am truly living my dream…and best of all, I’m able to work with other writers, both old and young. At every conference presentation, I encourage writers to never give up – the only failure is the failure to keep trying. And at every school I visit, I hope to inspire children to follow their dreams—because nothing is impossible if you can imagine it.

inside spread 1

About Vivian

Writer for children—reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. Her bucket list contains many more than five words – but she’s already checked off skydiving, parasailing, banana-boat riding, and visiting critique buddies all around the world. When she isn’t looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books in the quaint village of Amherst, NH where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her young grandson is her favorite board game partner. A retired kindergarten teacher with a masters in Early Childhood Education, Vivian inspires budding writers during classroom visits and shares insights with aspiring authors at conferences and on her blog, Picture Books Help Kids Soar where she hosts the #50PreciousWords International Writing Contest and the #50PreciousWordsforKids Challenge. She is the author of Pippa’s Passover Plate (Holiday House); Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book (Pomegranate); Sweet Dreams, Sarah (Creston Books); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books, January 14, 2020); and From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020).

You can connect with Vivian on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, or just about any place people with picture books are found.

ella and marilyn in nightclub

Thank you, Vivian, for the wonderful interview! I’m fascinated by the journey of this book on its way to publication. Great job sticking with it! Congratulations and Happy Book Birthday!

Don’t forget to comment and share some love with Vivian! Comment by Friday, October 18, to get your name in the hat to win a bound ARC copy of Making Their Voices Heard.