Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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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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First Organize, Then Write

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As long as I can remember, I’ve always had to tidy the nest before beginning and completing projects.

In college, I had to clean my room, organize my desk, do the laundry, and make lists of things I needed to get done before I could tackle homework and class assignments.

In high school, I had to make my bed and I’m assuming put away belongings in the room I shared with my sister. I don’t remember those years as far as organizing, except I was on the college track and academic and social paths were solidly beneath my feet in order to ensure that I was able to attend the college of my choice. Go, Western Washington University!

Before that, I remember enjoying nesting when I played. Literally, I loved surrounding myself with a circle of toys (the nest) and playing contentedly within nest borders. I suppose that was a form of nesting.

Now, at the age of 56, something in my personality requires the same urgency to organize my surroundings and then write and/or work on deadline projects.

You can imagine the trouble this causes when living in a tiny RV. There is only so much room for organizing and tidying! I work at the RV table-aka-desk. Each time I need to work, the table HAS to be cleared in order to make space for the laptop and assorted files, books, and resources I need for references. I pull out the TV tray for my desk extension and prop work items around me. When it’s time to stop writing, reversing the nesting process gives me plenty of opportunities to think creatively about where to store (and be able to find again) my work items. Poor honey, he really puts up well with my hogging of space.

Just last weekend, I tackled the messy paper stack on the RV bench. Also known as my filing cabinet and book shelf. It was pretty bad.

Surprise! When I pulled out the stacks of things to be sorted and properly filed, I discovered that condensation was making the back of the cushion damp and a tiny bit of mold was happily growing in the corner. Lovely, that. This type of cleaning need requires immediate removal of all cushions, the wiping down of cushions and mold areas, and thorough drying of said items.

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We tend to forget, my honey and I, that this task is often necessary at least once a winter season. So I cleaned, organized, and reassembled.

While I still have a pile of little writerly notes (IDEAS, friends, those precious papers are filled with inspiration!), the rest of the RV dining area/office/guest bedroom/and family room is tidy and ready for work projects.

That is, until the pitter-patter of little grands enters the RV. Things quickly get scooted out of the way and piled in the corner of the bench. This habit is also called JOB SECURITY for the need to organize THEN write.

How about you? Do you have any quirky habits or needs that have to be fulfilled before you tackle a big project or activity? Please tell me someone else out there has to nest!


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2 Times I Won’t Return the Cart

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Shopping carts. Buggies. Storage on wheels. Nightmares of steering, rolling, and drifting. You gotta love them. Maybe hate them. I certainly trade them to get a smoother and cleaner one. Helpful at best, frustrating at worst. Carts are a necessity for filling the pantry and fridge with enough goods to avoid daily trips to the store.

How do you break up with your shopping cart? Leave it next to the car, push it across the lot, run it up over a curb to keep it from heading downhill, or return it to the store or cart corral?

I hope you are not one of those who set shopping carts free, never caring to notice how they careen with the wind or crash into vehicles or get in the way of traffic. You’re not, right?

I try to be responsible with my shopping carts. Maintain a good relationship. Most of the time I park near a return cage to help me be a good shopping citizen. If one is unavailable, I will take the cart back to the store. I’ll donate my cart to someone nearby who needs to load up children for the impending shopping adventure. When I arrive at the store, I’ll watch for someone unloading their cart and offer to take it for my own shopping trip. Generally, I think I do pretty well in my cart management skills.

And hey, extra walking means more steps on my mileage chart!

But there are 2 times I will not return my cart.

  1. Kiddos. Should I have precious grands or little ones with me, the shopping cart will always lose. Especially if it’s summer and the temps are hot. No one should sit in the car while I push a cart away. Unless the cart corral is beside the car.
  2. Senior shoppers. I had never thought about this until my mother-in-law mentioned it. She appreciated people who left a cart by the handicap parking spots, as many folks need to hold onto the cart handle and push it to keep their balance. So I watch for those opportunities. As long as the cart doesn’t block the parking spot, I love to help out.

How about you? When do you not return your shopping cart? Let’s hear some good reasons (laziness does not count, friends, not at all). ;0

Get out there and be a good shopping cart citizen!


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Coffee Like Papa

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As I was recently pouring cream into my coffee, adding just enough until the creamy clouds billowed up to the top breaking the surface of enticing black, I remembered my Papa. He liked his coffee the same way, at least when I was serving. I realized that I had adopted the same habit and method of adding cream to my coffee.

“Just pour it in until it swirls back up,” he told me. For the coffee was always hot or brewing at Grandma and Papa’s, usually available with some choice of sweet dessert. And evaporated milk, punctured open and sitting beside the sugar bowl, was ever at the ready.

Now my personal choice is half and half. But back then, that little red and white can was perfectly fine. Because we were sipping our brew together and catching up on the news of the day.

Cone on over and we’ll have coffee. Just like Papa.

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Mr. Rogers Lives Here

Yes. It’s true. We are a family of Mr. Rogers’ mini-me’s.

I just caught myself making the correlation between one of his daily rituals and a habit of ours.

As soon as we enter our home (sooner for my husband), we remove our outside shoes and don slippers. Coats come off and I add a sweater to keep me cozy, as our indoor temperatures never get above 66 in the winter.

This process is reversed as we prepare to leave. Away go the slippers and on go the outside shoes. My sweater is tucked away and a jacket or coat is worn to protect me from the elements.

Do you remember what Mr. Rogers did each time he came inside at the beginning of his show and and reversed at the end of the show?

Mr. Rogers removed his outside shoes and replaced them with indoor shoes. He also took off his outdoor jacket and put on an indoor cardigan, all the while singing about the beauty of the day in the neighborhood. Yes. That song.

Mr. Rogers was so organized. He didn’t just toss those shoes and jacket on a couch or floor. He tucked away the shoes and carefully placed the jacket on a sweater in the closet. I may occasionally toss my sweater on the washer, but I also have a designated cupboard right by the door for jackets, and shoe racks for both of us.

You have no idea how many times I compare myself to Mr. Rogers when I change gear as I am going out or coming back inside the house. I think his habits were ingrained in my subconcious as I watched his television show. Maybe that was one of his purposes, to model tidiness, organization, and care for our belongings.

And this is a good thing. We are a shoes-off household. Not only does this habit keep icky germs and gunk on shoe bottoms out of the house, it also provides a cleaner environment for my babies to crawl around on and plenty of (mostly) dirt-free floor space for playtime. Mr. Rogers’ transfer of clothes and shoes fits perfectly with our efforts to keep as much of the outdoors, well, outdoors.

That Mr. Rogers was ahead of his time, yet many considered him a fuddy-duddy. I disagree. He was a great role model.

Sitting here in my cardigan sweater and indoor slippers, just humming a certain melody.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, isn’t it?