Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Stamping with Friends: Friends and Hobbies Rock!

Oh, yes. Loads of stamping fun!

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!

One of the new kitties, Honey, LOVED sitting on top of my 3-drawer organizer…also in the open drawer…which then tipped precariously and nearly went over.

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.

Jubilee, another new kitty, LOVED mama snuggles and serving her stamping internship by tromping across our projects and hauling my shoes down the stairs. Waves at Alyson and her kitty baby.

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 . . .

Per the additional cat scents and floating bits of fur, Monet (our cat) was MOST interested in every single thing that came home with me, cards included. Apparently the cards are a great place to sit, stand, and walk.

can’t wait for the next trip!


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Rubber Stamping Requires Assistants

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.

Pip has decided it is time he helped make cards. You will notice the excellent placement of his body right in the center of my work pad. This of course is very helpful and what is expected of a good assistant.

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.

Pip is not moving, and is quite unhappy about sharing the limelight with his cat-mom, Alyson. I think he might be giving her the subliminal brush off, or at least the “talk to my back” posture.

The assistants were unusually helpful this year.

Daisy did not help as much this year at the rubber stamping table. She was however, an excellent neck and face warmer. Early morning wake-up calls required much purring, loving, and fur up my nostrils. Barely room to squeeze the phone between my chin and her face, but we managed. As far as bed warmers, Daisy is quite a wonderful assistant, always up for good lap snuggles or sleeping on top of me.
How long can one cat be? Notice the helpful tail, which is used to swish items off the table or capture different open ink pads for a “painted cat” look.
A ribbon! MY ribbon…

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?


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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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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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Need Stress Relief? Take a Weekend Trip

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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

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~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

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


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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: 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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Photography & Me, We Go Way Back #TBT

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It seems I always have 3 things on hand: paper, something to write with, and a camera. Those ideas and great shots aren’t going to just record themselves!

While searching photos for images of my wonderful and recently passed mother-in-love (my second mom, mom to my honey), I found this little nugget. My photo habits might just predate the need I have to write (and write and write).

What habits or hobbies do you have from waayyyy back? I’d love to hear!

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Update: After messaging with Natalie (see comments), I realized I nearly always  have 4 things on hand: paper, writing tools, camera, AND a book (or multiple books-one I’m reading and several on standby in case I finish reading a book and need the next read).

Reading, writing, and taking photos, those are my lifelong loves in the categories of hobbies and habits. WE go waayyyy back!


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Reading for Pleasure

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How many of you read for pleasure? (“Me, me!” she shouts while waving her hand crazily in the air.)

A paper book? An e-reader story? A tale that lets you escape to a new land, new people, new problems? (Yes, please!)

Oh, the books we can read! Too many books, not enough time, right?

Consider this poem I wrote for a course:

This pleasure,

While reading,

Gives me a poetic mind.

Gobbled, devoured,

Digested words and tale.

Spit out to be

Read again.

Again.

And again.

Dissected, applied to life,

Reassembled with

New understanding.

Reading for pleasure;

A necessity as is

Air, water, food.

I pick up again

The feast of words

To consume the story

Each book tells.

 

Tell me, tell me please!

What book are you reading right now? What’s your favorite book? What chores have you neglected to read just. one. more. page? (…dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting)

I’d love to hear the tale of the words that let you escape.