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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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.


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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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Hobbies? Rubber Stamping Cards is One of My Top Favorites

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My stamping buddy (aka college roommate and friend of many many years) and I were recently trying to figure out how long we’ve been stamping. We sort of came down to the correct decade and several-year span, but we couldn’t quite pin it down. Suffice to say stamping has been a part of my life for most of my life.

This hobby has become a habit. A tradition. A much anticipated gathering.

Actually, another college roommate joins us or we join her to feed our habit. Maybe being a college roommate is a prerequisite? LOL. No. We have other college buddies and friends that join crafting days or at least tolerate our obsession by bringing their own crafts or visiting with us while we crazily create.

I think it’s the creation part that is addicting. Playing with stamps, papers, inks, glitter (always glitter!), and stuff is exhilarating!

And just look! The benefits involve large stashes of beautiful cards, fit for any occasion.

Let’s hear it for the college buddies, friends, stampers, and crafters!

P.S. A recent stamping trip netted an addition of 45 lovely cards. Coming your way . . .