scrapping, geometry, and a little crochet

There’s a lot of busy creating going on around here this week.  Some of it is purposeful, some of it is just playful (which, really, is purposeful too!).

Baby Sophia’s album is coming along nicely.  Only four more layouts to go.  I haven’t overdosed on the pink and frills yet…

I never imagined I’d be using a compass to help me make a scrapbook layout, but here I was yesterday, conjuring up memories of tenth grade geometry classes!  This layout was inspired by a table placemat (of all things!?) and will be part of my Project 365 album.  This is just a little peek of the unfinished page – lots of adhering and sewing and embellishments to add.  I’ll post pictures and some instructions and products when I’m finished.

Last night I took a crochet class for beginners… and am very, very thankful that I had such a patient instructor!   While crocheting may not be my calling, I will say that it was really fun to learn.  It was also really relaxing once I figured out how to hook without tying up my fingers or making terrible knots in the pattern.  And one perk I was not expecting –  it smothered my writer’s block and helped me get back on track with my book today.  After a two-week hiatus, I just edited eight pages!  Whew!!  I think I’ll keep the crochet hook and yarn handy…

What creative adventures are you up to these days?

Happy Fall

I had forgotten how much I love playing with colors and stitching on my scrapbook layouts.  I’ve been up to my eyeballs in manuscript editing these past weeks (months, actually – time slips by so fast!) and Project 365 was looking more like a regular photo album (with photo sleeves inserted everywhere) than a scrapbook album.  I’m really glad to be digging into my paper drawers and stitching box again – there are scraps and stray threads everywhere!  It’s wonderful.

The stitching and leaves on this layout turned out a little more frilly than I’d imagined, and at first I was disappointed.  But the more I look at it, the more I like it.  Fall can actually be a frilly kind of season, with all the bright swirling leaves and bare curving tree branches.

I enjoyed Color My Monday so much that I’m already planning another project for next week… I have some gorgeous new colors in mind.  Thanks to those of you who have been following all week – I was really surprised to see so many new visitors.  Leave a comment and say hello if you’re new!  And if you have a crafting blog of your own, make sure you leave your address.  I’d love to see what you’re working on!

apple pie & pumpkin patches

Fall is my favorite season.  I love the breathtaking colors, the visits to apple orchards and pumpkin patches, the smell of freshly baked apple pie.  I pull the fuzzy sweaters out, relishing the cooler temps, and find such comfort in snuggling by a crackling fire.

I hope you are enjoying the season too!

Boundary Waters – a few more photos and a big thanks!

I am so floored by all of the lovely attention my Boundary Waters sunset photographs have received this week.  Thank you so much for the compliments!  A few of you have asked to see additional pictures from our trip, and of course I am happy to oblige.

Our first evening on Hungry Jack Lake was perfect – the weather was warm, the bugs were nowhere to be seen, and the lake was like glass.  It was gorgeous.

We canoed for a few hours, exploring every nook and cranny of the lake, and found the portage that we would use the next day for more adventures.  This was the position I held in the canoe for the entire evening – I think I could have slept in the little boat, it was that peaceful.

This photo and the next were taken with my little Nikon Coolpix.  I was afraid to bring my big D80 camera on our long day trip since the canoe was so tippy with three of us (uncoordinated) women getting around in it all day.  We never did go overboard, but a few times we were awfully close…

This was taken at our first portage site.  You can see my mom and sister trying to decide where we were on the map.  It wasn’t the last time during that day that we would wonder about our location!  After this photograph, we proceeded to paddle through the lake to another portage, then hiked about five miles (on an incredibly difficult path!!) to and from a gorgeous waterfall.  It was an exhausting day, but so very worth it. 

Meet “Sir Buddy Hungry Jack”, the lodge owner’s sweet little springer spaniel.  He was hilarious – he wouldn’t let go of this stick for anything!  Hours later, when he finally was distracted by a chipmunk for long enough to put down the stick, we tried to play fetch with him in the water.  When my sister tossed the stick in the lake, Sir Buddy just looked at us like we were crazy.  I guess he’s not much of a retriever, more like a… carrier?  Nonetheless, I became quite fond of Sir Buddy.  I think he will be a great character in one of my next books.

This little cabin was absolutely perfect for my mom, sister and I to share.  The view of the lake was delicious, and waking up to the sunrises was such a treat.  Speaking of sunrises…

home again, home again, jiggety-jig

I’ve been away for the past week, enjoying some time with my family in Door County, Wisconsin.  So much beauty and inspiration in one place!

While I celebrated the completion of a third round of edits on Book One, I also refueled and collected a lot of ideas for the setting of my next book.

Book Two was completed about eight weeks ago and is now tucked away in my desk drawer, waiting patiently to come back out for a round of editing.  The story takes place in a small town surrounded by gorgeous farmland.  I was thrilled to find this kind of setting everywhere I looked in Door County.

The heroine of Book Two drives an old Chevy truck from the 50’s, so imagine my excitement when we came across this treasure at one of the vineyards!

I had such a sweet time with my husband and boys – a whole week of nothing but relaxing and sunshine and fun.  Now I’m ready to dive back into my writing, and excited to move forward with Book Two.  I think I’ll go dig it out of the drawer now and let it enjoy some sunshine too.

The Plant Whisperer

Berries from my sister's blueberry farm, The Berry Bucket.

This week on Fill the Well Friday, I’m excited to introduce you to my big sister, Amy.    

Amy is a busy woman like so many others we know.   She works at a stressful job for at least eight hours a day.  She comes home, exhausted, to a busy family.  She fixes a healthy dinner, makes sure the homework is done and gives her husband and children her undivided attention.  She cleans the house and tucks the little ones into bed.  And then, when the house becomes quiet in the late hours of the night, she finds a little time for herself. 

One of the many things I love about Amy is how much passion she gives to her favorite hobby.  Some women curl up with a book, settle down to sew or craft or write when they have free time.  But my sister?  She sneaks into her quiet basement where the lights glow bright over trays of blooming flowers and vegetables.  She waters them gently, checks their green growth, and whispers words of encouragement.  Through her love for all things botanical, she fills her soul with peace and nourishment.

During the spring and summer season, you’ll find her in the large vegetable garden beside her home or on her family’s blueberry farm, watering, pruning, weeding… and still whispering.  Some plants have grown taller than her and all make a promise to provide delicious produce for the coming months.  They are thankful for her kind words of encouragement and for her belief in their potential.  

I like to tease my sister that she is strange in her love for plants.  But the truth is, I’m a little jealous.  I wish I could grow flowers, fruits, and vegetables as beautifully as she does!  Amy has taught me many things over the years, and this gardening lesson is one of my favorites:  Let yourself get lost in your passion as often as you can.  Water, prune, and weed it – and yes, even whisper your love and encouragement to it – so that it will grow and, in return, fill you with nourishment.

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And I couldn’t resist – this is Amy and me in 1980.  So darn cute!

Swept Away

Fireflies and s’mores at night,

Strawberry ice cream, such a delight!

Sandy beaches, warm and bright,

Summer has swept us away.

What kind of summer fun is keeping you busy these days?