letterboxing


When I went to Maine, the official purpose was business, a stamping seminar. But the reason I chose that particular seminar was because I had never been to Maine. And my favorite airline did not fly there, so I had to fly into New Hampshire, where I had also never been.  Add Vermont to that list, and it was just too tempting to not go.

I never dreamed in all my life I would be in that part of New England during peak leaf-peeping weekend, but I was. But I am not the type to wander around aimlessly, so for the Vermont portion of the trip, I decided to look for a couple of letterboxes that might lead me somewhat off the beaten path. (Many letterboxes tend to do that.)

So early Sunday morning, I checked out of my hotel in Portland, and headed to Vermont in search of two letterboxes. This took me to Wilmington, Vermont, by way of Brattleboro, and these are a few of the pictures.

The hillsides were a riot of color, but this picture might explain why there have not been and will not be any SkyWatch pictures from Vermont. That whole day was "November Grey," a color I coined when living in Missouri when the whole month of November looked like this.

The hillsides were vibrant with colors, but this photo shows why there has not been and will not be a SkyWatch picture from Vermont (or New Hampshire, for that matter.) I call this "November Grey," a color I coined when living in Missouri and the whole month of November looked like this.

I was still having camera problems.  For those of you kind people who expressed concern last week, the problems seem to be resolved now, but I am not exactly sure how. I never change my lens, so I did not know how it could be foggy inside, but I decided to open it up and give it a look. It did not seem to be, but that process fixed the problem I was having of it not wanting to take pictures unless fully manual, so I apologize that many of these are from the car. I did not have time to stop for everything. My time was limited anyway, and the weather was bad and getting worse. I did not want to get stuck alone in a place completely foreign to me and not know what I could do to get back. So please excuse the odd angles, etc. Be grateful I was not looking through the lens most of the time while I was driving!

Upon entering both Maine and Vermont from New Hampshire, I crossed these large bridges. I liked them, and it made me realize how much water there was. Water does not divide states around here!

Upon entering both Maine and Vermont from New Hampshire, I crossed large bridges. I thought they were pretty, but it made me realize just how much water is there. In the area where I live, states are not divided by water!

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This is where I stopped to look for my first letterbox. The snow was just starting to get somewhat heavy. While I was there, the ground started to be covered. My sensible nature told me to head back, but when on an adventure of sorts, I might not always be sensible, so I went to the second letterbox.

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This was the location of the second letterbox. I cannot even imagine the view from this place when there is visibility.

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Back at lower altitudes, the snow changed back to rain. This was so typical of the houses I saw. I love the leaves in the yard and the pumpkins. Everything just looks so warm and cozy. (Because it was definitely not warm and cozy outside!)

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This was the only covered bridge I saw. But I was happy for at least one.

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Letterboxing does not use a GPS, but I had one, and after I found myself deep in the middle of nowhere, I just entered my hotel address in New Hampshire so I could find my way out. It did not take me out the regular direction, but through some remote back roads. I was so happy because I saw scenes like this.

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Many of the blogs I visit get exquisite pictures of frost on autumn leaves and flowers. That would never happen in my part of New Mexico (too dry for much frost to form, even when that cold), so I couldn't resist the snow on the autumn leaves.

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Again back in a lower altitude. I was so happy I was on back roads to see this view that is so stereotypical of New England in the fall. But what a wonderful stereotype!

Next week is Vermont, too. There was one thing I saw that I thought merited its own post.

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

When I went on this last trip, I purposefully did two things to make sure I did not sleep in and hang out in my hotel room all day.  (Stay-at-home moms of young children are tired and the opportunity to do nothing is a strong call.) The most important thing was to not take a book to read. I really have no self-control whatsoever if I have a book. The second thing was to get some clues for letterboxes.

As I mentioned in my last post, my camera was not behaving as it should for a large part of this trip–including ALL of the Maine portion. Thus these pictures lack a bit to be desired. The problem was that it would not always take a picture when I aimed it unless I put it on fully manual which meant I could get nothing quickly, and there was a big foggy spot on the left side (or top for vertical pictures.)

Most of these pictures were from an early-morning letterboxing exursion. I found two boxes (out of two–that was exciting), and saw some places I would not have seen without this wonderful hobby.  (If you want a much better look at Portland, go here. She lives in the area and posts fabulous pictures all the time.)

This is looking over Back Cove a little after sunrise. I loved the skyline in the distance, but when I uploaded the photo, I was also enchanged with the tree in the foreground.

This is looking over Back Cove a little after sunrise. I loved the skyline in the distance, but when I uploaded the photo, I was also enchanted with the tree in the foreground.

This is about where I was standing when I took the cove picture. This place was enchanting, too. Of course the sundial is nice, but I really liked the branch shadows on the stone bench.

This is about where I was standing when I took the cove picture. This place was enchanting, too. Of course the sundial is nice, but I really liked the branch shadows on the stone bench.

I did not follow my clues properly and walked quite a distance up a street that wasn't necessary, but the view was worth it. There is nothing about this place, except the blue sky, that is like where I live.

I did not follow my clues properly and walked quite a distance up a street that wasn't necessary, but the view was worth it. There is nothing about this place, except the blue sky, that is like where I live.

I love quaint street scenes like this. (Sorry for the really fuzzy top.)

I love quaint street scenes like this. (Sorry for the really fuzzy top.)

Another enchanted house. These hydrangeas (I think--they are bigger than I've ever seen) were all over.

Another enchanted house. These hydrangeas (I think--they are bigger than I've ever seen) were all over.

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

Today I am taking a break from my Utah trip more than a month ago to show you a place we found this weekend due to letterboxing. We have been hunting boxes for over two years and started planting boxes this past spring, but we had never been to a letterboxing event before. This one was nearby, so we went, and what a good time we had!

El Rancho de las Golondrinas is a place I might have never known about were it not for this event. (The way a lot of places are–we find the COOLEST places by letterboxing.) We arrived late, and I am not terribly into people pictures, so this post just shows a little of what I saw. Because we were late, we really only had time to find boxes, not explore the museum, but we will go back; it is a very cool place.

This event also brought me face-to-face with the first person I have ever met through blogging. I actually knew of her family before blogging due to letterboxing, but that connection made us notice one another in the blogging world. So I met Rapunzel from Laughing Orca Ranch as well as her children. She has a picture of that (I pray she does not post it; I’m horribly non-photogenic!), but I did not get one. But for a much different (and more thorough) view of this incredible museum, go to her post here.

So here is what I saw of the museum in the midst of my frantic efforts to find 12 letterboxes in a very short amount of time.

This flowerbed with zinnias was right inside the entrance. I liked the picture having the flag in the background.

This flowerbed with zinnias was right inside the entrance. I liked the picture having the flag in the background.

This is probably my favorite photo from the excursion, but unlike Rapunzel, I LOVE fall! (Although her grudges against it are reasonable.)

This is probably my favorite photo from the excursion, but unlike Rapunzel, I LOVE fall! (Although her grudges against it are reasonable.)

I have no idea what kind it is, but I love the blue underneath this lizard. (And I always try to get lizard pictures when I see them.)

I have no idea what kind it is, but I love the blue underneath this lizard. (And I always try to get lizard pictures when I see them.)

The area had water, thus it was greener than where I live, and had big trees. Lots of good trees to climb. My daughters loved it!

The area had water, thus it was greener than where I live, and had big trees. Lots of good trees to climb. My daughters loved it!

This is the view in one direction from a hilltop. It was quite picturesque. (I should have taken pictures every direction, but we were in a hurry.)

This is the view in one direction from a hilltop. It was quite picturesque. (I should have taken pictures every direction, but we were in a hurry.)

This is a working mill. (Not working the moments we were there.) My daughters were smitten with the frogs in the mill pond. I was smitten with the building.

This is a working mill. (Not working the moments we were there.) My daughters were smitten with the frogs in the mill pond. I was smitten with the building.

Wildflowers always require a picture. I saw these only in one small area. I believe the are "Butter-and-Eggs," Linaria vulgaris.

Wildflowers always require a picture. I saw these only in one small area. I believe the are "Butter-and-Eggs," Linaria vulgaris.

I believe this is a Viceroy butterfly. If I had a butterfly book I would look up its range. I know Monarchs; I grew up where they were abundant, and have several pictures of them, and this one just did not look exactly like a monarch to me. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I believe this is a Viceroy butterfly. If I had a butterfly book I would look up its range. I know Monarchs; I grew up where they were abundant, and have several pictures of them, and this one just did not look exactly like a monarch to me. Please correct me if I am wrong.

This cottontail arrived when I met Rapunzel. Apparently it was RIGHT behind me, but I missed that part. I liked the sun through its ears.

This cottontail arrived when I met Rapunzel. Apparently it was RIGHT behind me, but I missed that part. I liked the sun through its ears.

There were two old churches at this place. The history of the entire place is quite interesting.

There were two old churches at this place. The history of the entire place is quite interesting.

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

There are so many things I want to say here. Some of somewhat importance (at least to me), and some of no importance at all. I just do not have time. Sometimes I have time to think, but usually that time does not allow to type something. (Usually it is when I am riding my bicycle. Sometimes when cooking.)

So instead of writing something meaningful (to me) that has been going through my head, I thought I would let  you in on a lot of the non-meaningful things, which hopefully might hold some fun and humor…

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A week ago yesterday, Prince Charming brought home some special  Godiva chocolates for me. Do these things not just LOOK so lovely that you would almost want to put them on a shelf and look at them forever? But you cannot have your cake, and eat it, too, so I will admit to their only being two left.

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I am a “save-the-best-for-last” type of girl. (Which often means I do not get anything because someone else grabbed it all.) So the ones I have left are the “pretty ones.” That would be the orange one and the green one. These things have been to DIE for. They are ice cream flavors (L to R): Orange Creme, Neapolitan, Pecan Caramel Sundae (OMG!), Mint Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut.

He also brought home a little package for Chic and Chicklet to share (not so fancy for them). At 5 and 7, he is already ruining them for the men who will later enter their lives, but I thought about that a little, and I think it is good that they will have some high standards. (Hopefully in areas other than chocolate as well.)

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5.ChocChipCookies

Here is the Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe Chic used to make the cookies a couple of posts ago.

1 c packed brown sugar

1/2 c granulated sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

2 lg eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2-1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine flour, soda and salt in medium bowl. Mix well. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine sugars with electric mixer at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until just blended. Do not overmix.

Add flour mixture, chocolate chips and nuts. Blend at low speed until just mixed. Do not overmix.

Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 18-22 minutes (20 minutes almost always works at my location) or until golden. Transfer immediately to cool, flat surface.

Note: The recipe does not actually call for nuts, but believe it or not, I do not have a  huge sweet tooth. (Ignore that Godiva bit above.) Too much sugar gets to me, and I like nuts in cookies. Besides the texture, it sort of balances the sweet.

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All of the cards have been mailed for my giveaway. (To Maria, Fishing Guy and Leia.)  It was a little later than I planned because Prince Charming is the designated Post Office gopher.  He had some unexpected travel which meant some crazy work hours before that, so he just had a chance to do it.

The banner for Painted Maypole is in process. I just got the paper I wanted to use. It was not as bright as I expected, so I am going a slightly different direction with it. I hope to finish it by Monday. I just loved how these scraps looked in the waste basket, however, so I had to take a picture.

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In September we will have lived in Albuquerque for seven years. Also in this house for seven years. We initially thought we would be in this house about five years, but things never work out that way. Now we are not sure we will ever leave, so I have finally decided to break down and paint. I am not a fan of white walls, but most of my walls are white because I cannot decide what color to paint them. We have painted the girls’ rooms, and I hated every second of it, so if I paint, I want it to be something I know I will love. I will NOT be painting the next phase (living room, dining room), so that will be expensive. That means I definitely want to love it. So I got a bunch of paint chips a year ago (yes, some things move slowly here), and I finally picked out some colors. I called a friend I trust to look at them for me. She liked one, but not the other. She suggested I buy samples and paint in the areas I would be painting and look at it for a while. I have. I think she is right. I love the colors, but I do not think they match “us.”  What do you think about them?

Although this is not exactly what the colors look like, this picture represents them the best. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Although this is not exactly what the colors look like, this picture represents them the best. (Click photo to enlarge.)

This is the giant wall--probably about 20 feet (6+ m?) high that I want to do in the reddish color. The art we have is four paintings that will cover most of the wall.

This is the giant wall--probably about 20 feet (6+ m?) high that I want to do in the reddish color. The art we have is four paintings that will cover most of the wall.

The rest of the living room/dining room will be in the "other color." This is the picture of the stair/loft wall which is the most noticeable wall for the color. (Ignore the fact that unnamed members of the family view this wall as a laundry hamper and shelf for anything they feel like putting on it.)

The rest of the living room/dining room will be in the "other color." This is the picture of the stair/loft wall which is the most noticeable wall for the color. (Ignore the fact that unnamed members of the family view this wall as a laundry hamper and shelf for anything they feel like putting on it.)

I think we’ll keep the reddish one and go for a brown or gold instead of the orange-ish one. Back to the store for more samples. I am also thinking a pale yellow might be OK. It sort of has to match some art we have had for a VERY long time just sitting around waiting to be put on the walls. I do not know why these things take me so long to figure out.

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There was no sand at the pool, but I liked this picture, and sand makes me think of water.

There was no sand at the pool, but I liked this picture, and sand makes me think of water.

This next part will probably alienate someone. I apologize for that, but not for my opinion.

Last week on our pool day there was an obvious mom’s club there. I was reminded very clearly why I am not a member of a mom’s club. There are only three topics discussed by most of the women in such clubs. (At least the one’s I have briefly been a part of or have witnessed. I know there are better ones out there, but it is not important enough for me to search through the garbage to find one.) None of these topics interest me, but often they irritate me. And my smug self was not disappointed because the overly loud conversations overheard were about the #1 topic–cosmetic surgery, specifically breast surgery (bigger/smaller/whatever). So predictable. So glad I was not part of it. (In case you are interested in the other two topics, in order they are “husband bashing” (my least favorite) and “one-upping everyone else on the exploits of their children.”)

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Tonight our family went to find a letterbox. We were coming home near sunset while a monsoon storm was building. It made some fantastic clouds, but the big news is that I got my FIRST EVER shot of lightning! This photo is actually my second shot. I am saving the first shot for a SkyWatch post (probably not this week).  This is not the best picture in the world, but I am somewhat pleased with the one I will show later. It was an incredible sky!

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

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I have so many other things to say, but just cannot work it in right now. I hope you are having a great weekend!

Two days ago it was my “Blogiversary.” There was another post scheduled for that day, and I do not get terribly wrapped up in these things, so I did not say anything. But I want to say something now because I will do a giveaway, and I LOVE to do giveaways!

But first, you must endure some of my chatter mostly about our trip. It will be a hodgepodge as this blog has seemed to be over the past year. (Or you can skip to the giveaway stuff at the end!)

Chic~Turtle

Chic found a turtle just as we were headed to church. Since turtles are not common in our world, I HAD to let her play with it a few minutes. (We were late to church.)

We were almost 2 weeks in Missouri. (It WAS two weeks if we count the travel days.) When I make these trips, the purpose for them is for my business, but that only takes a day. The rest of the time I visit family and friends, shop (I hate shopping and rarely do it here, but there are necessities so I do it in Missouri where I have more time, and the stores I like are closer) and maybe spend a day or two in Branson. (My dad loves to take us to Branson.) But this trip was a little different.

Remember Grandma D and on her birthday she was in the hospital after a botched surgery? Well, that has not gone well. She almost died three separate times since that surgery. (Needless to say, they are not paying any of the medical bills.) I realized right away that it was going to be a burden for us to be there so long, so I decided to do the cooking and some cleaning. Prince Charming scanned some of my recipes, e-mailed them to me and that’s what I did most of the time. I did not cook EVERY day, but quite a bit, and made enough that they should have had plenty for at least a week after we left. We did not go shopping the entire time. That was fine, but there were a few things I needed.

Scissortail Flycatcher on wire--click photo to enlarge

Scissortail Flycatcher on wire--click photo to enlarge

The girls and I drove to Missouri not long after school was out, then Prince Charming flew in after two weeks. He was there one full day, but we had lunch with a former professor of his that day and planted two letterboxes. One is in honor of the Scissortail Flycatcher that we always used to see on a road on which we lived. I took my bike on this trip in hopes for some exercise (moderately successful) and found the bird in two other areas I had never seen before. My camera lens is not made to get good bird shots, but these are not bad. I like the still one, and the other one is a bit blurry, but you can at least see the tail action. It is so interesting to watch them fly.

Scissortail Flycatcher in flight -- click photo to enlarge.

Scissortail Flycatcher in flight -- click photo to enlarge.

It also must be noted that I have wonderful friends in Missouri. During the two weeks I was there, my children were whisked away from me four times (in addition to the two times I needed babysitting), and three of those times included overnight stays. (It gives a parent pause to think about the advantages of moving back to the land of heat and humidity–and no job for my husband!)

My brother and his wife also live there. His wife is who went to Silver Dollar City with us. We could not have survived the day without her! But since my girls are never in Missouri on their birthdays, they decided to have a birthday party for them. The girls were so excited, and it turned out to be a surprise for yours truly as well, since MY birthday is never when we visit! Wasn’t that thoughtful?

BirthdayCake~Candles

During all the cooking I sliced my finger with a very. sharp. vegetable peeler. I am no wimp, but this was a bad cut. WARNING! GORY PHOTO AHEAD. I’LL LEAVE SOME SPACE SO YOU CAN SKIP IT IF YOU WANT. It was about 3/4″ long, 3/16″ wide and 1/8″ deep. It bled like crazy. I finally managed a bandage and antibiotic cream, and the picture is of it after two days of this. There was barely any healing at this point.

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The reason I am even telling you this is because Grandma D had a liquid bandage which I put applied on the 3rd day. I did not take pictures of the healing progression (I really am not a very good blogger, but I will say that I have other things going on all of the time), but in ONE day the cut had reduced in size by more than half. Three days later, it was all but healed. Now I can just barely see where it was, and I do not even think it is going to leave an ugly scar. (Bump. I really don’t care about scars, but I have a bump on a finger from a childhood cut.) This blog is NOT about product endorsements, but if you have never tried this stuff, it is SO worth it! I made Prince Charming buy some. I think it will also be great in our dry, dry winters when our fingers have big, ugly cracks in them. Oh, it hurts like the dickens to put it on if the wound is as bad as mine was, but if you do a little Lamaze breathing, you can survive, and it will be well in no time. (I know this is not a new item, and I had heard of it but never tried it because I had no idea how well it worked.)

LiquidBandage

Time for the giveaway information!

First, I do not like to do this to get more traffic or comments, so you are required to E-MAIL ME if you want to be entered! Just e-mail louisestamps at aol dot com and let me know you want to enter. (Please put “giveaway” in the subject line.)  There will be two winners. Prince Charming will draw names, and the first one has first choice of what s/he wants.  The other person will get what is left. (But I do not make slouchy things, so I think that is OK, and it is free, OK?)

Here is an idea of the prizes:

1) Handmade cards. There will be these four, but I will probably throw in a couple of others for which I did not immediately have samples.

4Cards

2) A Banner. But not this one or one even like it, but you get the idea. I have not made it yet, and I decided to wait because the winner can pick the colors (within reason). It will be a “SUMMER” banner (NOT “MERRY”). It is a home decor item–large enough to fit over a double window or in a hallway. Each pennant is about 6″ wide and 9″ long. (I did not measure, but am doing this from a memory. I am too lazy at the moment to get out something to measure.)

MerryBanner

You have a week, through Wednesday, July 1, to e-mail me. If these things do not interest you, but you think they might interest someone you know, consider entering to give as a gift.

I am also thinking of adding a third prize, but you can tell me if you would be interested. I am not a great photographer. I take some very good pictures, but I do not edit them (other than occasional cropping when I am not too lazy) and I have still not figured out all the manual settings on my camera. I hesitate to do this one because I am so small in a big photography world. But I know a few have really liked some of my pictures. So I could also make a set of cards from my pictures. If you want to enter and that interests you, let me know. It could be a “Louise’s choice” thing, or the winner could choose from pictures I have posted.

OK, I think that’s it for today. But I forgot to tell you THANK YOU for hanging with me for a year. I went back and read a few of my first posts, and many of my readers are the same. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that you come and read the drivel things I write and look at my photos. If it were not for you, I know I would have quit blogging entirely the couple of times I have had to take extended breaks due to my crazy schedule. YOU keep me coming back! Thank you.

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"The Conference Room"

School begins tomorrow. We had a full two weeks of Spring Break. I stupidly looked forward to it as a time to get a few extra things done. I did not schedule any stamping activity during that time and thought at the very least I could clean out my closet or something.

But there was a wedding in the middle. The first week of Spring Break was a little bit of playing and projects with my girls, an endoscopy and making lots and lots of breadsticks. The wedding was that first weekend. The next week my niece and nephew stayed with me while the Bride and Groom (my brother) had their honeymoon in a nearby town. I had projects galore planned. We did not get to half of them. I am amazed at how much more effort it is to supervise four children than it is two children. (And I am amazed that people purposely have that many children!) The kids were definitely good kids, but twice as many is just completely different.

The two biggest problems, or annoyances, or something were:

1)  I was astounded at how much dirtier boys get and  how much more quickly. My girls are pretty “girly” in a lot of ways, but I always think of them as “Tomboy Princesses.” They are not afraid to play outside and jump and climb. (They scare Prince  Charming to death with their climbing and walking on the walls that are used as fences here.) But apparently they are CLEAN Tomby Princesses.  Or else they are just a lot more prissy than I thought. Their 7-year-old cousin who is a boy got himself more dirty than five girls could, I think.

2009-03-16binwater

Apparently it feels good to get one's winter pajamas drenched in the sprinkler.

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Chicklet decided instead of pajamas to put on a swimsuit to run through the sprinkler when it was 48 degrees outside.

2)  Chic (age 7) has a beautiful laugh. I love to hear her laugh. But when she is with her 7-year-old-boy cousin, she has a giggle that makes me want to shoot her. I know this giggle. I hear it from a couple of the 7th and 8th grade girls in art class. It is a giggle that happens only when boys are around. I call it “smart-girl-pretending-to-be-stupid giggle.” Chic has adopted it when around her cousin. THIS. MUST. STOP.

The bride and groom and the cousins left our house from their house around 6:30 this morning. I was up  until midnight last night and actually up very late the past two weeks. I went back to bed and stayed for another 2-1/2 hours. Call me lazy, I do not care! But now things will get back to normal. School starts again tomorrow. (Yuk for me.) I will have art class this week. I have two stamping  workshops this week. I will be getting behind in the regular ways instead of the vacation ways. But routine always has a way of feeling good even when the schedule of it drives me into the ground.

But before I start to catch up on all the things I was not doing, I will remind myself of some of the activities of the last week…

The photo at the top and directly below are a playhouse we inherited from the neighbors that are moving. It was the most common meeting place of the week. I must tell you that my niece, who will be 13 in a week, jumped on it each time with one giant hurdle-leap. She is a track star in the making.

2009-03-16fullhouseThe next photo shows the results of the first craft project. They all decorated hats on Monday (and wore them the rest of the week.) Aunt/Mommy gave no direction here–just helped them attach with a hot glue gun, so the designs were very personal.

2009-03-16hatsAnother craft project was weaving. This shows my nephew’s finished project. This was a great project because they could not finish it quickly, so they worked on it all week when they had nothing better to do. We went around the yard and gathered nature materials to weave into the project. They all loved this.

2009-03-21weaving1

One day I had some errands to run, so I took them to the Climbing Tree when I was finished. I thought this would be such a fun thing for all of them to do. But as children do, they completely did something other than I planned. There is an irrigation canal next to the climbing tree. It is dry a lot of the time, but it was not that day. They climbed for a few minutes, then spent the next hour throwing rocks, dirt, sticks and leaves into the canal.

The climbing tree has had a branch removed since I posted its picture last autumn. Sad, but there are lots of other branches to climb.

The climbing tree has had a branch removed since I posted its picture last autumn. Sad, but there are lots of other branches to climb.

2009-03-17canal

The water was less-than-clean, and I was SURE I was going to have to go in after one or more of them, but no one fell (or slid-because the sides were very loose dirt and quite steep) in.  I think this was the day they all got a little sunburn because Mommy/Aunt did not think of slathering sunscreen all over them.

2009-03-17leafonwater

The 4 children were outside continually. Our yard is small tiny. My niece and nephew live on ten acres, so I thought they might feel a little trapped (as I did when I first moved here), but they seemed to adapt. They even figured out to bat a giant ball instead of a softball so it wouldn’t fly too far away.

2009-03-19backyardbaseball

Prince Charming took a day off work so we could go hiking at our favorite spot (which I think I will feature tomorrow for My World Tuesday) and look for a letterbox. We did not find a letterbox, but we had a terrific time on this climbing hike.

2009-03-19tentrocks

So now my crazy life is back to normal, and I did not even get a single closet cleaned out, but I would not have traded the craziness of the last week for anything. (Now if I could only get the other cousins to come for a long visit!)

letterboxing bag

letterboxing bag

Seems like lately I am starting my posts with something other than the title suggests, but I’ll get to that.

After my last post someone asked if I would show the supplies we take with us when hunting for letterboxes.  So that is what you see above.  We put it all in the orange bag so it is easy to carry (and also fits an extra camera lens).  The two ink pads leaning against the bag are the ones Prince Charming and I  use for our personal stamps.  (You can click on the photo to enlarge it.) My personal stamp is standing up, with the frog on it (Potted Frog).  Prince Charming’s has the rubber side up.  The plastic bag on the upper right is wet paper towels to clean the stamps when we are finished at a box.  Below that is a pile of log books.  Mine is open to show a page (true letterboxers are probably gasping at that.  So many on one page!  I’m just like that; I can’t help it!)  We just use sketch pads for our logbooks right now (and Chic and Chicklet’s are decorated so there will NEVER be a question as to who owns which!)  Lots of people use very nice hardcover journals, but I have not wanted to splurge in that area, although stamping in them might be a tiny bit easier.  And you can see the stamps are not “girly.”  Men can get into this as much as women!  To the left of the logbooks is the compass.  Not all boxes have clues with compass headings, but some do, and sometimes it is necessary to have one.  To the left of the compass are the markers we use for the letterbox stamps.  I like having several colors because one never knows what kind of stamp will be in the box.  Often they are nature-related which are typically browns, greens and greys, but they can be anything, so I like to have plenty of ink colors.  We color on the stamps with the markers so we can have more than one color on the stamp if we wish.  I love using the markers for letterboxing. If I had that many colors of ink pads it would be more expensive, heavier and take up more space.  No, you can’t use just any markers, but there are markers made for rubber stamps.

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Tonight I am having a Stamp-A-Stack at my house.  Monthly I have some sort of stamping class at my house, and for September, it is a Stamp-A-Stack.  For ME that means that guests (customers) will come and stamp 15 cards.  There are five designs, and they will make three of each design.  This is probably my most popular type of class because often when people make a card (or whatever we stamp), they like to keep it for a particular reason (have the idea for future reference, too pretty to give away, etc.).  But with a Stamp-A-Stack, they go home with THREE cards of the SAME design, so they can keep one and give two away!  (Or for the more practical ones, they can give three away.)

When people arrive they will receive a bag with all of their cardstock supplies.   These will be cut for each project.  Guests love coming to my house for these classes because I do all the prep work for them. 

Then guests will split up and go to different areas staged for each card.  There are supposed to be 11 guests tonight, and there are five cards to make, so there will be two or three people at each station at a time.  (Most of the photos in this post will enlarge when clicked.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s an up-close look at what they will be making.  Do you love them?  I copied (in great or small degrees) all of them but one.  I wonder if you can guess which one is original?  Probably not, unless you know me fairly well.  I am sure some of the customers will guess.

Are you wondering where the fifth card is?  It was a straight-copy, so you can just look here to see it up close. (While you’re there, you might want to look at some of her other stuff.  She’s an amazing stamper.)  And while I am talking about that, one of the cards I mostly copied from here.  She has some awesome stuff, too.

So that is what I will be doing when this post goes up.  And in case you think I am too on-the-ball that this stuff is already set up, well….  I have to leave in ten minutes to pick up Chic from school.  Then we have to run some errands.  Then she has gymnastics.  I will get home 30 minutes before this class starts, so everything has to be ready before I leave.  And I wanted to post today, but obviously the class had to come first, so I had to get it done and set up.  If I did not have all the other stuff to do, I promise that I would not be set up until 6:20ish.

I hope YOU are doing something fun tonight, too!

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