coast on by

Have you priced a set of coasters lately?!

I’m not necessarily a ‘thrifty gal’. I’m sure there are things I purchase that others might think are crazy so ‘thrifty’ and ‘indulgent’ can be fairly relative terms. But I recently priced coaster sets for our outside table. We have family coming to visit next month so I need around 10 of them. Most sets are sold as 4 coasters and can run from $10-15. I didn’t want to spend $30-45 just on coasters! PLUS, I didn’t want flat coasters. We’ll be eating outside so our glasses will definitely be sweating so I wanted something that could catch the condensation.

…….I know what you’re thinking. Greta is a Classic Overthinker! Newsflash: that’s not a newsflash. – ha!

Another thing you may be thinking: This is an outside table so doesn’t it get wet when it rains?? Well yes. I don’t care if the glasses sweat onto the table, I just don’t want actual wet glass rings staining the table.

Yes. yes. Overthinking.

So I set out to make my own.

I had some leftover drop cloth material. (I love to use and abuse painters drop cloth.) I cut the drop cloth: 5×5″ I also had leftover flannel which I cut: 4×4″

It was like putting together wonton wrappers. And yes, I AM craving crab rangoon now.

I sewed each square together with a 1/2″ seam. Then a simple cross in the middle…

After sewing the X, I frayed the edges (which accumulated all over the place.)

Such a simple project. The coasters would be really cute in various colors and patterns too, for whatever your decor. A little leftover material, a sewing machine and a springtime afternoon. Bring on the summer!

So now we are prepared for those lusciously cold drinks. I’ll just toss a bunch of these into a basket outside and we’ll be ready to party!

Come over for a sit and sip! We’ll throw some burgers on the BBQ.

Can I tell you about something kind of cool that happened to me?…

Let me first say that I’m not posting any of this for sympathy or trumped-up praise. Please know that from my heart.

There are areas in all of our lives where we feel confident and strong – and other areas in which we lack inner strength.

I’m not sure if it’s my personality or the fact that I am a person with a bent toward creativity. Whatever the case, my confidence in my ability to write is always low. I enjoy it. I get the buzz, not unlike the endorphin rush of a runner (I’m told.) People have periodically encouraged me to write. But there are soooo many really great writers in the world. And I don’t just mean famous ones. I am lucky enough to know some extremely talented wordsmiths that work other jobs and fit it in when they can. I truly respect and admire their talent.

So every time I sit down to write, I face two paths:

  1. Be overwhelmed with all the immense talent already out in the world – and sit back and hide, or
  2. Try to be brave, sit down, and write anyway. Just for the discipline of writing.

Again, I don’t mean to sound pathetic. But it is a real and immense struggle for anyone faced with creating something from nothing. And especially when it involves personal reflection.

Yesterday I wrote a book review post on this blog. I posted a condensed version of it on my Instagram. I wrote it the day before, posted it early in the morning, and then went on with my day.

A few hours later I popped back on Instagram while waiting on a load of laundry to finish drying and found a message from Jon Cohen, one of the authors I mentioned in my blog post regarding his endearing book, Harry’s Trees. In his message he pointed out a section of text I wrote:

This book celebrated the freedom of forgiveness. The adventure of reading. The beauty of nature. The cost of holding on to self-perpetuated ‘truths’. The ripples of redemption. And as with every good story, it contained an enchanting touch of magic.

He commented:

I like the cogency and rhythm of your words, particularly, in the paragraph that starts, “This book celebrated . . .”

It’s just a little line. A line that instantly brought fat tears to my eyes. (Not a usual reaction for me.) My throat clenched shut and I sunk back into myself.

I reread the line. (And in 2019 style, I did a quick screenshot of it on my phone as if it could disappear into the ethers at any given moment. Like perhaps I was imagining it.)

It wasn’t a spouse or a parent or a friend online saying it. It was a published author I respect, commenting positively on my writing. I cannot find the words at the moment to convey the significant importance I felt while reading it. I had a small, but brief, moment of feeling like Sally Fields at the Oscar’s. Or more recently, Kalen Allen’s reaction when Oprah commented on his Instagram post.

He could have said, ‘Thanks for the great review’ and I would have been impressed he even found my post and glad he commented on it. But after thanking me for the review, he took it a step further and returned a small amount of praise to me as well. It was a quick comment that left a big footprint on my squishy, self-effacing heart.

I have so much to learn about writing as well as finding the confidence enough to push ‘publish’. We are so accustomed to seeing articles and reading online posts nowadays that it is easy to dismiss the immense amount of bravery it takes for the writer to go public with their words. It can be a suffocating and stifling fear.

—–

What an amazing moment of pure, unadulterated joy. Especially because when writing, I particularly like the flow of words. I edit when a sentence seems to lack a particular rhythm and musical cadence. That’s something that’s very important to me.

And yesterday, a published writer commented specifically on that trait. 

I must tell you. It felt really, really good…

If you get the chance today – encourage the Creatives in your life. They need it more than you’ll ever know. It’s not easy being them. Their mind is always at battle with their ability. They need your affirming words.

♥️

Get back up on the horse, g

It’s been far too long since I have played with paper and glue. It used to be such a huge part of my life, but for various reasons I have let it slip into zero drive.

Perhaps the biggest reason, is that the hobby was once at 100,000% GO, GO, GO! My task now is to find a happy medium. Enough to work out my creative need to play with patterns and textures – as well as memory keeping – but not so much as it takes over my world (and my wallet!)

Therefore, I have resolved to spend more time in ‘my room’ in 2019. Creating and playing for the sake of playing. This is the one room in the house that refuses to answer the question, ‘Is this too much?’ because everything goes. We can always edit later.

Scott and I have been on a few trips around our new state of California. And already I can tell the details are starting to get confusing. So I had the idea to make a California Adventures scrapbook album to document (in a simple and picture-heavy way) when we took the trip, what the take-aways were, etc.

This has been such a monumental move for us – so I want to remember all the new adventures and exploring that we do along the way.

Our first trek outside our home after the rigors of driving to California, scouring places to live, hotel living, finding a home, sending for our boxes, unloading, unpacking, rearranging….whew. We’d been locked to our house and it’s many needs for too long – we needed to get out and go explore.

As it so happened, a big apple festival was in a nearby town. Many people (real estate agents, etc) had told us about this festival in Placerville, California. On a bright, chilly, Fall day – we popped in the car and drove to the foothill mountains to experience it for ourselves. We were annual visitors to the Louisburg Apple Festival in Louisburg, Kansas – so this was our chance to grab some cider donuts and see a new part of the country. and a new apple festival.

I mentioned there were ‘reasons’ I had stopped scrapbooking and one of them was the well-known piece of equipment in papercrafting circles: The Silhouette.

Scott has encouraged me numerous times to buy this cutting machine. It does everything, it seems, and I can easily envision all the projects I could do with it.

But. But,,. There’s one very clear thing I know about myself. And each time I was on the precipice of investing in this $300 machine the little voice inside my head would remind me just HOW MUCH I DETEST details. I hate reading up about technology and reading manuals and………….I just never have trusted myself to invest in something that I know would eventually collect dust on the shelf and guilt in my heart.

I needed some leaves for the Apple Hill layout I was going to do. “Greta”, I said to myself. “You came up in scrapbooking in the 90’s. You are PERFECTLY capable to cut out leaves the good old fashioned way!”

I googled ‘printable leaf templates’. Printed them off. Used the high-tech gadget called Scotch tape and cut them out on the printed papers I had selected. Done and done. The whole thing cost a great deal less than $300.

(As a side note: I am not dissing The Silhouette. It’s an awesome machine. Just not one that I can justify with my own personality faults and tendencies.)

Black and white with splashes of Fall colors. What a win. I am still a big ol’ sucker for sewing on my scrapbook pages, so of course there was a little of that too. This is the ‘title page’ for this particular adventure in October 2018. The rest of the pages are just pocket pages filled with 4×6 pictures and some journaling explanations. Voila. Simple but with a little creative play as well.

I now need to catch up on a few more adventures (trips to Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Salinas and Monterey Beach.) I won’t get them all done before this weekend, but I’ve made a start – and that’s half the battle, right?

This weekend one of our Kansas City friends is coming for a quick visit. If the weather works in our favor, we are planning a daytrip to San Francisco with her as well as a trip to see the redwoods in Arnold, California.

Lots more adventures ahead! Come be a part of one!

g

Bonding

I don’t know why I’ve had such a difficult time bonding with this room. I feel so fortunate to have room for all my creative supplies and a space to create, but I guess my focus has been on the other rooms since our move.

Today, however, I am making it a point to force this relationship!

As with any crafter, we love collecting supplies but after time, some of them become…tiresome. I am a classic hoarder when it comes to supplies. But after our big move to California, I thoroughly culled through what supplies I have and kept only the ones I truly love. The rest will be given to a charity (side note: I have been told that the Girls Scouts always need supplies for their projects!)

The above image is one of my favorite quotes from a Rachel Ashwell book: Whatever became of the conversations that took place after the ‘you wash and I’ll dry’ decision was reached? If you’ve ever stood with a spouse or child and washed/dried dishes together, you know the conversations can be true treasures.

I propped open my laptop to some mindless tv watching (I listened to too many podcasts yesterday!) and flipped through some inspiration – which seems to come directly from Suse Fish these days. Last year I participated in her 100 Days of Scrap Therapy and LOVED how it helped me 1) get rid of scraps and 2) took my hand and led me away from the typical scrapbook norms. I came to scrapbooking during the Creating Keepsakes era when archival was of paramount concern. But when making these fun little albums (…do I really need them to be around in 100 years?!…) I grabbed another one of my loves – magazines – and did some old-fashioned cutting. The title for a Chico’s commercial became the title page for our California adventure: Growing bolder not older.

It’s a fun challenge to use what you’ve got. But that’s a part of a Slow Lifestyle, right? Being content with what is.

I’m looking forward to more pages about our bold move – and I’m also looking forward to spending time in my now-bonded creative space.

What do you do to get your creative juices flowing again after a period of time away from it? How do you get your groove back?