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Baby Quilt Made With Love, With An Iron I Love Just As Much

Creativity and Crafts
baby quilt pink black white

I am a big believer in the importance that creativity plays in crafting a happy, meaningful, and fierce life. In my opinion, creative expression ranks very high on the list of human necessity, not very far after air, water, food, and shelter. 

When I’m talking about creative expression, I mean creating something original, something that comes from your own brain and heart and soul. When it comes to crafting, I consider originality the ideal.

But sometimes the ideal is out of reach. Sometimes life simply bowls you over with a whole avalanche of crazy you never saw coming. Forget originality, you’re just fighting your way to the top of the mess and so you can breathe! That’s where I’ve been for the last few weeks, tumbling along with the avalanche and feeling overwhelmed. 

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Fall Craft Ideas: Easy, Fun Ideas for your Home

Home Matters

If you’ve been around here long, you’ll know that I love all things fall. And all things arts and crafts. That’s why this post on Fall Craft Ideas is basically my theme song.

I make it a point to bless my home with the appropriate autumnal decor. I’m not talking a total redo of my decorations, but before I get the actual holiday decorations out, I make time to really soak in those Fall hues of crimson, gold, and auburn.

While my husband might not completely understand this, why would I approach a new season without the appropriate sense of decorum? To help him understand, I always make sure he knows that I make my own seasonal swag. Between you and me, the do-it-yourself route can actually be more expensive than just buying something from the store, but where’s the fun in that?

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Walking The Cotswolds, Part 2

Adventure and Travel

(This post is part 2 of of a series, Walking The Cotswolds – part 1 can be found here)

Before I continue my earlier post about our walking holiday in the Cotswolds, I thought It would be a good idea to talk about equipment you’ll need for a cross country walking tour.

Because the Cotswolds Walks company booked our rooms and arranged for luggage transfers from one hotel to the next, we did not have to carry heavy backpacks. This made our walks easier and much more fun. However, as we were walking an average of eight miles per day, we did need some equipment for safety and comfort.

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3 Days In Paris: My Time In The City Of Lights

Adventure and Travel
3 days in paris

As I explained in my last post about shopping for fabrics and fiber, my Paris itinerary was far too ambitious for a 3-day visit. I knew that even before we arrived.

But the way I see it, no one has ever died from a surfeit of aspiration. And so, before we left home, I decided to make a very long list of all the things I wanted to do, see, and buy during my time there and simply do as much as I could.

All things considered, we ticked quite a few things off the list.

We started off with a sunset boat tour on the Seine with Bateaux Mouches. It was definitely touristy but this turned out to be one of our favorite activities while in Paris and gave me a good overview of the history and geography of the city, as well as some stunning photo ops!

They offer dinner and champagne cruises but we just went with the basic tour, which was quite reasonable, and saved our money for dinner at one of the city’s many lovely cafes. (We never had a disappointing meal while in Paris; it’s reputation for gastronomic excellence is well-deserved.)

 

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Walking The Cotswolds, Part 1

Adventure and Travel
walking cotswold way

Many people have a travel bucket list. Taking a walking holiday in the Cotswolds has long been at the top of mine. 

In 1968, the Cotswolds was designated An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. That makes it the second largest protected landscape in England. Encompassing more than 750 square miles in south central and south west England, the Cotswolds is home to picturesque villages that could have been plucked out a fairy tale and mile upon mile of bucolic, unspoiled scenery. It is also home to the Cotswolds Way, a 102-mile National Trail that goes from Bath to Chipping Campden.

A thriving tourist industry has sprung up around people who want to walk the entire length of Cotswolds Way, with tour companies that book walkers into B&Bs and transfer luggage from one village to the next along the route. Though taking a hundred-mile hike and staying a rustic little B&Bs along the way sounded like heaven to me, the same couldn’t necessarily be said of my husband. 

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Downton Abbey In Real Life: A Visit To Highclere Castle

Adventure and Travel
highclere castle downton abbey

Our two magical weeks of European travel are now at a close. All that’s left now are incredible memories and a lot of laundry. (SO much laundry…)

I already shared a bit about our adventures is Paris and have another post in the pipeline with plans for at least one or two posts on the second leg of our tour, our walking holiday in the glorious Cotswolds region of England.

But since the Downton Abbey movie premiers next week for United States audiences and many of us are counting the days until September 20th , I thought I’d write about the final, capstone event of our trip today. That’s right, I’m talking about our visit to Highclere Castle, aka the REAL Downton Abbey.

downtown abbey

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Fabric and Textile Shopping in Paris

Adventure and Travel
fabric shopping in Paris

My itinerary was too ambitious. I knew that even before we left. Three days simply wasn’t enough to see all the many, many must-see sights and attractions of Paris, or acquire all the many delightful and oh-so-French items on my shopping list.

But I made the list just the same. A little aspiration never hurt anybody, oui?

Those shopping aspirations included perfume, macarons, chocolate, lingerie, fabric and craft items and, if possible, six grandchild-sized berets in assorted colors. I hoped to visit at least three shops in each category so I could share my discoveries with you.

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Glamping Gear: Upgraded Camping Supplies For Your Next Adventure

Adventure and Travel
glamping gear

So you’ve already decided that glamping is your style. But now you need the glamping gear and you don’t know where to start. It should be no surprise that Marie is here with thoughts, opinions and suggestions.

I’ve long loved the idea of camping more than I’ve actually loved the camping. The great outdoors really is great. And a steaming cup of coffee on a chilly morning as you gaze at the canopy of trees – that is perfection. But a questionable night’s sleep on uneven ground? That’s something I could do without. And skipping a shower just makes me worry I’m easier for the bears to smell, which makes sleeping even more difficult.

Earlier this year, I marked a big item off my bucket list and took my mother on a girls-only glamping trip! Let me tell you, I couldn’t believe how much more I loved nature with just one or two creature comforts.

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Book Club Appetizers: Fast & Fun

Books, Hospitality and Entertaining
book club appetizer

I know a number of people who go to book club meetings just for the food and wine. They never, or almost never, actually read the book. They just like the idea of having a party with smart, bookish buddies every month.

I’m certainly not recommending or promoting this attitude. In fact, if you are that girl I want you to picture me right now, pointing my finger and tsk-ing my tongue at you. Life sometimes gets in the way of our reading schedule but this should not be a regular thing! If you aren’t carving out time to read the book, you’re not holding up your end during the discussion and that’s not fair to the group. You’re also missing out on the fun, which is even worse.

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What to Read Right Now: Beach Reads for 2019

Books
beach reads

There have been years when I measured summer entirely in books. A summer well spent is a summer well read. But this summer is different. I’ve spent tons of quality time between pages and also made time for other important things, like making slime with my grandkids during a weeklong visit in June and taking my mother on a proper glamping trip.

Between the books and the activities, this year I feel like I’ve gone above and beyond taking advantage of summer. I’ve been more intentional about the way I spend my time (thank you, Living Well Spending Less planner). And summer isn’t even over yet! continue reading