Thursday, December 22, 2005

Last Christmas (post).


Well. This will probably be my last post for a bit. Really looking forward to Christmas and New Year and can't wait to do some sewing on the new machine. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season...and here's a Free Book THURSDAY. I'm afraid you won't get it in time for Christmas but here's the deal:

Be the first to post: I WANT THIS BOOK!
Email me an postal address to spindle2@tpg.com.au
I'll mail book to (UK, Asia, US, Australia, Europe) for free.

HO,HO,HO.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

White (lie) Christmas


This little winter scene looks nothing like what's really beyond the front door. As the days heat up, the hills behind our house quickly turn from apple green to the colour of almost burnt toast. The local CFA (Country Fire Assoc) is having regular drills - the foreboding siren wails early on Saturday mornings and there's lots of talk about "the worst summer yet"...although people say that every year.

Getting very excited about Christmas now. Shopping is all done but for some strange reason I feel like going into town and checking out Myer windows. I love being organised but there's something thrilling about that crazy mad dash into town - glassy eyed shoppers swarming from shop to shop looking for the very last ipod mini.

Last night we "encouraged" Toby (the best dog in the world) to try on his special Christmas Bell collar! He hates it passionately but he looked so cute. Why do we make the one's we love look ridiculous? Cause it's fun!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

eMore Loveliness



It's here! Ever since I spotted this one over at Molly Chicken...I've been waiting for it to arrive. These books are difficult to track down in Australia so I thought I'd share my contact ... if you're interested the lovely Keina Loy at keina_loy@charter.net is quick and reliable & uses paypal.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Baking






Hmmm. Nothing like a house smelling of ginger and cinnamon. I've been baking my head off with varying degrees of success. I burnt the first batch - something I do every year. The second batch ran out the door while I wasn't looking - then my icing "skills" failed me. No. I wasn't drinking...but probably should have been. Oh well.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sewing Up Christmas


Last week was a spinning vortex of stuff: life, work, making things, seeing people. Here are a few edited highlights:

Driving Lesson No.4: Did five Three Point Turns and managed not to mount the curb. Still no mention of me driving with anyone other than my instructor. Ahem...any day now, I'm sure.

Bear Two bought me a Sewing Machine for Christmas! I'm so thrilled.

Friday night we tackled a mega shopping complex in search of a Janome store. The shop assistant was very helpful. Her first question was "What do you want to sew?". My reply was something like "I don't know. I want to make cards, more toys - but with clothes and sort of crazy stuff, but with strange stitching. I want to sew fabric onto things: like paper....".
"Righhhhhhhhhht". The computer machines looked snappy but I was scared off by all the bells and whistles. In the end I test drove about five machines and picked a sturdy, no nonsense machine with a front loading bobbin. I'm going take advantage of a few free lessons - then I will UNLEASH myself onto the motorised craft world.
Friday night I actually dreamt about sewing...mad!

Modest christmas tree is up but I couldn't resist creating a Woodland Creature Christmas on the mantlepiece as seen in the December issue of Martha Stewart Living. It's quite strange really; outside it boiling hot, crackling sun bearing down on our little house, while inside polar bears roam and elk ponder a fir tree. Photos soon.

Still making Robins. Molly Chicken's tutorial is great. I made three on the train this morning.

Here is the cover of a wonderful book: WINTER by Aoi Huber-Kono. Deceptively sparse, beautifully illustrated - it's one of my favorites.

PS More pics soon.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Birds


Just wanted to thank MOLLY CHICKEN for her wonderful bird pattern. So much fun to make. Here are my two. I love their slightly stunned look...

Friday, December 02, 2005

CraftSwap





This is what I made for my CraftSwap person who lives in Canada. Hope she likes it. I made another Denyse Schmidt cat and I called her Kylie because I made her while I was watching a Kylie Minogue concert on TV. You can't see it very well but Kylie Cat is sporting a very ShowGirl glass beaded collar!

Okay, okay. I can't fib. My sister made the lovely draw-string bag on my Mum's sewing machine. Thanks Gel.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Driving Lesson No.3

Stand back everyone. Last night was my 3rd driving lesson and for the first time I went faster that 45kms. Whaaoooo. No stopping me now.

My instructor continues to look relaxed (on the outside) and so far, he hasn't stomped his foot on his personal set of brakes, so I'm thinking it's a win/win. Mind you, if I don't go faster than 45ks, chances are he'll never get to use the brakes...

My confidence is building and I feel really good about getting behind the wheel. I haven't actually done any driving with Bear2 yet...but my instructor says that in about two more lessons, I'll be ready drive without him and his set of brakes. This news made me feel much less confident, but it has to be done eventually. I'm buying shiny new L PLATES tonight, just to get me in the mood.

I think it's intentional but my instructor talks - a lot, so it still feels strange trying to concentrate and listen to him at the same time and when he's not giving me instructions like "turn left here" he's talking about his kids, dog, hobbies, news etc which is all very interesting and pleasant but sometimes I just feel like I can't stay on the road and laugh about Waggs (his dog) doing back flips.

I suspect, however - that there will come a time when I'll A/ drive faster than 45km and B/laugh and drive at the same time. One day.

Cupcake Crazy


Epicure has a big piece on cupcakes today. Good read with lots of links and info. Makes me want to rush home and start baking! Really want to track this book down, too. You can read it here.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Craft Cupboard





Very recently I wrote a post about having/buying too much stuff and mentioned I was going to a Clearance Sale in my town ... just to have a look. Well. I did look and then I started bidding ... this is what I got for $5. Exhibit 1. My new craft cuboard. How did it happend. One minute the auctioneer was waving his hand in the air, next thing I know, time slows down and I see his mouth form the word S O L D only he's looking right at me and yes, my hand is the air. Bear Two was less pleased when the autioneer's assistant smiled broadly and said "Gee, I hope you have trailer!''. We didn't. Bear Two, always so supportive, drove down to the local garage and hired one for about five times the price of my craft cupboard. Ahem.



My next Clearance Sale purchase - Exhibit 2. Didn't know what I would find when I opened this up but look!! Vintage, gorgeous, knitting needles - heaps of them. Mine for the princely sum of $1. Gotta love that.

I Will Drive

So heartened by looybylu's wonderful post (past and present) about driving! My second lesson is tonight and I'm actually looking forward to it.

Love Cats


I've gone slighly crazy making these Denyse Schmidt cats. Still don't have a sewing machine, but these are so easy to do by hand - I can't stop.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Tiger, Be My Friend


I was at Readings Bookstore last night - completing my perfect evening trifecta: movies, dinner, books/music/magazines. Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride was so much fun - very sweet and funny. He really creates a world you can tip into.

Later, when we were mooching around the bookshop I was distracted by the cd they had playing in the store. I kept stopping and listening. In the end, I bought it - despite the fact I'd only hearda bout 2 minutes of it.

It's called Tiger, Be My Friend by UK duo, Psapp. I can't explain why I love this cd so much - I'm not usually into music but it's so unusual, gentle and trippy. I'm not doing a good job of describing it but imagine if a group of incredibily sophiscated toddlers formed a band - with the help of a squeaky toy and a music box. Anyway, thought I'd mention it because there's something special about them.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I'm going to craft my head off.x

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dark and Cold


Warm and sunny outside but off to see this tonight. I love Burton and can't wait to see his stop-motion animation feast. It got a good review here....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Lesson One.

Driving Lesson went really well. My instructor Daniel, is very calm and patient. He didn't have to make too much use of his pedals ... although he did mutter something like ''perhaps tap the brake a little earlier next corner''.

I'm driving around a smallish country town but even so, there were lots of kids on bikes, a small dog, one pram and a massive truck to negotiate. Overall, it was a good experience and I'm ready (or not) to make myself acquire this particular skill. I was tempted to ask him how many lessons he thinks I'll need to past the test, but I was worried he'd say 87, so I refrained.

Speaking of perfecting a skill. I have now made five Denyse Schmidt Cats. Don't have the book here, but they are very simple and fun. Plan to do a Kitty Photo Shoot tonight.

Still toying with Needle Felting with varying degrees of success. Fine on the flat - not so great on three dimensional things - they end up looking like something a Denyse Schmidt Cat coughed up.

I'm also starting Evil Plan No. 1 - my attempt at turning the Spare Bedroom into my own World Domination Craft Den (insert evil cackle here). I have a craft cupboard - now I just have to make the double bed disappear - along with photo albums, extra linen and a 1000 other objects I can live without. I've spotted a Queen Size blow up bed that inflates in something like 40 seconds. Supposed to be very, very comfortable, too. That just might solve my problem. When friends come to stay I can say ''...and look, you guys get to sleep in this!''. What's not to love?

PS: Many thanks for the words of support, too.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Toot Toot

Well. Tonight is my first driving lesson (in a long time). I've had my Learner Permit for ages but never got around to the hard part! I'm feeling quite nervous but I really want to learn to drive. I'm fine with an instructor, but driving around with Bear 2 scares the hell out of me. Must have something to do with being older? I kind of feel as if suddenly the world isn't very safe when I behind the wheel. I know it's not rational but I picture a toddler running onto the road or a dog or an entire family of ducks...all the worst scenarios, basically. Must stay calm and just try and enjoy it. Another adventure begins!

Lots of friends and family tell me that one day, driving will be second nature to me - hard to believe. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Gone Fishin.


Up early this morning - 5.30am. Sipping coffee and looking out the window at the early morning sky. Two Bears and Toby are taking off for the weekend with my Dad and Sister to visit my Uncle and Aunty who live in a little town called Port Albert.

I haven't been there for years. Leaving work at lunch-time to get a jump on the day. Looking forward to long walks on the beach and catching up on family news. Suspect it's going to be a quiet night but apparently a mega scrabble game is part of the plan. Things could get crazy.

Taking just a tiny bit of craft...needle felting. I can't say I've had made anything wonderful - just a few wonky birds, oh and one very good bee (in my opinion!).

Hope everyone has a great weekend.


PS: Port Albert is supposed to have a brilliant Fish n Chip shop - hmmmmm.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Book Candy


In the middle of a very frustrating day - then this arrived! So lovely. The illustrations are quite beautiful.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A (craft) Room Of One's Own...



Because I was inspired by Soul Mama and because I'm on the verge of planning my own craft room...


A playful extract from A Room Of One's Own by Virginia Woolf.

''But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and CRAFT - what has that got to do with a room of one's own? I will try to explain. When you asked me to speak about women and CRAFT I sat down on the banks of a river and began to wonder what the words meant. They might mean simply a few remarks about Fanny Burney (WHO KNITS); a few more about Jane Austen (EMBROIDERY); a tribute to the Brontes (CROCHET, PAINTING, SEWING) and a sketch of Haworth Parsonage under snow; some witticisms if possible about Miss Mitford (HARD CORE CROSS STITCHER); a respectful allusion to George Eliot (CALLIGRAPHY); a reference to Mrs. Gaskell (LACE MAKER) and one would have done''.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Catholics Guide To Decorating.

Maybe it's the change of season but all of a sudden I feel a tad burdened by all the "stuff" we have (or right b1...I have).
The world is made up of two groups - Group One can walk past a pretty, shiny thing and think, ''That's lovely!' and move on. Group Two walks past and thinks, 'that's lovely. I must have it now or my world is not and will never be complete''. I am the leader of Group Two.

I've always loved things. My mum loved things, so did her mother. I can only assume I've inherited the trait or it's some last-child-of-seven throw back thing. After spending a little time thinking about what I collect, I was a bit alarmed at the list:

Snuff Bottles...started after a holiday in Beijing/Shanghai.

Enamel Kitchenware

Bees - a life long interest
Books (in general) and on Bees...

Buffy - complete season.

Beautiful fabric, paper, ribbons, sewing baskets, pearly pins, pretty plates, cups and spoons, vintage table-clothes, aprons, pre-loved toys, buttons, bits and bobs.

Upshot is we're having a MONSTER garage sale in the next few weeks and I am determined to cast off a lot of stuff. I'll keep what I love but for some reason I've ended up with quite a bit of stuff that I feel very ambivalent about and that's the stuff that can go.

I'm also going to try a little experiment next time I come across something I "have to have''. I'm going to ask myself the following:

Do I REALLY want/need it?
Do I want it BECAUSE it's a bargain?

I won't have long before I can put myself to the test. This Sunday a Clearance Sale is happening at our local hall. Usually these sales are deceased estates, so great places for bargains.

More to the point ... why isn't one enough? Why four owls and not one? I'm beginning to wonder if my catholic upbringing doesn't have a part to play because when I look around our house, just like the book title, there are little alters everywhere. I mean I have clusters or corners dedicated to certain objects: feathers and stones, coffee table books about the sea, photographs - everything is kind of grouped.

I also have a lot of stuff from when I was a child - which is lovely, but do I really need to hang onto it all? I've given heaps away to my nieces and nephews, but I still have a lot.

On the whole, everything works well together but when I catch sight of rooms with space and order - usually Swedish and white...I can't help but think how nice it would be to let the eye rest upon a void, now and again.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Happy Halloween



I was thrilled when loobylu (www.loobylu.com) announced a Halloween theme for MOS. Here's mine. Her name is Paitience. She loves Edward Gorey, shopping and fair-grounds in winter...she makes a wicked pumpkin soup, too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Thank You.

Thanks so much to the person who posted the link to the wonderful images of the beach near Duxbury. They're wonderful.

Elizabeth Bishop Says It Better

THE END OF MARCH

For John Malcolm Brinnin and Bill Read: Duxbury.


It was cold and windy, scarcely the day
to take a walk on that long beach.
Everything was withdrawn as far as possilbe,
indrawn: the tide far out, the ocean shrunken,
seabirds in ones or twos.
The rackety, icy, offshore wind
numbed our faces on one side;
disrupted the formation
of a lone flight of Canada geese;
and blew back the low, inaudible rollers
in upright, steely mist.

The sky was darker than the water
- it was the colour of mutton-fad jade.
Along the wet sand, in rubber boots, we followed
a track of big dog-prints (so big
they were more like lion-prints). Then we came on
lengths and lengths, endless, of wet white string,
looping up to the tide-line, down to the water,
over and over. Finally, they did end:
a thick white snarl, man-size, awash,
rising on every wave, a sodden ghost,
falling back, sodden, giving up the ghost...
A kite string? - But no kite.

I wanted to get as far as my proto-dream house,
my crypto-dream-house, that crooked box
set up on pilings, shingled green,
a sort of artichoke of a house, but greener
(boiled with bicarbonate of soda?),
protected from spring tides by a palisade
of - are they railroad ties?
(Many things about this place are dubious.)
I'd like to retire there and do nothing,
or nothing much, forever, in two bare rooms:
look through binoculars, read boring books,
old, long, long books, and write useless notes,
talk to myself, and, foggy days,
watch the droplets slipping, heavy with light.
At night, a grog a l'americaine.
I'd blaze it with a kitchen match
and lovely diaphanous blue flame
would waver, doubled in the window.
There must be a stove; there is a chimney,
askew, but braced with wires,
and electricity, possibly
- at least, at the back another wire
limply leashes the whole affair
to something off behind the dunes.
A light to read by - perfect! But - impossible.
And that day the wind was much too cold
even to get that far,
and of course the house was boarded up.

On the way back our faces froze on the other side.
The sun came out for just a minute.
For just a minute, set in their bezels of sand,
the drab, damp, scattered stones
were multi-colored,
and all those high enough threw out long shadows,
individual shadows, then pulled them in again.
They could have been teasing the lion sun,
except that now he was behind them
- a sun who'd walked the beach the last low tide,
making those big, majestic paw-prints,
who perhaps had batted a kite out of the sky to play with.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Button Therapy


I can't tell you how much I enjoyed sorting my buttons by colour. I got this box on the weekend and it's just the right size to hold them all. Move over Yoga, Button Therapy is here.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Girls Hit The (Small) Town






Had a great weekend with the girls...laughed a lot, read magazines, dinner at the pub and a long walk around town. We went in and out and back into a dozen shops. Bit sad it's over...but here are some snaps, including arty/rude finger gesture (thanks Mavis!).

The Craft




Finally some photos of the Craft Weekend. Here is Mavis and her marvellous beads. Such fantastic colours and designs. Most of the beads are semi-precious and are cool and have a delicious weight...like river stones.

...and while we carfted we sipped (yeah, right) HPNOTIQ. Just lovely...very fresh and light - like a gin and tonic but with zing...''pure cognac, premium French vodka, and natural tropical fruit juices''. Pretty blue, too.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

For Me, Today Is Thursday Disguised as Friday

Falling way behind on the blog (photos to come). Craft weekend was a blast: five girls, two sewing machines, 2 banana cakes and The Shining on Saturday night (digitally remastered version)...there was screaming (Mavis) and lots of OH MY GOD! Run, run, run...and several Tony imitations (RED RUM, RED RUM)...but huge laughs. How strange is Shelly Duvall? As Two Bear's pointed out "She looks like a human muppett".

All up I managed a small coin purse with a zip and another little zippy (bigger purse) with lining and all. Sewing in the zips was exciting and frustrating. I am not great on a sewing machine, but it fun having a go. I had a lot of help from Nora! - who leaves today to climb an active volcano in Indonesia (like you do). Go NOrs!

Another weekend of laughs ahead. Tomorrow Two Bears, Mavis, Jan(ome)- named after her new sewing machine, ObeOneJanome and Tezza head off to a small country town with a mega quilting shop and lots of crafty goodness. This time I'm just taking my knitting (a very trippy pink scarf)and wine.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Scarf, Mummies & Sharks before 11am.

Sometimes I can't believe how much information, useless or otherwise...we humans accumulate. I don't know why it struck me this particular morning but as I was sitting on the train knitting my (2nd ever) frog green scarf, I put it around my neck for a test run and realised it felt a bit scratchy. It's 100% wool, so assumed it wouldn't be.

I'm one of those freaky people who can't stand wearing anything even remotely scratchy - especially around my neck. That thought prompted me to remember a time when I was about nine. We went over to a friend's house for dinner (can't recall who) but I was made to wear a new outfit (yes. I freaked OUT and had a FIT) because it was pants and a little vest but it was also Tartan and unlined. By the time we arrived I was almost in tears and I spent the whole night quietly going insane...

So would it be okay to gently hand-wash my new scarf in wool mix or something?



I put my knitting away and started reading my book. It's a corker read: Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Survival and Obsession Among Great White Sharks by Susan Casey. It's a book about the white pointers just 30 miles west of San Francisco at The Farallon Islands. Casey's writing style is both quick witted and fascinating. I got to a part about a shark attack (he survived...480 stiches) and felt a bit ill!

With only ten minutes left of my journey to work, I flicked through the The Age and read an amazing story about three 500 year old mummies found in 1999 on the peak of Llullaillaco in Argentina. There was a incredible photo of this Incan girl - almost perfectly preserved, due to altitude, weather. Her clothes, hair, skin - just jaw-dropping. Experts say she was left on the mountain as sacrifice and froze to death.

No wonder I need a coffee.

This Saturday Both Bears are off to a friend's house for a CRAFT WEEKEND...Yes, a bunch of us are going to craft our heads off during the day and watch The Shining Saturday night. Sunday we're going to a fantastic market for some serious thrifting. Best of all - I'll get to use a sewing machine (could be dangerous!).

Monday, September 19, 2005

Behold My Weekend Madness

There wasn't much but while it was out, I could feel the top of my head smiling - nothing beats warm, late afternoon sunshine. Spent Sunday morning driving to Flowerdale - a very, very little town...with a cute Sunday market. It's about 40 minutes from our place - via the Valley of a Thousand Hills! I don't know about that, but the hills looked so wonderful and iridescent green it was like they were plugged in somewhere or lit from the inside. At the market I got some old knitting needles and last week, some other strange thrifty things: basil brush and a doll house family with slightly alarming faces (very X-Files) but I couldn't help myself. I've started a new scarf (more green) and went totally nuts at Borders and came home with a stack of magazines....another little obsession that is currently out of control. Oh and a little Teddy that I made - nearly drove me freaking crazy. Behold....




Friday, September 16, 2005

Little Purses


Thanks to Lyn at Molly Chicken (http://mollychicken.blogs.com/my_weblog/) I've had heaps of fun making these purses. Thanks for the great tutorial.

Swap Heaven


Here is the amazing craft booty from Shell at the wonderful http://sacredheartarts.blogspot.com/. The pic doesn't do justice to all her fine work and detail. Thank you so much - can't wait to create something.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Time Table Love Part Three (Has Anyone Seen My Intro?).

Okay. I'll be honest. I should be working and I kind of am but I can't find my introduction so I thought I'd divert myself and go back to the piece I'm trying to write with a renewed sense of hope.

Catching the 5.30pm home later today. For some strange reason the train was really packed this morning and a few very tall people ended up standing up for a good 40 minutes - swaying, really... reminded me of sea-weed in deep water. They were remarkably soothing to watch - a little like watching fish swim around in a tank or an open fire. Anyway, before I knew it I was nodding off in a fairly unattractive fashion...mouth open a tad, neck on the side - not pretty. Fortunately I woke myself up before I dribbled or made any really embarrassing noises like ArGGhchh.

Socrates The Sock Dog.



I saw this book cover ages ago and couldn't get that sweet socky dog out of my head! Here is the result.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Wasn't It Monday The Other Day?



A pic of my (first ever) square for Quilts For Katrina (http://www.flickr.com/groups/81115043@N00/). An amazing project organised by Shanna at http://www.twotreeswithrootslikethese.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Time Table Love - Part Two

I'm getting to know all the regular commuters on my train. Some of these people have been catching the same train for years and the carriage is a like an extension of their lounge-room. Yes my friends, there is Train Etiquette. Here a few observations so far.

1.
Seating:
Every morning people sit in the same seats and then on the way home, they sit in the same but different seats depending on how intense the setting sun is. Including me. It's like locomotive ballet.

2.
Sniffing:
I'm sure she's a delightful human being, but she's also a serial sniffer. No hanky, no tissue, just a sharp nasal sniff every 12 to 14 seconds (yes I counted). At first I thought, get a grip - she's sniffy, that's all, just read your book. (SNIFF). Just concentrate. It's not like you don't have any annoying habits (SNIFF). Screw it. If I don't move I'm going to have to take of my scarf and smother her. I moved.

3.
Teenage Dim Sim Eater.
I'm sorry, but since we still don't actually know what's in a commercially made Dim Sim, let's not be eating them on a packed train.

4.
The Bloke.
He's just left the office. Tucks his brief-case (lone orange, yesterday's paper) under his seat and s p l a y s his leg so wide, the women who want to sit past him have to virtually climb over the scaffolding of his body. His voice is loud enough to drown out the engine noise. He leers at the girl who walks past and nudges his mate.

5.
The Conductor.
Always different but always lovely. They snip your ticket using punches that leave a little love heart or teddy bear.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tickets Please.

I was just about to write some more about my train adventures...but realised the time and now I have to run to catch my train home...

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: ''If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction''.

PS: Summer evenings are on the way - you can see the colours in the sky.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Glad to be Back.


Goodbye Bo, goodbye Hope, Oprah, Dr Phil and the entire Hi Five! team (don't ask). Goodbye bad mid-day movie, "Just leave. Don't turn around, just walk out that door and and never come back''. Thanks for getting me through the feverish sweats, the head-aches and the enlarged glands.

I know I'm better cos work is great! Could also be the medication I'm still taking. Whatever. Two Bears have booked a holiday to Byron Bay and I can't wait. So excited. Here's a peek.

Some Books I've Really Enjoyed

  • Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion
  • The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath
  • Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
  • Stasiland by Anna Funder

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Living, reading, crafting, taking photos, writing.