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A little over 100 days ago Mom and I started a 100 day project.  I chose a photo project: moody, black and white morning moments.  Life’s little moments, my two precious girlies, lots of coffee, grounding myself in creativity that has been so lacking! 

Did I get all 100 days?  Well… no.  Was I great about posting the ones I did get?  um… not even close, haha.  But I’m still proud of myself for the momentum I built.  When I missed a day or two or five, I didn’t scrap the whole project… I picked up my camera again and kept going.  In the end I got about 80 days of the 100.  Where as if I had scrapped the project when I first missed a day I would’ve tapped out around 20ish I believe.

A good lesson as we begin a new year.  I always have lots of goals, but regardless of how they are going, I want to remember that in the end, even if set backs happen, it is still better to keep going than scrap the whole thing!

So… to recap, I’m posting all of Sam’s 100 (80) Morning Moments below… happy scrolling… and Happy New Year!

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  • Diane Johnston - Beautiful, precious memories…no matter how many, especially those little faces.01.02.2018 – 9:41pmReplyCancel


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Oh goodness.  Are you ready for 8000 pictures of these cuties?  In all their Halloween goodness?  

If you haven’t seen the movie Trolls, go do it… it is SOOOO cute!  And great lessons in it too, like helping the Bergens (the bad guys in this movie) find lasting happiness too!  Anyway, Trolls… where our Halloween costumes came from this year!  Abbi was Princess Poppy, one of the main trolls in the movie, and Ella was Lady Glitter Sparkles.  Which is like the alternate personality for one of the bergens, haha.  If you don’t understand… well, watch the movie!

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There were tons of Princess Poppy costumes available for purchase and for time and ease’s sake, we bought one, but we made the hair.  Because the bigger the troll hair the better!!  Plus it just reminds me of my childhood.  Mom always made our costumes or parts of them.  I have fond memories of last minute sewing and creativity to get everything together for whatever we came up with to be that year!  So it was definitely fun to throw in some creativity here too.  We used this DIY, with a couple modifications of course, for the hair.  And I made some generic troll hair for myself too!  Blurry cell phone photo below.  Just fyi: glitter tulle sheds like craaaazzzzyyyy… be prepared for glitter everywhere.


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Ella’s costume however… there were NO Lady Glitter Sparkles costumes for purchase anywhere!  There was a wig for the epic hair… thank goodness because I don’t know how I would have recreated that.  But I couldn’t believe there weren’t any costumes!  Thankfully, I still have that awesome Mom who sews last minute things… here’s what she has to say about Ella’s costume:

“Here’s how this creative venture went: I grabbed a pattern for a blanket sleeper to use since there were no licensed Lady Glitter Sparkles patterns. Makes sense, right? I just needed a 2T garment pattern that included that one piece jumpsuit in some way. Blanket sleeper = disco jumpsuit! I also needed to find just the right fabric. Pink, squares, and sparkly seemed to be the key elements, and I found the right thing in the special occasion fabric department. You can’t imagine my jaw-drop when I found it! But it was very sheer. I went looking for an underlayer of a warm brown or black knit and found something that would work on clearance! Ella’s visit to my house for a “fitting” happened before I had even pinned pattern to fabric, and that was a good thing. I automatically held the pattern piece for this costume up to her and found it was way too short from diaper to neck! Turns out Ella is probably like her Auntie Bee, being long-bodied and that’s something I know how to deal with! So then I got to work so we could actually test fit it before she went home for the night: lengthen the pattern body, chop off the sleeves, skinny down the hips and legs down to the knee, then add a ridiculous cartoony flare to the pants bottoms. Cut and sew! At this point Sam and I tried to put it on her and she was having none of it! I was afraid that one bad experience might spoil it completely, that she would never want to wear it. But I finished it off over the next couple days and hoped for the best. I sewed an “exposed” zipper and then hemmed every thing — sleeves, legs, and neckline — using bias tape as a facing to turn under. When I used to work at JoAnn, it was a joke that I had my very own personal store at my house because I put my employee discount (and paycheck) to good use. But this means I had that bias tape, plus belting and a buckle on hand with which to make that belt. I also had the zipper on hand, but that’s a zipper I salvaged off of something so long ago I cannot even recall, possibly a bag. On Halloween day I took the costume to her, time and her mama’s talking it up (plus a candy bribe) got her to put it on and Lady Glitter Sparkles was born!”

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For real… this girl wanted nothing to do with her costume.  BUT… she desperately wanted candy so I finally got it on her.  And then… well, she warmed up to it and with Trolls soundtrack playing in the background I got these goofballs to dance.  For the rest of the night we didn’t have any issues with Ella not wanting to be Lady Glitter Sparkles.  Yay!  Halloween success!!


See, she even started posing when I took a few with my cell phone.  Silly girls!

Hope your Halloweens were tons of fun too!  Or do you avoid Halloween?  Pretty sure Mom went out to dinner instead of opening the door (their neighborhood gets TONS of trick or treaters), and Aaron went all the way to Montana to avoid it (deer hunting season), haha!




Suddenly in August I had too many things going on that needed paper info organized and at hand. Workshops. Online classes. Personal projects. Organized and at hand are things I run hot and cold with — some things always are, other things almost always are NOT. 


I brainstormed solutions. Punch holes and put them in a notebook either together with dividers or in separate little 3-brad folders — no, I would be constantly removing one or two and then never putting them back. Staple them — no, because always handling the whole stack was going to be a nuisance to me. File folders — ugh, all the same and boring but the right ease of access re-capturing the pages. 


If you’ve been with us in the past, you know I have a strong frugal streak when it comes to using what I already own, and not wasting our earth’s resources. Frugal does not apply when we’re talking about hitting the craft and fabric stores, though. As you would also know! It’s true.

It’s a good thing all around I like the grunge vibe, like when this folder below tried to glue itself to the table. Those white patches where the print layer lifted off just add to my torn edge theme, right? Right. 


A perfect combination of frugal — saved paper scraps, old folders — and creative fun had me sitting down to do some tearing and gluing for a couple of days. For each folder, I worked strictly from my scrap folders which are sorted by color group. 



Here is one folder I used after emptying daughter Becca’s school papers out of it. I think this scribble is from first or second grade. I’ll never cover it up! On the left are some gel press prints I made for collage work. How I love gel press work!


Design challenges for scrap collage onto file folders for my own self are not world-changing, but I had a good time making various design considerations: playing around with my adored torn edges while using up straight-edged scraps for accent and definition; all the while I was trying to use as much scrap paper just as I found it. 



When it comes time to do more (and it will!) I will heed my lessons learned with these: 

  1. If you use a craft mat or try to work clean, you won’t still be dealing with that layer of dried collage medium on your work table. Bleh. Hashtag craft mat.
  2. Wrap the paper farther around the edges to the inside of the folder. 
  3. Figure out how to deal with the curved corners of the folder and the tab and be consistent.



Oh, and my lettering is done with pen that can be removed with alcohol on a cotton swab. If it becomes permanent somehow, I can just collage a new scrap over the top! 

I might need a purple, a dark teal, and an orange folder soon. It’s a plan.


Happy times adding color to YOUR life!





It’s feeling great to get reconnected to our blog and readers out there! This What’s Up Wednesday post is all about letting you connect or reconnect with us by getting a view into our past week or so. Most of these photos were captured on our phones during that time, too.

I (Gail) came up with the questions so you know what’s on my mind — autumn! This is a season I don’t usually feel like celebrating (goodbye sunshine, hello bleak and dreary) but I’ve been making an effort to do as I always advise others: choose to celebrate the positives. 

Here we go!

Favorite color combination this week?

Sam: Teal (of course) and purple and maybe some deep pinks. All day every day. Even the mountain bike I built this summer is teal and purple and gorgeous!! (Pinterest alert!) Like this or this or this or this and so much of this!  Insert all the heart eyed emojis here!

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Gail: I am all about the green, all day every day. But I’m going for some extra faves this fall: those warm autumn colors of gold, orange, red and how they play off of blue! I love having a blue house that sets off the color of pumpkins and the oak leaves that carpet our yard and neighborhood (you have no idea… not in a good way LOL) Today I wore a golden tan T under a LuLaRoe Joy vest (a long sweater vest) in this particular rich slightly greenish blue. We could almost say teal but that’s intruding on Sam’s turf *wink*


Coffee order?

Sam: Hmm. It really does change daily. Pumpkin spice latte from Coffee Oasis because of the yummy gingerbread type flavors in it. I’m stuck on the Cinnamon Almond milk Macchiato from Starbucks…iced of course! And if we’re at Yes Please! Coffee then we’re talking a White Wolf all the way. What’s a White Wolf you ask? Well you’ll have to come visit to find out. ;) 

Gail: I’ve become one of those no sugar no dairy no gluten no blah blah blah people for a while, so my current coffee order tends to be an Americano, black and unsweetened. If there’s unsweetened almond milk, I choose an almond milk latte — woohoo! Neither of these is a far step from my usual double short nonfat latte, no flavor or sweetener. I loooooove the taste of just coffee! I even drink straight espresso shots, but I do love a spoonful of hot cream in those or to order them “con panna” — with whipped cream, or affogato — poured over ice cream! I seem to have wandered into dessert territory … 


And when Sam says her coffee order changes daily? It does! I drive into her town on 1st and 3rd Thursdays, making a stop at Yes, Please! coffee after getting off the highway. I never know what I am going to find in my messages in response to my text, “I am leaving my driveway. You have one hour to tell me what your coffee order is!” Once in a while I bring Abbi and Ella each a Vanilla Steamer for a warm milky treat.


Best recipe you used in the last week?

Sam: I’m just going to refer you back to my last post, Morning Musings, where you’ll find a photo and the links for Brown Butter Pumpkin Waffles and Buttermilk Brown Butter Syrup. As I said there: Yes. It’s a thing. And yes. You need to make them both!

Gail: A one pan curry-simmer dinner using this Moroccan Pumpkin sauce I have had on the shelf for a while. World Market no longer carries it, so this is a big tease! So sorry! It was delicious — right at the top of my spicy-heat level. Sam told me about a site called supercook.com where I was able to enter cauliflower and chicken breast and find so many recipe options from so many sources! My pan held cubes of chicken, cauliflower, onion, mushrooms, chickpeas, and some finely chopped kale so hubby couldn’t pick it out. We ate it over quinoa cooked with Kitchen Basics chicken stock. So good!  

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Most creative thing you did this week?

Sam: Ummm… continued my 100 days project? I’ve got a couple projects I’m thinking about diving back into or finishing, but for now I’m enjoying using my photography outside of my business. Enjoying the creative parameters I gave myself and noticing the little moments through that creative outlet.

Gail: I have to say the same — continued my 100 day project of calligraphy practice. Today I posted on our instagram and Facebook my practice pages centered around writing the word “silver” and came up with a little western Washington poem: Silvery trails of slugs and snails. Writing poetry is creative, yes? Hahaha! 

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Most neglected crafty work-in-progress? 

Sam: HA. Um… what is not neglected?! The temperature blanket  that’s only got a month and a half’s worth of rows that should have 11 months of rows? The t-shirt quilt I’ve talked about for years that is still a box of t-shirts? The scrapbook everything that has basically been untouched besides card making for two years? The Beach Art that I started in 2012 (?!) that’s almost done, but not? It’s been eyeing me from the bag I store it in from various corners of my office/craft room as it gets shuffled around since I don’t want to give it a dang home. sigh Someday… someday…

Gail: I have so many fabric projects undone from so many years that I won’t list them. The thing that’s most on my mind is the collage from that collage workshop I went to at the end of September. It will have its own post soon because I’m going to finish it while taking actual real not-phone photos! And then do many more because I think this is my current creative vibe.

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Fall is in the air – what do you smell? 

Sam: I smell chili and cornbread! Mmmmm, had pumpkin turkey chili and honey cornbread the other night at a small group gathering… soooo yummmmmmm.

Gail: Hands down my favorite smell is fall spices, and that means either pumpkin pie or my special recipe for hot spiced cider. Try MINE and compare! 


Jumping into a pile of leaves. Yes or no?

Sam: My gut reaction is YES! My achy body and back that is SO out of whack says “Are you nuts?! NO!”

Gail: I say, “Go for it, grandgirls!” and watch. And hope they don’t get a slug stuck on them — YUCK! But it has happened to at least one of my children, Sam and siblings. Remember my previous comments about the oak leaves and the slugs and snails??? We have experience.

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This fall, I am also enjoying the harvest of my garden, above. I garden in color! –g  

Please comment with what YOUR favorite things about fall are! We’d love to hear :)  

Happy Autumn!

Gail and Sam

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  • Diane Johnston - Gail & Sam, Your phone photos are gorgeous. I love that you are keeping up with your blog and all the activities you are doing. I am comforted to know that I am not the only one who has unfinished projects. I moved from L.A. California to Platteville, CO a few months ago to live with my daughter’s family. The quick change that fall is bringing to the scenery and weather is fascinating. We are out on the open prairie so that is definitely different than our home in the big city of L.A. We had our first snow last week. It was so exciting to go to bed with rain and wake up with everything covered with a beautiful layer of snow. It was gone by dinner time, but it sure was pretty while it lasted. We are having night time temps in the 30’s & 40’s, but mostly comfortable days. I am enjoying the soups, chili and stews for cooler days. I can’t wait for the house to be cool enough for the fireplace…I never had one before. Thanks for sharing your lives with us. Hugs!10.18.2017 – 11:30amReplyCancel


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It’s funny… last Tuesday when I introduced my series I said “As chaotic as my life can be right now, I needed this creative outlet to ground me in the tiny moments so they don’t pass me by.”  And boy is this true.  The intentional focus even on just a five minute chunk of time amidst what is often a go-go-go has been so refreshing.  So along with sharing my photos this week, I’m sharing some thoughts I’ve pondered in the process as well.

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Maverick: often overlooked, sometimes annoying, but oh-so-loved member of the family.  I can’t imagine raising the girls without him, from eating all the things they drop on the floor, to being their constant cuddle companion, he’s pretty irreplaceable.  And finally, finally in year 8 he seems to have mellowed on the regular.  ;)  

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My mornings these days are often filled more with Ella, the two year old because Abbi is at preschool M, W, F.  Even mornings when Abbi is home, Ella always seeks me first.  She is NOT a morning person, just like I need my coffee, she needs some cuddles and quiet time to adjust to the world before she becomes her obstinate little self.  

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Habits: need to be reinforced even when it’s not ideal.  I forgot my camera this morning, but instead of skipping a day I tried to play around with some photos in the same theme instead.  My first selfie of the series!  (way easier on the phone).  Also, drives in the woods where you can both serve your hubby (I was shuttling him and a friend up the mountain so they could ride down) and you get some quiet time in nature make for pretty refueling days.  

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In reference to the day before, refueling of my soul is necessary so all the other times I’m stuck at my desk working or doing homework don’t leave me completely burned out.  First 15-page research paper of seminary, done!  (Which is on top of the typical 1-4 other papers I write weekly, usually 4-6 pages long)  :D

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This.  This was a good day.  Catching up with a good friend I haven’t seen in far too long, girly pampering, homemade brown butter pumpkin waffles with buttermilk brown butter syrup (yes.  it’s a thing.  and yes.  you need to make them both), an intentional day of rest.  100morningmoments 018

This was captured while I was doing homework.  This little lady, with those chubby fingers, loves pulling me in close and giggling.  It just rocks my world.  Every time.  I vow to ALWAYS put homework aside for moments like this.  
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Sometimes the mess is beautiful.  Not always, but sometimes.

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Enter that moment when you suddenly realize you don’t know how many days it has been since your kids have been bathed…  hmm… ;)  They were pretending to be ghosts here, it was hilarious.  Can you see Abbi trying to make her scary face? 

I’m smiling even as I write these all out.  20 days done, that means tomorrow makes this a habit right?  It is already feeling a little normal to take a pause sometime every morning and look for what’s actually happening all around me all the time.  And Abbi no longer thinks it’s a weird thing when I ask her to bring me my camera mid-activity.  Bonus!  :)

Enjoy some little moments and musings of your own this week!



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Gail here — time to sum up my first batch of work for my #lastdaysof2017 project! It actually began September 1st, making Day 1/100 be my 23rd day of practice… never mind — this even confuses me.

Here are all my practice pages since September 1st! 

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I am kind of sorry (for you!) that I chose another learning venture, brush marker lettering, for this 100 day project, since I had done that with the one we started last spring. I was learning to draw then (and still am) but I promise that this fall’s will become prettier much sooner than blind contour drawings of guinea pigs! Scroll our instagram or our Facebook page Photos to see odd cats and wonky elephants, too. LOL

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Day 1/100 for this project, 23rd day of my journey. (above)

The truth is that I love to learn how to do new things. I am passionate about them until I reach a certain level of competency that even I do not know ahead of time, and then I am off to something else. I am also a learner in other ways; always looking up the details about how something works — materials, methods, choices, and the topic could be absolutely anything that made me wonder. My particular brush lettering journey that began on September 1st even included daily homework!

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If you’ve ever been captivated by watching a video of calligraphy, cake decorating, hair styling, watercolor painting, whatever it may have been for you, you know how addicting it can be to watch another, and then another.

I found Kelly Klapstein of kellycreates.ca this way, probably on YouTube but then soon on Facebook. When she offered a class for absolute beginners, free, Sept 1-25 using Facebook Live videos, I signed up! Her baseline style is clean and basic. She is a born teacher. All the things that make a great learning experience for me.

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I continue to play along with the daily prompts at Kelly Creates Art & Calligraphy on Facebook, but you’ll see that work as my 100 day project postings. 

I do a bit of extra writing on my practice sheets, it seems … 

Reminders of goals …

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Notes and marks of the good and bad — developing my critical eye … 

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And celebrations — I stopped after writing the word of the day “yellow” just once because the best version OBVIOUSLY came first! 

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I had some fun when the overturn drills looked like row upon row of cartoonish headstones… 

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When single-color practice sheets suddenly looked far too boring, I started selecting a daily color scheme … 

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… and keeping track of the color numbers of my Tombow Dual Brush Markers. 

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Turns out I already owned the preferred basic large brush marker in many colors — those Tombow dual brush markers are great for adult coloring and for fake watercoloring. The brush end makes superb brush lettering when you are good enough, but they are probably the toughest marker to learn with. Oh well! I’ll be amazing right off the bat when I use others, right?

And I certainly do not need to own more markers.


Continuing on the frugal vein, I began by using tracing paper laid over free lined printouts from Kelly’s site. The tracing paper pad was 11″ x 14″ so I was tearing sheets into 11″ x 7″ halves. The pad has been around a while, so there are ripples in the pages from humidity. That makes those thin light lines look wobbly and skippy though, and is pretty frustrating.

I am also using notebook paper salvaged from spiral notebooks of my children’s school years and will continue to do so until I run out  — the perfect “use it up” situation in my mind. 

Can I actually be past the days of loading up a shopping cart with all the cool stuff I will ever need right NOW!?

Speaking of shopping. While shopping for supplies for a 3-day collage workshop (*swoon* you’ll see that soon OMG) I found nice flat tracing paper that’s 9″ x 12″ on sale and I stocked up! YAY! Flat paper is pretty amazing LOL

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During those three out-of-town workshop days, I kept up with my nightly practice, choosing the my own words (above) and staying up late. And using my new flat tracing paper! That Sunday evening when I returned home however — I was done. So tired that I didn’t even want to sit up to do this meditative-like practice. There will never be a Day 10/100, but it was worth it! 

So that’s my brush lettering journey — from the first-ever days of pencil practice: 

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… to my latest: Day 16/100 of Gail’s brush lettering practice during the last 100 days of 2017 (38 days since the pencil work just above.)

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Hope you have a happy colorful fall!