When I’m Not Writing: Crafting

I’ve told you about some of my favorite things to do when I’m not writing, like watching musicals. Today I wanted to tell you about what’s probably my favorite of all my hobbies—crafting.

I’m a pretty creative person. You need to be in order to write. I love to make up stories and create new characters and places. But I also feel the need to work with my hands and use my creativity in tangible and visual ways. That’s where crafting comes in.

My love of crafting started at a young age. My mom was my Girl Scout troop leader, taught children’s classes at the park district, and taught my church classes. All of these activities involved a lot of crafts. I loved making anything and everything. As an adult, I still love to create art and other projects.

Jewelry-Making

I’ve been making jewelry for over half of my life now. I still love buying beads in all different colors and creating beautiful patterns. Jewelry-making is so relaxing and lets me clear my head when I’m stuck on whatever I’m writing.

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Coloring

Another activity I do to relax and clear my head is to color. I only got into coloring in the last year or so, but it’s quickly become one of my favorite activities. And not only is coloring really relaxing, it’s also one of my favorite ways to dig into God’s word. I do this through scripture coloring books which allow me to draw closer to God while I’m relaxing.

Planners

Being a stay-at-home writer, I don’t have too much to schedule in my life, but I have fallen in love with the creative planners that have been trending lately. Every Friday, I spend an hour or so designing the next week’s pages. I fill in everything that needs to get done, and then I decorate the pages with stickers and lots of color. I include inspirational quotes, decorative flowers and washi tape, and a prayer list for each week. I love getting to look at my decorations and the inspirational quotes as I get ready for each day.

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Gift-Giving

Lastly, I love to craft when it comes to gift-giving. I have tons of card-making supplies so that I can make everyone a card that’s individual to them. I also love giving homemade gifts like fleece blankets. For my husband, I usually will make him something with pictures, like this picture wall I made him for Valentine’s Day last year.

Crafting allows me to be creative with my hands, clear my head when I need to work out a writing problem, and even draw closer to God. There is nothing better than creating something, whether I’m writing stories or making a homemade gift.

Christmas Traditions

It’s almost Christmas!

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I love this time of year. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than Christmas lights, and I love all of the decorations. My husband even put my engagement ring under the Christmas tree in his apartment when he proposed to me. I just love that we get to celebrate Jesus’ birth each year with all of the beautiful decorations, Christmas cookies, and family. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Some of my favorite decorations are the houses that make up my mom’s ceramic Christmas village. Every year we set it up under their tree, and I love all of the beautiful lights. I don’t have a ceramic village myself, but I do have my Lego Christmas village.

I love to bake, so making Christmas cookies is always a lot of fun. My family have always made these butter cookies that we call Silver Bells, and they’re delicious.

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But my favorite of all of our Christmas traditions is what my family does on Christmas Eve. We go to see a movie in the afternoon, eat Chinese and chicken for dinner, and then open presents while watching A Christmas Story. Then my dad always reads The Night Before Christmas before we go to bed. Sadly my husband and I will have to miss the movie this year because we won’t be able to make it over to Columbus in time after church (it’s okay though, we’ll have already seen Star Wars twice by then), but I can’t wait to do everything else with my family and celebrate with his family on Christmas day.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

When I’m Not Writing: Watching Musicals

In addition to making jewelry and coloring, one of my favorite things to do when I’m not writing is watch musicals. One of my first memories is when my mom took me to see my very first musical—a community theater production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Seeing this show when I was little launched a lifetime love of musicals.

I love musicals because I love music, and getting to see stories presented in other formats has always been fascinating to me as a book lover/writer. Using music is such an interesting way to tell a story. Plus it makes the stories easier to remember because songs are pretty easy to commit to memory. I can (badly) sing almost the entirety of Joseph and Les Misérables.

I also think that watching musicals can be helpful to writers. Along with watching movies and television, reading comics and poetry, and even acting, seeing stories presented in different formats than fiction writing can be beneficial.

Other forms of stories can infuse your fiction writing and make it richer. For example, I, like many teenagers, couldn’t understand a word Shakespeare wrote until I was cast in a high school play that modernized scenes from various Shakespeare plays. Getting the chance to act out what I was reading allowed me to truly understand it. I can still remember some of my lines from that play, and now I can read Shakespeare with ease. I love his poetry and some of his themes have an influence on my work.

My favorite musicals are Les Mis, Joseph, Cinderella, Shrek, and Phantom of the Opera. My new obsessions are Wicked and Newsies, which I’ve both recently seen for the first time. I’ve gotten to see all of these live except for Shrek and Newsies, but I hope to see them someday. There is nothing quite as powerful as seeing these amazing stories acted out live.

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My Playbills from the professional shows I’ve seen, including Les Mis and Cinderella on Broadway.

Fall Favorites

Today is the first day of fall! I love when seasons change. I like the idea of fresh starts and entering into new phases. And each season brings with it something new and exciting. These are some of my favorite things about fall:

Back-to-School
I love school. I love to learn and school was always so much fun for me. Sadly I’m not in school anymore. But my husband is, which means Saturday morning library dates. Wright State University has a beautiful library, and we love to go there on the weekends to enjoy coffee and catch up on work.

Fall Candles
I’m one of the few who actually don’t like pumpkin spice lattes and everything else they’ve added pumpkin spice to. But I love how it smells. I love the flowery scents of my spring and summer candles, but my favorites are all of the spiced and pumpkin scents.

Fall Candles

Sweaters and Flannels
I love sweater weather. Sweaters and flannels are just so comfy and cozy. I wish we didn’t have 90 degree weather here in Ohio today so I could wear a sweater.

Apples
Fall means apples, and honeycrisp apples are my absolute favorite. My husband and I are planning on going to an apple festival next weekend, so I’m definitely going to get a big bag of honeycrisp.

My Birthday
My birthday is in the fall, towards the end of October, so of course that makes me love fall even more. My sister also has an October birthday and tomorrow we’re going to see Wicked as an early birthday present from our parents.

Books!
Colder weather means spending more time inside, and I love to curl up with a good book when the weather turns cold. Some books on my fall TBR are A Lily at Dawn (a book by a writer friend of mine), The Selection Series (for I think the fifth time), and In a Handful of Dust (the companion novel to Not a Drop to Drink).

Fall TBR

Our Second Wedding Anniversary

Tuesday, August 1st was my second wedding anniversary. I can’t believe my wonderful husband and I have already been married for two years. It feels like just two days ago that I met the cute boy next door and realized we worked together at our university’s writing center, and it feels like yesterday that I married him.

I’ll never forget how wonderful our wedding was. Our parents threw us the best wedding I could have imagined. We decided to get married at Wright State, since that was where we met and fell in love, so we had our ceremony and reception at Wright State’s Nutter Center’s beautiful Berry Room.

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These past two years have been the best years of my life. We have been truly blessed by God with a wonderful life together, and I can’t wait to see what plans he has in store for us going forward.

This week we celebrated our anniversary by recreating part of our honeymoon, just like we did last year for our first anniversary. On Monday we went to the Ohio State Fair to see one of our favorite bands, For King and Country. And on Tuesday we took a river cruise on the Ohio River and had a wonderful meal while looking at Cincinnati’s beautiful skyline. I had so much fun on the cruise and at the fair that I hope we continue our tradition of doing this for each of our anniversaries.

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My husband is my rock. He supports me more than anyone and is always there for me. I love him so much, and am so grateful to have him by my side.

When I’m Not Writing: Coloring

I wrote last month that one of my favorite things to do when I’m not writing is make jewelry. One of my other favorite hobbies is to color.

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I mostly choose to color Christian coloring books, because when I’m coloring something with scripture it becomes a much more fulfilling experience. Reflecting on God’s word while doing the relaxing activity of coloring helps me draw closer to God.

Since my last post on coloring, I’ve gone even more coloring crazy. I now have 12 books. I also now have a big set of markers and an electric pencil sharpener for my colored pencils sitting on my coffee table next to my coloring basket.

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Coloring is one of the most relaxing activities I’ve found. I love creating anything, and I love getting to work with my hands, so coloring is the perfect thing for me to do.

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When I’m Not Writing: Jewelry-Making

Though I do have stories running through the back of my head most of the time, I’m not actually writing all of the time. I thought I’d start sharing some of my other hobbies and things I like to do when I’m not writing. One of my favorite things to do is to make jewelry, which I’ve been doing for over half of my life now.

When I was eleven a friend taught me how to make simple bracelets out of embroidery floss. These bracelets were really easy and relaxing to make, and they started off a long list of things I like to do that involves working with my hands. I made so many of these little bracelets, and I loved going to craft stores and picking out new colors of floss.

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We moved back to Ohio just after I learned how to make these bracelets, and one of my new neighbors saw my interest in jewelry and taught me how to make beaded pieces. I have spent the last twelve years of my life making jewelry whenever I have time and selling it when I can.

I currently have almost 300 different kinds of beads. I have made almost every piece of jewelry that I wear. I just love all of the colorful beads and I feel at peace when I’m making patterns and stringing beads. These are some of my favorite pieces I’ve made. I wore the blue bracelet on my wedding day.

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I recently found a way to link my jewelry-making and my writing in an exciting project called Hope Bracelets, which you can read about here. I hope to find more ways to combine my two passions in the future.

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So if I have free time in the evenings after a day of writing, you can find me spread out on the floor of our living room with my 18 cases of beads, making patterns and creating beautiful jewelry.

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