Looking for answers to life's questions

I’m really not trying to fool anyone here. I am no artist in any capacity but as I had all of Julia Cameron’s books out two weeks ago as well as my workbook, I was inspired.

When my daughter came for our Saturday together, I put on the tea kettle and she started her laundry. We sat down to decide what we would do with our day. I was thinking at first of helping her start on a summer dress that is waiting to be made. Then it occurred to me that I was ready for something out of the ordinary.

Ms. Cameron is very big on Artist’s Dates to unblock creativity. They should be done alone but I drive very little these days while my daughter is an excellent chauffeur. I suggested that after we had our brunch out at Bob’s Red Mill where she could do some grocery shopping for the following week, we go to a thrift store, a dollar store and another little junk shop nearby for some inspiration.

I found notebook paper for a dollar to put into the binder I’ve had for at least 20 years that has been only used for decor so far. It is now the holder of my morning pages. Then we decided to go look in a fun antique consignment shop in a suburb where she once worked to see any changes. It’s been three years at least since our last visit. This time I saw the soda fountain. How did I not notice it before? We purchased nothing but had a good time looking.

Directly across the street from where we parked was a new shop. K. Marie Vintage Ephemera. I had to go look. So much was French inspired and they were offering classes in making interesting things with paper and ribbons, etc. I know we spent a good twenty minutes browsing. I could have stayed much longer but it would have been rude as I would be purchasing nothing. Too many hobbies already.

Next door to the Vintage Shop was a…CHOCOLATE shop! My daughter, trying to be ever helpful of my diet insisted on walking me right past it and kept going. My two-year-old self almost had a meltdown. You could not pass this place and not go in! I opened the door for her and pushed her through. It was like time travel. Their chocolates and sweets were mostly from France and they had a Parisian theme going on as well as very vintage. It’s called “Enchante.” I was in love and there was as much eye candy as edible candy. It was like Alice going down the rabbit hole.

We left with only one piece of rich, dark chocolate each. I had to have a lemon marshmallow and my daughter got raspberry. We saw wish candles and tiny tiara’s plus so much more. We left with the wish candles and I think a tiny crown will find it’s way to her birthday package when I can get someone to take me back there.

Chocolate bees in the tree

I was feeling like an artist afterwards and inspired enough to continue work on a crazy quilt that has been on hold. More on that later. I think we will do this once a month.

Do you take yourself places that are out of the ordinary in your own town to inspire you or are you a strictly routine kind of person?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Comments on: "An Artist’s Date" (80)

  1. I’m either unlucky, or lucky if you look at it the other way, that there aren’t that many interesting places to visit where I live. It limits my options, but it also removes temptations I’d find it hard to resist!

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    • I had a very hard time with rural living. As an introvert, I still require outside inspiration on occasion. I absolutely love living on the edge of a big city. Gives me quiet when I want and then I can explore when so moved. I had to be within 45 min of an airport so people could come visit. I also needed to be close to my daughter as I age not so gently. 😉 Temptation is easy when the pocket book is empty. 😉

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      • Living on the edge of a small (80,000) city, I have all that life requires, except the delicious, exquisite, inspirational and aspirational. But my airport’s only 20 minutes away 😉

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      • The town I lived in before this one had 8, 000 people in winter, 30,000 in summer. Airport 4 hours away down windy mountain roads. LOVE where I’m at now. But blogging makes our world a bit bigger. 80, 000 is a good size. Someone there should be able to produce, delicious, exquisite, inspirational, and aspirational! I mean, for goodness sake, you live there! You are all of those things.

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      • That’s very kind, Marlene, but I sometimes feel the need of something other than farming and mining necessities. We have no patisserie, deli, chocolate shop, antiques shops, good book shops, etc. On the other hand, I know exactly where to go if I wanted to buy a ride-on mower, cane harvester, chain saw, fake tan, fishing rods, boat, or bulk animal feed….

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      • ;( So sorry. I’m with you. That’s why I moved, partly. I’m not ashamed to admit I need more of those kinds of places. I don’t need to buy a lot, just have access to see a lot. 😉

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  2. Oh my gosh! Every place is wonderful. How did you not buy everything???

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  3. WOW! What fun shops you have!

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    • Aren’t they though. I hadn’t been there in years and they are less than 30 min from my house. I miss being comfortable with driving. We will have to see what else we can find locally. 🙂 Have a wonderfilled weekend.

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  4. What great places! We visited Kerrytown this week here where I live and there are so many interesting artists shops there and you never know what you’ll find. There’s a paper supply store there for bookbinding, fine arts, cardmaking and basically all things paper from all over the world. I defaulted to the origami area because im determined to be good at it, lol. Julia camerons books are such a staple for creative encouragement, writing and inspiration!

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    • In what state is Kerrytown? I’m trying to get time to read a bit of your blog to find out. I couldn’t find your follow button either so when I get home tonight, I’ll research further. I love all those kinds of stores and almost have one in my own home. Would never have to leave here to have creative things to play with. Sometimes you just need to see what’s out there to get moving again. I love being around artistic people as they inspire me to do things with what I have. Thanks for stopping by.

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      • We live in ann arbor, michigan and kerrytown is an old little shopping district there. Really great world foods as well as interesting artists! I think you can find it under ‘shops at kerrytown ann arbor’, some of your pics definitely reminded me of it. Its a great city to be inspired by creative people and the world class art fair is arriving downtown next weekend which brings people and artists from all over the world, pretty exciting!

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      • I’ll go have a look. I saw in the blog of yours that I’m reading now that you are in Ann Arbor. Lots of interruptions to my day. Come on Sunday! 🙂

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      • Agreed! Ive had plumbers and well guys at my house all morning who felt so bad about all the work my utility room is gonna need that they didnt even bill me for the hours they were here! 😂😂😂 Need the weekend indeed!

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  5. Oh my, I would have loved to have joined you and your daughter, Marlene. What a fun outing! I’m loving that vintage soda fountain. What a great place to people watch. By the way, after you last post, I purchased two of Julia’s books. 🙂

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    • Oh dear, two more to read. I’m slow and always have so many going at once. I so wanted to sit and get an ice cream soda there. Just to say I had. Trying to drop some excess me though. Portland, Or has lots of little suburbs with fun places if you look for them. Bet your town does too. 🙂 Have a wonderfilled weekend, Jill and thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Oh, lots of inspiration here–it’s a great idea to go out and browse and see what ideas are sparked!

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    • It was so much fun, I want to do it more often but not while we are having a heat wave. I think this weekend will be a sewing weekend. 🙂 Bet you have lots of fun places close by too. Have a wonderfilled weekend.

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  7. I love that you shared your trip with us. I wish I had been there with you because it all looked delightful! I don’t think I would have left with only one piece of candy though…I think I would have needed 2! I’m glad you had such a great adventure day Marlene! xo

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    • Thanks so much, Yvonne. I didn’t even know those shops were there! And so close to home. I wanted more but I’m trying hard to have less of me so we restrained ourselves. Sometimes, the fun is in the seeing. Wish you had been here too. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderfilled weekend. Hugs.

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  8. I think that it’s better to give time between visits to little places like you showed. You go too often and it all gets routine, but putting time between visits allows the brain to forget a bit, and then the wonders seem even more impressive and fun!

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    • Exactly right, Deb!! We may try for a once a month or two to find new, out of our beaten path places. It challenges us to expand our bubble and minds. Thanks for the visit. Have a wonderfilled weekend.

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  9. Marlene, I too love downtown Milwaukie, Oregon! All the little antique shops and their Sunday farm market are fabulous. Occasionally we’ve eaten at some of the restaurants there. Tasty menus and not to spendy! The summer dress looks like it’s going to be cool in hot weather, and cute to be dressed in!
    In regards to you not being an “artist”, I will have to strongly disagree with you! All the sewing, quilting, gardening, writing and inspiring you do more than qualifies you for that title! Every time I put my cup on one of those cute coasters you made for me, or when the bowl cozy protects my fingers from a hot bowl while eating I think of you and admire how seamlessly (no pun intended! 😉) you merge so many of your talents. To me it’s never about how much one has, but what one does and how does it with what one has. And at that, you excel! I always feel inspired by you! 😊

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Sabine. Once the heat wave finally breaks, maybe in October, I’ll be ready to go hunt down some more interesting places. The lemon marshmallow was so unique!!! I’m heading out to an embroidery class today to learn another new technique. 😉 Like I don’t have enough to do. 😉 I hate the heat. Have a cool and relaxing weekend.

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  10. What an amazing, serendipitous day you had! Were all these shops in Milwaukie? I think I remember the chocolate shop from when we lived there. I feel like an artist just reading your post! Have a great weekend and stay cool. 😎

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  11. Wow! What a great day! I wish we had so many interesting, inspiring, and fabulous shops around my town. There’s only so much inspiration you can get from Walmart, you know?? 🙂 You’re so lucky to live near all that good stuff.

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    • I used to live in a place where Walmart shut down all the fun and interesting places. That’s why I live here. No Walmart. I live with so much less in a way but so much more in others. I love to go to small towns where they still have main street shops and good quilt shops. The quilt shops are the first thing I look for but even here, so many are closing. 😦

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    • I hit what I thought was a return button and sent before ready. I appreciate your situation more than you know. Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. Those books are good – they got you out and looking and being creative! I’ve not read any of her books. I do like to watch videos of creative people doing creative things though – it helps get me going. Those shops all sound delightful. I don’t go window shopping or looking for exotic places – that’s too much strain for my income to bear 😀 But I love to see what is out there and that ephemera shop would have been a real strain 🙂

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    • Other than a piece of chocolate, a marshmallow and a dollars worth of paper we spent nothing. I don’t have it either. Brunch was on my daughter. She has a job and overtime pay. 😉 Oh, I forgot about the bubbles to remind us to play more. 🙂 U-tube is wonderful.

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  13. This is wonderful, and I love out of the way places!

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  14. I had the book the artists way for many years and I agree you have to fill the well of creativity, to keep going creatively.
    I was blocked for many years and could only follow patterns where others trod. This year I seem to have unblocked myself and it happened quite quickly. I bought a book called 365 days of art. Day one- colour in a pattern. So I found my crayons and coloured… that led me to finding other bits and bobs, and then to using them.
    Hope you find some fun crafty activity! In the menatime I think her next advice is to play!
    You had a wonderful day out. I went to a quilt exhibition yesterday , full of ideas from there.
    I am lucky I think to live in a small town with a wool shop and a deli, antique shops, a church with medieval wall paintings, a steam railway and a castle, seaside is 17 miles away, the lovely old city of York 25 miles away ad the moors five miles away. I have no excuse!

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    • Thank you for all the wonderful ideas, Cathy!! I’ll look for that book too. I’m glad to hear you found a way to break the pattern chain and move forward on your own. I’ve seen many of your posts on trips and you are blessed to have so many inspirational places to go. I have always wanted to visit your part of the world. My daughter watch “Escape to the Country” on Netflix on Saturdays when she comes. It’s as close as we can get for now. At least you take me with you vicariously. Love seeing your area.

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  15. What an excellent idea to have an artist’s date with the added bonus of an artistic chocolate store.

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  16. I love shopping at thrift stores and antique shops! I don’t do much with the visual arts, but I am always looking for vintage cookbooks. 🙂

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  17. What a delightful day. If only I could have been there, too. How could one not be completely inspired with such a plethora of wonderful, eclectic stores to browse? The Dollar Store and any flea market makes my day. You know those stores that claim to be antique stores, yet 90 percent is just old and fun? My heaven. Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Marlene!

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  18. Marlene – one of the things that I love about you is your knack for making ordinary things EXTRAORDINARY! A day out on the town could have been stressful, and with a “just get it done” feeling. But all these beautiful things you mention here made it a magical day and that warms my heart so much! It sounds wonderful and incredible and how awesome that you discovered the “fountain” or that you got to go to the chocolate shop. That sounds wonderful and delicious and like a wonderfully sweet moment with your daughter. Thank you for sharing. Your stories are inspiring because they make me think about how I can also make ordinary moments just EXTRAORDINARY! You, my friend, ARE EXTRAORDINARY!!

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Cynthia. 🙂 It’s all in how you look at things. My perspective has sharpened over these last couple of years. Especially this last one. It’s like Einstein’s comment. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” I so believe in the miracle of life. I appreciate your visit. Hugs.

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  19. I confoutess I read three of your posts, then began responding with the oldest. So I have obv. become confused and responded to this one there. (have I confused you, too, now?) Oh, well . . . I love your day out and that you have a daughter to do these things with. So nice . . .

    I drooled over the furniture in the photo and even more over the sign in the soda fountain. I think I would have sat there in spite of needing to continue downsizing myself. John F. Kennedy inspired me so much when I was young and after he, his brother and Martin Luther King were killed, I sort of lost hope and direction for a long time. I never planned for this part of my life because I honestly never thought any of us would still be here by now. (yes, I know!!) He wasn’t perfect, but he was right for so many in my generation; bringing a new way of thinking and living. I still love his “Ask not” speech.

    I will say nothing about the paper shop. Or the chocolate shop. 🙂

    I have mixed feelings about where I want to live. I adore small shops like those and we had plenty in Victoria, BC when I first moved there back in the Dark Ages. But things move on and all things change, etc. etc. etc.

    I loved living in the country and even further out, but then I had someone to share the days and the work with and it was all different. The weeks in the Surrey cottage have made me think about ways I might go forward. Sharing a space with a (very) like-minded person might be one. How to find one, though . . . it’s all so much easier when we are young (or does it just look that way through the mists of advancing age?). I want time from now on for creativity, learning, arts and music. And I love sharing and discussing ideas. But I’m very introverted and need my own time, too. So I go back and forth. In BC, the smaller towns don’t have much in the way of health care facilities, which is fine for now, as my health is generally good (it’s the fitness that needs work).

    Oh, well, enough said. You just seem to spark thoughts in me . . .

    Big hugs to you, but cool ones LOL. ~ Linne

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  20. Lovely to read you got to go and visit a place you had not been in a while.. Its always nice to go and do spur of the moment things.. We went a walk on Sunday to a place we had not been in a while.. And was rewarded with butterflies, rabbits and squirrels..
    Thank you for sharing your precious day together..
    Sending MUCH love to you Marlene.. ❤
    Sue xx

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    • I had never been inside the chocolate shop nor aware of the vintage shop. But love even more the sight of butterflies, rabbits and squirrels. Those sights are rare too and much treasured. Thanks for stopping by and enjoying our fun day. Sending back much love and hugs, Sue.

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      • My pleasure, I just looked at the time Marlene, and its past 11pm. so off to bed.. Much love.. and thank you for your lovely support, it means a lot to me.. Night night.. ❤

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  21. I’m not a shopper, but yes, I like to explore new stores to be inspired, to get ideas, but usually, not to buy. Unless it’s a chocolate shop (of course!), or a card shop – love to buy new cards to send to friends/relatives. Jewelry shops I like to peruse and drool. I rarely go into clothing stores (ugh, hate trying on dresses). Oh, and I do LOVE to explore new flower shops – there, I always come home with a fresh bloom.
    What a great post!

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    • My shopping days are long gone as well. I don’t buy clothes anymore. If I shop, it’s to help my daughter find something. But to find things to inspire creativity or my palate, I’m always going to find a way to drag myself out. I love cards too and need to get one out in the mail TODAY!! Thank you for the reminder. I love flowers at the farmers market and will bring some home on a rare occasion. Exploring is a good word for this. I’m not a buyer of things anymore. Just more an observer. It’s fun and no dusting involved. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  22. Love the Vintage paper crafts shop and even more the chocolate shop!! 😄 Those paper shoes are adorable, really like the idea of wri ting on one’s shoes…maybe I can find some old canvas shoes and try to write on them as wearing paper is a bit unrealistic. 😉
    I’ve begun reading The Artist’s Way and just reached the part about the Artist Dates. 😊 And I think as long as you take someone with you who shared your enthusiasm and joy over finding inspiring and lovely things it’s completely okay to have someone accompany you and I bet your daughter is the best company. 😊
    Have fun working on that quilt!!

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    • My daughter and I are on the same wavelength in so very many ways. We were having an Artist’s Date in the same place at the same time. It definitely wouldn’t be that wonderful with someone who didn’t understand what it was all about. I like your idea of writing on white canvas shoes. I’ve been looking for some as well as I had previously thought about painting on them. 🙂 I’m glad you are enjoying the book so far. Anxious to hear where you go on your Artist’s Date. 🙂 Thanks for the visit.

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      • That´s so wonderful that you and your daughter are on the same wavelength, Marlene! I know the feeling well as my mum and I share the same one too. 🙂
        I´ve been on my first Artist´s Date on Thursday, and my mum went along though we strolled for about an hour on our own until meeting up again after that and do some strolling together and it was just so lovely! I´ve been to a little shop I haven´t been to in a long time and that sells all kinds of artist supplies and kitsch too – I had a great time wandering around it and couldn´t resist temptation and bought some new sketch and notebooks and a cute little rain poncho decorated with Llamas that´s actually supposed to be worn by kids but I fell in love with it and now can´t wait to try it out when it rains – which very likely will be a while because this year has been very dry so far and there´s no improvement in sight sadly. But when it comes I´m prepared in the best way possible. 😉
        Have a wonderfilled weekend! 🙂

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      • I think it’s wonderful that you and your mother are also on the same wavelength. I couldn’t say that about mine. You will have to post a photo of the poncho and finds on your Artist’s Date. It’s so much fun, isn’t it? We won’t see rain till maybe late October. I know what you are talking about. Have a wonderfilled weekend yourself.

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      • Maybe I’ll include those finds in my Changing Seasons post or will write an individual post about it. 😊

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  23. And a good time was had by all! What a good day you and your daughter had. And such admirable restraint with the chocolate. And of course I love the sign about new voyages of discovery by seeing things anew.

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    • Thank you, Cynthia. We did have a wonderfilled day though my poor feet were rebelling at the end. The sign on the notebook is a Mary Engelbreit design. I love her artwork and have quite a bit of it.

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  24. I like stay-cations the best for just that reason. There is so much to see in my home state within a day’s drive. So much is inspiring, whether it’s a nature walk, delicious food, or a shopping excursion. I’d never thought of it as an artist’s date. I need to see what this author is all about.

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  25. Such a lovely Artist Date, Marlene! It must be a bit of pure serendipity that I read your post today. Just this morning, I began reading The Artist’s Way (for the first time). While working through It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, I discovered how just wonderful Artist Dates can be! Antique shops are some of my favorite places to explore. Like you, I always take photos to remind me of the inspiration that I find along the way. Many of the ideas (colors, patterns, textures, etc.) have found their way into my papercrafting! I keep a list of ideas for places to visit or revisit on my upcoming Artist Dates. Here’s to creative inspiration everywhere we find it! Wishing you a lovely week ahead, Marlene! ♡

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    • Oh, Dawn! I’m so delighted to see you here! I haven’t had word of a post from you for awhile and was wondering if I had not been getting notification. I’m reading “It’s Never too Late” also. My son bought it for me for Mother’s day and I never have enough time to read. Even today, a friend is dropping by so my time here will be shortened. Do love a physical friend though. 🙂 I’m still playing with quilts and embroidery and the rest will have to wait till winter, I expect. Summer is just so FULL! 🙂 I do hope you find both books worth the time. I loved reading Julia Cameron’s story too. 🙂

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      • It’s been so busy this Summer that I’ve been slower to post, Marlene. However, there is a new post today. So, you can check to see if you receive notification from WP. I love knowing that we are reading the same books together! 🙂

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  26. Eeeep! What fun shops to visit. I always prefer the ‘one-of’ shops to chains for the varied merchandise and decor idea’s. The chocolate Bee’s on that tree is just awesome. I often got to do the seasonal decor at Urban and it was so much fun. Nothing that spectacular though.

    Of course there’s going to be the ‘grocery-gas-wine store’ days, but I’m all about finding these little gems on special days and even more fun if you can go with a friend. I was at an all day crop yesterday at Treasured Memories and just bagged today. Lot’s of fun, though I departed early with a tummy ache. I had pop, which I never do and made my tummy feel like a ball of painful knots. Next time, I’ll take a jug of water.

    Toodles Noodles, happy Sunday xo K

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    • I’m so happy to see you enjoyed to shops with us. 🙂 They are my favorite kind as well. An all day crop sounds fun. Have not seen anything around here like that or I would be all over it. Soda is not ever on my list even if there is nothing. One sip and my legs cramp so bad that I’m writhing with pain. Pulls the calcium right out of your bones. Could be why so many of us have osteoporosis. Who knew and they give it to children forming bones. Good that you will take a jug of water next time. Happy Sunday, Sweetie. 🙂

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  27. Timelesslady said:

    I have three Julia Cameron books. She is a terrific writer. I go on Artist Dates too, but not as regularly as I should. I do a bit of the morning pages, but not quite three pages. Sigh. I love Mary Engelbreit too. I have a pull off page a day calender this year with her art and quotes. After I pull them off I make collage notebook fronts…the kind they sell at this time of year as a real bargain. They turn out so cute. Love thrift stores…oh did I tell you…I LOVE your post.

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  28. It’s a great idea to “shake things up,” as I call it. I do that when driving. I take a different route, just to knock my brain out of her rut. Coming home from Longview one day with Tara, I turned west toward Clatskanie instead of east toward Rainier. “What are you doing?” Tara asked, a little alarmed. “Just going home. We can get there this way too.” They thought about it awhile and relaxed back into the seat. “Oh. Yeah. That’s right.” I love changing my perspective as a way to get my brain going, thought patterns onto new tracks. Your idea was such a good one! And chocolate stores are clearly there for inspiration! Good for you both in taking only one piece each. Listening to your voice in this post, I see that the idea worked and inspiration happened.

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    • My father-in-law always said to never come home the way you went out. I will drive every road in this park to go a different way each time. Sometimes I let the GPS get me lost so we can find our way back together. It’s fun. Keeps the circuits hot. 😉 You are so right about that. Hope you are staying cool.

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