You know what I love? When you discover you have more in common with someone than you originally thought. For example, you're talking to someone you've known for a while and the conversation turns to books. All of a sudden, you realize you've read the same books, like the same authors, etc. Then one of you says "oh, have you read....?" and you both end up adding a whole bunch more books to your Must-Read List.

Books I read in 2012:

  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (highly recommended)
  • Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple (highly recommended)
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (highly recommended)
  • The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
  • The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
  • The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
  • A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson (highly recommended)
  • House Rules by Jodi Picoult
  • The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  • Cute Little Store by Adeena Mignona

Here's what's on my Must-Read List for 2013:

  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • The Middlesteins by Jamie Attenberg
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

What were your favorite books in 2012? And what's on your Must-Read List for next year?

It's about time...

I've been thinking a lot about this blog. I love it, but sometimes writing it becomes a chore. Not so much the writing -- I love writing, and it comes easily -- but the pressure to share fresh ideas -- creative stuff! -- can be a little overwhelming.

The truth is: I don't have the opportunity to create a new layout or project every day. I wish I did...someday I might. Just not right now.

I still scrapbook. Quite a bit, actually. But much of my work is assignment-based, and lots of times I can't post the things I make until weeks or even months later. By that time, the excitement has passed and it seems like old news.

There's plenty of other excitement in my life:

a new house that needs renovating

kids that want to tackle projects of their own (with my help, of course!),

a husband that needs his share of my attention

friends I want to catch up with

recipes I want to try

the full-time job that pays my bills...

the list goes on and on.

I can bend your ear for hours on any of these topics, but they rarely appear on this blog. I use Facebook for quick updates on what I'm thinking and doing, along with the accompanying Instagram now and then. But here's the problem: I limit my words on Facebook for fear of clogging up someone's News Feed, so I rarely get all my thoughts out on any given topic. And that's why I keep thinking about this blog.

I have this open forum. There is no limit on word count. There are no rules that I only have to talk about scrapbooking. It's MY blog. Can't I use it for whatever I want to talk about?

Well, okay then!

I feel better already.

In the spirit of my newly discovered freedom to post whatever I want, I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our family:

That's her on the right. Her name is Lindsey, and I found her in the city animal shelter near my office. Cecily wanted a hamster for Christmas, and I just couldn't get my head around that. (Plus, I was afraid the dog on the left, a Jack Russell Terrier, would find a way to eat it.) So Cecily got a dog instead, and Lindsey got a forever-home for Christmas. And everyone's happy.

Well, except for that dog on the left.

Thanks for sticking with me. I promise there will be inspiration in here somewhere. You just might have to scroll a bit further to find it.