Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Journal Sparks Review and Give-Away!


Was it really 2012 when I reviewed Emily's first book? It honestly feels like some time last week. But no. Almost 5 years ago. Which means that Birdy was, what, 2 years old then? Sigh. The math is not soothing my heart. She was 9? Because now she is 14, holding Emily's new book. But some things never change. Emily's inspirational brilliance, for one. 

Or Birdy's zeal with the Post-It notes, for another, marking project after project that she can't wait to try. Also, there are pages of gorgeous stickers at the end of this book--created from Emily's lovely little illustrations of such wonderful things as cacti and potion ingredients--and Birdy was beside herself about them because they were not in the original advance review copy we got. But I am getting ahead of myself. 


I wrote a blurb for this book, and although they edited it for sanity, this is it in its entirety: "Journal Sparks is our family’s favorite kind of any-age book—filled with friendly, fabulous imaginative prompts that you can use for journaling, of course, but also as approachably small, stand-alone creative projects. Plus, the artwork is just so crazily appealing. So, yes, you will want to climb into Emily’s inspiring world of pebbles and mice and cheese sandwiches, but, then, you’ll be too busy charting your own world of favorite things and places and words and dreams. You won’t even be able not to." 

You should follow Emily on instagram because then you can think to yourself: I should pick up a paint brush every day. And you won't pick one up every day, but you will pick one up sometimes, which is more than never. Buy yourself or your children this set of watercolors. They are the best.
Birdy's notebook, pre-hacking.
That is entirely true. As is the email I wrote to accompany the blurb: "This is such an incredible book. We are in love with it. Congratulations! Birdy's home sick, and we read it cover to cover, dying over all the projects we wanted to tackle--which is, like, all of them. Drawing a day's food! Making potions! The worst sandwich truck! And then just a million things that struck us: that magnified corn-cob tip, the page of clocks, Emily's lovely sensibility. Beautiful."


Birdy marked out VERY MANY projects, but she started with a pragmatic one from the "Journal Hacks" chapter, and this was making a pocket for her journal. And It turned into kind of a self-referential house of mirrors.


Because, well, the kitten got involved. 


And stayed involved. 

And then Birdy couldn't resist using the pocket she had made to comment on the circumstances of its making.


I'm about to get to the give-away, I am. But let me just show you a few more of the lovely things you'll find in this book. Also, while you look at them, you should picture Emily gorgeously across the street from me, visiting her wonderful parents who live there, and trailing after her the three most exquisite children. You can also picture her feeding our cats while we were college visiting last week. (Thank you, Emily!)


I love these two projects because they're identically simple and wonderful, but kind of opposites: in one, you use a marker to draw simple circular designs and then paint them. In another you paint simple shapes and then use a marker to draw into them--the way you might interpret a cloud. All of Emily's projects are approachable like this--totally undauntingly creative and just super-appealing.

"The stars we are given. The constellations we make." Rebecca Solnit
Okay, the give-away. Storey, the publisher, has generously offered to mail out a copy of the book! (The only requirement, sadly is that you have to live in the United States of Heinousness.) Just comment here to enter, and I will pick a winner on Friday at noon. If there are lots of entries, I might pick another winner too because life is so short, amiright? Also, because we love Storey! Did I mention the book Ava's mom Nicole and I wrote for them? Ha ha, I am being coy. More soon. In the mean time, please enter to win Journal Sparks. You will love it as much as we do.

125 comments:

  1. Oh, this looks delightful. I have a little still, but I want it now, and then to share when he gets a bit older!

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  2. What a lovely book. I would love to share it with my six-year-old son who believes that a day isn't worth living without falling down one hundred times and making something to show off at the end of the day!

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  3. This book looks amazing, and perfect for my son!

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  4. Oooo, my 7 year old daughter would love that! She loves making things and also writing in journals.

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  5. This looks great for me...I mean my kids!

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  6. This is fabulous, can't wait to pick up a copy! But would also love to win one.
    Lydia

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  7. What a joyous review! Almost makes up for living in the United States of Heinousness. ♥️

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  8. what a wonderful looking book! My 14 year old would love it, I know!

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  9. I mean, honestly, I'm probably going to go buy this right now, but thank you for the generous giveaway. An extra copy would make a cousin or friend of my journal-and-art-obsessed-9-year-old very happy.

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  10. Looks amazing! As does Stitch Camp! 😉

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  11. All the links are distracting me from commenting -- backpacks with girl scouts-ish patches/badges, watercolors named Koi 12, 18, 36 colors... This book might be just what it takes to make art in my life accessible.

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  12. Anonymous2:10 PM

    My almost 8-year old daughter would adore this!

    -Anu

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  13. My 8 year old would probably like this a lot!

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  14. I'd love to try this out with​my daughter!

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  15. I would like to shamelessly say that I would take this book and devour it myself. And then I would share it with my adult daughters and future grandchildren.

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  16. oh this looks so lovely!

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  17. This sounds amazing! Thank you.

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  18. Oh, this would be so great for my girl who turns 11 (how?!?!) in a few weeks.

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  19. This would make an amazing gift for my 10 year old niece!

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  20. My oh my - long time reader here (from the babycenter days). I have a Ben of my own who is the same age as your Ben, and we have been college looking as well. BUT, somehow, for reasons I don't quite understand, reading that you and your Ben are looking at colleges caught me by surprise. As I said- makes no sense - just all part of the "Cant Believe They Are This Old " thing that all mothers go through!

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    1. Monica, I commented below and then scrolled up to read the rest, and had to laugh at how ours are so similar. So glad we're all in this together!!

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  21. What a wonderful book! It would make an excellent gift :)

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  22. Entering just in case.... And thanks for the review! What an amazing book. I want it for myself AND the kiddos.

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  23. Karen4:12 PM

    College looking! I can hardly believe it!

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  24. Karen4:14 PM

    Also I am a teacher for kids ranging in age from 3-7 and we would devour that book!! It looks super fun!

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  26. Karen4:29 PM

    Sorry! I'm not trying to enter three times! I just had to say I just visited Emily's website and WOW I'm so inspired!!! She is just so great!

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  27. Yours is the third or fourth lovely review I've read of this book and I'm starting to feel like I need it right now!!

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  28. Okay, definitely ordering Stitch Camp (love!) and also Journal Sparks (depending on my luck) BUT, that mention of college visits totally took my breath away. Your Ben is only a year ahead of my Glen, yet I am still in denial about the oldness of these kids! After all these years ("since the babycenter days") you'd think I'd have a better handle on that, sheesh.

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  29. This looks wonderful, and just the kind of thing my 12yo would love.

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  30. this looks so great for my girl!

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  31. This looks like such a lovely book. My daughter would have so much fun with it. I so admire her drawing (a skill I don't really have!)

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  32. I know so many young folks who would love this book!

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  33. The book looks amazing! And, can I just... you were college visiting because that's, maybe, something your family likes doing, yes? Like checking out other town's burger place, or ice cream shop, or odd not-quite-antique store full of stuff? Certainly not because Ben is old enough to be thinking about college. Right? Must be.

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  34. Corina5:05 PM

    Can't wait to check this book out with my girls! And buy it for friends this year as gifts!

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  35. This looks so fun! My 8 year old would love it.

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  36. dale in denver5:19 PM

    United States of Heinousness.

    You slay me.

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  37. This looks so fun! I work at a college and lots of people are college looking right now!

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  38. College visits - ARGH!! Creative journaling is just what we need to get through it.

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  39. Oh My! This books looks so fun. I can't wait to explore it more!

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  40. this looks fab & perfect to bring to my favourite young pal (my collaborator's daughter) in Sydney, Oz. Isabella loves to draw & this would be the cat's meow!

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  41. Oh, so fun! Is it bad I'd want it for myself and not to share with my children, who are no-fun tween and teen boys?

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  42. This book looks fun to explore!

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  43. Looks like a lot of fun. And Snapper! Such luxuriant ear hair for a little guy.

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  44. Looks amazing- and I will probably order now for my 10 and 8 year olds... and if luck passes my way it will be a perfect gift for our neighbor who is 11! And... did I miss something on getting a kitten? Because I must have missed something because Snapper is a new one to me...

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  45. I love the idea of this book and know my 11 year old would be head over heels for it!!

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  46. This seems like the perfect book for my super crafty 10 year old and my slightly art project phobic 11 year old to be able to use together for ideas. It looks amazing!

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  47. Oh my! This looks amazing! My daughter is way too young for it but I'll have to keep this in mind as she grows.

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  48. This looks awesome! I'm a substitute teacher, and this seems like it would be full of ideas for things to do with the kids when there's extra time.

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  49. Love this. Thank you!

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  51. My 13yo girl would love this. I would, too.
    We are diving into the world of college visits with her big brother.
    *sigh*

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  52. So much information! A fabulous book being given away, you and Ava's mom wrote a craft book, and...college visits?!?!?

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  53. My 14 year old daughter does so love her screens. But she also loves her pens and markers and paintbrushes and washi tape and knitting, and I hope she always will.

    And we are doing college visits for the first time too. I'm not sure what would happen if you ever stopped writing - I've been reading you since 2000 when my first son was born and continued when my daughter was born in 2002 and through to just now. I'm thankful for what you offer the world.

    I'm not just saying that to get the book. Although I would really love the book.

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  54. Oh I have a little girl who would devour this (and hopefully occasionally ask for my assistance).

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  55. Oooh, this looks like oodles of fun. I'd share it with my twin niece and nephews and we'd have at it all summer and beyond.

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  56. Ooh! I've been eyeing this book! A book that me and my 10 year old daughter will enjoy doing together!! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  57. This looks like such a fun book!

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  58. If this will get my kids to engage in another craft besides ceaseless slime production, then I'm in!!

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  59. Oh this is so right up our alley! Plus college holy cow!?

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  60. oh! my own 14 yr old is upstairs playing with watercolors. this would be a lovely surprise for her. :)

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  61. What a lovely book. My daughter loves the creative process just like Birdy. Thanks for all the links!

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  62. Could a journal get any more fun than this? Love it so much!!!!

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  63. Love it. And you. 👍🏽

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  64. What a cool book!

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  65. How fun! Definitely keen to check this out with my kids.

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  66. My daughter would love this!

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  68. I'm ready for a spark of creativity! This book looks terrific!

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  69. Looks like just the thing I need for when the two teenage grandgirlies visit this summer.

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  70. I am sure this will make summer better for my kids (and I'm not going to lie, for me too)

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  71. My daughter is only 2 but I could really use this myself!

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  72. Oh! Please send it to me. My kids would love it, plus we live in West Virginia, which on election day felt like the very epicenter of the United States of Heinousness. Of course, now the place is all apple-blossomy, and all of my lovely neighbors are their usual tractor-lending, garden-advising, children-watching selves, so I'm able to forget that by the numbers many of them must have voted for Trump . . . . Anyway, there's nothing like keeping busy with projects for distraction!

    PS -- I can't believe you're going on college visits.

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  73. College!?!?!? Ummm, no. That can't be possible. We'd love the book (especially my 10 year old resident artist.) Have a good one!

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  74. Would love it for my 12 year old daughter!

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  75. Natalie10:04 AM

    I would love this to try with my 11-year-old son, who loves crafts! Thanks so much for the opportunity!!

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  76. This book looks like a dream come true for my middle child especially. She wants to create art in any form all day every day and my creativity in helping her is just so tired. This book looks like just the spark we need so she doesn't fall into the same pit of "why bother" that I am prone to.

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  77. This looks exactly like what I was pondering how to find. This will be my daughter's first summer without being in structured day camp (Hallelujah work from home job!) And I wanted her to have a good activity journal type thing.

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  78. That book looks simply lovely and whimsical. Also, I truly love the way you express things..."and then you will think to yourself, 'I should pick up a paint brush every day. And you won't pick one up every day, but you will sometimes, which is more than never." That pretty much sums up the wisdom I'm gathering as I grow older, and it makes me happier than I ever would have thought possible.

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  79. Deirdre11:12 AM

    Love it! Love you!

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  80. What a wonderful idea (and a great way to fill sick days or summer days lolling around).

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  81. Yep. This book is just what my boys need. We'd l-o-v-e to get it!

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  82. I want this! Or my daughters or my niece will want this! It looks so inspirational.

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  83. Oh, I would love do share this book with my son. Awesome!

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  84. Yay to projects!!! Making potions sounds so fun! Confession I got tired of my lovely daughter borrowing my stuff (goodbye brand new mascara) that I bought myself fancy markers for my fancy coloring books and have hid them from her. For this book I may consider sharing them. Maybe...

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  85. My daughter is maybe too little (only two, like Birdy was yesterday 😉), but we have friends with the most artistic and creative daughter who just turned 8, and I'd love this for her!

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  86. Like how you just slipped "college visits" in there all Ninja-like.

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  87. Please update us about the college visits!! I recently read (on a FB group) this fabulous note from parent visiting colleges with his eldest child:

    8 college information sessions down and n to go for eldest. Setting tuition aside for the moment, what has stood out for you?
    For me, it is principle-based design. A school has a principle or value and they design to achieve it.
    For example, one school wants a cohesive community of upperclasses and 1st years. It begins before the first class. Orientation is a 5 day off campus adventure - small groups climb mountains, go biking, whatever. It is organized and run by upperclasses not staff or faculty.
    A school wants leadership so for a semester, upperclasses don't run clubs, newspaper, etc. Sophomores have to run everything. Afterwards the upperclasses and sophomores talk about what worked, what didn't, what they learned. It also builds relationships between class years.
    Another school wants the best career services. Freshman seminar is run by career services. Build a linked in profile, write a resume, learn to write a cover letter. The relationship with career services lasts through graduation and beyond. Over 60% of students have 2 or more internships by the time they graduate.
    Another college sees that the problems of the world can only be solved by people working together so they design courses that require people to work together.

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  88. My 8 year old art loving son and 6 year old daughter would love! Ok, I want it for myself, too! xo

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  89. My three daughters (and I) would love the book! Looks like a great gift idea for friends too!

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  90. My youngest child is 8 and a budding artist/writer and would LOVE to have this book to cart around for her weekend "me-time" (aka spending countless hours attending her siblings' soccer games).

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  91. i have a 12 year old that would love this! thanks for all you do.

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  92. I love to read, I love artwork. I'm miserable at both writing and creating art, but this book actually makes me think I could do both.

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  93. Yes, please! My kids journal like little maniacs, and they would eat this book up!

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  94. This book looks so neat! Thanks for sharing.

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  95. This book would sure to be a hit with all of my crew...

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  96. I'd rather not think about ages, my daughter is turning 12 shortly..
    But happily the creative side is still alive and while she does turn to adult craft books these days (trying out lino cutting at the moment since I've been carving wood blocks for printing myself) it would be lovely to try something for her age range. Most likely I will just head to my local independent book store and stalk for it :)

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  97. Thank you for this wonder-filled opportunity! Our very small but creative family would very gratefully delight in every page, and it would be hard to keep it to ourselves I'm sure, so sharing as you have done here would be our way to 'pay it forward'. :)

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  98. What a fun book! This would be wonderful for any of my daughters or for my nieces.

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  99. Sandra K10:45 AM

    This looks amazing, I'd love to win a copy! I think it looks perfect for summer, and maybe my daughter and I should each have our own copy! :)

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  100. Very fun - Id love to win a copy!

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  101. I would love to win a copy for my 12 year old daughter!!

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  102. Oh, even reading this inspires me!!! Please enter me in the giveaway!

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  103. Oh my, you are coy! First you link to a NEW BOOK with hardly any details, and then you drop the whole COLLEGE VISITING thing (in a parenthetical aside nonetheless)! I'm just going to assume that the looking-at-colleges thing is about the kitten, who is so very studious, and needs more academic challenge. I will patiently await more info about these two subjects.

    -Loren

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  104. If I don't win it, I will definitely have to buy it!

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  105. This book would be perfect for my 11 and 9 yo girls. Thanks for the giveaway and for all the recommendations over the years.

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  106. this looks just like what my son might like to jump start his creativity that is hiding away at the moment.... Thanks for the giveaway!

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  108. Loved "Show Me a Story!" I know I'd love this one too.

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  109. Ooh, ahh, looks like a lovely addition to the Unbored books for Summer fun (thank you Catherine)!!

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  110. Adding my name to the mix for this lovely book! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  111. My daughter would adore this!!

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  112. Yes, yes, we want the book!

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  113. "college visiting" Stomach punch! That literally brought tears to my eyes!Our babies can not be that old. I started reading your blog while pumpkin at work Birdy was 2. And yes we would love a book, my 12 year old needs summer projects!

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  114. this makes me feel bad I don't leave more comments. But yay would love the book!

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  115. Oh yes, I need this, for home and for school! But especially for home, where my big kids (11, 14, 16) pretend to roll their eyes when I make us do things like this, but then pull it out on their own when they think I'm not looking! Kat

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  116. Eileen10:04 PM

    Journal Sparks is going to be my summer bible. Love this. & what?! Stitch Camp! Congrats, looks like fun.

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  117. Oh I think I missed the cut off being on west coast time, but I wanted to comment anyway that this looks like a wonderful book! I can see this being a great antidote to the summer phrase: I'm bored.

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  118. Jeanne Fisher12:31 PM

    I'm probably too late too but the book looks amazing!

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  119. A visually adorable and joyful book full of inspiring and creative ideas for seeing, gathering, and experimenting. You will stay motivated to create for a long time!

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