Like Coloring… for Typography

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I’m not much for idle time… and I’ve had a lot of car rider and airplane time lately. It’s been a gratifying time to sharpen my hand lettering skills, even what is often called faux~calligraphy.
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I follow a number of different hand lettering artist on Instagram, and it’s been fun to practice different fonts that each of them scrawl out flawlessly.

At CHA back in January, I received a new pen from Copic,  the Gasenfude (pronounced: gas•en•fu•day), that has a nice nylon brush tip that is beautiful for hand lettering. The ink is both water and Copic-proof for drawing, lettering and coloring. The long nib takes a little practice to work with if you are new to brush pens, but even the amateur results are worth it! I have enjoyed keeping a senseBook journal of my hand~lettering practices. Yes, my Gs need some help!

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Faux~calligraphy is a process of hand lettering your individual words in a single stroke, and following up with a second line to create the thickness of the down stroke. Lindsey at The Postman’s Knock has some fun tutorials. It’s basically like coloring for letter lovers!

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I have been keeping my lettering supplies ready for grab and go! I ordered this travel sketch roll pouch from Michelle Wooderson. It tucks and rolls, and when opened it will lay flat for easy pen selection or roll up backwards and stand up straight like a fabric cup.


Several sewn slots here make it easy to keep pens, pencils, an eraser and a few small rulers organized and contained ~ no rambling through a baggie for what I need.



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I hosted an event last night for my college sorority alumnae group to honor our newest members, the graduating seniors at Wichita State University. Our chapter recognizes the ladies with beautiful embroidered stoles to wear at their commencement ceremonies, but I couldn’t resist a little gifty that would also decorate the tables at our venue. #doubleduty

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I used a Copic Multiliner SP .5 and the Gasenfude pen to create hand lettered tags in a faux~calligraphy font for small vases of flowers. Simple, but striking.

I was fortunate to have flower arranging help before the event and had time for a picture or two before the graduates started arriving. The venue was rather informal, so these were perfect to spruce up our seating area, and I was happy with how they turned out.

After many busy weeks stretched back~to~back for our entire family, I think we’re all home for rest and recovery this weekend! I can hear angels singing! Whatever is on your agenda, I hope it’s beautiful! Have a fabulous weekend!

Intro to Coloring Spring Flowers

lori craig mmh april2016 full

It’s been quite a month around here, as I’ve been  had several sets of Copic classes which has kept me hopping and kept me enjoying classes with a lot of fellow Copic lovers! And in my spare time, I’ve been coloring flowers from the new My Monthly Hero kit… always a way to wind down and relax…


When creating this card with the golden blossom, I used a color combination suggested in the Intro to Coloring with Copic Markers book from Imagination International (the North American distributor for Copic Marker). Michelle posted a GREAT video walk-through of the Intro to Coloring book, if you want to take a peek! You can find it HERE.

The book is a great resource to get you started with blending techniques and color selection. I took the colors for this card right from the suggestions on page 19, so that made for quick and easy work of the creative attack plan!


The flowers and images for this project came from the April Hero Arts kit, the My Monthly Hero Kit! And it sold out before my box even arrived, so I know that many of you loved it as much as I did! I can’t wait to see the new kit coming next week! These have been great creative sparks for me with coordinating elements (this month was Daniel Smith Watercolors – swoon!) and dies!

mmh color combo lori craig

To get started, I took the suggested color combination right off of page 19 in the Intro to Coloring book… gotta love easy!
mmh lori craig april2016 closeB

I colored my blossoms on a single 1/4 sheet of XPress It Blending Card and the leaves on a second 1/4 sheet of XPress It. For the leaves, I used the clear stamp of the large blossom as a placement guide before stamping so that the edges of the leaves would peek out from under the flower when the card was assembled.

I used the color combinations suggested on page 19 of the Intro to Coloring Book for a quick and dirty work of this one! The large flower was created with natural blending group YR20-YR27 and the leaves are a combo of YG11/YG13/YG17.


After I had colored the leaves and the blossom, I re-stamped the leaves on the sticky  part of a post-it note and used them as a mask on the leaf layer. Then with the ABS1 and a Sparmax Compressor,  I airbrushed BG32/BG34 over the top for a soft background. When I airbrush, I try to start my spray directly ON THE MASK and work slowly outward for an even controlled splatter of ink.


When I have finished airbrushing and lift the mask, it is not uncommon for me to have some white space in the negative areas or close to my stamped lines. I use the tip of the lightest marker and fill that in. If I need to go over with the darker of the colors, I do, but I always start light… in this case with the B32.

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After I had colored and sprayed, I used the coordinating flower die and made quick work of the fussy cutting. Just look how close to the stamped lines it cuts. The was my first attempt at the die – SO EASY to line up! Love. 

banff river lori craig april2016

I wanted to share a few Banff photos from my Calgary trip last week! This is one that I took and edited on my iPhone from an overlook on the interstate as I approached the park.


This one was a selfie that I took Thursday morning with my cup of coffee, using my camera remote at an overlook in Banff.


And, this third was a gaze at Two Jack Lake near Banff with the famed blue water… Amazing views. I could have stayed another day or two, but had to hustle back to Calgary for two full days of coloring madness. It was a GREAT time!

I have another set of classes in two weeks in Sacramento (Please join me!) and then a set of certifications in Ankeny, Iowa at the Taylored Expressions classroom the first weekend in June! They are going to be a blast!

You can find our full Copic teaching calendar for myself, Debbie Olson, Cindy Lawrence and Michelle Houghton on this page! I hope you can join us soon!

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I’ve got another fun project I’ve been working on to go with some gifts for an event that I’m hosting tonight. I’ll share photos tomorrow! Have a great day!

Single Layer Salutes

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On Monday, my famous neighbor Laurie came over to visit for the day… We have a fun time when we get together! I loved playing with the goodies she brought over to show me, like these adorable birds from Concord & 9th – such a fun, newer stamp company run by Greg and Angie ~ the sweetest people ever!

Laurie and I laughed so much that neither of us got much stamping done, but I managed to pull off two quick flat cards that I’m calling single layer salutes and sharing with you today! I know they have multiple layers – but they are monochromatic and have no doo-dads or trim that will trip up the envelope at the post office! :)

This first card above uses Concord & 9th’s sweet Birdie Banners – so easy to use. I colored my birdie bodies with Copic, but you don’t have to… it’s got a 2nd step fill in for the body color and the banner options are adorable. I surprised myself by how easy the banners were to line up – the banner fill-ins are a 2nd step stamp, too! The sentiment was stamped with Banner Alpha Bits.

lovely vase full front lori craig

This next card is a little harder to show-off, but it’s lovely. Please trust me on this.  The Bouquet Die is gorgeous! Now I’m wishing I would have cut one in a color to really showoff for the camera while Laurie was here, but you can see it here. I paired the bouquet with ‘lovely’ from Wonderful Words.

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I used a sheet of sticker paper to cut my two elements, and then I pieced them together for a seamless look. Very simple, clean and flat for mailing. I love it in white, but would be beautiful in almost any color variation for a mono-chromatic look! Will be adding these dies to my collection and making several more of this design!

I’m a little off of my normal routine today, so mid-afternoon and I’m headed out for a quick jog. It’s a gorgeous (albeit windy!) afternoon here in Kansas, so I’m looking forward to it. Since I’m normally stumbling out of bed at 4:40 and running at 5am, I better make sure all of my clothes are on right-side-out! LOL

Thanks for stopping by today! Be back soon!

Multiplying Creativity and Wide Copic Roses

Copic Wide Roses Lori Craig

I’m sharing a very fun set of cards today, that were way out of my comfort zone! As in, I couldn’t believe I would attempt something like this (or dare to share!) because the roses weren’t stamped, they were drawn by me… freehand…and not with a pencil first but with Copic Marker!

I always told myself that I couldn’t draw or paint because everything didn’t come out of the pen looking like someone else’s masterpiece the very first time. I would say that I didn’t get the artist gene, but I never did much to explore or give it a chance either.  More and more over the last few years of diligent observation and study, I’ve started practicing and drawing and painting for my own pleasure, not for anyone else’s expectation or critique. Surprise: I like it, and the more I practice, the more I enjoy it.

This past winter I took an incredible watercolor class from Online Card Classes. The class was called Watercolor – Intermediate Techniques, but I hadn’t taken any classes previous, and I was able to keep up! I learned so, so much about so many different aspects of art and watercolor. There were many concepts that I have adapted to other mediums, especially Copic and how I use them. Today’s set of cards are one of those things.

1 expressive watercolor roses lori craig

The card above was one that I created for my class homework using watercolor and one brush with a combination of wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry watercolor technique. I used Windsor Cottman watercolor paints and Arches 110# Cold Press paper.

I am well aware that I need more leaf practice, but I was very, very happy with how my free-brushed roses were turning out with a little effort. So on Saturday night, as I watched the NCAA basketball tournament (sad for my Kansas Jayhawks, #goBig12), I was thinking that it would be fun to try the same idea with my Copic Markers.

Wide Copic Roses

CopicWide-Supplies-Lori-Craig For these cards, I used a Copic Wide R27 and a series of natural blending reds in the Sketch style marker to create my roses.








I started with the Copic Wide R27 marker and looped in some loose swirls to create the bulk of the rose bud.

Tip: Leave some white space from the beginning.




Then I used the brush nibs of the R29 and R59 Sketch to add some texture, shading and depth to the individual petals.

A lot of my highlight white space gets worked over, and that is fine. At the end, I do come over the top with an R20 or R21 to dust the highlights so they aren’t stark white.





I worked these over a few times to build layers of color. The trick to this step is to let the marker completely dry between colors. Wet ink blends, and in this case, I don’t necessarily want smooth blends. I wanted to see my brush strokes.



When I was pleased with my rose blooms, I added some hand-drawn leaves with G21 and G24. And, then I used a Copic Wide BG10 to chunk in some background color. Even with the wide marker, it is possible to get into the nooks and crannies of an image with that fine, chisled point.


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As simple as they look now in pictures, I’m proud of how these turned up… No two are alike, but they are expressive, bold and fun! Something totally out of the box for me!

Copic Wide Full Card 3 Lori Craig

I often tell people in my classes that one of the things I love about these markers is that you can’t outgrow them, always something new to learn! So true!

Copic Wide Roses Card 2 Lori Craig

Leaves are something I want to keep practicing. I can’t wait to try these roses in a few other colors… yellow or oranges! I’ll be sure to share when I do!

Copic Wide Roses Lori Craig This is one of my favorite projects I’ve shared in a long time, and not because I think these flowers are so stellar, but because I see progress through practice.





I follow a popular, funny author from Texas (actually, I think she’s from Wichita, Kansas, like me!) named Jen Hatmaker and she shared something yesterday that just resonated so clearly with me:

Creativity doesn’t divide but multiply, finding new expressions in everyone inspired by someone else’s gift. We can draw from our favorite writers, artists, musicians, thinkers, leaders, teachers; they sharpen and stretch us, laying pavement for our own gifts, offering possibility and permission to be even better versions of our own creative selves. No need to feel threatened or minimized by someone else’s amazing talents. There is no scarcity in creativity and art and beauty. It all feeds the same river which has no end, no threshold, no limits.

I’m blessed to draw inspiration from a world of favorite artists and teachers. I hope you are inspired to try something new… something out of your normal wheel house! I know you’ll learn something, and I am positive you’ll surprise yourself!

Tomorrow I have two fun cards from one of my favorite newer stamp companies to share, so stop back by! Have a beautiful day!


Butterflies, Seattle and Calgary, eh!

HB HeroArts Lori Craig

After our Easter Sunday celebrations and dinner, I had some time to get crafty yesterday! I need a few cards, and I’m also prepping some samples and ideas to take to my next Copic Standard and Intermediate Certification classes and our awesome new Coloring Flowers Color Along in the next four weeks in Seattle (April 8 & 9) and Calgary, Alberta (April 22 & 23)! I’d love to have some of you join me! All of the details can be found HERE.

I had also wanted to color the butterflies from the Hero Arts My Monthly Hero – I loved the bugs that Marianne drew for this kit! All of the contents of this kit work together for cards as clean and simple or as detailed as you dare! Very fun!

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I colored my butterflies wings with Copic Sketch Y32 and YR04 – flicking the colors together from opposite ends of the inner wing. Because I was coloring to mimic the Monarch species, it was easy to color in the black and white spots on the wings after smoothing out the color. The colors I used for black were C4/C6/C8.

After my wings were colored, I cut them with the coordinating die, and I do want to mention how easy these were to line up. I was worried that I’d never be able to cut the antenna straight (I am impaired sometimes when it comes to die line up!), and it lined up perfectly for me every time within the die! I didn’t throw a single butterfly away!

After cutting, I used the blunt point of a paint brush to dot the speckles of the wings with Opaque White. Such a bright vibrant, opaque white! The larger circles were filled in with a brush tip of the paintbrush.

Tip: When painting with Opaque White,  you’ll achieve smoother results if you paint multiple thin layers that dry in between, as opposed to trying to dab all of your color on in one application.

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I finished my cards off with some coordinating cardstock and a snippet scrap of polka dot paper – I liked how the white dots were a re-occurring theme. The sentiments come from the coordinating Hero Art’s set Ribbon Messages Stamp & Cut!

I was full of trying new things this weekend, and I do have another fun project to share tomorrow…maybe my favorite thing that I’ve made in a long time! Have a great night, and see you again soon!

Thanks for stopping by!


Printing Images for Copic Compatibility


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I’m often asked in Copic classes about printers for digital stamps (like this beautiful Countryside Bouquet from Power Poppy!)  that are compatible with alcohol inks. I’ve had more than my share of printers through the last 7-10 years, and more often than not, I’ve ditched them for cardstock issues, not ink compatibility. It is so hard to find a printer that will feed cardstock and thicker mediums without dog-earring the corners or jamming. For me, I’m happy to say those days are over!

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For the last few months, I have been working with one of my co-workers at Splitcoaststampers on a collaborative project with Epson SureColor Printers, and I have enjoyed using with the SureColor P600. We published an overview of this printer at Splitcoast this morning, and you can find the full skinny here.


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To test digital ink for Copic compatibility, I follow a tried and true method that I learned from Marianne. I print a sample image on XPress It Blending Card and color right up TO the printed ink, but not over it with my marker nib. (When I’m not sure about compatibility, I don’t want to run my marker nib over an unknown substance!) I saturate the paper with Copic ink – a small, small spot will do. As the ink spreads over the printed ink, you’ll be able to watch the printed image either hold tight or it will start to run and meld. If it holds tight, you have a match!

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My Countryside Bouquet was printed on XPress It Blending Card and colored with Copic Markers.

  • oranges – YR02, YR04, YR07, R24
  • yellows – Y32, Y35, Y38
  • pinks – RV21, RV23, RV25
  • greens – G21, G24, G28, G40, G43, BG93

My image was mounted on some pretty Lawn Fawn plaid patterned paper and accented with sequins. The sentiment is from the Fanciful Feathers set from Wplus9 Designs.

Thanks for stopping by today! I’ve got two other decor pieces to share with you from my printer project, so stop by tomorrow! Have a fabulous, colorful day!



Coloring My Monthly Hero

MMH-300x359I’ve had this fun image from the  printed image pack included in the Hero Arts March My Monthly Hero kit colored on my desk for several days. The images in the kit come pre-printed on XPress It Blending Card. Marianne’ Flower stamps, pre-prints, dies and a beautiful Copic friendly ink are also included.  This has been such a great kit to work with!

I actually wanted to share this card last week, but I was stumped for color choices of this snail. Snails aren’t in my normal arsenal of images to color, but this one is cute, and I loved the flowers!

FullSizeRender (1) So I pulled a trick from my image coloring playbook and did a quick google search for “snail images“. This cute blue and green snail popped up about half way down the page, and I knew it would be a great color blend with the brightly colored florals and leaves I had already finished!

Don’t be afraid to search images for things that you are coloring! The hints that pop up for colors, shades, shadows, etc. can all be very helpful!


Notice on the blues and greens, I didn’t concern myself with perfect, smooth blends – they weren’t perfectly smooth on my reference photo, either! I laid the blue and green of the shell color together keeping the edges wet. The dotted blues were added after the base layers dried. The dots and spots when added to the dry layer will retain their circle shape.


The colors I used here are a combination of:

  • orange flower: YR12/YR14/YR18/R27
  • pink flower: RV62/RV66
  • daisies: Y32/Y35
  • big bright leaves: YG01/YG03/YG07
  • tall thin stems: YG61/YG63
  • snail: YG01/YG03/BG53/BG57/YG61
  • misc grays and earthtones for rocks and dirt

We are finishing up our spring break week, and it has been such a beautiful family week! Here’s a picture for you! image


Thanks for stopping by! Have a a great week!

Hopping with Hero Arts


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Happy, happy Monday! I am definitely happy to be sharing something so fun from from my friends at Hero Arts today!

MMH-300x359I’m a fan of their My Monthly Hero monthly card and stamp kits, so I was really excited when I realized that Marianne and the Copic Marker team would be collaborating with them this month!  The kit pairs so well (perfectly!) with the teaching content of our new Copic Flowers Class and Marianne Walker’s Coloring Foundations Book ~ Flowers!



The March My Monthly Hero kit contains: 12 coloring cards printed on XPressIt paper, coordinating stamps and dies, an Intense Black ink cube (alcohol marker-friendly), extra XPressIt paper, assorted notecards, and a package of gems.

There are three optional add-on for this kit:

 These kits are only available while supplies last (I missed one of my favorites a few months ago because I waited too long to order!). When they are gone, they are GONE. (My Hero Arts friends mean it!)

hero hop lori craig march 2016 C

On the card I’m sharing today, I repeatedly stamped this cute image from the set Marianne’s Flowers over a card front sized piece of XPress It Blending card and then added Happy Birthday from Ribbon Messages. My flowers are colored with Y32, Y35 and Y38. I had done a little caucus on my Instagram last night requesting votes on potential flower centers… In the end, voter turnout was a little soft, and I made an executive decision to color the centers brown with the E20s. (You can follow my Instagram HERE.)

My leaves are colored with G40, G43 and G46. And, the background of my card is colored with BG00, BG11 and BG13.

The trick to coloring the large background is to keep the edges of your ink wet as you work across the design. Wet ink blends better. So, I tend to work in quadrants, completing one at a time and then moving on.

hero hop lori craig march2016

I was teaching this exact class in St. Louis over the weekend, and I’m headed to Seattle, Calgary and Sacramento soon! So if flowers are of interest to you, please check it out here.

I do hope you have a chance to check out the ROCKSTAR ladies on the hop today! They are all beautiful souls, and I’m excited to see their fabulous coloring and fun projects!
Marianne Walker
Marianne Walker
Sharon Harnist
Cindy Lawrence
Lori Craig — you are here
Debbie Olson
Michelle Houghton
Mariana Grigsby
Libby Hickson

I have more to share from this kit tomorrow, so check back!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful Monday!

love you

various full final lori craig

I had a project that I wanted to share with you today that features Copic Various Ink for vibrant color without coloring!

When I think about Various Ink, my first thought is refillable markers, but used straight from the bottle, the Copic Various Ink is so vibrant… especially on non-porous surfaces, like glossy card stock – used here. I just drip ink refills onto a kraft mat and dab my cardstock into the ink for instant, quick dry, vibrant color, but there are some pointers I can share to help make your efforts eye-popping!


My first tip for color popping blends is color selection! For combinations that blend well together, select two to three colors that are touching or close to each other on the color wheel. These colors will naturally blend with an eye-please effect. If you choose colors that are directly across from each other (like blue and orange or pink and green), the normal result can be a big mud puddle because colors opposite from each other typically create brown when mixed.

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For my card today, I used Copic Various Ink Y08, RV06 and YR04 – yellow, pink and orange. Notice how they are all on the same half of the pie if you slice that color wheel up?


My next tip is more along the line of know what look you are going for to achieve the desired result, not that either one is right or wrong 100% of the time. :)

In the sample above, I dropped ink on the kraft sheet and dipped one color at a time, allowing just a few seconds between colors so that each could set and dry. The dry time is really so, so fast with the Various Ink… This single color at a time method allows for an ink splotch look with distinctive splats of each color.


In this sample, I dropped all three colors on my kraft mat at the same time and then smooshed my cardstock into the color. The result is a much runnier, more fluid blend of color. I liked this look, too!

Tip: If you don’t have every color of Various Ink that you want to utilize, grab your favorite marker and scribble lightly onto your kraft mat, spritz lightly with blender solution and dip your cardstock.

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I accented with die-cut black blooms from Concord & 9th’s new Floral and Flutter die. Love these wispy petals and the dies cut like butter for me. I think I cut about 10 each of the flower and the butterfly, and I didn’t have any rips or half-cuts in the whole bunch!  Finally finished with a ‘love you’ sentiment embossed in black with a simple pearl!

various full final lori craig

Thanks for stopping by today!


Stamping Away Notebooks

notebook stack lori craig

One of the things on my to-do list before I left for my retreat was make a little giftie for all the people attending… I had only met two of the ladies before, so I definitely wanted to show them a little love, and as a list maker… I knew that these kinds of events inspire a lot of lists of things you want to remember, make, see, do or buy. So I created a little journal for all of my new friends.


I am in love with these little SenseBooks that Imagination International started carrying last year. This is the 4″ x 6″ pocket size, and the pages are available ruled, grid or blank. I really like that they have a table of contents and that the pages are numbered (the 4×6 version has 135 pages). You can write or sketch your own little chapters, and they are cheap enough that I can have multiples going at the same time.

You can purchase the notebooks with or without covers, and I wanted something simple and unique, so I created my own covers with a thin, kraft paper. I used a roll of kraft wrapping paper, and ripped each sheet to size using a straight edge – I liked the raw, ripped look. I keep a roll of this on-hand because it’s great for quick gift wrapping, table covering for parties or events and random projects.  You could also use sheets of brown paper bag paper. I don’t recommend traditional cardstock weight for this because you want the jacket to wrap easily around the notebook and lay fairly flat.


For my little gift notebooks, I thought a cute cover would be fun, so I created a jacket template in Photoshop. I used the height of the notebook and allowed width to span the front, back and spin with almost 2″ on each side for an inside flap. On the above picture, I show a pink mock-up of the space where the front cover will end up resting on my jacket so I know where to position my text. I just deleted the pink layers before printing.

I printed my book jackets on the Epson SureColor P600 – which I like because it handles many different media types, thicknesses and paper sizes – it will print directly from rolled paper or canvas. So fun!


notebook stack lori craigI created the Kansas state outline by tracing a free google image in Photoshop. Next, I layered my text over the Kansas image. The text on the cover reads:

My little book of big, big ideas from Stamping Away Kansas. Stamps I need, tools to make my life easier, recipes I want to try, books I want to read, things I want to do. Important stuff to remember. lists of all the pretty, hip, tasty, cool and awesome things.

notebook with pen lori craig

You can see other photos from the weekend here, and I think everyone came home with lists of fun things, a lot of finished cards and projects and memories too numerous for this little book of big ideas.

Thanks for stopping by!

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