Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lemon Love

Do you love lemons? I do! Lemon-ade, lemon sherbert, lemon candies, lemony cakes and pies...even just a simple squeeze of lemon in my water.

True story: When I was pregnant for my son, John, I ate so many lemons that the citric acid took the enamel off my two front teeth. Ouch! I had to explain that one to many a dentist over the years, and finally got that repaired about a year ago. Note to self: don't eat too many lemons!

This pin cushion from Just Another Button Company was too fun to pass up. The lemony elements are stitched together with a simple running stitch to give this piece a rough, hand-made quality. And the pins are super cute to boot!

I found this fun Tervis cup, and I'm going to fill it with some lemon candies. A sunny gift that says "Summer time!"

Blessings, cafe friends!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How To Meet The New Neighbors (with crafty gift in hand!)

Hello, cafe friends!  Today I'm going to show you a fun, easy gift to pass along to a friend or, in our case, new neighbor.

I found this idea on Pinterest when researching "How to introduce yourself to new neighbors." As a whole, this neighborhood is WAY WAY friendlier than what we left behind in Illinois. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it's a walking neighborhood, and folks are always outside pushing strollers, biking and walking dogs. We quickly became known here as "Jemma's family". But there are still a few houses nearby where we have yet to meet the occupants.

I know from experience how these things happen. A week goes by, and then a month goes by, and then a year goes by, and it just feels weird and awkward with time. I let that happen at the last house, and I refuse to let that happen here, too. Instead, I'm going to be a little more proactive and forward (which is SO not my nature!) and I'm going to ring on doorbells with gift in hand.

And here are the gift supplies:

A simple bag of microwave popcorn, with a sentiment that says "Popping by to say hi!" How fun is that?

Only problem: I don't have a sentiment that says "Popping by to say hi!" The closest I could find was from Lawn Fawn, and it says "Flying by to say hi". This is where a good alphabet stamp set can really save the day. I spelled out "Popping" on one block, and then left off "flying" when inking the rest of the sentiment. Easy!

I used tags and tag dies from Lawn Fawn. On the back of each tag, I printed our name, our house address, each family member's name, my telephone number and email address. All the contact info necessary. This way, if someone says to themselves "I'd invite Mary Rose for a coffee, but I don't have her telephone number"...well, now there are no more excuses. :)

I added the little stitched leaf diecut because our neighborhood is called "Wildwood" and it's filled with trees and woods. It just seemed appropriate. I kept the color palette blue and yellow to match the popcorn bag and the University of Michigan team colors. Go blue!

And here it is! We will be "Popping by to say hi" this weekend. It's all about building community, one person, one house, one family, one church, one school, one festival, one volunteer organization at a time. Small steps. Big reward.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Saline Celtic Festival 2017

Many many years ago, when our oldest boys were just wee lads, we would take them to the Celtic Festival in Saline, Michigan to enjoy a fun-filled day of festivities.

We never could have imagined that one day, we would live in the very same town!

This weekend, we took the boys once again...only this time, we walked to the entrance of our neighborhood, hopped on the school shuttle bus, and were there in no time.

A fun day was had by all! We watch the sheep herding...

...the caber toss...

...the haggis hurl...

...and the jousting, of course.

There were demonstrations on wool spinning and weaving, too.

Can't go to a festival without eating some fair food, listening to the music, and enjoying the acts!

We are really enjoying our summer of Pure Michigan. Hope your summer is filled with memory-making days, too.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Vive La France!

Bonjour! And welcome to the cafe! Today's brew is a delicious cup of Cafe Au Lait in honor of this special day: Quatorze Juillet, otherwise known in the French speaking world as Bastille Day.

I decided to make something with a little French flair to celebrate. This pin cushion from Just Another Button Company seemed like the perfect chic accessory for the occasion.

I've had this kit from JABC for a while now. I purchased quite a few of their pin keeps from Designers Desk in Geneva.

The kit contains everything you'll need, minus the needle and thread and the hot glue gun. And after some simple assembly, voila!

C'est si beau, n'est-ce pas?

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Cottage Great Room

Here it is! The great room in the cottage. It's a nice cozy space with good flow.

We used to have a couch and matching love seat, but we sold the love seat in the garage sale. I knew we wouldn't have room for both in this house. My plan is to give the couch to Luke when he moves into his apartment next month, and then get a small slip-covered sectional for this space. The little leafy chair will probably move into the office.

This chair and ottoman is about seventeen years old, but I still love it. It's a great reading and stitching chair, too. In the last house, I had slip-covered it to match the lighter furnishings in the office. But this time, I decided to go back to the original plaid. There's a touch of red in the kitchen accessories that it ties in with nicely.

I do love having a fireplace. It's such a nice focal point in the room. But I'm not a fan of the mantle or the pinkish colored tile. I will probably paint both of these white in the near future.

The biggest problem with this space is that it is sooo dark. I've had to adjust the light on these photos just to brighten it a bit. The room is southwest facing, which should give plenty of exposure. The problem is that the windows are small and the roof line is sloped. And when you pair that with a darkish paint color, you get gloomy.

I've been researching paint options, and one thing I've learned is that all colors have an LRV, or Light Reflective Value. It's usually listed on the back of the paint chip. On a scale of 1-100, with 1 being total darkness, and 100 being blinded by the light, I would say this color falls on the scale around 40. To get any benefit, it would have to be over 60 LRV. So I'm thinking of choosing a color like Creamy from Sherwin Williams that has an LRV of 80.

Another option we are looking in to is adding either skylights in this room, or using Solatubes, as pictured here:

We toured a house in this neighborhood that had utilized the Solatubes, and it made a big difference. Honestly, the dark aspect of this house was one of the top reasons why I dismissed it the first time around.

When we moved in, the patio door was covered with vertical blinds, and the windows flanking the fireplace were covered with dark striped sheers. The sheers came down immediately after move in, and the vertical blinds will be coming down just as soon as I can get to it. In the meantime, I keep them to the side and fully open.

I also went to IKEA and bought some lacey panels for $12.99 a pair. It provides just a bit of privacy while allowing the maximum amount of light inside. It also gives a sweet cottage look that I'm after.

And if Miss Naughty Paws gets at them, it won't be a total tragedy because they are cheap.

Next up: I need to sew the curtain panels for the kitchen and patio door. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Tale of Three Tables

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom (save money and do the pack and move ourselves!), it was the age of foolishness (move three sets of tables and chairs to the downsize cottage!).

Our downsize cottage does not have a separate dining room. It's the first time we haven't had a designated dining room in over fifteen years. Instead, we have a dining area next to the kitchen. Those are the compromises you have to make when choosing to go smaller.

I knew that one of our three (yes three!) sets of dining tables and chairs would work in the dining space upstairs. I was pretty sure that my original kitchen table and chairs that got repurposed in the last house in my craft studio would work great in the basement of our new house. And it does! You can see it here:


The question was which table and chairs would fit the space on the main floor? Would it be our original dining room table and ladder back chairs here:

dining room

Or would the oak table with painted black chairs that we found in Illinois work best?

oak table and chairs

I was happy to find that my hutch would fit along the back wall of the dining area just fine. But what table to pair with it?

I tried the original dining table and ladder back chairs first. But the height of the chairs took up too much visual space in this room, making it feel cluttered.

Then I remembered how I fell in love with a farmhouse and its dining area when I was perusing Indiana real estate last summer:

Hmmm. Would the painted Windsor style chairs from the oak table work with the rectangular pine farmhouse style table better?

I swapped out the ladderback chairs for the black Windsor chairs, and I love it!

The black chairs tie in really well with the black appliances in the adjacent kitchen. My sons also voted for the black chairs because they are more comfy than the ladder back. Good point. My husband, on the other hand, does not understand that everything is no longer matchy matchy. He's not a guy that can understand whimsy.

Here's a few photos from the kitchen. It's small, but very functional and easy to work in.

I need to sew some new cafe curtains for the window over the sink, as well as panels for the patio door. Future crafting project!

The only problem now: what to do with an oak table and six ladder back chairs we no longer need. Hmm. For now, they are hanging out together in the garage until we can find them a home.

We are enjoying our spot here at the table, where we can watch the birds come to the feeders on the deck. It's a good place to be.

Next time, I will show you the adjoining family room area, and share with you some future projects for this space, too.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Home Love

We've been falling in love with our new home and town every day. It is such a wonderful feeling. There's a stability and comfort and peace that has settled over our household, as if a fog has been lifted and we can breathe again.

At long last, we have found home once again.

I made this card for my sweet realtor, Julie, who went above and beyond to get us to this place. I called Julie my concierge realtor because of her attention to detail and her hands on approach. Julie bakes the MOST delicious cookies, and she bakes them by the dozens for all of her open houses. But what I really loved about her was her ability to really listen to us, to gather up the things on our checklist that were really important to us, and to coach us and direct us to make the smart decision.

She heard us speak about how nature and setting were important to us. She showed us large and small houses to determine the size we were after. She knew we wanted a place that was not too remote, where we could walk and bike to town and still have easy access to shopping and the airport. And she knew that good schools and community were important.

I dismissed this house on the first tour, but Julie saw its potential. She knew that the neighborhood was highly sought after, and that the woods and creeks and ponds gave us the natural setting we were looking for. She knew that we could work our magic on this place, and she was confident we could get a good deal on it, too. And she was right on all counts.

This card was labor intensive, but I still enjoyed making it!

{Today's Brew: All stamps and dies from My Favorite Things, Simple Stories papers, PTI ink and card stock}

If you are looking for a house in the Ann Arbor, Michigan market, I highly recommend Julie Picknell at Reinhart Realtors. Trust me, you will love her as much as I do!