Friday, March 24, 2017

Shepherd's Bush Scissor Fob

The house was clean from top to bottom. Flowers were planted, pillows were fluffed. There really wasn't anything to do before yesterday's first house showing but wait.

I needed something to keep my hands busy, so I decided to pick out a needle art project. I didn't want anything too complicated that was going to have me rummaging through my stuff for just the right linens and threads.

That's when I remembered this kit from Shepherd's Bush. Perfect! All assembled and ready to stitch!

Just a quiet moment of meditative stitching.

This sweet little blackbird has found his home. I'm confident that I will, too.

Thank God! It's Friday, cafe friends!

Blessings on your weekend!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Complicated Vs. The Simple

It's complicated.

Life, that is.

I don't how it happens, but it seems to creep up on me, one thing at a time, until I look around me and say to myself "Okay, enough of this. Things have got to change."

I examine my day-to-day routines, and realize the stressors that are necessary, and those stressors that are adding very little to my life.

I'm trying to sell a house and buy a house. Temporary stressor for long term gain.

I'm teaching my son catechism and the foundations of faith. Temporary time constraint for eternal gain.

I'm training a puppy. Temporary annoyance for future good dog rewards.

I'm shuttling Sam to band practice and jazz concerts and track practice and meets. Mom stuff that may be a time commitment for me, but it brings a lot of reward to Sam's middle school life.

And then there are the things I want to do more of, like reading good books and going for long walks. Stitching projects and writing projects. Gardening and going to see my son in Indy.

It's all basic, and it's all life in balance. It's all good.

But other things in life have just become time suckers for me, and they're leaving me drained. They have to go.

Take, for example, today's two featured cards:

I wanted to make a card for my Pastor's family, who are expecting a new blessing in their family. Simple, right?

But as I created this one, it just became more complicated. The blue base needed clouds. And a sun. And a few diecuts. And a few more diecuts. A scallop there, some stitching there. And in no time, I'd taken something simple and turned it into a complicated mess.

I started over this morning. Just a few stamps, a few die cuts, a simple sentiment. Done. And done simply. And done well.

{Today's Brew: stamps and stencil from MFT, Lawn Fawn die cuts and papers, PTI ink and card stock}

The complicated versus the simple. I sense the pendulum swinging in a new direction in my life.

Simple joy, cafe friends!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring On The Front Porch

You know the old adage: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Well, the first impression on the front porch was a little bit sad.

Of course, everything looks a little sad this early in spring. But I knew I could do better.

Cleaning the front porch rockers and adding the cushions was a start. But what I really needed was not in the garden center Pansies. Signs of spring!

I popped in to Home Depot yesterday, and lo and behold, the pansies had arrived! woo hoo!

Aah! That's better!

The welcome mat looks much nicer. It picks up some of the blues and tans that I already have on the porch.

I added the grapevine wreaths and fake forsythia stems to these pots, along with the pansies. The wreath acts as a little booster for the pansies if they get too droopy in the cold, and the forsythia ties in with the front door wreath and adds a little vertical height to the planters.

Now that's a proper welcome!

I'm hoping the front porch now says "Welcome! Buy this house, and you, too, can sit on this front porch!"


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Yummy Dish For Spring! Lemony Pappardelle Pasta With Tuna

What's for dinner?

How about a light and yummy dish for spring, packed with protein and oh so flavorful!

I found a few of these items grouped together on an end cap at Trader Joe's, and it sounded like a good combination to try.

Here's what you'll need:

1 pkg lemon pepper pappardelle pasta
1 can yellow fin tuna packed in olive oil
a little extra olive oil
cheese of choice (I used feta, but parmesan would also be good)

Cook pasta according to directions. Do not overcook! Also, do not rinse and do not overly drain. You will need some of that starchy water to enhance this dish.

Place pasta is serving bowl. Add yellow fin not drain! Use that yummy olive oil that it's packed in. Toss the tuna with the pasta. Next, add two or three tablespoons of capers (I adore capers!), and toss. Add a little extra drizzle of olive oil. Top with some crumbled feta, and enjoy!

Mmm...I was fighting my husband for the last forkful...yeah, it was that good! I think this would also be amazing with some pieces of freshly steamed or grilled asparagus, and maybe a little fresh chive on top.

A super easy dish for a spring dinner. Because seriously, who has time to cook when their are houses to clean for showings?

Blessings, cafe friends!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Moving On, And This Is Why

It's official.

We spoke with our realtor today, and the house is going on the market this week.

We've poured two years' worth of blood, sweat and tears into this house, and we are hopeful that it will sell, and quickly, so that we can move on and begin a new phase of our lives together.

I'm sure a lot of you regulars at the cafe are wondering "Why now? The house is finally complete!"

No, I'm not one of those crazy bloggers who just needs to move to have new material to write about.

And no, it's not because I don't like this house, or this town, or this neighborhood.

All of that is really inconsequential.

The real reason we are moving is because we are missing our families back home.

We've been living on a proverbial island, isolated from the people we love. And while many families can make the distance thing work for them through phone calls and face time and texts, I have grown weary in the process and have missed out on so much.

My sister had a heart attack over the holidays, and I couldn't visit her in the hospital. My heart ached over her aching heart. It still does.

My sweet step mom-in-law fell and broke her hip before Thanksgiving. And because we live so far away, I wasn't able to make her soup or bake her bread or clean her house.

My Mom needed her garden beds mulched, and I never could manage to get it done on our short visits home.

Maybe turning fifty has been an awakening for me, but I have come to realize this...I am not that person. Family and connection matters to me. It does, indeed, take a village. And my village is not here.

I read this awesome book this month. Lady Like by sisters Rebekah Curtis and Rose Adle. It was like opening the windows and letting a fresh wind of truth blow through my thinking. In a chapter entitled "Brains For Women", they had this to write about loving our neighbor:

"Our neighbors are those who are nigh, which means near, to us. No one is nearer to us than the people in our own households. We are their servants before we are any other person's."

I need to be nearer. I crave it. And not only do I want to be near to them, but I want to care for them and serve them. I want to love those who are nigh.

Next weekend, we will be traveling to Michigan to begin looking for a house in a new community, close to our families and yet still convenient for my husband's work.

Our next house is really secondary in importance to me. Yes, we want to downsize. And sure, it would be great to find the perfect little cottage in the perfect town with the perfect schools and parks and libraries.

But in the end, it isn't about house. It's about home.

Mom made me this card, which really says it all.

Life takes us in unexpected places. Love brings us home.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Legend of the St. Patrick's Day Garden

 Legend has it that if you work in your garden on St. Patrick's Day, the sun will come out and the flowers will bloom. Rake a few leaves, pick up sticks and pine cones, lay a fresh layer of mulch, and the luck of the Irish will be on your side!

And if you are very lucky and wait very patiently, a Golden girl will appear!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, cafe friends!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Luke's Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Let me just say a few words about my eldest. He is a really nice guy. A really, really nice guy.

Here are just a few nice guy stories about Luke from recent weeks:

* When he heard his boss was sick at work, he went through Starbucks before his shift and bought her a hot tea. Awww! She was so appreciative!

* When Luke was eating lunch after a shift, an elderly couple saw him in his work shirt and asked him about a product they were looking for. He spent thirty minutes (off the clock!) talking to corporate to find the item for them. And then he drew them a map and gave them instructions, telling them where to go.

* He stayed home to work and watch Jemma so that we could take our Florida trip. Aww! We missed you, Luke!

* He keeps me laughing and sane every day.

Like I said, he's a really nice guy! I'm so proud of him!

Luke works in grocery management. One of his co-workers, who is hispanic, would see Luke coming in to the store to start his shift, and she would say "Loo-cas! My hee-ro!"

That's our guy! A hero!

{Today's Brew: Stylized Sentiments (Papertrey Ink), Hey Pop! Simple Stories collection paper and stickers, bottle cap from my stash}

I'm praying for good things for Luke in the coming year. Good guys deserve good things. :)

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!