Thursday, September 20, 2018

Finding Your Passion

In the eleven (almost twelve!) years that I've been blogging, I have held a lot of side jobs.

I've worked in retail...twice!

I've worked in preschool education...twice!

I've been a merchandiser.

I've been a Stampin' Up demonstrator (but I don't even know if this one counts because I never made a dime at it! LOL!)

But through it all, there has been one constant. I love to write.

I have been a freelance writer, off and on, for nearly twenty-five years. If you've ever read some of my wordier posts here at the cafe, then you probably know that I love to write.

I took up writing again last fall after our move back to Michigan. I have to say, I love it! I work from home, with Jemma at my feet and a good coffee at hand. The best part? I get to meet some really interesting people and share their stories. People who are passionate about so many things...helping kids with autism, teaching children to read, making a great cup of coffee.

In the course of meeting new people, I will often hear the question "Do you have a business card?"

I realized that it was time to get legit with this writing business. I ordered these fun business cards from Vistaprint recently. Typewriter, because that's what I do. And orange because, hello! Pumpkin Spice!

You may have noticed the addition of the typewriter here on the cafe blog. If you click on the link to the right, you can read some of my recent stories. Make yourself a good latte and sit down for a read when you get a chance.

Thank you, cafe readers! You have inspired me throughout these twelve years! I hope I've shared a little inspiration along the way, too.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Giant Allium, and Why You Need Them Now

My sister, Jenny, was over to the cottage recently. We were having coffee and flipping through magazines at the kitchen table when she looked into the family room and said "What is that cool flower over there?"

I had to confess that those were the dead, dried Giant Allium that had bloomed in the garden this spring. When I was cleaning out the garden, I decided to bring these indoors. They were just too beautiful to throw in the yard waste recycling.

My sister said it looked like the kind of arrangement you would spend big money on at a home decor store.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at the September issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine and saw this photo! As Martha used to say, "It's a good thing!"

So why mention these dead, dried Giant Allium now? Because now is the time that you can find the bulbs at your garden centers and plant them for spring blossoms!

Here is an example, taken at the Matthei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor. Lovely, aren't they?

Pretty for all the seasons!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Monday, September 17, 2018

MFT 2018 Card Design Superstar: Clean and Simple

Happy Monday, cafe friends!

Today, I brewed up the last of my entries for the MFT 2018 Card Design Superstar contest. This one is for the Clean and Simple category. I LOVE CAS! It can be tricky to execute a CAS design, though. This one was actually a lot of fun to create!

I added a little Wink of Stella to the bumblebee's wings.

I have a soft spot for square cards! I LOVE how the vellum flower turned out...soft and sweet!

{Today's Brew: Fly By Friends stamps and die (MFT), MFT Flower Shaker dies, MFT Happy Birthday sentiment dienamics,  MFT papers, enamel dots, twine, Wink of Stella}

I think this one may be my favorite of the three entries. Maybe Clean and Simple is my forte!

Blessings on your day, cafe friends!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

PTI Sept. Create Along With Us

Hello, cafe friends!

Did you see the new release from Papertrey Ink? Two words. Merry Mug! I must order this one soon! The design team did a great job with this set! I loved Kelly Lunceford's sweet cocoa gifts with tags!

For the Create Along With Us challenge, I decided to use this card from Melissa as my inspiration!

I switched up the colors, but kept the layout the same. Here it is:

Okay, it's close. But y'all know I need that mug! LOL!

{Today's Brew: Cup of Cheer stamps and dies (PTI), PTI inks and card stock, PTI Bitty Big papers, MFT cross stitched ovals dies, SU seam binding ribbon, sequins}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

MFT 2018 Card Design Superstar: Coloring Virtuoso

Hello, cafe friends!

Today's Brew is a card I made for the Coloring Virtuoso category of the MFT 2018 Card Design Superstar contest.

I know. I hear you snickering. And wait! Now you are downright belly laughing!

I confess, I am not a coloring virtuoso by any stretch! When it comes to markers and colored pencils, I fit squarely in the category of "fake it 'til you make it".

But I have been working on developing my own watercolor style. I am calling it "whimsical". Today's card is my whimsical watercolor contribution!

I'm trying to develop a loose style that has more of a "hand colored" look than a "computer perfection" look.

I stamped the images from Wings and Things (MFT) with Memento ink onto Strathmore watercolor paper, and gave it a quick heat set with my embossing gun. Next, I pulled out a few of my favorite Prima watercolors and brushes and had some fun!

When I was finished watercoloring, I gave it another quick heat set, let it cool, and then stamped the sentiment. I went back with a PITT marker and added a few details on the sun's rays and clouds. Done!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Friday, September 14, 2018

MFT Card Design Superstar 2018: Innovation Master

Hello, cafe friends!

Today, I've brewed up a fun shaker card that I am entering in the MFT 2018 Card Design Superstar contest this week.

And without further ado, here it is!

Yep, it's a sunflower card, with sunflower seeds in the shaker component in the center! I just love sunflowers this time of year. I often see fields of sunflowers when I drive around the countryside of Michigan. So lovely!

This card has a front, an inside...

  ...and a back!

And here's the reason why it has so many sides. The flower is a little top heavy, and it needed some support to let it grow over the grass of the card base. To achieve this, I used a popsicle stick and covered it with a front and back of the stem (made from one of MFT's stitching dies).

To make the "grass" card base, I used this old die from MFT...I think it's meant to make fringed flowers. I used it to make grass instead!

The sentiment and pumpkins are from Harvest Mouse stamp set and dies. I made the sign using a die from MFT Blueprints and attaching it to the "stem" portion of the Flower Shaker dies.

And just in case you were wondering...this card is not a traditional size. I sized it to fit perfectly in a business envelope! It measures about 4 " by 9 " in total.

{Today's Brew: MFT Flower Shaker dies, MFT fringe die, Harvest Mouse stamps and dies, MFT fence die, MFT Blueprints die, MFT stitching die, circle shaker component from MFT, jute twine}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sam's Birthday!

Hello, cafe friends! Today is my youngest son's birthday!

Sam is fifteen!

I can hardly believe it. When I started blogging back in 2007, Sam had just turned four. He was just a preschooler yesterday, and today he is a young man.

I wish that I could tell you in my 28 + years of parenting that it has gotten easier. It has not. Quite the opposite, actually. Between my oldest sons' generation and my youngest son's generation, the culture of this world we live in has changed so drastically, and not for the better. Every day, we live as Christ-followers in a time that is constantly assaulting us with thoughts and ideas and values that are contrary to God's plan for us. It seems as if every week, there is a new "issue" that we talk about as a family and try to examine in light of God's Word. A commercial. A television program. A movie. A news story. Something we heard at school. A story making the rounds in social media.

It's exhausting.

But we cannot sit back and coast through Sam's final years of school. We remain ever vigilant. I'm reminded of the words of our pastor in Indiana, who himself was the father of six children. He exhorted us to "finish strong".

And so we fight the good fight for our sons and for their future.

Wow. I had not planned on talking about this today, but there it is. Confessions from this mother's heart.

All of this is not to say that Sam is a tough kid to raise. He's my joy, and I love him and I'm so proud of him. He's growing up to be a really sweet young man. And wow, is he a forward thinker! He has big plans for high school, and big plans for college, and big plans for after college. He talks of military service, or perhaps NASA. I even heard him talk about when he retires the other day. What other fifteen year old thinks that far out?

God knows the plans He has for Samuel, and I pray every day, as I do for all of my sons, that they know of the hope and future they have as children of God.

Okay. On to the card portion of this post!

Here in Michigan, we don't drink soda. We drink pop. And in my family, the guys are all about Coke over Pepsi. It's funny, because when we go to a restaurant and they order a Coke, the waitress may say "Is Pepsi alright?" My boys always answer "I'll take a Mountain Dew." ha ha ha!

So this card is for my guy, who loves to do the Dew!

{Today's Brew: Soda Pop stamps and dies (MFT), PTI inks and card stock, baker's twine}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!