Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why I Love Church Directories

Let me tell you something I love about my new church.

Church directories.

I know that for many, this seems like an old fashioned relic of a different era. Now, the cool kids use Facebook and church member forums to interface.

They use words like interface, too.

But here's where the directory has a distinct advantage.

1.) For new members like us, it's an invaluable tool for putting names to faces.

2.) For someone completely new to an area, we can see who exactly lives in our neighborhood or nearby.

3.) When a church member needs a card of encouragement, I can go to the directory, find their photo and address, and send them something in the mail.

No texts. No tweets. No Face Book pokes.

Just snail mail, lovingly hand made and hand delivered by the United States Postal Service.

Sometimes, old school is just better.

And here's something else I love about our new church. They publish birthdays and anniversaries in the church bulletin.

I sent this card to a new friend at church who works alongside me in a tutoring ministry.

{Today's Brew: Songbirds stamps and dies (PTI), Simple Stories papers, PTI inks and card stock, rustic twine bow}

Tell me, do you like church directories, or do you prefer Facebook?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cottage Garden Before and After

Yay! I finally have some before and after photos of the cottage to show you today!

Or to be more accurate, these are probably the Before and After Part One photos featuring our evolving landscaping in the front garden. After Part Two will happen when we do some landscaping and hardscaping and lay some new mulch. But this is a start.

The front of the house had some really overgrown barberries. We pruned them hard after moving in, but they only seemed to grow more thanks to the hair cut. They were pokey and not so pretty, and they had to go. The thought of doing this job ourselves seemed huge, so we hired some tree trimmers to get the job done in short order.

And as long as the tree trimmers were here, we thought it was time to remove this half dead evergreen at the sidewalk. There used to be two evergreens side by side, but one fell and the other remained. We referred to it as the Leaning Tower of Treeza.

I tried my best to make it pretty over the summer with some annuals. But I knew we could do a lot better.

And here's the house after the finished tree and bush removal:

Oh my goodness. It looks better already, and I haven't even planted anything yet! The front porch used to look hidden and unwelcoming. Now, it looks open and friendly and inviting. Yay!

We plan on planting one or two ornamental trees at the front. One tree for the corner right, and possibly one at the left where the sidewalk begins. Maybe a dogwood or Korean Maple.

This area looks a little naked now. We plan on fixing this with some nice bushes, and possibly adding a bit of decorative picket and maybe a cute birdhouse or two on a pole for a focal point. I also have about 300 daffodils and grape hyacinth to plant in this spot for some spring color.

Here's the boss supervising the job.

Just standing at my front door, the view is so much prettier now.

I spent four or five hours cleaning up the leftover debris. Raking, digging, yanking, pulling. Ugh. But I know the end result will be worth it.

We are hoping to do a little planting this weekend, and if weather permits, we might even get our front door painted. I'm thinking of painting these wooden hand rails, too.

The curb appeal is improving a little bit every day! With a few tweaks, I think I can turn this modern ranch into the cozy cottage I've been dreaming of from the start.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Happy Retirement

The pastor of my Mom's church recently retired after forty years in the ministry.

This is the man who baptized our babies, conducted weddings and confirmations, buried our loved ones. It's been really hard for everyone who knows him and loves him.

I'm sure that it has been hard for him, too. But I'm confident that God has good things in store for him.

This card gave the sentiment that I was looking for...happy, joyful, faith-filled and fun.

I bought the Cheers dies (Papertrey Ink) off of a Buy/Sell forum recently. I don't own the matching stamp set, and I really don't see the need when I can get some great results with the dies alone. Pair it with a favorite sentiment, and this die works for so many occasions...birthdays, retirement, Father's Day. Change the colors for a root beer or even a float with a cherry on top, and it works for all ages. So glad I added this one to my collection!

The ladies at our stamping retreat enjoyed cranking out a bunch of these frosty glasses for future projects, too!

And speaking of frosty, I gave the glass and foam a frosty feel by spraying them with Glimmer Mist in Pearl. Fun!

{Today's Brew: Phrases and Praises stamp set (PTI), dies (PTI), card stock and inks (PTI), PTI Autumn chicken scratch papers, Glimmer Mist }

Happy Saturday, cafe friends!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sending Sympathy

I have a pile of five or six cards that need to get mailed this weekend. And I WILL get these in the mailbox. That's one of the hardest parts of card making for me...card sending! And if I don't send, I end up shoving the handmade cards away in a box and never using them. No more! That silliness stops now.

I needed a sympathy card, so I kept this one simple.

{Today's Brew: Painted Petals stamp set (PTI), PTI inks/card stock/paper}

Blessings on your Friday, cafe friends!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

House Projects Vs. Home Projects, and a Dinner Recipe, Too

Remember the days of posts about the Fixer Upper house, with all kinds of before and after photos?

Yeah, I kinda miss those Before and After photos, too.

It's not that the cottage doesn't need any updating. It does. A LOT of updating. But we've been going about them slowly, sometimes too slowly for my liking. A weeding project here. A pruning project there. We are hoping to get the front door painted this weekend. That's a start, right?

The truth is, we are just too busy. We are re-connecting with family and friends, enjoying the many festivals, orchards, restaurants and microwbreweries that the new town has to offer. 

And when I have time, I fluff a little. I organize a closet, or straighten out the craft room. I hang a painting, or swap out some pillows. Layer upon layer, just making the house our home.

This week, I finally got around to hanging these lights from the pergola on our deck. It was a little thing I kept meaning to do this summer. Now, we have a little twinkle to illuminate our evenings. Sure, the deck needs a lot of attention, with re-staining and new furniture. But for now, I can dim the lights, sit out on a rocker with a cup of decaff, and enjoy the night sounds from the woods.

With our Illinois move, we seemed to spend all of our time on house projects.

But with our move back to Michigan, we are turning our hearts home.

And here's a recipe that sings with the flavors of autumn in Michigan. It's a sausage and cabbage dish made with orchard apples and local apple cider. So good!

I started here, with a package of apple chicken sausage from Aldi. This is probably a seasonal item, so enjoy it while you can. After cooking sliced sausage in a Dutch oven, I removed it, then added the chopped cabbage, apples, and other ingredients until they were cooked down and tender. Finally, I added the sausage back in to the mix.

Luke, my oldest son, gave this recipe two thumbs up!

Sausage and Cabbage with Apples

1 pkg. apple chicken sausage
 1 small head of cabbage, chopped
3 -4 T. butter
1/2 onion, chopped
3 apples, cored and chopped
1/2-1 cup apple cider
2 T. apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
nutmeg to taste

Brown sausages in 1-2 tablespoons butter. Add chopped onions, and brown until tender. Remove from pot and set aside. Add remaining butter, cabbage, and apples, tossing and cooking for about five minutes until cabbage begins to soften. Then add cider, vinegar, and seasonings. Allow to cook for about ten to fifteen minutes, stirring frequently. When cabbage is tender and much of liquid has boiled down, add sausages back to pot, combining with cabbage mix. Serve in shallow bowls with a side of hearty bread and enjoy!

It's a rainy, blustery day here in Michigan. Time to put on a pot of soup and curl up with a good book.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Crafting Retreat Weekend at the Hankerd Inn

Hello, cafe friends!

I had a fabulous time this week at the Hankerd Inn in Pleasant Lake, Michigan! Good food, good fellowship, and lots of creativity!

Here is the crafting station where Mom and I a corner with lots of windows and natural light. I did a much better job packing this year. I probably brought more stamp sets than I needed, but other than that I packed well for the projects I had planned ahead of time. Oddly, I never got around to working on any Christmas projects, but I did make quite a few birthday, get well, and Thanksgiving cards this time around.

And here is the view outside our window. Isn't it beautiful? And just think...last year, I had to drive over four hours from Chicago to get here. Now, it was a lovely country drive that probably took around forty-five minutes, with a stop in the quaint town of Chelsea for lunch.

Any time I get to spend with this beautiful lady is time well spent!

Another great weekend in Pure Michigan!

Blessings on your Monday, cafe friends!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

WCMD MFT Challenge #4: Make and Mail

The final card for the MFT World Card Making Challenge is always a tough one for me. Don't just make it. Mail it! I have a terrible time getting cards into the mailbox sometimes. But this one is going in tomorrow, pinky promise!

I used an MFT brick stencil to make the house front for this card, and incorporated the use of a window die to peek inside.

And when the card is opened, this is what you see:

{Today's Brew: Stamps (MFT), stencil (MFT), window die, card stock and ink, COPIC markers}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today, friends!