Thursday, November 16, 2017

Life Is Good!



Hello, cafe friends!

Life has been busy, and life has been good. So good, in fact, that one of my friends commented recently that she cannot believe how quickly God turned my life around with this move back home to Michigan.

It's true. It feels as though many elements of life have been restored to me here.

For starters, we love our house and our neighborhood.It's a cozy little cottage that needs a lot of decor help, but you know what? I'm not obsessing about it the way I did with the fixer upper. Instead, I take nice long walks with Jemma and my husband and the boys. We admire the trees and the natural beauty all around us. It fills us with contentment for where we are.

I also love how close we are to family. My sisters can send me a text invite to lunch, and I'm there in no time. Family time has been precious.

We have a sweet church where we're making some wonderful connections.

I have a new ministry, tutoring adults who are learning English as a second language. It's been a really rewarding experience.

And recently, I started a new job doing something that I love: writing for local publications! It's been a great creative outlet for me.

God is good, my friends! I'm so thankful for this new chapter in our lives. My calendar is full, my days have purpose, and we are developing a rhythm that has created a healthy balance for us.

Today's card sums it up pretty well!


{Today's Brew: New Every Morning (PTI), Lawn Fawn leafy tree back drop die, PTI ink and card stock, Simple Stories paper}

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Cottage: A Front Door Makeover


I've been waiting to have my front door painted for a few months. Every weekend, my dear husband would promise he'd have plenty of time to get to it, and every weekend the job got pushed aside. Too rainy, too cold, too busy planting in the garden.

This week, I finally decided "Why wait? I'm painting that front door myself."

After all, who has more experience painting doors than me? At the Illinois house, I painted the front doors three times!

I popped in to my local Ace Hardware and bought a quart of Benjamin Moore Waterbury Green, along with some painters tape. The weather was not too terribly cold (upper forties), and I figured because this was on a covered porch, it would be protected.


I painted the door and sidelights, leaving the trim and the storm door for another day.


I love how this greenish blue complements the red brick and tan exterior. It also looks great with the existing elements, like the door mat and the porch rocker pillows.


This will be a great color for all seasons. And look at how that wreath just pops against the green! LOVE it!


It also makes me happy to see this burst of color in an otherwise neutral foyer.


Good news! Miss Jemma approves!


The front entryway used to look sad and neglected. Between the overgrown barberry bushes and the pukey taupe door, it really looked uninviting. But now, thanks to new landscaping and a bright and cheery door color, the house is warm and welcoming, just in time for the holiday season.

Blessings on your Friday, cafe friends!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Autumn Trees, Lawn Fawn style


The views from the deck and back of the house have been so beautiful this autumn. The sugar maple has started to drop its crimson leaves this week, blanketing everything below in a carpet of red.



And every evening, we have visitors who stop by.




It's a far cry from the view of my neighbor's garbage cans that used to annoy me every day in Illinois. God is good, my friends! He is so good!


Here's a fun card I made using Lawn Fawn products. The tree border is a really fun die. Use the trunks alone for a bare winter landscape, or add tree toppers for any season.


{Today's Brew: Hedgehugs stamp set (Lawn Fawn), tree border die (Lawn Fawn), Lawn Fawn papers, PTI card stock}

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

After! Our Landscape Makeover


Finally! We finished our major landscape makeover this weekend!

It has been an ongoing project for at least a month now. Was it necessary? Absolutely. We started with a half-dead leaning evergreen, enormous overgrown barberry bushes, and an odd mishmash of lilies planted willy nilly that the deer were eating before they could even bloom.


 The entryway felt tight and dark and uninviting. So we removed the giant bushes, took out all the useless black plastic edging in the gardens, and reworked the stone for a hardscape garden border. Then the fun job of replanting could begin.

And here's the result of our labors!


It's always a good idea to add some evergreens for all year interest. I like to have them at the back of a garden because they will provide a nice backdrop for showy spring and summer annuals. Here, we planted a row of boxwood flanked by two lime green arbor vitae.


We planted three Let's Dance Moonlight hydrangeas around a pink dogwood tree.


I added some carpet drift peach roses for long lasting color.


I love spirea bushes for all season interest. These Magic Carpet spirea are low growing, and look at how beautiful they are in their fall foliage!


I can never have enough hydrangea! Annabelle hydrangeas are some of my favorites for their large white blossoms and easy care. They add a nice golden color in the fall, too.  And behind it, I transplanted a clematis to grow along the back wall.


The dogwood tree has a lovely leaf that changes color, too. This is one reason I like to plant in the fall. You can see firsthand what the foliage will look like in the late season. It's also a great time to get fantastic deals. We got most of our bushes for half off!



So much better!


At the island, where the evergreen was leaning, we planted a star magnolia, a nice ornamental flowering tree which will grow to about ten to fifteen feet. We surrounded it with some low growing juniper. I love the lime green color! I also planted some pink carpet drift roses here for color in spring and summer.


A butterfly bush sits in one corner. I plan on adding a lot of perennials next year to attract the birds, bees and butterflies.


And here's the house view from the sidewalk and street. So much friendlier. The neighbors have been very encouraging. Everyone stops and tells us how much they like the changes.




We have such a lovely view of the woods next to our house. I really wanted the landscape to reflect the natural environment, and I think it does.


By the way, there are a lot of additions to the garden that you cannot see. That's because I planted over five hundred bulbs for spring blooming. Daffodils, hyacinths, and so many others. Basically, if the package said that it was deer resistant, I put it in the ground. Now I just have to hope that the squirrels don't dig for buried treasure!


I'm also trying hard to grow some grass in the bare patches. The destruction phase of landscaping probably didn't help. I've been over-seeding and hoping that the autumn rains will work their magic. Perhaps that will be a job for the spring. But for now, I'm happy to have the yard and gardens nice and tidy for the seasons ahead.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Weekend of Gardening and Stitching


How was your weekend? I hope it was refreshing.

I started a little stitching project this weekend. It's a pillow cover from Pine Mountain. I love the colors and theme of gratitude for this month of November.


Here's what it will look like when finished.


I love the sweet little flower!

And speaking of flowers, I finally finished planting in the garden. I promise more Before and After photos of the front yard landscaping this week! It's been quite a transformation. I think I planted over 500 bulbs for the spring, too. Oh, my aching back! I am hoping it will all pay off in the spring.

Here are a few of the prettier flowers. Blossoms in November! In Michigan!



Blessings on your Monday, cafe friends!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

November...my Ten Year Blogiversary!


November.

How did that happen?!

Here we are in the beginning of the holiday season! Hallmark Countdown to Christmas season! Peppermint Mocha Latte season! It's here!

I had a thought last week. Didn't I open Mary Rose's Cafe in November?

Yes, I did. Originally, on Typepad. November 2007.

Yep! Ten years ago this month!

That's worth celebrating! And I will! I'll be offering a full month of thanksgiving for my ten years of blogging. I'm especially thankful for all of you cafe regulars who have touched my lives over the years with your sweet words. And I'm thankful for all of the first time visitors who pop in to the cafe for a cup of inspiration.

Blog coffees will be served up this month, friends! Get your mugs ready!


Today's card features the adorable Harvest Mouse from Birdie Brown and  My Favorite Things. You will notice that after coloring him, I also added a nice highlight of pale blue around the entire image. I forget to do this sometimes, but it really does make the image pop!

{Today's Brew: Harvest Mouse stamp set (MFT), MFT dies, Lawn Fawn Papers, PTI card stock, COPIC markers}

Thanks for visiting the cafe, friends! Wishing you a harvest of blessings!


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Family To The Rescue


What do you do when you are the new kid in town, and you don't have any best buddies to go trick or treating with on Halloween?

I had this conundrum yesterday. Sure, Sam's getting a little old to go door to door for candy, but he still wants to hang out with friends, just like any other middle schooler.

I had one of those moments of Mom guilt just thinking about this yesterday.

And then it dawned on me.

Hey, wait a minute. We are not alone on this island anymore. We live close to family. I can throw a big bowl of candy on the doorstep with a note to say "Help yourself" for anyone who comes to our door, and then drive to the family so that Sam can experience some holiday fun with cousins.

I sent off a text to my sister, who is always game for fun, and we are coming up with a plan for this evening to redeem Halloween for Sam.

I am so thankful for family! What a blessing that we live once again near the grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. It just makes life richer, fuller, filled with joy.

Here's a little autumn card to express some of that thankfulness!


{Today's Brew: Into The Woods stamp set (Lawn Fawn), Lawn Fawn birch tree dies, Lawn Fawn stitched frame die, MFT cloud stencil, COPIC markers, PTI card stock}

Happy Halloween! And Happy 500th anniversary of the Reformation Day!