Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Bicycle Built For Two

We are a big biking family. My husband, Ed, likes to ride his bike everywhere, so as a family, we follow wherever he leads. In recent years, Ed has pulled Sam on a bike trailer, but Sam was getting too big (and heavy!) for that. This year, we decided to purchase a co-pilot bike. Basically, it turns an adult bike into a tandem bike so that a young child can ride along on the back, and occasionally pedal when they feel like it ( at least that's what Ed tells me that Sam does! ha ha!)

Last weekend, Ed took Sam and me on a ten-mile ride through our town. We drove through the nature preserve, into neighborhoods that connect to Forest Park, over the White River and along a nature trail that meanders along the river and eventually crosses over Potters Bridge, a wooden covered bridge for pedestrains and bikes. Then we biked into downtown for some ice cream and back home again.

Whenever I see a tandem bike, I think of my sister Jenny. One summer, my parents decided that they'd like to take a short trip to visit some old neighbors that had moved to the exotic locale of Kokomo, Indiana. We were pre-teens and teens at that point, with the accompanying "we're bored" attitude that comes with the teen years. The family had a tandem bike, our big highlight of the trip! Jenny and I rode that thing every day. I think at one point, we took a sisters vow never to return to Indiana again. And now, here I am, living in Indiana. Funny how life can turn out, isn't it?

{recipe: Life Cycles (SU), Versafine onyx ink and prisma markers, circle card from Paper Source, pink pirouette cardstock, Making Memories papers, scallop scissors, felt flowers, brads}

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Finished Project

I finished my cross-stitch project yesterday! (Giving myself a big pat on the back for a one-week start to finish!) I attached the finished project to a pillow. This little piece of needle art now rests on top of the bed in our guest bedroom. Sweet!

It has probably been about fifteen years since my last cross-stitch project, and it was really nice to pick up this lost hobby again. As I was stitching, it brought back so many memories of past projects and the people I had made them for...Christmas towels for the in-laws, Christmas stockings for my family's mantle, an angel project for Mom, the bread basket for Jan that still rests on a shelf in her kitchen while she herself rests with her savior in heaven. So many memories!

One thing that surprised me was the fact that I hadn't forgotten so many of the necessary skills. They were just dormant, waiting to be used again. The little things like dropping your needle occasionally so that the floss can untwist itself, or being careful to pull the threads in a certain direction to get them to lay properly. It brought to mind my first formal class. I was probably about ten years old. My Mom had a favorite shop in our small Michigan town called The Yarn Basket that sold just about everything you could think of for needle art projects. At the time, my mom was into spinning her own wool, as well as basket making and quilting. She signed me up for the cross-stitch class, and I took to it pretty quickly.

I think that it's a wonderful idea to expose our children to the art of crafting. I hope that these skills do not get lost on this generation. My mother recalls watching her brothers as they darned their own socks. I think that young men and women should have a set of useful skills that can serve them well in the future...sewing, yarn work, needle work, woodwork. So many "hobbies" that can serve a purpose and enrich our lives. I'm glad I rediscovered another hobby.

I'm really excited about my next cross-stitch project, and I have the feeling you will be, too. Pop back in to the cafe soon, and I'll serve up a cup of creme brulee coffee and a new creation!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Because of the Brave

Happy Memorial Day! I thought I'd make a card that really captures the essence of this day. This stamp set from The Saltbox Studio says it all....Land of the Free Because of the Brave.

{recipe: Americana (the saltbox studio), kraft and riding hood red cardstock, Daisy D paper, scallop edge punch, versafine onyx ink, prisma markers, Hodgepodge Hardware star brad}

It's a rainy day today...not good weather for the backyard barbecues. I think we'll take the boys to see a movie instead.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Front Porch Reading

How's your Memorial Day weekend? In spite of the fact that it's race weekend here in Indy area (and boy, do you get tired of the Indy 500 in a hurry if you're not a big race fan!), things have been quiet here. Lots of time to sit on the front porch with a stitching project or a good book. I pulled out "Girlfriends Forever" by Susan Branch this week. It is such a fun book, filled with recipes, funny stories, great quotes, and her lovely drawings. I've admired Susan Branch and her artwork for more than ten years now. I'm always heartened by the fact that she never drew a thing in her life until she was formal training, just a desire to capture a little bit of life with pencil and paper. It brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from George Eliot: "It is never too late to be who you might have been."

In the category of "You don't know what you've got until it's gone", I've been feeling very nostalgic for girlfriends this week. I recently hooked up with my old gal pals from St. Louis via Facebook (who knew there were so many folks there wanting to connect with each other?). I miss them so much! I only knew them for a short time (three years), but they knew me on a deeper level than some people I've been acquainted with my whole life. Friendships are so vital to good mental health. I haven't felt that connection with anyone here yet, and it makes me blue. I think I'll need to stop back to St. Louis for a visit this summer, just to be around women who get me. In the meantime, I'm going to pray that God brings me the fellowship I desperately crave right now.

Blessings on your holiday weekend!

p.s. Stop by Susan Branch's website for a little inspiration!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Vegetable Experiment 2009

I have been working on my garden for the past several days, spreading one hundred pounds of organic humus/manure mixture into my clay soil and planting lots of seeds and plants. I have two long and narrow sections of garden that get the southern exposure, so I pack them full of herbs, vegetables, and flower seeds. This will only be my second year of vegetable gardening, and I've really grown from my usual flowers and perennials standbys. This year, I'm mixing the flowers right in with the vegetables. Here's a list of this year's plants and flowers:
Vegetables by plant:
4 Varieties of peppers
4 Varieties of tomatoes
2 Cucumbers
2 zucchini, yellow and green
Vegetables by seed:
Boston Bibb Lettuce
Mesclun spring mix lettuce
Flowers by seed:
Mexican Sunflowers
Mammoth Sunflowers
Today's card was inspired by my garden...lots of tall trees, lush green hills, a picket fence, and sunflowers...just like home!
{recipe: Country Pleasures (SU), kiwi kiss and so saffron cardstock, Garden Party papers and velvet ribbon (Making Memories), word window punch, button, marker, Versafine onyx ink, prismacolor pencils, gamsol}

Thursday, May 21, 2009

When all else fails...

...try reading the directions. (bwa ha ha! I crack myself up!) This philosophy has always served my brother, George, well. It must serve me well, also. After my first post, I realized that something was just not right about my new cross-stitch project. I studied the photo of the finished project, and then read the directions..."Stitch two strands of floss over two threads." Oooohhhh! I was stitching two strands of floss over one thread, which would have made a teeny tiny project suitable for a pin, maybe?

Beth called and said "You big goofball!" Yeah, I know! We had a good laugh over my silliness. I had to go back to Always in Stitches (Noblesville, Indiana...a great little shop, by the way) and buy a new piece of linen. I quickly got the hang of it, as you can see from this photo.

My new favorite stitching spot is my front porch, where I can sit on my vintage metal rocker in the shade, look at all of the pretty flowers in the garden, and keep an eye on Sam as he plays with friends on our street. I know why Beth calls her blog "Cross Stitch in the Garden". It's just a lovely, peaceful thing to do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Polka Dots

Good morning! Did you get a cup of coffee yet? I did, and it filled me with make this card! You know how much I love the Bella Rose designer series paper from Stampin' Up, right? Of course you do! I use it every chance I can. It is my favorite, go-to paper. Well, the other day, I was flipping through the current catalog, and I saw these giant polka dots. Very cute, I thought. Wait a minute! Is that from Bella Rose? Yep! It's the reverse side of the delicate pink pattern. I knew I had to make a card with those giant polka dots...and this is it!

{recipe: Bella Blossoms (SU), pink pirouette cardstock, black ink, Bella Rose DSP, pink taffeta ribbon, Fleurettes}

Those giant polka dots now have me thinking...maybe I should buy the Rockabilly Specialty paper, too. Yes, I hate the skulls, but the reverse side is pretty cute, and those cherries are just precious. Buy three papers and get one free in the month of May? Hmmm...

Monday, May 18, 2009

A New Beginning

Hello, friends! I hope you like the new location of the cafe. The coffee's on, so have a seat and I'll be serving you a nice hot cuppa joe in just a minute!
Here at Mary Rose's Cafe, I'll be serving up some warm, delicious cups of creativity...crafty pursuits, recipes, tips, and thoughts on family, faith, and friendship. I hope you'll be a regular. I'll save your favorite mug just for your visits!

I began a new craft project yesterday to commemorate this momentous occasion. A new cafe means new creativity, right? This cross-stitch project looked so sweet, so simple. And then I actually began the stitching. HOLY COW! This is tiny, intricate work! I'm working on a 28-count linen cloth, and going blind in the process. But it's so sweet, and so me...a little tea-stained, flowers, shades of pink and green. Maybe if I only stitch during daylight hours, I can save my eyesight and keep on crafting, too.

Coffee's ready! You want the whipped topping, don't you? Of course you do!