Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shipshewana Inspired: Blogging

Two words you probably will not hear in the same sentence very often...Amish and blogging. It's true, the Amish area of Northern Indiana is not known for its techies. We happened upon a fall festival in Middlebury, Indiana, where I found a booth from a local crafter and blogger.

This crafter took vintage linens and turned them into really cute bags, with awesome details like rickrack and pom pom trims and funky buttons. She had a copy of the book "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey at her booth for sale. She told me she'd accidentally ordered two from the Internet, and decided to sell the second copy at a cheap price. Sold!

This book features lots of basics about blogging, as well as some helpful tips from seasoned bloggers. Most of the blogs featured were popular crafters, like The Farm Chicks, SouleMama, Betz White, and others. As I browsed through their entries, I noticed that a lot of crafty bloggers favor a vintage/collage-y type style. I decided to make a collage-type card, but done in the Mary Rose's Cafe style. Here it is:

Sorry about the faded's very overcast today! When it comes to collage style, more is more. So I added lots of details...stitching, tags, brads, sponging, all done in a funky prim sort of way. I cannot get enough of the images from The Saltbox Studio right now! I think their prim look just goes so well with fall crafting, don't you? I'm really kinda bummed that Beth's not offering more in this line at Amuse. ( But the good news is that you can get them on sale at the Amuse website now!)

{recipe: stamps from the Saltbox Studio, gingham paper from Amuse, kraft cardstock, tag punch, versafine sepia ink, prisma markers, folk star punch, stitching done on sewing machine}

While you're at the Amuse site, make sure you check out their selection of gingham papers...they are SO CUTE, and the black and orange look great on fall and Halloween projects!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shipshewana Inspired: A New Meditation

Last Saturday, when I was in the Shipshewana area, I woke up really early in the morning. 6:15 am, to be exact. I'm not really sure why, as I'm not known for being an early riser. I think it's because I was excited to spend a day with Mom and sisters, and I didn't want to waste any time with sleep. Come to think of it, maybe that's why we stayed up until nearly 2 in the morning that night, talking and solving all the world's problems!

I didn't want to bother everyone else, so I showered, dressed, and packed my bible and needle art and headed to the dining area. I opened my bible to Psalms, and I read scripture, then stitched and meditated on what I'd read. I turned the scripture into prayer, and just talked with God about what he'd told me and what was on my heart. I have to say, it felt like a really effective way to study God's word.

There are certain crafts that have a repetitive, meditative quality. I know that there are people who knit or crochet prayer shawls or cancer caps, and they pray for the people who will be blessed by their handiwork. Quilting and stitching have that same quality. When your hands are busy doing a task, your mind is free to do something else. Paper crafting...not so much. With that, you're constantly editing and rearranging and making choices.

I'm working on two projects right now. This project is a Lizzie Kate Boxer called Autumn Cottage. I love stitching the fall leaves and trees!

"May the favor of the Lord God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shipshewana Inspired: Farmtastic!

My drive to northern Indiana was so pastoral...there were combines in the fields, harvesting corn. I saw huge flatbed trucks loaded to the top with tomatoes. But the sight that always gets my heart fluttering? A beautiful barn. I saw unique round barns that had shingled roofs depicting farm animals, along with big old barns of every size, shape and color. This barn (above) was converted to shops in Middlebury. The wagon was loaded with pretty!

This barn houses the D'Vine shops in Shipshewana, where they sell herbs, woolens, beads, and lots of unique items. We arrived at the shop just five minutes after closing, and we were heartbroken. This is always one of our favorite destinations. But guess what? The shop owner heard our plight, and she opened just for us! Isn't that sweet? The gardens surrounding this building are amazing as well.

Of course, I was inspired to come home and make a farm card. I tend to think of farm animals in the spring and summer months, but harvest is really the busy season on the farm. In my area of Indiana, there are lots of farm festivals this weekend, where you can pick your own apples and pumpkins, walk through a corn maze, or take a ride on the hay wagon. If it ever stops raining, I just may go and visit a farm this weekend!

{recipe: Farm Friends (SU), sentiment from The Saltbox Studio, Sweet Slumber paper, more mustard card stock, prismacolor pencils and markers, modern label punch, brads}

I thought I'd show a close up of the coloring detail. First, I laid color on with the Prisma markers, Then, I went back with Prismacolor pencils and added more color and shading. You can see how this makes the colors more vibrant, while at the same time giving the look more texture and depth. Yeah, it took a while, but I'm a gal that likes to color.

I hope your weekend is farmtastic!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shipshewana Inspired: The Love of Pie

Das Dutchman Essenhaus restaurant and inn is actually in Middlebury, a small town just down the pike from Shipshewana. If you ever have the chance to stay in the area, you've got to book a room here. It's such a warm and cozy place, with comfy couches and fireplaces everywhere you turn. It's homey without being hokey.

Essenhaus is German for "Eating House", and boy, do you eat well at the restaurant! (The name always makes me think of my mom...she used to tell us to "Essen Zie und Zessen Zie" when we were kids....basically, sit down and eat!)

They serve a yummy chicken dinner, but the star of the show has to be the pies. With over a dozen on the menu, who can choose just one? We couldn't! So we ordered a slice of Dutch Apple, a slice of Cocounut Cream, and a slice of Raspberry Cream, and then we sampled each one. Wow! The Raspberry Cream was heavenly, but I'll concur with my sister, Jenny. There's not a more perfect pie than a good apple served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

I made this card for yesterday's sketch challenge at Splitcoast Stampers. Isn't that paper fun? It says "When in doubt, eat more pie." It works for me!

{recipe: The Saltbox Studio stamps, background plaid and wild hearts stamps from SU, baja breeze and pumpkin pie card stock, versafine ink and prisma markers, Karen Foster paper, modern label punch, gingham ribbon}

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shipshewana Inspired: Something Nutty

Shipshewana is home to a rather large Amish population. The influence is felt everywhere...from the horse drawn buggies to the fabulous food and the hand crafted items. The Amish are well known for their quilts, and you'll see this motif everywhere. Here, it is on the side of the Davis Mercantile building.

And here is a view of a quilt garden from the balcony of our rooms at Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury.

My sister, Tina, picked up this adorable book at Lolly's Fabrics called Sew Sunny Homestyle by Tone Finnanger. Tina is a quilt artist, and whenever she finds a cool book, it's always filled with stuff that I love, too! While flipping through the pages, I found the most adorable idea for a pin cushion, and couldn't wait to try it when I got home. Here it is:

It's a pin cushion on top of a Ball jar! Isn't that fun? Here's a view of the top lid:

This was from a Homespun Elegance pattern that featured several different pin cushion patterns. I picked this one because it felt like fall. Now, the project would have been much cuter if I had filled the jar with acorns. The only problem is that I don't have an oak tree in my yard. But I do have a buckeye tree, so I filled the jar with buckeyes instead. (My apologies to all of you Michigan fans out there...GO BLUE!)

I'm thinking the possibilities for this idea are endless! You could fill a jar with buttons, pretty ribbons, floss, or better still, something edible! Wouldn't this make a sweet gift for the holidays?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shipshewana Inspired

I had a wonderful time with Mom and sisters in Shipshewana, Indiana last weekend. Lots of great food, fun, and fellowship, along with a good dose of inspiration. You've heard it said that a day in the country is worth a year in the city. This week, I'll be featuring projects that were inspired by my weekend in the country...namely, northern Indiana country!

I took the photo of this bike outside of the Davis Mercantile building. It sits right outside Lolly's Fabric store, where I was able to pick up ten more colors of Weeks Dye Works flosses. (I'm kickin' myself for not buying some of the Weeks felted woolens when I had the chance!)

I came home yesterday and made this card. I knew I wanted lots of leaves and flowers to recall the amazing displays of autumn colors I saw everywhere.

{recipe: Life Cycles (SU), crushed curry and soft suede cardstock, soft suede ink and polka ribbon, Versafine ink, prisma markers, circle punch, silk flower, leaf paper from Karen Foster Designs}

Lately, I've found that I love using Soft Suede ink to sponge/age/distress my images. As the name implies, it is a softer brown...not too harsh and dark, but also not as yellow as some of the browns I've used in the past.

Stop back tomorrow for a nutty craft idea!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Finished Pillow Project

I have a few stitching projects floating around the house that are completed, but still waiting to be finished off into something. Well, I pulled out my sewing machine and finished one of them yesterday. And guess what? As it turns out, I'm a stitcher, not a seamstress! This pillow will definitely not win any straight seam contests, but it served the purpose.

I love the colors of this pillow wrap! I'm very proud of this project, as this was the first time that I had designed my own cross-stitch pattern.

Tomorrow, I am heading out to Shipshewana, Indiana for some fun, fellowship, and bible study with my mom and sisters. If you've never been to Shipshewana, it is definitely a place you'll want to visit. The town is largely populated by the Amish, which means the cooking is fantastic! And the shopping, crafting, and antiquing is phenomenal, too. It's been more than six years since I've been there, and I'm hoping to find some great stamping and stitching shops.

Hope your weekend is filled with blessings!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I love autumn. There's something about this season that just fills my heart with thankfulness. Right now, my buckeye tree is dropping its leaves and buckeyes all over the yard (you can see it in the background of this photo). I've planted colorful mums in the garden, too. Just yesterday, Sam brought home a field trip form...we're going to a pumpkin patch next month! Apple cider, pumpkin pie, golden delicious, warm fritters...what's not to love about this season?

We're in the middle of a major storage space renovation in our basement. Ed is going to install shelving in our storage room so that we can get all of our boxes of stuff off the floor. Right now, all of our stuff is in the back half of the basement, and it is a mess. I was doing some sorting, and I came across this lovely piece of background paper. I knew I had to make a card with it today! I bought this many years ago when I visited the Longaberger Homestead in Ohio. I even have a few baskets with fabric liners that feature this pattern.

{recipe: Stamps from The Saltbox Studio, canvas background stamp, flannel plaid background stamp, true thyme ink and cardstock, really rust ink and cardstock, sahara sand cardstock, moss gingham ribbon, versafine ink, prisma markers and pencils}

I learned a coloring trick from Mary Engelbreit. (Fall issue of Where Women Create) She colors with markers, and then goes back and shades with colored pencil. I tried it here on the pumpkin, and I like the effect!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


To continue my story from yesterday... is the year 2000, and we are the proud parents of a baby black labrador named Maggie. Maggie, like every rambunctious lab, was a handful. Picture a black Marley, and you've got a good image in your head. I'll never forget the day when I came home from work, and there was Maggie in her crated area of the kitchen with blue paw prints all over the floor! She had found and chewed a blue inkpad, and when she yawned? Her mouth was as blue as the guys from Blue Man Group!

In fact, having Maggie was so much like having a baby that I remember telling my husband, "You know what? This sealed the deal. I think I'm done having children now."

As the saying goes, when woman plans, God laughs.

Three years later, I was 36 years old and pregnant. Quite a surprise! I had a very healthy pregnancy, though, and all was well until the last week, when my blood pressure began to elevate and my ankles began to swell. The doctor sent me to the hospital that day, saying it was time to have this baby.

The day was September 11, 2003.

The doctor asked if I'd like to begin inducement that day. I declined. Ed and I did not want our child born on a day that was connected with so much sadness. We wanted our child born on September 12, a day of renewed spirit and strength.

Samuel was born on September 12, 2003. As the nurses later told me, he had a heartbeat, and that was it. His Apgar score was 1, and Ed said that he lay flopped on a table, with all limbs limp and blue, looking like a frog about to be dissected. Poor Ed. He saw much more than I did at the time, and he wept.

Sam was in NICU for a week, with tubes inserted into him. Neonatologists ran lots of tests, with nothing conclusive. They told us to prepare ourselves for the fact that Sam would have many problems in the future...learning disorders, developmental delays, the list went on.

They knew the size of our problem, but they didn't know the size of our God.

We named him Samuel, which means "Asked of God." We asked God for a lot with Samuel. And when you think of it, we asked God for a lot on that September 12 of 2001 also.

Our pastor came and prayed over us, and he spoke the words of Psalm 139 over Saumel. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

Sam came home, and we loved him and nurtured him, as God intended. And you know what? Sam never had a developmental delay. He never exhibited a learning disorder. In fact, he's always been an overachiever.

Sam's birthday is a day of thanksgiving for our family. It is a day when we remind ourselves that our God is a great big God, and he has plans to give us a hope and a future.

Samuel had his first "friends" birthday party this year. The neighborhood boys came over for some Star Wars fun!

Of course, stamps, ink, and paper were in on the action!

We even played party games, like "Pin the light saber on Anakin"!

I had treat bags for the kids. I threw in a few of Beth's awesome bookmarks for Halloween that she made for the Pass It On company. (Sam was very proud to tell everyone that the mouse was named after him!). You can find these wonderful Pass It On products now in Christian bookstores. I plan on using them for the trick-or-treaters this year.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today! I don't know what your day is like, or what problems lay before you, but it's always good to be reminded that our God is bigger than we can imagine.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Our dog, Maggie, celebrated her birthday this past Friday. Yes, we are a family that celebrates dog birthdays (I was so happy to hear Beth Moore's family celebrates dog birthdays, too!). This year, Maggie got a bone and a new stuffed animal to love and terrorize. She now carries Goose all over the house. Let me tell you, Maggie may be an old lady of 9 now, but she knows when it's her special day!

Our Maggie was born on 9/11/00. We were so excited to celebrate her first birthday. I was working at a Christian preschool at the time, and my husband called me that morning to tell me the news. I remember feeling sympathy with a lot of the parents who came early to bring their children home. I just wanted to be with my family, too. It was very hard being a teacher of young children whose eyes and ears saw and heard things that they could not understand. I tried to tell them that God loved them and would keep them safe, but who really felt safe in those days, when not a single plane flew in the skies.

Do you remember how Christmas was different that year? We were still a people clinging to the Lord in the midst of tragedy. I remember being so touched by the Christmas card that the White House sent out that year. Laura Bush picked the bible verse inside from Psalm 27:13-14: "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

Sadly, we still have a hole in the ground where two towers once stood. But I am still waiting for the Lord, and still believing.

Tomorrow, I will tell you why 9/12 means so much to our family, so stop back!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Star Wars Birthday

The artists at Splitcoast Stampers are geniuses. Seriously! They can take something like a punch, look at it in a completely different way, and come up with something completely new and unexpected.

I needed to make some birthday invitations for Sam, who will be turning six on Saturday. I was looking for something Star Wars themed, did a search in the SCS gallery, and came up with some amazing ideas using punches.

The first, from Dragonpynk, was combining punches to make an Imperial Tie Fighter. She gives step-by-step instructions here: wars

The second was using the word window punch to make light cool! Thank you, whitney grace! wars

Needless to say, Sam was thrilled with the outcome! We're inviting five neighborhood children over for a little cake and ice cream and games party on Saturday afternoon. He was so excited to play mailman last night and hand-deliver these invitations.

{recipe: Hugs and Wishes (SU), basic gray cardstock, brilliant blue cardstock and ink, green galore cardstock and ink, black cardstock and ink, round tab punch, designer label punch, circle punch, word window punch}

Any suggestions for some good party games for kindergarteners?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Love Notes

That's my son, Luke, running in his first college cross country meet! We were able to watch Luke run in his meet last Saturday, and then brought him home for Labor Day weekend. It was nice to spend some time with him as a family.

I decided to make him a card to put in the mail tomorrow. I received this note paper cardstock from Amuse last week, and I love it! I wanted to use a stamp set that would look like someone doodled in their spiral notebook, so I picked Love Matters from Stampin' Up.

{recipe: Love Matters (SU), amuse notebook paper cardstock, riding hood red cardstock and ink, cool caribbean ink, Versafine onyx ink, Amuse ribbon, heart brads, paper clip, spiral punch}

Luke called me today between classes and loads of laundry just to chat. He seems to be enjoying college, which is a good thing.

I got out my fall decorations this weekend, and I'm going to look for some mums for the garden soon. Don't you just love autumn?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Home Crafting Mysteries to mix my love of reading with my love of crafting. Voila! The Home Crafting Mysteries series by Cricket McRae! I found these books at the library, and they are a lot of fun to read. Each book has recipes in the back, too. The first book, Lye in Wait, focuses on soap making. The second book, Heaven Preserve Us, has a home canning angle. And the third book, Spin A Wicked Web, involves wool spinning and knitting.

There are a lot of fiction writers ou there that incorporate hobbies and crafts into their books. I know that Debbie Macomber does a lot with knitting. Laura Childs writes a series of scrapbooking mysteries as well as her Tea Shop series. There are mysteries that focus on cooking, quilting, you name it!

I love it when my favorite hobbies all come together!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Swapping Out

I started thinking about all of the things that I've been swapping out in the last year or two. When the economy began to tank and we started living leaner, I began to substitute one product or practice for another. For example:

Clinique makeup----> Olay and Drug store makeup
Bath and Body Works lotions and potions----> Suave shower gel and lotion
Haircuts at the salon----> Haircuts by Mom
Dress Shirts at the Dry Cleaners----> Washing, drying, and ironing shirts at home
Eating Out----> Eating In
Movies at the Theaters---->Movies from the Redbox
Clothes from Catalog Companies----> Clothes on sale from Target
Magazines from the News stands----> Magazines from the used book store
Books from the book store----> Books from the library
Buying stamp sets----> Buying single stamps
Buying trendy---->Buying classics that I love
Buying new----> Buying gently used
Buying Expensive Coffees----> Buying coffee syrups and making flavored coffees at home

As you can see, we've tried to become leaner in all areas of spending. After all, I'm still a stay-at-home mom with one son in half-day kindergarten, another in high school, and another in college with tuition payments. But the best part is that I don't feel deprived, I feel thrifty! I'm taking a common sense approach to life, and it feels good.

I will admit it...for quite a while, I was more of a craft collector than a true crafter. I spent too much money acquiring stuff, and not enough time using the stuff I had. I'm learning to pare down my collections and use the things I own and love. I have the feeling I'm going to save myself a LOT of money when my Stampin' Up demonstratorship is over. I will no longer feel compelled to buy because of my discount. Now, I can become more thoughtful with my purchases. After all, there are so many online sources for crafts these days, and I'm lucky to live just a short drive away from Archivers, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnn's.

Today's card is a simple layers, and minimum embellishment. It was inspired by my love of transferware china. I have a few pieces of red Staffordshire china that I cherish, but I'd love to add brown transferware to my collection. I've always loved those big turkey platters at Thanksgiving...such a classic. Hmmm....transferware china, or college tuition? I guess Luke wins this round.

{recipe: Avian Toile (SU), Fancy Flexible Phrases (SU), Designer Label stamp and punch (SU), Pure Luxury Ivory cardstock, Versafine sepia ink, ruby red/really rust/ld olive/ close to cocoa/more mustard inks for watercoloring, Vanilla Hodgepodge hardware, Prima flowers, pearl, chocolate satin ribbon}

Leave a comment and tell me what you've been swapping out these days!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Upstairs Downtown

This weekend, our little town of Noblesville had their annual Upstairs Downtown tours. For a charge of five dollars per couple, Ed and I were able to tour the upstairs of eight historic buildings in town. The tickets even included free hot dogs, drinks and chips. What a deal! Our town is the county seat, and host to this historic courthouse that once saw the trials of Dillinger and Charles Manson (yuck!) just to name a few. I shot this photo from one of the upstairs locations.

The architecture in town is so pretty, and many of the buildings have beautiful features highlighted by contrasting paint colors.

The third story of the building behind this tree once housed the boys club...there's a complete basketball court on the third floor! If you look closely, you can see The Wild ( black awning), a very cool children's book store that reminds me of the one Meg Ryan owned in "You've Got Mail."

Isn't this the cutest store sign ever? Martha Jane's is a women's purse/jewelry/accessories store. The interior has the prettiest original hardwood floors and tin ceilings.

And here's the sign from my favorite local cafe, Noble Coffee and Tea. They sell the funniest bumper stickers in their shop that say "Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks." ha ha! They sell a wonderful caramel macchiato, and they have a big bay window with chairs for some great people-watching near the sidewalk! Lots of outdoor cafe tables, too.

Here's the entrance to one of my favorite shops, A Corner Cottage. Their window displays are always adorable, and they were just getting their autumn decorations on display when I took this photo. Can you see the window boxes on the right of the building? They fill them with flowers and old china plates and's so adorable!

Here's a photo of my husband, Ed, waiting for me to finish with my photographs. The lamp posts, benches, and garbage cans are all painted the same shade of green, and the hanging flowers and basket planters always look so pretty! On this evening, the town was even featuring outdoor jazz concerts on the square. When we finished our tour, we popped in to the local Italian restaurant, Matteo's, for a glass of wine and appetizers. What a fun way to enjoy a stroll through town and experience a perfect end-of-the-summer evening.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Back-to-school goodies

Here in Indiana, we've been in school for several weeks. But back home in Michigan, school does not start until after Labor Day. Thanks to a law which was passed to protect summers and tourism, the children there have a much longer summer break. Lucky Michiganders!

My nieces, Paige and Madison, will begin school next week, so I decided to make them these cute little back-to-school kits. We found these items at Target (see, I told you I was namin' names!) on clearance last week. The mini composition books are really small...only 3 X 4 inches, and they come in a two pack for around fifty cents on clearance! I've found that Scotch brand Quick Dry Tacky Adhesive glue works wonders when you are altering any materials with special papers. I stamped on the big erasers using VersaMagic ink, but I'm sure that Stazon would work well also. I wrapped the big pencil in papers and secured with a little scotch tape. The ribbon from Amuse was the perfect touch to this pink and black combo!

{recipe: Label Classics (SU), Priceless (SU), Bella Rose papers, Versafine and Versamagic inks, amuse ribbon, school supplies from Target)

So many products used from so many sources...isn't it nice when everyone can play nicely together?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hold The Tomato!

When I was a young girl, my mother gave me my own sewing basket. It had all the necessary items...scissors, needles, thread, and of course, pin cushion. I still have that sewing basket after all these years, and I use the pincushion often when working on projects.

Today's card is inspired by all things crafty. Here it is:

This card uses stamps from a very limited release of The Saltbox Studio. I think these stamps are too stinkin' cute, and I wish they would have gotten a broader release. If you think so, too, maybe you can drop a word to Linda at Amuse and see what she can do for you! ( sorry, Linda!) I used Honey Pie papers from Cosmo Cricket. I LOVE that paper company! Their papers just make me smile! I'm including a new link ( because I can...bwa ha ha ha ha !) to Cosmo Cricket so that you can see their new lines. Oh, that Earth Love paper will be mine, and The Boyfriend, too!

Here's a close-up of the image. Can you see the little pearls on top of the pins? I KNOW! I love them, too! But you haven't even seen the sentiment inside the card yet, so here it is:

A day stitched in prayer rarely unravels. How sweet is that? I'm sending this to a friend I've been praying for this week who is struggling with job related decisions.

{recipe: stamps from The Saltbox Studio (amuse), olive cardstock, Cosmo Cricket Honey Pie papers, versafine onyx ink, prismacolor pencils, gamsol, pearl stickers, scallop circle and edge punches}

Thanks for popping in to the cafe today! By the way, have you heard the news? Pumpkin Spice coffees are back at Starbucks! I think I'll grab my favorite coffee beanie from Old Maid New and head over there after I drop Sam off at school today.

Stop back tomorrow for a fun project that alters products you can buy from a big box store. I'm namin' names, folks, so that you can buy them, too!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Products, New Changes

The mail lady delivered some Amuse goodies yesterday! It was packaged so sweet and looked so cheerful, I just had to take a photograph...before Sam grabbed for the Amuse lollipop and took off! I have to tell you, the new Gingham papers are delightful, and the Notebook paper is going to be so fun!

My mom wanted a lot of the stamp sets from the Saltbox Studio line, so I placed the order for her. I couldn't believe how cute they looked when they were packaged...I had always received the prototypes without packaging! If you've loved the Saltbox Studio line as much as I have, then make sure you check out the sale section at the Amuse link before they're all gone!

Can you believe I've gone this long without the Coffee Break clear set from Amuse? Hell-o! I needed to add that set to my cafe, and I'm so glad I did. What fun!

I made this card for my son, Luke, who is off to college. My husband's work was going to take him to the Southern Indiana area today, so he's decided to pop over and see Luke. I had a big pile of stuff to send him...homemade cookies, nachos and salsa, a board game, a DVD player, golf balls, Febreeze, a printer ink cartridge, and lots of other odds and ends that he'd requested. He is running with the Cross Country team, and while he runs through town, he looks for spots for me to visit. He told me he's found a scrapbooking shop and a Christian coffee house. Isn't that sweet of him? I know he'll appreciate the card today.

{recipe: Coffee Break, orange polka notecards, scallop square punch, versafine sepia ink, Prisma markers, Makin Memories brad}

New Changes

As many of you may have heard, Stampin' Up has taken a hard line with their demonstrators that will require them to sign agreements that are, basically, noncompete clauses. Demonstrators can no longer be on design teams for other stamping-related companies. In addition, a demonstrator will no longer be able to have a personal blog that links to other companies or competing blogs. Demonstrators can use other non- SU products on their blogs, but they cannot tell who makes the items, where they were purchased, how much they cost, etc.

I have been a Stampin' Up demonstrator for seven years. I learned a lot from my time as a demonstrator. When I signed on, I told myself that the minute it was no longer fun, I would be outta here. Sadly, it is no longer fun. As of Sept. 30th, I will be ending my demonstratorship.

If you visit my blog frequently, then you know that I enjoy a wide variety of crafts from a wide variety of companies. I love to tell you who has the latest product or where to find a great bargain. That will not be compromised here.

SU's mission has been "to love what we do and share what we love, as we help others enjoy creativity and worthwhile this we make a difference." I will continue to do that, but not under the banner of Stampin' Up.

If there is one thing God has taught me in the last five years, it is this...change can be a good thing, and it can bring lots of blessings. Today, I feel truly blessed.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today! I pray that you are feelng blessed today, too!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cafe Creations Tutorial: Stitching and Stamping

I'm so excited! I finally have a tutorial to show all of you. I know, it's been a LONG time. Today, I wanted to showcase how to combine stamping and stitching for a one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted project that's sure to make you smile.

To begin, make yourself a nice frothy cup of'll want a steady hand for this project! (Actually, I'd had an Iced Cafe Mocha from my local McCafe, and I was over-caffeinated yesterday!) For this project, you'll need a nice line art stamp set. I chose Give Thanks from Stampin' Up. You'll also want a light-colored ink (I picked River Rock), a heavy piece of cardstock (Gina K's Pure Luxury Ivory cardstock is perfect for this!), and some nicely colored DMC floss. You'll also want a paper-piercing tool.

Stamp your chosen image (I picked the pumpkin) with River Rock ink. Don't worry if it's not perfect. This will be the back of your finished project, anyway.

Now, using your paper-piercing tool (and a cushion of some kind underneath your cardstock to protect your work surface), place holes of equal spacing on your image, using the stamped lines as your guide.

Now, turn the project over to the side that is not stamped. Using the holes as your guide, begin filling in with a simple backstitch using three strands of DMC floss. For this project, I stitched the pumpkin in a nice rust and the stem in a chocolate brown.

When your stitched focal point is finished, trim the surrounding cardstock to the desired size and mount on your card. I decided to add a few buttons and stitch them on with the coordinating floss (I don't like unstitched buttons on projects...they just look naked to me!). Now, isn't this cute? See, I told you it would make you smile!

{recipe: Give Thanks (SU), River Rock ink, choc. chip cardstock, really rust cardstock, Gina K's Pure Luxury Ivory cardstock, Autumn Vine paper, buttons, dmc floss, really rust and close to cocoa markers, soft suede ink for sponging, word window punch, modern label punch}