Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Blue

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent. It was such a nice surprise to walk into the sanctuary of our new church and see it decorated for the holiday. There were Christmas trees, wreaths, candles, banners, and an Advent wreath, all featuring lovely shades of blue. Blue is a traditional color for the Advent season, as it is the color of royalty. In this season, we anticipate the celebration of the birth of a king!

Last month, Ed painted our master bathroom, and I love the color! It is called Valley Mist (Behr paint from Home Depot), and it is such a soothing spa blue. You can see a little more of the wall color here:

My new wallpaper here at the cafe has this same shade of blue, and it makes me so happy! As a matter of fact, this new wallpaper from The Cutest Blog on the Block has inspired me so much that I used it as the springboard for today's card!

I made this card for today's Clean and Simple challenge at SCS to take an autumn card from our gallery and rework it. I chose to rework the Happy Anniversary card that I had featured at the beginning of the month. Same sketch template, but modified just a bit for the holidays!

{recipe: Friends 24-7 (SU), Peaceful Wishes (SU), Basic Grey Fruitcake paper, Gina K Pure Luxury ivory cardstock, Versafine onyx ink, riding hood red ink, always artichoke ink, corner punch, red stain ribbon, brad from Making Memories}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today! Grab a peppermint mocha before you leave and get yourself in the holiday spirit!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Holly and The Ivy

I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to holiday decorating. My style tends to lean to the country colonial Williamsburg style. I love to bring in natural elements that I've found in my yard, and turn them into holiday decor. This year, I've used boxwood, ivy, evergreens and red berries to make a few outdoor Christmas decorations.

My potting table (above) has been taken over by birds recently. They love to pop in and out of the bird houses, and they're constantly flying back and forth from the nearby cherry tree and bird bath to this little table tucked away on my front porch. I decided to give them another small feeding station here, and you'd think they've found buried treasure!

I turned this old red enamel teapot into a natural Christmas centerpiece for my birds.

I used this red wire side table for another display of holiday greenery. Don't you just love that checked twill ribbon? I found it at Logan's Antique Mall in downtown Noblesville last year. It's made by Primitives by Kathy, and it comes on a spool with ten yards of cotton ribbon.

My grapevine tree has been in storage for a few months. Ed and I are constantly arguing about this's the usual Form Over Function debate that we often hash out. I love the tree, and it looks so cute here. But the winter wind always whips around this corner of the house and knocks it over on a weekly basis. I haven't devised an anchoring method that works yet, but I'm still trying to come up with something short of bolting it to the concrete patio!

Ed wanted to put the chairs in storage, but I have to leave them out a bit longer. That shot of bright red against the red brick and green shutters just screams Christmas, don't you think? Again, form over function! Ed is all about practicality, and I'm all about pretty!

The weather turned c-c-c-cold yesterday! And wouldn't you know that's the day Ed decided to string the outdoor lights on our trees? Brrr! Poor Ed! He had to get up at 3 am to go to work and prepare for all of those Black Friday shoppers! I'll be working later this afternoon, when all of the madness has died down.

Happy Leftover Day, everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful For Those Who Serve and Protect

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful day full of lasting memories with family and friends.

Today is the last day of my Thankful Week, but in no way will I stop being thankful. On the contrary! I think that when you pause to count your blessings, more and more blessings are brought to mind, and you realize that gratitude should be an ongoing process.

Today, I am so thankful for those who serve and protect our country, both at home and abroad. I am truly humbled by the men and women who voluntarily devote their lives to the protection of our U.S. Constitution and to our freedoms.

I think of our service people often, especially over the holidays, when many are so far from home. It must be so hard to miss those celebrations with family and friends.

When my nephew was serving in Afghanistan, I tried to remember him every month with cards, letters, and care packages filled with mundane and trivial things...chapstick, hand wipes, beef jerky, candy, cookies, bar soap, toothpaste, and lots and lots of paperback novels. I covered him with stuff, but most importantly, covered him in prayer. My church has a similar ministry called Wings of Mercy that sends care packages to our troops every month. It's so important to let our service people know that they are not forgotten.

Today, you may notice a very large widget added to the right of my blog. Let's Say Thanks is a program from Xerox that sends our thankful wishes to our troops. When you click on the site, you can pick a card, add a message, and Xerox will send that card to one of our service men or women. Isn't that wonderful? You can find more info here as well:

Today's featured card was sent to me by my mother-in-law. Yes, it's a Hallmark card, but I just love it! The colors, the design, everything about it! I think I may have to try and stamped version of this card one day soon.

Blessings on your holiday!

"Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song." Psalm 95:2

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful For Healing Hands

"Love is a fruit in season at all times and within reach of every hand." -Mother Teresa

Thankful week has been so much fun. It has been a great way to count my blessings and really give thought to those people and things for which I'm so thankful.

Today, I am thankful for healing hands...for those doctors, nurses, and medical professionals who bring care and healing to so many people. I'm thankful for pharmaceutical companies that employ the brightest minds to research and test and market new and amazing drugs for the entire world.

I am most especially thankful for my new doctor here in Indiana, who finally diagnosed and treated a disease that I believe I've had for many years. When I look back, I think of how many years I suffered through aching joints and pain, especially in my hands, which would cramp and swell. Winters and cold weather were horrible for my joints. Two of my past doctors were certain I had rheumatoid arthritis, only to have test results come back negative each time. It wasn't until last year, when I found a new doctor to treat another unexplained rash, that I finally found the answer...lyme disease.

I am one of only two patients in my doctor's entire practice that has Lyme disease, but God bless, him, he does research every year to keep abreast of new treatments. I am feeling so much better now, and my aching joints seem to be a thing of the past.

Now, I am able to craft without pain, and even take up my past hobby of needle art after a long absence.

Today's card is a bold color combo for me...purple and orange? But somehow, it works.

{recipe: Fruitful Harvest (Gina K Designs), Karen Foster Design paper, rich razzleberry ink and cardstock, dusty durango ink and cardstock, soft suede ink and cardstock, gold organdy ribbon, gold cord}

Did I mention how thankful I am that my dear friend, Beth, is on the road to recovery? Her doctors have brought her healing after her appendicitis, and I'm praying that her incisions will heal and she'll feel better than ever soon.

Here's the latest cross stitch pattern I'm working on. This is a design from Erica Michaels Designs. I've tweaked the colors a bit, and I think I may even add a charm or two to this one. Hmm, I may have to pop over to Zionsville and visit Persnickety Stitchers today!

Official Pie Day

Is it just me, or is the day before Thanksgiving the official pie baking day? I love pie, and pumpkin pie happens to be my son, John's favorite. But pie crusts can be tricky things. If it's too warm in the house, or if the humidity isn't just right, you can end up with a tough dough that isn't even good for Playdoh! This happened to me last year, and after trying unsuccessfully to roll out my Crisco crust, I gave up and threw the whole thing in the garbage. But never fear! My trusty Pat-in-the-Pan Amish Pie Crust from Marcia Adams (Cooking in Quilt Country) saved the day! It is super easy and delicious. I am giving it to you here, just in case your dough becomes uncooperative today.

Pat-In-The-Pan Pie Crust

1 1/2 c. plus 3 T all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3 T. cold milk

Place flour, sugar, and salt in pie pan, mix with fingers until blended. In a measuring cup, combine oil and milk and beat with fork until creamy. Pour all at once over flour mixture. Mix w/ fork until mix is completely moistened. Pat dough with fingers, first up sides of pie plate, then across bottom. Flute edges. Ready to be filled. If filling later, or need prebaked crust, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prick surface of pastry with fork and bake fifteen minutes, checking often and pricking more if needed.
*For 10 inch pan, use 2 c. flour, 2 t. sugar, 1 t. salt, 2/3 c. vegetable oil, 3 T. milk.

Happy Pie Day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful For Farmers

Today, and every day, I am thankful for American farmers. Food is such a basic part of life that we take for granted. When we go to the store and they announce a shortage of L'Eggo Waffles or canned pumpkin, we actually get a little perturbed. "What? No waffles? No pumpkin? That's ridiculous!" And yet, we've done absolutely nothing in the chain of food production but consume it! We, as a society, are so far removed from our agrarian roots.

Today, I read that less than one percent of the U.S. population now works in food production. The average American farmer is responsible for feeding 144 people. They work hard to produce higher yields with less land than ever before. Let's face it...if it weren't for farmers, we'd see a lot more urban sprawl, subdivisions, and strip malls, and a lot less fields and natural habitats.

I've found that there is a deep part of me that needs to live in rural settings, where I can see the change of seasons and be near the farms that plant, and tend, and harvest. I am so excited about small farms and local food movements! I love restaurants that have "food philosophies" that include locally grown meats, fruits, and vegetables. I enjoy working in my mini garden, but it would take a lot more time, effort, and resources if I were to grow enough to feed my family.

Thank you, American farmers!

For today's card, I used one of my new stamp sets from Gina K. Fruitful Harvest was designed by Asela Hopkins, and it is lovely! I thought long and hard about whether to actually color the fruit in the stamped image, but I decided that is was pretty enough all on its own.

{recipe: Fruitful Harvest (Gina K. Designs), paper from SS Kit Secret Garden (SU), river rock ink and cardstock, always artichoke ink and cardstock, kiwi satin ribbon}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thankful for Music

I am so thankful for music. I love to sing, and I love to listen to music, too. Where would I be without music in my life? I can tell you that life would be a lot less joyful without it. When I think of all the car rides to Michigan and home, and to Michigan and home, and to Michigan and home (well, you get the idea), they would be unbearable without music.

In my Bible study this week, Priscilla Shirer had this to say about music:

"Meditation often leads to spontaneous worship. Many times I will use praise and worship music as the backdrop for my time with God. As the worship music speaks of His attributes, I ponder the lyrics and allow them to lead me into personal worship. During this time, God leads me and shows me how He wants to be worshiped and how I should spend my time with Him. As the music envelopes me, I am both overwhelmed and encouraged by an awareness of his presence."

Music gives my spirit wings.

And today, I made a card to illustrate this! I made this card for two challenges...the Splitcoast Stampers Clean and Simple challenge (to use sponging), and the Gina K. Blog Hop challenge. Gina K. is hosting a Holiday blog hop. Simply make a card or project using one of the new Holiday releases from Gina K., post it on your own blog, and then add the link to Gina K's blog so everyone can see and share in each other's creations. You can visit Gina's blog here:

Here's today's recipe:

{recipe: Vintage Borders (Gina K. Designs), Cosmo Cricket Wonderland paper, soft suede ink and cardstock, Versafine onyx ink, Sakura glue pen, glitter, making memories brad}

I'm so glad that my children have a love of music, too. My two oldest sons can play multiple instruments, they sing, and they love to listen to new music, too. Last night, John was up late downloading a new CD I bought this weekend onto his MP3 player just so he could listen to it on his way to school today.

Little Samuel loves to sing, and he loves to strum his guitar. For some reason, he's begun humming tunes everywhere he goes. I call it the soundtrack to his epic adventure of a life. But his humming was sending my husband crazy on this weekend's car trip! Ed finally asked him "Sam can you please stop humming!"

"No!" he said honestly. "I can't!"

I had to laugh! Sam is another music lover in the making.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today! Grab a cup of coffee, plug in a holiday CD, and get swept away in the music today.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thankful For The Word

Have you ever listened to a preacher on the radio or watched one on television? Some of them are just fabulous. Others, well, let's just say that you could watch their slick productions for hours, hear their funny stories, listen to their opinions, and never get a Word. It makes me want to shout "Will you just give me The Word!"

The Word.

It's what this world is hungry for.

Martin Luther's famous phrase "Sola Scriptura!", or "Word Alone!" became a battle cry for the reformation of the church. I believe that the church is not "reformed", per se, but reforming, constantly being shaped. And the tool that the church needs to accomplish that shaping, now more than ever, is The Word.

Second Timothy 4:3 says that we have itching ears that turn away from truth. We're bored! Entertain us! But it's not a good show that our soul hungers's truth.

Today, I am thankful for The Word.

And I am thankful for my nephew and godson, Joey, who has immersed himself in the Word and is ready tomorrow to make a proclamation of his faith. What a beautiful thing to be a part of!

{recipe: Cheesecloth (SU), A Light Unto My Path (SU), bordering blue ink and cardstock, sahara sand ink, kraft cardstock, deckle scissors, linen thread}

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thankful for Work

Today, I was listening to Focus on the Family in the car while I was running errands. Dr. Dobson was mentioning that, when asked, school children are confused about who we're supposed to give thanks to on Thanksgiving. They think that the pilgrims were thankful to the Native American indians on that first Thanksgiving for giving them corn. Yes, a nice thought. But the pilgrims were thankful to God for supplying their needs and bringing them help when they were on the brink of starvation. In our society, we're often thankful "for" something without remembering to be thankful "to" our Creator. It's all about an attitude of gratitude.

Today, I am thankful for our jobs. My husband's job, which more than adequately supplies all our family's needs, and my new job, which gives us a little holiday money and a chance for me to get out of the house for a few hours each week. We're really blessed. At a time when so many people are without jobs in this country, I know how blessed we truly are. In 2007, my husband was downsized from his position and out of work for six months. It was a difficult situation, but God saw us through.

My nineteen year old son has not been able to find a job since we left St. Louis. It's hard for him because unemployment in his age bracket is closer to twenty to twenty five percent, by some estimates. Thankfully, he had saved a lot of money from his working days in St. Louis, and he's been able to live frugally from those savings. I'm glad that we can provide him with necessities like college tuition, food, clothing. But at this point, he still does not have his own car.

I know of two other family members who are out of work right now. I add them to my prayers. If you have a friend or family member who is unemployed or experiencing difficult financial times, let's add them to a prayer list here. I will update it with news and requests, and we can cover these people with prayer.

Today, I made a Thanksgiving card for the Limited Supply Challenge on SCS. The challenge was to make a long and narrow card. I think this pocket card fits the challenge nicely.

{recipe: Harvest of Friendship (SU), kraft and choc. chip cardstock, Afternoon Tea papers, versafine sepia ink, prisma markers, stitched grosgrain ribbon}

Today, I am also thankful for the five deer who visited our woods this afternoon. It was such a treat to watch them scamper and forage for berries. This is not the best photo, but you can just make out the deer's tail right above the picket. Usually, they're so well camouflaged back in the trees, and you can't see them well until they move. John and I had fun spotting them today.

I'm praying that your weekend gives you lots of wonderful things to be thankful for!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Week of Thanks

I am kicking off a week of thanks today. I have so many things to be thankful days will hardly be enough. But hey, it's a start!

Today, I am thankful for family and friends that come to visit. We don't get visitors to our home that often, but when we do, we're so thankful for the time we've had to spend with them. Last weekend, my father-in-law and his wife were finally able to visit after a one year absence. I'm sending this card on to them tomorrow.

{recipe: Falling Leaves (SU), Autumn Vine DSP, sage shadow cardstock, really rust cardstock, choc. chip cardstock and ink, scallop edge punch and leaf punch, grosgrain ribbon}

We won't have any visitors this Thanksgiving, but that's okay. My husband and I will both be working in retail, and I'm sure our Black Friday will be pretty busy. It will be nice to have College Son home for his break, and I'm sure my family will still make me cook the big traditional turkey dinner.

So thankful that you visited today!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Prayers Requested

Hello friends! I don't often do a double post, but today I need to ask for some prayers.

My dear, sweet friend, Beth from The Saltbox Studio is in the hospital. She had an appendicitis early this morning, and is currently in the hospital recuperating. Beth is a cancer survivor, and her health situation is always more complicated than the average patient. She mentions this in her recent blog post (link at left "beth's blog").

Please say a prayer for Beth's quick recovery! Thank you, friends!

Good Things

I love a good book. And when I purchase a new book, I like to hold it in my hands, feel the embossed cover, and flip through the pages lovingly, wondering what I will discover there. What can I say? I'm a very tactile person.

This week, my women's group is beginning a new bible study. We're exploring the book "Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shirer. If last week's meeting was any indication, then we're in for a wonderful ride together. I can't say enough good things about this group of women. Our little group is led by a wonderful Beth Moore type of lady from our church who is beautiful inside and out, and has withstood amazing heartaches with grace. A real rock. And our group is comprised of young and old and in between, so there's wonderful discussion. I'm so blessed! I look forward to my morning routine of coffee and the Word.

In the past few weeks, it seems I've added another routine to my day...participating in the card challenges at SCS. Honestly, I can't even make a card anymore without the fabulous creative types at SCS guidng me. This card is for the sketch challenge du jour.

{recipe: Vintage Borders (Gina K), riding hood red and kiwi kiss cardstock, versafine onyx ink, Basic Grey Fruitcake papers, prisma markers, spice glitter marker, red satin ribbon, oval and scallop oval punches}

My life seems to run so much smoother with daily routines. Too often, when I'm left to my own loosey goosey devices, then I feel as if I get nothing done. But I'm feeling much more productive these days, and that's a good thing.

Yesterday, I read this beautiful verse, and knew I had to share it with all of you.

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Just think...God delights over you! Today, He is rejoicing over you! You may not feel all that delightful about yourself, but God does...and is there a better thing than that?

Today, you are delightful...God says so, and so do I!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thinking Christmas

Hello Friends! Sorry that I haven't posted in the last two days. I've been busy thinking Christmas thoughts. For starters, I've been busy on my needleart project, and it's coming along quite nicely. Here is a close-up of the work in progress:

Speaking of needle arts, make sure you check out the link on the right for Threadworx and sign up for their newsletter. They have some lovely products, and I know their newsletter will feature free patterns and design inspiration in the future!

I've also been thinking of Christmas paper crafting projects. Today's card was made for the color challenge at SCS, and I used my new favorite stamp set from Gina K. Designs!

{recipe: Vintage Borders (Gina K. Designs), Holiday Treasures paper(SU), always artichoke ink and cardstock, real red ink and cardstock, chocolate chip ink and cardstock, felt snowflake, rhinestone brad}

I love this new stamp set! The musical score is lovely, and when it's paired with this verse from Isaiah 9:6, it makes me hum Handel's Messiah. "For unto us a child is bo-orn!" I've been listening to my Christmas CD's while I really inspires me!

Finally, I've been thinking about holiday shoppers. I decided that if I wanted some money to actually BE a holiday shopper, then it might be a good idea to get a holiday position. And I did! I was hired by a well known women's specialty retail shop, and I'm in training this week. Thus far, it's been a lot of fun, and it looks like a great atmosphere to work in. I'm thankful to have employment at a time when so many are without jobs.

So tell me, what holiday thoughts have you had this week? I'd love to hear where you are in your Christmas shopping list!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lovely November

It has been a lovely November here in the Midwest. Today is another exceptional skies and temperatures in the sixties. I've been sitting on my deck today, enjoying the warmth while it is still here. This is a shot of one of the linden trees that are in our backyard. The leaves are long gone, but the long pods are still clinging to the branches. When the wind blows, it rattles the linden pods and makes a sound similar to raindrops. So pretty and musical.

I can't remember a season where I had flowers blooming this late in Autumn. My mom and I discussed this the other day, and we came to the same conclusion. A lot of people stop watering their gardens too soon, but if you keep watering, even on cooler days, you can extend the blooming season. Right now, my petunias, geraniums, tuberous begonias, and lavendar are still in full bloom.

Yesterday, I began a new stitching project...something a little easier on these middle aged eyes! This pillow wrap is stitched on a ten count Tula, and it's been coming along so quickly! When finished, this little chick will be holding a purse, and the pillow will say "Chicks Rule". Making this one for my great niece, Madison, for the holidays.

Yesterday's newspaper had an article about holiday shoppers. Apparently, I'm not the only one who is making a lot of gifts this year. The article said that local bead, craft, and home improvement stores were seeing an increase in shoppers, thanks to folks like me who are taking a simpler approach to gift giving this season. How wonderful! I hope they're enjoying the creative process as much as I am!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old Made New

When I was in Michigan last month, I had the chance to pop into the store where my sister, Jenny, is selling her line of Old Maid New items. Her displays looked so cute! Luckily, I had my camera in my purse, so I took a few photos.

Jenny makes a lot of items from repurposed wool sweaters. Here, you can see her hats and stadium mittens.

And who wouldn't want to wear a woolen headband with a woolen flower?

Jenny also sells soy candles that she has hand-poured into recycled tea tins!

Her line of repurposed clothing has been a big hit!

Today, I decided to make a card using the Old Maid New philosophy. I took bits and pieces from past card experiments that were laying around my craft desk, and put them together to create something new.

{recipe: Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), Cosmo Cricket Early Bird paper, sage shadow/black/ ivory cardstock, versafine onyx ink, velvet flower from Maya Road, black button brad from Making Memories, amuse twinkles, amuse gingham paper, scallop edge punch, scallop scissors, black gingham ribbon, modern label and word window punches}

If you are in the area of Sylvania, Ohio, make sure you stop by the Harmony in Life shop tonight for their holiday open house. You can see Jenny's full line of Old Maid New items there! More details at the Old Maid new blog link on the right!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Something Old, Something New

Two weeks ago, when I went to Archivers to purchase my new Texture Boutique embossing machine, I spent an hour just browsing through the store. I love to see what new creations the paper companies come up with for the holidays. This year, companies like Cosmo Cricket and Basic Grey have embraced what I call the "Strawberry Shortcake Does Christmas" look. Everything is pink and girly! Pink penguins! Pink Eskimos! Pink reindeer!

In a house with three boys, we don't do the pink aisle at the toy store.

I left the store with no paper. Gasp! Sacre Bleu! No paper? It was shocking.

And then I came home and looked at the mounds of paper I already have for the holidays. Cosmo Cricket's Wonderland papers. Basic Grey's Dasher and Fruitcake collections. Last year's Imaginesce papers. Plenty of papers to keep me happy through the holidays!

I made today's card for the sketch challenge at SCS. I knew I wanted to use my new stamps from Gina K, so I decided to pair them with some old papers from Basic Grey's Dasher papers. I also knew I wanted to attach a felt snowflake to the card, but what brad to use? When I found the square rhinestone, I knew it would be perfect...set at an angle, just like the squares in this sketch.

{recipe: Vintage Borders stamp set (Gina K Designs), Basic Grey Dasher papers, sage shadow and white cardstock, soft suede ink, felt snowflake and rhinestone brad from SU}

I'm trying something new today! I'm interviewing for a holiday job! I haven't had a real sit-down interview in over ten years. Most of my past jobs came to me word of mouth, and employers approached me with the "Hey, we have an opening at our school!" line. But sitting down to tell someone why you're perfect for the job? Hmmm, that's new! My husband's advice was "No self-deprecation! Sell yourself!" Apparently, he knows me too well.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Changing Landscape

It happens so quickly. One autumn afternoon, I was sitting on my deck, enjoying the golden colors of the fall leaves. They were so beautiful! And then, all it took was one windy, rainy day, and the landscape changed from this:

To this:

My husband enjoys the unimpeded view of the nature preserve at this time of year. He likes to spot the deer in the fields. But all of this openness makes me feel too exposed. I miss the cozy canopy of leaves.

One day soon, I will look out at this same view and see snow covered fields. I am thankful for every season, and will enjoy those winter landscapes, too.

I have something else to be thankful rubber! In September, I had participated in Gina K's release party at Splitcoast Stampers and entered a few contests and challenges. Well, I forgot to check back until weeks later, and lo and behold, I'd won two free stamp sets! I picked the new Vintage Borders release from Nina Brackett and the Fruitful Harvest set from Asela Hopkins.

I think I'll spend this gray day cutting up some new rubber and having a little inky fun.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Simple Anniversary

Hello friends! How was your weekend? We've been experiencing an Indian Summer here in the Midwest. It was a great time to play outdoors and work on putting the gardens to bed before winter.

I needed an anniversary card today, so I decided to try the Clean and Simple challenge...use white (or in this case, ivory) and only one other color in a card creation.

{recipe: Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), Pure Luxury Ivory card stock, Amy Butler paper, Basic Gray cardstock and ink, gray taffeta ribbon, Amy Butler brad}

Friday, November 6, 2009

Signs of the Season

Have you noticed the signs of the season? Every day, my mailbox is clogged with catalogs!

Starbucks is now serving Peppermint Mochas and Gingerbread Lattes! Mmmm..lattes! (In my best Homer Simpson voice!)

The Holiday Method Hand Soaps are back! Holly Berry is classic, but the Cinnamon Bark and Peppermint Vanilla are also fantastic! I think I'm going to buy some of these scents in the soy candles, too!

Yep, all of these signs can only mean one thing. The Holidays are upon us! I'm trying to stay one step ahead this season. I've already begun the Santa shopping for my boys, the small gifts for the various relatives are waiting to be wrapped, and I'm still working on my handmade gifts. Here's one project that's nearly done:

This was a pattern designed by SamSarah Design Studio that was featured in the Just Cross Stitch Holiday ornaments magazine. I still need to add a few decorative buttons (2 cardinals and a heart), and then finish this into an ornament.

Right now, I have a project on my Q snap from Mosey 'n Me, and when I've made a bit more progress, I'll show it here. It's stitched on 30 count linen, and it feels like it's going so slowly! But I know it will be adorable when it's done.

I'm heading to Target this afternoon to finish off my shoebox items for Operation Christmas Child. It's not too late to participate! My church is collecting boxes this Sunday, and I know that the collection sites will need a lot of help. Visit for more information!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts, words, and prayers for our family during our son's recent bout with H1N1. Luke is doing much better now! As a matter of fact, he's back at school and making up for lost time.

Poor Luke! When I went down to his college to pick him up last week, I brought him home to his bedroom, where he would remain quarantined for many days. This is what we found on his bedroom door:

That's my husband's handiwork. He has quite the twisted sense of humor! As bad as he felt that day, Luke did still laugh when he saw the sign.

Here are a few things we learned from the doctor this week:

* The H1N1 test is very fickle, and only 60% accurate. At this point, they're skipping the test and using a very scientific formula: "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it's probably a duck."

*Infected individuals can shed the virus contagions for 5-7 days after first symptoms appear. A patient is most contagious in the first 24-48 hours.

*The biggest risk with H1N1 is bronchial that leads to pneumonia. My doctor was very happy to hear that we'd gone to the ER for the chest X ray.

*Masks are a good idea, especially for the sick patient if they're near others who are uninfected.

*Isolation of patient is a key to stopping spread.

*Hand washing and obsessive cleaning practices are probably the biggest key to containing the virus.

Yesterday, I spent the day on HAZMAT duty...I washed all of Luke's bed linens, aired his comforter outside, opened bedroom windows, sprayed Lysol over his mattress and pillows, and wiped all surfaces in his room with Lysol wipes. Then I moved on to his bathroom, where I gave every surface a lot of disinfectant and elbow grease. At this point, I'm feeling pretty confident that we stopped the illness from spreading to any other family members. Whew!

I made Luke a card today. I think I'll put it in the mail with his Biohazard sign. I'm sure he'll laugh at that one! I made this card for the Ways to Use It challenge on Splitcoast Stampers. The challenge was to use stickers in your card. I'm not a big user of stickers, but I love the stickers from Cosmo Cricket!

{recipe: Puns from the Past (SU), versafine onyx ink, crushed curry cardstock and polka ribbon, Amuse gingham papers, Rockabilly paper (SU), button brads (Making Memories), Cosmo Cricket Early Bird stickers, corner rounder punch}

I have to tell you, I am one of the world's slowest stampers. This card actually took about two hours to make. I know...there's not much here that looks like it should consume 120 minutes of my time! But I started with a different layout, other elements, and had yellow, red, and blue mixed with black. I gave up in disgust at one point and went to take my shower. That's when I knew the problem...wrong color palette. It came to me that it should be black and yellow only. After getting dressed, I went back downstairs, took away the other colors and elements, and streamlined it to this final product. Now I'm finally happy. Not sure what I'll do with all the other half-assembled attempts...hmm, maybe try a different card tomorrow? Maybe!

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Fashion Accessory!

I purchased a new fashion accessory yesterday. Isn't that just the cutest little purse you've ever seen? And it matches my outfit, too! Okay, confession time. That's not really a purse. It's the new Sizzix Texture Boutique embossing machine!

I saw this little beauty online and knew I had to have one! I am probably the last paper crafter on the planet who did not own some sort of die cut or embossing machine. When it came to machines, I'm as picky as Goldilocks. "That one's too huge! That one's too ugly! That one's too expensive!"

But when I saw this adorable purse-shaped machine, it fit all of my criteria! Just right!
1.) It's too stinkin' cute! I know, form should follow function, but for me, it's all about the pretty factor.
2.) It's small! I don't need a large piece of equipment taking up valuable real estate in my craft studio.
3.) It's cheap! Only 29.95! And with my Archiver's coupon, I was able to purchase it for $21.00!

At last, I can emboss to my heart's content! Here's my first creation with my new machine. I made this for the SCS CAS (that's Clean and Simple!) challenge. This was very stamping, just paper, ribbon, flower and button!

{recipe: Sizzix Winter 2 embossing folder, Early Bird paper kit (Cosmo Cricket), crushed curry card stock, felt flower, button, riding hood red satin ribbon}

This card is so bright and cheery, and I need some cheery today! We took our son, Luke, to the ER last night. After four days here at home, he was showing no signs of improvement, and I was worried about pneumonia. Well, one chest xray and examination later, and the diagnosis is...H1N1. Yes, swine flu. Yes, the same swine flu he tested negative for last week. The ER doc said it was probably a false negative result, and if there are any flu symptoms presenting, then it's automatically swine flu because that is the only flu in circulation right now.

Luckily, I've been taking the necessary precautions...he's been isolated to his room, he has not been sharing a bathroom with any other family members, and I'm a freak about the hand washing, sheet and towel washing, dish washing, and Lysol wiping. I'm just praying I can keep this contained, and that he can start feeling well enough to get back to college son.

Off to drink another cup of echinacea tea!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saint's Day

Today is All Saint's Day, a day on the Christian church year when we remember the saints who have gone on before us. As I took communion this morning, I found myself thinking of the communion of saints. When I take communion, I am taking it with all of the saints who have gone on before me, and one day, I will have communion with them in heaven.

This year, my aunt and godmother, Rose, was added to the roll call of the saints. In 2007, the roll call included my sister-in-law Jan, my niece and god-daughter, Sarah, and my father. That was a tough year. Today in Sunday school class, we discussed John 16, when Jesus told his disciples that on this earth we will have trouble (guaranteed!), but to take heart, because he has overcome the world. This life we live is not an easy one, and God will sometimes give us a season of pruning so that we can bloom for him later on. It's a tough walk, this process of sanctification. But in the end, Jesus promises us in John 16 that it will be so worth it.

Like Sara Groves says in her song, "When the saints go marching in, I want to be one of them."

I made this card for another Gina K color challenge. I've been wanting to use this door image, and it seemed like a good time. The "faith" above the door is part of the saying inside the card that says " Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door."

I made a little awning to go over the door, and you can see it better in this photo:

I made the black ribbon a little shabby chic by heating it up with my embossing gun. It does a great job of shrinking and curling the ribbon for that vintage look.

{recipe: The Journey (Gina K. Designs), cranberry/gold/black cardstock, versafine onyx ink, prisma markers and pencils, oval punches, gold glitter pen, scallop edge punch}

Blessings to all of you saints in training!

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." Eph. 1:18