Friday, June 26, 2009

Some Mornings

Some mornings you just's going to be a two cup day! I've had quite a lot of those mornings recently. This week, the doctor confirmed my fear. My Lyme Disease is back...what he calls a re-activation. For some reason, it has come back exactly one year from my last bout. It was so debilitating last summer, and I'd really hoped for a cure. But my doctor feels that I may have a form of the disease that becomes an immune disorder. I am now on a one month course of antibiotic treatment, with the hopes that this aggressive treatment will put it back into remission.

Right now, I'm still feeling funky and waiting for the meds to take their full effect. My glands are swollen, my throat is scratchy, I have a spotty rash, frequent fevers, and overall achy-ness. To complicate matters, my family is leaving for vacation tomorrow! I'm planning on spending a lot of time resting with a good book or a stitching project while my family does some deep woods hiking.

I was playing with the Early Bird papers from Cosmo Cricket today, and was so excited to see that it matches two new SU colors...Crushed Curry and Bermuda Bay. The new Stampin' Up catalog will be online in just five days. Lots of new stamp sets...but today I used a retiring set, Frames with a Flourish.

{recipe: Frames with a Flourish (SU), sentiment from Stampendous, crushed curry and sage shadow cardstock, Bermuda Bay ink, Cosmo Cricket Early Bird papers, scallop edge punch, Latte Button, crushed curry polka ribbon}

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Monkey Baby

I made this card today for my niece, Laura, who just had a baby last week. Laura and her husband Ben now have three sons...welcome to the Three Sons Club, Johnson family! I saw some photos of baby Jasper last week, and he is beautiful! He looks nothing like a monkey, which may have some of you wondering why I chose a monkey for a baby card. Well, I happened to see some photos of Jasper's nursery, and there was a definite monkey theme happening, so I decided to follow it.

{recipe: Zoofari (SU), Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), old olive cardstock, Summer Picnic DSP, blue taffeta ribbon, brads, word window punch, modern label punch, blue ink for sponging, black ink for stamping, soft suede and creamy caramel markers}

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sweet and Sour Cherries

We have a cherry tree in our front yard. It is right next to my front porch, at the sidewalk leading up to the door. I don't know why anyone would plant a cherry tree that close to a house. Maybe the previous owners purchased it when it was in bloom and thought it was a dogwood. Who knows! The cherries are sour, not sweet. The birds love them...and they show their love for our cherries all over the sidewalk, driveway, and our cars. Oh the joy!

The cherries featured in today's card are definitely sweet, not sour! The papers come from the new line from Cosmo Cricket called Early Bird. I LOVE this line of papers and stickers! It's totally vintage! I've been waiting for this line at my local Archivers store since the end of April, and finally snagged a package last Friday. I think this card came out sweet enough to eat...and look, Ma! No stamps!

{recipe: Cosmo Cricket Early Bird papers and sticker, riding hood red and sage shadow cardstock, Bazzil textured polka dot cardstock, brads, lace from Making Memories}

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Fun

Do you like the new look? I decided to update the blog for summer. I love this cherry reminds me of vintage kitchen tablecloths.

Speaking of sister, Jenny, has a booth at her local farmer's market, where she is selling handcrafted items that she has repurposed. She's been hitting the local antique malls and garage sales, looking for vintage items to transform. Last Saturday, I worked the booth with her. We had a great time together! These photos show a little sampling of Jen's booth.

And here's a photo of Jenny, crafting away as she works her tables:

Make sure you visit Jenny's blog site, Old Maid New. She will be featuring her repurposed denim, hand poured soy candles, bottle cap jewelry, and so much more. I will include a link in my blog list, but here it is for now:

Tomorrow is the first day of summer...the longest day of the year...and father's day! Enjoy!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sneak Peek: Autumn Days

I thought I'd feature a sneak peek at a few new products and stamps from the Stampin Up catalog today. The images are from the new stamp set, Autumn Days. I also used new In Colors...Soft Suede, Crushed Curry, and Dusty Durango. The sentiment is from the new set, Teeny Tiny Wishes, and it is mounted onto a mat from the new punch, Modern Label punch. Here's some great news...SU is finally making markers to match their In Colors...woo hoo!

{recipe: Autumn Days (SU), teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), Weathered (SU), dusty durango ink and cardstock, soft suede ink and cardstock, crushed curry ink and cardstock, river rock ink, handsome hunter and ruby red markers, soft suede markers, mini library clip, word window punch, modern label punch, basic grey ribbon}

I made this card for my father-in-law. He's a big outdoorsman, and I know he'll appreciate this card. We purchased Dad another print from our favorite local artist, Anthony J. Padgett. Anthony lives in Noblesville, and he has a studio right in the historic square, where he paints in the big picture window of his shop with his yellow lab, Toby, at his feet. Anthony is an internationally renowned nature artist...he was named the Ducks Unlimited Artist of The Year, and he tours the world, showcasing his art. We've purchased two labrador prints for our Dad, but his bird paintings are also amazing!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Clover and Craft

Quick question: What is the biggest crop grown in the US? Did you say corn? Nope. Soybean? Not even close. The biggest crop grown in the US is one that requires the most water, fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers to grow, and yet no one eats. Yep. It's grass. We are a country of lawn-obsessed citizens. We toil away each weekend for perfectly manicured sod...and to what end? Why do we waste the gas, water, and fertilizers on something that we walk on, for pete's sake!

As you can see from the photo, I do not obsess about my grass. This year, the lawn is being taken over by clover, and you know what? I love it! Clover stays green all season, it can be mowed very easily when the need arises, and the flowers attract the rabbits and keep them out of my garden. I think it looks very sweet! It reminds me of English gardens, where they sow chamomile seeds into the lawn for a dainty flowery addition.

I am a gardener, not a grass grower. When I see a huge front lawn with all that grass to mow, my first thought is "Wow, what a waste. Just think of all the gardens you could grow in that space!" My sister, Jenny, has taken the bold step of planting a front yard garden. It is a growing trend that is perplexing to neighborhood homeowners associations, with rules about yard usage. Lucky for Jenny, she doesn't live in a subdivision, and she can plant her vegetables where the sunlight is...right outside her front door.

Here's a peek at my latest needle art project. I had told myself that I'd be working on something patriotic by now, and yet here I am, still stitching flowers. I can't help myself! I still have to stitch the framing section of this project, but that should go rather quickly.

Do you think I'll be making something patriotic before Independence Day? We'll see!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spring Crop

The first of my spring crop was ready for harvest last week. Aren't these greens beautiful? My husband thought I was crazy to be taking photos of produce, but when you've worked from seed to salad, you become a little attached to your garden. This colander was filled with Boston Biib and Mesclun Spring Mix salad greens, and I only cut a small portion of my rows. It looks like we'll be eating salad for lots of dinners to come!

Speaking of husbands...Father's Day is coming! Are you ready to spoil the Dads in your life? This little truck from Loads of Love(Stampin Up) has been around a while, but I still love it. And guess what? The new catalog features a trailer stamp to coordinate with the truck! Now you can tow a camper, a jet ski, a motor bike, a snow mobile, or an ATV. I just love the truck on its own.

In our Smalltown USA, every Saturday night in the summer is Vintage car show night in the historic downtown square. Car enthusiasts will bring out their beauties and park them in the square for everyone to admire. My favorites are always the vintage trucks.

{recipe: Loads of Love (SU), sentiment from beauty of Life (SU),kraft cardstock and paper, red cardstock, Versafine onyx ink, prismacolor pencils and gamsol}
{recipe: Loads of Love and AYC (SU), baja breeze and kraft cardstock, kraft paper, versafine onyx ink, prismacolorpencils and gamsol, paper piercing tool}

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Color Trends

Color trends are easy to spot. You can see them in the aisles of Target, in the packaging at the grocery store, in the linens department of a home store. But who, exactly, starts the trend?

In most cases, Pantone is the trend setter. They are the color people who look at consumer purchasing to determine what the next "it" colors should be for any given year.

In recent years, Stampin' Up has featured In Colors, six new colors that are heavily promoted in paper crafting. The new colors recently arrived on my doorstep, and I was very excited to see a new yellow, Crushed Curry, as part of the lineup. As you can see from the photo, this yellow tone is a big color this year! My sweater, my scarf, and my purse all matched this color to a T! And what's not to love about yellow? It evokes warmth, sunshine, good feelings, and contentment. It's no surprise that yellow is one of my favorite's in my wardrobe, my paint choices, my home furnishings...and today, it's in my card!

For this card, I paired two new colors...Crushed Curry and Soft Suede. I stamped the images onto watercolor paper, and heavily spritzed the paper to let the colors run a bit. Black-Eyed Susans are one of my favorite summer flowers!
I've also used a few new products that will appear in SU's new catalog...the Modern Label Punch, Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp set, and the ribbon. The new punch makes a great mat layer for the word window punch, and the new word stamps fit them perfectly!

{recipe: Wildflowers (SU), Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), Linen (SU), crushed curry and soft suede ink and cardstock, soft suede polkadot ribbon, word window punch, modern label punch, yellow twinkles from amuse}

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Sunshine Day

Hello, friends! I'm enjoying myself here in Michigan, visiting family and friends. I wish it were a sunshine day today, but we've had some cloudy skies and a chance of rain. It doesn't seem to matter when you're having a good time with family, though.

The weather outlook should be improving tomorrow, just in time for a trip to one of our favorite places...the Toledo Zoo. If you are ever traveling through Toledo, Ohio, this zoo is a must see! One of the writers of Midwest Living magazine recently named this zoo as one of their top three favorites, and I agree. It is outstanding! We try to visit every holiday season during the Lights Before Christmas. It will be nice to see the animals in the warmer weather.

{recipe: stamps from The Saltbox Studio, Amuse note cards, Versafine onyx ink, Prisma markers, oval and circle punches, marker for faux stitching}

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Apron Love

I love aprons...there's just something so stinkin' cute about them! I think it's the fact that they're vintage and nostalgic and useful all in one. When I saw this image from a new line of clear stamps made by Gooseberry Patch, I knew I had to have it! The new stamps are wonderful! Baked With Love and Cookin' Up Memories are available as part of their recipe scrapbooking line with Cookbookin'. I've loved the Gooseberry Patch artwork for years, and I'm so excited to finally use it in my papercrafting!

{recipe: apron stamp (Gooseberry Patch), sentiment (SU), riding hood red and kiwi kiss cardstock, Rockabilly papers, scallop edge punch, scallop oval punch, oval punch, versafine onyx ink, prismacolor pencils}

Speaking of sister has been crafting up a storm, making some adorable items as part of her Old Maid New line. She gave me this fun apron for my birthday this year, repurposing a pair of blue jeans and giving it just the right amount of cute. She's selling these aprons, along with many other items (hand-poured soy candles, hats, bags, and lots more) at her farmer's market stand on Saturday mornings. I will be keeping her company this Saturday when I come to town, bringing my line of Cafe Creations cards.

If you happen to be in the area of Temperance, Michigan on Saturday morning, make sure you visit our booth! If you'd like info on ordering Jen's handmade items, you can email her here:

I'll have more info on her blog and our craft booth soon, so stop back!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fun with Flowers

Last week, my sweet husband brought me five yellow Gerbera daisies. I love daisies...such a happy flower! I pulled out five vintage bud vases, put a flower in each, and lined them up on the windowsill over the kitchen sink. It's been such a cheerful display to look at when I was the dishes.

I like to have fun with flowers. Sometimes, I'll take a bunch of long-stemmed roses, chop off the stems to a short height, and pack them into a nice squat vase. It looks so much better than the classic tall vase/baby's breath combo.

Of course, my favorite way to display flowers? A Ball-type mason jar with raffia ribbon tied in a bow at the top. This week, my parsley plants went to flower. To help the plant grow bushier, I'm going to chop off the flower tops, put them in a jar with a ribbon, and make them the green centerpiece of the table!

I had a lot of fun with flowers on this card creation!

{recipe: stamps from The Saltbox Studio, alphabet stamps from Amuse art stamps, amuse notecards, Versafine onyx ink, pumpkin pie ink (SU), Primsa markers, Prima flower}

The flowers in my garden are getting a good drink today...looks like an all day rain. I think I'll play with some new stamps and papers in my craft studio!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just Chicken In

One of the stalls at the farmers market here in our small town has a great marketing ploy. They bring along a cooped chicken to advertise their farm fresh eggs. Naturally, every kid flocks to see the chicken, and before they know it, unsuspecting parents are buying eggs by the dozen!

Chickens and red that is a combo made in country heaven!

{recipe: stamps from The Saltbox Studio, notecards from amuse art stamps, versafine onyx ink, prisma markers, red gingham ribbon, Martha Stewart punch, wide oval punch (SU)}

Have you seen the new gingham papers at Amuse art stamps? They are adorable! I want them in every color! They just add such a fresh, country, summery look to your creations. Make sure you check them out! ( you can click on the link at the right)

Speaking of chickens...last night, I had slow cooker classic chicken cacciatore...mmm! So good! And with fresh parsley, oregano, and basil from my garden, it was a real treat. It's not too late to plant some herbs in your garden. If you don't have the land, try growing them in a pot instead. They add so much to my cooking. The recipe came from one of my favorite cookbooks...One-Pot Meals from Gooseberry Patch (link at right). You can even find my recipe for Mediterranean Pasta Salad on page 167!

Hope your day is filled with fresh country blessings!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Little Bit Country

Nothing says "country" like a beautiful front porch with a comfy chair, flowers, a craft, and a friend. This image has it all! I loved the image of the quilt draped over the arm of the wicker chair, and decided to replicate that motif with a little paper quilting of my own. I used to colors of Bella Rose paper to weave a quilt, as you can see on the left-hand side of this card.

{recipe: On The Porch (SU), Filigree (SU), Fancy Flexible Phrases (SU), kraft/kiwi kiss/pink pirouette cardstock, Bella Rose papers, pink taffeta ribbon, button, versafine onyx ink, sepia ink for distressing, with prismacolor pencils and gamsol}

I feel blessed to have a front porch, one that is big and deep and can accomodate my vintage metal rockers, a rug, my garden things, and all my flowers. It is so nice to sit there and craft or read a good book.

Front Porch Reading

I've spent many any afternoon on my front porch, looking at this magazine that my sister, Tina, bought me! Thank you, Tina! It is filled with photos of wonderful studios where women practice their art. So inspirational! And speaking of A Little Bit Country...Marie Osmond is featured in this issue, and she looks absolutely adorable!

Take some time today to sit outdoors and marvel at God's wonderful creation!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

City Life, Country Life

Ed took me to downtown Indianapolis to see the sights yesterday. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "You've lived in Indy for HOW long, and you haven't been downtown yet?" What can I say? I'm a little bit country, and my husband is a little bit rock 'n roll! We visited Monument Circle, home to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Ed tells me it's just a few feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty!). We strolled through malls (blech), restaurants (blech), bars (double blech!). Cities just aren't my thing. As far as the downtown area of Indianapolis is concerned, it's very pretty. The White River and its canal flows through the town, and there are some lovely neighborhoods and old homes (the mansions of Meridian-Kessler are amazing!). But I'm a farm and field kinda gal. I love little towns with quirky shops and cafes. I'd spend a day in my little "downtown" over the big city's "downtown" any day!

The real purpose of our trip was to eat at a Greek restaurant that Ed had heard of from some work associates. It didn't look like much from the outside, but inside, they served heaven on a plate! Dolmades in lemon sauce, homemade hummus, saganaki...OPA! I just love greek and middle eastern fare!

My husband is a complex man. While he enjoys visiting the city for an event, he also is content to hike in the wilderness. The shores of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula? That's Ed's happy place!

These cards are definitely for the nature lovers in the family.

Birthday Card
{recipe: Fly Fishing (SU), Sincere Salutations (SU), old olive and always artichoke cardstock, versafine onyx ink, primsacolor pencils and gamsol, oval punch}

Father's Day Card
{recipe: Beauty of Life (SU), Wonderful Wishes (SU), Weathered SU), old olive and krafy cardstock, versafine onyx ink, prismacolor pencils and gamsol}

So tell me...are you a little bit country or a little bit rock 'n roll?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

For the Boys

If there is one lament that I hear over and over again from card makers, it is this: "I have such a hard time making cards for the guys in my life."

It really isn't that difficult. Oh sure, we love to make cards for women using all our pretty ribbons and flowers and lace (oh my!). But making cards for men can be just as easy. Take a nature-inspired image, pick masculine colors, and use accents sparingly.

For the birthday card, I used a stamp from an old SU set called Lighthouse, and colored using prismacolor pencils and gamsol. I stamped the background paper in canvas, then punched the edge with a spiral punch. I added a little hemp twine ribbon, a sentiment (warm regards, SU), and finished it all off on River Rock cardstock. This card is going to my brother, George, who has a birthday on the 8th. George likes to take his sons and grandsons for guys weekends up to Ludington, Michigan for fishing. They have a beautiful lighthouse in Ludington, which is a town on the Lake Michigan shores.

For the father's day card, I used the same image, but changed the palette slightly, using kraft and baja breeze cardstock. I stamped the kraft background in Cheesecloth (SU) for a net effect, and added a nice nautical knot with some twine.

A Treat My Guys Love

Here's a treat my guys love. I like to have supplies on hand to make great ice cream sundaes, shakes and malts. Occasionally, we go into our small town to visit the quaint ice cream parlor. But sometimes, it's just as nice to enjoy a malt on the deck in the evening. This malt is a winner!

3-4 big scoops chocolate or vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
4 T. Ovaltine mix
3-4 oreo cookies

Place Oreos in a ziplock bag, and crush using a rolling pin. Place ice cream, milk, malt mix in blender and mix to good consistency. Add crushed Oreos, mix some more, and serve. Yummy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Fanci That Stitching Project

Two weeks ago, my husband and I had a date morning at the historic town of Zionsville, Indiana. We drank coffee, strolled the cobblestone streets, and popped into a few shops. I was delighted to find a needlearts shop called Persnickety Stitchers. Imagine my surprise when I found patterns from Fanci That, the company started by my good friend, Beth, and her mom, Carole!

This needle art project comes from the pattern Summer Tree, and it features 6 summer-themed projects. I was really drawn to this flower basket. First of all, the colors match my Longaberger pottery, as you can see in the photo. Second, the design and colors really reminded me of the artwork of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Have you ever seen a hex sign? They're done in primary colors and often have a bird and flower motif like this one. When I mentioned this to Beth, she said it's no surprise...her mom, Carole, comes from Pennsylvania, and the influence must have made it's way to this pattern that the two of them designed together.

For this project, I used a combination of DMC floss and Weeks Overdye Floss on linen. Beth gives a great tip in the instructions...if you're using overdye floss, it's a good idea to finish each stitch (making a full X) before moving onto the next one. This is due to the fact that overdyes have subtle color variations in the threads...can you see how the birds' heads look a bit darker than the bodies? That's an example.

I finished this project by adhering it to a piece of felted wool. Then I cut a piece of cork to fit snugly into the frame. I literally stapled the wool onto the cork and popped it into the picture frame. It makes it really easy to pop out one needle art project and then pop in another when the seasons change.

Make sure you stop back this weekend. I've been working on Father's Day cards, and I have a lot to show you. Grab a coffee to go and remember to visit the cafe tomorrow!

Blessings on your day!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Look at what I found at a local garage sale today...a vintage metal stool! I love this yellow beauty. It reminds me of a chair that my great aunt, Tante Mimi, had in her very retro kitchen. The steps on this Styleaire (and yes, that's the name of this model... isn't that wonderful?) can be lifted and tucked under the stool, or pulled out for easy climbing. I thought this would be a great seat for little Sam to give him a bit of a boost at the kitchen island or table. I'm thinking that a good scrubbing and maybe a little spray painting may be needed, but for now, I think it's just precious.

It's nearly dinner time. Don't you love summer cooking? Here's a recipe I invented last week for a fresh salad to accompany any light meal:

Caprese Salad
Salad Greens ( I like romaine, but any Italian blend will do)
Grape tomatoes, halved
Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, cubed into bite size pieces
Red Onion, sliced thin
3 T. Fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c. good olive oil
1/4 c. aged balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.

Combine greens, tomatoes, mozzarella, onion and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. In small bowl, combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Pour over salad, toss, and serve. Enjoy!

I'm Baaack!

I'm back! Did you miss me? As you can see, we've had some momentous occasions in our family since I last posted. Our oldest son, Luke, graduated from High School...yippee! We had some family in town for the big occasion, and I really got sidetracked. But don't fear! I still found some time to craft a few cards and stitch a new project.

In the photos, you can see that the future's so bright, Luke's gotta wear shades! You can also see that he's in love with his graduation Epiphone John Lennon series acoustic electric guitar. He was very surprised! When he opened the guitar case, he said "It's beautiful!" aww! He's so cute.

I made Luke this card for his special day using the colors of his and gold.

{recipe: Sketch an Event (SU), black ink, more mustard and black cardstock, prints paper, circle punch}

Stop back tomorrow for a look at my newly completed cross-stitch project!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Hello, friends! Please bear with me...I'm experiencing technical difficulties. My internet service is down at home, and blogger won't let me upload right now. grrrr! Perhaps you get what you pay for! I have lots of fun stuff to show you soon, and hope to have some issues resolved by tommorow. Bless you for your patience! I'm running out of mine.