Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions 2011

Happy New Year, friends!

Can you believe it? In just a few hours, it will be 01/01/11. Cool, huh?

We are not big party animals on this night. We prefer to stay home with our boys, cook a good dinner, play a board game and watch a good movie. I do love the concept of the holiday. There's something gratifying about that brand new calendar and all the possibilities that it holds.

I try to come up with five new resolutions every year. This year, I have a few good ones. Here they are:

1.) Walk with Jesus in 2011. I'll be reading the entire new testament, along with other books and studies on Jesus. I can't wait to see how this unfolds!

2.) Run a 5K. This is a direct result of making the glib comment in front of sisters that I'd like to start running this year. Before I knew it, I was buying running shoes and promising to enter a 5K with them this spring. The moral of this story? Be very careful who your audience is when you talk smack! ;)

3.) Budget, budget, budget! I vow to cut down on the clothing and craft budgets ( the clothing budget was tough this year, as I work for a women's clothing retailer!). We'll have another son entering college this year, and I'll have to control spending and increase salary.

4.) Make more cards, mail more cards, submit cards for publications, and look into selling cards this year, too.

5.) Become a proficient baker of bread this year. I've gathered up the ingredients and will be adding a few new tools to the kitchen for this task. I've even acquired two new books to aide me in this process! One was a gift from Mom, and another was a Barnes and Noble special. (The Kitchenaid mixer on the cover? I must get one this year!)

Earlier this week, I was able to have breakfast with a dear friend. Amy and I have been friends since kindergarten! We were both in our hometown for the holidays...she from St. Louis, and me from Indy. We snuck away for a few hours to eat, drink coffee, and catch up on life. What a blessing!

Amy has always been one of my most stylish friends. When the rest of us were poor college students decorating with plastic crates, Amy was acquiring antiques and furniture. She has a sort of midcentury modern cool sensibility. She is a graphic artist and a collector of some amazing McCoy pottery. Aren't old friends just wonderful?

I am sending Amy today's card. She will totally get the kitschy design of this card!

{recipe: Cosmo Cricket Early Bird papers, Pure Luxury ivory card stock, Bazzill textured polka paper, Prima flowers, brads}

So tell me, what are your resolutions this year?

Blessings to all in 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Back to Crafting

Welcome back, friends! How were your holidays? We had a wonderful time with family back in Michigan. I was able to spend a few extra days with Mom, which is always a blessing. Somehow, my sister and her husband managed to house all sixty plus relatives into their house at one time on Christmas Eve. Amazing! It was so nice to visit with the folks I don't get to see quite as often.

I now have a mountain of laundry that needs washing and a refrigerator that needs refilling. So of course, I procrastinated on both of those jobs and made a card instead!

{recipe: Pure Innocence Stamps (MFT stamps), Basic grey Fruitcake paper, cool carribean/kiwi kiss/regal rose card stock, scallop edge punch, amuse twinles, prisma markers}

This is for today's SCS sketch challenge. I love this sketch! The idea was to use a cut out stamped image. If you have trouble with this, here are a few pointers:

* Stamp and color first, cut out last.
* Use a very sharp pair of fine point scissors. I use SU paper snips for these jobs.
* Move the cardstock while trying to keep the scissors steady, rather than moving the scissors at odd angles.
* Don't attempt intricate cutting jobs directly after consuming multiple cups of coffee. It takes a steady hand!

The year is coming to a close! How will you spend your last days of 2010?

Blessings on your day!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas, friends! We're heading off to Michigan to enjoy the holidays with our families. The cafe will be closed until next week. I hope that your holidays are filled with many blessings and lots of cups of warm Christmas cheer!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

To Do Lists

Last week, I was doing some housecleaning when I came upon this list. Sam had made his very own "to do" list. He sounded out the words, spelled them accordingly, and numbered the list from one to four. Here is what it said (spelling corrected!):

"Wednesday's To Do List,

(1) Mom comes to lunch
(2) I build with Legos at recess
(3) Come home from school
(4) Build a huge Lego city


I compared it with my own "to do" list, and I have to say that Sam's list looks like a lot more fun!
Sam takes after me in so many ways. We make lists to give ourselves the sense of being organized. But in truth, we're messy, dramatic, creative people. We'd rather have lunch together and play with toys than clean our rooms and make our beds. But Moms don't have the luxury of whiling away the afternoon building Legos. We have to do the laundry and shopping and make Christmas magically happen for the family. It can wear me out just looking at my "to do" list!

With so many things to do before we leave for our holiday in Michigan, I had to wonder...where does a girl start? As a good rule of thumb, I think that every job should begin with coffee.

{recipe: Espress Yourself (SU), sentiment from Stamps N More, black/real red/ white card stock, Basic Grey Dasher paper, scallop edge punch, folk heart punch, amuse heart twinkle, prisma marker}

Time to go get a cup of my Vitamin C (coffee!) and get started!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Splitcoast Honor

I received an amazing letter in my email box yesterday. MyPrecious from Splitcoast Stampers had sent me a note that said "Congratulations! You are FS202!"


As it turns out, I was chosen as the Featured Stamper of the week! Yes, I was truly slack-jawed when I heard the news. Speechless! Fabulous stampers at SCS are using my humble gallery for their inspirations this week!

Now, the irony of this great honor has not been lost on me. As you know, I was ready to chuck this craft and all its accoutrements of the past ten years, just last week! I cleaned my craft room instead, and vowed to keep things simple.

Simple is good. My gallery is simple. And now my craft room is simple, too.

I am truly honored to be the Splitcoast Featured Stamper. I am so thankful for the friends I have made there, and for the friends who visit my cafe. I have had my ups and downs, my achievements and my struggles. But in the end, there has always been great blessing. I am so thankful!

Just last week, my mother encouraged me to keep on stamping. "You have a gift," she said. It was very sweet. Mom knows how much the craft has meant to me, and she also knows how much I want to pursue my other gift of writing. If I can use these gifts of the Spirit for God's glory, then all the better!

Thank you, friends! As the card says "what can I say? you made my day!"

Bless you!

{recipe: Snow Flurries (SU), Stem Sayings (SU), Pure Luxury white cardstock, Early Espresso and Baja Breeze ink,Basic Grey Dasher papers, scallop edge punch, circle punch, Amuse twinkle, felt snowflake}

Friday, December 17, 2010

Old Resolution, New Resolution

In December of 2009, I made a bold and ambitious resolution to read the Bible in chronological order in one year. And I made great progress, too...until I made it to the prophets. And then things began to slow down. I started to ponder the words and meditate on them, which isn't a bad thing. It is now December 2010, and I can say with pride that I successfully read the entire Old Testament. Thirty-nine books of the Bible! woo hoo!

A lot of people like to look at God in two persons...the Old Testament God of vengeance and punishment, and the New Testament God of love and forgiveness. They will dismiss the Old Testament because it doesn't fit with the Jesus image. This really couldn't be further from the truth. If we believe in one God, and we believe that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then we have to see the OT God and the NT God as one and the same.

Yes, our God is a jealous God. He is jealous for our love and attention and devotion, more so in our society than ever before. Beth Moore says that if the devil cannot get us with destruction, he will get us with distraction. And oh baby, do we have distractions! Television, texting, internet, entertainment, you name it.

Yes, there is a cost to be paid for sin. Our God is a God of judgment. No sinful being can stand before the presence of the Holy of Holies and live.

But from the very beginning, God built a redemption plan for His people, His special possession. A savior would be born who would take away the sins of the world. A king would come from the line of David, and his kingdom would have no end. It is the constant and recurring theme of the Old Testament. For God so loved the world!

Which leads me to my new resolution...

...I plan on reading the entire New Testament in 2011. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of this as my year to walk with Jesus. I will read the words of Jesus, read books about Jesus, and just keep Jesus at the forefront of my thoughts this year.

The best part? Having finished the Old Testament this week, I can dive into the nativity story next week leading up to Christmas. How's that for perfect timing?

{recipe: amuse stamps, amuse twinkle star, kraft/white/night of navy cardstock, stickles, prisma marker}

Inside of card:

{recipe: stamp from Uptown Rubber Stamps, more mustard cardstock, stickles}

Today is my sweet husband's birthday. And do you know what he asked for this year? His very own chronological One Year Bible. I guess I talked about it so often that he decided he'd be missing out if he didn't read it, too. :)

Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Big Reveal

After several days of sorting, cleaning, organizing and dumping, I can finally reveal the new office studio! feels so much bigger in here! The armoire is now home to the papercrafting supplies.

I managed to fit quite a lot in here. The drawers and cubbies hold supplies and embellishments. The shelves hold papers. Nice and neat!

And inside the armoire there's a nice area to do the actual stamping and card making. The best part? If I make a mess, I can close the doors and it disappears! Now you may be wondering...where are the stamps? Well, I put the two shelving units in storage, and I'm storing quite a few sets there. In my nearby closet, I have a much smaller shelving unit where I'm going to keep my "go to" stamps and the seasonal sets. I can rotate the stamp sets every few weeks, or just walk down to storage and grab a set that I'm looking for.

My desk area is now an actual working desk! I can type and print and talk on the telephone, and best of all, I have a great view of the rest of the house and the window to the front yard.

I was so inspired by my cleanliness that I made a clean card today!

This sketch was inspired by Mary Fish, SU demo and stamper extraordinaire. Mary has a really fresh approach to stamping. I love her clean and simple lines.

{recipe: stamps from Amuse Art Stamps, amuse twinkles, river rock ink and card stock, old olive and poppy card stock, SU paper, small oval punch, prisma markers}

Did you catch the photo of my desk? Did you happen to notice my awesome new desktop wallpaper on the laptop? That's a free download from my favorite friends at Gooseberry Patch! You can download a fresh desktop for every month! This month's holiday wallpaper is available by visiting their blog (you can find the link on the right under Inspiration!)

I hope my craft room makeover has inspired you today! Thanks for visiting the cafe!

Monday, December 13, 2010

In The Thick Of It

This week, I am working on my craft/studio renovation project. As with any room remodel, there comes a point when it has to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. Today, the mess was overwhelming! But I think I've turned a corner, and I'm hopeful that tomorrow I will be able to pull it all together.

Thus far, I've moved three quarters of my stamps and about half of my unused crafting supplies into storage. I moved two shelving units out of the room, and I've swapped my computer and printer out of the armoire and onto the desktop. Wow...I really love the computer in this spot! Now, I can type at my computer, look out into the great room, and look out the window. It just felt too claustrophobic in the armoire.

As I was sorting through the stamp sets, I found the neglected set "Moose You". I thought the deer would make a cute Rudolph. So tonight, I took a few minutes to craft a little something for the Clean and Simple challenge.

{recipe: Moose You (SU), Snow Angels (SU), Cosmo Cricket Wonderland papers, soft suede ink and cardstock, amuse twinkle, word window punch, modern label punch, ribbon}

The kids had a snow day today. Tomorrow, they will be on a two-hour delay thanks to the frigid arctic temperatures. Brrr! I think tomorrow will be another full day of cleaning and sorting. Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A New Resolution

As 2010 is coming to a close, I find myself thinking over the past year and looking forward to the new year ahead. I'm making some new life goals for myself. Today, I am going to reveal shocking goal number one!

I am going to revolutionize my papercrafting into a less-is-more philosophy. My stamping will be clean and simple, and the only way I can achieve this goal is to make my studio clean and simple as well.

What does this mean? Well, for starters, I am going to pare down my craft possessions. I am going to take items from here...

and from here...

and from here...

and I will store them only in here...

It's not a big space inside, but there are plenty of shelves and cubbies to house the bare essentials of stamping.

As you can tell from all of the mess and clutter, I will have my work cut out for me! The truth is, I am so fed up at this point that I have decided to either pare down or chuck it all together. I just cannot create surrounded by all of this clutter. Sometimes, when you limit yourself to a few supplies, it forces you to be more creative. That's my plan!

I also want to reclaim my desk for my writing alone. No inkpads, no makers, no stacks of paper...just my laptop.

Frankly, I look at all of the money I've spent on this craft in the last decade, and it upsets me. When I see crafters who have invested thousands of dollars into die cutting systems and dies and every new gadget under the sun, I have to wonder how much happiness it's really bringing them. Is there ever just enough stuff? I hope to find out.

I won't toss it all away...yet. I'm going to be boxing and storing a LOT of the items for a while. Who knows? I may decide I can live without it. I may even abandon stamping all together and go back to buying cards. Right now, I'm excited about reclaiming another space in my house and bringing a little calm and serenity to the chaos. Wish me luck!

If you have ever pared your stash, please leave me a note and tell me how you made it happen!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Flower of Thanks

I am so happy that it's finally Monday! (Now that's something you don't hear every day!) After a full weekend of work in the retail world, I finally have a day off. Needless to say, I have a mountain of laundry, no detergent, and an empty refrigerator. I need to get to the grocery store and put this house back in shape.

With so much work to do on my day off, I decided to spend the morning crafting instead. :) I'm such a good procrastinator!

I needed a thank you note for my father-in-law and his wife, who hosted an amazing Thanksgiving Day feast! Shirley Ann made a 22 lb. free range, locally raised turkey. It was huge! I had the layout for this card in my head, and I'm rather pleased with the final product. This is a very easy card, and I'm going to be making a LOT of easy, Clean and Simple cards in the days leading up to Christmas.

{recipe: Vases in Vogue (SU), Little Words and Tag (SU), Pure Luxury Ivory card stock, papers from Webster's Pages, ribbon from Webster's Pages, Versafine onyx ink, prisma marker, Making Memories felted brad flower}

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Small Business Saturday

Good morning! Did you survive the Turkey feasting and Black Friday shopping? My husband and I both worked yesterday...such are the joys of retail! It was a day with steady traffic, and by all accounts, it seemed that business was good.

Did you know that today is Small Business Saturday? Today is the day that we can go out and show some support and love to our local small businesses that are the backbone of the national economy. My husband and I both work for major retailers, so my endorsement of Small Business Saturday may come as a shock to some. But the truth is that the success of small business is a key component and vital part to the economic recovery of this country. We have to do everything we can to help small businesses survive and thrive. Our country's financial security depends upon it!

I support a lot of local brick and mortar shops, as well as my favorite online small businesses. In the photo above, I featured my favorite candlesticks (Three French Hens, Wildwood, Missouri) and my favorite crow (from Horton's on the Main at Logan's Antique Mall, Noblesville, Indiana).

Today, I'm going to grab a Winter Wonderland latte from Noble Tea and Coffee and visit some of my favorite shops on the historic square. I may even try to find an item for some blog candy, so stop back to the cafe soon!

For more info, visit here:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Little Holiday Cheer

I have a confession to make. Many years ago, I cross-stitched stockings for all of the members of my family. And then, seven years ago, our surprise son, Samuel, was born. That Christmas, someone gave us a stocking that said "Baby's First Christmas" at the top. Guess what? We've been hanging that stocking for Sam for the last six years!

This year, I hope to cross stitch Sam his own stocking. I found the pattern below last year, and knew it was perfect for Sam's stocking. Santa's sleigh being pulled by a black lab? What could be better? I'm going to work on this project while we travel over the river and through the woods to Grandma and Grandpa's house tomorrow.

Today's card was just a reminder to get busy! I used a very old set from Stampin' Up called Night Before Christmas (dated 2000). the year 2000, we were living in our 900 square foot cottage in Michigan, we'd just added a very small black lab puppy to our family, and Sam was just a twinkle in his mother's eye. Much to be thankful for!

{recipe: Night Before Christmas (SU), Best Yet (SU), river rock/old olive/real red card stock, Dashing papers, scallop edge punch, versafine onyx ink, prisma markers, Stickles, amuse twinkles}


If you like to cross stitch, make sure you visit Sandra's blog at Homespun Elegance! (click on link at right). Today's post features a free holiday pattern that is just adorable!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Thanks

I've been making a few more Thanksgiving cards...nothing like waiting until the last possible minute! This card has repeating shapes of ovals and rectangles. I tried a ribbon treatment here that I haven't done in a long time. I used a punch that takes notches out of each corner. Then, you very carefully take a length of thin corded ribbon and wrap it around each corner, making sure to secure each end on the back with a small piece if Scotch tape. This makes a nice presentation for Christmas cards, too.

{recipe: Autumn Days (SU), All Year Cheer (SU), cajun craze ink and card stock, concord crush ink and card stock, Pure Luxury Ivory card stock, oval punch, corner punch, gold corded ribbon, gold organdy ribbon, gold Stickles}

Thanksgiving for Africa:

As we prepare for Thanskgiving feasting this week, it is a good time to remember those less fortunate people around the world who are dying of malnutrition and disease. In a world where we burn corn for fuel, it seems impossible that there are people who suffer from starvation.

Today, KLove radio stations around the U.S. are collecting donations for West Africa, an area of the world that is suffering from severe famine because of drought. Your gift today will be quadrupled thanks to the generosity of several corporations. That means if you gave $100, it would actually be a donation of $400 to feed the hungry! All monies raised will be given to World Vision, an organization that has helped the poor and hungry around the world. You can find out more by clicking on the World Vision link on the right, or visiting this website:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Preparing for Thanksgiving

Sam has been busy decorating the table for Thanksgiving this week. We'll be eating at Grandpa and Grandma's house this year, but that didn't stop Sam from making our table festive, too. He made sure there were pilgrims...

...and native Americans, too. And of course, we had to have Bananagrams at the ready, just in case someone wanted to play a fast game after a meal.

I realized that I still have a few cards to make and mail before Thursday. I made this no layer card for today's Clean and Simple challenge.

{recipe: Country Blessings (SU), Pure Luxury Ivory card stock, more mustard and soft suede ink, taffeta ribbon, gold cord ribbon, acorn charm from Mark's Finest Papers}

Are you a KLOVE listener? Make sure you listen tomorrow for their "Thanksgiving for Africa" event. They will be accepting donations for World Vision to feed the hungry in West Africa. You can find more information here :

Happy Monday, friends!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mad About Plaid

Last week, my son, John, was in my office and blurted out "Hey! The pear tree has changed color!"

Well, yeah. It is autumn after all.

But John pointed out to me that last year, the tree never changed color. As a matter of fact, green leaves still clung to the tree in the middle of winter. We've had some heavy frosts here, and apparently it triggered all of the Bradford Pear trees on our street to switch into autumn mode. The effect is stunning! My studio now glows pink in the daytime, thanks to the pear tree outside the window.

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week? Where has the time gone?

I decided to get busy and make a Thanksgiving card today. I used my stash of Daisy D Moda papers for this card. I am mad about plaid. Can you see my plaid curtains in the window above? There's just something so homey about plaid. It brings to mind a cozy flannel shirt or a warm Woolrich blanket. I added a little real stitching (buttons), and a little faux stitching to give this card a prim feel. You know what cracks me up? My faux stitching is just as crooked as my real stitching! ha ha!

{recipe: stamps from The Saltbox Studio, Daisy D Moda papers, blue bayou cardstock, riding hood red card stock, kraft card stock, twill ribbon, buttons, dmc floss, versafine onyx, prisma markers}

Hope your day is warm and cozy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Little Peace and Quiet

I've been enjoying some peaceful pursuits this week. I finally got around to finishing one of my many UFOs (UnFinished Objects!). I began this project to give to a friend LAST Christmas, but never got it finished in time. This pattern comes from Homespun Elegance. I love all the little star charms and colonial knots. It was a lot of fun to stitch, and I think it looks great on the blue background.

Here's my that the stitching's done, how should I finish it? Should I turn it into a stuffed ornament? A pillow? Maybe a flatter doorknob hanger? I'd love to hear your finishing suggestions!

And this has been my other time consumer of the week. My Nook, er, uh, I mean my son's Nook. See, I bought it for his birthday gift this summer, but now that he's in his senior year with a full course load of AP classes, he doesn't have much time for extracurricular reading. So I am "borrowing" his Nook for a while.

I am surprised by how much I enjoy reading on this little gizmo! I downloaded a few new titles this week, but would like to add more. Any suggestions? During the holiday season, I like to read a few Christmas stories to get me in the spirit. Thus far, I've added "Mrs. Miracle" and the sequel, "Call Me Mrs. Miracle" by Debbie Macomber. If you have any good holiday titles to suggestion, I'd love to hear them!

We've been enjoying some unseasonably warm weather this week here in the Midwest. I was able to clean up the garden, put away the tomato cages, and lay some fresh mulch around my new rose bushes. The garden is now ready for the cold spell that is coming our way later this weekend. I think I'll spend a leisurely Saturday doing some window shopping in our little "downtown", with a cup of coffee in hand.

Blessings on your weekend!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Wisdom of the Cuppa

A few weeks ago, I was drinking a delicious latte from the place that Dave Ramsey refers to as "Fivebucks". I looked down at the lid, studied it for a moment, and received an unexpected bit of wisdom. I saw the words "Solo", "Traveler", "Caution" and "Hot". My overly stimulated mind put the words together in a new and caffeinated way.

"Caution, Solo Traveler! Hot!"

In other words, if you are traveling through life solo, you better be careful not to end up in hot water.

One of the pitfalls of relocation is the laborious process of making new friends. I have often compared it to the agony of a blind date. What if this person doesn't get my jokes? Will they think I dress funny? What if we have nothing in common?

Make new friends! Meet new people! It sounds exciting, right? But the actual process can be quite painful. I've been attending our new church for over a year now, and I haven't yet found a single person there that I would call in a time of need other than the pastor.

Last spring, a speaker came to the church. As she rambled on about her life, she made the offhand comment "If you don't have any friends, you need to get some! Friends are wonderful!" And then she went on to talk about all the wonderful silly things that she and her girlfriends do together on a regular basis.

At the time, I remember thinking "Wow. That was insensitive!"

Only someone who has lived a life with friends constantly surrounding them would make such an audacious statement. When you live miles away from any family or friends, it can be tough. Going solo is no fun. Sick with the flu? Too bad. There is no one to watch your little one. Want to attend an event but have no one to go with? You go alone, or you don't go at all.

This year, I feel truly blessed that I've made some real friends at my work place. We are a group of women that love to chat, encourage, laugh, cry, and just spend time together. We swap stories about our kids. When one of us is sick, we cook for that person and call on that person. We pray for each other and show care and concern about the minutiae of our lives. In other words, we do church.

Yesterday, I read these words in Acts 14: 21-22 : "They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith."

We are all travelers. The road isn't easy. But when we walk it together, we can encourage and strengthen each other. We can share stories of faith during hard times. Isn't that good news?

P.S. You know what the red cup means? Holiday coffees are back! Peppermint Mochas, Gingerbread and Egg Nog Lattes! Can you hear the music? It's Handel's Halleluiah chorus! :) Thanks for visiting the cafe, friend!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Written Word

I know what you're thinking. When you, my bloggy friends, finish reading one of my posts, you've got to be asking yourself, "Man, does that girl talk as much as she writes?" To answer your question, "Yes. Yes, I do."

I heard Beth Moore say that what she lacks in knowledge she makes up for in volume. She's a loud talker, like me. This is a direct result of being the youngest of seven children, necessitating the need to ramp up the volume level in order to be heard. Add coffee to this equation, and I can talk at the speed of light. Add caffeine and a kitchen table full of women, and it is a deadly combination, a veritable weapon of mass destruction.

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the word, both spoken and written. It is why I am a voracious reader. It is the reason I studied both English and foreign languages in college. I love words.

For more than a dozen years now, I have been dabbling in freelance writing. I wrote features for newspapers, had a great gig as a part-time columnist, and had a few pieces published in magazines.

One writing goal has managed to elude me...the novel.

November is National Novel Writing Month...or NaNoWriMo, for short. You may have noticed the gadget to the right that I added this month. You can click on it for more information on this fun and frustrating pursuit. The goal is 50,000 words in thirty days. A lofty goal, but definitely attainable.

Today and tomorrow, I will be attending the Indy Christian Writer's Conference. I am so excited! There will be a slew of speakers...publishers, agents, literary reps, all speaking on the craft of writing. Jerry B. Jenkins, who co-wrote the Left Behind series, will be the keynote speaker.

This weekend, I plan on emptying my caffeine-riddled brain for a few days to let all of this secret knowledge seep in like a sponge. But before I do, I made one more card to share this week:

Apropos, n'est-ce pas?

{recipe: Puns from the Past (Stampin' Up), By Definition (SU), Wild Hearts (SU), basic black card stock, kiwi kiss card stock, versafine onyx ink, scallop square punch, button brads}

Blessings on your weekend!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall Flowers

Yesterday, on my drive to work, I saw a funny sight. The outdoor "lifestyle" mall where I work was beginning to hang their Christmas decorations, and yet they still had hanging baskets and rose bushes in full bloom. That pretty much sums up this time of year, doesn't it? One foot still in the colorful season of autumn, and the other foot ready to walk into the holidays.

In many ways, this is a perfect analogy for my life as well. I have now officially lived in small town Indiana for longer than I lived in the suburbs of St. Louis. And while this place has its many charms, we have not felt settled here the same way we did in our previous home. We've never made the connections with church and community and friends that we made back in Missouri. Oh sure, my boys have done fine in school. But my husband and I have had a hard time building relationships that are meaningful here.

We're at an odd place in our lives. We feel the pull of our families far away, while trying to maintain the day to day life of work and school and church. It makes it difficult to plant some roots, water them, and watch them grow. In many ways, we have one foot here, but one foot seems to hover in mid step, waiting for a new direction where God may lead us in the future.

We have decided to pray on this as a couple. I am sensing changes for 2011. I don't know what is in store for us, but I know that if it comes from God, then it's all good.

{recipe: Garden Collage (SU), peach parfait ink and card stock, early espresso ink and card stock, cajun craze ink and card stock, soft suede ink, scallop edge punch, Sizzix embossing folder, Karen Foster paper}

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Colors of Autumn

I just love the colors of autumn. I love the look of the garden as it starts to wind down. The hues are muted, not showy, and the brighter colors stand out against a paler backdrop. I decided to go outside yesterday and take some photos in the garden.

Everything I ever learned about gardening was learned at the feet of my mother. Mom is a whimsical gardener. It's not about structure, it's about color palette. If Mom likes a plant or flower, she puts it in the ground and hopes for the best. If it thrives, great! If not, she'll just try something different next year. I, too, am a whimsical gardener.

Mom taught me that most folks stop watering their gardens too soon. Just because the days get cooler doesn't mean that you can stop watering. If you want the blooms to last until well into autumn, then you need to water them continually. Windy weather will dry out your plants in a hurry. In the fall, I wait to water until mid afternoon, when the temps are a bit warmer. I use water that's not too cold, and I give all the flowers a good soak at least two or three times a week.

Mom also taught me that if you're planting bulbs in the fall, don't space them far apart. Yes, ignore the directions on the flower bulb package! You want to cram those bulbs close together. When they bloom in the spring, you will have thick bouquets of tulips and daffodils, not spindly little flowers that are far from their neighbors and can't support themselves.

I made two cards yesterday for the Clean and Simple challenge. I think the muted colors of autumn make lovely sympathy cards.

{recipe #1: Close to Nature, Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), kraft cardstock, Apple Cider paper, satin ribbon, punch, sticker brads}

{recipe #2: Seasons of Friendship, sentiment from Gina K, soft suede ink, more mustard ink, cajun craze ink, concord crush ink}

I'm off to Bible study this morning. I made some warm coffee cake to enjoy with Pastor and the ladies. Yum! Enjoy the blessings of the season!