Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring in My Mailbox

Spring came to my mailbox yesterday! It was such a welcome sight! First, I received this lovely card from my good friend, Lynn in Michigan. Lynn made this a long card to fit in a business-sized envelope...perfect for a long flower! The envelope even matched the color of the fancy is that? I thought this card was so sweet and cheerful...thank you, Lynn! Lynn is from my stamping posse in Michigan. Their group is getting so large that they have to plan weekend stamping retreats at least twice a year. I WILL go one of these days...I promise!

I also received the newest issue of Midwest Living. Oooh...the cover is so beautiful! It's so pretty that I keep looking at it and touching it lovingly, and I haven't even opened it to look inside yet!

I also received a copy of the Pure Michigan travel guide. I'm having fun looking at all of the possible destinations. The boys have put me in charge of all family vacations this year. (Last year, my husband was in charge, and let's just say they weren't the best...bad weather, remote locations, low fun factor). Our favorite vacations usually involve a cottage on an inland lake, with canoeing, swimming, hiking, biking, and day trips to Lake Michigan and its surrounding towns. Of course, last year was the summer that wasn' didn't get very warm, and I was sick once again with Lyme disease. But I'm feeling hopeful that this summer will be worthy of a picture-perfect postcard!

I got called in to work yesterday, and it was a good remedy to this CFS that I'm suffering from! We received a big shipment of new spring merchandise. I often request to work in the stock room, where I get to open up boxes and unpack whatever is inside. It's like Christmas morning! I always have a warm Starbucks nearby, and I'm surrounded by lovely clothes with flowers and pastels and the cheerful voices of other women. I'm lucky to have the privilege of a part-time job that I can "get away to". Most working people have jobs that they can't wait to get away from!

I have a lot of fun new product to showcase in the upcoming week...Cosmo Cricket's new line, and an array of Glimmer Mists from Tattered Angels. Can't wait to play! Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Public Service Announcement

If you or someone you love is suffering from Cabin Fever Syndrome (CFS), it is important to know the signs.

Excessive straightening and cleaning due to boredom. Pantries that are clean and clutter free, with all canned goods facing front and expiration dates checked.

Medicine cabinets neatly organized with all expired medications thrown away.

Frequent trips to Starbucks for comforting cups of Grande Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Lattes.

Treatment for CFS may include walks outdoors, checking for signs of spring.

WARNING: This treatment has been known to lead to depression in most cases. If you are currently deprived of sunny skies, green grass, or warm breezes, it is best to treat CFS with homeocraftic methods. Remember, CFS is temporary, and will only last until the crocus blooms and the robin sings. Please allow two to four more weeks before checking for signs of improvement.

{recipe: My Basket of Eggs (Pure Innocence from MFT stamps), pretty in pink/kiwi kiss/barely banana cardstock, Versafine onyx ink and prisma markers, Making Memories Garden Party papers, scallop scissors, Prima flower, butterfly brads (making memories)}

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I have been in the mood to sort and scrap stuff this week. On Monday, I went through my spice cupboard and threw away three dozen old bottles of herbs and spices. Yep, that's 36...can you believe it? I had old jars of stuff from Pampered Chef and Tastefully Simple, and I know I haven't been to one of their parties in over five years. I couldn't believe that I was hauling these bottles with me for every major house move! When I opened some of the jars and took a whiff, they smelled like dust...not a good ingredient to add to any dish! I emptied the contents and recycled all the old jars, then reorganized the good herbs and spices into better categories. Doesn't it look pretty? I purchase a lot of my seasonings from Aldi's now. One of our favorites is their big jar of Steak Seasoning...our guests always rave about it!

Yesterday, I went through my nail polish and threw away every bottle. Again, most of the bottles were at least five years old, if not older. It looked terrible. I went to Target and picked up all new bottles on a clearance aisle. I'm not a big girlie girl when it comes to things like manicures and pedicures, but now that I'm a working girl, I'm trying to keep my nails looking a little neater. And when sandal season is here, I'll be prepared with lots of new colors.

Today's card features a sketch that works great when you are using up lots of scraps of pretty papers.

{recipe: Flower Girl (Pure Innocence from MFT stamps), so saffron cardstock and ink, baja breeze textured cardstock, Sweet Slumber papers, versafine ink, Prisma markers, Prima flower, maya road velvet flower, brad}

I'm off to clean my pantry. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vintage Blue and Yellow

Blue and yellow is such a classic color combination. It brings to mind blue skies and sunshine. I used this color combination when redecorating my master bedroom. The walls are cream with just a hint of yellow, and the bedding has a lovely aqua and cream.

I really loved this Fieldcrest bedding when I found it at Target. It has a masculine stripe and a feminine damask pattern, and it pulled together the colors from the master bathroom and the master bedroom. Perfect!

I used this color combo to make a vintage card. I love the look of something a little vintage and shabby chic, but I'm not always certain how to execute it on a card. I think this comes close. The key is to add a lot of texture and embellishment, with a little ribbon or lace to make it frilly. For this card, I used buttons, pearls and ribbon with some patterned papers.

{recipe: Fancy Flexible Phrases (SU), French Script (SU), Bella Birds papers, kraft and ivory cardstock, barely banana and so saffron cardstock for flower, Versafine sepia ink, scallop circle punches, small oval punch, modern label punch, pearls, kraft ribbon, button}

Have you noticed how handmade flowers are all the rage right now? I made this flower using several layers of scallops. First, I stamped the cardstock with French Script, then punched, then sponged edges. I clipped "petals" into one of the scallops and bent them forward, adhering some with glue dots to make them pop out.

I think I'll try a ribbon flower this week. My sister, Tina, taught us how to make ribbon flowers years ago, and it seems to be very popular in papercrafting these days. Hey Tina, do you think you could pop over to Indy and make a few ribbon flowers with me this week? :)

Thanks for popping into the cafe today!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Scripture Challenge 2010: Home

This morning, I had the dreaded job of cleaning our master bathroom. Like many newer homes, our bath has a really large spa tub that everyone wants but never uses, and a teeny shower that gets used every day. In order to clean it, I have to step inside for a full immersion baptism of water and Lysol. It's a wet and smelly job.

I was halfway through the scrubbing when Sam came upstairs to tell me "Mom, there are people at the door."

Oh no! I threw on my bathrobe, dried my hands, and went to the door.

My lab, Maggie, was barking her fool head off. I couldn't be sure if she wanted to greet the visitors with a wet kiss or a lunge to the jugular. I opened the door a slice, holding the dog by her pretty pink collar, and there they were...

...two people, a man and a woman in their Sunday best, holding "literature".

The gentleman asked "Do you believe that all good people go to heaven?"

"No," I answered. "I believe that all people who believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior will go to heaven."

This, apparently, was not the answer he had hoped for, as he began to explain how the righteous will live on earth forever.

At this point, I struggled. Do I debate theology in my pajamas, reeking of Lysol, or do I fight the good fight with soap scum?

I confess...I took the "literature", said "Have a nice day!", and went back to my scrubbing.

I'll admit it...I don't have a lot of patience with people who don't know where their home is.

During the summer of 2007, I was living in St. Louis and calling home every day. My father was dying of cancer, and his health was rapidly failing. I spoke with my sister, Tina, one day to ask her... it time to come home?

Tina told me what the hospice nurse had told her. Patients who do not know where they are going after death are fearful and tend to linger for a prolonged period of time.

"Your father knows where he is going, and he will not linger long," she said.

She was so right. My father went to his home before I could get home to say goodbye. He was in a hurry to get where he was going, and where he was going was "home".

And like my father, I know without a doubt where I am going one day. My home is in heaven. It is a big house with many rooms, and Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for me.

I have a Father who loves me so much that He wants me to spend eternity with Him, in His house. He would never leave me to an eternity spent here on earth, away from Him, ceaselessly scrubbing toilets and spraying away shower scum. NO! He delights in me!

Jesus said "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own, they belong to the Father who sent me." John 14:23-24

Jesus will call me home one day, and I will see my Fathers face to face. When that day comes, I will not linger. I will hurry home.

"No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Til He returns or calls me HOME
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

from the modern hymn by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bunny Hop

It may look like winter outside, but inside it is looking like spring! After seeing snow and more snow fall down the past few weeks, I decided to swap out all of the snowmen in the house with some items that might encourage spring to make an early appearance.

Here's Peter Rabbit, popping out of Mr. MacGregor's lettuce!

And here is Mother Rabbit, trying to find some rest among the flowers with a good book and the newest copy of Where Women Create magazine.

During the long drive last weekend I began a new stitching project...something that would put me in a springy mood. This kit from Pine Mountain Designs is another pillow wrap, and it's called "Bunny Hop". When it's done, the bunny will be hopping over the flowers, and it will say "HOP" in the lower right hand corner. I just love these kits...all the floss and embellishments are included, and when it's done you have very little to do in the way of finishing.

And did I mention that it's stitched on 10 count Tula? Very easy on the eyes, especially when stitching in a moving vehicle.

I am ready for spring to hop into my neighborhood!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Disciplined Life

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. Many churches don't officially recognize this season on the church calendar, but I like to participate in the ancient practice of Lent. Lent is, after all, a discipline, much like fasting. We've all heard from someone who "gave up" something for Lent. But really, the purpose of this practice is just to make us mindful.

One of my New Year's resolutions is to practice a more disciplined life. Now, don't get me wrong. I think a little spontaneity and whimsy is good for the soul. But I have also observed that productive, accomplished people tend to be disciplined.

Yesterday, I was listening to Moody radio and heard a commentator say that 90 percent of the people who attempt to read the Bible in one year from cover to cover fail at some point during that year. (For this reason, he was recommending a 90 day program instead). I have made Bible reading a part of my daily discipline. And more than six weeks later, I can report that I'm enjoying this practice every night before I go to bed.

Last week, I added a new discipline to my daily routine. I am now taking a pack of vitamins every day. My sister, Sue, works with someone at the hospital who has been doing some research on Lyme Disease. She sent me some medical articles related to this, and the report recommended vitamin packs to help boost immunity. My chronic form of Lyme Disease has been recurring every spring for the past several years, so I am trying my best to keep it in remission and stay healthy.

The report also mentioned the benefits of green tea. Now, as you know, I am a coffee lovin' kinda gal, but I do enjoy tea, also. I used to be a tea drinker that added a LOT of sugar and half and half. Now, I have learned to drink herbal and green teas straight up, without sweetener or creamer. I swear, I have a tea for every occasion! A Bedtime tea, an Echinacea tea, a mood lifting tea, an antioxidant tea. In these cold winter months, it's nice to have a warm cup to hold all day long!

Yogi teas have some of the silliest messages on their little tea's like reading a Chinese fortune cookie! Last night, my tea bag told me "If you unconsciously live a conscious life, you can never be poor."


I have to wonder who spent their days getting paid to make up these "words of wisdom."

I'm glad that there is one source of truth and wisdom that I can always turn to. And I plan on turning to it every night, cover to cover!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Hello, friends! After a week long absence without leave, I am back and ready to blog stuff again. Last week just becasme too hectic...with a husband on vacation, a major painting project, and an out-of-town trip, there really wasn't a lot of time for creativity.

Hey, guess what? It's snowing...again. This has been a long winter for me. Yesterday's Clean and Simple challenge was to make a card with a spring theme. I figured it was a good excuse to use some new flowers.

Now, before you write to tell me that you have those Prima flowers and they don't have the little white parts in the center, let me explain. I added those little white parts myself (is it the pistol or the stamen? I always forget!). You can buy them in the floral departments, and they are cheap!

{recipe: Season by Season (SU), Fine Lace (SU), river rock ink, melon mambo cardstock and ink, pure luxury ivory cardstock, Prima flowers, oval and scallop oval punches, Martha Stewart butterfly punch}

We took a weekend trip to visit our families in Ohio and Michigan last weekend. It was my sister's 50th birthday on Valentine's Day, so we celebrated with a sibling's lunch. We got to see a lot of the family that we'd missed over the holidays, so it was nice to catch up.

My husband chose an alternate route home, deciding to follow the opposite side of the Maumee River into Indiana. It was a lovely drive. We took a quick stop at Independence Dam so that the dog could get out for a while. It was so pretty! Apparently, the ducks and geese like it, too, as you can see in the photo:

Luckily, we had nice weather for traveling...cold, but sunny. I did a little needleart project on the drive. I think I'll show that tomorrow.

Stay warm and think spring!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Okay, I'll stand up and admit it. My name is Mary Rose, and I'm addicted to Pure Innocence stamps from My Favorite Things!

Someone asked me the other day why I liked them so much. After some thought, I've come up with a few reasons:

1.) The images are just the right size. Some companies make their images too small, and you have to figure out how to make some kind of presence on a standard A2 card. Some companies make images that are too large, and they take up the whole card space. These are just right...big enough to have presence, small enough to use with pretty background papers.

2.) They are cheap! At $9 for a clear set, I probably would have paid twice that much for a similar set from Stampin' Up! It doesn't seem like such a big splurge to buy one or two...or ten. :)

3.) I love the font of the sentiments!

4.) The images are too stinkin' cute.

There, who needs any more reasons?

I made this card for the February sketch challenge. My favorite part of this card was that I stamped the flower separate from the original image...allowing me to add the twinkle water drops from the watering can:

I also had some fun with the inside of the card:

I know...I've been making a lot of grass on my cards lately. Perhaps I miss seeing the green stuff, as it is currently hidden under about six to eight inches of snow, with more on the way this afternoon. Needless to say, it is a snow day. The good news is that I made it to the store yesterday and now have all the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies. Hooray! We're saved!

Happy Snow Day, everyone!

{recipe: Blooming Good Day (Pure Innocence...MFT Stamps), Basic Grey Nook and Pantry papers, crushed curry and garden green card stock, Pure Luxury Ivory card stock, circle punches, Coluzzle, Versafine onyx ink, Prisma markers, Amuse twinkles}

Monday, February 8, 2010

Petals, Paints, and Puppies

As you can see, all hands have been on deck for this massive painting project in our great room this weekend! But I can say that we love the results. Sam says the color looks like coffee with cream in it. I love that boy! This color is like a pair of khaki just goes with everything! Our furniture, the fireplace, the floors, the countertops, and even the cherry cabinets!

It is still very much a work in progress, but we should have it wrapped up in just a few days.

Beside painting, we had another traumatic event in our weekend. My poor dog, Maggie, got hit by a car on Friday night! Or to be more accurate, Maggie probably hit the car. In either case, it was very frightening for all parties husband, who was shoveling snow in the dark and didn't notice that the dog had left the neighbor, who didn't see the black lab dart out in the street...and poor Maggie, who learned her lesson the hard way that it's best to leave cars alone!

But the good news is that Maggie is fine, a little bruised and wary, but still wagging her tail and getting about just fine. Thank the Lord! It could have been much worse! After a thorough check from her vet and a shot of Cortisone, she is now taking anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers to help her hind end recover.

The good news is that the vet reported that Maggie has lost over fifteen pounds since her last check-up in October! With just a few more pounds to go, she should be at her ideal weight. The vet was very proud. I guess all the walking, diet dog food, and green bean dinners have really done her a lot of good!

As you can see, I'm still in full flower power mode when it comes to crafting! I made this card for today's Clean and Simple challenge to make a candy-inspired card. My candy choice? Gummies! I think these shiny little buttons are very gummy-like, don't you? This card was very simple, but I think it has a nice kick to it. I added a little punch to the flowers by outlining them with my black Sakura Micron pen. I think it helps them to stand out against the kraft background.

{recipe: Big Blooms (SU), sentiment from Uptown Rubber Stamps (Holly Pond Hill), Kraft Pure Luxury card satock, old olive card stock and ink, tempting turquoise ink, more mustard ink, real red ink, versafine onyx ink, designer buttons (SU), Amuse stitched ribbon}

Thanks for stopping by the cafe today!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Random Thoughts for Friday

It pains me to have to say this, but I think that this time, Phil got it right. That's Phil, a.k.a. Puxatawney Phil, a.k.a. the Groundhog. We're getting hammered with snow today, just like the rest of the country. It may be white outside, but inside I'm thinking of spring.

I decided to purchase some flowers for spring crafting. They were so sweet that I decided to put them on display in this little teacup. Oh, and what's in those tins next to the teacup? Funny you should ask! I also picked up some paper Prima flowers. And here they are:

Oooh, the possibilities! I think I'll be doing some crafting tonight. What else is there to do when it looks like this outside?

The good news is that work called and told me not to bother coming in today. No customers were braving the winter storm just to come in to see the latest spring fashions that they won't be able to wear for many more months. Huh! Go figure!

It was a great afternoon to sit in front of the television with a caramel latte and watch old movies. I got to see one of my all-time favorites..."How To Marry A Millionaire." Oh, those fabulous fashions! I've always admired Doris Day, and Lauren Bacall is just too cool for words. I think that all these years later, they are still such beautiful women!

Speaking of women, did you know that today is Wear Red for Women's Heart Health Day? Heart Disease is still the leading cause of death among women, and in many cases, it is also preventable. Today, I wore this red felted rosebud pin on my winter jacket. It is made by Baabaazuzu from a felted wool sweater, and cut into pieces to form the flower and leaves. This flower must have been a zipper front cardigan in another life. Isn't this just adorable? It's a nice cheery addition to a wardrobe when the weather looks like this:

But enough about snow! Let's see some more flowers!

The store where I work (when it isn't snowing) often uses lovely props in their displays and then when they don't need them any more, they offer them up to the store associates. A few weeks ago, I snagged a bunch of beautiful birch trees that are more than six feet tall! We used a few in John's winter bedroom, and we're going to use the rest when we paint and decorate the basement.

Last weekend, I popped into the store with John to check my schedule, and they had these cool wooden barrel buckets up for grabs. I took six of them in various sizes. They even have wrought iron rings and handles! How cool is that? I think they'll look great in the house and in the garden this summer. For now, I took one of the smaller sizes and put a potted daisy inside. It's a nice cheerful addition to the kitchen.

And speaking of the kitchen, we've finally decided on a color for the kitchen great room. After consulting with friends (thanks, Beth!) and polling all of the boys AND their friends last weekend, we decided on this nice neutral warm brown called Stepping Stones. It met all the goes well with the kitchen cabinets, it coordinates nicely with the sage counter tops, and it provided enough contrast to the light pine floors. It also matches well with the other colors downstairs:

I think we'll probably begin painting this weekend. My dear sweet painter is not too keen on the fact that we'll have to prime over all of that dark green, but if we want a true color, that's just what we'll have to do. It's a good thing hubby has the entire week off because it'll probably take that long to get the job done!

But tonight, we'll rest in front of the fire with a nice movie and stay warm.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Scripture Challenge 2010: Abide in Me

I have lived in three houses in three states in the past five years. That's quite a feat for a woman who resisted change for the first 37 years of her life, living in the same small town where she was born.

But I have learned SO MUCH in these past five years that I would have never learned if I had not opened myself up to this experience.

For starters, I learned that change can become addictive. I have found that I become a little bit antsy if I stay in one place for too long. I have been bitten by the WANDERLUST!

The other night, my husband told me about a job posting for a position in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I shocked Ed and myself by saying "You should consider it!' What? Am I crazy? Uproot our children, pack up stuff, put a house on the market and look for another house AGAIN?! Just when I've found a church to call home. Just when I've found a job and a sliver of a social life? But here's the thing...


Change is a constant.

You can fight it, or you can embrace it.

Here's another thing I've learned. I love houses. I love real estate. I love the thrill of the hunt, the search for perfect towns and perfect schools and perfect libraries. My grass may be fine here, but it could be a lot greener over there!

I've found that I love to stitch houses and stamp them, too. I like that a house can be a little representation of your a really big canvas for you to paint your self-portrait upon.

I even love to shop for houses online and watch other people shop for houses on television.

This is the most surprising thing I've learned about houses:

If a tornado came and swept everything that we owned away, I wouldn't miss it.

No thing is irreplaceable.

And this is why:

"Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat-
for he grants sleep to those he loves."
Psalm 127: 1-2

Everything else is stuff. This is why my husband and I have been very deliberate about purging the stuff from our lives the past five years. We know first-hand that if you don't have to pack it, then you don't have to unpack it, either!

We know that if it has stayed in storage for years, you probably don't need it.

We know that if we open our grasp to stuff, we can pass it on to be a blessing to someone else.

We know that stuff accumulation is not a path to happiness or sustainable living.

We know that there is only one place where we ever want to live...and that is in

Christ Jesus our LORD!

We want our permanent residence to be in Him.

The LORD is...

...the comfy chair I rest in....

...the warm bed I sleep in...

...the table I eat at...

...the hot tub I soak in...

...the coffee cup I sip from.

Abide in Him, and He abides in me. The only house I will ever need.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog's Day

Tell me the truth...has that groundhog ever NOT seen his shadow on February 2nd? Every year it's the same thing...we yank the poor rodent out of his warm cozy burrow and parade him in the frigid winter air for his great prognostication. If I were the furry fellow, I'd be grumpy, too! I have a better idea...let's leave the little guy alone for a change and think warm thoughts instead.

I made today's card for the guest designer challenge at My Favorite Things. The challenge is to make a card that says "spring". For me, nothing says spring like enjoying the outdoors, with green leaves, green grass, flowers and sunshine. I think this card captures all of the above!

Lorie R. had asked me how I got the sunny dappled background on the baby card the other day. So I thought I'd use the same technique here and show you how. Basically, I use a stipple brush, but a sponge would work just as well. I start by making a mask of the image that I want to stipple this case, the girl on the swing.

Then, I place the mask on top of the image to cover it up and prevent it from getting accidentally inked.

Then, I make sure that I have a juicy ink pad. In this case, I re-inked my Summer Sun pad. I dab the stipple brush into the ink pad and carefully stipple the area around the image.

When you lift away the masked image, you'll get a nice warm glow around the girl on the swing. Easy!

{recipe: Start the Day with Whee! (Pure Innocence-MFT stamps), summer sun ink and card stock, wild wasabi card stock, melon mambo cardstock, Basic Grey Nook and Pantry paper, Pure Luxury white card stock, versafine onyx ink, Prismacolor pencils, gamsol, Martha Stewart picket fence punch, leaf punch (SU), velvet flowers (Maya Road) }

This card made me think of my house in Michigan. I had a white picket fence, an English cottage flower garden, and a tree swing made in Napa Valley from the old staves of wine barrels. I would swing the baby under the Linden tree, and it was always an invitation for my neighbors to come over and chat and coo over the baby. Happy memories!