Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two Wheels Good

A big milestone was achieved last weekend. Sam learned how to ride his two wheel bike!

Look, Ma! No training wheels! And no helmut. grrrr! We're going to have some serious discussions about that issue this summer! He's getting a little better about wearing it...he just needs constant reminders.

My husband and I call Sam our warrior child. He takes life head on, with sword raised and a battle cry ready. Not surprising that he tackled bike riding the same way. My husband took him to the park, put him on the flat grassy area with his bike, gave him a shove, and Sam was biking like he'd been doing it his whole life. Today the cul de sac, tomorrow the Tour de France!

I wanted to make Sam a card to tell him how proud I am of the way he's growing! This card worked for the color challenge and the sketch challenge at SCS. I used the bike from the stamp set Life Cycles (SU), but only inked the bike and not the basket filled with flowers that's attached to the handle bars. I also pulled out my Texture Boutique machine to do a little embossing today!

{recipe: Life Cycles (SU), The Boyfriend papers (Cosmo Cricket), basic gray, so saffron, bermuda bay card stock, bermuda bay ink, versafine onyx ink, prisma markers, silver brads, Sizzix embossing folder}

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The frogs in the nature preserve behind our house have been croaking for a few weeks...a sure sign of spring!

I decided to pull out an older stamp set to pair with this fabulous paper from Cosmo Cricket.

{recipe: Unfrogettable (SU), Cosmo Cricket Earth Love papers, sage shadow/groovy guava card stock, scallop edge punch, oval punch, groovy guava ribbon, versafine onyx ink, prisma markers}

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Do you have a signature fragrance? I'm a fickle fragrance wearer. I guess I've never been married to a scent for long. Last year, I wore Coco Channel and Miss Dior in the fall and winter. In the spring and summer, I like a lighter fragrance like Crabtree and Evelyn's Rose Water. In years past I wore Jessica McClintock, then switched to Anick Goutal's Gardenia Passion. Recently, I've been wearing two fragrances from Lollia...Relax and Wish. Wish is a little sweeter than I thought it would be, so I apply it very sparingly. I think I fell in love with the beautiful bottles more than the actual scent! ha ha!

Today's Inspiration challenge at Splitcoast Stampers was to visit the Thymes fragrance website and create a card from an image. I've enjoyed a few fragrances from Thymes...I really like the Green Tea, as well as the Fig Leaf and Cassis. One of my favorites was called Filigree. I'm not certain that Thymes even makes these scents anymore!

I decided to use this foldover sketch from Kimono Rose for my card:

{recipe: Best Yet (SU), blue cardstock (12 x 12), Basic Grey's Urban Prairie papers, pink ribbon, flowers}

So tell me...what's your signature scent?

This week, I think my signature scent is probably coffee bean. I've been putting in a lot of hours at work, and I am beat! Coffee is the only thing that keeps me going. But tonight, I may fill the big bathtub with a nice scent and have a good soak and a cup of tea.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Stress Relief

Yesterday was a really stressful day. I was fretting about a heavy work schedule and trying to sort out child care issues with after school activities. You know, just another typical day of being a mom, trying to juggle and keep all the balls in the air. It was a painful reminder that when you move away from family and friends, you are left with no support system and have to become self-reliant. It can be really tiring.

I decided that the best stress reliever was gardening. So my lab and I went outside to do some raking and pruning and tending to the garden. It was nice to see the early growers this season. The chives look healthy and happy.

The oregano is ready for the next spaghetti dinner.

The tender shoots of rhubarb are making an appearance, too.

I made this card for today's Ways To Use It Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers. Today is the fifth anniversary for this challenge! I got to thinking about where I was five years ago. I was probably at the computer armoire in the living room of my house in Michigan, looking over the cottage garden and the tree swing in the Linden tree, and wondering what life would be like in St. Louis. Wow. That was an action-packed five years!

This will be a very belated birthday card for my step-mother-in-law, Shirley Ann! This card is propped next to a patch of thyme, the same herb featured on this stamp.

{recipe: Herb Expressions (SU), Earth Love papers (Cosmo Cricket), groovy guava cardstock, Pure Luxury kraft and ivory cardstock, Martha Stewart punches, word window punch, kraft ribbon, prisma markers, souffle pen, pearl brads}

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Best Friends

A few days ago, I was doing some housecleaning upstairs, and when I came down, this is what I saw: a trail of pillows leading to a blanket-covered mound.

When I got a little closer, I saw that there was a snout sticking out from underneath the blankets!

I lifted the blanket, and there was Maggie, giving me this priceless look. I think this expression says "Mom, look at the things I do for the love of our boy!"

There's no doubt about it. Sam and Maggie are best friends! They play together all day long!

I made today's card for the SCS Sketch challenge. I found these old papers from Crate Paper's Cowgirl collection.

{recipe: Stamps from Pure Innocence (MFT Stamps), papers from Crate Paper Cowgirl Collection, soft suede cardstock, Pure Luxury Ivory cardstock, Versafine onyx ink, prisma markers, ric rac ribbon, pebble, sewing machine}

Did you notice the sewing on my card? I love it when papercrafting is combined with stitching and fabrics and other non-traditional materials. I just got an email from Archivers, and this is the hot trend du jour. Singer has even made a new Pixie machine for papercrafters!

And speaking of this trend, did you see the new stamp sets at Gina K? She has two new stamp sets that are needle art inspired! I can't wait to order them! The sentiment set looks like a cross-stitched sampler...too cute!

I think I might try to call a friend or two today...I could use a little friend time, even if it's just over the telephone.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Robins and Tulips

My sweet husband brought me tulips last night. It was a dreary grey rainy spring day, and his tulips really brightened up my evening.

My mom taught me a trick when it comes to tulips. If you've ever brought a package of tulips home and put them in a vase, they immediately droop down. If you want your tulips to stand upright, here's what you do: Gently unwrap the bottom inches of the wrapping to reveal just a portion of the stems. Put the flowers into a vase filled with water, with the top still covered in it's wrapping and the bottom exposed to the water. Leave them in the vase this way for an hour. Then, after an hour, take off the wrapping completely and your tulips will remain upright. The reason for this is that the stems will drink up the water and help them form to the shape of the vase, rather than being pulled by the heaviness of the flower head and drooping.

Tulips are a wonderful sign of spring. They are growing a little taller in my garden every day. Another sign of spring? Robins! They've been feasting on all of the worms that are wiggling in the warmed and wet soil. Have you ever noticed how worms have a definite smell? We came home the other evening in the dark, and when I opened the car door, I could smell the worms before I saw them wiggling all over the driveway.

Last night, I finished stitching this robin project (Elizabeth Foster of Elizabeth's Designs). I left the penny here to show how small this project really is. Normally, I don't like to stitch projects that have small linen's so hard on my eyes! But the small stitching made this project so much sweeter and more delicate. You can see a close-up here:

I'm going to finish this project into a doorknob hanger. I'd like to find a little delicate lace to edge it with, and maybe add a little velvet ribbon.

The birds are singing and the sun is shining. I think I'll go purchase some pansies for my front porch pots today.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stitchin' Stuff

Last week, Sam and I ate lunch at our favorite spot, Ginger's Cafe. Sam ordered his usual...pancakes and bacon. And while he waited for his food, he scouted out the empty tables for a cool game to play. Ginger's keeps a fun game at each table.

I had the St. Patrick's Day special, otherwise known as the Jigg's dinner. Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and bread pudding. Yum!

On the wall next to our table is the most amazing quilt! Each block represents one of the fifty states of the USA. Each state is done in needlepoint, and each square shows the state's flower, the state bird, the year it became a state, and if it was one of the thirteen original colonies.

Here's the great state of Michigan!

And our former and current states of residence!

After lunch, we popped over to Always in Stitches. I was inspired to finish my Easter pillow wrap project. Here it is!

This wrap is going to my mom so that she can take off the Christmas pillow cover and decorate her home with something that looks a little more seasonally appropriate!

I have a few more spring stitching projects in the works. Lately, I've had the itch to do another punch needle project. Hmmm...I wonder which one it will be! Now that spring is here, should I start on the summer projects? Nah, I think I'll enjoy the season we're in for a while.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


We had a wonderful time at our women's minstry event yesterday! The women from my Bible study group really outdid themselves! The church was lovely, and I know the women had a great time of fellowship together!

Here's our speaker, Dawn Beaty, and her teacup treasures.

Our place settings looked so bright and cheery!

The women loved their flower pens! I even saw a few being put to use at church today!

The coffee bar saw a lot of action yesterday!

Sarah, our kitchen coordinator, found these adorable plates and napkins on clearance, and they matched our theme perfectly!

Our welcome center was a welcome sight with those lovely flowers! You know that an event is a success when the women start talking about the NEXT event they'd like to have! This is a really big thing for our little church, and I think this is just the spark we needed to get our women's ministry up and rolling.

Let me tell you...after working at this event AND working at my job for two days, I crashed last night! But I'm feeling refreshed and ready for action today. I shared with the women how important Bible study is to me. It's the best 90 minutes of my week. It refreshes me and equips me in my job of women's ministry all week long. And you know what? I conduct my women's ministry wherever I am: at my job at the women's clothing store, I minister to a woman who is discouraged because she's gained weight. I celebrate with a woman who's lost weight. I mourn with a daughter who is returning her mother's clothes because her mother passed away before she could wear them. I comfort a woman who is facing a mastectomy in the days ahead.

The truth is, wherever God has placed us at any given moment is our mission field. It's up to each of us to bloom where we are planted.

Spring is finally here, and the first bloom of crocus are popping up in our yard. Now that I'm inspired and refreshed, I think I'll have a few more spring projects to show this week.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Our Awesome God, By The Numbers

For the past few weeks, my women's Bible study group at church has been planning a spring ministry event. We hatched the idea one evening over coffees. It just seemed that so many women felt disconnected from each other and discouraged. We wanted an event that would lift them up and inspire them.

"A Cup of Encouragement: Women Inspiring Women" was born on that night. One of the ladies knew a speaker, we came up with a coffee theme, and the rest sort of planned itself. Someone mentioned those cute Gerbera daisy flower pens...wouldn't it be cute if we stuck them in glass vases filled with coffee beans?

I used my spiritual gift of shopping ( ha ha!) and bought the flowers, pens, and notepads. We really had no idea how many women would attend. After all, we're a new church plant with a small but growing congregation.

I bought the flower bushes at Michael's...eight flowers to a bush, and I bought three each of three colors, pink, yellow, and orange, to match our coffee cups.

I went to the office supply store. Pens were sold in a box of 36. I bought two. Notepads were sold in packages of twelve. I bought six. And when I got it all home, I realized that everything totalled seventy-two. 72 pens, 72 flowers, 72 notepads. At our planning meeting, I jokingly told the women "Well, it seems I bought 72 of everything, so God's going to have to send us 72 women to attend."

Yesterday, I got the email from Becky, our church secretary. She was amazed to report that we officially had 72 women attending on Saturday. She added that she now thinks I have a direct line with God. ha ha!

Isn't our God awesome? We're so thrilled! We've been praying without ceasing that God would give our speaker the right words, and that they would fall fresh on every woman attending that day. And more than anything, we've been praying to our Father that this event would not be about us, but about bringing glory to Him.

We chose the bible passage from Psalm 23: 5 "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows."

I've been putting together seventy-two notepad holders for the event. I used the stamp set "Espressoly For You" from Stampin' Up to decorate each folder in our coffee theme. I think that these bright and cheery colors will be a welcome sight for the first day of spring. I will take photos of the event tomorrow. In the meantime, I have to make a loaf of lemon bread and an apple cashew salad, and I have to drop everything off at church this afternoon before I go in to work. Yikes! I'm not sure if there are enough hours in my day!

I hope your weekend is filled with inspiration and encouragement, too!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wearin' O' The Green

One of my favorite gardens at the Indy Flower and Patio show featured greenery...lots and lots of greenery! A lot of gardeners try to be showy with flowers, but I love the subtle beauty of green plants and shrubs. This garden made an amazing wave using coleus.

I also loved the subtle pops of color with the purple alliums. I fell in love with coleus last season...they were definitely the stars of my garden. But this year, I may need to plant some allium bulbs. too.

And here is Sam, putting his hand in another water feature. What a silly boy!

Today's card was inspired by my love of the green garden. And what better day to be wearin' o the green than St. Patrick's Day! I don't know why this little Pure Innocence girl needed the fairy wings, but she just did. A little Celtic magic, perhaps?

{recipe: 4- Leaf Clover (Pure Innocence stamps from MFT), Pure Luxury ivory cardstock, Cosmo Cricket Earth Love paper, wild wasabi/garden green/sage shadow cardstock, versafine onyx ink, prisma markers, sage shadow ink, scallop edge punch, folk heart punch, coluzzle, Making Memories felt flower brad}

Sam and I are going out to lunch before kindergarten today. We're visiting our favorite restaurant, Ginger's Cafe. Sam plans on ordering the pancakes, but I'll be having the Jiggs dinner special...corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. Yum!

I need to repeat the sentiment of today's card. I am lucky to have so many online friends here at the cafe and at Splitcoast Stampers. Your comments always warm my heart. Some may call it luck, but I know that I'm just blessed, plain and simple.

I hope you're feeling the Luck O' The Irish today, too!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Indy Flower and Patio Show

I had a wonderful time visiting the Indy Flower and Patio Show this weekend. This year, the show featured twenty nine gardens with the theme "A Novel Idea". Each garden was based upon a popular novel. These photos were taken at the Harry Potter garden. This urn filled with hydrangeas was amazing!

Here's a view of the Hogwarts Express.

This water feature looked like a bubbling cauldron. Very cool!

And here's my Sam dressed up to look like Harry Potter. Too funny! Sam had a great time at the show. He loved the different story themes, and he made it his mission to put his hands into every water feature at the 29 different gardens. (He's such a boy!) I loved the brightly colored flowers and the smells of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths mixed with that earthy smell of mulch. I know, I'm weird, but I love the smell of good mulch!

I am now inspired to do some serious gardening this season! This week, I'll feature some of the inspirational gardens at the show, as well as some of the cards and crafts that they've inspired me to create! Stop back!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Scripture Challenge 2010: Follow

I am a collector of sheep. I have them all over my house. I just love these docile creatures.

When I lived in St. Louis, one of my favorite shops was called Three French Hens. In the spring, the shop was filled with flowers, rabbits, chicks, and sheep. It was always a welcome sight!

I have a lot in common with sheep. Sheep are followers, and so am I. Looking back on my 43 years on this planet, I have to laugh at the trends I followed. As a girl, I followed Little House on the Prairie. I so wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder! As a teen, I followed fashion trends and rock music. As a young adult, I followed popular culture. Yes, I had Rachel hair. Yes, I read Oprah books. Yes, I once owned mauve furniture.

It pains me to think of some of the stupid things I followed.

The world view tells us to be a leader. Take charge! Innovate! Be the trend setter!

And what does the Christian view tell us? Serve. Humble yourself. Follow. But don't follow the world. It will lead you astray every time.

Jesus said this about the Good Shepherd:

"The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice." John 10:3-4

Now that I am firm in my forties, I'm not such a trend follower any more. I know myslef and I know what is "me" and what is not "me". But most importantly, I know who I'm folllowing. And when in doubt, I listen for my shepherd's voice. He never leads me astray.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy Retirement

I have a good friend back in Michigan who retired recently. I thought I'd make him a card to let him know that the world of pipe will never be the same without him!

I made this for today's Clean and Simple challenge to add several shapes to a card front. here, I used rectangles and circles. I thought Cosmo Cricket's "The Boyfriend" papers would be a fun accent.

{recipe: Congrats (SU), Versafine Onyx ink, Pure Luxury ivory card stock, crushed curry card stock and ink, basic black card stock, real red card stock, yellow brad, Cosmo Cricket "The Boyfriend" papers, circle punch, scallop circle punch, crushed curry polka ribbon}

We've had some wonderful spring-like weather this weekend. You know that spring can't be far behind when my dog wants to go outside every fifteen minutes, just to bask in the sunshine.

Hope you're basking in the sunshine, too! Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Paper, Scissors, Death

I received the nicest comment on my blog this week from author Joanna Campbell Slan. We had been chatting on Splitcoast Stampers about books that had a crafty theme, particularly murder mysteries in the British cozy style. I'd mentioned the Home Crafting series from Cricket McRae that I'd read and blogged about last summer. As it turns out, Joanna has the same publisher as Cricket, and her mysteries have a papercrafting theme.

I went out and picked up a copy of her book, "Paper, Scissors, Death" yesterday. I am already a third of the way through it, and it has been so much fun to read! The mystery takes place in St. Louis (my former residence), and let me tell you, Joanna has completely nailed it! From the rich Clayton and Ladue ladies of St. Louis County to the sweltering heat of the St. Louis climate. So many familiar stomping grounds are named in the book...St. Louis Bread Company (or Breadco, as we called it), Babler State Park, even the campground at Eureka! My favorite part was when she mentions how everyone in that area asks the question "Where did you go to high school?" That was so funny, and so true! In that area, your high school told everything about you, from your religion to your social status to your parent's income level.

I'm a native Michigander, so I always felt a little out of the loop there. I'll never forget when I tried to make friends with other "moms" on the playgrounds, only to find out that I'd been conversing all morning with nannies. Talk about being out of one's element! I remember crying all the way home after those days!

Looking back, I think I had a love/hate relationship with that town. I loved my church and the natural beauty of the area...those fabulous rivers and limestone cliffs and forests. I hated the heat of the summers, but I loved the early springs and long, lingering autumns. I loved the fabulous school systems, but hated exposing my kids to so much privilege and wealth on a daily basis. I loved discovering new shops and restaurants, but hated the expensive cost of living there. But in the end, I remember St. Louis fondly because of the people...God brought some wonderful people in to my life there.

Back in those days, I was a columnist for a suburban paper in the St. Louis area. I'd written a column on vanity plates, and came up with the witty headline "Vanity, Thy Name is License Plate". The editor loved it and used it.

Well, a week later, the St. Louis Post Dispatch (the parent paper of the one I wrote for) ran a front page headline for a link to an online feature. Yep, you guessed it: "Vanity, Thy Name is License Plate". No credit to me or my column whatsoever.

I held up the paper that morning and told my husband "Honey, look! I was plagiarized by a Pulitzer-prize winning newspaper!" It was a proud moment. (And by the way, who would've thought a column like that could get so much hate mail?)

Sadly, I don't write columns anymore (heck, who can get a job in print these days?), but this has reminded me to get back to writing. It really is my passion.

Joanna has a new book being released soon. I'll make sure to mention it when it's available. If you need a fun read, go pick up a copy of this book today!