Thursday, May 27, 2010

2010 Scripture Challenge: Purpose

My mom and I had a conversation about roses this weekend. I was so excited to finally find a local greenhouse that carries David Austin's old English roses. I planted a bunch of new varieties this spring, and they are amazing!

Mom is slowing down in her gardening. She has two new titanium knees that make bending a lot more difficult. These days, she enjoys her container gardens and smaller beds that are more manageable. But she just doesn't have the patience for roses anymore. She's not a fan of the thorns, and she doesn't like all the pruning and fussing that roses require.

I reminded my mom of the quote from Abraham Lincoln: "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."

I may be a little partial to the rose, considering that it is my namesake. I, too, have a few thorns, and I'm sure that if you asked my husband, he'd tell you that I'm more than a little work, too. But on occasion, I bloom, too. Hopefully, the good Lord thinks I'm worth all the fuss.

These days, Knockout Roses are more prevalent in the garden centers. I call them cheater roses. Put them in the ground, water them, and forget them. No one has the patience to do the hard work that roses require. Have you ever smelled a Knockout rose? No? And do you know why? They have no smell. All the fragrance has been genetically modified right out of them. It seems that if you want a rose to smell like a rose, you have to work for it.

I have been guilty of planting "cheater roses" into my daily life. Dawdling on the computer, leaving the housework for another day, becoming lazy in my relationship with God and others. I am guilty of avoiding the hard work. I may talk about it, but the actual doing of it is another story. In short, I have lacked purpose.

This year, I am trying to become a little more disciplined in my daily life.

Participating in Bible study, not just talking about it.

Reading the Bible every day, not just relying on what I've read in the past to feed me.

Developing friendships with women.

Spending time in useful employment.

Connecting with my spouse and children.

Feeding my family healthy foods.

Being deliberate in planning and scheduling.

Setting aside time to be creative.

Reading the books that collect dust in piles all over my house.

Walking and biking and getting outdoors.

Carving out prayer time.

Sitting and observing.

Colossians 3:23 says "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men."

I want to do the hard things. And I want to do them for the Lord.

I am going to continue to tend my garden. I will prune, and I will fuss, and I will water. And hopefully, I will bloom. I love these verses in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15:

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those are are perishing."

This morning, I smelled the roses. And they are sweet.

{recipe: Hero Arts stamp, papers from Webster's Pages, Pure Luxury Kraft cardstock, Versafine sepia ink, prima flower, pearl, ribbon}


Pink: Gertrude Jeckyll, an amazing repeat bloomer.

Yellow: Graham Thomas, blooms have the strong fragrance of tea.

Peach: Carding Mill, a full cupped apricot blossom

Monday, May 24, 2010

Living Proof Live

I'm back! What an awesome, inspiring weekend I had! I spent three days in Grand Rapids, Michigan attending the Living Proof Live conference with Beth Moore at the Van Andel Arena. The music? Fantastic! Travis Cottrell and his band were amazing. And Beth? Funny, wise, adorable, faith-filled, and fabulous.

At one point, Beth was on stage with the band, singing with over 7,000 women, and I was nearly overcome with joy. I was singing "In Christ Alone", one of my favorite songs, with Beth Moore under the same roof! It was too much.

While browsing through her books during a break, I got into a conversation with a complete stranger about the bible study, "Believing God". We talked about how much this study meant to us, and we both teared up when discussing it! Wow.

I learned so much at this conference. For starters, I learned that there are some things in my life that just aren't producing fruit for the amount of time I put into them. I came home and de-activated my Facebook account. I also decided to take a new "less is more" approach to blogging. I'm pruning out some things to make way for some new endeavors. It is all good.

It was such a blessing to spend time with my mom and sister, Tina. We laughed, we sang, we cried, we talked, we ate, we slept, we shopped, we walked...just lots of fellowship.

Grand Rapids was such a lovely city. Dang, I really do miss Michigan. It's so beautiful on the western coast. There is a quality to the landscape there that is amazing...lush forests, crystal lakes and pristine beaches. Michigan summers are the reward for those brave few who survive the Michigan winters.

Hope your weekend was a blessing, too!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sentimental Attachment

Have you ever been sentimentally attached to something? For some odd reason, I'm attached to my patio furniture. I know, weird, right? But we've had this set at every house we've lived in, and I'm not ready to give it up just yet.

We bought this set from the Martha Stewart line at KMart about eleven years ago. At the time, we were living small in our 900 square foot cottage, and this pretty patio set turned our concrete slab into an outdoor room. Once upon a time, it had a matching umbrella (long gone) and matching cushions. Well, Ed and I are not the best at bringing those cushions in during inclement weather. After ten years, the cushions began to develop tears last summer. We thought of replacing the set, but truly, it's still in decent shape after eleven years. Sure, the paint may be peeling in some places, but it just makes it look vintage.

Why do I love it so much? Well, for starters, it has an awesome lazy susan in the center of the table.

The table has a lovely etched leaf design.

The wrought iron chairs have a pretty leaf backing.

And the best part? The set came with five for each family member.

I was so happy to find some replacement cushions last weekend at Target (on sale!). When I brought them home, my son, John said that colors in the stripes are the same colors we've used to decorate our main floor living area. He's right. I just love the earthy colors of olive green, mustard yellows, warm browns, and rusty reds.

I used the same colors in today's card.

{recipe: Provencal (SU), Designer Label Punch punch/stamp, Pure Luxury ivory cardstock, Basic Grey Sugared papers, soft suede cardstock, versafine onyx ink, wide oval punch, soft suede ribbon, aged copper hardware}

Movie Recommendation!

Want to see a good chick flick? Last weekend, I went to see "Letters to Juliet" with my bunko friends. They took pity on me when I mentioned that I only get to see the chick flicks when they come to the Redbox. This was a very sweet movie. Sure, it was predictable, but it was also nice to see a movie with no vulgarity, profanity, nudity or violence. Just lovely scenery of the Italian countryside coupled with a mulit-generational love story. I give it two thumbs up!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Trendy Birds

There's a funny thread on Splitcoast Stampers this week titled "Trends: Love it/Loathe It" where stampers have listed trends that they love and trends that they hate. Personally, there's not a lot that I really hate in the crafting world. Sure, there are things that are not my cup of tea, but it seems that as soon as I mention that I loathe a thing, someone will make something amazing with that thing to change my mind.

The bird trend has really been around for a while now, and the funny thing is that I haven't tired of it yet. I really do love birds, and I have them in various forms all over my house. I'm a faithful bird feeder, and I love their daily visits to my garden. Their songs and their fluttering wings are just comforting to me.

I found this desk set at T. J. Maxx the other week, and had to have it. I was hoping that the prettiness would compel me to clean my office area. ha ha! I picked up the desk blotter with weekly calendar pad, the clipboard with To Do List, and the weekly planner. And because it was T. J. Maxx, I got them super cheap.

Here's a photo of the clipboard without the notepad and the closed planner.

And here's the weekly planner opened. It has an accordion envelope, notepad, sticky notes, and a weekly calendar notepad.

Last week, I made this Artist Trading Card for the 2010 Scripture Challenge word, "Quiet". I used the verse from Isaiah for my inspiration. I'm a little behind in my words (I think I still need to do "Neighbor" and this week's word, "Example", too!). I am also four days behind in my daily Bible reading. It's another grey and depressing day outside. Do you think that the European ash cloud is to blame? I think I'll make a cup of tea and dig into the Psalms.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Morning Shabby Chic

Happy Rainy Monday Morning! One of my friends on Facebook asked the question: If April showers bring May flowers, what do May showers bring? Some folks answered "Mushrooms". Others claimed Strawberries". But if you're a Midwesterner, there's only one answer that comes to mind: mosquitoes!

Will it ever stop raining this month? I was so hoping to get some gardening done, but the weather is not cooperating. Guess I'll have to stay indoors and craft instead.

Today's card is for the Clean and Simple challenge to make a shabby chic card. I think this card qualifies...subtle, subdued colors, sweet vintage patterns, and a little lace and pearl to make us think of a Grandma's wardrobe. This stamp set is an oldie but a goodie, circa 1998. I've always loved Nellie the Nest Lady and will never part with her. Sometimes she can be tricky...her image is on the large-ish side, and she often requires a lot of coloring. Today, I simplified her by merely stamping on some pretty patterned paper.

{recipe: Nellie the Nest Lady (SU), Kraft card stock, versafine onyx ink, Basic Grey's Nook and Pantry papers, lace, pearl, chipboard, circle punch}

When I was putting this card together, I wanted a real shabby chic embellishment, maybe something that looked like an old brooch. Well, I couldn't find anything in my stash that would do, so I made an embellishment instead.

Using a circle punch, I punched out a circle from patterned paper. Then, I adhered it to a circle of chipboard. I added the pearl to the center, and then attached it to a bow made of lace. I like the effect...just what the card needed.

These rainy days make me want to grab a cup of coffee (Vanilla Latte, I think) and take up a forgotten stitching project. Hope your day is productive, too!

Friday, May 14, 2010

This, That, and the Other

I promised to show the card that Sam made me for Mother's Day. Sam is quite the crafter. He even has his own craft station set up in our basement, with a stash of card stock, ink, stamps, crayons, pencils, and embellishments that are all his. Apparently, nothing says "Mom" like gardens and drinks with fancy umbrellas. ha ha! Notice the fancy fold of this card, as it opens from the left...interesting! I love how he matted the drink image. Too cute!

Inside, he wrote "From children who you love, Luke, John, and Sam. We've got a happy family. Sam, John, Luke, and Maggy (the dog)." Isn't that hysterical?

Sam is right about one thing...I do love my garden (and my children, too!). Last fall, you may recall my garden experiment. I decided to bring all the potted plants inside for the winter to see which ones would survive in my basement. Well, right away the petunias croaked. Slowly, the tuberous begonias looked sadder and sadder. In the end, the only potted plants to survive were the hardy geraniums. They are now outdoors again, and blooming away.

I made this card yesterday for the Ways to Use It challenge. The tool? The edge distresser. I liked the idea of making a card that looked like rows in a garden.

{recipe: Tart and Tangy (SU), kraft card stock, Cosmo Cricket papers (Garden Variety), tag punches, versafine onyx ink, tangerine tango cs and ink, wild wasabi ink, red gingham ribbon, edge distresser, white page reinforcer stickers}

The garden is my happy place (well, that and Starbucks). Haven't done much in the garden this week, but I think I'll get busy today.

I've been indoors tackling some cleaning jobs. I have a dishwasher that we purchased two years ago, and it does a crappy job of cleaning dishes. My glasses come out spotty all the time, and food particles just bake on the plates. I decided to clean out the empty dishwasher by throwing in a half container amount of Tang citrus drink mix and running it on a hot cycle. Supposedly, the citric acid in Tang breaks down deposits. It helped a bit. Then I wiped off any scaly residue left over.

My water must be pretty hard here, as all my glasses end up cloudy and spotty. So, I washed all the glasses by hand..twice! First, I washed them in a sink of hot water and vinegar, then a sink full of dish soap. They came out so crystal clear that my teenage son even remarked on how much better they looked!


After looking in my recipe file, I had to make a correction. My sugar cookie recipe that is a family favorite came from blog reader Sheryl in New Mexico, not Lorie R. Lorie, you may have a wonderful recipe for cookies, too! Sorry!

It's Friday, and I have a lot of this, that and the other to accomplish today.

*Pick up paycheck.
*Get work schedule for following week.
*Get Sam to kindergarten.
*Get to garden center for flowers.
*Get college son filling out job applications.
*Get flowers planted.
*Get Sam off bus.
*Go to school carnival tonight.
*Go to movies with neighborhood ladies to reward ourselves for surviving school carnival!

It's going to be a busy day!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reasons to Celebrate

Mother's Day was a good day. After working that morning, I came home to lots of spoiling from my boys. Sam made me an awesome card ( I'll post it tomorrow!). My big boys gave me a DVD I can't wait to see ("The Young Victoria"), and my sweet husband gave me these new Sketchers Shape Ups. We took them for a test drive on a walk with our lab, Maggie. These shoes are really unique. I can feel my posture improving when I wear them. They come with a workout DVD, and when you read the testimonials, it sounds as if they'll do everything but clean your house and balance your checkbook!

My sweet hubby also gave me these lovely roses. They are the perfect pink! There were so many roses in the bouquet that I now have them in three different vases scattered throughout the house. This is my favorite vase...a nice short Longaberger pottery that's perfect for all bouquets. I love to chop long stemmed roses and put them in a squat vase. After all, you want to see the flower, not the stem.

Today's card is flowery, festive and fun. I made this for the SCS sketch challenge. I'm still adding to my stash of graduation cards!

{recipe: French Flair (SU), Carte Postale (SU), Fancy Flexible Phrases (SU), Pure Luxury Kraft cardstock, Versafine sepia ink, Garden Gala papers and fabric ribbon (Webster's Pages), Prima flowers, amuse twinkles}

It's a gray, rainy spring day...a perfect day for a cup of coffee and a craft in hand. Thanks for stopping in to the cafe today!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I have been in a spendy mood lately. Yikes! It must be a perfect combination of PMS and PCS (that's pay check syndrome!). Whatever the case, I have some pretties to show you this week!

It all began with a sale. Doesn't it always? Ellen Hutson was having a mother's day sale last weekend, and I could not resist. When I saw the new line of product from Webster's Pages, I fell in love! This is shabby chic vintage to the max! Lush and lovely, pretty and frilly, these papers and products were calling my name! If you've never ordered from Ellen's store, I must tell you that she provides excellent customer service, and the product comes to you in super speedy fashion with a little thank you gift to boot. I placed the order on Friday, and it arrived yesterday. Now that's fast!

I finally got a chance to play this morning. I need a lot of graduation cards this month. I have one niece graduating from high school, one niece graduating from college, and another niece graduating with her master's degree. Impressive!

Now tell me, what young woman wouldn't love this pink and frilly and lacey card?

{recipe: Life's Portraits paper and fabric fancy (Webster's Pages), lace from Webster's Pages, basic black and PL Kraft card stock, prima flowers, pearls, scallop edge punch}

This super fast and easy card required no stamping, just paper crafting. I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with this new line!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ice Cream Money

We live in a neighborhood that is filled with young children. Yesterday, I looked in my backyard and saw four kindergarteners playing croquet together. It was a typical day here at our house. And if there is one true and constant rule of summer, it is this: nothing attracts panic in the hearts of young children like the dulcet tones of the impending ice cream man.

Have you checked out the prices of the ice cream man's offerings lately? Yikes! Talk about inflation! I try to stay proactive in my battle with this menace by stocking my freezer with cheap goodies from the grocery store. A good offense is the best defense, as they say in the sports world. But occasionally, the freezer is empty and the ice cream man is approaching.

I decided to make a special piggie bank for just such occasions!

I began with a tin and lid from some Aldi's cookies (Sam's favorite!). I used papers from Cosmo Cricket's Early Bird line and wrapped it around the tin with double sided tape to secure.

Using the word window punch as a template, I drew out the size of the slot with a pen and then carefully cut away the plastic portion on the lid.

I stamped the label using a classic alpha set (SU). Now we will know that this is not money for Legos or silly bands. This is Ice Cream Money only! I am hoping that it will inspire Sam to do some odd jobs around the house in order to fill his coffers.

Our family is a biking family, and it seems that many of our trips end up at the same place: the local ice cream shop downtown! I figure our ice cream piggie bank will help on those occasions as well! Here's a photo of Alexander's on Main. It's a very quaint and old-fashioned ice cream parlor. My boys love it!

I think that these piggie banks could be used for lots of purposes...vacation money, souvenir money, a favorite charity or mission. The possibilities are endless! And the best past is that a tin was rescued from the recycling bin.

Money saving tip!

Speaking of recycling...did you know that Target stores will now deduct five cents from your total for every reusable bag that you use in their stores? I have six nice cloth bags that I'd purchased from Target on clearance a year ago, and I only use them for this purpose. (I figure I'll keep the food bags separate!)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Giver's Log

My sister, Jenny (see link for Old Maid New at right) stumbled upon a fabulous blog the other day called Giver's Log. The blog has lots of free printables, like these address labels. I decided to print them out on white and ivory cardstock instead. I used one on today's card.

This card was super easy...label, pretty paper, delicate flower, scallop edge, and done!

{recipe: Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), Basic Grey Sugared paper, pure luxury kraft cs, scallop edge punch, old olive ink for sentiment, old olive brad, crocheted flower, label}

You, too, can find fun free printables!

Beautiful Sarah Day

Today is Beautiful Sarah Day, the day that I set aside every year to remember my sweet niece, Sarah, who passed away in 2007.

This year, I've decided to make a trip to Third Phase, the local women's shelter, to donate food and clothing. Third Phase is a non-profit Christian organization that helps young women who come from all sorts of backgrounds (abuse, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol dependence) to start a new life in a family friendly setting. It's a wonderful place to learn about the love and forgiveness and grace of Jesus Christ.

I hope your day is beautiful, too!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dandelions and Winners

Good morning, friends! So sorry for the long absence. I took an unplanned weekend trip to see my college son run in his last official track meet at my alma mater, the University of Toledo. I was able to spend the entire weekend with Luke, visiting family in Michigan and just catching up. Good quality time! Luke comes home for the summer this week. He's leaving behind his life at one college to transfer to another this fall.

But on to the important matter at hand! The giveaway! No, I didn't forget. I'm just running a little slowly this week as I try to catch up. Sam, my official prize picker, drew a name from the bowl, and here is who he picked to win the autographed copy of the newest novel from Joanna Campbell Slan:

Marcia L. had this to say:

"Thank you so very much for the invitation to visit your blog. I already like what I see, and next I will be visiting the Recessionista site you mentioned.
I love all type of paper crafting, and one of my favorite authors is Mary Higgins Clark. "

Marcia, you win the book! Congratulations!

I also forgot to mention that I had some really cute autographed book marks that Joanna sent me. So I decided to let Sam draw another name for our second place prize, and he picked:

The famous Lorie R! Lorie, I'll send you the cute bookmark this week! Congrats! (By the way, Lorie is famous in our house for her FABULOUS recipe for cutout cookies. Seriously, Lorie, they're the best!)

I found a few minutes between loads of laundry to make a card yesterday for the Clean and Simple Challenge. The theme: May Flowers or flowers for Mom. Is there a mom in the Midwest who doesn't associate hand-picked bouquets with dandelions? I've always made a fuss over these gifts of love from my boys. I even have special small glass vases to showcase them on my windowsill. Well, the other day, my little Sam told me "Mom, there's a house in our neighborhood that you would just love. The yard is COVERED in dandelions!" Isn't that funny? My husband is trying to get rid of the flowers, and Sam is trying to bring me home more!

I added a splash of sparkly copper Glimmer Mist to this card, but it's very hard to see in the photos. Looks much better in real life.

{recipe: Stamps from Gina K Design, crushed curry/basic black cardstock, versafine onyx ink, kraft pure luxury cardstock, crushed curry ribbon, copper glimmer mist}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!