Friday, June 25, 2010

They had me at "paper"

I have loved paper since I was a little girl. Notepads, stationery, wrapping paper, cards, you name it, and I loved it. I remember when one of my best friends moved to Brazil (and then South Africa), and it gave me the opportunity to purchase pretty stationery to write long letters to my new pen pal.

Last weekend, the weather was lovely and my husband and I spent the afternoon shopping at the funky outdoor mall and eating out on the sidewalk of my favorite French cafe, Petit Chou. I spied this fun little paper shop and knew I had to pop in.

Oliver's Twist had some lovely Cavallini cards and rubber stamps, along with some other custom cards and stationery. I spotted wax sticks and seals, and decided to pick up a few. I've always been intrigued with wax seals, and couldn't wait to give them a try. The directions for the wax sticks made it look so easy...pop it into your glue gun, heat for five minutes, shoot and press. Voila! Wax seal!

And it would have been easy, too, if I had a standard glue gun. But I realized too late that I have a mini glue gun, so the sticks were too fat.

No problem! I have watched a TON of period movies where the Jane Austen character heats the wax with a match or candle, drips it onto paper, and presses in. Piece of cake, right?

I decided to drip the wax onto waxed paper, and then peel it off later. Well, the match did make the wax melt, and did you know that wax can catch on fire with no need for wicks at all? Surprise to me! After a few tries, I finally got something useable, and I managed not to burn the house down. Alas, it didn't exactly peel off the waxed paper as planned, but with a little coaxing, I made it work. Instead of a metal "press", I used a rubber stamp, pressed lightly into the wax, and waited for it to cool before lifting up. It doesn't hurt the stamp at all, and works quite nicely.

I made this card for my nephew, Joey, who will be turning fifteen next week. Joey is just an all-around great guy...he is sweet, funny, helpful, soft-spoken, and big-hearted. We're blessed to be his godparents!

{recipe: Little Pieces stamp set for wax seal (from SU), Pure Luxury Ivory card base, Soft Suede and Not Quite Navy cardstock, Soft Suede ink, Webster's Pages journaling card and paper (Seaside Retreat collection), twine, Swirls Cuttlebug embossing folder}

Thanks for stopping by the cafe today!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Papertrey Father's Day

For the month of June, I decided that my big craft splurge would be a few stamp sets from Papertrey Ink. I saw so many fabulous samples of cards made with the button sets, and I just couldn't resist. (Darn that Debbie Olsen! She's just too good!) I love buttons!

I haven't bought from PTI in a few years, mostly because the computer-generated art look is just not my style. But I really loved the sets that let you add buttons...Everyday Button Bits, Baby Button Bits, and Blooming Button Bits. When my items came, I was impressed with the packaging. PTI does a nice job with their branding.

I decided to make a Father's Day card for my husband with the set "Everyday Button Bits" using the bicycle stamp. My husband is a big biker. Thus far, he's logged over 200 miles just in this season! Over Memorial Day, he even biked out to the shop where I work, and that's over ten miles away! I wish he'd let me get him a new bike. He's been riding his mountain bike for over ten years now, and he really needs a road bike or a recumbent bike. He keeps telling me that it's not in the budget. Oh well! I guess he'll have to settle for the button bike this holiday!

{recipe: Everyday Button Bits (PTI), Kraft and Ivory Pure Luxury Card stock (Gina K), mellow moss cardstock (SU), Nutmeg papers from Cosmo Cricket, scallop edge punch, Versafine Sepia ink, buttons from my stash, prisma markers}

I didn't get my husband a bike for Father's Day, but I did get him a fabulous gift none the less. I purchased tickets to see the Indy Symphony on the lawn of Conner Prairie when they perform music for their Sci-Fi series. And who will be there to narrate? George Takei, the original Dr. Sulu from Star Trek! I'm so excited! My husband and I are sci-fi nerds, so I know he will appreciate the night out next month.

Blessings on your weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Fun

Summer is nearly here, and you know what that's out, and the children are restless! It's a tough job keeping kids entertained throughout the summer. Not only is it hard coming up with ideas of things to do, but it's often really expensive! Museums, camps, amusement parks...cha ching!

Over Memorial Day weekend, I spent a few hours with local newspapers, magazines, and websites coming up with fun and free/cheap things to do with the kids this summer. I put every event on the wall calendar in my office so that on any given day, I can come up with an activity that we can do as a family.

I began by checking the nearby movie theaters. In our area, one theater offers free kids movies every week, and another offers $1 movies every week. It's a great way to spend a hot or rainy day.

I also looked at all of the nearby metroparks, and wrote down programs that would be age apropriate. This week, Sam has toured an ancient native American village. Tonight, we will attend a free outdoor concert, and probably play a round of $1 putt-putt, too.

Last night, we attended a great campfire program at one of the metroparks. Naturalists came to give a talk about our wild backyards. We saw:

Screech owls!

A barn owl!

A red-tailed hawk! And hold your nose for this one...

A skunk!

When the program was over, the park had marshmallows and metal tines for all of the kids to roast over the campfire!

What a fun evening! We plan on attending every Wednesday night to see more animals and learn more amazing facts. And it doesn't hurt that they serve marshmallows, too! :)

Have you heard about the Kids Bowl Free program? All over the country, kids under fifteen can bowl two games every day for free (not including shoe rental). You can find a program in your area by visiting this website:

Kids Bowl Free

Summer is also a great time to brush up on some reading skills. Barnes and Noble Bookstores are offering a summer reading program called "Passport to Reading with the 39 Clues". Kids can read books and even earn a free book at the end of the program, too! (May 25th thru September 7, 2010)

I hope you're having a fun summer, too!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Of Company, Crafts, and Collectibles

I have company visiting this week. My mother-in-law, Brooke, has been in town since Saturday. We've had some bad storms and rainy weather nearly every day. But yesterday, the weather improved long enough for us to do some small town shopping. Yesterday, we popped into the historic town of Zionsville, Indiana, and today we visited the shops in my downtown Noblesville. Mom Brooke likes to visit antique shops and quirky little vintage boutiques, just like me. So with coffee in hand, we perused the local offerings.

Did you know that Golden books are a hot collectible? Yes, I am speaking of the cheap cardboard books with golden bindings of our youth that featured lots of Disney titles. We found Golden books that were going for $15!

In my hometown in Michigan, I used to be actively involved in the Friends chapter of our local library. every year we would have a used book sale, and every year collectors would snag up those Golden books. I, on the other hand, preferred these Golden nature books, and whenever I would find a new title, I'd grab it! These were published in the early fifties. Just to give you some perspective, the book on space has a chapter on rockets that states " Given time and money for research, a rocket capable of reaching the moon will certainly be made." Isn't that a hoot?

This Birds guide is one of my favorites. It has lovely illustrations of the birds of North America. I checked out the book just this morning after looking out at my feeder and seeing a bluebird. It was so sweet! What a fun sight to see over coffee in the morning. My mother-in-law was thrilled, too.

I made this card for today's SCS sketch challenge. It really reminds me of the look and feel of my Golden Birds book.

{recipe: Filigree (SU), Refuge and Strength (SU), Kraft Pure Luxury card stock, soft suede ink and cardstock, Webster's Pages papers, copper nail heads (Gina K)}

Blessings on your day!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wishing Well Budget Book

My beloved and much-used budget book finally fell apart. I had used it for more than a year to record all of my purchases and keep my budget on track. Recently, it started losing pages and was looking a little worse for the wear. So I decided to make a new book today.

This is a simple cutting and gluing project. The toughest part was picking out which pretty paper to use. I grabbed my stack from Webster's Pages, and when I found this image, I knew it was the one. A wishing well for a budget book! What could be better? When I showed it to my husband, he had to laugh. "Yeah, I wish every month that you'd stay on budget, so that's perfect," he replied. Ha ha. Very funny!

The back of the book has a lovely sentiment in the corner. "Wishes come true". Hmmm. If I wish I had an unlimited budget, would that come true? Not likely, but it's fun to imagine, isn't it? Just think of all the pretty stamps and papers I could show you every month if I wasn't watching all of my pennies go to college tuition! :)

Here's the original book, uncovered. This is a mini composition book, measuring only 4 1/2 X 3 1/2 inches. Perfect for fitting into a purse or bag. My favorite glue for projects like this is Scotch brand Quick Dry Tacky Adhesive. It comes in the tall red bottle, and you can pick it up at any Target or Walmart.

Hope your wishes come true today!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I Was Blind...

...but now I see! I finally broke down and bought my first pair of reading glasses. What is it about forty year old eyes? It seems as if your eyesight changes overnight. One day, you're trying to read a menu, and you have to hold it out at arms' length just to read the fine print!

I found this adorable pair of reading glasses in Grand Rapids, Michigan. These are Vera Bradley glasses, and the print is called "Sittin' In A Tree". My sister, Tina, told me to start with a +1.0 magnification, and let my eyes get used to that. Wow. I've really noticed an improvement! These work wonders when I'm reading or doing needlework.

I could not believe how much nicer it was to cross stitch with my new glasses. I may even be able to try smaller cloth counts again! I'm still plugging away on this pillow wrap project. I'm hoping to get it finished before Independence Day for my Mom. Yesterday, I took it to the pool and let Sam and his friend swim while I stitched away in the shade. The kids were happy, I was happy...a win-win situation!

Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Getting My Groove Back

Hello, friends! I have to apologize for my long absence! A variety of factors contributed to my lack of blogging schedules, Mom taxi schedules, VBS week, and more. But the biggest reason has probably been that I've been out of the house and in the garden. Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies. It's right up there with paper crafting and needle art. When it is growing season, I love to be outside, watering, weeding, and fussing over my plants.

In the herb and vegetable garden, I finally installed lattice fencing to cover up the unsightly air conditioner and gas meter. It also gives a nice backdrop to all of the greenery.

When I began my spring weeding, I noticed a strange new weed had propagated everywhere. But on closer inspection, I found out that it wasn't a weed at all. It was parsley that had reseeded itself. Looks like I'll have a lot of fresh parsley for cooking this season!

I've done a lot of work in the front yard, too. I planted some new spirea bushes called Lemon Princess. They have a lovely lime green leaf that will turn to orange in the fall, and the flowers are pink. I found them on the bargain table at Home Depot, and I knew they'd be perfect for filling some holes in this bed.

This year, I'm trying hot pink vincas in place of the tuberose begonias that I'd planted last year. I've also added lots of Coleus for color.

My color scheme in the front yard is green and purple, with shots of pink and red thrown in the mix. I achieved this color palette with lavendars, Victoria Blue Salvias, Coleus, lobelia, petunias, geraniums, artemesia, vinca, and sweet potato vine.

Today's color scheme was inspired by my garden. I needed a card for a Bunko friend whose father passed away. I decided to use my brand new set from Gina K called Botanicals. It is so easy to use, and the possibilities are endless. If you visit Gina's blog, she was sponsoring a blog hop with this set this week. You can see more amazing samples there!

{Botanicals (Gina K), kiwi kiss ink and cardstock, rich razzleberry ink and cardstock, Pure Luxury ivory cardstock, copper self adhesive brads from Gina K)

Thanks for looking today! And thanks for being patient with me while I find a better blogging balance. I do so love your comments, and you are all friends to me, too. Bless you!