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!