Friday, January 28, 2011

Having Fun with Color

Two weeks ago, I came home from work and my husband told me "I'm painting the guest room this weekend, so you better have a color picked out by tomorrow morning."


The room was in desperate need of some color. When we moved into this house three years ago, nearly every room was painted the same dingy white. We've managed to paint almost every room in the house. This little bedroom, however, still needed some attention.

Choosing color for a room is a lot like choosing colors for a papercrafting creation. First, I decide if I'm going to use designer papers, and then I pick colors from the paper for matching card stock. I employed this same method for our guest room. First, I picked out the bedding, and then found the paint color to match. (It's much harder to pick a paint color and then find bedding to match. See, I've learned a lot from all those hours watching HGTV!)

I knew I wanted new bedding...something cute and colorful, but with a country shabby cozy vibe. It had to be gender neutral because my boys use this room for playing Nintendo Wii. It had to be cute but not girly. And yet, my boys all have very masculine color schemes, so I wanted something totally light and fresh and feminine, too. Here it is!

Isn't this fun? It manages to be peaceful and colorful at the same time. The sky colored walls calm the fun and funky quilt.

I just love this quilt! It makes me smile! The eight-pointed star pattern says country, the cotton blossom fabric says cozy, and the colors say fun! I picked up this quilt (it's actually a full/queen size) for $20, and the matching sham for $6! Even the clerk at the big box store thought it was the deal of the day!

Somehow, the quilt picks up the sky blue, but it also brings in the funky mustard yellow of this vintage side table that belonged to my pastor's family when I was a girl.

The quilt even has the red color of my sons' beloved video game rocker. Sure, the thing is hideous, but somehow it works now. I'm happy and they are happy, too!

The next week, I got my new issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I couldn't believe it. All of the colors on the front cover were the colors in my new room. Look at that! I'm trendy! ha ha! Total for this room makeover was under $100, which includes paint, paint accessories, and bedding. Now that's Design on a Dime!

Today's card was inspired by the funky color scheme of my guest room.

{recipe for front: Pure Innocence stamps (MFT), soft sky and groovy guava card stock, groovy guava ribbon, Wilton paper doily heart, Cosmo Cricket Nutmeg paper, Prisma markers}

My sister, Jenny, asked how her room was coming. Well, Jenny and all other guests, the room is now open for business!

Happy Friday, friends!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On My Mind and In My Heart

I've been thinking about my sister-in-law, Jan, today. Jan passed away four years ago this week after a sudden brain aneurysm at the age of 51. My brother, David, had to make the heart-wrenching decision to take his dear wife off of life support and to donate her viable organs to those patients waiting for a miracle. They received that miracle thanks to Jan and her giving husband.

Organ donation is an amazing thing. It is also a complicated process that comes with certain conditions. For example, where you land on the list depends on how severely you need that new organ to live. It also depends on certain conditions that have to be met in order for the team to consider you as organ-recipient "worthy". For example, an organ donation team will not give a new liver to a practicing alcoholic. That person would have to quit drinking before they are even considered. Likewise, you would not receive a lung transplant if you were a chain smoker.

That is why I am so thankful that God does not give us a list of conditions for our salvation.

Romans 5:6-8 says this: "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."


I have this disease that I was born with, and it's called sin. I can't cure it on my own. I am so unworthy of the miracle of redemption. And yet, that's why Christ came. Because I could never do it on my own. I will never be good enough. I can never do enough or say enough to be worthy. That's why Christ died in my place.

Grace. It is a miraculous gift. Let us never take it for granted.

{recipe: Stem Sayings (SU), pear pizzazz card stock, bravo burgundy card stock, baja breeze textured card stock, Basic Grey Urban Prairie papers, Martha Stewart heart border punch, folk heart punch (SU), heart doily from Wilton's}

Monday, January 24, 2011

Take Care of Yourself

Welcome back! Business at the "cafe" has been slow. I'm in the midst of some funky health flare up, so I'm trying to take it easy and recuperate. It's a good thing that I have nowhere to go and nothing to do this week, as I just don't have the energy for much more than staring out my window at the falling snow.

Today, I made myself do a little crafting to feel somewhat productive. This card incorporates the Clean and Simple Challenges (SCS) from last week and this week. I found these fun felt stickers in my stash and thought they'd make a cute card. I think I bought them three years ago and have never used them. There's nothing like going shopping in your own craft room! The color combo is definitely cheerful, and I can use a good dose of cheerful these days!

{recipe: K and Co. felt stickers, Sweet Little Sentiments (SU), Amuse gingham paper, pink pirouette and pacific point card stock, paper crimper, corner rounder, versafine onyx ink}

Thanks for visiting, cafe friends!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pottery Barn Butterflies

I'm still finding inspiration in the new Pottery Barn catalog! This week, one of the SCS challenges was to create a card using a butterfly theme. Instantly, I thought of these amazing butterfly pillows! I used this muted color palette for today's card!

{recipe: Garden Collage (SU), soft sky ink/card stock, soft suede ink/card stock, sahara sand ink/cardstock, so saffron ink, Tim Holtz texture fade, Sizzix embossing folder, kraft taffeta ribbon, blender pens}

I decided to leave the sentiment off of the card. That way, I can use this card in the future for any purpose...get well, birthday, etc. It's always easy to add a quick sentiment. These days, I have two sentiment sets that seem to be in heavy rotation...Fancy Flexible Phrases (SU), and Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU). The small font of these sets makes it easy to stamp a sentiment and fit it into so many punches for a nice focal point.

The Pottery Barn catalog has also inspired me to pick a paint color for our guest room. My husband got the desire to get a painting job done this weekend, so I quickly chose a new color. I've picked a lovely shade of blue, and I will show the final room makeover in just a day or two.

In the meantime, here's a new recipe I sampled this week at my neighborhood Bunko. It's a delicious dip with a surprising flavor!

Cheesy Pizza Dip

1 pkg. cream cheese softened
1/2 c. pizza sauce
2 T. each diced red and green pepper
1 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
2 T. parmesan cheese
1 pkg. mini pepperoni (these are about the size of a nickel or dime, and can be found at Meijer's grocery store)

Spread cream cheese evenly on bottom of pie plate. In a bowl, combine pizza sauce, Italian seasoning, and peppers. Spread on top of cream cheese. Top with cheese and pepperoni. Microwave for approximately 2-3 minutes. Serve with crackers or mini rye and pumpernickel breads. Also makes a great topping on mini bagels!

This is a great dish to serve on game day. Enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Boo Boos

This week, I know of three people who took some serious falls that required trips to the hospital. First, a co-worker tripped over some packaging in the back room of the store and thought she'd shattered both knee caps. After a trip in the ambulance, she found out that she'd seriously bruised herself, but nothing broken.

Next, a mom at my son's school slipped on the icy sidewalk while dropping her daughter off one morning. Word has it that she'd shattered a knee cap and broke an ankle to the extent that she had to have a pin inserted. Yikes!

Finally, my mother-in-law called this week to tell us that she'd fallen in her apartment after tripping over her cat and getting tangled with a rug. A friend took her to the hospital, where they told her she'd severely bruised some ribs and her kidneys. She's taking some pain meds and following an ice/heat protocol.

For those of you who regularly walk on icy sidewalks in the winter, I highly recommend YakTrax. I bought a pair for my husband years ago, and he wears them in the winter when he takes the dog for walks. It gives you an extra grip during those icy days. They slip right over your shoes or boots, and the little metal spikes on the bottom provide extra traction.

Today's card is for my mom-in-law!

{recipe: Pure Innocence Stamps (My Favorite Things stamps), baja breeze cardstock, Parisian Breeze designer papers, prisma markers, hole punch}

I'm really proud of myself...I've managed to mail four cards this week! It's one of my New Year's resolutions to actually get the cards mailed to the people I make them for, and not forget and let them pile up until the special occasion is over.

Stay safe, everyone!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pottery Barn Baby Birdies

I received a Pottery Barn catalog in the mail. What a lovely breath of spring on a cold January day! I love to flip through catalogs for inspiration. The color palette of PB is always calm and serene, and the style is so natural and botanical. I was completely enamored with this robin pillow.

Robins are the official state bird of Michigan. Their return to the northern state has long been a herald of spring. However, here in central Indiana, where we're just a bit further south and a tad warmer, many robins tough it out for the winter. This morning, I had a few robins huddled on my front porch looking for a warm place to perch. Poor things!

I decided to make a robin-inspired card for a baby that was recently born in our congregation. The mother had been on bed rest for many weeks, and the baby girl was born a few weeks premature, but doing just fine nonetheless. I thought this non-traditional baby card was just the thing to say "Just wait, Mom and baby! Everything is in God's hands, and spring will soon be here!"

{recipe: Friends 24-7 (SU), Fancy Flexible Phrases (SU), sahara sand card base, Bella Birds paper (SU), pink pirouette ink and card stock, choc. chip ink, pink taffeta ribbon, modern label punch, pearl, edge distressing tool}

I decided to make the main focal point of the bird an un-matted image that floats above the card a bit. I also got this idea after seeing quite a lot of it in the Pottery Barn catalog. They showed a lot of prints that were unframed and lightly tacked to the wall. I really liked the look. It's not nearly as heavy as framed art, and it gives a lot of texture to a wall. You can see a bit of it here just above the headboard:

I hope your day is filled with inspiration. Blessings!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Landscape

This year, I couldn't wait to get the Christmas decorations taken down. I think I must have gotten the tree and various Christmas doodads out the weekend after Thanksgiving because I knew that I was going to have holiday visitors soon. Needless to say, by New Year's Day I was so over the stuff! Everything felt dusty and cluttered.

After de-cluttering and cleaning, it felt like the corner of the family room where the tree had stood looked a little sad and empty. Last year, I'd purchased a distressed black corner shelf to put there. But it just didn't fit. It felt like a tchoctke (spelling?) shelf, and I wanted a more clean and uncluttered look.

I decided to decorate for the winter season. I pulled out a few favorite snowmen. I swapped out my colored Longaberger pottery for my white pottery. Finally, I grouped a few tall birch tree branches into a distressed barrel in the corner. I love the effect! Somehow, it manages to bring the winter landscape indoors.

Today's card was inspired by my new winter landscape. I hear we'll be getting some snow tonight. Maybe Maggie and I will take a walk in the winter woods tomorrow!

{recipe: birch trees and sentiment from Mark's Finest Papers, snowflake stamps from SU, sahara sand card stock and ink, basic gray card stock, Flower Soft (artic white), distressing tool, A muse twinkle}

And here's the sentiment inside the card:

Thanks for visiting today, friends!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Domestic Diva Day

Yesterday was my domestic diva day, a great day to stay home, clean some bathrooms, do some laundry, and do some cooking and baking in the kitchen. I decided to attempt my first yeast bread. I made french breads from the cookbook my mom gave me for Christmas. They came out perfect! Golden and crusty on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside. And the aroma when these were baking in the oven? Heaven!

I decided to make a big pot of creamy potato soup to accompany the bread. Mmm! Such a good meal on a cold winter's night. The boys thought my first attempt at bread making was a big success. Sam even asked me to pack some in his lunch today so that he could share the goodness with a few of his cafeteria buddies at school!

After a carb-loaded meal like that, I knew that I'd have to get some exercise in today. So Maggie (my lab) and I bundled up and did a jog walk in the neighborhood. For a ten-year old lab, she did a really good job of keeping pace with me. I think the exercise was good for both of us!

The snow is gently falling on this gray day. I used the color for today's card creation.

{recipe: My Favorite Things stamps, basic gray cardstock and paper (SU), poppy card stock (SU), silver card stock (SU), scallop edge punch, slit punch, oval punch, scallop oval punch, prisma markers, making memories snowflake brad}

Hope your day is warm and cozy, too!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Two-Cup Monday

Happy Monday, friends!

This morning, I woke up to blue skies, sunshine, and crisp air. It was a good morning to begin my running resolution!

I strapped on my new pair of powder blue New Balance tennies, bundled up in hat and scarf and gloves, and began my odyssey. My neighborhood has a paved trail that winds through the nature preserve behind my back yard. I decided to do a brisk walk/run/brisk walk/run method. As I was jogging, I had the thought "Hey, I kinda remember this feeling. And if I remember correctly, it all ends in pain." :)

I made my way home and proudly announced to my cross-country runners that I'd finally done it. I made the circuit without vomiting...victory! My sons informed me that the track is about a one and three-quarter mile loop. In 5K language, that means two loops around the track. Aaaack! Did I say I'd run a 5K this spring? I think I meant to say that I'd attempt that 5K this fall. Yeah, that sounds a lot better!

I am proud that I made the run today. We'll see if I can even walk tomorrow!

Today's card uses the KISS method. Simply ink a large background stamp and place it face up on a tabletop. Then stamp a clean, bold image stamp onto the inked background stamp, lift up, huff a little on the image, and stamp onto cardstock.

{recipe: What's Brewin' (SU), Aida (SU), sentiment from Stampendous, pink pirouette cardstock, melon mambo cardstock, black cardstock, Basic Grey Urban Prairie paper, versafine onyx ink, melon mambo ink, corner punch, micron black marker}

I think I'll go brew that second cup now. Thanks for visiting!