Thursday, February 24, 2011

In His Thoughts

A few years back, my Mom bought me this small book (60 pgs in all) and sent it to me. It is called "Discovering God's Purpose for Your Life" by Beth Moore. I pulled it out and began to read it again this week. Like all of Beth's stuff, it is filled with some great insight into God's Word that we can apply to everyday life.

This morning, I really felt the need to spend some time with my dear friend, Beth Moore. I just really needed to hear her sweet southern twang. I decided to do a little search on YouTube. Guess what? I found a short 30 minute study called "God's Purpose for your Life." It was awesome! Just the words I needed when I needed to hear them most.

Beth read the familiar words of Jeremiah 29:11, but she read them from the King James Version. It says "For I know the thoughts I think toward you, declares the LORD." Wow. I am in God's thoughts. Not only that, but Beth showed that through the translation of the word "thoughts", it implies the Maker doing an artistic and creative work. A creative work in me.

I can't begin to tell you how important that was to me today.

I confess that lately, I've had my suspicions that God has forgotten all about me. I've been in a desert place for the last few years, and I struggle daily with figuring out what my purpose is in this place. Today, Beth reminded me that if I don't cooperate with Him in the midst of this pain, then I will live it out in vain. I may not fully understand the purpose until I'm on the other side of it. But today, it brought me great comfort to know that I am in my Maker's thoughts. Perhaps I'll find my purpose after all.

Today's Splitcoast Challenge was to use grey as the neutral color in a card. Ugh. Grey is all I see these days. Grey skies, grey mood, grey thoughts. But I added a little sunshine yellow to remind me that spring, indeed will come.

{recipe: Teeny Tiny Wishes, Basic Gray cardstock and papers, Crushed curry cardstock, vellum, crushed curry polka ribbon, flower punch, word window punch, all from Stampin' Up}

Hold onto the hope, friends!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Support of Wallpaper

Little Hi, Little Lo! Little Hey! Little Ho!

Sam and I had a rare night alone last week. We decided to make it a popcorn and movie night. The movie was my pick, and I chose Stuart Little. Sam hadn't seen the movie in years, so it was all new to his little seven year old mind. He loved it!

As we were watching, he said "They have a really nice house. I wish we had a house like that!"

Me, too! I have loved the Little house for years now. We had a "Little" house in Michigan. The movie inspired me to paint my entire kitchen a la Little...buttery yellow walls, pale green cabinets, and an adjoining family room in a warm peach. I still miss that house.

What makes the Little house so wonderful? It is classic vintage. Every element looks as if it's always been there and will always be there in the future. Vintage peach tiled countertop in the kitchen, wrought iron stair rails in the front entry, a stained glass window, curved archways. But one thing I love? The wall papers! So many amazing wall papers in the house...the green striped walls in the foyer, the stars in Stuart's room, the fruit in the kitchen. Everything about this house just says warm and homey.

Wall papers went out of style in the last decade, but I think they are due for a comeback. I wish I could wall paper in my current house, but it just doesn't feel like a forever house. This house feels like a "God's parking me here for what feels like eternity but I'll be moving any day now" house. And let's face's picky buyers are not wall paper lovers. You can see them on HGTV, looking for their perfect model homes with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. They walk into an older home and the first thing they say is "Ugh. Wallpaper."

Wallpaper is personal. It's like a shirt in a favorite print. Either you love the look of a floral shirt, or you prefer a striped.

Thankfully, I can get my "fix" for wall paper just by using lovely patterned papers. Stampin' Up's Springtime Vintage papers are amazing! They remind me of the wallpapers in my Tante Mimi's house when I was a child.

{recipe: Baby Blossoms (SU), sentiment from Noteworthy (SU), Springtime Vintage papers, pear pizzazz ink/ card stock/seam binding, blushing bride ink, curly label punch, eyelt border punch, vanilla card stock}

Here's a little tip. If you buy the Baby Blossoms stamp set from the Occasions mini, the frame stamp will have an oval in the center that you punch out. Don't throw that oval away! You can use it to stamp a different colored oval in the center of the frame, as I did here:

It's been great fun watching all of the Stuart Little movies again with Sam. I'm reminded of just what a disposable society we live in right now. The newspapers and magazines feature perfectly good and functioning kitchens and baths in the "before" picture that get ripped out for the new and modern in the "after" picture. Well, guess what? In ten years, that "after" kitchen and bath will look dated all over again. Maybe this stinky economy will teach us to eschew trendy and embrace timeless once again. In the end, it's not about what makes us look like every else. It's about what makes us happy.

p.s. I found out I'm not the only person who loves the Little house! I loved this blog post from Hooked on Houses. You can see lots of photos of the Little house here:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Giving a Little Praise

Stampin' Up has been doing a lot of things right lately. Of course, that's my opinion, and others may feel differently. But one of the smartest things they've done is offer their stamps in unmounted rubber. I love them! The packaging is the best of any company out there. The stamps come in a DVD style case with a cover showing the stamps.

The spine of the case shows the name of the set and an image of every stamp inside, perfect for displaying on a bookcase or shelf.

Inside, the stamps are on a sheet of rubber. All you have to do is push them out (precut...halleluiah! Remember the days of laboriously cutting rubber? Oy vey!), then peel off the paper backing, and they are ready for cling mounting.

SU also includes a sheet of stickers that you can put directly onto the cling mount. After hearing too many complaints about how the stickers impede the ability for the cling mount to stick to clear blocks, I opted not to use them. Who really needs a sticker when you can look directly through a clear block and see where you're stamping? (For those who like the stickers, I've been told that you should trim them extra close and then leave a small margin of cling around the sticker to help with the adhering issues)

I love cling mount rubber. It feels just like stamping with wood mounted stamps, but gives you the ability to see where you're stamping. The biggest advantage? Storage! These stamps take up so much less space than the wood mounts.

Another thing that SU has been doing well? They've fully embraced the retro/vintage trend. Shelly Gardner (the SU founder) loves all things vintage, and it shows. The stamps, papers, and accessories they offer are really working well with this look.

Today's card is probably vintage overload. I got a bit carried away, but that's okay. If you can't have fun with papercrafting, then why do it?

{recipe: Timeless Treasures, Springtime Vintage papers, rose red and very vanilla cardstock, tulip frame embossing folder, square lattice embossing folder, rose red seam binding, flower button, word window punch, modern label punch, all from Stampin' Up}

Blessings on your weekend, friends!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Floral Theme

Yesterday was a day of running errands and getting a little shopping done. Of course, while purchasing boring things like toilet paper and laundry detergent, I found a few impulse items that shouted out "Buy me! Buy me!" And so I did.

Notice a theme? It appears that I'm craving florals right now. Today, the weather is warm and sunny, the snow is melting quickly, and for the first time since the groundhog did not see his shadow I feel certain that spring is on the way.

(floral blouses from Target, pens and notepads from the dollar section at Michael's!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mr. Brown Delivers!

Mr. Brown delivered a little something to my door last week. Now that's a sight I haven't seen since my SU demo days!

I had some Christmas gift money set aside and decided to splurge on some new craft supplies while Stampin' Up's Sale-A-Bration was in full swing. I'll admit it..that Occasions mini was my Kryptonite! I really loved so many things that it was hard to narrow down my choices to one order. I confess, I may need to order again next month before SAB is over!

Last night, I played with the new Springtime Vintage papers and came up with this card. I have to say, I know why everyone is in love with seam binding now! It's so fun to manipulate. You can leave it smooth, or you can scrunch it up for a vintage look.

I made this card for a friend from work. We are going out to lunch tomorrow to celebrate our birthdays this month. This is a big thing for me. Sadly, I can count on one hand the number of times that I've been out socially with other women in the three years I have lived here in Indy. I've said it before and I'll say it's tough to make new friends and start life over!

I had my stitching supplies handy, so I decided to do a little hand-stitching on this card as well. Easy peasy.

{recipe: Clearly For You (SU), Springtime Vintage papers, baja breeze card stock and ink, always artichoke card stock/ink/seam binding, scallop edge punch, button, DMC floss, hole punch}

Thanks for visiting the cafe! Time for a nice French Vanilla latte! Mmm, enjoy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, friends! I finished my heart-themed stitching project last week and thought I'd show it to you today. This pattern is from Heart in Hand, stitched on 32 count Summer Khaki Belfast linen. (It needs to be pressed...thus the rather crooked looking framed stitching!)

My sweetheart is flying to Pittsburgh today. But earlier this month, he gave me my Valentine's present. Here it is:

I'm in love! I've wanted a Kitchenaid mixer for many years now, and this machine does not disappoint! We used it to make some baking powder biscuits one evening.

That's my son, John, helping to roll the dough. My boys have always loved to bake. The best part of baking is the tasting!

Nothing says love like warm biscuits right out of the oven!

Today is also my sister, Susan's birthday. Happy birthday, Sue! Hope your day is wonderful!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Colors of Nature

My husband decided to take the week off of work to paint the basement. Good times! :)

We tossed around a lot of color ideas. Do we go with a golden yellow? (No, the wood floors had too much yellow. Not enough contrast.) How about something taupe? (No, we're tired of taupe. The great room is already that color.) Maybe a high contrast color like a terra cotta? (Naw. Just didn't feel right.)

Finally, I found this paint swatch and realized what the real problem was. Our basement needed not one but two colors.

Harmonic Tan would work well for the stairway, main walls, and adjoining bathroom. But for drama, the darker River Bank would make a nice accent color for the small hallway, television wall, and back wall.

As the color went on the walls, I realized why I loved the color combination so much. It's a dead ringer for Stampin' Up's River Rock and Always Artichoke! When SU brought back River Rock this year, I was so happy! River Rock is a nice neutral with just a hint of a green undertone.

Greens always give a soothing feeling of nature and balance. Our walkout basement has lovely views of the backyard, woods, and nature preserve beyond. These colors manage to bring the outdoors in. I'm really lovin' it! (Of course, I'll love it more when the work is done and the painter's tape is removed!)

Todays' card uses this simple color scheme.

{recipe: Nature Walk (SU), Happy Harmony (SU), river rock card stock and ink, always artichoke card stock and ink, black ink}

Thanks for stopping by today! Blessings on your weekend!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Truth About Detergents

I was on the telephone with my mom recently, complaining about the horrible state of my dishes. They were covered in chalky white deposits every time I pulled them out of the dishwasher. The glasses and silverware were spotted, and it was getting so bad that you couldn't tell if the dishes in the dishwasher were clean or dirty.

I've lived with well water in the past, and here in Indy we are on city water. But I have to say, the water here is very hard. It makes cleaning my glass shower doors a real aerobic workout. But this was different. Sure, my three-year old dishwasher is not my favorite, but it's never been this bad.

Well, guess what? My mom recently saw a program on television where they were complaining about this same problem. Reporters called some of the major detergent manufacturers like Proctor and Gamble and asked "What's up with that?" When questioned, the truth was revealed. Detergent makers have recently removed phosphates from their products due to the EPA and environmental hazards to our waterways. It was done with very little consumer fanfare, and a lot of folks thought they were buying the same formulas they'd purchased in the past.

I checked my box, and in very tiny print, I saw the confirmation.

What does this mean? Well, phosphates made the dishes slippery so that soap scum and hard water deposits could not stick on your dishes. Without phosphates, they accumulate. It doesn't really matter what rinse aid you use, as I'd tried Jet Dry and the detergents with rinse aids built in, to no avail. So, now our waterways may be safer, but we're working twice as hard to make our dishes clean.

Then, a coworker recommended a product called Lemi Shine. I found mine at the local Meijer's grocery store. Add the Lemi Shine to the pre-wash compartment, add detergent to the main wash compartment, and your dishes come out sparkling and chalk-free every time!

And here's the proof! My knives, side by side:

The one on the left that's shiny was washed with Lemi Shine, the one on the right with my phosphate free detergent and rinse aid.

It's really dramatic when you see my glasses!

The glass on the left is a "clean" glass pulled from the dishwasher, washed with phosphate free detergent and rinse aid. The glass on the right was washed with the same detergent and Lemi Shine. BIG DIFFERENCE! We no longer have to guess if the dishes are clean or dirty, and the horrible chalky feeling from the dishes, silverware, and glassware is gone. Hooray!

Of course, you could also hand wash all of your dishes, and then rinse them all with a vinegar solution. But really, that's a lot of work, and my poor hands cannot take that much abuse in the winter!

If you've had the same problem, now you know that you are not alone. I'm not getting paid for this endorsement, but maybe I should be! ha ha! Hope this makes your life a little easier, as it has mine. (Oh, and by the way, this product IS phosphate free as well!)

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Case of the Missing Suet Feeder

It began the way all good mysteries do...with a bump in the night.

"Did you hear that?" I asked my husband as we lay reading in bed.

"Yeah. It sounded like it came from the deck."

I didn't give it a lot of thought. But when I woke up the next morning, here's what I'd found:

The shepherd's hook had been turned into the deck and the suet feeder was gone.

The hook that the suet feeder had hung from was laying on the deck, but the suet and it's cage were nowhere to be found. I searched the yard and peered into the woods, but could not find that suet feeder anywhere.

I did find some very suspicious looking paw prints, though. It appears that my late-night masked suet robber is indeed a masked critter of the raccoon variety.

I bought a new suet cage and more suet the next week. This week, I looked out on my deck and guess what?

The masked bandit has struck again!

I love feeding my birds. In the winter, they need a steady source of food, and the suet is a real treat. It attracts red-headed woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadees and nuthatches. And apparently, it attracts raccoons, also. Sigh!

I made a card today using the new SAB set from Stampin' Up called Bliss. It has a sweet little bird stamp that I knew I had to have! This card is done the old-fashioned way: no patterned paper. I stamped my patterned paper instead!

{recipe: Bliss (SU), very vanilla card stock, daffodil delight card stock and ink, cajun craze cardstock and ink, not quite navy card stock and ink, scallop oval punch, oval punch, polka ribbon, pearls, square lattice embossing folder}

Stay warm, friends!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Baby Buttons

I needed another baby card for one of our church members. I was trying to come up with something different, as I tend to reach for the same stamps for baby cards all the time. And then I had a thought. "Hey, wait a minute. Don't I have a baby set from Papertrey Ink?"

Yep. Brand new stamp set, never used. That's so sad!

I pulled out Baby Button Bits for this card, and rather than use real buttons, I decided to use Making Memories button brads. They just seemed smaller and daintier...just the look for a brand new little someone.

{recipe: Baby Button Bits (PTI), Basic Grey Archaic papers, soft sky card stock, scallop edge punch, soft sky ribbon, MM button brads}

After I made this card, I decided to visit the PTI website and browse. Wow. There are some really nice stamp sets there! You can find some great samples in the gallery, too. Some of my faves are Kelly's card creations, a.k.a. schirmcat (SCS), also known as Gingham Girl. She always has a fresh country prim approach to these stamps that can sometimes look really contemporary. I love it!

It's so nice to do a little window shopping from my warm and cozy armchair!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hearts Friday

Did you survive the snowpocolypse? My boys finally went back to school today. By snow day number two, I had systematically surveyed the house and removed any last vestiges of snowmen from the premises. I talked with my sister, Tina, on the telephone that day, and she had just done the same thing.

"I don't want them to feel too welcome any more," she said. My sentiments exactly!

The snowmen had to go. That meant stowing all of my winter stamps and needle art patterns as well.

I pulled out a nice February project last night and had a lot of fun stitching again. There's no better way to pass the snowy nights than with a Hallmark Valentine movie on the television and a needle art project in hand.

I made a card that encompasses both today!

{recipe: stamps from The Saltbox Studio, Aida background stamp from SU, groovy guava card stock and ink, scallop square punch, Cosmo Cricket Material Girl papers}

Today is Wear Red for Women day. Don't forget to wear red to bring awareness to the number one killer of women in the United States: heart disease. Know the signs and symptoms, ladies, and do what you can to prevent heart disease. Eat a heart healthy diet. Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise every day. Brush and floss your teeth daily. Control your stress and love your families, including the furry members.

Your kind comments warm my heart, friends! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

I have to thank Marsha (gcstampingirl) and Kelly (gingham girl, aka schirmcat) for nominating me for the Stylish Blogger Award. You ladies are too kind! As they say at the Academy Awards, it's an honor just to be nominated!

First of all, as a recipient of this prestigious award, it is now my job to tell you eight things about myself. Hmmm. This could be tough, but I'll give it a try!

1.) I love the Lord, my God, and I'm a freak about His Word.

2.) I have an awesome husband who brings me tulips and Starbucks for no other reason than "You looked like you needed to be reminded that spring will come." Isn't that sweet? He's a keeper.

3.) I have three wonderful sons, Luke (20), John (17), and Samuel (7). They are my heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127) and I'm so blessed.

4.) My favorite season is Autumn and my favorite food is a perfectly autumnal Golden Delicious apple. My favorite place to eat one? Michigan!

5.) The hobbies of my girlhood are still my hobbies today...paper crafting, needle art, gardening, and reading.

6.) I aspire to be a published novelist one day.

7.) I'm a little bit country. My favorite way to waste a day is by visiting junk shops and farmer's markets with my Mom and sisters while drinking coffee and eating at diners and cafes along the way. I love old barns and farm houses, and would love to live in one some day.

8.) I'm a little bit rock and roll. I love music, especially if it's loud. I briefly dated the room mate of Weezer's bass player in college, a fact which elevated me in coolness status with my boys. I worked in a record store back in those days...think Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, and you've got a good picture. ha ha!

There you have it!

Now, I also get to nominate eight bloggers for this same honor. Here's my list:

Jen at Old Maid New! (You may not know this, but Jen is my sister and a professional crafter!)

Beth at Thread Candy Studio! (Beth is my dear friend from St. Louis, and a famous artist in the stamping world . She was the designer behind Amuse's Saltbox Studio! These days, she's making magic with her needle art.)

And here are some awesome paper crafters that I admire!

Jenna Barber at

Trish G:

Mary R:



Late Blossom:

Today I made a card that's a little bit rock and roll. It's a Valentine for my husband, who often sings "Wild thing, you make my heart sing, you make everything groovy, wild thing!" to me.

{recipe: Mon Ami (SU), Mini Mates (SU), crumb cake cardstock, basic black ink and cardstock, cherry cobbler ink and card stock, Tim Holtz Texture Fade, Dymo label maker}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today! You rock!