Thursday, March 31, 2011

Domestic Blues

Day twelve without a washer, and the house is going to the dogs. It's beginning to have the smell of dirty linens. When, oh when, will my new washer and dryer arrive?

I think that all of us domestic divas have one chore that we excel at above others. For my mother, she loves to wash the dishes. For my father-in-law's wife, Shirley Ann, it's the vacuuming. For me? I love to do the laundry. There's something wonderful about putting dirty smelly things into the machine and having them come out clean and fresh and smelling like flowers.

Today, nothing was smelling like flowers. And the bed? Well, let's just say that it smells like a labrador. I had to take another car load to the laundromat this morning.

Normally, I'm a big fan of laundromats. They are warm and cozy and they smell like Downy fabric softener. There's always plenty of reading material, and you can catch up on your favorite soaps. But not my Indy laundromat. It is conveniently located next to the liquor store, and it smells like cigarettes. Yuck! I'm still amazed that the Indy area has no smoking bans.

I spent fifteen dollars just to wash three loads! I put the wet towels back into the baskets and drove them home to throw into my dryer. At least they won't smell like cigarette smoke!

Aaaah. Fresh white towels once again! And with some liberal sprays of room freshener, a few candles, and an open window or two, the house is smelling a bit fresher, too.

Today's Splitcoast challenge was to have fun with flowers. I made the flower for this card using some ribbon and bloomers from Webster's Pages. With a few stitches, I made it all come together.

{recipe: sentiment from Vases in Vogue (Stampin Up), soft sky/white/ivory card stocks, Webster's Pages paper, Webster's Pages Journalling card, Webster's Pages Bloomers and ribbon, eyelet edge punch, small oval punch, pewter frame (SU), pearl brads}

I hope that your days smell sweeter, too!

"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." 2 Corinthians 2:15

Monday, March 28, 2011

Precious Friends

Hello, friends! How was your weekend? Our weekend was pretty busy! We took the boys to see Gulliver's Travels at the movie theater (free Saturday morning kids movies! woo hoo!). Then we took the VW bug in for routine maintenance. After that, we drove oldest son to a job interview, while simultaneously shopping for a new washer and dryer. After ten years, two moves, and three states, the old washer finally died.

We purchased a new Whirpool Cabrio, a high efficiency top loader with all the bells and whistles. Of course, had to get the dryer, too. As we were making the purchase, my husband, the wise guy, said "See, you always wanted a white Cabrio, and now you'll have one!"

I was referring to the convertible Volkswagen version, not the washing of the laundry version.

Oh well!

Today was equally busy! I had to drive oldest son all over, more interviews, and finally back to college.

One hundred and seventy five miles and half a tank of gas: $25
Lunch at Cracker Barrel: $23
Time spent with Luke: priceless!

Somehow, I managed to make a card for today's clean and simple challenge!

{recipe: Blooming Button Bits (Papertrey Ink stamps), ivory card stock, Cosmo Cricket material Girl papers, button, DMC floss, pure poppy/old olive/black ink}

Thanks for visiting the cafe, friends! You are precious to me!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What's In Your Closet?

I did a little spring cleaning in my closet this week.

First, I removed clothing that I was no longer wearing. I like to do a major clothing purge every new season. It's not that I'm being wasteful with my clothing budget, I'm just being realistic. If that purple jacket with the velvet collar has been in my closet for more than three years without being worn, then it's time to say goodbye. Likewise, the worn t-shirts and once white/now yellowed blouses just have to go. Those uncomfortable black slingback pumps that haven't been worn for years? Gone! My closet is not that large, and every square inch is valuable real estate. If a new item comes in, then three old items should go out. I like to bless it forward, give it to consignment or charity, and move on.

Next, I take all of the clothing that I'm keeping from the past fall and winter seasons, and I put it in the back of the closet for next year.

After that, I pull out the clothing for the new seasons, and I sort it by style and color. This is my favorite part! I went to a seminar on wardrobe planning once, and the planner said that it is crucial to be able to group your like colored clothing together so that you can find what you need when you need it. I just love the rainbow that I see when I walk into my closet.

I learned something about myself in the closet this week. My wardrobe speaks for itself. And here's what it says about me:

1.) I like color!

2.) I'm not afraid of polka dots and patterns.

3.) I love denim in all it's forms. I have dressy denim, casual denim, everyday denim, denim vests, denim jackets, and of course, denim skirts and jeans.

4.) I love flowers!

5.) I love flowers muchly! I also love all things cotton.

Interior designers will tell you that your closet can be a big inspiration for the colors and styles you will be comfortable with in your home. I'm not sure that my house is quite as colorful as my closet. Hmmm, maybe the next house!

Today's card creation was inspired by my closet.

Here's what my card says about my wardrobe:

1.) Have fun with patterns. Polka dots, plaids, and florals, oh my! (Papers from Cosmo Cricket's Early Bird collection)

2.) You can't go wrong with a nice denim. (Baja Breeze card stock)

3.) A little ruffle and lace is fun and feminine. ( doily made from scallop oval punch)

4.) A bright pop of color can cheer up even the gloomiest day. ( stamps from Amuse, colored with Prisma markers)

5.) Sometimes, a little black can ground everything and pull all the patterns and colors together. (black gingham ribbon, SU)

6.) Only wear jewelry that you love! Make sure it says something about you! (red brads)

So tell me, what's in your closet?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Flowering Branches

I got a little crafty today, and decided to make some flowering branches to bring spring indoors. Using a flower punch, a butterfly punch, blushing bride and pear pizazz card stock, some glue dots and liquid pearls, I turned some bare branches into a harbinger of spring.

Sometimes, you just have to break out of the mold and have a little fun with your craft.

Today the sun is shining, the windows are open and warm spring breezes are sending fresh air throughout the house. I hear that March may be going out like more of a lion than a lamb in the days ahead. But for now, I'm enjoying the song of birds and the promise of flowers to come.

What's for dinner? Earlier this week, it was spaghetti night. I love spaghetti, especially marinara sauce. And I do love pasta. But I'm trying hard to watch my carbs and get back on my plan of healthy eating. I decided to top some freshly steamed broccoli with marinara and grated parmesan. Yummy! It was a great substitute for a bowl full of noodles. Colorful and delicious.

What's for dinner at your house tonight?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Welcome Spring!

Hello, friends! Spring is here! And look at what I found today on my drive to Tuesday morning Bible study...daffodils in bloom! Don't tell me the weather forecast for this weekend. I don't want to know about snowstorms or chilly temperatures. Today, I am clinging to hope.

I had some important {friend to friend} time with Mom Shirley Ann in Tipp City last weekend. We had a nice lunch and a little "girl shopping" time while the men bonded over golf on the television. I haven't spent time with any of our extended family since the holidays, and it was so nice to reconnect.

Today's cheery color combination comes from the Splitcoast Stampers color combo challenge, and the sketch is from yesterday's Clean and Simple challenge. I got a little punchy with this card, but it was fun.

{recipe: Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), pear pizzazz card stock and paper, regal rose card stock, so saffron card stock, Sweet Slumber paper (SU), rose grosgrain ribbon, word window punch, modern label punch, circle punch, small scallop circle punch}

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Inspired by Beatrix Potter

Last week, I found one of my favorite movies for only $5 and knew I had to bring it home with me. If you've never had a chance to watch this movie, then you need to go to your local library and find a copy. (Are there any video stores still open? They've all closed in my town!)

Miss Potter is one of those wonderful movies that are very rare in sex, no violence, no profanity. Just a lovely story that unfolds in the sweetest way. It's the story of Beatrix Potter, one of the most loved children's authors of all time. You will love the way that her charming illustrations are rendered in this film. (I love the houses in the movie! Talk about your beautiful wallpapers! Turn-of-the-century England never looked better!)

I have been a fan of Potter's work since I was a child. That much loved copy of the Tailor of Gloucester is one of the relics of my childhood. It sits on a pile of other Potter books that we've collected over the years. There was something so precious about those little books that fit into the palm of little hands.

When I was studying French in college, a sweet young man gave me a copy of Peter Rabbit en francais. Ladies and gentlemen, I married that sweet young man! The book is now a treasured part of our family library.

Today's card was inspired by Beatrix Potter. I thought this image from Stampin Up was very reminiscent of Peter himself. I used the Clean and Simple challenge on SCS to take an image "out of the box". This stamp does not have a box outline. Instead, I used my Pigma Micron fine point marker to draw a box around the image. It's very easy to do if you don't try to make straight lines. I decided that the bird and basket handle would look very sweet "out of the box", so I left them out and carefully cut around them.

{recipe: Serene Spring (SU),sentiment tag from SU, baja breeze card stock and seam binding, white card stock, Sweet Slumber specialty paper (SU), lace doily edge punch(SU), Pigma Micron marker, Prisma markers}

This little rabbit card is going to Shirley Ann, who loves bunnies as much as I do. You should see the life-size gardening Peter Rabbit that graces her home. It's amazing!

Spring is making a sunny appearance today. Enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Baby is 21!

I can't believe it. My baby boy is twenty-one years old today! Which, as I pointed out on his Facebook wall, has to be impossible, as I am only twenty-nine. :)

Luke is such a great guy, and I'm so lucky to be his mom. When I am depressed, I want my Luker around because he always cheers me up. I call him my Barnabas because he has the gift of being a great encourager, just as the Bible describes Paul's friend in the book of Acts.

Luke is studying construction management at Ball State University, and he's hoping to get some hands on experience by working on some builds for Habitat for Humanity this summer.

We are driving up to Muncie tonight to take Luke out to dinner for his special day. Now I know what you're thinking. A college kid turns 21, and he's going out to dinner...with his parents? But that's the thing I've got to love about Luke. He's actually excited that we're coming up to visit him!

I made him this card today, with a little nod to the importance of this birthday. Yes, a bottle cap. ha ha! Luke's not one to drink, but he's so excited to finally be of legal age where he could order a drink if he really wanted to. Oh the milestones of youth!

{recipe: Engraved Greetings (SU), Circle of friendship (SU), Parisian Breeze papers, soft suede ink and card stock, crumb cake card stock, baja breeze card stock}

Monday, March 14, 2011

Faerie Girl

I was shopping with my son, Luke, last week when I found this faery dress on clearance at TJ Maxx. I knew I had to buy it for my great niece Kiersten, who just turned two on Sunday. And look at the back! Wings!

My sister had just posted photos of Kiersten on her blog (see Old Maid New link at right), and she looked like such an adorable little faery. I can see her in this costume, with her golden curls bouncing as she casts her spell in Grandma's garden.

I thought this image from Pure Innocence was perfect for her birthday card!

{recipe: Pure Innocence stamps (MFT Stamps), groovy guava card stock, Afternoon Tea papers (SU), edge punch from EK Success,word window punch (SU), soft sky stitched grosgrain ribbon, Amuse twinkle}

Merry Monday!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ten Days and Counting

Just ten days until one of my favorite days of the year! Can you guess what it is? Maybe this sweet little specimen will give you a clue.

Yes! Ten days until spring!

I took my lab, Maggie, for a walk yesterday. It was drizzly and misty and gray, but the birds were singing sweet songs none the less. I think they know that spring is coming, too.

We used to sing a song in our preschool class that went something like this:

Spring is coming, spring is coming
How do you think I know?
Because I saw a robin
That's what tells me so!

I'm in love with the robin stamp from Nature Walk. It's just the way I picture robins...strutting across the yard with purpose, and then stopping, cocking their heads to the ground, and listening for the sound of wiggling worms.

Today's card is a little vintage, a little Somerset Studio. Do you ever get magazines published from Somerset Studio? They feature crafty vintage projects that often look like a bunch of found objects thrown together. I was really tempted to stamp a little crown on top of this bird's head, but I refrained...this time. (I don't know why, but birds and babies have to have crowns on their heads in those magazines!)

{recipe: Nature Walk (SU), Bliss (SU), First Edition papers (SU), black card stock and ink, kraft card stock, ivory card stock, scallop edge punch, oval punch, scallop oval punch, amuse twinkles}

College son, Luke, is home for spring break this week. Today, we're going out to lunch and shopping. He's always up for a little fun, especially if food is involved. :)

Thanks for stopping by the cafe today!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Let the good times roll!

Yesterday was Mardi Gras, and as luck would have it, it was also the day I was to play hostess for the neighborhood Bunko ladies. I decided to go all out and make it a Mardi Gras themed party.

I had beads and crowns, confetti and festive napkins. And of course, the food! Cajun meatballs, mini crab cakes, and jambalaya. And for dessert? King cake!

At the end of the night, my little guy, Sam, was so happy to get the baby Jesus that was hidden in the cake! (Tradition says that if you receive the piece with baby Jesus inside, you get to throw the party next year.)

Of course, there had to be a little crafting for the occasion. Sam made this adorable sign for the front door:

Was there any stamping involved? Mais oui, mes amis! I couldn't let those plain score cards go unadorned! It seemed like the perfect time to pull out the crown from my new Stampin Up set, Clearly For You!

I was fortunate to have a corporate sponsor for this month's Bunko! Lemi-Shine (see my February blog post) sent me a box of goodies to pass out at my party. Wasn't that sweet? I shared my testimonial about this awesome product, and the neighbor ladies can't wait to try it themselves!

And here's a photo with my Stampin' Up demonstrator, Elissa, on the left. It was her first time playing Bunko, and she scored big time! Not only did she have the most winning rounds, but she also rolled Bunko! Ah, the luck of the Bunko first-timer!

At the end of the night, I knew I'd have no problems getting my dishes clean. Sticky cajun meatballs and spicy jambalaya are no match for the powers of Lemi-Shine! I gua-ran-tee!

That sounded a LOT like a commercial, didn't it?

Thank you, Lemi-Shine, for the awesome swag bags! They were a big hit! And thank you, friends, for a fun evening!

p.s. It's true! You can find Lemi-Shine at your local Target stores! woo hoo!

Monday, March 7, 2011

In Memory of Lisa Roswell

I was so saddened to hear the news of Lisa Roswell's death last week. Lisa was the needle art designer behind The Primitive Needle. Many of you may have heard about Lisa's death in the news. Lisa was swept away in last week's flood waters in Norwalk, Ohio. She was an oncology nurse on her way to work at the hospital when the accident occurred.

Lisa was such a talented needle artist. She was the featured designer in the Halloween 2009 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine. Lisa had such a lovely primitive style that lent itself well to her Halloween inspired artwork. Her creative and caring heart will most certainly be missed.

My dear friend, Beth at Threadworx, and I commiserated over the telephone last night. Beth had met Lisa at trade shows, and said she was just the sort of fun person that she appeared to be on her blog and in her art.

Today's card was inspired by Lisa Roswell's love for all things primmy. Many of her designs featured black work set against natural and tea-stained linens. I mimicked the same effect here.

{recipe: Engraved Greetings (SU), Checkerboard (SU), kraft card stock, black card stock}

Please pray for Lisa's husband, children, and mother during this difficult time.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stitchin' and Stampin'

I have another beautiful card to showcase today! This card was sent to me by Nikki, a stamping friend from our Michigan church. Nikki is well-known in the stampy circle back home as the queen of embossing. If it doesn't move, she'll emboss it! :) I always forget to emboss. It's a messy process for me, so I rarely remember to do it. But I do so admire it on other people's work.

Not only did she emboss this image from the stamp set "Of the earth" (SU), but then she also used embossing folders to a neat effect. Look at how much work it must've been to make that scallop edge! Every circle cut out, matted, and layered on top of another. Wow! Sometimes, you have to send work like this to someone who will really appreciate it! And I did...thank you, Nikki!

I'm currently working on a new stitching project. I've found that if my projects are small and uncomplicated, I just might get them finished in a timely manner! This project will measure about 3 by 3 1/2 when it's finished. I'm stitching on 30 Count Weeks Dye Works Almond Bar linen. It's small work, but it will be so stinkin' cute when it's done. I think this one is going in my new guest room. The pops of turquoise will really show well against the robin's egg blue on the walls.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work I go. Weekend blessings!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Garage Door Openers

Last week, I received an awesome devotion from one of my St. Louis friends. Karen Tripp was the leader of our Beth Moore bible studies at my home church there, and she is the author of several books, including "God is Bigger Than Your Cancer" and 'God is Bigger Than Your Grief". This devotion really touched on the struggles I am having now, and I wanted to share it with all of you, so here it is:

God is Bigger Than... a Garage Door Opener

Garage door openers are great. With the push of the button, I drive my car out of the blazing sun, away from the freezing cold and into the sanctuary of my garage. Just steps away is the comfort of my climate controlled home. No scraping windows for me in the winter or red hot upholstery seats in the summer. My garage door opener helps to keep me tucked nicely away from any unpleasantness. Unfortunately, I've discovered that it also keeps me tucked away from pleasant things like people. Tucked inside my garage I miss the casual interaction with my neighbors. Life, these days, seems to be designed so isolation comes easy; but interactions require special effort.

This newly designed isolated life is not just the result of garage door openers. What about clothes lines? Remember hanging the sheets out on the line and chatting with your neighbor? And somebody has moved all the front porches. Instead of hanging out after supper on the porch with everyone else in the neighborhood, we now adjourn to the back deck. And maybe your deck has been designed with privacy fences and hedges to keep contact with others to a minimum. I suppose I sound a bit outdated. After all, if you want to make friends, you can easily get on your cell phone, laptop or iPad and connect with just about anyone you want. But it seems our hectic lives are designed to decrease casual contacts with friends and increase isolation. Have we craved privacy, safety and convenience so much that we've created an invisible wall of isolation?

The early Christians had a different idea. In Acts 2:46 it says the early Church continued "daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." This doesn't sound like isolation to me; this sounds like community. And I don't mean just on Sundays. These folks saw each other every day. It seems today there's an unspoken rule that we should be independent and stand on our own two feet. But I think God placed something deep inside of each of us that hungers to reach out and share our lives with others.
Every once in a while, you'll see people breaking this independence rule. There's moms talking at the school bus stop long after the bus has picked up their kids. Men bumping into friends at the grocery store and catching up on what's going on. We need friends. Studies show that regardless of family relationships, people with more friends lived 22% longer than people with fewer friends. Friends are good for your health.

In case you're concerned, I'm not suggesting we all throw away our garage door openers. We received 6 inches of snow yesterday and I am definitely keeping mine. But why not examine the flow of your life? Does your lifestyle help you maintain connections or isolation? Friends can help you stay healthy, happy and wise. Don't close the garage door on them.

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Mary Rose here. I'm sure that some of you military wives can relate to this one. (Marsha, I don't know how you survived all of those moves....I'm praying for you, too, sister!) Folks, we need to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world. We need to open our homes and open our hearts to new people who need to feel the connection and fellowship of believers.

I'm challenging all of you today. When was the last time you invited a new friend to lunch? When did you have a new friend over for coffee? When did you ask a new person to sit with you in that pew or bible study? Maybe you're comfortable with the friends and family you have around you right now. But Christ did not call us to be comfortable. He called us to go and make disciples of all nations. We need to practice hospitality. Who knows? Maybe we will entertain angels in the process.

Today's card was sent to me from Lynn from Michigan. Isn't this beautiful? She used one of my new favorite stamp sets from the SU Occasions mini, Nature Walk.

Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Death of February

Many years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a gift of a Precious Moments figurine. I didn't own a single Precious Moments figurine, nor did I express an interest in becoming a collector. But something about this particular figurine must have made her think of me. It was titled "February", and it depicted a little ragamuffin child kneeling before a rosebud peeking through the snow. It looked to me like someone paying homage at a grave site.

Yep! That perfectly sums up my feelings bout February!

I am so happy to see February die. I know that it's the shortest month of the year, but why does it feel so long?

My thoughts are turning to warmer days. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and I am going to make myself get out of this house and enjoy some fresh air today.

Here's a little something I've been crafting these days. I have been willing spring to come, one stitch at a time.

March is coming in like a lamb today. I think I'll enjoy it.

Pray for spring!