Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Proud Mom Moment

I was flipping through the newspaper this morning when I looked down and said "Oh! My Johnny!" (Third row, third in from the right wearing the green shirt and tie.)

My son, John Ryan, is graduating from high school tomorrow. He is in the top ten percent of his graduating class. I'm so proud of him! He has always been a scholarly sort. He has a personality that loves a challenge, and I know that he will enjoy the academic rigors of college. I can't wait to see his future unfold. Whatever plans God has for him, I know that they are good plans.

I made this card for my John Ryan today. I combined the Clean and Simple sketch challenge with the Ways to Use Stars challenge.

{recipe: Artifacts (Stampin Up), Congrats (SU), Cosmo Cricket Halfway Cafe papers, kraft card stock, confetti cream card stock, black card stock, Tim Holtx texture fade embossing folder, Versafine onyx ink, baker's twine}

I have family coming in to town in just a few hours. There are dishes to wash, beds to be made, and groceries to buy. I guess I better have another cup of coffee and get on with my day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


As Memorial Day is quickly approaching, I decided to get out my Americana items and do a little seasonal decorating.

I planted a few flowers this weekend and spruced up the front porch.

I put out the rug and pillows so that I can stay cozy while I stitch on the front porch.

And a welcome flag in the garden is always cute, especially if it comes from Longaberger!

A new wreath for the front door.

And then I had a thought...didn't I stitch something Americana last summer? Yes, yes I had stitched something, but I never did anything with it. I decided that rather than framing the piece or using it on a pillow, I'd turn it into a little sign to decorate one of my wall baskets.

There is a philosophy in the needle art community that states "It's not about being perfect, it's about being done."

I like that philosophy! Sometimes, I get very picky about my projects. But other times, you just need to cut loose and have some fun with it. Today, I did just that. I made a sort of flattened pillow using a piece of calico on the back and some batting inside to give it form. Then I used a length of ivory seam binding from Stampin Up, doubled it, and stitched it along the edges with a running stitch in a sort of haphazard way to give it a little charm. It looks a bit like flag bunting.

To attach it to the basket, I stitched two lengths of bias tape onto the back, threaded them through the basket, and tied them inside.

I can't say that it's perfect, but I can say that it's DONE! And done is a good feeling! :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

From the Garden

Have you seen the new stamp set from Papertrey Ink called Garden Variety? Oooh, it's lovely! One of the images features a seed packet. And then I recalled that I already have a seed packet stamp from Stampin Up, circa 1995. I pulled it out, inked it up, and had a little fun with it this morning.

{recipe: Friendship Gardens (SU), Wildflowers (SU), Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), confetti cream and regal rose cardstock, regal rose and versafine sepia inks, October Afternoon Fly A Kite papers, seam binding, button, eyelet border punch}

It's amazing how you can take a stamp that is fifteen years old, pair it with some new papers and accessories, and make it look totally current and trendy. Just another good reason to hold on to those classic stamps!

While I was photographing this card, I saw all kinds of pretties in the garden that were photo-worthy. Here are a few:

The wild honeysuckle along the back fence. Fragrance? Heavenly.

Bridal Veil spirea near the front porch.

Rosebuds waiting for a warm day...

Sage blossoms...

Chives in the herb garden...

It's a lovely day to enjoy the garden. Sadly, I'll be spending the day indoors at work. sigh! Hope your day is lovely, too!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

News From Thread Candy Studio!

Look what came in my email box today! News on the first issue of Thread Candy Studio publication!

I've had a little sneak peek, and I can't wait to see more! Whether you are interested in needlepoint, counted canvas, cross stitch, felted creations, or more, this publication has a little bit of everything to please the crafter in all of us!

You can place your order for this publication now by visiting ! I can't wait to order the spiral-bound addition. I just love spiral bound books, don't you? They lay flat for easier viewing.

I'm working on a little project that combines one of the fun felt projects in this issue with a paper crafting twist. You'll have to come back to the cafe to see more.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Goodbye, Tricuits

I had to say goodbye to Triscuits and Wheat Thins yesterday. It was a hard breakup. I've been in love with those little crackers for over two years now. But enough was enough.

Why did I say goodbye to my beloved cracker? Because the "new low price" on the shelf at Kroger's was $3.85 a box.


Six months ago, the "new low price" of this same box of crackers was $1.70.

That is a markup of more than 125 percent in just six months time.

Is anyone else concerned about the rising cost of groceries? The rising cost of everything?

I said goodbye to Triscuits and hello to new generic brand. Generic brand was $1.50 a box, and I am happy to report that they are delicious.

Last week, I read the book "Enough" by Adam Hamilton. A friend had recommended this book, as they had read it together in her church. If you are a listener of Dave Ramsey, then you will like this book. It highlights some of Dave's principles while showing a biblical approach to life and finances.

I think my favorite part of the book was found in the first chapter. It is called the contentment prayer, and it is something I need to pray on a daily basis. Here it is:

Contentment Prayer

"Lord, help me to be grateful for what I have, to remember that I don't need most of what I want, and that joy is found in simplicity and generosity."


I confess, I have wandering eyes that cast their glance upon pretties, and instantly I think "I want that!" Pretty papers, pretty stamps, pretty clothing, pretty houses, pretty gardens. So many pretties! Half the time, I don't need, I just want.

My friend, Beth and I, were talking last week about this crazy economy. We both agreed that hard times can cause us to look at our wants and needs differently. We can embrace thrift and find value, rather than embracing a throwaway mentality. We can learn to drive by the Starbucks and go home and make a cup of coffee. And we can share our good finds with friends and family.

This week, I picked up my neglected stitching. I've been working on "Live Simply" for a while, and I was nearly done with the lettering when I found an error in this pattern. I contacted Linda at Lizzie Kate, and she did indeed confirm the mistake. The two green threads in the chart got transposed. The darker Moss thread should be the "S", while the lighter Scuppernong thread should be the "m" and "y". So I pulled out a few stitches and began again. I hope to have it finished soon. I need a daily reminder to Live Simply!

So tell me, what are you doing to trim your grocery budget and to Live Simply? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gifts From Above

April showers bring May flowers, right? And May showers bring...mosquitoes. The newspaper had a front page article this weekend warning that we will experience an onslaught of mosquitoes this season. Is it any surprise? We have had so much rain this spring. According to the article, one nearby county health department reported that they normally trap 200 mosquitoes a day, but they are now trapping about 2,000 a day. Yikes! Pass the Deep Woods Off, please!

It's a little bit tricky trying to keep the mosquitoes out of your yard when your backyard looks like this. My husband has been working diligently every weekend to clear out some of the brush and undergrowth in our back woods. He trimmed low-hanging branches from the buckeye tree and did some serious weeding. And while it looks neat and trimmed and greener than Ireland, there is really only so much you can do before chemicals need to be involved.

Fortunately, nature came up with another solution.

My husband was closing the windows one humid day last week so that he could turn on the air conditioner. He looked out our bedroom window and found this little fellow taking a nap on the outside of our window screen.

Hello, Stellaluna! So nice to see you! Thanks for hanging around upside down! My, what big ears you have!

Now I know that some folks would be totally creeped out by the thought of a bat sleeping outside their bedroom window. But I'm comforted knowing that this little fellow will be eating his weight in mosquitoes every night. I think it's time to post some bat boxes in our back woods so that this little fellow can get a proper days sleep and make himself at home.

Today's Clean and Simple challenge was an inspiration word: Gift. I thought it would be funny to combine these umbrellas with this particular bible verse. The rain may be a curse to some, but when we consider the drought conditions of late last summer and fall, then this rain really does qualify as a "perfect gift from above".

You may recognize the papers used on the umbrellas. After the card featured in the last post, I had these perfectly cute half circles sitting at my work station. They looked a little bit like umbrellas. So I got out my umbrella stamp, and voila! No scraps wasted here!

{recipe: A Little Birdie Told Me (Stampin Up), God's Way (SU), soft sky and so saffron card stock, October Afternoon papers (Modern Homemaker line), scallop edge punch, dew drops, versafine onyx ink}

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights."
James 1:17

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just Happy

I was SO excited to finally find a store that carries lots of October Afternoon paper packs! I've been stopping by my local Archivers (no luck...always sold out), and checking in at various online stores only to find a site that may have one or two in stock. But this month, Mark's Finest papers had LOTS of OA paper packs in stock and, well, I ordered six of them! These papers are so lovely, they just make me smile to flip through them!

And while I was browsing through the MFP store, I found baker's twine in so many colors at a GREAT price! My MFP coupon helped bring the price of these adorable clothespin twines down to $1.90 each!

One thing I love about MFP is that when you order items, you don't have to get a lifetime supply of something that you will never use up. For example, if you order charms, you typically get about 3 to 5, not 35. I didn't want gobs and gobs of baker's twine, just enough to play and have fun. And who can resist those cute country clothespins?

I made this card yesterday using some of my new supplies from MFP. I wanted to make a pennant, but I don't have a pennant stamp. No stamp? No problem! I punched out these pennants with a 1 1/4 inch circle punch, then cut them in half. This card just makes me happy, so the sentiment seemed fitting.

{recipe: Happy Everything (SU), October Afternoon's Modern Homemaker papers, blushing bride/so saffron/certainly celery card stock, versafine onyx ink, baker's twine (Mark's Finest papers), 1 1/4" circle punch, Sizzix embossing folder}

This has been a "Just Happy" week...just happy to have the sunroof open on the VW bug. Just happy to sit on my front porch and stitch while the birds sing. Just happy to have a job that I enjoy. Just happy to have all of my boys home. Just happy to see sunshine.

Hope your weekend is blessed with just happy moments!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Flowery Thoughts

Here in the midwest, we've had a few days of sunshine...finally! This spring has been exceptionally wet in so many parts of the country. In our area, it has created a perfect environment for tics. Yuck! They've been horrible this spring! If you haven't done so already, now is the time to get your pets treated. I can only imagine how nasty the mosquitoes will be this summer!

But on to more pleasant!

Sam made me this adorable flowerpot for Mother's Day. Isn't that sweet? I had a great day on Sunday. I worked in the morning and early afternoon, but I came home to a clean VW bug, clean patio furniture on the deck, and a wonderful grilled dinner of shish kebobs that we were able to eat outdoors. lovely!

I received some nice cards, too, but here's my favorite:

Sam made a card and drew a picture of me, smiling. I'm glad he thinks of me as a smiling mom. Some days, you never can tell. :)

My oldest son, Luke, is now home from college and ready to begin working this weekend. And did I mention that he'll be working at a garden center this summer? woo hoo! Flower discount! I'm so excited!

I'm going to try to pace myself a little in the gardening department this spring. I realized the other day that I practically break my back to get my flowers planted in May, and subsequently, I experience a recurrence of my chronic Lyme disease every May as well. I can see now where I have to be very careful not to let myself get rundown.

One change in my strategy will be to eliminate the vegetable garden. I just don't have an ideal location for it in this yard. The soil conditions are not that great, and the trees prevent the full sun that most vegetable gardens need. So I'm back to perennials and herbs and supporting my local farmers at the farmers market.

One thing that I can grow? Roses! They've doubled in size this year, and the bushes are covered in little buds. I can't wait to see them in full bloom!

Yesterday's Clean and Simple challenge was to make a card featuring a banner. The funny part? Nearly every card in the SCS gallery featured pennants instead. I guess that some folks think the two words are interchangeable. Of course, I'm picky in the grammar department. So I made a card using a real banner! I loved the monthly banners from The Saltbox Studio. So fun! My new neighbor across the street is a banner lady. She puts out banners for every holiday and season. I love to see the bright colors and pretty pictures. Banners are a lot like cards...pretty displays of artwork.

{recipe: stamps from The Saltbox Studio, Sweet Slumber papers (SU), old olive and kraft card stock, (SU), Martha Stewart picket fence punch, so saffron and black inks, prisma markers, baker's twine (Mark's Finest Papers) }

It seems that pennants and banners are all the rage in the craft world! Hmmm...maybe I'll make a pennant card tomorrow, just for kicks.

Hey, coffee lovers! This week, you can get a frappucino for half price at Starbucks every afternoon from 3 to 5 pm! I think I see a mocha java chip in my future!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Little Sweet Smelling Something

On one of our not-so-rainy days this week, I decided to get out of the house and do a little shopping in our downtown area. I popped in to one of my favorite shops, Logan's Antique Mall. I noticed that one of the vendors was selling products from one of my favorite candle makers, Keepers of the Light. And lo and behold, they now offer air fresheners, too! I thought these were adorable, and decided to buy a stack for Mother's Day gifts.

This "jar" air freshener has a great fragrance...sweet tea! I love it! It smells like summer...a cool, refreshing drink on a hot day. And I must say, this little yellow jar looks adorable hanging in my white VW bug, right next to the yellow gerbera daisy in the flower vase. Too cute!

I took my inspiration for the card from the air freshener itself.

Can you see it? Red flower with a yellow center and green leaves in a blue vase? Khaki colored gingham ribbon? How clever is that? :) I decided to use the stamp set Blooming Button Bits from Papertrey Ink. This set is finally getting a little more ink in my studio, and I just love it! On this creation, I decided to use my Pigma micron marker to make stitches around the flower and vase, and to stitch a long stem.

When I posted this on Splitcoast Stampers last night, a few folks commented that they'd never thought of making a card to fit into a business envelope. Sure! Why not? This card measures nine inches tall by four inches wide. Yes, it takes a good portion of a full sheet of cardstock, but in the end, it's worth it. A long card can hold lots of little air freshener, movie or concert tickets, money or check, you name it. And the best part? It fits into an envelope that you probably have plenty of at home!

{recipe: Blooming Button Bits (PTI), so saffron ink and cardstock, baja breeze ink and cardstock, ivory cardstock, Sweet Slumber designer series paper (SU), wild wasabi ink, riding hood red ink, versafine onyx ink, scallop edge punch, tan gingham ribbon, Pigma micron marker, button, dmc floss}

The sun is shining this morning! What a welcome sight! Blessings!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

All Consuming

Apologies to all for my lack of blogginess. Here in our house, we are in the final stages of senior year, and it is all consuming!

College acceptance deadlines were last weekend, and after weeks of making pro/con lists and garnering opinions from friends and neighbors, John finally came to a decision. I love this photo...little brother is keeping a watchful eye on big brother. And what is big brother seeing off in the distance?

The beautiful White Chapel that is a feature of his future college. And the future college is?

John's dry erase board proudly displays his choice!

Rose-Hulman Institute! Ever hear of it? If you're an engineer, you probably have. It's the number one undergraduate engineering school in the country. I call it the MIT of the Midwest. The college was founded many years ago by a Scotsman named Chauncy Rose who wanted to bring industry to the area along the Wabash River. Years later, the Hulman family donated their farm to build the new college. The Hulman's were famous for their Clabber Girl baking powder (as well as being known for founding a little event called the Indy 500. I bet you've heard of that!)

Rose-Hulman Institute receives nearly 4000 applications every school year. In the end, they only accept 500 new freshman. Not only did they accept John, but they also offered him a substantial scholarship to attend. We're very proud of him!

It was a tough choice to make. John had debated...attend a big state college, or attend a small private college? In the end, I'm sure that either decision would have been fine. But as a mom, I really wanted him to attend a small college where he could continue to run cross country and track, and where smaller class sizes would mean more time with professors.

When John was no bigger than his little brother, I used to tell him "MIT! That's the school that you'll attend when you are big, John Ryan!" Even then, he had an aptitude for math and science. Well, MIT may be fine for graduate school, but I'm happy to keep him a little closer to home for a few more years.

Big brother, Luke, has had a great year at his new university, Ball State. After all, it's not everyone that gets voted Time magazine's person of the year! (Did I mention that he's learning a lot about photo shop in his graphic design class? ha ha!) He's really enjoying his studies in construction management, and he has really blossomed socially this last semester. He has a great group of campus friends that meet weekly for bible study and worship. As a mom, I am so proud of Luke! You never know what path your child will take when they are no longer under your roof. But Luke's faith is an integral part of his life, and he's bringing it with him wherever he goes.

Needless to say, my husband and I have had a few anxiety attacks at the thought of two college tuitions next year. And the year after that! But I'm confident that it will all work out in the end. God is faithful, and He always provides. We are so blessed.

Last week, I bought a box of fortune cookies for the boys. Sam loved opening them in his lunch box and reading his fortune. This one was my favorite:

Our sons are our future. We are proud to invest in family!

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him." Psalm 127:3