Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Full Nesting Mode

I have been in full nesting mode this week. You know, fluffing up the house, changing out the decor, cleaning and straightening things up just a bit. I think it must have something to do with the change in seasons (bring on Autumn!) and the change in the season of my life (sons off to college, new school years, new jobs, etc.). Whatever the reason, it is out with the old and in with the new!

I bought some funky new lamp shades on clearance at target this week. I love the burlap and the plaid design. It just looks cozy.

I've been pulling the pumpkins out of storage and putting away all things summer. I swapped out the summer flowers and sampler in my hanging wall basket for something a little more autumnal.

I finally finished this cute little pillow ornament from Sandra Sullivan's Homespun Elegance. It's a little primitive, a little rustic and a little imperfect, but I like it!

Goodbye August and long hot summer. Hello Autumn!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Few New Things

I decided to mix it up a little and add some new blog links on the right. New faces, new places, and new sources of inspiration. It's all good.

Last week, I discovered the awesome blog {in}courage by visiting the Dayspring website. Dayspring is the christian subsidiary of Hallmark, and I love their products. The blog will not disappoint! It's filled with some lovely women who share their inspirational thoughts and talents.

Today, the {in}courage Facebook page quoted Isaiah 43:19: "See, I am doing a new thing!" And the question was "What new thing is God doing in your life?"

Wow. God has done a LOT of new things in my life recently.

It was just a few weeks ago that I was waiting on the Lord. And waiting. And waiting. But the wait was so worth it.

For starters, I have two sons happily settling in to college life. I have a second grader who loves school. I have a husband who got a prestigious position with his company. Family is good.

I'm beginning a new ministry at my church next month. I'll be serving as a shepherd to families in our congregation. I look forward to making connections and forging new relationships with these brothers and sisters in Christ.

I joined a group of moms who will be meeting weekly to pray for our children and our school with Moms in Touch International.

And last week, just before I was to take my son to college, I was offered a new job. I begin next week. I'll be working part time, mornings and afternoons only, weekdays only, during the hours when Sam is in school. How perfect is that?

Is God great or what?

It's a new season in my life, and it is filled with blessings.

Today's Splitcoast challenge was to use the colors cherry cobbler, more mustard, and calypso coral to make your own background. I do not have the new SU In Colors yet (shocking, I know!), so I substituted with groovy guava.

{recipe: all products from SU, Refuge and Strength stamp set, Canvas BG stamp, cherry cobbler ink and card stock, more mustard ink, groovy guava ink and stitched ribbon, confetti cream card stock}

It is so easy to make your own background papers. I like to use a small repeating image, and then stamp over everything with a background stamp, as I did here:

"I am not who I was, I'm being remade, I am new! I'm chosen and holy and I'm dearly loved, I am new!" (from the song "I am new" by Jason Gray)

Tell me, what new thing is God doing in your life today?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunflower Season

Don't you love sunflower season? I love to see their golden faces turned to the sun. I snapped these beauties at the Toledo Zoo this month. Amazing!

Sunflowers always make me think of my Johnny. When he was just a boy, he used to plant them in our garden and watch the giants grow until they were taller than he was. That was before he was nearly six feet tall. Before he packed up his belongings and moved to college...

I had a few mild panic attacks as we loaded up the family van. But strangely, once we were at his college, God gave me the peace that passes all understanding. I knew he was right where God meant for him to be.

I forgot to give him some of his necessary papers for work study on campus, so I'll be sending him a big envelope of documents in the mail tomorrow. I'll be including this little card:

{recipe: all products from SU!, Serene Sunflower stamp set, Well Scripted stamp set, rich razzleberry ink, tangerine tango ink, old olive ink, black ink, confetti white card stock, kraft card stock, black fine point marker}

I made this 3 1/2 inch square card and added the squiggly frame using a fine point marker.

Just a little clean and simple card to say I Love You.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Coffee Break

Hello, friends!

I'm taking a little coffee break for the next few days. I wish it were as relaxing as drinking a nice vanilla latte with a good book. Alas, I am taking my son, John, to college to begin his freshman year. I should be back in my fully caffeinated and crafty form on Monday.

Blessings on your weekend. And will you say a little pray for me that I don't get too weepy this weekend? Thank you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Belated Thank You

So college son number two is preparing to start his freshman year at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology this week. Go fighting engineers! (And yes, that is their mascot! bwa ha ha!) Do you think that it is about time John sent out his thank you cards for those graduation gifts?

I do such a bad job of making my boys send thank you notes. I usually make them thank the gift givers in person. But a thank you note is a really nice thing to do, and we need to do more nice things in this culture, don't you think?

For today's card, I used up some old Stampin' Up product. I made the base cards out of my stash of the retired sage shadow card stock. I also used the retired really rust card stock. For the papers, I chose the Autumn Vine designer papers from the 2009 Holiday mini catalog. I figure if I start using up some of these old fall papers, then that will give me an excuse to buy the new Spice Cake designer papers from the 2011 SU Holiday mini!

{recipe: all products from SU!, Engraved Greetings stamp set, Falling Leaves stamp set, Autumn Vine designer papers, sage shadow card stock, really rust card stock, white card stock, more mustard and chocolate chip inks, square lattice embossing folder, linen thread}

Whenever I start crafting autumn projects, I always wish that Stampin' Up would make some little felt leaves, similar to those felt snowflakes from the past. That would have made this project so much easier! Instead, I had to stamp and carefully cut out six of those leaves. Maybe one day I will break down and actually buy a Big Shot die cutting machine. Perhaps in four years, when my oldest sons are finally out of college. ha ha ha!

Thank you for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The One That Got Away

Here it is! The One That Got Away!

Last year, during the 2010 Occasions mini from Stampin Up!, I passed up the chance to buy the stamp set "Well Scripted". I really liked it, though. And every time I saw a sample with it, I'd kick myself for not getting it.

Well, you know how those rare sets from SU can be. Extortionist prices at ebay and on the buy/sell/trade forums.

A few weeks ago, I checked the B/S/T forum at SCS, and guess what? Cindy was selling her clear mount Well Scripted set, and for a reasonable price, too. Yippee! I jumped at the chance this time, and now the One That Got Away is the One That I Got...Finally!

Thank you, Cindy!

I made this card for my mother-in-law, who is celebrating a personal milestone this week.

{recipe: all products from SU!, Well Scripted stamp set, Wonderful Favorites stamp set, white card stock, soft sky card stock, old olive ink and card stock, Fall Flowers designer paper, tag punches, kraft taffeta ribbon, olive felt flower, baja breeze corduroy brad}

This tent topper card is made by cutting a piece of 8 1/2 X 11 card stock lengthwise, and scoring at 4 1/2 inches and again at 4 1/2 inches. This will make a nice two inch by 4 1/2 inch pocket inside, perfect for tucking in a little gift card.

When assembling a ten topper card, I always try to have a standard envelope handy to make sure that the card will fit in the envelope after assembly.

Blessings on your Monday, friends!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stitches, Sons, and Surprises

Are you ready for a little Sunday rambling?

Let's start with a stitching project! I finished stitching this Zipper project from Bent Creek. I'm hoping to turn it into something cute for Halloween.

This was fun to stitch because it had an 18 count natural linen...very easy on the eyes. It also used pearl cotton in place of embroidery floss. Pearl cotton gives a project a nice chunky and more substantial feel. And the bonus with pearl cotton is that you are not separating strands of floss. Cut and thread your needle and you are ready to go!

And speaking of ready to go...yesterday was "move in" day for our oldest son. We loaded up the van and headed off to his college, which is about an hour away. I don't think there was any room to spare in that van!

Luke opted for a single dorm room this roommates! He worked hard at his summer job and saved up enough money to purchase a new computer, printer, fan and flat screen television for his room. Ah, the joys of independent living!

The biggest surprise of the day? He has an adjoining bathroom! Life is good!

We started the tradition of the Dry Erase board messages when Luke first went to college as a freshman. His father and I like to leave him with a little motivational thought each year. And yes, I'm going to make you look up those verses on your own. :)

After a long day of moving all the comforts of home to college, I decided to come home and do some gardening. The herbs in my garden have run amok, and I decided to pull out all of the parsley that has re-seeded itself throughout the garden. I yanked on this parsley, only to find it wasn't parsley at all. It was a carrot!

I vaguely recall Sam, my seven year old, telling me this spring that he had planted carrot seeds in the garden. Frankly, I didn't give it another thought. During a bad summer of heat and drought, I haven't had much luck growing anything by seed. And yet, these neglected seeds were turning into carrots under the ground. I'm certain there is a life lesson there if I look hard enough. Something about trust and producing much fruit, perhaps.

The Lord provides and life is good. What more can you ask for on a Sunday?

Friday, August 19, 2011

This Is Not A Technique!

I'll be the first to admit it. When it comes to stamping and paper crafting, I am not a technique kind of gal. As a matter of fact, just hearing someone mention the word "technique" makes me a little leery. As in "This is the peanut butter, saran wrap, and welding torch technique". Aaack! Run for the hills!

This week's Ways to Use It challenge was to use Versamark ink on a project. Hmmm. I haven't pulled out that watermark pad in a looong time. I thought I'd try the Versamark and chalk technique to give my project a soft and fuzzy feeling. Here it is:

Hello, hot mess!

A woman needs to know her strengths and weaknesses. So I ditched the idea for this week's Ways to Use It challenge and moved on to the weekly sketch challenge. Nice, safe, and not so messy!

{recipe: all products from SU!, Season of Friendship stamp set, Fall Flowers designer papers, old olive ink and card stock, really rust card stock, cajun craze ink, soft suede ink,dusty durango polka ribbon}

Can you see the Buckeye tree behind the card? It has the same combination of green and rust leaves. It's looking a lot like autumn these days!

For those of you wondering about the Fall Flowers Designer papers, I should tell you that it came from the 2008 SU! catalog. From the looks of the package, I don't think I ever used it. But I really like it! Isn't it fun to go shopping in your own stash?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Big Yellow Bus Day!

Today was the day...big yellow bus day!

Sam was up and dressed an HOUR before the bus was scheduled to arrive. He is very eager for second grade! He had his "first day of school" outfit picked out the night before. Yes, it's still summer here in Indiana, but Sam prefers to wear pants and blue jeans nearly every day. He's got a lot of my father in him. :)

This was the first year that Sam did not pick out a character book bag. He told me that the cool kids ( i.e. older kids) at school don't have book bags that are, in Sam's words, "based on anything". Oh man! My little boy is growing up too fast!

I wanted to make a card to commemorate big yellow bus day, but I don't have any bus stamps. Will a big yellow truck do?

This week's clean and simple challenge at SCS was to make a card using a partial image of a stamp. In this case, I used a partial image of the truck from the classic SU set "Loads of Love".

{recipe: all products from SU!, Loads of Love stamp set, basic gray card stock, ink and designer paper, crushed curry card stock and ink, crushed curry polka ribbon, black ink, circle punch, scallop circle punch for sunny sky background}

Happy Day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Keeping Calm

Can someone explain something to me? What's with all the "Keep Calm" signs? Keep Calm and Carry On. Keep Calm and Write On. Keep Calm and blah blah blah.

I don't get it.

I don't want to keep calm! You can't make me!

I have a son starting second grade tomorrow who is having a tantrum because I haven't taken him to the water park yet this summer.

I have a son that has a dentist appointment today, a TB test tomorrow, and a thousand odd jobs to cross off his list before he begins college next week.

I have another son who is packing for his move to college this Saturday. And did I mention that his method of packing is to leave piles and boxes all over the house?

Calm? Far from it!

But I can craft. And for a few moments, it brings me to my happy place. And if you saw my craft studio right now, you'd say that it's a lot more frenetic than calm at the moment. But that's okay.

Calm is highly overrated.

{recipe: all products from SU!, Clearly For You stamp set, sahara sand card stock, perfect plum card stock, blushing bride card stock and designer papers, taffeta ribbon, rhinestone, Tulip embossing folder, designer frames embossing folder}

Hope your day is frenetically fun, too!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baja Breezy

Happy Monday, friends! And what a Monday it's been! My husband went back to work after a week of vacation. I took my oldest son grocery shopping so that he could have food and essentials to take with him to college this Saturday. I have a dentist appointment in forty-five minutes. And this afternoon, I'll be taking my youngest son to the school ice cream social so that he can meet his new second grade teacher and tour his classroom.

Did I mention that his first day of school is Wednesday?

How about a nice soothing card in monochromatic shades of blue!

{recipe: all products from SU!, Elizabeth stamp, Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp set, confetti cream card stock, baja breeze ink and card stock, Springtime Vintage paper, small oval punch, square punch, pearl, square lattice embossing folder}

I found a great tip on Mary Fish's blog this morning. To make a nicely pointed banner, you don't need to grab your scissors...just use a square punch, put the strip of paper in a corner, and chomp out a little triangle. Easy peasy! You can see this on Mary's blog today (link at right).

Happy soothing, breezy Monday!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another Vintage Button Card

Here in small town America, I love to spend a day just browsing through antique shops. I try to remember to bring my camera to capture those images that really inspire me. And to tell the truth, I can often take a photo of an item rather than purchase it. Money saved at the stores means money I can spend later on something much more stamps. :)

Vintage button cards are all the rage. I see them in so many shops now!

But do I need to buy them? Nope! I can go home to my craft studio and make them!

{recipe: all products from SU!, Friendly Words wheel, Designer Frames embossing folder, pear pizzazz card stock and ink, rose red ink, rose red seam binding, vanilla card stock, Springtime Vintage designer papers, eyelet border punch, buttons, floss}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Nothing Gold Can Stay

I stumbled upon this beautiful poem by Robert Frost this week, and thought that it was an apt description for these golden days ahead.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Isn't that pretty...and sad? Sigh!

In our yard, the buckeye tree is always the first to show signs of autumn. You can see it behind this card, tinged in gold and brown.

As summer winds down and the boys begin their return to school next week, I can look back and say "Wow, it was a great summer!"

I stayed Lyme disease relapse. Hurray!

I went outside every day, even the hot ones.

I stitched...a lot!

I also read a lot of books, crafted a lot of cards and dabbled in the garden.

I played with my kids, and with their friends, too.

I made it back home to Michigan three times.

My kids went to an amusement park, two zoos and two art museums. They visited lots of parks, went on lots of bike rides and went to the pool plenty of times.

I watched the first two seasons of Fringe with my college son, Luke. It was our mother-son bonding time.

I had lots of laughs with my mom and sisters.

Golden times! I'm so thankful!

{recipe: all products from SU! Falling Leaves stamp set, In Color designer paper, pear pizzazz card stock and ink, peach parfait card stock and ink, basic black ink, white card stock, black marker, designer label punch}

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Red Hot

Red is the color of summer. Juicy red watermelon. Red gingham picnic tablecloths. Red geraniums.

And did someone say strawberry shortcake? With fresh whipped topping? Don't mind if I do!

Vintage red rockers. And of course, that grand ole flag wears her red, white, and blue!

Today's card is red hot! I used a little poppy parade and blushing bride for this card.

{recipe: all products from SU!, Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp set, In Color Designer papers, basic black ink, poppy parade card stock, blushing bride card stock, white card stock, scallop edge punch, oval punch, curly label punch, black marker, white fleurette, black brad}

Enjoy these lazy, hazy red days of summer!