Monday, October 24, 2011

Autumn Wishes

Autumn in the Midwest. There's nowhere else I'd rather be at this time of year.

Yesterday, Ed and I took Sam for a hike through Cool Creek Park. When my husband was a boy, just Sam's age, he had spent many summers at the adjoining Camp Acorn, learning to be an Acorn Scout and eating lots of Chef Boyardee for lunch. It was the seventies, after all, a time of blissful ignorance when the government was not trying to legislate healthy eating.

God does work in mysterious ways. Ed's family now lives in Ohio, and here we are, living in the very area of Indiana where he grew up over thirty years ago.

As we hiked through the colorful trees, we began to speculate on where God might take us next. Houston? Too hot. Los Angelos? Too pricey. Pittsburgh? Baltimore? Chicago? New York?

I know where I would like to be. Michigan, Pure Michigan. It's where my heart is.

I will be visiting my family in Michigan in just a few days. I'm so excited! Brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, Moms and friends.

I made this card for a nephew who will be turning thirteen this week. A teenager. Where does the time go?

A simple card. Strips of tree paper from We R Memory Keepers. A diecut leaf and matching stamp from PTI. Some gold cord to hold an acorn charm from Mark's Finest Papers.

An Autumn wish for good times with family and friends.


Monday Morning Update

It dawned on me this morning that I have not updated you, my sweet, dear blog readers, on the status of my Great Purge!

Let me just say feels good to send these neglected stamps to new homes that will love them and cherish them! Every time I mail off a package at the post office, I think to myself "Out of storage and into good use."

The sale has allowed me to purchase new stamps from places like Waltzingmouse Stamps, Papertrey Ink, Hero Arts and more. I've also had fun accumulating new dies for my brand new Big Kick, and it's been a pleasure to craft with heavy cardstock from PTI. I'm hoping to purchase some felt in the future. Something tells me that will be a lot of fun with the die cutting machine.

In the meantime, there are plenty of stamps and papers still left! I have marked down prices for the remaining items. If you see one or two or ten things that need to come home with you, then please send me an email at:

Jumbo Wheels $3 each:

Busy Blocks
Sweet Stars
Bold Snowflakes
Wheels $2 each:
Double Line Stitch Plaid
Bella’s Border
Star Spangled
Watercolor Joy
Boho Friend


Background Stamps, $8 each:

Stipple Plaid
Print Pattern
Aida Cloth
Tres Chic
Wild Hearts
Dots and Daisies
Soft Swirls
On The Spot
Polka Dot
Paisley 1 and 2
By Definition (pending)
French Flair
Just Jeans
Antique Cracking
Big Blossom
From The Garden
Flannel Plaid

SU Sets:


Autumn $10
Art of Life $5
Artifacts $8
All Year Cheer 1, 2,3 $15 total
Alphahearts rare $25


Best Blossoms $5
Bella’s Bloom $3
Big Deal Alphabet $15
Beautiful Season $15
Blooming With Happiness $8
Big Blooms $15
Beauty of Life rare $15
Bug Builders $8

Carte Postale $15
Congrats $5
Country Pleasures $10
Cheery Chat $8
Close As a Memory $8
Classic Numbers $5
Collage Numbers $5
Classic Alphabet $15
Collage Alphabet $10
Classic Caps $15
Country Morning $5


Doodle This $15
Dreams du Jour $5
Doodle That $3
Doodle Alphabet $15


Edgy Eloquence $8
Espress Yourself $10
Espressoly For You $10
Elegant Beginnings $5
Everyday Flexible Phrases $10
Expressive Flexible Phrases $10
English Cottage rare $20


Fly Fishing rare $30
Friend to Friend $8
Furnished With Love $5
Fresh Fillers $3
Frames w/ A Flourish $15
Fantastic Foliage $8
Fashion Statements $15
Fleur Cart $8
Faith and Hope $8


Garden Collage $5
Great Groupings $5


Happy Blessings $8
Happy Harmony $5
Handbill Headlines $5
Headline Alphabet $15
Holidays and Wishes $5


It’s Snow Time $15
Itty Bitty Backgrounds $3
It’s Your Birthday $10


Journalling Fun $10
Just Journalling 1 w/ template $5
Just Journalling 2 w/ template $5


Little By Little $15
Love Matters $8
Love Ya Bunches $5
Little Pieces $18


Mixed Bouquet $10
More Petal prints $8
Memory of the Heart $8
Moose You $8
Many Thanks $8
Mon Ami $3


Noteworthy $5

On The Porch (rare) $25
On Angel Wings $10
On The Farm rare $25 (will include matching jumbo wheel, unmounted on cling foam)
Oh So Lovely $5
Office Accoutrements $10
Old Glory $10
Occasionally $8


Pick A Petal $10
Priceless $15
Party Punch $10
Phrase Starters $5


Quirky Alphabet $15


Reason To Smile $5
Riveting $5


Simple Wishes $3
Serene Spring $10
Serene Sunflower $10
So Very $5
Spring Fling $3
Stamp of Authenticity $15
So Many Scallops $5
Short Order Alphabet $15
Sweet Spot $3
Snow Flurries $5
Snowflake Spot $8
Sketch An Event $5


Tags So Much $5 (pending)
True Friend $15
Terrific Tags and Too Terrific Tags $12 total (pending)
Tag Alphabet rare $20
Trimtastic $8


Unfrogettable $10


Very Punny $5


Warmest Regards $5
DD Wildflowers $15
Warmest Words $3
Wonderful Words 1 $10
Wonderful Words 2 $10
Whimsical Alphabet $15
World Over $5
Window Dressing $10
Wild About You $10
Wonderful Wishes $5


Zoorific $10

SU Designer Series Papers, full packs $5:

Pool Party
Petals and Paisleys

SU Designer Series Papers, partial packs, $3:

Fall Flowers
Springtime Vintage
Le Jardin
Parisian Summer
Afternoon Tea
Soft Sky DSP
Paper Notations
Bella Birds
Petal Patch
Delicate Dots
Bali Breeze
Ginger Blossom
Spring Flowers
Au Chocolat
Spring Showers
Loves Me
Petals and Paislies

SU Rub Ons, $2: Love and happiness, Eastern Elegance, A Perfect Day

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Glory of Green

Last week, I went out walking with the Lord. I've been feeling a little lost lately, like a sailboat without a sail that's drifting in a vast ocean. I desperately needed to feel God's presence. As I walked and prayed, I made a bold request.

"God, show me your glory! I desperately need to feel your presence today."

There was no flash of lightning or rumble of thunder. But God did show me something.

An Osage orange, or a hedge apple, depending on what part of the country you live in.

I picked up this wrinkly lime green fruit and carried it home.

Really, God? I ask for glory and I get wrinkled fruit?

My sons marveled over this strange fruit. My husband said he'd never seen or heard of one until I brought it home. We read about it on the internet and looked it up in our tree book. And wonder of wonders, that very Sunday on the front page of our newspaper's Living section, they featured a photo and article about Osage oranges. Coincidence or God wink? You decide.

The photo showed this weird fruit displayed as a lovely fall centerpiece. I thought to myself "I can do that, too!"

So yesterday, I went walking with the Lord again, but this time with a plastic grocery bag in hand. I loaded the bag with the Osage oranges and began the walk home.

And that's when God spoke to me. He whispered it to me, so I had to listen and pay attention. And here's what He whispered:

"You asked to see my glory, and I showed you a strange green fruit instead. You see, that Osage orange is my glory. It is my creation, in all of its wrinkled, weird and wonderful uniqueness. It is the very essence of the creation that I sent my son to redeem. And you, in your uniqueness, are part of this creation, too."

I had thought that the Osage orange was the booby prize. It turns out it was the treasure all along.

And let's face it, I'm no Moses. If I'd seen even a glimpse of God's glory that day in my fragile state, I'm sure that I could not handle it. A wrinkly lime green fruit is about all that my pea brain can wrap around these days.

The lime green of the Osage orange was the inspiration for this Christmas card. I love the non-traditional lime green when paired with red for the holidays! The green here is from Amuse Studio gingham papers. This stamp is from Inkadinkado (2.49! How cheap is that?) I loved the little berry garland frame, and decided to make it stand out with some red Stickles.

The sun is shining and "all of the earth is filled with His glory!" Enjoy the day!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Too Soon?

So tell me...where do you stand on the "Christmas" debate? Are you a purist who does not even decorate for Christmas until the Advent season? Or do you rush headlong into the Christmas season before the frost on the pumpkin?

I heard on the radio yesterday that Nordstrom's Department Stores have decided that they will not decorate their stores for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. What's that sound? I think it's the sound of all of you Christmas purists clapping!

When I heard this news, my first thought was for the folks who work at those department stores. See, I come from a retail background, my husband works in retail management, and I have a little more sympathy for the visual display merchants who will have to scramble the day after Thanksgiving to make Christmas magically appear. (I wouldn't be surprised if they're required to work on the night of Thanksgiving to get it all ready before Black Friday!) There's a good reason why many stores get their trees and displays up before takes a lot of time and effort!

I am not a Christmas purist,as you may have guessed. I don't decorate my home for the holy day until after Thanksgiving, but I do begin listening to Christmas music early and I burn those Christmas scented candles early, too. I just love the smells and sounds of the season. And the truth is, I own so many Christmas CDs that I have to start listening to them now just to get them all in!

I made a Christmas card today. And I listened to Christmas music while I did it, just to put me in the mood!

I bought some really awesome Hero Arts stamps from Archivers when my mom was in town. Now normally, I go to Archivers, become overwhelmed, and leave with nothing but Glue Dots. But when I shop with Mom, I tend to go hog wild! I spent a small fortune there that last trip. What can I say? Mom's an enabler!

This stamp set had me shouting "Sold!" the instant I saw it. Hello! Birch trees! And cardinals! Two of my favorite things together!

The first card is stamped directly onto PTI's Rustic White cardstock, with a little red magic from a Prisma marker and an Amuse twinkle. Look, Mom! No layers!

The second card has the image mounted on a piece of Poppy card stock. Tell me, which one do you like better?

In past years, I've made very few Christmas cards. But this year, for some odd reason, I went overboard on new holiday stamps. I plan on sending out a LOT of cards this year! Consequently, that means that simple cards will be making a big comeback here on my blog in the days ahead.

Blessings, friends!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I am blogging tonight from my new laptop! It is quite exciting!

My old laptop had really lost its speed after being abused for the last three years. I would turn it on and then go do a load of laundry and come back. I'd open my web browser and then go do the dishes, waiting and waiting for the thing to connect. While it was a great exercise in patience and multitasking, it wasn't so great when I really needed to get things done in a hurry.

This weekend, while my son John was home for fall break, I had the future computer engineer swap out my old files to a new portable hard drive and get me set up on his not-so-old former laptop. It's a fancy Compaq Presario with a nice widescreen.

While we've managed to get my camera's software uploaded to the new system, I don't think I can find my former photo shop program. At this point, I'm just happy that I can retrieve my email and upload photos again. Technology frustrates me.

But enough about that! I made a card today!

This stamp set from Papertrey Ink (A Wreath For All Seasons) is really versatile. I can tell that this will become a favorite set in no time! And talk about fast! A twiggy wreath in chocolate chip, a bittersweet overlay in Dusty Durango, and just like that I have a stunning fall wreath!

The plaid paper is from We R Memory Keepers Autumn Splendor pack. I am a mad about plaid kinda gal, and this one really spoke to me!

Can I tell you why I am so happy about this card? It's already been mailed! YES! I really want to get better about mailing my cards and not letting them pile up here in my craft room. Today was a good day...five cards mailed! It's a small victory for me. And these days, I will take victory whenever I can find it.

Now, if only I had victory over my messy house. Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sweetest Day With My Sweetest

My husband is Mr. Adventure. Yesterday, he suggested that we take the boys on a canoeing trip on the White River. Sure! It was a beautiful autumn day, and I was certain that the view from the river would be spectacular.

I was right! The views were amazing, and I was surprised that we were the only canoers on the water that day.

Sam stayed in the canoe with me and Dad. He shared in some of the paddling duties, too.

It wasn't the easiest river we've ever navigated. There were shallow spots, large rocks, and fallen trees to get around. But it was definitely worth the effort!

We saw lots of turtles sunning themselves on the rocks. It won't be long before these fellows will have to find a place to keep warm for their long winter's nap.

We paddled under quite a few bridges. This covered bridge is called Potter's Bridge. In our family, we refer to it as "The Scene of The Crime" because it was where my husband has his unfortunate biking accident last fall.

We saw quite a few heron along the river, too. I love to watch them fly. They look like giant pterodactyls in the sky!

Canoe Number One and Canoe Number Two had a little competition along the way. Who could navigate the tricky bend, who could avoid getting stuck on the sand bar, who was in the lead. So many laughs! I enjoyed watching my older sons paddle. They were younger than Sam when we first began our family outdoor adventures, and now they are having adventures on their own. Such good memories!

Sam enjoyed seeing the sights, but I think he really wanted to be in my seat at the front. The truth is, I really love to paddle, so it's hard for me to give up that oar!

We cross this river in our cars every day and never give it another thought. I'm glad that Mr. Adventure gave us an opportunity to appreciate it up close.

It was a great day to spend with the sweetest men in my life.

The boys are heading back to college for their own adventures. I'm so blessed that we've had this time together to laugh and make memories as a family.

Blessings on your Sunday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Leaves

Leaves! Beautiful autumn leaves everywhere! I love autumn, especially the colorful trees. Today's clean and simple card showcases some new products from Papertrey Ink. The leaf comes from the set "Leaf Prints". What makes this set so awesome is that there is a separate stamp for the leaf and a separate stamp for the veins. It's a picky little thing, but it really makes a difference! This could only be done with clear stamps, where you can see exactly where those veins are being stamped.

I also used the matching leaf die cut in my new Big Kick machine. Why, oh why, did I wait so long to get one of these fantastic machines? I am loving it! Thank you, my dear husband, for a great gift!

The sentiment, from Beautiful Blessings (PTI) is perfect, as I am sending these out to the families whom I have been assigned as part of my shepherding duties at church.

The big block of sahara sand ink? That's from the very old SU stamp set called "The Shape of Things". I had previously listed this set for sale, but have decided to take it off the market. I think it will have a lot of useful applications for my clean stamping philosophy. I added a little fine point line around the rectangle with my Pigma micron marker, and just like that, I've made a perfect frame for the focal point of this card. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

I finally had the opportunity to walk the trail this morning. Now that I'm working, I've been missing my morning walks with the Lord. This morning, the sun was shining and the air was crisp, and I let my soles catch up with my soul as I talked to God. We had a lot to catch up on.

I found some amazing leaves on the trail today! Would you look at the size of them?!

To give you a little perspective, here's my Frodo Baggins-sized Hobbit hand on top of the leaf. Yep! That's a biggun'!

I was so excited to find this specimen alongside the trail today. Many of you may recognize this beauty as an Osage orange. But the shocking thing is that I found it here in central Indiana! My son, John, had told me last year about finding these on a winter cross country run. As he described this unusual nut/fruit, I knew he had to be talking about an Osage orange, but I couldn't imagine them growing this far north. Apparently they do! I brought this home to show John, who is on fall break from college. Yep! That's what he saw, too!

Many people use Osage oranges to keep bugs and spiders out of their basements. It just so happens that I have a basement that grows some pretty big spiders! I think this Osage orange has found its new home!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Time For A Change

When I decided to embrace a clean and simple approach to paper crafting, I knew that one thing would have to change. No more flimsy card stock. That may be fine if you are putting a thousand layers and patterned papers aplenty onto a card, but it just doesn't cut the mustard if you are going for the minimalist style.

Today, I received 300 sheets of 11o lb. card stock from Papertrey Ink. 300. Do you think that will be enough? :) I chose a nice neutral palette...white, vintage cream, rustic white, rustic cream, soft stone, and of course, kraft.

For me, having really high quality card stock is the equivalent of building a firm foundation for a house. Here's yesterday's card in better lighting. The firm foundation for this card is Gina K's Pure Luxury Kraft.

And speaking of change...I decided to buy the book "48 Days To The Work You Love" by Dan Miller. Dave Ramsey recommends this book frequently on his radio program. I plan on reading this over the next couple of weeks. I'll continue to do the job that I don't really love until I figure out what it is that I do really love. Makes sense, right?

Thank you for all of your kind thoughts and words, my friends! I wish you were all my neighbors. Wouldn't we have fun together? I'd brew us up the lattes and we would stamp the day away. Of course, the laundry probably wouldn't get done and the dinner wouldn't get cooked, but who cares! That's what the pizza delivery man is for!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Royal Mail

Par avion. Aren't those lovely words? Especially when you know that this isn't ordinary air mail. No! This is royal mail!

And if the queen is putting her stamp of approval on it, then you know it has to be good!

I received my new stamps from Waltzingmouse Stamps today! woo hoo! Talk about fast delivery! From County Antrim in Ireland to my doorstep in central Indiana in one week! Thank you, Claire!

I have wanted to order from WMS for a long time, and finally got around to it last week. These lovely stamps are definitely worth the wait!

Today's card features stamps from the set Blessed By You. I just love that big primitive willow tree! I've always been enamored with the look of a black image on kraft. It brings to mind all of the very cool primitive shops that I have known and loved over the years, shops like The Homestead in St. Charles, Missouri, and the Ohio Homestead in Findlay, Ohio. A little gingham, some twine, a button, and a nice clean and simple card. I'll try a better photo tomorrow when I can bring this card outside.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Tough Day At Work

It's been a tough week on a lot of fronts. Yesterday was no exception. The job that had been the "perfect mom job" last month is quickly becoming the perfect mom life-drainer. I am working as a field merchandiser (read "stock girl"), and it feels as though I'm never catching up. I am on my feet for long hours, and the heavy lifting is causing my tendinitis to flare up again.

As I knelt on the cold concrete floor, sorting and stocking, a thought came to me.

I wonder if this is the career that my college professors had planned for me all along.

And then I burst into tears, right there on the floor of the grocery store.

Life doesn't always turn out the way you planned. You may not have the dream job, or live in the house that you've always longed for in the city you've always loved. Let's face it. Sometimes life takes you from the corner cafe in Paris to the floor of the grocery store.

Today, I am wearing my big girl panties and trying to suck it up. I have a J-O-B, and while I may not love it, it's the only job I could find.

Later on, I began to think of this Demotivational poster from It gave me a good self-deprecating laugh. I don't have a friend who would laugh with me over a cup of coffee. So would you do me a favor? Brew up a cup of coffee, visit, and have a good laugh with me today.

Thanks, friend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Humbled By Your Kindness

Monday. Back to the daily grind. I am starting out this new week with gratitude in my heart for all of my online friends. I have to be honest here. You are kinder and more thoughtful to me than the people in my own town. You have encouraged me when I needed a boost, energized me when I needed a spark of creativity, and strengthened me on my faith walk in ways that I never could have imagined.

Bless you, all!

To those of you who have given my old and well loved stamps new homes...thank you! Thank you for your beautiful hand made cards and the thoughtful words that you've expressed. I will look for your fabulous creations in future galleries!

Thanks to many of my friends on Splitcoast Stampers, I have come out of my "crise de craft" with a lot of new perspective. Susan Raihala (LateBlossom) showed me that you can purge your craft room just like you purge a clothes closet. Less is more.

Nancy (Phantom) at Shady Tree Studio contacted me one day and told me that she'd like to give me her old Papertrey Ink stamp sets. She was certain that it was just the thing I needed for my new clean and simple approach. Sure, Nancy! What's the price?

{crickets chirping}

And then one day, a box arrived from the Great State of Michigan (my home state) with eight lovely PTI stamp sets. A gift from Nancy. How lovely is that?

Nancy sells her own line of rubber stamps at Shady Tree Studio, but she's also a new consultant for Amuse Studio. Naturally, I had to make her a Clean and Simple Amuse thank you card!

Have you seen the new Amuse Studio catalogs? Wow! Very well done! The holiday mini really has some lovely items, too. I love the woodgrain card stock, and the new maple tags are too sweet!

Thanks A Latte, my friends! You really are the cream in my coffee!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Week Later...

Has it really been a week since I last posted? I suppose it's been a little busy here.

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary on Thursday. He gave me a little something to jump start my creativity again:

Oh boy! This is going to be interesting. I'm slowly dipping my toes back in to the pool of paper crafting, but I can see how die cutting machines can be used in lots of other mediums...wool felting, fabric, needle art, and more. There's a bit of a learning curve to these machines, so it's going to take some time.

I did manage to cut out the circle in this little 3 by 3 card. A few papers from October Afternoon, a sentiment and faux ribbon from Papertrey Ink, and somehow I was able to pull off another clean and simple card. I think I'm on a roll!

Mom came to town for a visit with her good friend, Gloria, this weekend! It's always fun to spend time with Mom. We did a little shopping, a little eating, and a lot of talking. Good times! The weather was beautiful and the trees are in full color. It was a spectacular autumn show this weekend.

Mom and I went to Archivers for a little inspiration. I think Mom has been luring me back to card making with her pep talks and enthusiasm. It made her sad to think of me giving up this craft, and well, I'm not in the business of making my mom sad. :)

In the meantime, I am still selling off lots of old, acquiring a little new, and making a mess of my office in the process. This week's project: organization!

Please check out my post (The Great Purge!) for some great deals on vintage Stampin' Up stamps and products!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

World Card Making Day!

Happy World Card Making Day!

Guess what I did for this special occasion? I made a card!


I know. I'm back to the paper crafting. I thought I was done, but God showed me that I was not done paper crafting, I was just done making it complicated.

Today's card is the first card I've made in a month. And I must confess, it wasn't easy! A lot of my supplies have gotten moved around in the process, and I'm arranging and rearranging and purging all unnecessaries.

I thought I'd make it simple. A 3 x 3 card, perfect gift size. I think this card reflects my new style. Simple. Uncluttered. A nice graphic image with a little punch. And yet still in the color palette and style that suits my country primitive tastes. A little kraft card stock, a cute image from PTI (Baby Button Bits), and finally I have achieved something clean and simple!

The Great Purge is doing very well! I am updating the list to reflect pending sales. There are still some nice rare sets to be found, and a lot of great every day sets and sentiments. Get them before they're gone! And like I said, make me an offer! I'll give a discount if you purchase multiple sets!

Once the purge is under way, I plan on replacing a lot of these old sets with some fresh new looks. I'm even thinking of adding a Big Shot die cutting machine to my supply list. What do you think? Do I need one? If you have one, do you love it? I think I'd probably use it with my needle art as well for cutting out felted wool and such. I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!