Saturday, February 25, 2012

PTI February Blog Hop

Good morning, friends! I am blogging from Michigan today, where we woke up to snow on the ground. Aaah, it's good to be home! :)

Today is the day for Papertrey Ink's monthly blog hop. This month's challenge? Make an interactive card. Hmmm. This one wasn't easy for me, but I decided to keep the interactive part simple.

This card features stamps from the set Garden Variety (PTI). I've always loved these images, but only added this set to my collection recently. I looked at the seed packet stamp and thought "Hmm. I wonder if I can make that a slot for a bookmark to fit in."

As luck would have it, I discovered that the word window punch from SU made a perfect slot in the top frame portion of the stamped image! woo hoo! I love it when that happens!

I used foam dimensionals to pop the seed packet off its pink matte frame. This makes it easier to pull the bookmark out of the slot. And, to ensure that the frame did not slide out of the bottom end, I just cut a foam strip from the edge of the pop dots dimensionals and secured it at the bottom.

To make the bookmark, I used the PTI die three times, first cutting it out of cardstock, and then cutting it out of two different patterned papers from Crate Paper's Random collection. I glued the papers to the front and back of the cardstock. This made the bookmark very sturdy and gave it more structure.

I loved this sentiment from All Booked Up (PTI), and thought it fit nicely with the garden theme of this card.

I did a little stamping inside of the card as well. I usually forget this step entirely, but I love the look when I do remember!

Snow may be on the ground today, but I know that spring flowers will soon be making an appearance. I can't wait for gardening season to begin!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

{today's brew: Garden Variety (PTI), All Booked Up (PTI), bookmark/watering can/label die from PTI, white cardstock (PTI), Crate Paper Random collection, wild wasabi ink(SU), melon mambo ink and cardstock(SU), soft sky ink (SU), word window punch (SU), seam binding, button from PTI, beads and lace doily from my stash}

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again...

...hurrah! Hurrah!

My son, John, is finished with his winter trimester of college, so I made the trip this morning to bring him home. You know how much I love having my college boys home again!

John (on the left) is a real individual with his own style. I love this photo of John with his new eyeglasses, hat, and scarf combo. Very dashing!

I gave John his very belated Valentine today! John wears glasses (like me!), and I thought this stamp set from Lawn Fawn was perfect! (Inside, the sentiment says"...I love you!")

This was my first time using washi tape. It's kind of fun in a funky, hipster sort of way!

{recipe: Cleat To See stamps from Lawn Fawn, card stock from PTI, embossing folder (PTI), washi tape (K and Co.), buttons and DMC floss}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Long Road

Thank you, friends, for your thoughts and prayers for my mother, Ruth. Mom had surgery to repair her hip, her poor shattered shoulder is in a sling, and she has been moved to the rehabilitation center. She has a long road of rehab and recovery ahead of her, and I foresee many hours on the long road that separates my house from hers.

Mom loves handmade cards from her crafty friends, so I'll try to make her a few cards to brighten her days. I finally had the chance to use this new Willow stamp set from Papertrey Ink. It's a great set for making cards of comfort and encouragement.

{recipe: Willow stamp set (PTI), Rustic White card stock (PTI), wild wasabi and choc. chip inks (SU), papers (We R Memory Keepers), angled label die (PTI), rustic twine and button (PTI)}

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blogging Break

Hello friends! I am taking a blogging break this week and will be back on Monday. My dear, sweet mother, Ruth, fell outside her home and shattered her shoulder and hip. I am in Michigan, caring for her cat, Miss Kitty, and visiting with Mom whenever I can.

It's one of those situations when you ask God, "Why?" But I know He has a plan, and Mom will recover in time to enjoy spring.

Hey, how about a craft project before I go?

I was out shopping one day before Christmas when I found this adorable car magnet. I wasn't a big fan of the sentiment "Just Let Go." Hmmm. Maybe if I put a D on the end of that sentiment...

And just like that, I have a message that makes me happy. Just Let God!

I'm going to just let God handle Mom's healing...with a lot of prayers, of course. Would you please send a prayer for Ruth as well?

Bless you, friends!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Where My Heart Is

Happy Monday! Hope your weekend was fun! I got to spend the weekend with my oldest son and youngest son, and had the chance to talk with my son in the middle on the telephone last night. But now it's Monday, oldest son is back at college, youngest son is back to school, and middle son won't be home until next week. Sigh! Wish I had all of my little sparrows back in the nest. That's the thing about children. Wherever they go, they take your heart with them.

Today's card uses a sketch from SCS and a challenge from PTI to combine butterflies and leaves. I needed a bright color combo (melon mambo and kiwi kiss) to combat the grey skies outdoors.

I'm in full crafting mode today! I need to make twenty-five Valentines for Sam's class party tomorrow, and I need to finish up a custom crafting project that's part of my gift for my husband tomorrow.

Happy Crafting, Cafe friends!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Opening night of Star Wars Episode 1 in 3D. We just knew the costumed fans would be out in full force last night!

Another Kulczak son finally got to see one of his all-time favorite movies on the big screen!

I have to say that the 3D aspect of this movie was rather disappointing. Not nearly as spectacular as we thought it would be. But what other opportunities do you get to wear cool sunglasses indoors?

One line of the dialog in last night's movie really stood out for me. Qui Gon Jinn tells young Anakin "Your focus determines your reality."

Wow. I repeat, your focus determines your reality!

It is so hard to focus in our culture. There are so many distractions! Cell phones, texting, tweeting, reality television, movies, radio, news, ipods, internet surfing, sports, hobbies, books, shopping, food. The list goes on and on! Very few things that build community, but everything to prevent even one minute of boredom.

I don't know about you, but I know that I really need to refocus and change my reality. What that will mean for me is stepping away from the things that have done very little to give me a sense of community. Facebook, Pinterest, online forums, internet surfing. Those distractions have never brought connection or purpose or peace.

Focus. Prayer. Focus. Walking. Focus. Connecting. Focus. The Word. Focus. Service. Focus. Humility. It won't always be easy. But one thing it will be? Real.

I thought you might like to see how the interactive Love Banner is evolving. Lots of good things to love...Starbucks coffee, Star Wars, Dad's grilling, grandmas and grandpas, puppies. Love is good!

Love well, my friends!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

To Pin or Not To Pin

Do you pin? As in, Pinterest? I am torn on this new form of social media mixed with eye candy. I can see where Pinterest might occasionally be nice, especially if you are using it as a form of online inspiration board. Where Pinterest and I part is pure esthetics. I love pretty things as much as the next gal. Heck, that's why I love magazines so much. But I also like to keep my life real. Pinterest holds an unusually high standard to the rest of the world with its pretty fluffy messages, pretty hair, pretty houses, and pretty handmade everything. But is it real and true and good?

Here's an example. Pinterest will show you a unique way to decorate your home using stamps.

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What it won't show you is what a mess rubber stamps will make in the rest of your house( if you get really serious about collecting them! tee! hee!).

Pinterest will show you a carefully cropped and beautiful photo of roses.

It won't show you the morning table where those roses reside, cluttered with newspapers, homework, unfinished weekly bible study, pencils, pens, scissors, and a game of Bananagrams.

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Pinterest might show you a nice new sofa, artfully arranged with pillows and blankets.

But it won't show you that it's taking up valuable real estate in a room that is currently occupied by four couches!

Let's face it. Life is messy! And while I might occasionally need a pretty photo or a feel good message to inspire me, I also do not need to see a young woman in an impossibly small bikini with perfectly braided hair who lives in a just so house filled with the best of everything. I have enough inferiority complexes to battle every day without Pinterest helping the devil's hand, thank you very much!

Will I pin? Maybe. But I have to remember to "keep it real" every day. Easy to do here at home, not so easy to do when bombarded by television and the internet.

But here I am, on the internet, showing you my pretty thing, making myself a part of the problem instead of the solution. What can I say? I'm a complex, flawed individual. Good thing God loves me so much!

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Papertrey Ink now has a Pinterest gallery to browse, and it is inspiring, I'll give you that! One project inspired me to use strips of pretty papers for this bookmark that I made for Sam. A mother just loves to hear "As soon as I finish this chapter"!

Tell me, do you pin? What are your favorite inspirational blogs?

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." Philippians 4:8
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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Love of Good Books

Don't you just love this nightstand? Sam keeps the bookcase close to his bed (for easy access) and lines the top with all of his treasures. He has such a sweet little boy heart!

Right now, Sam and I are reading "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis every night. When I was a young mom to my two oldest sons and a new teacher, I poured my heart into the roles by researching and reading everything related to early childhood education. I owned a book called "The Read Aloud Handbook", and the author made the case for parents reading to their children, even long after the kids can read by themselves.

I remember reading the Narnia books to Luke and John Ryan, with all three of us curled up in Luke's little twin bed. When Aslan, the king, sacrificed himself for Edmund, it was a lightbulb moment for my boys. "Hey! That's just like Jesus!" they exclaimed, surprised. Yes, I said, wiping the tears from my cheeks, yes it is.

Last night, Sam read to me from his new library book, and I'm proud to say that he is an excellent reader. His test scores are well in the advanced range. Of course, that's not a big surprise. Would you look at all the books bulging out of his bookcase? We can't help ourselves. We're a family that loves reading.

Yesterday, Sam made himself a little book (similar to the one I'd made for my book journal), and instead of using background papers, he made his own.

I love the title. "Art and Writting for boys". Isn't that precious? And here's the back:

So creative! Sam is participating in Illustrator's Club after school, exploring new books and favorite illustrators, and learning their art techniques. He loves it. He's only eight, but he already has an appreciation for great illustrators like Eric Carle, Jan Brett, Lois Ehlert, and Mark Teague.

Tell me, who are your favorite illustrators or children's authors?

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Warm Welcome to Lexi!

Day 2 of PTI's Fifth Anniversary was a big surprise! They revealed the talented women whose very own designs will be featured in upcoming releases for 2012. It was so nice to see a familiar face in the lineup! Lexi Daly will be creating her own line of stamps for PTI! Yea, Lexi! Lexi and I were on the design team for The Saltbox Studio several years ago. It was always fun to see what Lexi would come up with, as her clean and simple style is legendary!

Nichole's blog features a sheet of free digi images from the new designers, and I chose Lexi's fun toaster image to make today's card.

I thought that these papers from October Afternoon's Modern Homemaker collection were the perfect choice! They remind me of my Tante Mimi's kitchen when I was a child. It was always a warm and happy place to have a cup of tea and a cookie or two.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Sweet Blush

Ever have a card or a craft project that just takes on a life of its own?

I was totally inspired by this fabulous card that Maile Belles created here:

Maile Belles' Fabulous Card!

I loved the graphic quality of the repeating patterns in rainbow colors. I loved the buttons. And oh yes, I loved the kraft!

I was inspired to make something similar to this card. And then a funny thing happened. I put a piece of Sweet Blush card stock next to Kraft card stock, and they looked so happy together in a soft and romantic sort of way. Who am I to separate true love? I opted for the softer color palette that you see here:

{recipe: Kraft/Sweet Blush/Rustic White card stock (Papertrey Ink), Love Lives Here sentiment (PTI), heart border die (PTI), versafine onyx ink, versamagic cloud white ink}

Did you know that Papertrey Ink is celebrating their fifth anniversary this month? The PTI team has all sorts of festivities planned, so make sure you stop by Nichole's blog for all the details!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Banner of Love

Okay, I've been in a bit of a crafting funk this week. I decided it was time to break out of the card making mold and do something a little fun and funky. No challenges, no special inspiration, just creating.

I had been thinking of this pennant banner all week, and finally got around to making it. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, papers and dies and punches from a lot of different companies, and voila! Something for the home and for the whole family to enjoy!

I thought that it might be fun to make this an interactive banner. I decided to leave a lot of space for all of the family members to add something or someone they love.

I put out a basket and filled it with some tags, punched hearts, and a Sharpie. This will help inspire my boys to add a little something to our banner of love. Totally organic, as my sister Jenny likes to say. I'm hoping that this banner will evolve during the month of February.

This was a fun project to help get me out of my creative rut. Tell me, what do you do when you've lost your crafting mojo?