Monday, April 30, 2012

My Newest Pursuit

My dear, sweet husband drove an hour out of town yesterday to pick up my early Mother's Day present. This beautiful mountain dulcimer was listed on Craigslist ( and let me just say, there aren't a lot of dulcimers to be found there, so I knew it was meant to be mine!). It is a handcrafted, signed and numbered and dated mountain dulcimer made by Warren May in Berea, Kentucky. I think it is a work of art!

Look at this beautiful hand carved scrolled neck! It looks like a violin!

And I love the pretty!

I have had the dulcimer bug for years now. When my sister, Tina, called to tell me she'd just bought a dulcimer on her vacation, I couldn't believe it! We hadn't even discussed it! And guess where she bought hers? Yep, from the same artist who made mine in Berea, Kentucky! What can we say? We're sisters!

The gentleman who sold me his dulcimer included the case, extra strings, a CD and two books.

Mary Had A Little Lamb! Yes, we're talking very beginner books! I've learned a few tunes just by watching some youtube videos, which really helps.

I had to promise my husband that this new pursuit does not mean that I will be changing my personal style. In other words, no growing my hair out into one long gray braid and wearing long flowing skirts everywhere. He loves me just the way I am...quirky!

I think this dulcimer will be my summer experiment. (Preemptive apologies to my neighbors! ha! ha!) Tell me, do you have plans to try something new this summer?

Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Front Porch Happy Place

I love my front porch! It is the best front porch of any house I've ever lived in. It is nicely shaded by trees and surrounded by flowers and bushes. It's just a perfect spot to read a book, work on a stitching project, do a crossword puzzle, or sit with a cup of coffee and talk to the neighbors. I treat it is my outdoor room.

I spent a day sprucing up my outdoor happy place last week. I washed the windows and shutters, cleaned off the chairs, and swept the floor. Hmmm. That concrete floor. It needed a new rug. I had to retire the old stars and stripes rug last year, as it had become all snagged and worn. I wanted a rug that said "Come and sit a spell!" I wanted the rug to be a warm, soft place to rest my feet. Something cozy and cottage.

I found this braided rug on clearance at one of the local department stores. It is made of polyester, which will be perfect for outdoors, and it has all the colors of my front porch. Reds, blues, greens. I love it! I used some garage sale money to buy the large rug and a smaller version for the front door.

Now I can sit on my front porch in comfort and country style!

I can appreciate the blooms on the Bridal Veil bushes. Oh look! A ladybug!

I can stitch a cozy spring cottage from my cozy cottage porch.

My happy place!

Do you have a happy place? I'd love to hear about it!

Blessings on your Friday, friends!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PTI April Blog Hop

It's time for Papertrey Ink's April Blog Hop! This month's inspiration is a lovely stack of fabrics in pretty shades of blue and pink.  Ahh! So sweet!

I decided to use some papers from My Mind's Eye Miss Caroline (Dolled Up) to make today's card.

I figured that it was about time for Stitches and Swirls (PTI) to get inked! I paired it with a heartfelt sentiment from Garden Variety (PTI) to connect it with the little heart stick pin on the left.

Just a little card, like this rose, that comes from my garden to yours!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Every Day is Earth Day

Happy Monday! Wait. It isn't Monday? Sorry, I guess my busy Monday got away from me! I made this clean and simple card yesterday and never got a chance to post it. I thought this would be a fun and easy card to make using the PTI stamp set "Tiny Treats: Valentines". Yep, a Valentines stamp in April.I chose some papers from Cosmo Cricket (Earth Love and Nutmeg) to make a little wooded scene for my wise owl.

We spent our Sunday afternoon (yes, earth day) enjoying our little patch of earth in the back woods. I decided to bring my camera and capture some photos of our woods in the spring. I'll share a few here.

Isn't it beautiful?

Turn around. Now you have to hike up the steep hill to get back up to the house...without stairs to help you. That's a cardio workout!

My husband loves to spend time in the woods. He's clearing out lots of thorny vines to make it a little more hospitable for boys and dogs. We're hoping to make a more permanent fire pit this summer, and eventually, a staircase to make the descent a little safer. For now, it's just a fun place to find snakes, gather sticks, and find poison ivy. In other words, a boy paradise.

Happy Monday, a little belatedly!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

On-line Garage Sale

The weekend garage sale is over, but the online garage sale has just begun! I'm selling the following items for super cheap to get them from my house to yours! Prices do not include shipping. I accept check, money order, and Paypal. Email me at :

Little Pieces
On Angel Wings
Reason to Smile
Collage #s
Itty Bitty Backgrounds

Beach Babies
Big Blooms
Doodle This
Soft Swirls BG
Paisley 1 and 2 BG
Print Pattern BG

Mixed Bouquet
Fashion Statements
Collage Alpha
Little by Little
Serene Sunflower

$1 accessories:

Boho Friend wheel
Bouquet jumbo wheel
Handsome Hunter re-inker
Pink Passion re-inker
Green Galore re-inker
Pixie Pink re-inker
White re-inker
3 alpha storage cases
1 jumbo wheel storage case
Brilliance Platinum Planet re-inker
EK Success Fastenater w/ staple bars

Friday, April 20, 2012

Garage Sale Day

When the stickers and Sharpies make an appearance, you know what it must be time for...annual spring garage sales!

Our neighborhood (and the surrounding subdivisions) has their spring garage sale on this weekend every year. It seems to be the unofficial kickoff weekend to the garage sale season here in central Indiana!

I have had some very successful garage sales here, and today was no exception. I barely had time to drink my coffee! We had a steady stream of customers, and sales were brisk! Yea!

I thought I'd share a few garage sale tips, in case you were thinking of having one this season, too.

For starters, I always advertise my sales on Craigslist about a day or two before the actual day. It helps to list some major items, and provide photos as well.  I put this photo on my listing, and I had a woman here at 8am to look at my Stampin' Up goodies. That is the power of advertising!

Give some thought to how you display items. Some folks like to look at tables, racks, or shelves, while others like to root around for buried treasure at the bottom of a basket. Put your big ticket items on prominent display, and save the baskets and boxes for small ticket items. I like to arrange my tables and racks in a welcoming U shape.

Invest in some various sizes of lunch bags. These are great for pricing small items like jewelry or crafts.

Make a child's day by offering a hodgepodge of free items in a box at their eye level. It's a nice way to make moms and dads and grandparents happy, too!

Here are a few tips on preparing for your sale:

*Clean everything. If it is dirty or in total disrepair, it probably will not sell. Add a button, sew a seam, and make it neat and presentable.

*Price everything before the sale if at all possible. Trust me on this. You can tell folks to make you an offer, but they won't. They will, however, make offers on items that are marked. Marked items sell so much faster!

*Keep some stickers and Sharpies handy for price changes.

*The day before the sale, get some change at the bank. I usually get about 40 to 50 dollars, broken down into a roll of quarters, 20 one dollar bills, and a few fives.

*Price it fair, and price it to move. Be prepared to mark some items down for hagglers. Ask yourself if it's worth it to save it, or is it worth it to get it out of your house.

*Wondering if an item will sell? Put it out there and see! I'm always amazed at the things I sell. Today, I sold two old lamp shades, drawer pulls from some old dressers, some old bed linens and tablecloths. You never can tell what some folks will buy!

On the day of the sale, remember these tips:

*Keep your money on your person at all times. No cash boxes. I prefer a cross body handbag for this purpose, and the money is never out of sight.

*If your sale is in your garage or front lawn, then lock your front door and all other doors to your home.

*Never let a stranger into your home for any reason. Always recommend the nearest public restrooms, gas stations, etc.

*Never leave your sale unattended.

*Keep your cell phone and house phone handy.

*Provide bags and boxes, if possible.

Some things that sold well today:

Mens suits
Children's Clothing
Ink pads, stamp sets, and craft items
Children's Books
Sporting equipment
Housewares (blinds, shades, kitchen items, and decorative items)

And here's my most important tip:


Greet every customer. Talk to their kids. Chat with them about their awesome finds. Don't hide behind a table with your arms crossed and a scowl on your face. Walk around, smile, and spread a little joy!

That's good advice for any day of the week!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Herb Garden (recipe included!)

My inner farm girl got the itch to play in some dirt yesterday, so I went to my local garden center and picked up some new herbs for the herb garden.

The bunnies have now hopped on to greener pastures, so I felt it was safe to get digging. I needed to curb my rabid oregano and sprawling mint to make room for some other additions.

Sage blossoms, so unique and pretty!

I transplanted my chives to a more accessible spot, and added some oregano, lemon thyme, and boxwood basil to keep it company.

I'm leaving room at the back of this garden for some flowering perennials. Who says you can't be practical and pretty at the same time?

My herb garden is located just steps off the deck and a few feet from the kitchen, making it a handy place to snip something green and tasty to add to our meals.

Thai basil has an interesting purple flower. I planted it next to the curly parsley that reseeds itself each year. I also found a Stevia plant! My sister, Sue, told me that she'd planted it in her garden once, and I was happy to find it in our store. Stevia is a natural sweetener, and I've been using a little stevia to sweeten my herbal teas.

I am a huge fan of fresh parsley, which is probably why I love Mediterranean and middle eastern cooking, as they often include it in their popular dishes.

I stumbled upon a recipe for tabbouleh, but of course, I had to tweak it and add to it and make it my own. This is a really hardy and filling dish, especially when served on top of a bed of fresh greens. Yum! My oldest son and his buddy, Caleb, watched me prepare this dish, and I was shocked to hear them say "Wow, that looks good, even to us!" They tried it and gave it the thumbs up! So, if you can get college kids, who live on a diet of pizza and Taco Bell, to try something healthy, then you know it must be good!

Mary Rose's Tabbouleh

3/4 c. hot water
3/4 c. bulgur
2 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. diced onion
1/2 c. diced pepper
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
lots of chopped fresh parsley
feta cheese

1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 t. dry basil, or several T. fresh, chopped
2 t. dill seed
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pour hot water over bulgur and let stand. Cook lentils in remaining water ( 2 1/2 c.) over medium heat, stirring often, until water absorbs. (While cooking, you can add onion and pepper if you want them softened, or add after lentils have cooked completely).

In a large bowl, combine lentils, bulgur, cucumbers, tomatoes. Toss with dressing. Add feta. Scoop onto a bed of fresh romaine or lettuce, and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Made From Scratch

I've been reading this delightful book that I discovered in my local library. "Made From Scratch", by Jenna Woginrich, published by Storey Publishing in 2008. This book has awakened my inner farm girl, that same girl who's been sleeping in flannel wrapped warmth through the winter.

My inner farm girl has been starting some seedlings indoors, and putting them out in the sun on warm days.

My inner farm girl found a way around those pesky rabbits in the herb garden. I planted three varieties of lettuce in this shallow bowl. In a few weeks, I'll have a yummy bowl full of greens that I've grown from scratch.

This book has me longing to raise chickens, take up knitting, and learn to play the dulcimer. Yes, it's that inspiring!

I think the essence of this little book is that you can slow down and appreciate life's accomplishments, big and small. It is about finding satisfaction in our own thrift and in the things we make and grow and create with our own two hands.

I crafted a little card today using papers, chipboard, and buttons from...wait for it, wait for it......
Crate Paper's Farmhouse collection, of course! Just a sweet little card to remind someone to take time for the important things in tea!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When You Care About Color

Are you sensitive to color? I know I am!

When my new couches arrived in February, I knew they were the wrong color the instant the delivery men unwrapped them. Instantly.

The color was called Tawny. I didn't see Tawny. I saw Dove Grey.

I know, I know, greys are hugely popular in decorating right now. But greys are not for me! I am not a cool tone person. I love things warm and cozy.

I tried to reconcile the color. I swapped out the warm pine end tables that looked putrid now that this cool color had been introduced into the room. I added pillows and blankets. It still didn't help.

Should we repaint the great room? Change the rug? Get new curtains? Buy new end tables and lamps?

Oh, forget it!

I lived with it for about 48 hours before calling the store and ordering the "proper" color.

The new couches arrived today! I even warned the delivery men as they were unwrapping them.

"You won't see a big difference between the two colors, but I will!" I said.

Can you see a difference?

The grey is gone, and Chamois has arrived!

The couches now match the rug and the room perfectly!

Chamois is a sort of warm camel color that goes with everything in my house. It will be so fun to change to look of the sofa with different blankets and pillows for the changing seasons.

As they left, the delivery men said, (very kindly, I might add) "You have seventy-two hours to call if there are any problems with your new furniture."

"Oh, don't worry!" I said. "My husband will not let me call again!"

They laughed.

"How long have you been together?" they asked.

"Twenty-five years this year. And yes, I know, it's a miracle!"

I am so pleased with the new color! My husband may not admit it, but I know that he'll be pleased with the new color as well. He will be most pleased that he will not have to repaint the great room!

We've been calling this episode The Great Couch Color Fiasco of 2012.

Tell me, have you ever had a color fiasco? How did you fix it?