Saturday, June 30, 2012

Crafters of Faith June Blog Hop!

Good morning! Welcome to the cafe! Today, we are serving up a special brew...the Crafters of Faith Blog Hop! Our theme for the month of June is "Fun in the Sun". Seems appropriate, considering the sweltering temperatures we've been experiencing in the U.S. this week!

Our "Fun in the Sun" theme had a few requirements. Our projects had to include sunshine, summer toys, something blue, and something raised on pop dots. I hope this project fits the bill!

{today's brew: Kraft card stock (PTI), sentiment from PTI, Crate Paper Storyteller Collection papers and chipboard from Memory Works, PTI sunshine and picket fence dies}

There you have it! A super fun card with a clean and simple approach.

You would think with all of the bike cards I've been making lately that I must be on my bike every day. Not the case, unfortunately! I've been on meds for a month now, trying to kick my chronic Lyme disease flare up back into remission. No energy for bike riding this summer. Ah well, this too shall pass! I may get on my bike again before the season is done. In the meantime, my husband rides enough for both of us!

Make sure you visit the other Crafters of Faith blogs this weekend and leave them some love and encouragement!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Lost Arts: Needle and Thread

Today's Lost Art is more of a "Lost and Found" art for me. I have been playing with needle and thread since I was a young girl. My mother taught me everything I know. She taught me how to floss a needle, how to start a row of stitches, how to detangle floss. I'm so thankful that there was more to my girlhood than princesses and Barbie dolls.

I forgot about needle art in my teens and early twenties, but picked it up again as a young mom. I stitched Christmas stockings, samplers, and gifts like tea towels. And then, I put needle art down again for a ten year stretch.

I picked it up again about four years ago, and discovered a whole new world in needle art. Overdyed flosses, gorgeous linens, embellishments like beads and buttons and charms. Needle art had come a long way from my days with Aida cloth and DMC floss!

I love needle art because it is so portable. I'm not a fan of packing up my stamp room and taking it on the road. I've done it a few times, and it always seems like more work than it's worth. But needle art? Throw in your scissors, your flosses, your linen, your pattern, your needle, and you're good to go!
I can stitch at my front porch, stitch at the park, stitch at the pool. It keeps my hands busy while allowing my brain to meditate and pray.

Needle art feeds my creative side just like paper crafting. I get to play with colors and textures and good design. What's not to love?

We went to see the movie Brave yesterday. I won't spoil the movie by telling you that needle art saves the day! (Okay, maybe I'm the only one that found this to be a key theme of the movie! LOL!)

One day, I'm going to dabble at designing my own patterns. I've tried it once, and it takes a bit of work. I've got a few designs floating around in my head that have been sketched out but not stitched.

In the meantime, I love stitching the adorable creations I find in patterns. I'm so glad that this lost art was found again!


Stop back to the cafe tomorrow for a Crafters of Faith Blog Hop! I promise, there will be plenty of sunshine to inspire you!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

R is for Ryan

Last week, I needed a birthday card for Ryan, a neighbor boy that lives a few houses down from us. Ryan was having a birthday party at Bounce Planet, and Sam was invited.

Ryan is a six year old World War II buff. He's a rare breed! His Mom says he's loved watching the History channel from the time he was three!

When Ryan was about four, he came to my house looking very dejected one day.

"My mom says she won't let me be an Army Ranger because they jump out of airplanes. She says I'll have to join the Navy instead."

"Well, that's how Mom's are, Ryan. She probably figures you'll be safer in the Navy."

"It wasn't safer for the Navy in Pearl Harbor, though," he replied.

Who could argue with that?!

 Ryan is a sweet, special boy, and I wanted his card to be special, too.

I pulled out my new Crate Paper Story Teller papers and chipboard to create this card. I knew he'd appreciate the airplane!

{Today's Brew: Crate Paper Story Teller papers and chipboard (Memory Works), nail head brad, sentiment from PTI Masculine Motifs}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Library Love

Who doesn't go crazy for a great library?

Sam and I made one of our weekly trips, and I remembered to take some photos.

When we'd move to this area over four years ago, one of my criteria for a new town was that it had to have a great library. I'd been living in one of the richest counties in the U.S. that had one of the puniest libraries I'd ever seen. So, a fantastic library was a must!

This library checked off all of my must have boxes. It's fabulous! Three stories! A teen room filled with comfy chairs, comics, magazines and the hottest young adult novels.

A kid's room with an ocean theme...two aquariums, an island with a giant palm tree shading a pirate's chest, seats for kids and parents, too, and an amazing selection of titles!

My library also has a genealogy room, a used book store, and a great seating area near the magazines and newspapers where you can enjoy a coffee and browse a while.

And did I mention all of the books, DVD's, and CD's?

I picked this book up on our last visit, and I'm really enjoying it. Debbie Macomber talks about the power of words, especially when it relates to our faith walk. For many years, she's been meditating on one word every year, and keeping a prayer journal about that word. What a great idea! God often gives me a word to ponder. One year, the word was sovereign. Another year, it was mercy. This year? Well, the word redeemed has been popping up often in my readings. I may have to plant myself in this word for a while.

Have you found one perfect word this year?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cupcake Love

Do you love cupcakes? To tell you the truth, it's not my favorite dessert option.  Give me a homemade cookie over a cupcake any day of the week! But a new cupcake shop opened in our historic downtown, and we decided to visit. We like to support our hometown businesses by shopping local.

Sam eats cupcakes like I do...turned on the side so that we don't have to eat too much frosting. Yeah, I know, we're weird!

I made a cupcake card, perfect for my stash of birthday cards. The loverly papers and chipboard are from Crate Paper's Pretty Party collection (available at Memory Works!).

I added the sprig of flowers just to give it an extra dose of girliness. What do you think? Too sweet, like frosting?

{Today's Brew: Crate Paper Pretty Party papers and chipboard, PTI card stock, amuse ribbon and twinkles, florist sprig, scallop edge punch}

Do you know what this cupcake needs? A nice cafe latte to go with it!

Thanks for visiting the cafe! Blessed Monday, friends!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lost and Found

It's amazing what you can find when you do a little cleaning! I found this sweet little image from My Favorite Things, all paper pieced and colored, just waiting to be used on a card. Sheesh! What took me so long?

I used papers and chipboard from Crate Paper's Random Collection (available at Memory Works! Click on the link at right and browse a while!) A little felt, a little bling, and a whole lot of color!

{Today's Brew: stamps from MFT, papers and chipboard from Crate Paper Random collection, card stock from SU and PTI, heart die (mft), felt from PTI, Prisma markers, bling from amuse}

Don't you love this coffee girl? She's a lady after my own heart...not one, but TWO venti cups!

And speaking of coffee, I finally broke down and got a new espresso maker. (My favorite Senseo died after five years of constant service!) After studying all the machines out there (Keurig, Nespresso, CBTL,  and more) I decided that I did not want another pod maker. I wanted something that just needed the ground coffee that would brew and froth and make me lattes and espressos and cappucinos. In other words, happy in a cup.

And this is what happy in a cup looks like! One perfect latte, creamy and foamy and oh so good! And when I make it, I feel like a true barista! Can I brew you up a cup? Hazelnut? Vanilla? Caramel?

Blessings on your weekend, friends!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cleaning Day

Some fun things arrived at my doorstep this week! First, my consultant kit from Memory Works came, complete with  a lovely tote and catalogs to study.

Yesterday, while I was out of town, my first order from Memory Works came. Inks, chipboard, markers, pretty papers, so many fun toys! All of these toys are shouting "Play with me!"

Sadly, my crafting armoire looks like this!

Yep. Not even one square inch of flat surface to create something!

It's Friday, and I want to play! But I will clean first and play later.

Fun new things to show in the future!

Happy Cleaning Day, friends!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Lost Arts: Making Music

The Lost attempt at rediscovering the simple things in life.

Making music...the lost art of homemade entertainment. Years ago, before itunes, satellite radio, and music video channels, folks entertained friends and family with music. Someone would pull out a fiddle, a guitar, an accordion, and  before you knew it, a makeshift band was forming music, just for music's sake. No one thought about recording contracts, television competitions, or fame and fortune. They sang because they had a song. They played because it brought them joy.

We're having a musical summer. At least once a week, we meet on the front porch with a gathering of musicians of varied talent just to jam. My son, Luke, will invite a few friends, they'll bring their guitars, and they'll try their hand at chords and vocals. Some nights, Luke will grab the dulcimer, Sam will grab his beginner guitar or a modified drum, and we'll play freestyle.

I picked up this penny whistle to add to our musical instrument collection. My mother was happy to hear that I haven't lost my embouchure (thanks for all of those years of clarinet and saxaphone lessons, Mom!). Our tunes have a very folksy feel. My son, John, says that it sounds like Frodo's music from the Shire...a very apt description!

Other nights, we play acoustic versions of favorite rock tunes. Luke was playing Jars of Clay "Flood" last night. How do we sound? Well, we're not ready for an audience, but that's not the point. The point is that it brings us joy. I love to play hymns on my dulcimer. It's a musical devotion time, a creative offering to the Creator.

I grew up in a big family that loves music. In recent years, many siblings are reconnecting with their musical sides. I have a brother that is making (yes, making!) and playing his own guitars. I have two sisters that took up guitar, and one now plays with the church praise band. I have another sister who fulfilled her lifelong wish to play violin. She's taking lessons and getting one of her grand daughters hooked on music in the process. All of my siblings (like me!) are over forty. It's never too late to learn something new!

Today's card reflects our love of music. I used stamps from Unity Stamp Company and paired them with papers, pin, and button from My Mind's Eye Howdy Doody collection (available at Memory Works).

{Today's Brew: stamps from Unity Stamp Co., My Mind's Eye Howdy Doody papers, MME pin and button, PTI kraft and ivory card stock, PTI die, soft suede and soft sky ink, baja breeze seam binding, baker's twine}

Tell you play an instrument? Sing? If not, have you ever wanted to?

"It is never too late to be what you  might have been." -George Eliot

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hello, My Friend!

On Saturday, we took a long, leisurely drive through some rural counties in Ohio as we headed to see my father-in-law for Father's Day weekend festivities. We love to look at the old farmhouses, amazing barns, and heritage gardens with an abundance of blooming flowers. In our area of the Midwest, the tiger lilies are blooming profusely along the rural roads.

I love everything farm house! When I first saw Crate Paper's Farmhouse collection, I knew that I had to have it! Today's card features papers ( 6 by 6 pack), chipboard, and button from the Crate Paper Farm House collection. You can find this collection (and many more!) at Memory Works!

I decided to age the card a little with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist. I used a mask from Tim Holtz, sprayed, and voila! Subtle shimmer! Sentiment is from Unity Stamp Company. (all available at MW!)

Tell me, what do you love about farm houses?

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Monday, June 18, 2012


Now that Father's Day weekend has come and gone, I thought I better restock my supply of cards for the men in my life. I decided to use my much-loved Hero Arts/Sizzix Bike set, and pair it with the lovely new paper's from Crate Paper called Storyteller.

I got a little collage-y with this card. Flags, arrows, pennants...there's a lot going on here!

Don't you love these papers? Maps, cork, graphs, and that awesome red and blue stripe that looks like air mail. So cool and very trendy. The Crate Paper Storyteller collection has some really fun elements...chipboard, buttons, stickers, and papers in scrapbook size or in smaller scale 6 by 6 packs for the card makers. You can see all of the elements in this collection at my Memory Works website! And trust me here, if you were to drive to your local store, they probably would not carry as many items from this collection as Memory Works does.

Click on the Memory Works box for more info------------------------------------------ >

We had a lovely Father's Day yesterday. Church in the morning, picnic in the park in the evening.

Frisbee fun and lots of laughs!

Exploring in the woods and being a little adventurous.

Food and fun with father...a great day for all.

Hope your weekend was full of blessings, too!

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Lost Arts: Slow Food

This summer, I've been doing things a little differently. Just taking a step back and looking at ways to make life a little slower, a little simpler, a little richer. I call it The Lost Arts. You know, the things our grandparents knew but we've forgotten.

Today's Lost Art: Slow Food. Yep, it's pretty much the opposite of fast food. It's food made at home, with my own ingredients so I know what I'm serving my family. It's food that takes a little thought and preparation. Simple food. Delicious food. Food that will make a table of hungry boys happy.

This week, I made my own version of a soup I'd first tried at Panera's (that's Breadco for my Missouri friends!). Lemon Chicken Orzo soup. Mmm. I studied the ingredients and told myself "You can do this!" And so I did. I served it with homemade (not out of a can) baking powder biscuits. Biscuits are the easiest thing in the world to make. A few ingredients in a mixer, knead some dough on a floured counter top, cut out and bake. Easy, but with a HUGE payoff. Tell me, what boy does not love warm biscuits topped with a little butter and local honey? It's like dessert that gets served with the dinner entree!

The base of this soup is one that I use for many other variations, and it calls for stewing chicken. Don't be afraid! Stewing chicken is not that difficult! It is merely onions, celery, carrots and chicken breasts in a pot of water, left to slowly boil until it makes a yummy stock. It's chicken broth, only not out of a can. Homemade. From scratch. And it makes all the difference in your soups. Trust me on this!

Here's my recipe for the soup.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

To stew chicken:
1 medium diced onion
2-3 ribs celery, chopped
2-3 chopped carrots
8 cups water
2 chicken breasts (with bone and skin)
salt, pepper, parsley, chicken boullion seasoning

1/2 c. orzo
2 lemons
1 bag fresh spinach

Put all of the stewing ingredients in a large stock pot and let simmer on low boil for app. one hour. Check the flavor of the stock and add seasonings as needed. ( I like to use a little L.B.Jamison's chicken soup base in place of chicken boullion, but Wylers brand works well, too). Remove chicken breast and set aside. Bring pot back to boil. Add fresh juice of two lemons, then add 1/2 cup of orzo (trust me, it doesn't look like much, but it will grow! If you add more like I did, you'll end up with a casserole instead of soup!). Remove skin and bone from chicken. Dice chicken and add back to pot. Chop 1 bag of fresh spinach and add to pot. Stir until spinach has wilted down and cooked. Serve. For extra fanciness, add a thin slice of lemon to the bowl of soup for garnish.

Slow food. A lost art that the whole family will appreciate!

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Memory Works!

I am so excited to share my big news with you! I am a...
For some time now, I've been searching for a business venture that would relate to my blog, allow blog readers to shop from me, and allow me to share my favorite products with you. I finally found everything I was looking for with Memory Works, a company that is celebrating it's tenth year in business this month!

Memory Works is a paper crafting store that comes right to your home! They carry the latest products at fantastic prices, and you can shop from a catalog or browse through products from a consultant's website. MW releases two catalogs each year, coinciding with the release of new products from the companies we love at the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) conventions. Which companies?

Basic Grey, Cosmo Cricket, Crate Paper, My Mind's Eye, Tim Holtz, Unity Stamp Company and so many more!

Like I said, think of it as a paper crafting store that you don't have to drive to...and one that has the items you are looking for in stock!

I'll be sharing more fantastic features about Memory Works in the days ahead. In the meantime, please visit my website (you can click on the logo at the right sidebar), browse through the products, and let me know if you'd like a catalog. I'd love to be your personal paper crafting store!

Blessings on your Friday, friends!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

For The Boys

I have a real deficit of manly cards in my card stash right now. Masculine Motifs from PTI to the rescue! I decided to make a one layer card using PTI's rustic cream card stock and a shadow stamp (SU's Shape of Things) to frame the images. I got a little too carried away in the ink distressing, but my little guy said it looked cool. "It looks like you burned the edges!" he said. Well, if I can impress an eight year old, then I guess that's something!

{Today's Brew: images from PTI's Masculine Motifs, sentiment from Waltzingmouse Stamps, shadow stamp from SU, wild wasabi/soft suede/soft sky ink, PTI rustic cream card stock}

I am so happy to announce that I've been added to the blogging group, Crafters of Faith! They've welcomed me into their sweet fellowship, and I've welcomed them to my blog roll! Make sure you visit them and give them some love. We'll have some fun with monthly challenges and blog hops in the future.

I am also pleased to announce that I'm beginning a new venture this month with a company that I'm really excited about! I'm still getting all of my little ducks in a row, but I'll have more info to share in the days ahead.

Blessings to you!

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