Tuesday, July 31, 2012

COF July Blog Hop!

Welcome to the cafe! Today's Brew: A hot, steaming mug of blog hop! Today is the Crafters of Faith blog hop. Kelly, at Sandcastle Stamper, was our hostess with the mostest this month, and she came up with an awesome idea. Kelly sent us all a little kit filled with papers, embellishments, and this sweet stamped image. Our job was to use at least two papers, three embellishments, and this adorable little fairy angel in a creative and crafty way.

As soon as I saw her sweet dangling legs, I knew that I wanted them to dangle on the card somehow. That's when I decided on a tent topper card. I used a square of 4 1/4 cardstock as the base, knowing that it would fit in standard A2 envelopes.

I'm always a little intimidated when it comes to coloring in images. I'd love to take a COPIC class one day. But in the meantime, I used my Prismas and added a few colors that I pulled from the colorful paper. Of course, she needed twinkly wings!  I added this sentiment from Waltzingmouse Stamps (Blessed By You) because I am truly blessed by all of the ladies at Crafters of Faith! It's been great fun getting to know all of you this summer!

Thanks for stopping by the cafe today! Now it's time to grab your coffee mug and hop on over to these blogs!








Praise the Lord, for He is good. His steadfast love endures forever!" Psalm 118:29

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hooked on Houses

I have a secret love affair with real estate. I just love houses! I love to stitch houses, I love to stamp houses, I love to visit realtor.com and just browse through house listings. One of my favorite bloggers, Julia at Hooked on Houses,  shares my obsession. She'll even post photos of favorite movie and television houses.

Sure, I'll watch HGTV sometimes, but really, how excited can you get about another kitchen with the same stainless steel appliances and granite countertops? Show me the unique house, the house with character that looks like it's been loved and lived in for years.

I've been considering a need to move this month. No, not a job transfer to a new state. Just a new move, locally, in a new home in a new neighborhood. I think it all began when I took my old girl, Maggie, to the vet to begin a whole slew of prescriptions for her arthritic hips. We have a bowl-shaped backyard that is getting harder and harder for her to navigate. Yes, we have a lovely view of the nature preserve and the trees beyond, but our backyard is basically unusable.

And then I found it. An older home, in a well established older neighborhood, with a big flat yard filled with trees and a sliver of a view to the lake beyond the cul de sac. A funky house, in need of a little cosmetic repair and TLC. And here's the kicker...a house that would cut our mortgage in half. Yes, it's looking very appealing.

I don't know that my husband is completely on board with the idea. Sure, he likes the small mortgage, but he's not sure if he's ready for a new project. He worries that the company will offer a promotion and a move in one month, three months, six months, a year, and then what? But I don't want to live in the shadow of What Ifs anymore. I want to live in the Why Nots!

Today's card reflects my love of houses.

{Today's Brew: stamps and diecuts from WPlus9 Design, card stock from PTI, papers from Crate Paper Pretty Party, PTI button twine}

Tell me, do you love houses, too? What's your favorite style?

Thursday, July 26, 2012


How do you feel about plastics these days?

I am really trying to phase plastics out of my kitchen. I sold all of my Tupperware in a garage sale last spring, replacing all of it with Pyrex glass food storage containers. I'm no longer cooking in the microwave with plastic containers, either. I also prefer a glass of water over a plastic bottle of water whenever possible.

Plastic has some wonderful uses. But I just don't think we should be using it with food. Test results have been inconclusive regarding plastics/BPA (Bisphenol A) and cancer links. But there's no doubt that BPA is now in the bloodstream of most Americans, something that was not the case just fifty years ago.

I've been on the hunt for a nice glass pitcher this summer. I finally found one today at Target! It's made by Anchor Hocking, sells for just 5.99, and has a nice removable rubber stopper.

It also has a handy inset for holding, and it holds 2 quarts. That is exactly eight one cup glasses of water.

I am using this pitcher as my visual reminder to drink more water during the day. I added a lemon for a little extra flavor. I'm hoping my family will remember to drink more water, too.

It's been a long, hot summer. Stay hydrated, friends!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

PTI July Blog Hop!

Welcome to the cafe! Today we are brewing up an iced latte of a card, perfect for a hot summer's day!

It is time for the July blog hop at Papertrey Ink. This month's inspiration featured melons and pinks and golds and chartreuse greens, beckoning me to break out some florals and make a summer bouquet!

Last week, Betsy Veldman had an awesome blog post about stamping your own background paper. I was inspired to give it a try. I challenged myself to use only the stamps that came with the set Sending You. It was quite fun, actually! Mind you, I won't be giving up my lovely patterned papers any time soon, but it was a good exercise in using what you've got!

I also grabbed one of my PTI impression plates to give a little subtle leafy texture to that strip of green paper.

{Today's Brew: PTI Sending You, PTI confetti card stock, PTI Sending You dies, PTI button and button twine, PTI impression plate, SU Kiwi Kiss card stock and ink, SU Groovy Guava card stock and ink, more mustard ink, regal rose ink}

Thanks for stopping by the cafe today!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Clean and Simple Monday

I wanted to color this little bird. I even had markers at the ready. But when I put this gingham bow on the card, a new plan came to mind.

Keep it simple! Add a little faux stitching to the focus panel to mimic the stitching that edges the gingham ribbon. Pop up the focus panel.

Yep! That's enough. Don't complicate it. Just leave the lovely kraft and black color combination alone. Let the ribbon do the talking.

I will sing the LORD'S praise, for He has been good to me.  Simple as that. Amen!

{Stamps from Unity Stamp Company, kraft card stock from PTI, versafine onyx ink, PITT marker, Making Memories gingham ribbon}

Friday, July 20, 2012

Praying For You

Sometimes, the truth hurts. When I first saw this little saying (and the more common word substitution of "talked" for "tweeted"), I remember the thought that came to my mind.


The truth is, I tend to talk around a problem six ways from Sunday before I bring it to the Lord. Too often, I make prayer my last ditch attempt rather than my first defense. I need to do better.

I have a few cares and concerns that I'm choosing to pray about rather than talk about. God is disciplining me right now, and I'm trying to train my two ears to listen twice as much while training my mouth to talk half as much. And when I do talk, I'm trying harder to THINK, as in...is it Truthful? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspirational? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?

Pray more. Talk less. Read the Word more. Read the world less. Faith more. Worry less.

Today's card is for someone I'm praying for, because frankly, we can all use a little prayer reminder on a daily basis.

We've been praying for rain and an end to the drought. God has brought us some blessed relief for the past three days. Overcast skies have been a welcome sight!

{today's brew: PTI Scattered Showers and Scattered Showers additions, PTI card stock and cloud dies, Crate Paper Pretty Party papers and chipboard flower, amuse ribbon,  SU scallop edge punch, Distress Inks, paper doily}

I don't know why this card needed doily corners. It just did.

A little cheerfulness for the inside of this card, too.

Have a cheerful weekend, friends!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Country Girl in the Big City

Hello, friends! I'm back from our New York City odyssey, exhausted, and so happy to be home!

What does a country girl have to say about the Big Apple? For starters, it's big. You'll wear yourself out with the walking. Second, it is hot. The kind of hot that just radiates off of all that concrete, necessitating a mid-day shower and change of clothes to remove all the stickiness. Third, thanks to the heat, it is smelly. Garbage bags wait on the sidewalks, ripening to a nice stench all weekend long.

Beyond the discomfort, it is definitely something to see, and I only saw a small portion of it. In two days,we managed to make it to: A Broadway show (Once, fantastic), Herald Square and Macy's, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Battery Park, The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial and One World Tower, mid-town Manhattan and Times Square.

I'll let the pictures do the talking!

Highlight of the trip: seeing the new Tony-winning Broadway musical, Once.

Emotional moment of the trip: standing in the great Registry Room in Ellis Island, the same room my grandparents stood in when they came to this country from Germany.

Constant running joke of the trip:  Did you hear there's a new Batman movie coming out soon? (billboards for the movie everywhere!)

Thought of the trip: So many people that God created, and He loves them all! He loves them so much that He doesn't want any to perish. This blew my mind!

Blessing of the trip: spending time with my husband. He is a man of adventure, and his adventures make me a better person. Even in a chaotic swarm of people, I can hold onto his arm and feel his calm. I'm so blessed!

I'll be back to crafting tomorrow. Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Stitching and Stamping with Strawberries

Happy Friday, cafe friends! I thought I'd show you a little something I've been stitching up this week. This sweet little Lizzie Kate sampler is called Summer Basket. Sunflowers, strawberries, and gingham? Yep, that's summer!

It's been a great stress reliever for me as I try to stay calm about my trip to New York City tomorrow. My husband and I are taking a little weekend getaway to do some sight seeing, which he doesn't normally get the chance to do on business trips. We have tickets for a Broadway show (going to see the musical Once), we'll be visiting Times Square and the big Macy's flagship store at Harold Square, and we hope to make it to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Should be fun! But then when it's all done, I'll be flying home alone out of La Guardia airport while my husband stays behind for work. Okay, that part does not sound like fun.

Stitch, stitch, stitch! Stay calm!

I'm trying to get the house in order for the boys before we leave. Today I've dusted and vacuumed five bedrooms, washed sheets and made beds for four bedrooms, cleaned two disgusting bathrooms, and washed countless loads of laundry. Things should be calm again some time next Tuesday. :)

Will you say a prayer for travelling mercies this weekend? Thank you!

Here's a little card inspired by my cross stitch sampler. I used papers and chipboard from Crate Paper's Pretty Party collection (available at Memory Works).

{today's brew: PTI Friendship Jar summer stamp sentiment, PTI Label Basics stamp and die, Crate Paper Pretty Party papers and chipboard, PTI white card stock, PTI button and button twine, Distress Inks, scallop edge punch}

Have a berry sweet weekend, friends!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Lost Arts: Baking Bread

In the category of Lost Arts, the art of bread baking seems to be the one that pleases all the members of my household. After all, who can resist the smell of freshly baking bread as its aroma wafts throughout the house. My oldest son, Luke, has friends who always seem to visit the house on baking day. Go figure! No one can resist.

I love to make time for bread baking. There's something very satisfying about the whole endeavor. Bread baking is a very scientific process, but it is also a magical process. Like an alchemist, you are gathering and blending ingredients into a potion that grows (thanks to the yeast) and shrinks (thanks to punching down the dough) and grows again in the oven.

I decided to make bread yesterday afternoon because a) the temperatures are much cooler now, thank you, God! and b) I had a dinner already prepared in the fridge...a tasty Chicken Vegetable Rotini soup, and c) my family doesn't count soup as a meal unless there's some tasty bread related product to go with it.

I consulted with my son John as to which bread to make, and we decided that the Savory Summer Oat Bread sounded interesting. It had whole wheat flour, oats, carrots, onions and parsley. It was practically a meal all on its own!

The breads did not rise as much as I'd hoped, but that was mostly my fault. For starters, I didn't put the dough in a big enough bowl to let it properly rise and double in size. I also used pans that were slightly larger than the recipe called for. No matter. They still tasted yummy!

For some reason, folks are afraid of recipes with yeast. I know. I used to be afraid of it, too! It sounded so complicated. But the truth is, they make wonderful yeast products now for a variety of purposes. Traditional yeasts and Rapid Rise yeasts for bread machines or faster recipes.

If you'd like to try bread making, there are a couple of tools that will make the job easier.

*A good mixer with a bread hook. My Kitchenaid stand mixer is the smaller size, so it's really best for recipes that use no more than 4-5 c. of flour. Basically, it's good for one loaf, but needs a little extra help for two. I LOVE my Kitchenaid mixer, and don't know how I lived without it for the first twenty years of marriage. I do still make bread the old fashioned way as well, with hand kneading and a floured surface. If you're a tactile person like me, you'll enjoy it, too.

*A variety of loaf pans in different sizes.

*A cooling rack, great for breads and cookies, too.

*A large bowl for letting the dough rest and rise.

*A nice clean dish towel for keeping the dough covered and warm. It's nice to have one reserved just for this process.

*A variety of flours in the stocked pantry. Nothing spoils a good bread baking day like realizing you don't have the ingredients you need. All purpose flour, whole wheat flour, old fashioned oats, cornmeal. I like to keep mine in OXO brand pantry boxes with the sealing lids to keep them fresh.

That's it. It's best to set aside a few hours so that you don't try to rush the process. I have a few more bread-related items to try this summer. I'd like to attempt my own sandwich breads, pizza dough, and pretzels before the boys are back in school. It's always a good idea to have lots of taste testers on hand...otherwise, I end up eating too much of the good stuff!


Have you visited the Moxie Fab World blog today? (link at right) Cath is giving away the Summer Fresh line from Simple Stories! It is the cutest line of papers, stickers,and accents, and the patterns and colors are adorable! Enter to win! And if you don't win, come back and place an order with me at Memory Works! :)  I'm hoping to get the line soon. It will be so cute for summer projects. I may even have to get a new scrapbook to house all of the photos from our summer travels.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Fairy Tales

Good Monday Morning, Cafe Friends!

Today's Clean and Simple challenge on Splitcoast Stampers had me stumped. The theme: fairy tales. I searched my stamp collection and stumbled upon All Booked Up by Papertrey Ink. Of course! Fairy tales and books!

I enjoy books with a magical element to them. This summer, I read The Night Circus (very magical!) by Erin Morgenstern and The Peach Keeper (magic and superstitious lore mixed together!) by Sarah Addison Allen. I am a girl at heart, so of course I love a good fairy tale ending!

Today's card was inspired by Sam, who is currently reading Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events". Sam loves the blue/orange color combo. It was also inspired by my son John, who loves the color gray and birch trees. Happy 19th Birthday, my Johnny!

{Today's Brew: PTI All Booked Up and PTI Leaf Prints stamps, PTI Soft Stone and white card stock, My Mind's Eye Fiddlesticks paper (Memory Works), Distress Inks in Black Soot/Orange Marmalade, Stormy Sky (Memory Works), PTI dies, baker's twine, SU button, rick rack}

I don't want to freak you out too much on a Monday morning, but can you see the buckeye tree behind the card photo? Here we are in the second week of July, and the leaves on the buckeye tree are starting to change. The browning has more to do with the severe drought in our area (.09 inches of rain in the month of June!) than it does with autumn's approach.

I've heard meteorologists say that since our early burst of warm weather in March, we will continue to be one month ahead. This makes perfect sense when you consider the August-like 100 plus degree weather we've been experiencing in July. Could it be that August will be more like September? Will Autumn come early this year? Oooh, I hope so! I'm done with heat and drought. Autumn is my favorite season!

Yesterday's weather brought us five minutes of rain and a blessed cooling in temperatures. I was able to stitch and read on my front porch again. Bliss!

Grab your bliss with both hands today, friends!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Here, There and Everywhere!

 From Indiana to Michigan, From Michigan to Indiana. From Indiana to Chicago. Whew! It's been a whirlwind of travel and laundry!

We took Sam to see all the important sights... Legoland!

...The Field Museum to meet a T Rex dinosaur named Sue!

...and of course, a trip to the top of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower!

 We had a great trip! Sam now has a few more things to add to his "What I did this summer" essay when he goes back to school next month.

Oh, and did I mention...I'm going on a business trip with my husband to New York City next weekend. Yep. This homebody is definitely stepping out of her comfort zone this summer. It's been one wild ride!

I found a little time to play between loads of laundry! Today's SCS challenge was to make a card that features something made of wood. I decided to take strips of paper from My Mind's Eye Dilly Dally, cut the tops to create a picket, and taped them in place to make a fence.

{Today's Brew: My Mind's Eye Dilly Dally stamps(Memory Works), MME Dilly Dally Papers (Memory Works), PTI soft stone card stock, baker's twine, seam binding, brad}

Thanks for taking the time to stop by the cafe this weekend!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tea Party with Grandma

Hello, cafe friends! I'm back from a week long trip to Michigan, where we visited with family and friends. It's always nice to spend some quality time with Grandma!

Sam attended his first tea party in Grandma's gazebo. He wasn't too sure that a) boys should attend tea parties, and b) that he'd even like tea. But Grandma changed his mind on both counts.

I made a card today to celebrate tea parties! And notice, there's not one speck of pink on this card! Blue and green, with just a little yellow. That qualifies as a masculine card, right?

{Today's Brew: Cosmo Cricket Tea for Two papers and chipboard (Memory Works), PTI sentiment and card stock, doily die from MFT, gingham ribbon from SU, Distress Ink in Old Paper}

Do you see the yellow rose in this photo? It started out as a large stem of several roses. But that's the fun of chip board...you can cut it apart! I now have some more lovely roses for another card creation in the future.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today, where we are now serving a delicious orange pekoe tea...china cups optional!