Wednesday, October 31, 2012

COF October Blog Hop!

Good morning, friends! Today is the Crafters of Faith October Blog Hop! We are inspired today by  First Thessalonians 5:16-18: "Be joyful always; pray continually;give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

We're looking forward to Thanksgiving today, so make sure you visit all of the lovely ladies listed on the right under my "Crafters of Faith" blog roll! -------------------------------------------------------->

{Today's brew: stamps and die cuts from WPlus9 Design, kraft card stock from PTI, papers from Simple Stories Harvest Lane, SU inks cajun craze/old olive/soft suede, lace, button die and button twine from PTI, Distress Stain in picket fence}

I've been loving paper buttons lately. Mind you, I LOVE real buttons, but they make cards so bulky and difficult to mail. I'm trying to keep my cards a little flatter these days.

A little extra fanciness for the inside of this card.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today! Now go visit the COF blogs and leave them some love and comments!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The First

Here it is. The first card I made in my new craft room.

And I said I wouldn't be posting cards and photos on this blog again. :)

{recipe: stamps and dies from PTI, PTI kraft card stock, PTI Dearest Jane papers, Simple Stories harvest Lane papers, scallop edge punch, baker's twine}

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The new system

Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you've had a wonderful weekend. I had a great time playing in my new craft studio this weekend! My little guy, Sam, joined me to do some crafting, too. He makes some of the sweetest cards.

I thought I'd post a few photos of the new space.

Remember, I didn't say it was perfect. I just said that it works perfectly for me!

My rusty vintage stool that was a garage sale find.

My work surface with important things handy...inkpads, markers and pencils, paper cutter and scissors, cleaners and adhesive. Still need to hang my inspiration boards. Plenty of room for some vertical wall storage later.

On my left...PTI stamps, papers and accessories.

Cubbies for the little things.

Ribbon and paper storage, with a few Longaberger baskets thrown in.

On my beloved Big Kick, punches, papers and more.

A basket for my dies and a drawer full of Tim Holtz Distress Stains and Mists.

Buttons and boxes for storage. You may have noticed that I kept things fairly symmetrical on the left and right. This makes my husband, Mr. Monk, very happy. My craft space does reside in the back half of his man cave, after all.

Proof that I still have a few wood mounted stamps hanging around!

My SMASH book and supplies. After unearthing these during the move to the basement, I spent the weekend filling up some pages in my SMASH faith journal. It was a lot of fun to make something just for me.

Now, in the spirit of keeping it real, I thought I'd show you a better shot of the back half of the basement.  Yes, that's a foosball table and a train table that's been converted to a LEGO table. But look at those windows and the natural light!

There it is. Not Pinterest worthy, and not appearing in upcoming issues of Where Women Create magazine. But it makes me so happy that a.) it all fits perfectly, and b.) I used what I had to create the new space and c.) it has jump started my creativity again.

Thanks for touring my new craft room today!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When the system breaks down

I had a system in place last year, and it wasn't all that bad. It was a system of crafting and blogging, photographing and blogging, observing and blogging. Like I said, it wasn't all that bad.

The central hub for this system was the den/office at the front of the house that I'd claimed as my "craft studio" when we moved here four years ago. It seemed like the perfect spot where I could craft, but still check on dinner or throw in a load of laundry.

At some point, the "craft studio" became the "clutter studio", with way too many stamp sets and paper packs and accessories that went unused. I sold off a lot. A LOT! Three hundred stamp sets, and more sheets of paper than I care to count. I promised myself that I'd keep it neat. And I did. Everything stayed in one of two places...a bookcase and an armoire. It had to stay neat. After all, it was at the front of the house, with no doors, visible to every other room on the first floor.

After a while, crafting in the armoire/Harry Potter's cupboard under the stairs felt just too confining. I couldn't craft because I barely had six inches of flat surface to use. I couldn't write because the desk was cluttered with piles. That was just about the time my creative mojo took a vacation.

I used the break to fuel up in different ways. I participated in two weekly bible studies, jumped in to Sunday lessons and worship, explored two new areas of ministry at church, tried to hit the trail for fitness walks every other day, read a lot, and fluffed up the house. It's been a good vacation.

This month, I started thinking about the craft room again.

I decided that what I really needed to do was move my craft space to the basement. It was the perfect solution! My walkout basement has two windows and french doors that face east, meaning plenty of morning sunlight. The back wall of the basement? Totally unused. The perfect spot! I measured and drew plans and started looking for storage systems. I scoured Craigslist and IKEA, made wish lists, and priced it all out. HA! With two sons in college, my dream craft space was just that...a dream.

What happened next was kind of funny. God planted an idea in my head. Instead of coveting what you do not have, why not use what you do have? Great question. But what did I have? I went in storage and looked around. A long, sturdy banquet table. Two wire shelving systems that were not in use. Two Sterlite storage towers with drawers. I measured. Guess what? These items all fit perfectly on my basement wall.

In one hour, I had set up the new system and moved everything down to the basement. Stamps, papers, inks, markers, punches, dies and die cutting machine, sewing machine, ribbons. I was able to move it all so quickly because I had gotten rid of so much in the last year. It turns out that my pared down stash is a lot more mobile now.

Is it now a beautiful space ready for a spread in Where Women Create magazine? Are you kidding? I'm sharing space with a foosball table and a pile of LEGOs. But do I love it? Yes, I do! I have room to spread out and create, with everything I need right at my fingertips.

The best part? I didn't spend a dime to make it happen.

Sometimes, when one system breaks down, God gives us a better system to take its place.

Will I show photographs of my new space? I just might. Will I post photos of cards and other creations again? Maybe.

All things are possible.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What is church?

It's been a while since I've blogged! This book has been one of the reasons.

I have been engrossed in the biography "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy" by Eric Metaxas. Warning! This book is over 500 pages long, and thus all consuming. I am reading it night and day, and often find myself apologizing to my family... the dinner table. "Sorry, what did you say? I was reading Bonhoeffer."

...on long car rides. "Sorry. I can't look at the scenery. I'm reading Bonhoeffer." bed at night. "Sorry. I know it's late, but I'm reading Bonhoeffer."

If you've never encountered Dietrich Bonhoeffer, let me give you a quick introduction.

Dietrich was born in Germany to an illustrious family. His father was a doctor and head of psychiatry at Berlin University. One of his brother's was splitting atoms with Einstein. And Dietrich, one of the youngest in the family, became the odd duck and followed in his grandfather's footsteps by studying theology.

It was clear to his professors that Dietrich was brilliant, and his thoughts were pretty radical at the time. For example, he was a firm believer in the fundamental word of God, and scoffed at the popular liberal views of the day. He actually believed that it was important to constantly read the Word, meditate on it, and listen to what God was personally telling you through it. Trust me, for Lutherans, that was radical!

His groundbreaking work in books like "The Cost of Discipleship" are still being taught today. Ever hear of "cheap grace"? That was a concept from the mind of Bonhoeffer.

During Hitler's rise to power, Bonhoeffer became a harsh critic of the church, which was quickly co-opted by the National Socialist party. While many in the church sat on their hands and did nothing while evil was allowed to prevail, Bonhoeffer loudly trumpeted that "to not act IS to act." He later became involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler, was imprisoned, and died for the faith in the final days of World War II.

Bonhoeffer spent a lot of time asking himself the question "What is church?" He was certain that the answer could be found in the Sermon on the Mount. In a letter to his brother, he wrote:

"The restoration of the church must surely depend on a new kind of monasticism, which has nothing in common with the old but a life of uncompromising discipleship, following Christ according to the Sermon on the Mount. I believe the time has come to gather people together and do this."

Later, as a seminary professor, he did just in communion with students, daily breaking bread, singing, laughing, playing, reading, worshipping together.

I spend a LOT of time asking myself the question: What is church?

One of my favorite nights for "doing church" is on Wednesdays, when my family meets with other faith families to share a simple meal and dive into the Word. It is a lovely way to touch base mid-week, to eat and laugh and read and talk together.

I love it when "church" spontaneously breaks out on a Facebook thread.

And when I can do "church" with my sons long distance over the telephone? Well, that warms this mother's heart in so many ways.

Perhaps, in a way, internet forums and blogs can even be a kind of satellite church, where community is formed, faith is shared, and fellowship is achieved.


Like I said, it's got me thinking.

Tell me. If I were to ask you "What is church?", what would your answer be today?

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Beauty. I've been seeing it everywhere. Every fantastically colored leaf and wildflower and butterfly and mushroom. My heart is just overflowing with it.

When you have something this beautiful in your own backyard, you just have to share it.

It is a glorious day in October. Glory to God in the highest!

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' " Lamentations 3:22-24