Thursday, January 31, 2013

COF January 2013 Blog Hop!

Good morning, cafe friends! Today is the Crafters of Faith Blog Hop! COF is a wonderful fellowship of sweet sisters in Christ that meets on Splitcoast Stampers. We lift each other up in prayer, encourage each other, and mostly just make each other laugh out loud.

This month, our blog hop hostess is Sharon (a piece of heart blog). Sharon's challenge: Use something old, something new, and try a new technique. What? No borrowed? No blue? That's okay. I added the blue anyway. :)

I decided to try a chalkboard technique. Chalkboards and chalkboard art are all the rage right now in home decorating, so why not incorporate it on a paper crafting project? Of course, it involves embossing, and y'all know I'm not a fan of embossing. Ick! Yuck! Mess! This is usually when the Mr. Monk in me rears its ugly head. But today I press on!

I used a stamp set from Stampin' Up circa 2002, stamping and embossing in a vanilla powder. The nice thing about the chalkboard technique is that you are not trying to achieve perfection. Chalkboards are messy, and they leave little bits of dust and smudges everywhere. I can do messy! After embossing, I inked the edges with some Distress Stain in picket fence.

Something old? Check. New technique? Check. Something new? Well, I did use my new pool party card stock. I think that counts!

{Today's Brew: PTI Rustic Cream card stock, SU Pool Party and black card stock, SU Love Letters stamp set, embossing powder, SU embossing folder, PTI felt, wplus9 heart die, amuse stitched grosgrain ribbon, Distress Stain in picket fence}

Now for the fun part! Hop on over the the other Crafters of Faith blogs (you can see the list on the right) and leave them all some comment love!

Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Newly Remodeled

Hello! Sorry for the long absence! The cafe was closed for remodeling....remodeling of the dining room, that is! But today I can finally show you photos. It's the BIG REVEAL DAY!  woo hoo!

The remodel went in to full swing last week, shortly after I received this flyer from Lowe's in the mail. THAT blue! That's what I want for my dining room! I took a trip to Lowe's, asked the lady at the paint counter if she could tell me the name of the blue in the photo, and her answer was "Nope! But you can help yourself to samples to take home!"

So, we tried a few blues.

And we tried a few more blues.

In the end, I let my husband and my little guy, Sam, decide. I would have gone a shade lighter, but apparently in our family, you go bold or you go home. :)

Here's the dining room before the remodel.

And here's the dining room now!

We decided to reorient the table, and it made the room feel so much bigger!

Fresh! Which happens to be the name of this paint...Fresh Basin! Wow! The blue walls really make a nice contrast to the whitewashed furniture. I love it!

I moved this painting from another room. Hello! Blue polka dots!

I swapped out one welcome sign for another. This floral cross stitch welcome was something I'd stitched twenty years ago (when I was pregnant for my second son, John Ryan!). I love how all of the colors look so pretty with this blue...yellows, greens, reds, pinks. It's a happy blue!

I found this little pillow in a closet. It added just the perfect touch of spring.

These sheer curtain panels were the deal of the week! I found a package of two sheer panels for $15 at TJMaxx. Normally, one sheer panel costs at least twenty dollars. I bought another set for my office room, too. They let in so much more light! I love how the sheers are a little gossamer and romantic, while at the same time the circular embroidery pattern is a little modern.

And here's what makes me really happy. The blue of the dining room looks so pretty where it meets the taupe of the kitchen and great room. SO much better than the yellow, in my opinion.

The grand total of this room makeover? Forty dollars for paint and supplies, fifteen dollars for curtains. Fifty-five dollars for a happy room? Priceless!

Our local newspaper came today, and this article made me smile:

The opening paragraph says "Color shock is here! The muted, soft tones that were coveted for a number of years are taking a back seat to intense, high voltage color."

High voltage color? I've got that!

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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tips for Covered Journals

I love little covered journals. I use them for all sorts of purposes. I have one journal that I use for recording the books I've read (over forty last year!). This journal was in use for more than two years. I used it to record my expenses each month. As I recall, I chose the wishing well papers because I wished that I didn't have to record my expenses. Ha ha!

As you can tell, it got quite a lot of use. So much, in fact, that all the pages have now been used and I needed a new journal.

These are little journals, measuring just a little over 3 by four inches, perfect for fitting in a purse.

I decided to cover this journal in happy papers from the Simple Stories Summer Fresh collection. Now, as you may have noticed, the journals have rounded edges. I knew I'd need a corner rounder for the papers. But which one? It's a good idea to test the round for each punch before you use it. Grab a piece of scrap paper and punch both ends with the different rounders.

Then lay the scrap onto the corner of the journal. As you can see, the first rounder would have taken too big of a chunk off the corner. The second rounder was a much better fit.

And here's the finished product! A happy little journal to record my monthly expenses.

I chose this paper as a reminder. It makes me think of James 1:17: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Let's face it. No one likes expenses. And I really don't like limited funds and budgets. But I do need to remind myself to count my blessings. After all, my husband has a good job that provides for our family. While so many parents struggle to feed their children and make the rent and keep the heat on, we are blessed to be able to pay for all of those things, while also paying for two college tuitions....all on one salary.

Do we have to be careful with the money? Of course. Family dinners at restaurants? That is a rare event. Home improvements? If it's not a DIY job, then it doesn't happen. Vacations? What are those? But the truth is, we have more than we need. We are blessed beyond measure.

It's all good!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Letting Go Of Perfection

Last fall, I bought myself this small watercolor kit and decided to play around with it.

I painted some autumn leaves.

I painted a landscape scene from our nature preserve.

And then I stopped.

It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the process. I did. It was a great exercise in being observant. Furthermore, I had a very limited palette of paints, but still managed to capture the color and feel.

So why did I stop painting? I stopped because it wasn't perfect. The skies did not open and God's finger did not point down at me from the heavens to declare the new purpose of my life.

It seems I've developed a real problem with perfection.

My mom went on a stamping retreat weekend, where she told me she made sixty cards. I would be lucky if I came away with six in the same amount of time.

The truth is, I am my own harshest critic. It is not godly humility. It is crushing defeat. It comes from a place in my psyche where fear is allowed to wreak havoc. It's the same place where I find myself toe to toe with ( fill in the name of any person here) and find that I do not measure up.

Today, I was talking about those fears with a friend. She mentioned how this verse in Luke's telling of the Christmas story had an impact on her:

"When Zechariah saw him (the angel Gabriel), he was startled and was gripped with fear." Luke 1:12

Gripped with fear. Yep. I've been there. Fear keeps me in stasis. I am in its grip.

But God is working on me. He's giving me the same message that he gave to Zechariah through Gabriel. Do not be afraid.

And here's a little fearless fellow. He has to be brave enough to enter the yard of a labrador retriever every day just to eat his lunch. 

I think I can learn a thing or two from him.

Monday, January 21, 2013

From All Of Us

I really need some "get well soon" cards this week. Today, my sister, Tina, is having surgery on her foot. And tomorrow, my step mom-in-law is having knee replacement surgery. I'm adding a lot of people to my prayer list this week!

This card is super simple for today's Clean and Simple sketch challenge at SCS.

{Today's Brew: On The Mend stamp set (Lawn Fawn), PTI kraft card stock, SU baja breeze and calypso coral card stock, Cosmo Cricket Nutmeg papers, MFT scallop die, versafine onyx ink, prisma markers}

Have a joyful Monday, cafe friends!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

PTI's Make It Monday 100: Packaging

This week's Make It Monday at Papertrey Ink featured ways to package a card that may not fit in a standard envelope. Let's face it. Sometimes, as crafters, we need to break out of the confines of our A2 sized cards and try something a little creative.

I love to make tall cards that I can tuck a little gift inside. I make certain that the size of the card will fit a standard business envelope. You can find pretty business envelopes in the same section of any office or craft store. I picked up these kraft colored envelopes one day because I thought they'd be perfect for wrapping up a cute notepad.

I measured the card base to a 4 inch by 9 inch size, then had some fun finding the right stamps and layers to decorate this elongated style. I used stamps from the same stamp set to stamp the envelope as well.

Inside, I tucked a fun car air freshener to give as a gift to my neighbor. She drives a VW Beetle, just like me! At Christmas time, she made us the most amazing berry Bundt cake, presented on a lovely plate and packaged with cellophane and an ornament. It was so sweet!

{Today's Brew: card stock from Papertrey Ink, Stitches and Swirls stamp set (PTI), sentiment from Think Big Favorites (PTI), Label Basics stamp and die (PTI), versafine onyx ink, wild wasabi ink (SU), American Crafts lace, Distress Marker in Picket Fence, scallop edge punch (SU)}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Highs and The Lows

 Ever have a week that was filled with highs and lows? It's been one of those weeks.

"Please keep your arms inside the vehicle until the ride has come to a complete stop."

Yep. A roller coaster week.

One day, the scale tells me that I've reached my goal weight. woo hoo! Skinny jeans, here I come!

The next day, the washing machine breaks. Too bad I can't wash my skinny jeans!

The next day, three unexpected surprises came to me in the span of a morning. I won a $25 gift certificate to an online stamp store (thank you, WPlus9 design!). Then I went to the mailbox, where I had an envelope and a package. The envelope contained an unexpected check for $50 from a consignment store where I'd dropped some items off last August. woo hoo! The package? A free cookbook from Gooseberry Patch that includes one of my recipes. Excitement!

I was feeling so blessed!

And then the next day, I received an email.

"While we were very impressed with your resume, we've decided to offer the position to another candidate."

Ugh. Not chosen, again.

I was not feeling very blessed.

I have a touch of whiplash from this roller coaster week.

Last year, God gave me this verse in Isaiah. "Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name; you are mine."  I pondered and meditated on the word "redeemed" last year. It was a beautiful word. I learned that if God could redeem me, He could certainly redeem my circumstances. I surrendered to the one who bought me and redeemed me at such a high price. I am His, and He is mine.

This year, I'm pondering the first message in this verse. Fear not. Those words occur so often in the Word. I think it's because fear so often tries to take root in our heads and hearts. Fear holds us back from taking action. Fear prevents us from change. Fear tells us "You got to hold on to it, otherwise it will all be out of control." Fear stops us from the sweet surrender of giving it all to the one who is in control.

I'm not going to lie. I had a pretty good pity party last night. There was wine with my whine. But this morning, the sun rose with the promise of a new day. I am trying hard not to lose heart. I will not be afraid. I'm going to surrender this present circumstance, knowing that it will be redeemed.

It's going to be a good day.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Waltzingmouse Stamps Jan. 2103 Blog Party!

Hello, cafe friends! Today is the Waltzingmouse Stamps Blog Party! The theme for the month? LOVE! I pulled out one of my favorite WMS stamp sets for today's cafe creation. Here it is!

This card is inspired by my love of needle art...stitched grosgrain ribbon, the blanket stitched hearts, the faux stitched banner, and the cross-stitch patterned paper. It's a little granny chic, with its lace heart doily and straight pin. But that little pop of color mixed with black gives it a modern flair, too.

{Today's Brew: Sewing Box Hugs stamp set (Waltzingmouse Stamps), PTI card stock, patterned paper from Cosmo Cricket, My Mind's Eye straight pin, amuse stitched grosgrain ribbon, paper doily, versafine onyx ink, black fine point marker}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Love Machine

My husband accused me of being crabby today because my washing machine is broken.

That is completely ridiculous!

I am crabby today because my top-of-the-line, top loading, high efficiency washing machine that is less than two yeas old now needs a new lid (no longer under warranty, of course) because the PLASTIC parts (and really, who puts plastic on a machine that uses centrifugal force, I ask you?) snapped in two, rendering my lid completely useless and the machine inoperable.

But I am not crabby.

Okay, when I start using long run-on sentences laden with adjectives, I might be just a little crabby.

But the truth is I LOVE my washing machine. It is a family joke, actually. I love to do the laundry. I tolerate doing the dishes, I will cook when necessary, and I loathe scrubbing bathrooms. But laundry? LOVE it.

Now I can't do my laundry until the newly ordered lid comes in. And I'm just a little crabby about it.

Let's change the subject.

Did you know you can curl organdy ribbon with a heat gun?

If you love the look of wrinkled up seam binding, you're going to love this! Just cut a long strip of organdy ribbon, keeping in mind that it will shrink in the process.

Direct the heat over the ribbon, one section at a time, until it begins to curl. You'll need something to hold that ribbon in place to keep it from blowing away in the process. I used my scissors because I couldn't find my tweezers. (Time to clean the craft table!)

Look! Curly fancy vintage-y ribbon! Wasn't that fun? Why, I bet you could spend hours curling ribbon instead of doing something useful like cleaning and drying and folding clothes. Aack! My poor, poor washing machine! waaah!

I used my curly ribbon on this card. Of COURSE I own a washing machine stamp! Doesn't everybody? Well, if you don't, then you should! Go to the Paper Smooches website and order the Squeaky Clean stamp set! Because if a girl can't use her own washing machine, then stamping a washing machine is the next best thing.

{Today's Brew: Squeaky Clean stamp set (Paper Smooches), Soft Stone/White/ Black card stock (PTI), My Mind's Eye Miss Caroline Dilly Dally papers, MME Miss Caroline Dilly Dally hat pin and button, SU black organdy ribbon, Versafine Onyx ink, foam dimensionals, prisma markers}

Isn't this fun? Notice the paper that has the tokens on it? That's a nod to the laundromat that I'll be visiting this week. The laundromat next to the liquor store. The laundromat that plays Jerry Springer on the television while the patrons smoke. Smoke!

But I'm not crabby.

Today's card was made for the SPARKS challenge at the Paper Smooches blog! Want to play along? Just click on the Paper Smooches widget on the right and join in the fun!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Friday, January 11, 2013

WMS Warm and Cozy Stitching

The December issue of Cross Stitcher magazine came with the cutest kits of Christmas tags that can be stitched up in a hurry.  I thought that the pattern with the mittens would be super cute if stitched in a more wintry palette of pale blues and pinks.

So I swapped out the colors, stitched up those mittens, and used them as the focal point for today's card!

Super fun and super warm and cozy! I love how the little stitched element on Aida cloth gives just the right amount of texture to this paper craft project. I added elements from Nordic Winter stamp set (waltzingmouse stamps) to really give it that warm woolen mitten feeling.

{Today's Brew: Nordic Winter and Sewing Box Christmas stamp sets (waltzingmouse stamps), PTI Rustic white card stock, SU's pink pirouette card stock and ink, SU's pool party card stock and ink, versafine onyx ink, amuse heart twinkle, circle punch, aida cloth and dmc floss}

Thanks for popping into the cafe today! Blessings on your weekend!