Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Crafters of Faith Blog Hop!

Hello, cafe friends! Today is the Crafters of Faith Blog Hop! Our hostess this month is our sweet friend, Barb, who gave us this wonderful and creative challenge:

"June is Dairy Month in Wisconsin. I remember when I was growing up there were dairy breakfasts at farms in our area and my 4-H club had a pie and ice cream social every June. Now--I am not sure that everyone has a dairy themed image. But--if you have something farm related--cow, chickens, ducks, barns, fields, etc. or dairy products related--ice cream, cheese, milk, eggs, cream puffs (the Wisconsin State Fair favorite!), or use your own imagination to honor the dairy farmer. Do you have some farm related DSP or an embossing folder? Chicken wire, barbed wire, farm animals, etc.--please be sure to use that.

I hope everyone enjoys creating a card or scrapbook page with a Dairy Farm Theme! Do you have a farm related story from your childhood to also share when you post your card? We would love to read about a favorite memory."

The only challenge for me? Which farm-related stamp set to choose! I'm a farm lover who is always buying things that look "a little bit country".

And so, without further ado, here is my National Dairy Month-inspired creation!

I decided to finally crack open this stamp set from Papertrey Ink called "On The Farm". I've had it for a while, and I'm ashamed to say that this is the first time these poor neglected stamps saw ink!

My first attempt at this card was very uninspiring. It was a kraft card base, with yellow and green accents, and it just didn't move me. It wasn't until I switched to this blue/yellow/white combo that the card really sang my countrified song!

{Today's Brew: On The Farm Stamp set and dies (PTI), white card stock (PTI), pacific point ink and card stock (SU), crushed curry ink and card stock (SU), versafine onyx ink, SU embossing folder}

Today is my nephew, Joey's birthday. I thought this card was country in a masculine sort of way. Happy Birthday, Joe!
I am so happy to find a lot of thriving farms here in Pennsylvania. There are quite a few local CSA's that service the good people of Pittsburgh. If you are wondering what a CSA is, that stands for Community Supported Agriculture. These are small family owned farms that allow people to "subscribe" to the local harvest of produce during the growing season. Many CSA's also offer opportunities to volunteer on the farm and at the pick-up sites. It is a great way to support the small farmer in your area.

And that is my public service announcement for this Sunday. :)

Please visit the other wonderful crafters listed on the COF blog roll on the right. Leave them some encouragement for this beautiful Sunday!

Do you have a favorite farm or farm memory? Please share it here!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pruning and Cultivation

A thunderstorm rumbled through town yesterday. Rain, wind, the works. In the aftermath, we found one of the sapling trees on our property had split in two. We hadn't planned on spending the weekend doing yard work, but that seems to be the plan now.

We woke up to a glorious sunny morning. One of those rare mornings that looks like perfect biking weather.

My husband, who loves to bike, hesitated.

"I'd love to go for a long ride, but there's that tree waiting for me in the backyard."

"The tree will wait," I said. "Go."

And while my husband enjoyed the summer morning doing what he loves, I went outside and pruned up the tree. Not because I had to, but because my husband wouldn't have to.

Just me, and the birds, and God, having a conversation about cultivating a servant heart. Serving my husband, in ways big and small, knowing that he does the same for me on a daily basis. Serving my children, and encouraging them to serve, too. Pruning away the dead to make room for new life.

Sweating, in my sun hat and garden clogs.

It was a good way to spend the morning.

Friday, June 28, 2013


Some photos from the garden...hydrangeas, hostas, clematis...

...periwinkle, fuschia, indigo, chartreuse...

...because sometimes, the best color combinations are found when you step away from blogs and Pinterest...

...and go wander through your own backyard.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Food, Summer Fun

It's summer time, and in my house, that means all the boy birds have come home to roost in Mama's nest. And there's something you should know about boy birds...they're hungry! These days, we don't have a lot of leftovers. I cook it, they eat it, and it's gone, end of story.

I try to get creative with what I have on hand, stretching the family food dollar any way I can. When the local Giant Eagle ran a sale on Barilla pasta ($1/box), I stocked up on a month's worth of pasta!

This recipe came together with what I had on hand.

Chicken Fajita Pasta

1 box Barilla rotini (w/ extra fiber)
2 c. grilled chicken strips, cubed
2 small green peppers, sliced and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
fajita seasoning packet

Boil pasta according to directions. In two or three tablespoons of olive oil, saute chicken strips, green peppers, onion, and garlic until tender. Add canned diced tomatoes. Add fajita seasoning mix. Drain pasta and place in large bowl. Add ingredients from skillet to pasta and toss.

Serve with shredded Mexican cheese, salsa, a dollop of sour cream, chopped avocado...whatever you like! Enjoy!

Easy food leaves more time for summer fun, like piano playing!

Okay, maybe that's not what comes to mind for most people when  they think of summer fun. But here at our new house, we are thoroughly enjoying the new piano that was left to us by the previous home owners.

Sam plays it all day, every day. He's learning various renditions of chopsticks, and he's getting pretty good at the theme from Psycho. Yeah, we're a pretty strange family.

I've been practicing scales, notes, and chords while teaching myself to play the theme from Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley addition) by Jean Yves Thibaudet. It is a beautiful, simple medley. if you've never heard it, you need to go listen to it right now.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

PTI June Blog Hop!

Good morning! Can you believe that it is the twenty-fifth day of June? Seriously. Where has this month gone? I think I lost it somewhere between unpacking boxes and trying to make our new house a home. At any rate, it is here! The 25th of the month is blog hop day at Papertrey Ink! This month's theme is to add a touch of gold to your project.

Have you noticed how big gold is becoming in the world of fashion and home decor? It seems like only yesterday when the designers were telling us all to get rid of that "dated" brass and gold. Well, guess what? It's baaaack! Yep. That's why you should never follow trends if you don't want to go broke! LOL!

I decided to grab this sweet dandelion from Flower Fusion stamp set after looking at the sad state of my own garden. Seriously. I took a walk through our new neighborhood last night and came home feeling convicted. Today is the day that I will plant flowers!

I added a touch of gold with embossing and twinkles.

{Today's Brew: Flower Fusion (PTI), soft stone and white card stock (PTI), crushed curry card stock and ink (SU), kiwi kiss ink (SU), MME papers, scallop edge punch (SU), amuse twinkles, gold embossing powder (SU), distressing tool, square punch}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Wedding Card on the Fly

Have you ever needed a quick wedding card? I know. It doesn't happen that often! Usually, you get a "save the date" card and an invitation to the wedding to serve as the visual reminder that you will need that wedding card in the future.

Every once in a while, a quick wedding/congratulations card is absolutely necessary.

For example, let's just say that you are packing and preparing to visit your family back home in Michigan. And let's just say that your mother happens to call before you leave to share the news that your brother and his fiance decided to elope and get married a few weeks ago. Surprise! And let's just say that you've decided that you must have a card to congratulate your brother and his new bride.

Let's just say it could happen!

You've probably seen Take Ten magazines at the bookstore that feature cards made in ten minutes or less. Well, this one fits the bill.

I knew I'd be delivering this card in person, so I decided that a little extra button bulk would not be a problem. I figured that it was just the thing that would make this fast card look extra special.

{Today's Brew: Everyday Button Bits (PTI), Blooming Button Bits (PTI), Beautiful Blessings (PTI), kiwi kiss ink (SU), pink pirouette ink (SU), versafine onyx ink, PTI card base, flower buttons (SU) }

Let's just say that this brother was beaming when he introduced his bride. And let's just say that the bride is a beautiful, sweet Christian woman who appreciated the card and its sentiment.

Sometimes, fast cards are the best cards.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fun For Father's Day

I needed to make a Dad's day card for the Dad of the house, and I wanted it to be something a little bit fun. I stumbled upon a cool card in the new SU catalog (p.126), and decided to use it as my inspiration sketch.

The card uses stamps to create the look of washi tape. I confess, I own about three rolls of washi tape. Not a lot, just enough to be "trendy". I decided to use Distress Stains to give me the look and color
wash of washi.

I used painters tape to tape of the ends of my faux washi. Then I applied a streak of stain and let it dry a bit before removing the tape. I applied a few spritzes of Glimmer Mist in Graphite, and then removed the spray nozzle and used the end to dot the card in a few spots. When that was dry, I filled in the stripes with some real washi to give it some pattern and contrast.

I wanted to add a little extra shimmer and bling, so I used a  Sharpie to color a few rhinestones black.

I stamped the sentiment from Paper Smooches (Simply Said) and stamped the word "Dad" using Paper Smooches Alphadots stamp set.

I wouldn't call it Clean and Simple because it's not all that clean. It's a little messy, a little colorful, and a little fun. But it is a one layer card, and that makes it easy peasy lemon squeezy.

The Dad of the house is a real blessing to all of us, and we hope he feels blessed by this card today!

Friday, June 14, 2013

PS Sparks Challenge

I recently visited the Paper Smooches website, and Holy Smokes! I have a new wishlist that's a mile long! They have an adorable new stamp set that features a canning jar with the Ball logo! MUST HAVE SET! My Ball State college student will certainly approve of this set!

I decided to participate in the Sparks challenge this week. It looked like a fun sketch, so I gave it a go and I really like the result!

{Today's Brew: Falling For You stamp set (Paper Smooches), Simple Stories Summer Fresh papers, PTI card stock, burlap from Michaels, Prisma markers}

Don't you just love red gingham? It screams "summer picnic"! It shouts "good food"! It sings a happy country tune! Is there such a thing as a happy country tune? If so, then this card is singing it!

Blessings on your Friday, friends!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Inspired by SU!

Have you heard? The new 2013-2014 Stampin' Up catalog was released this month! woo hoo!

Yesterday, I decided to check out the SU website and find a local demonstrator to purchase a new catty. I found a few demos nearby, but Cindy had the sweetest profile...a retired homeschool mom who loves the Lord and loves to share her passion for stamping at her monthly stamp camps. Sign me up! I contacted Cindy via email, and would you believe that sweet woman was at my doorstep last night with a free catalog?! Now that's service with a smile!

I think this will be a great way to meet some crafty people in the area.

I had viewed the new SU catty online, but it's nice to have it in my hands. I really like the fresh approach that Stampin' Up has adopted recently. It's fun and youthful, current and on trend.

As I paged through the catty last night, I kept thinking "Oh, I have that. Oh, I forgot that I have that! Why haven't I used that lately?"

Please tell me I'm not the only person that does that!

I was inspired to pull out some neglected SU products and have a little fun with them today!

{Today's Brew: Clearly For You (SU), Designer frames embossing folders (SU), Framed Tulips embossing folder (SU), pool party ink and card stock, calypso coral and lucky limeade ink, baja breeze seam binding}

Have you seen the new SU catty? What are your favorite new products?

Monday, June 10, 2013


Happy Monday, cafe friends!

I officially christened the craft studio this morning by making a card! woot! woot!

The room is coming together...not one hundred percent perfect, and far from photo worthy, but it's getting there. I'm finding what I need, there are flat surfaces for crafting, and that's pretty much all a gal needs, right?

I'm in desperate need of some thank you cards, so this may be a week of "thanks" crafting. I have so many wonderful new neighbors who have gifted us with cakes, brownies, cookies. We're blessed. Fat, but blessed. :)

Here's a little CAS (that's Clean and Simple) stamping for a Monday morning.

{Today's Brew: Wildflower Garden (PTI), sentiment from Iconic Images (PTI), PTI Kraft and Naturals White card stock, melon mambo/pear pizzaz inks (SU), versafine onyx ink, Distress Stain in Picket Fence, Mister Huey calico white spray}

Thanks for sticking with me on this journey! You all deserve a latte, on the house!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Making Progress

I finally managed to make it in to the den, a.k.a. craft studio yesterday to do some unpacking. What a joy it is to have a room with so much storage! Shelves and cupboards, closets and drawers. It's really amazing!

It's been so much fun to pull out the new with the old, and to have a place for everything. The items that I purchased last month at Target's Dollar Spot are really helping to make this color scheme come together.

I have a LOT more work to do in there, but I'm happy with the results thus far.

Can't wait to get crafty again!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Current State of My Craft Room

We're here! Our move to Pittsburgh is finally complete...hurray!

We're still sorting through boxes and figuring out where everything should go. Each day, I take one or two rooms and tackle a little more unpacking, sorting, and arranging.

Today, I'm going to work on finishing in the dining room and the den. The den is the home of my future craft room.  As you can see, it's a work in progress. ;)

Have you ever had to move a craft room? What a chore! I tried my best to sort and organize before the packers came. I stored all of my reinkers and liquids in Ziploc baggies. I put all accessories in their drawers and worked on neatly stacking papers.

Of course, it's anybody's guess how it will look after it comes out of the boxes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Thus far, we are loving our Pittsburgh home! So many blessings this week...I can't wait to tell you about all of them! (You can also read about it at my other blog, This End Up -------> )

Blessings, friends!