Saturday, August 31, 2013

COF August Blog Hop!

Hello, cafe friends! Today is a special day...the Crafters of Faith Blog Hop! Our hostess this month is Barb, and here's what she has to say:

August Challenge !
Hostess: Barb
Memories of Mom and Dad! Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Even though my parents have been gone for close to 20 years, I still have wonderful memories of both of them. Some of you may have one or both of your parents still an active part of your lives and for others, the memories are what we hold close. So--what can you create on your card that reminds you of you mom or dad or both of them? A site from a family vacation? A hobby--music, gardening, literature, art, etc.? A favorite food? Your mom cooking? Your dad spending time with cars? Or vice versa . Create a card that shines of the memories that honor your father and mother.

Enjoy this trip back in time--or maybe it is just a few steps back of a recent memory. Tell us in your blog post about your card, the memory it unlocks and a bit about your parents if you want to share. I cannot wait to see all of the wonderful memories you create and post on August 31st. Have Fun getting inky--Barb

Little did Barb know when she gave us this challenge that my sweet Mom's birthday just happens to be August 31st! And little did she know that we are honoring and celebrating my mother this weekend in Michigan because she is celebrating her 80th birthday! Doesn't she look fabulous for 80?!
Now that's perfect God timing!
I love this photo of my mom and my little guy, Sam. My mom is the best Mom and Grandma that anyone could hope for, hands down. She's been a wonderful mom to her seven children, and I seriously lost count of all the grandchildren (21?) and great grand children (?). And if that wasn't enough, my mom has mothered countless women at her church. She is a true blessing. Love you, Mom!

I made one more flippin' card for my mom. I promise to stop making flippin' cards for a while, but I just couldn't help myself! They're so addictive!

{Today's Brew: PTI ivory card base, SU pacific point card stock and ink, Simple Stories Harvest lane papers, PTI sentiment, MFT dies, PTI felt, button and pin from My Mind's Eye, PTI button twine, SU Sizzix Thinlit die}
I wish I could share my mom with all of you. We have so much fun together! You would love her, too! 

Now when you are done with this blog post, go visit all the ladies at Crafters of Faith. You can see the blog roll on the right. No doubt they will inspire you!

I'll be taking a blog break for a few days to celebrate with Mom and to take my son, John, to college.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Making Square Cards

Here's a fun trick for those of you who ordered the new SU Sizzix Circle Card Thinlit dies...make a square card!

It's as easy as pie. Just run your card stock and die through your Big Shot. Then, when you have your card base cut out, just trim it down on the bottom end so that you have a perfect 4 1/4 inch square card when it's all closed up.

There! I told you it was easy!

I just love square cards, especially when they fit in a standard A2 envelope!

This little bird is tweeting a love note.

And when you flip open the card, the other side of the circle has the bird "flying by to say hi".

Seriously, how fun is that?

{Today's Brew: PTI card stock, My Mind's Eye papers, Lawn Fawn stamp sets and dies, prisma markers}

Just a cute card to say "Hello, Autumn!"

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

SU Sizzix Circle Card Thinlits

Time for a little tutorial!

Today, I'm using the Stampin' Up Sizzix circle card die to create an awesome Christmas card!

The Circle card die set comes with a large die to cut out the card base, and lots of fun smaller dies that you can use to embellish. For today's card, I'm just using the base. I ran it through my Big Shot with a lovely piece of PTI card stock cut to size, and when it comes out, voila! You have a card base where the circle "flips" and the score lines are ready for folding!

Tip number one: keep your bone folder handy, and use it to press those scored lines into place.

Here's the finished card. As you can see, I stamped the panel on the left, and used some decorative paper on the right.

Tip number 2: Keep some scrap papers handy. I used a few pieces of paper to mask the areas that I didn't want to get the "snowflake" stamping treatment.

Now, in order to get the circle in the center to do the flip, I had to cut out a bit from the Christmas paper panel on the right.

Tip number 3: Place your cut paper panel where you'd like it to go, then flip it over to the backside, as I've done here. Use a light colored marker to trace the area that will need cutting away.

Then simply cut that portion, and your patterned paper panel is ready to be adhered to the right side of the card front!

The thing about these flip cards is that the only place you have to sign your name is either a.) on the back of the card, or b.) on the back of the flipped circle. You'll want to keep the sentiment on the smallish side of the back flip so that you have a little room for your John Hancock.

And that's it! A stunning Christmas card that will have the recipient asking themselves "How did they do that?" My little guy, Sam, loves origami. He said this card was "awesome sauce". I think that's a compliment. :)

{Today's Brew: SU Sizzix Circle Card Thinlits die, PTI card stock, PTI stamps, Simple Stories Handmade Holiday paper, versafine onyx ink, versamark ink, versamagic white ink, cranberry crisp SU ink and card stock circle, amuse star twinkle}

Monday, August 26, 2013

Road Trip

Happy Monday, cafe friends!

This is a week of planning and mapping and preparing for road trips. Our first road trip will be on Friday, when we leave for Michigan to spend the Labor Day weekend with family. And then, after Labor day, we will leave Michigan and make the trip to Indiana to drop my son, John, off at college.

It's going to be a whole lot of driving!

My VW bug is going to be PACKED with all of John's worldly possessions, as he'll be living in an on-campus apartment for his junior year.

Want to know how to scare a college student? Tell him that you plan on ordering the VENTI cup at Starbucks so that you'll be wide awake and chatty for the entire drive. tee hee!

I have been playing with my new SU Sizzix Thinlits dies this weekend, and they are awesome!  They are available in two different designs, and each set allows you to make flip cards in a snap. They also come with a ton of extra dies to add and embellish. Fun!

Today, I used the card base along with some of the coordinating dies to make a road trip card.

{Today's Brew: stamp from Amuse, PTI card stock, Crate Paper Storyteller papers, Glimmer Mist in graphite, amuse heart twinkle, distress marker}

Stop back to the cafe this week! I'll showcase some more ideas with these SU thinlits dies!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Praying For A Friend

Virginia is a dear, sweet lady from my church back in Noblesville, Indiana, who is going through a tough time right now. She is one of the rock solid ladies from the Tuesday morning bible study class with Pastor that I enjoyed so much. I miss them!

Let me tell you a little about Virginia. She works part-time at a shop in historic downtown Noblesville that is owned by her daughter. A Corner Cottage is one of the cutest shops in town, and their window displays are works of shabby chic vintage art! (I've probably showcased them on my blog many times in the past!) I loved to pop in to A Corner Cottage just to get a hug from Virginia.

Virginia is the sort of person who has a gift ready for special occasions, and she's always organizing a group card signing to send to someone in the congregation that needs a little cheering up. I keep one of her cards in my bible, as a matter of fact.

And did I mention that Virginia, who is always cheerful and smiling and full of energy, is in her eighties? Yes, eighties! With her sparkling blue eyes and cap of full white hair, she's the sort of lady that every younger woman in our congregation looks to and says "I want to be Virginia when I grow up."

Virginia was recently diagnosed with cancer. It broke my heart to hear the news.

I spoke with Pastor recently (via email), and he told me that Virginia is still the rock solid woman of faith, facing this challenge with her usual aplomb. She bought herself a wig in anticipation of her hair falling out, and she's recently begun rounds of chemotherapy.

A beautiful woman, inside and out.

I want to be Virginia when I grow up!

I made sweet Virginia this card to let her know I'm praying for her. I chose the Summer Hills stamp set from Papertrey Ink, but paired it with autumnal colors. I like how the papers from Simple Stories Harvest Lane match the look of the quilts on the clothesline in this stamp. Can you see the quilts? They're teeny tiny!

Here they are! This stamp was small and intricate, and it was a bugger to color! It's definitely not something I'd ever attempt while drinking my morning espresso!

Tell me, do you have a Virginia in your life? I think that women mentoring women is so important to our faith. I hope to find more Virginias here in Pittsburgh as well. Weekly fellowship is so important to our spiritual and mental health, don't you think?

Please say a prayer for Virginia, a beautiful woman of faith, today.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

This End Up: The Art of Color

I have decided to link up my home and relocation blog to this blog. In the future, these posts will all have the lead title "This End Up". I hope you enjoy a peek into our home and life remodel!

This End Up: The Art Of Color

Home improvement projects have taken on an outside/in approach, rather than inside/out. We've had wonderfully mild summer weather here in Pennsylvania, and it just makes sense to get the outdoor projects done first. I am certain that our indoor projects will wait for us when we are buried under a foot of lake effect snow this winter.

Pruning, weeding, lawn and garden.

And now that the trees and shrubs are looking nice and neat, I wanted the front of the house to make a fresh appearance.

Front door makeover to the rescue!

I searched magazines and blogs, looking for just the right color. I found it when I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. I entered a search "front door colors with red brick", and came up with this photo. Yes! Perfect! The style of the house looked very similar to mine, right down to the white trim work and the double front doors.

I browsed through the paint selections at Lowe's and spotted the perfect shade: La Fonda Teal, a color selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. What could be better?

And here it is:

Wow! That color has some impact! I am totally fond of La Fonda Teal now!

The doors, which used to be the same shade of yellow as the shutters, now stand out rather than blend in.  It is hard to ignore this house from the street view now!

My husband is happy that the color complements the shutters well, as that means one less painting project for him!

This color works perfectly with this house for one big reason: this shade of turquoise/teal on the doors is an opposite of the orange/red of the bricks on the color wheel. Opposites on the color wheel do, indeed, attract!

Just imagine how stunning these doors will look with orange wreaths in the fall!

We've had a lot of positive feedback from all of the neighbors concerning our outdoor home improvements. This old established neighborhood does not have a Home Owner's Association, which means there are no rules or guidelines concerning the outward appearance of homes. We've lived in HOA neighborhoods for the past eight years, so this has been a welcome change for us. You can wake up one morning and say "I am going to paint my front doors teal today", and you do not have to wait six to eight weeks for approval from a committee to make it happen.


God has really blessed our family with wonderful neighbors. They are friendly and gracious, and they'll chat with you on a daily basis. And when the family next door moved, God answered our prayers with a very sweet family that has a son the same age as our Samuel. Sam now has a buddy right next door!

I hope that our house now says "Hello! We're the new family, and we're so happy to be here!"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chalkboard Art

Chalkboards...they're not just for classrooms anymore!

Have you noticed how chalkboard art is everywhere? It's hard to pick up a magazine or browse through Pinterest without seeing them. Papercrafting has certainly embraced the chalkboard trend! There are some fabulous new lines from companies like We R Memory Keepers and Simple Stories that feature chalkboard inspiration.

Certain stamps really lend themselves to the chalkboard look, like this vintage-inspired stamp from Stampin' Up.

{Today's Brew: Stamp from SU, PTI Kraft card stock, papers from We R Memory Keepers, versamagic ink, dies from PTI and Paper Smooches, nailheads colored with Prisma markers}

I was inspired to add a little chalkboard fun to my front entryway last week. My new house has a big foyer. BIG. You could probably set up a pool table in there, and still have room to rack 'em up and shoot. (I probably shouldn't give my boys any ideas. Forget I mentioned pool tables in foyers!)

One wall next to the front door was big and bare. It needed something. A mirror? No. Artwork? Couldn't find anything I liked from my stash, and didn't want to spend the big money on something new.

And then it dawned on me. Why not a chalkboard? I could change the look for the seasons and for special occasions...a creative piece of art! But where to find a chalkboard. I started looking online, and found lots of pricey options. No thanks. Then I posted on the PTI forum: anyone know where to find a decent-sized chalkboard? Erin, from PTI's design team, came to the rescue. She'd just purchased one at Marshall's. It just so happens there's a Marshall's down the street. I went that day, and guess what? SCORE!

It was the perfect size, the perfect color frame made of distressed wood, and the perfect price...only $30!

It still needs to be hung properly, but for now it looks great just propped on this table!

The lantern and fall foliage were recent purchases from Longaberger At Home website...gotta love the clearance section!

The sweet velvet pumpkin? No, I did not spend $50 on this one, even though I saw similar pumpkins for that price at a store recently. My pumpkin came from Joann's, and with a forty percent discount, I got this darling specimen for $8!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pruning Season


Every week, pruning.

Mature landscapes come with big trees and lush shrubs. But big trees and lush shrubs need to be maintained constantly, or they will quickly run amok. This yard had been left to its own devices for far too long.

We started with hand held pruners. Hand held pruners quickly led the way to two handed loppers. This weekend, two handed loppers were not enough. A chainsaw was rented, big limbs were sawed down. It was an "all hands on deck" landscaping event.

We could have left it all alone, turned a blind eye to the unkempt nature of our yard.

That's not our style.

In our family, we are not about status quo. We are all about improving, shaping, growing in a healthier direction.

When it comes to landscaping, I am an amateur, even after more than twenty years of gardening.

God is a professional pruner.

When certain areas of my life become littered with dead wood, God gets out His hand held pruners (He's got really big hands, so no chainsaw needed!) and starts pruning away.

In the past twelve months, God has pruned away poor health. He has pruned away bitterness. He has pruned away discontent. He has pruned away negativity. He has pruned away towns and houses and people, dug me up, and transplanted me to more fertile ground. He has given me rich soil, plenty of rain, and gentle sunshine to help me grow.

And I am growing. I feel it every day.

I will continue to be open to the pruning because of this:

I am practicing the art of subtraction these days so that I might be open to a new kind of addition. The addition of productivity. The addition of meaningful work. The addition of service. The addition of caring and compassion and hospitality.

It feels good to be present in this moment.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer Pruning Sale! UPDATED!

It's summer pruning season! I have tons of items to choose from here! PRICES NOW INCLUDE SHIPPING!. Please email me at:

Stampin Up sets:

Vases in Vogue: $15
Stem Sayings: $5 SOLD

Teeny Tiny Wishes: $20

Curvy Verses: $8
Mixed Bouquet:$5
Little Pieces :$3

2006 Hostess Set: $5

Webster's Pages LOT:

Nearly full lot includes petite paper packs, fabric ribbons, fabric fancies, 1 designer trim, and journaling cards for the following: seaside, Garden Gala, Lullaby Lane, Life's Portrait .

Originally $80, now for only $30!

My Mind's Eye:

 $3 each, or all six for $15! Stamp sets include: Be Amazing, Be Happy, Dolled Up "Favorite", Fiddlesticks "Story", Howdy Doody "Baby", Dilly Dally "Adventures". 

MME partial paper packs $2 each, all for $10: Dilly Dally, Be Happy, Fiddlesticks, Dolled Up, Howdy Doody

Gina K. Designs:

Eclectic Summer Sayings: $8
Botanicals : $10
Fruitful Harvest: $10

Vintage Borders: $10
Many Wishes $8
Thanks A Million: $8

Nana's Needlework: $10
Nana's Needlework Sentiments: $10

Mark's Finest Papers:

Thankful Mums and Pumpkins:$5
Stinky Situation:$5
Autumn Fun $5


Large Polka uppercase alpha: $3
Large flower lowercase alpha: $3

Large polka lowercase alpha: $3
Small polka lowercase alpha $2
Small flower lowercase alpha: $2

What's Cookin: $2

Stampin' Up Coluzzle w/ mat, knife, and 9 templates for $5

Thanks for checking out the sale!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Candles and Coffee

Do you love candles as much as I do? I love to burn candles in the house all year long. Their lovely aroma sets the mood for me. And when the calendar tells me that we are nearly at the cusp of autumn, I realize I must have an autumn scented candle to burn!

I know, I know, I'm rushing the season. It takes everything in me not to pull out the pumpkins and leaves this time of year. Candles are my little indulgence. I can be patient if I can smell autumn's arrival!

I went a little overboard this weekend and bought six new candles from Bath and Body Works. I haven't been to that store in ages, and I was amazed at all of the great fragrances. Who could pick just one?

I am currently burning Harvest Coffee. Mmmm, coffee!

The Papertrey Ink blog was filled with coffee-themed inspiration this morning. I decided to pull out an old coffee-themed set and craft a Harvest Coffee card to go with my candle.

{Today's Brew: Warm Happiness, Too (PTI), kraft and ivory card stock (PTI), Harvest Lane papers (Simple Stories), stitched grosgrain ribbon and inks from SU, burlap}

Thanks for visiting the cafe, friends!