Wednesday, July 31, 2013

COF July Blog Hop

Hello, friends! It's the last day of the month of July. Wow! Summer is quickly coming to an end!

Today is the Crafters of Faith Blog Hop! Our hostess, Kelly, gave us this challenge:

"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." ~ John 7:38

Hi Faith sisters! This month’s Crafter’s of Faith challenge theme is inspired this verse and your theme is: Water ! It’s summer and many of us are enjoying the splendors of the outdoors – boating, swimming, walking along the lakes and rivers. Summer rains, as heavy and burdening as they can sometimes be, bring us new growth all around ~ trees, green grass and gorgeous flowers blooming. Even spiritually, many people accept Jesus into their hearts and become baptized in water and have beach baptisms. Water is a beautiful, healing, essential! This month, I want you to use WATER as your theme on your cards: Be as creative as you like - think boats, oceans, the beach, tilted watering cans, bird baths, falling rain, etc! Let water be the focus of your card and extra brownie points for using the color BLUE !! Blessings!"

I had to really stretch for this challenge! I do not have a lot of "water" themed stamps. And then I remembered my Scattered Showers stamp sets from Papertrey Ink. I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but here in Pittsburgh we are having a pretty rainy summer. I can't complain, though...the hydrangeas and flowers are loving it!

Sigh! So lovely!

Okay, here's the card!

I employed the method on this week's Make It Monday challenge at the PTI website: layer two different background sets. I layered BB Newsprint with the raindrops background stamp to make a newspaper that hints at the weather report!

{Today's Brew: Scattered Showers and Scattered Showers additions (PTI), BB Newsprint (PTI), Tiny Tags (PTI), PTI white card stock,PTI dies, basic grey ink (SU), coastal cabana ink and card stock (SU), strawberry slush ink and cardstock (SU), twinkles (amuse)}

This was my first time using the new reformulated inks from Stampin' Up, and I have to say, I love them! They work wonderfully on photopolymer clear stamps!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today! Make sure to visit my sisters in faith at the blogs on the right. Leave them some comment love and encouragement!

Blessings, friends!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

When I Grow Up

I finally figured out what I want to be when I grown up.

I want to be a stamp shop owner!

This week, I got a chance to visit the LSS. That's the code name for "local stamp shop". My LSS is just a short drive from my home to the town of West View, Pennsylvania. Stamp Fanci was the sweetest place, filled with wonderful goodies...papers, inks, stamps, and lots of Memory Box dies! It was a crafter's paradise!

But the thing that made the shop so special? The two women working there. They were so genuinely warm and welcoming! When I mentioned the new We R Memory Keepers envelope punch board, they said "Come on back and we'll give you a demonstration!"

I've been attending local churches for two months now, and I felt more genuine fellowship in the hour that I spent in that stamp shop than anywhere else.

I made a card today that I think I will send to them. I used some of the new washi tapes that I bought in the store!

I got a little fancy with my Distress Marker and added a little squiggle border.

{Today's Brew: stamps from Lawn Fawn, PTI card stock, washi tape, prisma markers, Mr. Huey mist}

Will I become a regular?  You bet! I may not have a church home, but I have a stamp home. You've got to grab fellowship wherever you can find it.

And did I mention that there's a sweet coffee shop just down the road, too? :)

Blessings, cafe friends!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

PTI July Blog Hop

 Today is the July Blog Hop at Papertrey Ink! Our inspiration this month: The Fruits of Summer!

This fruity photo inspired me to get a little farm fresh today!

I used On The Farm stamp set (PTI) and paired it with some delicious card stock (PTI) for a card that's sow fresh...get it? Sow fresh?  Okay. On to the next card!

The rich colors in this popsicle had me looking ahead a season. Don't hate me for rushing the season! I LOVE all things autumn!

I paired Lovely Leaves (PTI) with lovely shades of PTI card stock for a fall-tastic card that will work for any occasion.

This citrus-inspired photo made my mouth water!

I used the color scheme on this needlework inspired creation!

 I made a little square card and stamped it up using images from Stitched Sentiments (PTI).

Three cards on a Thursday!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Graduation Thank You Cards

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Luke graduated from college!

Okay, it really wasn't that long ago. It just seems like a long time ago! And it wasn't in a galaxy far away, just another city in another state.

We've been a little busy since Luke's graduation in May from Ball State University. For starters, we packed Luke up and brought him home. Then we packed up his brother, John, and brought him home. Then we packed up ourselves and moved to a new city in a new state, saying goodbye to Indiana and hello to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

Somewhere in all of this packing and unpacking, we've let a few weeks...ahem, okay, a few months pass by without sending out the thank you cards.

Time to send out the thank you cards!

Perhaps we'd been waiting for just the right stamp set to come along. Thank you, Kim! Paper Smooches introduced Clearly For You, and I knew I had to have it! A Ball canning jar? Perfect! After all, Ball State University (in lovely Muncie, Indiana) was founded by the Ball family, who created and manufacture Ball canning jars!

I made two designs this morning. They are both pretty clean and simple because I will have to make multiple cards, and I get bored after about the third attempt to reproduce the same card.

I like this one because the lightning bug is saying "Thank you!" for letting him go. I'm sure that's how Luke felt when he was done with his coursework last semester!

This one is sweet because it uses the Ball canning jar as a vase, which is something I do all the time.

{Today's Brew: Clearly For You stamp set (Paper Smooches), Tiny Tags stamp set for sentiment (Papertrey Ink), Naturals White card stock (PTI), inks from SU, baker's twine}

Which one do you prefer?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

PS SPARKS Challenge

Hello, friends! It's time for the Paper Smooches SPARKS challenge! This week is a cool shades challenge:

For today's cafe creation, I started with the papers from Crate Paper Storyteller collection. I knew I wanted to use the "prayers" sentiment from the PS set Spiritual Sampler. Then I pulled out "Needle Little Love" and made this collage style tag for the focal point.

 I created the tag and used the stitches stamp to give it a stitched look. I started layering and moving things around, subtracting and then adding...a little ribbon, a little lace, a heart shaped rhinestone, some silver Stickles.

I spent about an hour in the craft room, just having fun with the creative process and enjoying where it takes me.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When It's Time To Purge

I had a great question from Lorie, a long time regular here at the cafe. Here's what she had to say:

"Beautiful card. After a "leave of absence" from my stamping I am considering getting back into it. Step one is cleaning & clearing out my supplies. As a long time reader of your blog, I know you did something similar and scaled down your supplies. I am having a hard time deciding what to keep & what to sell. I know I am going to work toward more clean & simple cards. How did you decide what to part with? I would hate to sell a stamp set and regret it later. My floor is covered with stuff! I wonder if I was a collector or stamper! Any tips for me? I would appreciate any advice you may have. Thank you!"

In 2011, I had an event that I called "The Great Purge", where I sold off over 300 wood mounted stamp sets and a few tons of paper and accessories. The craft had become too cluttered and messy, my cards were becoming cluttered and messy, and I lost all creativity. Like Lorie mentions, I felt more like a collector than a true crafter.

I went through my stash with a critical eye, looking at everything that I wasn't using and didn't even like anymore. I made piles, lots and lots of piles. And then I sorted those piles, priced those piles, and sold off items here, at garage sales, to family and friends, and of course, at Splitcoast Stampers.

Do I regret selling any items? Nope! Not a single one. And here's why.

My wood mounted sets took up so much space! I still own a few sets, as you can see here.

 But look at this! I can store the same amount of stamp sets in a clear form, and it takes up a teeny amount of space in this little four inch square plastic tub!

Selling off my old SU sets allowed me the freedom (and the money) to purchase from other companies that I'd been admiring for their fresh style. Papertrey Ink, WPlus9 Design, Paper Smooches, Lawn Fawn, Waltzingmouse Stamps. I was able to find many of these stamps on buy/sell forums at a fraction of the price. That's where I found this:

I sold off my big old clumsy sewing machine and purchased a new Janome Sew Mini!

My sweet hubby bought me a Big Kick and I branched out into the wonderful world of diecutting.

I'm learning that purging isn't just a one time event. You have to stay on top of your stuff or it will take over!

There are papers that I need to pass on to new homes...

Stamps that served me well at one time, but haven't been used in ages...

Impulse purchases that were never really my style...

I have to check my hidey holes for things I've squirreled away...the ribbons, the punches, the accessories...

As you can probably see, I'll be having a sale soon!

I must admit, I am much more careful about the purchases I make now. I think long and hard about what stamps I "need" to fill a whole in my collection, and what stamps I just "want" because they're the trendy new shiny object.

Here's a trick that works for me. When I browse through online companies, I love it if they have a shopping cart or wishlist. I can put items in that cart and leave them for a while. I usually go back a week or two later and pare down the "wants" from the "needs". It saves me from the stupid impulse buys when I'm putting more thought into it.

If you are worried about regretting the sale of a certain item, here's a great suggestion. Put the items in a box and put a date on that box. Give yourself a time frame...six months, a year. If you haven't used those items and you haven't missed them, then you won't regret selling them.

I have incorporated this philosophy into so many areas of my wardrobe, my kitchen accessories, cosmetics, CDs and DVDs, books. I am careful about what I purchase and bring into my home, and I am conscious about getting things out of my home that I no longer want or need. I'm not saying that I'm living a disposable life, but I'm living a more fluid life where "stuff" doesn't accumulate and form a "dam" in my day to day living.

Good luck, Lorie! I hope the purge frees up your creativity and allows you to enjoy the craft again!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monday Mood Board...on Tuesday

Dawn at WPlus9 Design posted this photo on her Monday Mood Board last week. I was inspired to pull out some stamps and dies that I haven't used yet and see if I could play with this color scheme.

Unfortunately, I was inspired at around 7 or 8 o'clock last night, when the lighting in my craft room is already terrible (MUST PAINT WOOD PANELING!).  I truly thought I'd nailed that purple last night.

This morning? Not even close! I used SU's Wisteria Wonder, but it's way too dark and dusty. I can see that now.  Lovely Lilac would have been a better choice.

Ah, well!

{Today's Brew: stamps and dies from wplus9, PTI white card stock, wisteria wonder ink and card stock (SU), wild wasabi ink and card stock (SU), crushed curry ink, doily, distress marker}

I used the fine point of my black Distress Marker to add a little faux stitching to this card.

This card is going in the mail today. My sweet step-mother-in-law has had a rough week, and I know she could use a little cheering up.

I've discovered that the mail comes very late in my neighborhood. While others may complain, I'm thrilled! It means I might actually get a chance to put something in the mailbox before pick up! I bought myself a secret stash of stamps, hidden from husbands and kids, and I'm making it my goal to get more cards mailed.

A mailed card is the best card of all!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Finding Community

Community. It is a bittersweet word for me. It has the same impact on me that I suppose the word "baby" has for an infertile couple. When I hear the word "community", I feel an insatiable longing for something just out of reach.

I read the book "Bread and Wine" by Shauna Niequist last week, and I found myself once again feeling like I was on the outside looking in on what real fellowship and community looks like.

When you have community, you have a feeling of belonging and purpose in your life.

And when you do not have community, you know it. It is a big void, like a black hole that threatens to suck you in on a daily basis.

I am trying to find my place in a new town, and let me tell you, it's never easy if it can be difficult instead. For example, I signed up for a stamp camp with my new SU demonstrator, printed off directions to her house, and spent an hour getting lost instead.

No problem! I called the demo, and she fit me into her evening class. I printed off better directions and set out. Of course, the skies turned black, the rains poured down, the winds took down limbs and trees, but I persevered! I made it! And it was good to spend an evening with women, even if I didn't know a soul.

I never had a crafty friend when I lived in Indiana. I'm hoping to change that here in Pittsburgh.

We made this card at the camp, using one of the new SU In Colors with watercolor paper and blender pens.

Then I came home and dug out my old blender pens to make this card. A little more clean and simple.
I used a Hero Arts stamp for the flowers, paired it with a sentiment from Papertrey Ink (Simply Jane), and spritzed with Glimmer Mist (coffee).

Tell me, where do you feel a sense of community?

Friday, July 12, 2013

PS Sparks Challenge: Designer Drafts

Happy Friday, friends!

I've been cleaning and sorting and unpacking in my craft studio space this week.

Honestly, it's been sucking the creativity right out of me!

Today, I forced myself to take a break and do a little stamping. 

I stared at stamps and paper for a while, and they stared right back at me.

I know! I'll try my hand at this week's Designer Drafts challenge at the Paper Smooches blog!

I stared at the sketch, I stared at stamps, I stared at paper. I made myself a cup of tea. And finally, after what seemed like a l-o-n-g time, I came up with something.

{Today's Brew: Metropolis stamp set (Paper Smooches), PTI card stock, Cosmo Cricket papers (The Boyfriend), versafine onyx ink, Distress markers, circle punch, baker's twine, DYMO label maker}

That's an awfully easy clean and simple card when you consider the amount of time it took me to put it together!

Some days creativity comes easier than others.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer, Susan Branch, Showers, and Sisters

I had a long conversation with one of my sisters on the telephone yesterday. It had been a few weeks since we'd caught up, and we had a lot to talk about...the rainy weather, the garden, our kids getting older, the maintenance involved as we get older. You know, typical sister stuff.

And then we got on to one of our favorite!

It was funny to discover that we'd both pulled out some of our favorite Susan Branch books this week, getting reacquainted with some tried and true recipes. I think we first discovered Susan Branch about fifteen or maybe closer to twenty years ago ( was it baby Joseph or baby James?), when I found my sister the most precious baby book by this author and illustrator.

I was visiting Susan's blog, morning cuppa at hand, when I stumbled upon the cutest bookmark ever!

This adorable sheep! And I was thrilled to discover that Susan made a gift of this bookmark to all of her blog readers!

I promptly downloaded and printed off this bookmark. He will serve as my reminder to order Susan's newest book, "A Fine Romance", when it is released this autumn.

You're welcome!

I'm feeling the need to watercolor now. Time to pull out the paints, take a stroll through the garden, and see what inspires me.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I {love} Birthdays!

I love to celebrate birthdays!

An entire day to make someone feel special!

A day filled with their favorite things... church in the morning, IHOP for brunch, Apples to Apples for some fun family time, and Captain America for family movie time.

My Johnny turned twenty yesterday! Twenty! As in, 2 decades ago, I gave birth to my biggest baby, tipping the scales at 8lbs 10 oz, a chubby baby boy that melted my heart the first time I saw him. Twenty years ago, Sheesh! Where has the time gone?

For the first time in over ten years, my husband and I are not the parents of a teenager. Weird!

John needed a new phone, so we upgraded him to a new iphone yesterday. Yep, my son has a "smart" phone, and I'm still walking around with my "stupid" phone. Truly, it's not a priority for me. I'm just not a person that's texting and talking and searching all day. Half the time I've left the house and left the phone charging on the kitchen counter top.

I pulled out this phone from Teen Routine stamp set (Paper Smooches) and added a little text message to the screen with the help of Alphadots stamp set. A little screen glare with the help of Stickles, and voila!

{Today's Brew: Teen Routine and Alphadots stamp sets (Paper Smooches), PTI soft stone card stock, SU pacific point and tangerine tango card stock, notebook paper (amuse), spiral punch (SU), arrow punch (SU), Glimmer Mist graphite, smooches, washi tape (SMASH)}

 Tell do you feel about cell phones?

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!