Sunday, November 24, 2013

Packages and Parcels

It was one of those mornings where we were loaded with packages and parcels to take to church.

First, there were the shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child that were due today!

The church youth group was also having a bake sale today, and I had offered to bring cookies.

It's a good thing I had all of my sons attending service this morning. I needed all of the extra hands I could get!

I made a batch of Peppermint Mocha cookies with candy cane sprinkles. Yum! I made a tag to match the holiday paper plates using some stamps and dies from Lawn Fawn (Tag You're It).

I also made a batch of Pumpkin Spice cookies (cream cheese frosting makes these extra special!).

I think these tags and ribbons (amuse) make a cute presentation, don't you?

I've been using this tag set from Lawn Fawn a lot lately. I'm so glad I got it! It will definitely come in handy during the festive days ahead.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What I've Been Reading This Month

I've been doing a lot of reading this month. In my reading, a theme began to emerge in every book I picked up.

Conviction. Namely, the conviction of the Holy Spirit. This topic presented itself often in the study by Priscilla Shirer.

Priscilla had us digging into our very human tendency to look for idols, those things that seem innocent on the surface but can quickly take the place of God.

And then I was reading this biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man who was convicted by the Holy Spirit to confront the evil that was unfolding in his home country.

Bonhoeffer coined the term "cheap grace" to describe those individuals who want "forgiveness without repentance, absolution without confession, grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ."

I've had a crush on this dead theologian for the past year. I've been wondering "Where are the Bonhoeffer's of our day to speak this kind of truth?"

And then I read this book.

I think I found a modern day Bonhoeffer. Truly, the best book I read this year. Idleman explores the topic of being a fan of Jesus versus being a follower of Jesus.

To be honest, I think I was a fan of Jesus for most of my adult life. It wasn't until about ten years ago that I started really becoming a follower. I started making bible study a real priority in my life, and let me tell you, there is nothing like God's Word to help accomplish the work of the Holy Spirit to clean house. I started becoming really and truly convicted by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

In my fan days I read what I wanted, watched what I wanted, listened to what I wanted, ate what I wanted. I was in charge. Blissful ignorance! And then the Holy Spirit started convicting me. I was no longer the same.

I have a love/hate relationship with conviction. I cringe at those painful moments of conviction, but I'm also thankful that they point me to the cross. I'm trying to be more mindful of the things I do and don't do, the things I say and don't say. Not trying to be perfect, but trying to follow hard and fast after Jesus, to be "covered in the dust of the Rabbi".

 I have a long way to go.

I need something to read over the holiday season. Any recommendations?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mad About Plaid

Years ago, my husband and I purchased a home that was more than double the size of our tiny cottage. Needless to say, we had a lot of rooms to fill. Over the course of several months, we purchased furniture to fill our new living room, family room, and dining room. When the furniture was finally delivered, we looked around at our house and scratched our heads in wonder.

We had purchased a plaid sofa, plaid love seat, and plaid chair and ottoman for the living room. We had also purchased a plaid sofa, plaid love seat, and plaid chair and ottoman for the family room. Even the dining room chairs were covered in (you guessed it!) plaid.

I guess we went a little mad for plaid.

The truth is I still love plaid!

I picked up this amazing publication last month and have been enjoying it immensely. It is a British Country Living magazine filled with page after page of inspiration.

They had a feature on wool plaids, and I swear, I loved every room. Not surprising!

We're having new furniture delivered for our family room this Friday. I'm so excited! This time around, we are mixing solids, patterns and plaids together for a look that isn't so matchy-matchy. We're getting a big square ottoman in wool plaid that will serve as our footstool and coffee table combined.

I'm anxious to see how it will all look in the wood paneled family room.

In the meantime, I made a card with a plaid base.

{Today's Brew: Stamps an dies from WPlus9 design, card stock and inks from SU, plaid paper from October Afternoon, felt from PTI, scallop edge die from MFT, amuse heart twinkles, burlap}

Coffee mugs and warm houses filled with plaid.

Comfort and Joy!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Punch Needle November Project

I must confess, I collect needle art projects the same way I collect papers. And stamps. And dies.

Too often, I "collect" items for crafting, and then forget about actually doing the "crafting" part.

I've had this Brenda Gervais pattern for longer than I care to admit. I decided to pull it out and get started on it. No time like the present!

Punch needle is fun, and it is fast. Using a hollow needle and three strands of floss, the punch needle process makes short loops in the fabric, similar to the process of rug hooking. But because you are using a three-strand thickness and making loops, it uses a LOT of floss. I substituted Weeks Dye Works flosses for the Valdani flosses that the pattern called for, and had to pull together three different shades of navy just to fill in the night sky with the floss I had on hand.

I spent a Saturday punching this pattern while watching the Hallmark channel holiday movies. I've seen them all before, so I can listen and punch at the same time! (I'm still trying to decide which Debbie Macomber is my favorite. I think it's Trading Christmas, but I also love the Mrs. Miracle shows!)

I still need to "age" this pattern with some Distress spray. And then I'll need to make the angel head...and the wings...and the stand...and then put it all together.

Should we make a wager now to see if this one gets done before Christmas? ha ha ha!

The days are short and the nights are long. It is a great time to curl up on the couch with a needle art project and a holiday movie.

Tell me, are you making anything special for the holidays?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Card For November!

It has been two weeks now, and I am still without my computer. Weighing the pros and cons of a.) the cost of repair, b.) the cost of replacement, and c.) spending money on big ticket items before the holidays.

In the meantime, I am getting my emails and webtime from my Nook. Not the most convenient method, but better than nothing!

My oldest son has graciously allowed me to use his laptop. The problem? He does not have my camera's software on his computer.

Hmmm. How to upload photos?

That's when I came up with my Plan B.

I'll take photos with my cell phone, send them to my email address, retrieve them from my son's laptop, and save them to his desktop.

Whew. That's a lot of work!

And when I say "cell phone", I'm sure you are picturing some iphone or smart phone that takes amazing photos and can send them to facebook or instagram and such. Nope! We're talking a five year old flip phone with no keyboard, using the old hunt and peck method. It is laborious!

Anyhoo, now that you know my computer woes, I'm sure you'll forgive my infrequent blog posts, right?

On to today's creation!

I'm really loving this card for a few reasons.
1. A color palette outside of my comfort zone!
2. Awesome die cuts!
3. Interesting textures!

Here's a closer look:

I used some red Stickles and Liquid Pearls to add a little interest to the "branches".

What do you think?
{Today's Brew: Fresh Cut Florals stamp set (wplus9 design), modern wood mats stamp (PTI), happy die cut (PTI), sentiment (PTI), all other die cuts from wplus9 design, inks and card stock from SU, card stock base and button twine (PTI), Stickles, Liquid Pearls}

There are some ah-MAZ-ing creations at the wplus9 design blog right now using the new products from their Holiday Collection. You should check it out!

It's Peppermint Mocha Latte season, cafe friends! Comfort and Joy!

Monday, November 11, 2013

How Did November Happen?

I cannot believe that November is here already. I think the switch to daylight savings time kicked my butt this year! Waking up an hour earlier, feeling tired all day long, looking out the window before dinner and seeing nothing but pitch black. I've been cocooning indoors, wearing sweaters and cuddling under blankets...that sounds like a surefire recipe for nap time! zzzzz

Today, I got out the serious stuff and made a full pot of potent coffee! One scoop of Folgers mixed with one scoop of Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Spice.  Mmmm! Maybe now I can find some energy to get the laundry done!

But first, a little music to inspire me! I picked up this little unit last week at Target, and I really love it! A CD player with an AM/FM radio, alarm clock, and ipod compatible! It's super small and thin, and it barely takes up any room in my kitchen. Now I can listen to my collection of Christmas CDs while I do the laundry, or...

...maybe I'll just turn on the Hallmark channel and watch a Christmas movie. Just for a few minutes. I'll grab my cup of coffee, snuggle under a blanket, and...