Monday, June 30, 2014

Garage Sale Weekend

Happy Monday, cafe friends!

I am recovering from Garage Sale fever! I drove to Mom's house in Michigan last week to help my siblings organize the big sale at Mom's house.

I came to town armed with my usual garage sale arsenal: pricing stickers, sharpies, card stock, tape, poster board, Chlorox wipes and paper towels. And then we got to work! Cleaning, pricing, labeling.

Craft tables, Christmas tables, kitchen tables.

Mom's town was celebrating their Community Days, and it seemed to be the unofficial "official garage sale" weekend. We had a TON of traffic and moved a lot of merchandise to new homes.

My brothers and sisters and their kids are a fun bunch. Wherever we congregate, we make it a party. We talked to customers and neighbors, and cajoled people into sales. It was hot, fun, exhausting work, but I'm so glad we did it.

Mission accomplished!

Tell me, do you brake for garage sales?

Friday, June 27, 2014

All The Other Kids...

If you are a mom, you've probably had a conversation similar to this one at some point in your parenting adventure.

"Mom. Seriously. Every other kid has one! Why can't I have a (fill in blank here) too?"

Sam has been hammering me this year for a smart phone. A smart phone, for pete's sake! I just got an iphone this past Christmas, and before that, I'd used my stupid phone for over five years.

Sam's older brothers were always the last in their social circles to have cell phones, for a number of reasons. For starters, they cost money. LOTS of money. And the plans to keep them active? Even more money. Second, why would they need a phone if every one of their friends already has one? If it was really an emergency, there would be no shortage of nearby phones to contact someone. Third, the kids were almost always with us, or at a home that had a land line. Who were they going to need to call?

Sixteen. It was a right of passage age for my oldest sons. And when you start something with the oldest child, it typically becomes tradition and sets precedent for the younger children as well.

But sixteen! That's five years and three months from now for Sam!

Sam: "Mom. Seriously. Every other kid in my class has one."

Me: "Really? Okay. I want to line up all the kids in your class, and then I will ask every other one. You. Not you. You. Not you."

Sorry. Not buying it.

And then I got a call from a class mom, inviting Sam to a birthday sleepover. She informed me that he'd already had his birthday a while back, and this was his chance to celebrate with friends. And by the way, he got a smart phone for his tenth birthday.


I'll never hear the end of it!

I made this card for his birthday sleepover celebration. It seemed appropriate.

{Today's Brew: Teen Routine (Paper Smooches), PTI card stock, versafine ink and prisma markers, Lawn Fawn papers, staples from Making Memories}

I don't know where you fall in the "staples" camp, but it seems to be an item that paper crafters either love or hate. I decided these banners just need a little something, and I think the staples did the trick.

Today, I will celebrate just a few more years of pre-pubescent naivete. Today, I will not rush to be like all the other moms. I will celebrate this moment before every day becomes this day:

Unplugged, and loving every moment of it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

PTI June 2014 Blog Hop!

Good morning, cafe friends! Grab a cup and sit a spell! I'm serving up three card creations for today's Papertrey Ink blog hop. I decided to use one of my favorite stamp sets that just sings "Summer" to me: On The Farm!

I used this sketch to make a fun little country card!

{Today's Brew #1: On The Farm (PTI), Background Basics Gingham (PTI), PTI card stock and ink, baker's twine}

For this card, I combined the color recipe with the sketch recipe to make a sunny creation!

{Today's Brew #2: On The Farm (PTI), Background Basics Music (PTI), Think Big Favorites (PTI),  PTI card stock and ink, PTI button, gingham ribbon, embossing folder (SU) }

Once again, I combined the color recipe and sketch recipe for this last card!

{Today's Brew: On The Farm (PTI), PTI card stoick and ink, gingham paper (amuse), circle and scallop circle punches}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weed or Wildflower?

When we purchased our Pittsburgh home one year ago, I had the privilege of becoming the steward of the former owners' garden.

This was a really big deal for me.

We've purchased five homes in our twenty-five years of marriage, and none of them had anything that could be called a "garden". And because I love flowers and gardens, I put a lot of backbreaking work into creating gardens in our past homes. Planning, sketching, plotting, roto-tilling, soil amending, purchasing, digging, planting, praying.

A lot of work.

And on a few occasions, we didn't live in the houses long enough to see the full fruits of our labor.

To purchase a home that had a lovely established garden?

Like I said, it was a big deal for me.

There is, however, one dilemma when you are the steward  of someone else's garden...discerning weed from flower. After all, if you didn't plant it with your own hands, how can you be certain?

Case in point: this sweet little flower is growing in proliferation in my garden. It grows around the base of this tree, but has also managed to meander throughout the garden as well. It's the meandering that has me wondering "Is this a weed or a wildflower?"

I have chosen to call it "flower". I like to think of it as a naturalized chamomile, but it probably has another name that I just haven't stumbled upon yet. If you know what this is, will you please tell me?

My neighbor, Rose Mary, had a seventieth birthday celebration this weekend. Rose Mary loves gardening, too. I made her this card with the PTI stamp set "Wildflower Garden". I really like the sentiment!

A simple message inside with a sweet little flower, too.

And because Rose Mary is an extra special neighbor (she bakes the most amazing ginger snaps!), I even stamped the envelope!

I like the fact that this is a simple card with dimension, thanks to the Memory Box stencil. I also did a little freehand squiggly border to frame it out.

I hand-delivered this card to Rose Mary at her party. You'll never guess who else was in attendance! The former owners of our house! It was so nice to see them again, and to talk about the garden. I told Mrs. N about my dilemma, and I loved her response.

"If it's pretty and it has a sweet flower, why not let it grow and see what happens?"

Great advice. I knew I loved that woman!

I love her garden, too.

Blessed Monday, cafe friends!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Conquering Fear

I used to have a fear of bridges.

The kind of fear that makes you close your eyes and keep 'em closed whenever you cross one. Of course, this makes it kinda difficult to drive over bridges with one's eyes closed.

It turns out there's a name for this fear. Gephyrophobia. The fear of crossing bridges.

I used to suffer from gephyrophobia every summer when we lived in Michigan. That's because my husband insisted that there was no vacation spot worth visiting if it wasn't in the Upper Peninsula. The UP, as we Michiganders like to call it. And to reach the UP, you have to cross this:

The Mackinaw Bridge, gateway to the Upper Peninsula, bisecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The stories of this bridge are plentiful. Yugos (remember that car?) have been known to blow over that bridge on windy days and sink in the frigid waters below. And winter? Ice? Don't even go there!

The bridge just goes on and on and on...

Are we over yet?

On one of our family vacations, when our oldest sons were just seven and four, we had to cross back over this bridge on a foggy day. FOG!

At the time, I considered moving to the Upper Peninsula permanently. Just sell our house remotely, by telephone, and never ever ever have to cross the bridge again.

I shut my eyes and kept them shut. Tightly shut!

And then my son, Luke, piped in from the back seat. "Dad? What would happen if the van blew off the bridge and landed in the water?"


That's when his younger brother chimed in.

"Yuke!" he said, because he had a funny accent at the time and that's what he called his brother. "Yuke! Don't you know that Mom's afwaid of the bwidges!"

We still laugh about this story almost fifteen years later!

But a funny thing has happened recently. I'm not nearly as afraid of crossing bridges as I once was.

Perhaps it's because I have to cross the Glass City bridge every time I visit family in Michigan.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's because we moved to a city with this skyline full of bridges at every turn!

I think I am learning to conquer my fear.

You hear that, bridges? I am not afraid of you anymore!

Eek! Okay, maybe we can just be fair weather friends.

I purchased two things last year as soon as we moved to Pittsburgh. One, this stamp set from Paper Smooches, and two, this bridge die from Memory Box. Put the two together and you've got the Pittsburgh skyline, right down to the cloud cover!

I made this card for the Anything Goes challenge at Paper Smooches! (click on the logo on the left sidebar for more info!). The city skyline stamps are, in fact, straight, but I curved them on the clear block to make it look more like the hills of Pennsylvania.

{Today's Brew: Metropolis stamp set (Paper Smooches), Memory Box bridge die, Memory Box stencil, PTI card stock and inks, Prisma markers}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Studio Reveal! Before and After!

I cannot wait one more day. I HAVE to show you the progress in the studio/guest room remodel!

We've made a lot of updates in our Pennsylvania house during year one, but I think this may be the BIGGEST transformation to date!

This room was formerly a wood paneled "den". The previous owner, a doctor, had used it as his home office.

Here are the "before" photos from moving day.

Dark paneling everywhere, and heavy insulated drapes to keep out the light.

I tried to make the most of it by adding colorful accessories and swapping out the heavy drapes for sheer curtains. But in the end, those dark walls just swallowed the light.

So, after a LOT of priming and a LOT of painting, here's the studio/guest room now!

Let there be light!

The built-ins were a LOT of work to paint, but the result is perfect! We chose Valspar's (National Trust for Historic Preservation) Churchill Hotel Hazy Yellow for the walls, paired it with Valspar's Sea Kiss for the back wall of the bookcase, and a nice crisp white for all of the woodwork.

That sewing machine will come in handy when I finally get around to sewing the window treatment!

Yes, this room is still a work in progress. For example, I have not shown you the fourth wall behind a row of cabinetry that has NOT been painted yet!

Hmm. This one will definitely take some strategy. Those units are not built in, and they weigh a ton!

Maybe we'll just keep it this way to show everyone the "before" and "after"!

Maybe not.

I am so happy with the way all of the existing pieces came together.

The quilt and lamp base from Walmart (Better Homes and Gardens) that matched the clearance lamp shade from Target!

The organizational items from Target's Dollar Spot that matched the bins from Martha Stewart (Home Depot)!

The sheer curtains are from Laura Ashley, and they were a great price at Marshalls!

Finally, a place to just be still!

Overall, this room did not cost a fortune to update. Paint is such a cheap fix! New curtains and curtain rods, a new lamp and shade, and painting supplies. We paired it all with our existing bedding and storage items for a funky look that achieves the perfect balance between vintage and updated.

This room used to be "the black hole" at the end of the hallway. Now, it is the happy place at the end of the hallway! I can get a glimpse of it from my kitchen, and whenever I do, it just makes me smile!

Time to get inky!