Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Distress-ing Birthday Card

Today I have a fun birthday card to show you! My mother-in-law is a cat lover, which meant I HAD to get this stamp set from Mama Elephant stamps for all future Mom in law cards. You have to admit...those cats are seriously cute!

I love the way that the cats are looking up at the sentiment, so I decided to highlight that sentiment with a fun watercoloring technique using some simple tools.

I grabbed a few soft pastel colors from Tim Holtz Distress Markers and scribbled them directly onto one of my big acrylic blocks that I use for stamping. Then, using a water brush pen and a mister, I lightly swirled the marker on the block and stamped the entire block directly onto card stock.

When the watery background was fully dry, I stamped the sentiment over it with Versafine Onyx ink.

Soft and sweet, just like kittens...when they're sleeping. :)

{Today's Brew: Purrfect Pair stamp set (Mama Elephant stamps), Make a Wish (Mama Elephant stamps), PTI card stock, Distress Markers, SU silver twine}


Friday, January 30, 2015

It looks like Christmas outside...

...and because it looks like Christmas outside, I figure I can still show you two more Christmas cards I made this holiday season. So go put on a Perry Como Christmas CD and get in the spirit...again. lol!

I made exactly three cards for the holiday. Yep. Three! I mentioned in another post that I was working, right? Anyway, three crafty friends sent me lovely handmade cards, and I had to reciprocate.

Last year, I was the most blessed recipient of the entire WPlus9 Design holiday collection. I just adore this collection! So many wonderful images! My favorites are the small elements that can be stamped twice to give the pine cones above, and the poinsettias below.

{Today's Brews: wplus9 design stamps, PTI card stock and ink, washi tape, stickles on candle flame, SU silver twine}

Would you just look at those poinsettias? Stunning! I added this silvery vintage looking washi tape to all of the cards, and it was precious! I bought it from the Target dollar spot last year. My husband calls that the aisle of stupid stuff, but man oh man, do I ever score some great finds there!

Simple no-layer, one sheet wonder cards. But wow, did they have impact.

Speaking of impact, isn't this nativity set precious? It was a gift from my mother last year when she was cleaning out house. She made it back in the seventies, and I have always loved it for its simplicity. My little guy helped me unwrap each piece, and it felt like Christmas morning discovering each precious figure. As Sam carefully removed old yellowed newspaper from one of the figures, he asked me "Mom? Who is Henry Kissinger?" LOL!

Would you look at the size of those camels? They're enormous!

This concludes today's trip down the holiday memory lane. We will now resume with your regularly scheduled winter.

Thanks for visiting the cafe, friends!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Oh, Baby!

I miss holding babies.

When a new baby is born in my family, all the women get to cuddle and coo and fuss over those newborns.

I am usually living two or three states away. Grrrr.

I just want to hold a baby, dag nabbit! I want to cuddle them into the crook of my neck and breathe deeply of that sweet baby smell.

My niece had a baby last November, and I'm more than a little perturbed that I haven't met her yet. (Can you tell? lol!) And because I was working ...a November, I did not get a chance to send the new parents a card. I am hoping, weather permitting, that I will get to see her next month.

In the meantime, this one's for you, baby Lorelai!

{Today's Brew: Nursery Deco stamps (Mama Elephant), Hello Sunshine and Let's Polka papers (Lawn Fawn), PTI card stock, amuse ribbon}

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What Faith Journaling Taught Me In 2014

Last year, I added a really important element of faith journaling to my crafting time. It was a creative way to combine the things in my head with the things in my heart. I found that I could really pour my heart out in prayer, while at the same time letting my creativity flow. Writing, doodling, coloring, praying. It was a unique form of meditation.

The best part of faith journaling is that it provides a written record of the amazing ways that God worked in my life in those twelve months. I could look back and see so many prayers answered. The big ways, the little ways. God's yeses, God's nos, God's "not just yet"s. God's "soon"s. God's "piece of cake"s. God's "I've got this one covered"s.

I found that it is so important, not just to myself, but to my family. After all, what good is our testimony if we're not sharing it? I can look back at the pages and tell my kids...

"Remember when John did not have an internship when the school year ended, and then God provided one?"

"Remember when we didn't have a church home, and then God told us to travel a little farther, and we found one?"

"Remember how nervous you were about camp, and yet God made it a great experience for you?"

"Remember how sad we were when Shirley Ann broke her hip, and yet God brought her healing just as we'd prayed for?"

As my family prepares for a lot of changes in 2015, I can use my faith journal to say "Fear not! God's got this one covered!"

We have an unknown future. But today, we can trust it to a known God.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Because The World Needs Comfort and Joy

Through a strange set of circumstances, I found myself working at a retail store during the holiday season.

It started with a bible study, where Beth Moore chided me (we're BFFs, Beth and I) that I needed to get out into the world and make an impact and stop hiding in my holy huddle of like-minded churchy people.

And then there was a sermon (see? churchy people!) reminding me of "the quiet dignity of doing my vocation", and to be faithful to use my talents for God's glory.

I could hear God's gentle whisper to get out and minister to His people.

But how? And where? And when?

The present seemed as good a time as any. And seeing as I was in the earliest stages of the holiday season, I thought that retail might be a place to start. Which is completely crazy, when you consider that my husband already works in retail. Would I be adding to the chaos of our holiday season?

I quickly found a job working in women's boutique clothing. And just as quickly (day one!), I realized that it was not where God wanted me to be. I needed to reach a broader spectrum of people. Men, women, young, old.

And just as quickly, I found a new job with a major retailer who's goal is to get people enjoying the spiritual experience of the outdoors.

And thus I began this new mission and ministry.

Wait. What? Ministry? How can retail be ministry? Ministry is serving on some charitable committee or heading up some class. And mission? Mission is going to an impoverished country to feed orphans. Right? Mission and ministry is big and important. 

Well, that's the funny thing about mission and ministry. When God is your employer, the whole world becomes the mission field.

Through small acts of love, I serve each work day. I serve my coworkers when I am cheerful and helpful. I serve my boss when I work joyfully. And I serve the world that comes through those doors each day. I serve the man looking for easy cotton sweaters for his wife with early onset Alzheimer's.  I serve the harried mom looking for a hat that her fussy boy will actually want to wear. I serve the worried daughter looking for teeny tiny pants to fit her ninety-five year old mother who seems to be wasting away. 

It is simple, really. I show up for work and I serve. I serve with comfort and joy.

It isn't glamorous, and it isn't earth shattering. But being a servant never is.

It also changed my heart about blogging. I want to be a real barrista, serving you, the reader.

Today, I am offering up a warm mug of comfort and joy.

{Today's Brew: Heartfelt Holiday and Merry and Bright stamp sets (wplus9), inks and card stock (Papertrey Ink), washi tape (Target), tag die, silver twine (SU)}

Thanks for stopping by the cafe today!

Monday, January 26, 2015

I've Missed You!

It seems that just about the time I felt the blog had run its course and I had nothing else to say, that was the time when all sorts of things happened in life...and I couldn't share them with you!

Doesn't that just figure?

I think my friends and family were getting tired of some of my texts.

You found something awesome at the Target dollar spot? Yawn.

You made a card? Well, big deal!

You invented a new soup? Whatever.

You had an amazing insight after a sermon? Fine.


It was as if I was blogging without the blog. On more of a one-to-one basis. And truthfully, a lot gets lost in translation this way.

Don't get me wrong. That was one of the reasons I stopped blogging...more personal relationship building. That is still an important goal for me. Less technological disconnect, more relational connect. Less impersonal, more personal.

But I am starting to see that there can be a time and place for both to exist, in balance, in my life. I'm not always the best at the balance part, but I am learning. And I am using some new tools to help me with this.

So what did I learn after closing the cafe?

Well, I learned that I missed the writing. Sure, I could put it all in a journal. But what's the fun in that? If I can't share with you the pretty stamps and washi tape I put in the journal with the words, then it loses some of its fun for me. I am, by my own admission, guilty of the overshare.

I also found that my crafting has taken a serious blow. I make an occasional card, but nothing like I did when I shared them with you. I am SO behind on card making that it's not even funny. Babies, birthdays, funerals, get wells, I love yous...I need them all, like, yesterday! I am so belated with so many card occasions that I'm afraid my family is about to disown me  .

The truth is, you inspire me. You inspire me when you leave comments, and you inspire me when you don't. You inspire me to become a better writer, a better crafter, a better person. You inspire me to more introspective thoughts.

And I hope, in some small way, I might still have something left that will inspire you. Because if I'm not serving you, then what's the point of being a creative cafe barrista?

So get ready! I am frothing up the milk, heating up the espresso machine, and ready to brew some lattes!

I've been involved in some exciting things that I can't wait to share! Art journalling, Bible journalling. Planners and home organization. Cards and crafts. And that's just the tip of the iceberg! I have major life changes taking place with my family, along with events that have happened in recent months that have shaped me and helped me grow in some pretty profound ways.

Grab a mug and let's catch up! Tell me...what has happened in your life since I've been gone? Can I pray for you today? How can I serve you at this blog cafe? Let's do some sharing.

Bless you, friend!