Tuesday, June 30, 2015

WPlus9 Throwback Thursday: Folk Art Florals

My husband likes to unpack a house completely in under three days. It's insane, and exhausting, but somehow it works for our family better than dragging the process out for months. We've been in the house for two weeks now, and a first time visitor would think that we'd been living here for much longer. Walls painted, curtains and art work hung, furniture and decor in place. Mind you, it will all get changed a few times in the days ahead, but for now, it looks like home.

As he was unpacking the garden and garage items, he placed the bird bath on the back patio and left it for me to figure out where it belonged in the garden.

In the meantime, it rained, and soon the little bird bath had daily visitors.

I had to pick up a new shepherd's hook and bird feeder for all of the new visitors!

I love my birds. It makes the garden a happy place now.

Speaking of birds, the first stamp set I ever bought from WPlus9 Designs was Folk Art Florals and matching dies. I had to have those sweet birds!

{Today's Brew: All stamps and dies from WPlus9, PTI inks and card stock}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, June 29, 2015

PS Sparks June Designer Drafts Challenge: The Post About Laundry

This is a post about laundry.

After all, it's Monday, a perfect day to tackle those loads of summer beach and pool towels!

I am a nut about laundry. My family knows it. I know it. I just love to clean the family clothes, towels, and linens. Put in something smelly and dirty. Take out something fresh and clean. Magic!

This weekend, we bought a new, slightly used gas dryer from a sweet lady on Craigslist. We had to buy a dryer because at our last house, we had only electric dryer hook up. And at the house before that, we had gas dryer hook up. So yes, we are right back to where we started, and now on our third Whirlpool Cabrio dryer. Sheesh!

I am back in my element, washing clothes and towels like nobody's business. Now, at last, it feels like home!

I made this card for the PS Sparks challenge at Paper Smooches!


Here's my card!

{Today's Brew: stamps from Paper Smooches, Versafine Onyx ink, Ranger Distress Spray inks, MME enaml dots, PTI card stock}

Here's the thing about using spray inks on a one-layer card. You will get a little overspray and mess in places you least expect it, like the back of your card. That's okay! We shall call it art.

I'm sending this one to my son, John, who moved into his own apartment this month. John landed a great job straight out of college, and he's beginning his big adult adventure in Fishers, Indiana. New job, swanky new apartment. I'm one proud mama!

Speaking of laundry, I have a really important tip for all of you folks who have HE, or High Efficiency washers and dryers. I was a regular user of liquid detergents and fabric softeners, and I cleaned my machine regularly with products like Affresh. And still, I would end up with gunky deposits on my clean clothes. At first, I thought it was little bits of leaves and yard debris that had not washed off. But no. It was just gunk. Nasty, yucky gunk.

And then we had a house inspection, and the inspector gave me some really important information regarding HE machines. Liquid detergents and fabric softeners will gunk up your machine, and gunk up all the mechanisms that help it run efficiently. Powder, he said. Only powder detergents.

So I went home and gave it a shot. But first, I cleaned my machine with a Tide washing machine cleaner. And then I grabbed paper towels to wipe down every crack and crevice inside the machine. In the detergent and fabric softener and bleach slots. In the basin. Under the lid. It was amazing how disgusting it was. Gunk everywhere! So I ran another cycle of hot water with a few cups of baking soda and white vinegar thrown in. And again, I cleaned and removed more gunk. I did this wiping down process until there was no more gunk to be had anywhere.

And then I switched to this:

Now Tide and the other makers will continue to try to tell us that liquid is the way to go for HE, but do not believe it. I now use powder detergent AND dryer sheets when needed. No more liquid fabric softener.

I cannot begin to tell you how much better my machine runs now! No more gunky deposits, no bad mildew smell. Just clean every time.

My sister, who had the same problems, switched as well. She's getting the same great results every time.

So there you have it! A card AND clean clothes for your Monday! Blessings, cafe friends!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Craft Room In Progress

I found a little time to unpack my temporary craft space this week. Temporary, because it is in the basement that will soon get a major remodel. So my dear husband's last words before heading out of town for work were "Remember, don't set up anything too permanent."

Uh huh.

So here it is:

A banquet table, a stool, a few wire shelving units stolen from the garage, and I now have a makeshift crafting space.

It's not ready for a magazine spread, but it will do.

Actually, when I see it all in one place, it makes me happy. I've purged a LOT in recent years, which has caused me to be a little more particular about what I purchase now.

Lots of pretty papers...

...and a rainbow of inks on hand.

I recently paired down a LOT in this department. I sold about 1500 sheets of cardstock, over 50 ink pads and reinkers, and multiple packs of patterned papers that I was no longer using. They took up way too much valuable real estate.

I have to have the practical things nearby...scissors, clear stamp blocks, cleaners.

But I also like to see the pretty things, too...like this basket of lace, for example. Inspiration for future projects.

And a little inspiration from the Word when I need it.

I keep a lot of stamps in these canvas storage cubes (Martha Stewart for Home Depot)...great for my lighter weight clear acrylic stamps from some of my favorite companies.

I try to keep it colorful and happy. A few years back, before my last move to Pittsburgh, I purchased a lot of storage items from the dollar spot at Target. All of the colorful turquoise and lime green storage containers have been so handy, and the colors manage to unify a space that can (and usually does) look like a cluttered mess.

I am sharing space now with the man cave...

...but that's really not such a terrible thing. After all, I can watch Chip and Joanna on HGTV's Fixer Upper while I craft, which will inspire me to get creative with the rest of the house!

We have some plans for the basement remodel project. New drywall, better lighting, new flooring. Built-in cabinetry and counter space for crafting (yippee!), and perhaps a mini kitchen and game room. This one sounds like a project for the professionals.

Chip and Joanna Gaines, if you are reading this blog, will you help us tackle this Fixer Upper?


Blessings on your weekend, cafe friends!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Begin At The Beginning


I looked at the house on Moving Day and wondered "Lord, where do I begin?"

And that's when God whispered "Begin at the beginning."

For starters, we immediately removed the Chinese good fortune token over the front door, the New Age crystals over the windows, and the Wiccan (okay, maybe it was just ugly) star wind chimes that cluttered the front porch. Coexist, take that! LOL!

After the exorcism was performed (ha! ha! ), I got a bucket of warm Lysol water, a scrub brush, and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and I got to work cleaning the front of the house. Every spindle. Every post. Every hand rail. Every door and door frame and window. Dirt and grime and bird poop were washed away!

At this point, the moving company representative, who was overseeing the unpacking, said to me "Mary Rose, when you're done there, would you mind detailing my car?" LOL!

A clean slate!

And then the fun began.

I love front porches, and this house has a nice wrap around front porch that was begging for some rockers. We bought four white rockers last weekend from Lowes (some assembly required. Sorry, Honey! Happy Father's Day!).

Two for the front.

And two for the side.

And then I stumbled upon these Smith and Hawken seat cushions at Target on clearance this week! Thank you, God! A blessing just when I needed one!

The hooks were in place, so I made a quick trip to Home Depot for some hanging baskets.

Pink shade loving impatiens, because the porch faces slightly northeast.

Some sweet petunias for the urns by the front door. Flowers make everything pretty, don't they?

We painted over the dingy tomato red doors with a nice soothing blue.

Unfortunately, this blue just isn't soothing me.

Better than dingy tomato, but still not there. That's okay. It's only paint, and paint is a cheap fix!

As soon as the weather forecast improves, I will repaint the doors in this lovely new color from Benjamin Moore. Mill Springs Blue. Perfect for a town that loves its windmills.

Sam took one look at the front porch and said "Hey, isn't this the color scheme you picked out for inside the house, too?"

Such a smart boy, my Sam. Soothing colors for the ketchup and mustard house.

But where to begin on the inside?

I think I'll begin at the beginning once again.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Card, A Coffee, and An Update

Good morning, cafe friends!

I am happy to report that the move is finally over! Praise be to God!

I learned a valuable lesson in Home Relocation Number Four. Six months is WAY too long a process. Three months? Fine. Perfect. Sell a house. Buy a house. Move. Done. Six months? Too much time overthinking, and too much of a disruption to daily life.

So, how was the move? Well, it was the WORST packing process we've ever experienced. A terrible crew with no leadership or plan, and they took THREE days to pack our house and load it on the truck. We were cutting it so close that the new owners were touring the house for the final walk through while we were still vacuuming and loading the truck.

Just to give a little comparison, the last time we moved we had a team that had our whole house packed and ready to go before Sam came home from school. So yeah, they were bad. But the moving company reached out through the company VP and sent us a new crew and a representative for the move in day, and they were much better.

We did our final walk through of the house the night before move in, and again, it was rough. So rough that my eldest son, who is always so positive, asked me "What was Dad thinking when he decided on this house?!"

I'll be honest, it looked a lot like we'd just purchased a Flip or Flop foreclosure house.

Graffiti? Check!

Scary self portrait in the closet? Check!

Weeds as tall as Sam? Check!

Dirty? Check!

Junk left behind? Check and double check!

And correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't think it's supposed to rain INSIDE of windows!


We will have our work cut out for us with this house.

Which leads me to this awesome card that Mom mailed to me this week:


With a good cup of coffee, anything seems possible. That is why the coffee bar was one of the first things to get unpacked at the new house!

We've been here for a week now, and we've already begun the renovation process. I will have a LOT of before and after photos to share with you soon, so stop back!

The cafe has moved, but I'm still serving the same creative brew. Thanks for sticking with me, friends!