Monday, October 31, 2016

Reformation Day, Octoberfest, and Other Holidays

We celebrated the 499th anniversary of Reformation Day this weekend. Just year will be the big year in Germany, when people will travel from far away to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's reformation of the church. Ninety-five thesis nailed to a church door in Wittenberg, meant to be talking points for how to put Christ back in the center of faith. Little did that monk know that they would spark a revolution!

That's the beauty of the reformation. The church is not reformed. The church is reforming, every day. And every day, I have to remind myself that I need reforming, too. I need Christ in the center of my life and my day.

We celebrated at home with an Octoberfest-inspired dinner! Brats in beer gravy served over spatezle noodles, with my German mother's traditional red cabbage recipe served on the side.

It was SOOOO good!

For dessert, I made a really delicious apfelkuchen, or apple cake. Warm, with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mmmmm! Sam played some German carols for us at the piano. It was a fun evening.

After dessert, Sam decided that he wanted to carve a pumpkin. And I really really really dislike carving pumpkins. I'd much rather leave them whole and use them as a decoration all the way to Thanksgiving. So I told Sam he could do it himself, start to finish. And when he was done, he agreed...that was a messy job!

But I will admit, it does give a cheerful glow when lit from within.

I'm not one to celebrate Halloween in a big way. I pass out candy, and that's about it.

So you may be wondering...what is that thing hanging on Mary Rose's door? Well, brace yourself. This not-so-subtle wreath was a gift given to us this year, and we've had a good laugh over its gaudiness!

There it is...your laugh for the day!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fixer Upper House: A Weekend Landscaping Project

As many of my blog readers already know, I'm not a fan of this house. Never have been, never will be. It isn't just the house itself that has me less than enamored. It's also the corner lot that gives us the feeling of living in a fish bowl. No privacy. And to make matters worse, we are fish living in a bowl that looks out upon our neighbors' overflowing in, day out.

So this weekend we worked at Operation: Privacy Hedge. Something tells me Luke had not planned on spending his day off this way. Love ya, Luke!

In many areas relating to this house, I am a bargain shopper. I patiently waited for these arbor vitae to go on sale. And finally, they did! Marked down to half off of their original $45 price tag at Home Depot. Yea! We did have to drive to two stores to get the right amount, but in the end we saved quite a bit.

We have been blessed with pretty mild weather this late in the season. It has made it an optimal time for planting. Ed and Luke dug the holes, added some amended soil and mixed in the original soil, then covered the area with fresh mulch. I will continue to water until the beginning of December, just to help them get established.

We opted for the Green Giant variety, which is a super fast growing specimen. And as you can see in the above photo, we need them to!

We also installed some plastic deer screen to protect them, not from the deer, but from the giant Yeti that roams free in our yard.

This wild beast has been known to chew branches, trees, shrubs and plants, while using her huge shovel paws to dig her way to China.

These bushes will not block our view any time soon. Our hope is that they will grow and present themselves as a future privacy hedge for the next owners. That is, if Miss Shovel Paws will let them be. That remains to be seen.

Another project crossed off our To Do List! I would love to have this house market-ready by early spring of next year....just in case we have the opportunity to my Urban Oasis home in Ann Arbor...just as soon as HGTV calls to tell me that I've won.

Hey, it could happen! :)

Blessings, cafe friends!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Limestone Cafe

The temperatures dropped earlier this week and it got cold! Cold, as in "time to get out the fingerless gloves!" cold.

Luke had a craving for hot cocoa, so we decided to visit the local coffee shop, Limestone Cafe!

I ordered the Morning Latte and explored the local artwork...

...and these funny coffee mugs!

Is it too early for a hot cocoa inspired card? Certainly not! If Hallmark channel is showing the holiday movies, then I have permission to show you this card!

{Today's Brew: Love You A Latte (Lawn Fawn), Lawn Fawn papers and dies, PTI card stock and ink, doily, Lawn Fawn snowflake, Amuse ribbon and rhinestone twinkle}

It seems that ribbons have sort of fallen out of fashion in the paper crafting world, but I still find that they can really add a certain warmth to some cards. And they often serve a purpose, too. For example, in this card they blur the edge where the papers and doily came together, tying it all up with a neat bow.

Where do you stand with the use of ribbons? Love em or leave em?

And where do you stand with hot cocoa? Add a shot of espresso or keep it unadultered?

Vote now!


Blessings on your weekend, cafe friends!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pumpkin Love

Don't you love the variety of pumpkins available at the farmer's market these days? Bright orange, pale peach, white, gray, green, and every variation in between.

Striped pumpkins, bumpy pumpkins, smooth pumpkins, squat pumpkins. So many shapes and sizes!

I made this autumnal card, combining some traditional fall colors with a few non-traditional options.

{Today's Brew: Pretty Patches stamps and dies (wplus9 design), Lawn Fawn Papers, Lawn Fawn leaves dies, Lawn Fawn tag die, MFT stitching die, PTI inks and card stock, baker's twine}

So thankful for all of you, cafe friends!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pumpkin Spice On The Road

Today's Brew has a hint of autumn spice, inspired by our weekend trip to Indiana to see our son, John!

{Today's Brew: You're A Hoot stamps (Lawn Fawn), Flirty Frames stamps and dies (Lawn Fawn), Lawn Fawn papers and dies, PTI card stock and inks, baker's twine}

I made a batch of pumpkin spice cookies (with cream cheese frosting, yum!) and loaded them into Pumpkin Spice (the Subaru Crosstrek!) before we set out for Indiana on Saturday!

I love autumn road trips! The weather is beautiful, the trees are turning golden and crimson, and most of the orange cones of road construction have disappeared.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Golden Delicious!

My Mom came for a visit last weekend, along with sisters Tina and Jenny. We had such a great time! Shopping, eating, and lots of laughs!

Mom brought me this precious present...Michigan apples for this displaced Michigander!

Mmmm! Golden Delicious, my favorite! It tastes just like home!

She also brought us apple cider from Bennett's Orchard in Ottawa Lake, Michigan. So good!

Here's a card to express my love...for Moms, and sisters, and Michigan apples!

I painted Harvest Mouse using my Gansai Tambi watercolors. For the background, I laid a stencil over cardstock and then misted with some Distress Sprays.

{Today's Brew: Harvest Mouse stamp set (MFT), MFT stencil, MFT dies, PTI card stock, Distress Sprays, Gansai Tambi watercolors, enamel dots}

We were missing one sister last weekend, who had too many busy things on her schedule to make it out. Next time, sister Sue! Sometimes, fun has to be marked on the calendar in pen to make it happen!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

One Good Way To Grow Morning Glories (And Two Ways To Avoid)

Don't you just love Morning Glories? You often see them growing along fences or up flag poles in the country. Such a sweet and easy vine to grow in any sunny spot. Maybe too easy, as they can have the habit of reseeding themselves and spreading where you may not want them to grow. One woman's weed is another woman's wildflower.

I haven't planted Morning Glories since our house in Noblesville, Indiana, so I decided to give them a try again this year.

I planted them in several locations throughout our yard. I had a few seeds left over, and those are the ones I planted along the picket fence. Lovely! Pretty Jemma makes a pretty picture with these flowers as her backdrop!

Such a sweet, wispy display for autumn. I'm surprised that they are still growing and blooming this late into the season. We've had a mild autumn here in the Midwest. Earlier this week, the temps even hovered near 80, which is rare this late into October.

I'm surprised how well these vines did along the fence line, as my husband is often merciless with his weed whacker when he does the lawn edging. Somehow, they managed to survive.

The seeds I planted at the mailbox? Well, I can see now that I probably over-planted and should have thinned them out considerably. They obviously loved the location, but yikes! Too thick!

Somewhere in that mass is my mailbox.

We now call this plant "Cousin It" from the Addams Family.

The blooms are so sweet, but seriously, this was too much of a good thing.

I've apologized to my poor mailman for this Little Shop of Horrors plant, and promised that I will not attempt this again next year!

As for the morning glories at the front porch, it seems to be the same story. I was a little too zealous in my seed planting. The boys have dubbed this vine "The Jumanji plant" because it will grab on to just about anything.

A thick, dense vine, but not nearly enough blossoms. I think that the angle of the sun shifted as the season progressed, and this plant just isn't getting enough of the "morning" to bring on the "glory".

So there you have it. One way to grow Morning Glories, and two ways to avoid next year.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Friday, October 21, 2016

November Planner Pages

I was having a conversation with my son on the telephone the other night. We were discussing Thanksgiving plans. And that's when it dawned on me...November is right around the corner!

I didn't have my November planner pages ready. Surely November can't come if it doesn't have planner pages, right? I realized it was time to get organized.

I pulled out elements from Simple Stories Sweater Weather and got to work.

For starters, I needed a new front header page.

The monthly layout is where I really get to the nuts and bolts of planning.

I mark the fun events, the church commitments, etc.

I also include any local events and festivals, as well as the happenings in Indiana, just in case I can fit in a trip to visit my son. School events are duly noted.

Where to have Thanksgiving this year? Hmm. It's being debated. We're very non-traditional with this holiday, so we may celebrate it on the road. As long as we are together around a table (and close to stores for Black Friday), then we are good.  :)

We are in the middle of fall now, with crisp mornings and the swirl of leaves under foot. The world takes on a golden hue, and I drink it all in like a warm cup of pumpkin spice latte.

Only one more month left in my 2016 planner. Time to get my pages for 2017 ordered!