Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017: The Year of Going Grey

Do you remember back in 2016 when I decided I wanted to stop coloring my hair?

In February of this year, I chopped off most of my hair into a short pixie, cutting off the old color to let the new natural color emerge. It was a gift to myself for my 50th birthday. Freedom from stinky chemicals!

I've let it grow a bit since then. And slowly, gradually, the grey has appeared. Not in a shocking way. Just streaks, here and there.

I'm referring to them as God's highlights.

I went to a stylist for a consultation this summer. She recommended highlights that would grow out gradually (lies!). I decided not to go back to her. My new stylist had a "Hey, it looks good to me, and as long as you like it" attitude. I like her. :)

Now, when I look in the mirror, the color looks natural and right somehow. It is darker than I imagined, but it suits my coloring better than any bottle shade. Yes, I sparkle in the sunshine like a vampire from a cheesy romance novel.  But I'm okay with that.

My sister, Tina, and I used to talk about the going grey idea like it was something scary. And then Tina was diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and she lost all her hair. It really put things in perspective.

Tina is pretty sure that when her hair does grow back, it will be completely white. Like Moses when he saw the glory of the LORD on Mt. Sinai. She looks beautiful even without hair, so I'm certain it will look fantastic on her. word for 2017. And aging gracefully was all part of that. But of course, grace means so much more. And I recognized grace in abundance this year. For all that 2017 brought me, I am thankful.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Enjoying the Christmas Season

Good frosty morning, cafe friends! Brrr. Is it cold where you are? We had morning temps in the negative digits this week, and it seems that every morning we wake up to fresh snow. It's a good time for coffee!

I am still enjoying the days of Christmas...baking, crafting, enjoying time with family. It's been a wonderful Christmas, filled with good food and board games and movies.

Don't you just love this thermos? I found it at Macy's this Christmas, and I loved it so much that I bought one for myself and five others to give as gifts. It's from Martha Stewarts' holiday collection, and I love the vintage retro vibe. I will be taking coffee (and maybe hot chocolate) with me everywhere this winter!

I've been making some felted hearts this week. My friend, Sandy at the PTI forum was selling her Primitve Stitched Hearts dies, and these have been on my wish list for a while. So fun! I added some holly leaves and berries. Going to try these in different colors for Valentine's Day, too.

I made my very first Buche de Noel this Christmas! The Yule Log turned out better than I expected, and it was delicious, too!

I made mine the easy way. I used a box devil's food cake mix in a jelly roll pan lined in parchment paper. When it was done baking, I turned it out on a clean dish towel sprinkled with powdered sugar, and then rolled it warm and let it cool. After a few hours, I unrolled it and spread a cream cheese/butter/powdered sugar frosting, then rolled it back up. Then I frosted it in a milk chocolate frosting, giving it some wood grain texture with a fork.

The fun part was adding the toadstools (raspberry toppers on segments of Pirouette cookies) and acorns (mini Nilla wafers frosted and stuck to Hershey's kisses), and tree fungi (sliced almonds) to finish it off.

You know it's fancy when my son, John, got his phone out to take a photo!  I have the feeling this one went on Snapchat. :)

I also made some really amazing chocolate chip scones from a recipe I found on Pinterest:

These were so good that I had to make a second batch to send home with John before he took off yesterday. Mmm. The perfect accompaniment to an afternoon latte.

Here's Miss Jemma on Christmas Day, watching the puppy sleeping on the Hallmark Channel's holiday yule log program.

She thought that was a really good idea, too.

We're settling in for a long winter's nap!

Hope your weekend is filled with cozy moments, too!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

PTI December 2017 Blog Hop

Merry Christmas, cafe friends!

I hope your holiday has been filled with special blessings!

Today is blog hop day at Papertrey Ink, and here is the inspiration photo:

Isn't that lovely?

I decided to make a wreath, add some flowers, and insert coffee. Coffee is my love language.

{Today's Brew: Cup of Cheer stamps and dies (PTI), Rustic Wreath die (PTI), heart border die (PTI), Tea for Two stamps for sentiment (PTI), SU seam binding ribbon, PTI inks/card stock/papers, amuse twinkle rhinestones}

My cup runneth over this Christmas! Home, with my family, safe and warm inside with a blanket of snow outside. A cup of coffee, snuggled under a blanket by the fire. Bliss!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

One Busy Week! (and one more Christmas card to show you!)

Wow. It has been one busy, action packed week! I'm sure I'm not alone. Those seven days leading up to Christmas always seem to fill up fast.

We celebrated not one, but two birthdays this week. And on top of it all, I also had an article due on Wednesday. And I had to finish Christmas shopping. And don't forget the grocery store for all the special holiday food.

A lot to do.

And still, these busy days are filled with joy because we are home for the holidays.

So here's what this week looked like:

I adore this lantern I found at Walmart! It was the perfect thing to hang from the shepherd's hook. I added some battery operated candles to it, and it's just the right glow.

We went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Of course.

Sam performed with his jazz band. He's such a talented musician! I'm happy to report that this school had many Christmas carols in the repertoire. Some school systems have winter concerts with no hint of Christmas. Sad. But not this time! yay!

Looking for a quick gift for someone over the holidays? Why not make them a compilation disc of some of your favorite Christmas tunes?

I made this one for Mom and sisters. I didn't have CD cases, and I wasn't sure what to store them in. So I rummaged through the craft room and came up with these SMASH album envelopes. Perfect! I embellished them with die cuts and stamps, and voila!

My little girl turned two this week! In dog years, that means Jemma is fourteen. Uh oh! We now have two teenagers in the house!

It's hard to believe that come Valentine's Day, we will have survived Hurricane Jemma for two years!

She has become a really good girl as she has matured. We do love her so, and she fills our days with lots of laughs. Here she is, cuddled on my lap while I sat reading in the arm chair. Yes, she's an eighty pound lap dog. What can I say? She loves her Mama!

I've been reading this book from the library. So pretty, with lots of photographs and recipes to try.

I stopped by a new bakery/cafe here in Saline. Here's what I discovered:

I can probably pass up bread, no problem. Cheese and dairy? I think I can do without. But cookies? Life without cookies? Nope. Not gonna happen. These shortbread Christmas tree cookies were ah-ma-zing!

I finally got my Christmas cards mailed out. Better late than never, I always say! This is the last card from my "PTI Holiday Folk" series. These cards were a lot of fun to make this year.

My sweet husband is finally home from his week-long retail holiday travels. Our son, John, is on his way home from Indianapolis. And we got another dusting of snow this morning.

White Christmas!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas at the Cottage: Holiday Home Tour

Welcome to the cafe! I thought I'd give you a home tour here at the cottage today.

Here we are at the front door. Come on in!

I'm so glad I got the door painted last month. And look! I found a beautiful new rug that matches the front door perfectly. Walmart, I think I love you. Seriously. You are what Target used to be for me. Target, I hope you are listening!

I thought I'd get this feature wall painted a nice shade of green before the holidays. Yeah, that didn't happen.

I keep the red plaid bag here because it's so pretty, and I can grab it and fill it and head out the door.

And here we are in the great room!

The tree was a new purchase this year. In the past, we have had real trees because we never felt like moving an artificial one from house to house. Well, I promised the boys when we got to our forever house, I'd buy a nice artificial tree. They like the idea of putting it up right after Thanksgiving and keeping it up until Epiphany.

I got an awesome deal on this 7.5 foot GE tree from Lowe's during the black Friday deals. It looks so realistic, too! Tons of twinkling lights, and it was a breeze to set up.

By some Christmas miracle, Jemma has decided to leave it alone. She completely ignores it. Now gloves, mittens and snow hats? That's another story.

It's always nice to have the red and green chair and ottoman over the holidays. So cheery! I love plaid.

I have a plaid throw over the couch, paired with a sweater knit pillow. We use a lot of blankets in this house during the winter! We like to snuggle in and get cozy.

My favorite Christmas decorations are the ceramic nativity figurines that my mother made many years ago. I have so many pieces that they have to be displayed in several places.

This year, the wise men and their camels are on top of the armoire.

The shepherds are close to the holy family here on the fireplace mantle.

And the angel is singing the good news above!

There he is! Jesus!

I found this beautiful greenery from a place called The Pineapple House here in Saline. I twined some twinkle lights through it, just to give a little sparkle.

I used the same greenery and twinkle lights on top of the hutch in the dining room.

The kitchen always has a pop of red, which makes it easy for Christmas, too.

I seem to be using a lot of washi for various projects these days. I decided to keep the holiday washi handy here in this Longaberger bowl.

At the sink, I added my Christmas cookie molds from House on The Hill, along with a little greenery over the window.

I like to throw a little Christmas around in unexpected places, like here in the kitchen:

And of course, I love the scents of the season!

I carry the theme into the guest bathroom, too:

Not so much Christmas that my family thinks I'm totally cray-cray. Just enough to make things festive.

A few holiday books and magazines for inspiration.

Jemma, did you hear? Santa's coming!

She's so excited that she decided to curl up for a long winter's nap.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!