Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Update On Our Move

Hello, cafe friends!

I thought I'd update you all on the progress of our "elective relocation". That's a fancy way of saying "We're movin' home, folks!"

We put our house on the market on the first day of spring. The first people that toured it made us an offer, and after a little back and forth, we accepted. We never had to show it to anyone else, and we are now under contract and progressing to a quick close on June 5th.

I've hated to even mention it because it seems too good to be true. Thank you, God! What a blessing!

In the mean time, we made three separate trips back to Michigan for house hunting with our sweet realtor, Julie.

And guess what happened to the market this spring? It became a super competitive sellers market, where folks are in crazy bidding wars for any decent house...offering sellers to live in the home rent free until they are ready to move, offering to make up the difference out of pocket when the house doesn't appraise for the sale price, offering their first born child. And yes, even offering to pay cash.

Cash! Who has that kind of money? Not us! The more we looked, the more we realized that our "contingent" offer was just not going to be accepted with an inventory this low. I read a report yesterday that said it's the strongest sellers market in real estate in twenty-five years. Great for the economy, and great for sellers. Not so great for buyers.

We could wait until after the close on our house. But of course, that means we'd be homeless. And on top of that, there are no guarantees that more houses will appear in the mean time.

So after much discussion, my husband and I started to talk about a house that we'd seen at the very beginning of our house hunt two months ago. It's a cute little ranch with a walkout basement in a great neighborhood, close to shopping and schools and library and family. It even has a craft room in the basement! We know that the interior needs a little help, and the landscaping can use some tweaking. Paint, flooring, decor...nothing we haven't been doing already for the past dozen years of house flipping.

It's the kind of house that I can picture us living in very comfortably for many years to come. Not a dream home, but definitely potential to make it ours. On paper, it had everything we were looking for...a downsize, main floor master bedroom and laundry room (yay!), no neighbors directly behind us, and one side of the yard runs along woods. A nice, secluded natural setting, with patios and decks and a small yard for Jemma.

So we put an offer on the place last night and are waiting to hear word today. Say a prayer for us! If this works out, then the timing of this move will be perfect.

Today, it looks like a modern ranch. But when I'm done with it, I hope to have it looking more like a quaint and cozy cottage.

The glitch in this plan (and the reason we hesitated on putting in an offer when we first saw it) is that the neighborhood does not allow fences. Hmm. That may be tricky with seventy pounds of Golden Girl Goof.

I spoke with my vet today, who also has a Golden, and she told me she uses an invisible fence with her dog, both outside and inside in areas where she doesn't want the dog to go. It may take some training, but it's possible. After all, she's not an old dog...she can learn new tricks, right?

Time to get busy on packing and organizing for the big garage sale!

Friday, April 21, 2017

How I'm Keeping It All Together

Six weeks until homelessness.

No worries, right?

I'd love to say "Hey, no problem. We'll just put our stuff in storage and rent somewhere."

The only problem? It's nearly impossible to find a short term rental, and even harder to find one that will allow dogs, and even harder to find one in our preferred school districts.

What's a gal to do?

Organize, organize, organize. Plot, plan, and research.

This is how I spend my days. Scanning every online real estate site, looking for new listings. Researching towns and schools and driving distances. Recording population sizes of various towns. Finding nearby parks and recreation centers.

I write down the addresses of possible churches, libraries,schools, and other destinations. I also record the locations for grocery stores, shopping malls, the airport, our families.

And then, when I see a potential house, I plug it in to Mapquest to see how far it is from amenities. I love country life, but I do not want to spend hours in my car every day, shuttling Sam to school or meets or concerts.

My monthly calendar has been insanely busy as the school year nears the end next month. I'm so thankful for my planner that helps me balance this crazy day to day life while house hunting at the same time.

A little bit of coffee and a whole lotta Jesus. Praying that we have some luck house hunting this weekend!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

State Bird

Did you know that the robin is the state bird of Michigan? We used to say that the worms in Michigan's rich soil must be so delicious for the robins to return from their sunny vacations homes just to eat them every spring!

Here's a Robin card full of the promise of Easter and the hope of moving back to Michigan one day soon!

{Today's Brew: Spring Woods stamp set and dies (PTI), Holiday Home stamp set and dies (PTI), PTI inks and card stock, lawn fawn papers and stitched hills die, MFT stencil}

I hope it's a " robins are singing and the sun is shining" kind of day for you today!

Monday, April 17, 2017


Happy Easter Monday, cafe friends!

We had a lovely day for Easter...the sun was shining, the flowers and trees were blooming, the birds were singing "Alleluia!"

And I was cooking...and baking, and then cooking some more. I must have thought I was feeding TWELVE people and not just four. I really could have used a few more sous chefs to help me in the kitchen, or maybe a few more women to help with all the prep work. Instead, it was little ole me, trying to keep up with every dirty dish and every simmering pot and pan. Luke said I got a little "Gordon Ramsay" at one point. Ha ha! Too true. My family forgave me for my outburst, and then I fed them all. But in the end, it was all good. Too good.

Whew! We are exhausted!

It's a new day, and a chance to start the diet all over again. Seriously, where did all these extra fluff pounds come from? Oh, I remember...stress eating from trying to buy and sell a house. Sigh!

Time to calm down and say "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!"

Blessings, cafe friends!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Something Old, Something New

Here's another card using one of my WPlus9 stamp sets. I think this one was called Easter Greetings. I don't even think they sell this one anymore, which is a shame because it is so stinkin' cute. Of course, it would've been so much simpler if it came with a die cut for those eggs. Instead, I cut them out by hand.

I paired it with the Rustic Wreath die from PTI, and used my new love: Chicken Scratch papers in soft spring pastels. I love these small card sized paper pads from PTI. They are printed on white linen, which is a very soft white. The pads, however, do not have a label on the back telling you what colors they match. So I just went to the website description, and wrote the colors on the back of the pad for future reference.

This is another A1 size card. A bit smaller for more impact.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

An Oldie But A Goodie!

Here's a fun card today using an oldie but a goodie stamp set: Spring Tags from WPlus9 Design. This was one of the first stamp sets I ordered from them, and I STILL love it's folksy charm today. Note to self: only buy what you love, and you will use it for years to come!

I just love picket fences. They say "home" to me! The first house we lived in had a picket fence. My Dad, my husband, and my brother installed the twelve foot section of picket, and the three men managed to put it in crooked. There may or may not have been beer involved. Lol! I still loved that crooked little picket and decorated it for every season!

Just to show you how frugal I can be...I decided to cut out the center of this pretty lavendar gingham paper to use for a future project. Because, gosh, I might run out of patterned paper one day! <----said no paper crafter in the history of ever!

And here's the inside of the card! (Sentiments from Inspired By Grace stamp set (PTI) )

{Today's Brew: Spring Tags stamp set (wplus9), all dies from Lawn Fawn, ink/card stock/paper from PTI, MFT cloud and chevron stencils}

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Easter Planning With The Gathering of Friends

"So, what are you planning for Easter this year?" my sweet step mom-in-law asked me on the phone yesterday.

Oh. That's right. Easter is Sunday?! How did that happen? Between constant house cleaning, showings, and house hunting, I've kind of lost track of time.

The question remains: what AM I planning for Easter?

That's when I turned to some of my favorite cookbooks from The Gathering of Friends!

These cookbooks are really special for so many reasons.

For starters, the recipes are simple, with ingredients you'll have at home or find at any  grocery store.

I love spiral bound cookbooks because they open and lay flat.

Each book is organized around a theme, and sorted by chapters. Each chapter will include photos and recipes for an entire meal, from appetizer to salad to entree to dessert.

And at the end of each chapter? A handy grocery shopping list!

But one of the coolest features of these books...the lovely photos of home interiors and tablescapes.

You can see all of the cookbooks at their website here:

And if you are blessed like me, you occasionally find them at places like Half Price Books for a great price!

Easter will be a family affair, just Ed and I with the boys and Jemma at home. I've decided to create a "Make your own crepe" buffet, with a combination of sweet (strawberries and bananas topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream) and savory (chicken and artichoke, asparagus and bacon, ham and swiss all topped with Gruyere sauce), all from recipes featured in this cookbook.

Time to do some grocery shopping!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Town Mouse or Country Mouse?

Town Mouse or Country Mouse?

Which one are you?

Sam and I used to love to read Jan Brett books together, and this one was a favorite. The town mouse swaps homes with the country mouse, and each one thinks the grass is greener on the other side. But after a day of seeing how the other half lives, each one decides to go back to what he's always known.

We find ourselves in the same scenario.

The houses in town have their conveniences. Close to schools and libraries and shopping and restaurants. But small houses with small lots, and most of the yards we have seen are not fenced, which just would not work with Jemma.

Then there are the country houses. Wonderful views of woods and lakes, with acreage. But many have to be accessed by unpaved roads (hello, Michigan potholes!), and they are a bit of a drive to get to your daily amenities. But oh, the peace and tranquility! The garden possibilities!

Town Mouse or Country Mouse. Which one do I want to be? I made this card with a mouse while I ponder the possibilities!

{Today's Brew: Harvest Mouse stamp set and dies (MFT), Label Maker Sentiments (MFT), lawn fawn grass border die, MFT hearts stencil, PTI inks and card stock, COPICs}

I suppose that this is all I need to remember:

Tell me: Which one are you? Town Mouse or Country Mouse? And where do you think I belong?

Blessings, cafe friends!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Sunrise, Sunset, Praise

It was a mild evening, and Jemma had some wiggles to get out of her system. so we went for a walk.

We turned a corner to walk through the park, and this was what we saw. The sunset was amazing!

It was one of those sunsets that makes you want to clap your hands and say "Yes, God! This one was awesome! Thank you!"

The birds were singing their evensong hymns, and Jemma and I walked home with a pep in our step and joy in our hearts.

I made this card as a reminder...morning, evening, sunrise to sunset, rejoice in the Lord always!

{Today's Brew: New Every Morning stamp set (PTI), sun rays stamp set (PTI), PTI papers/ink/card stock, lawn fawn grass border die, MFT cross stitch rectangle frame die}

The grass is greening, the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining...spring is here! It fills me with such hope!

Blessings on your weekend, cafe friends!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Blessings of Home

My mother-in-law moved in to a new apartment unit in her senior living residence two weeks ago. It just happened to be the same weekend that my husband and boys went up to Michigan for some house hunting, and they were able to move all the big and heavy things in one afternoon.

That is one of the blessings of living close to home. Caring for our families is important to us. Being there for moments big and small. These are the things that make life so much richer.

I made this card for my mother-in-law to wish her blessings in her new nest.

This is an A1 card size (3 1/2 by 4 7/8), which is just a tad smaller than your typical A2 card fronts (4 1/4 by 5 1/2). Somehow, the smaller format makes it easier to make some clean and simple cards. I think when you shrink the layout, it makes the smaller images have more importance and stature.

I added a few die cuts and popped some up with foam dimensionals for a fun look.

{Today's Brew: Home Sweet Home stamp set (Lawn Fawn), Lawn Fawn dies, Lawn Fawn woodgrain A1 notecard, baker's twine}

Blessings, cafe friends!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Daffodils, Dirt, and Garden Duty

Whenever I find the time, and whenever weather permits, I'm out in the garden. Last week, I laid twelve bags of fresh mulch in the front yard garden beds to add to the curb appeal. This week, I did a little pruning and raking in the back beds. The ornamental grasses needed their spring hair cuts, the oregano patches needed a good pruning, and the dead stalks from last year's flowers had to be removed.

I am determined to leave this garden in much better shape than I received it.

Today, it looks like a steady rain...the sort of grey skies and gloom that seem to be hovering over the area a lot this spring.

It was the perfect weather for crafting in the basement studio!

{Today's Brew: Garden Variety 1 and 2 stamp sets and dies (PTI), Year of Flowers (PTI), PTI papers/ink/cardstock, COPIC markers}

April showers bring May flowers, cafe friends!