Saturday, January 28, 2017

Fixer Upper House: Master Bath Refresh

This month, we worked on the master bathroom. We just wanted to give it some cosmetic help, like removing the wooden towel rods and replacing them with nice shiny chrome fixtures. The bath room also desperately needed painting, both ceilings and walls.

I've been waiting for a sunny day to take photos to show you, but if you are enduring the long dark and gloomy winter here in the Midwest, then you know that I could be waiting a long time for that to happen. I gave up and took photos this morning.

The bathroom was painted in the same colors as the master bedroom...a sort of sage green and tan. The master bedroom is now a soothing Comfort Grey (Sherwin Williams), and because we had nearly a gallon of paint left over, we used the same color in the large room of the bath room.

Before (the photos from the listing make it look much lighter than it actually was):

Can you see the wooden towel rod? It may have been the trendy thing about twenty years ago, but it needed to go.

You can see that the new color is just a much lighter and toned down version of the original. It still has a hint of green.

Can you see the decorative floral tiles? Aren't they precious? Or maybe they were twenty years ago. But the darker green provided too much contrast with the tile, and it made them stand out. I really wanted the new color to provide less contrast and make the floral tiles blend in.

Here is the bath room today:

I never had a towel rod or ring on my side of the sink, and consequently, I always had wet and soggy hand towels. Now, I have this sweet chrome ring, and it is so handy!

A new chrome towel rod for the other sink as well.

We found these fixtures at Bed Bath and Beyond for a really great price. They are from Moen, and it is from the Vale collection. I liked them because they have a traditional, slightly vintage look and they add some much needed sparkle to this room.

Don't get me started on how much I hate these ginormous bath tubs. If you've ever had to clean one, then you will understand. I think it's been used three times in the nearly two years we've lived here, and each time I grumbled afterwards when it needed cleaning. Most of the time, it serves as a great clothing parking spot, and I usually vacuum it once a month with the Dyson attachment. Such a wasted space. I wish the builders had used that square footage in the laundry room instead.

In the shower room, we used Sea Salt (Sherwin Williams), as we had about two-thirds of a can left over. It is one shade lighter than Comfort Grey. I love it when we can use what we already have.

We added a very handy hook near the shower doors, perfect for a robe or towel.

More of the precious flower tiles. I think this color looks so much better than the tan, don't you?

I think one of the best features of this bath room is the floor tile. It is a tile made to look like wood, and it is very on trend right now. My guess is the previous owner had this installed after a bathroom leak disaster, and the home owners insurance probably paid for it. I figured that out after discovering the big water stain on the ceiling of the office, which is directly below the bath room.

The former tan color did nothing to showcase the floors, but the new color really looks great with the tiles.

Cost for this renovation: about $80 for new chrome fixtures. We already had the paint. Yea! A remodel under $100!

I would love to add a bit of sparkle over the tub. I'm thinking of ordering one of these light fixtures from Ballard. They come with an adapter that converts a recessed can light (which we already have in place over the tub) into a drop fixture. I think the mercury glass shade might be fun. What do you think?

I've also debated on whether or not to paint the cabinets and tub surround, maybe in a soft grey taupe. But for now, we are calling this room done. Another one crossed off the list.

We are planning on speaking with our realtor next month to get a market analysis and plan of action for listing our house this spring. I think the entire family is ready to move on from this place, and we are praying for some wisdom and discernment concerning our future home.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today! Blessings on your weekend, friends!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Home-Schooled Catechism

For reasons that are too complex to articulate, we have decided to teach Samuel the catechism of our faith at home.

I started toying with the idea last year when I saw a real gap in his christian education. So I gathered up books, put together a curriculum, and began this month.

I had a stack of these old theme books, and grabbed for Sam, one for me. Today I decided to add a little pizzazz to these with the Bible journaling kit from Illustrated Faith.

These theme books have rounded corners, and it can be tricky to find a corner punch that fits the exact angles. So instead, I used a piece of scrap paper and made a template.

Next, I used the template to cut out a front and back cover, gluing them on with Mono Multi glue. Then, I jazzed them up with some focal point panels and stickers. Here's the front:

...and here's the back:

And because the teacher always learns as much as the student (if not more), I made myself a book, too!

The front (with my word for 2017...Grace. Turns out I need it A LOT!)

...and the back:

I think it's going to be an exciting year!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Blessed and Grateful

Friends are such a blessing, aren't they?

There have been times in my life when I've had many, many friends.

And there have been times in my life when I've had very few.

But to have one good friend who totally gets you...that is priceless.

You know, that person you can text at all hours when a thought pops into your brain, and they will be there...laughing with you, crying with you, holding your hand or booting you in the behind when the occasion calls for it.

I wish I had a nearby friend who I could call and say "Hey, this grey weather is killing me. Let's go out for coffee."

Instead, I have to rely on the telephone to make that connection. But I need to get better at sending cards, too.

I'm currently reading this book, and it is giving me new insight into living a life in gratitude. I figure January is a perfect month to reboot, turn off the negative, and look for the positive.

Looking for blessings and remembering to share them, too!

{Today's Brew: Doodle Buds stamp set (wplus9 design), PTI card stock, Simple Stories paper, COPIC markers, Lawn Fawn sequins and scallop edge die, Distress Sprays}

Blessings on your Friday, cafe friends!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What I Didn't Win, And What I Got Instead

                                                             (photo from HGTV)

Remember this post back in September? I was so sure I was meant to win this Ann Arbor house.

Well, big announcement!

I did not win.


It was probably for the best. While I loved the exterior, the interior was not my style. All that busy floor to ceiling tile! Blech.

There was one thing in that house that did intrigue me. The Ellia essential oil diffusers from HoMedics that were featured in all the rooms.

Guess what my sweet husband bought me for Christmas?

I really love it! The scents are subtle but soothing, and the diffuser adds much need moisture to our dry winter air.

We run this little unit every day. After Christmas, we frequently used the oil "Fight It" to help boost our immunities during the cold and flu season.

The funniest part? My husband loves this diffuser as much as I do. He often gets it started in the morning before I wake up.

We ordered some new oil blends last week (Holiday weekends are the best for online sales, aren't they?). I decided to order all the essential oil blends this time, and will probably order the single essential oils in the future.

These oils are 100% pure and therapeutic grade. We use them for aromatherapy purposes. While I love the glow of candles, I am also aware that many candle makers add unnecessary chemicals. This seems like a much healthier alternative.

I think my husband just might need a diffuser for upstairs in our bedroom, too. Valentine's Day, perhaps?

We didn't win a house, but we did make our house smell a lot better. And that's a win in my book!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Card To Combat Blue Monday

Have you ever heard of Blue Monday?

A professor did a study and found that yesterday, the third Monday in January, is the most depressing day of the year. The study cited the fact that Christmas bills start to roll in at this time. Coupled with this is the weather (typically rotten) and the fact that most of us haven't socialized since the holidays, and you get the Monday blues...on steroids!

I will admit, I succumbed to Blue Monday. I woke up with a terrible homesickness for Pittsburgh. Not that the weather was any better in Pittsburgh, but like I always used to say, Pittsburghers made their own sunshine.

I took that Pittsburgh spirit and applied it to a card!

{Today's Brew: Doodle Buds stamp set (wplus9 designs), PTI card stock, Simple Stories paper, MFT frame die, COPIC markers}

Wherever you are and whatever the weather, I hope you can make your own sunshine today.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Where I Belong

When you move as often as we have over the past twelve years, you start to wish that someone would develop an app to make the process easier. Just plug in your parameters and preferences, and voila, you would have an instant list telling you exactly where you belong.

If only it were that easy.

Instead, we throw darts at maps and charts and hope for the best. And then I question myself incessantly.

Do we belong in this neighborhood or that neighborhood?

Does Sam belong in this school or that one?

Do we belong in this church or that church?

Should I join this committee, or should I belong to this group instead?

Should I get a job here, or would I rather work there?

Someone, please, tell me where I belong?

When I was a child, my mother taught me this German prayer.

"Ich bin klein (I am small)
Mein herz ist rein (my heart is clean)
Soll neimand drin wohnen (and I belong)
Als Jesus allein." (to Jesus alone)

Such a sweet, powerful statement of faith.

In Mark 9:41, Jesus spells it out for me. You belong to Christ.

Plain and simple.

And He goes on to say that even small acts of love will have big impact, simply because we belong to Him.

I am small, my heart is clean, and I belong to Jesus alone.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Lizzie Kate Winter Cottage Boxer

The irony is not lost on me. I am stitching a cabin while in the full throes of cabin fever.

Funny, isn't it?

It's this darn holiday cold that will not go away. I finally went to the doctor, and I officially have bronchitis. Oh joy! I'm on antibiotics in the hopes that I can kick this nasty cough to the curb.

In the meantime, I am making myself do stuff at home so that I won't go bonkers. Dinner is in the crock pot, cookie dough brownies (for the boys) are in the oven, and healthy coconut chocolate chewies are in the freezer for me.

I'm going to get some card making accomplished today. In the meantime, I am stitching this project.

I have stitched Autumn, Spring, and Summer in this series. I figure it's time to finish Winter. After all, there are many many many (okay, maybe too many manys?) weeks of winter yet to come.

Blessings on your weekend, cafe friends!

Thursday, January 12, 2017


This card...

...started out as this card:


I just did not like it.

For starters, I picked the wrong purple, going by the color of the ink pad lid (PTI Plum Pudding, you deceive me every time!) and not testing it first.

And I just didn't like the composition and layout.

Lucky for me, do-overs are totally allowed in paper crafting!

So I removed a few things, and cut off a few things, and added a few new things, which brought the card to this:

Same stamped panel, but with a new layout that made me happy.

And let's face it, if we don't like it, we probably will never mail it. Am I right?

{Today's Brew: Folk Art Inchies stamps (Inkadinkadoo), Bird stamp from PTI, sentiment from PTI,  PTI inks, PTI card stock, PTI paper, amuse twinkle rhinestones}

Don't you love do-overs? And just think: God gives us do-overs every morning! A fresh start. A clean slate. A chance to say "This is the day the Lord has made! I will rejoice and be glad in it!"

Gladness, cafe friends!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fooling Around With Folk Art

I snuck down to the studio to get some craft time yesterday. I just needed to play and get creative and recharge for a few minutes.

I've been inspired by folk art lately. I just love its simplicity of design and color. I remembered this Folk Art stamp set from Inkadinkadoo, and decided to play with it. I cut a few 1 1/4 inch squares, stamped on each one, and then came up with a pattern for adhering to the card front. It gives a sort of patchwork quilt quality to the card, don't you think?

{Today's Brew: Folk Art stamps (Inkadinkadoo), PTI card stock and ink, SU polka ribbon}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Winter Welcome

Some years, I am anxious to get all the Christmas taken down and get the house cleared out again. But this year, I'm going about it a little slower. Perhaps that's because I'm embracing Hygge this winter. So instead of taking all the lights and greenery down outside, I've decided to add a few snow men to the greenery and call it "winter decorations".

I think when you live in the Midwest, you have to embrace all the seasons. No sense in fighting can last a long time up north!

Blankets and pillows, warm coffee and a pastry, good books and stitching projects. Just a few of my favorite ways to say "Welcome, Winter!"