Sunday, April 30, 2017

In Six Weeks

Good news! Last week, we put an offer on this cute little walkout ranch in Michigan. And after a little negotiating, our offer was accepted! Yay!

In six weeks, if all goes well, this will be our new home.

Like I mentioned earlier, this little house had everything we had been looking for:
main floor master bedroom
main floor laundry
two bedrooms and two bathrooms on main level
one bedroom and bathroom on lower level
a basement movie viewing room for the guys
an office/library with french doors for me (so that I don't have to hear the movie!)
a craft room (yay!)
a patio and a multilevel deck
lots of trees, woods, and natural areas surrounding the house
plenty of beds for gardening
a neighborhood close to schools, churches, libraries, town and shopping, with sidewalks and trails
a short distance to the city (Ann Arbor) and  a short distance to country and parks

It is a downsize, but what we lose in square footage, I think we will make up for in convenient layout.

This week, we will return for home inspection. I will be there with measuring tape and paint swatches in hand as I take on the new project of making this house our home.

In the past, I have made most of my design and decor choices based on future resale and what buyers would want. Not this time. With this house, I get to make it more of a reflection of our family.

Colors and fabrics and wallpapers that I love and admire!

Right now, the house looks more like a modern ranch both inside and out. But with a little tweaking, I plan on turning this ranch into a quaint and cozy cottage! Not immediately, of course. Slowly, over time. We don't need to rush. We plan on staying in this house for many years to come.

Big dreams! I'm collecting inspiration from books and magazines and catalogs and Pinterest.

It's a new chapter and a different venture for us as we begin our story where we left off twelve years ago.

I've always loved this little piece of art from Curly Girl Design. I think I'll need to buy this for my next office!

                                                       image from

Thank you for all of your well wishes and prayers, cafe friends! They mean so much to me!

Bless you!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Adding Stitched Elements to Cards

Hello, cafe friends! For today's brew,  I thought I'd share with you one way to add a stitched element to cards. As you can see, this card features a cross stitched framed panel, along with two cross stitched elements on the sentiment strip.

To begin, I used my pokey tool and a hole gauge.

I placed the hole gauge on top of the spot where I wanted the stitching.

Then, I placed a piece of foam underneath and carefully poked four holes at the top and four holes at the bottom.

Then, I simply added the cross stitches using black DMC floss and a needle.

Here, you can see the messy side. That easily gets covered up by folding that pink strip around the card front and securing it in place with tape. No more messy backside!

I finished the card off with a little added black and white polka washi for a double shot of cuteness!

{Today's Brew: Garden Variety stamp set and die (PTI), PTI inks and card stock, MFT cross stitch frame die, washi (Simple Stories), DMC floss}

Isn't it amazing how quickly things bloom, blossom and become lovely in the spring? One day you look out at bare trees and gardens, and then you blink and the trees are leafed out and covered in blossoms! Every day brings new growth and new flowers. What an amazing world God created for our good pleasure!

I have good news to share with you on the home front! Stop back tomorrow for an update!

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!