Sunday, July 30, 2017

Don't Be Offended

Have you noticed? In recent years, we have become an easily offended society. Every special interest group has key words and "triggers" that you must stay clear of, lest you unsuspectingly offend an individual. Oftentimes, you will find yourself trying to navigate a field of "land mines" in a conversation. It makes it very hard to converse with people for fear that you will say something in innocence, only to find yourself at the receiving end of a backlash of resentment.

The saddest part? The things we should find offensive, the things that God finds offensive, we now overlook. And the things that the Bible tells us not to tolerate? That's what we tolerate.

And so, in our "enlightened" society, this offended society has now found a way to cope. We just don't talk to each other. Oh sure, people may shout at each other on television and Facebook and social media. But real discourse? Nope. Civility? Not so much. Isolation rather than fellowship.

The devil sure does some effective damage, doesn't he?

Most of the time, I'm not one to be easily offended. I usually let stuff roll off me, like water off a duck's back. But every now and then, someone will make a comment that may rub me the wrong way, and off I go in a huff. And it's usually not a stranger. Nope. It's oftentimes someone I love.

I looked at what the Bible has to say on this topic one day, and I found these wise words:

"Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11

Hmm. So getting huffy and walking around in a snit isn't what the Lord wants me to do? Surprise, surprise.

In a sermon I heard recently from 2 Corinthians 5, Paul calls us to a "ministry of reconciliation", and goes on to exhort us to be "ambassadors for Christ". That is a big part of my vocation, my calling to love God and love my neighbor, to serve my family and those nigh.

Good sense!

I made this bible journal page as a reminder that I don't have to rush in to touchy territory. I can overlook it. To my glory. And to God's.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Heart-Warming Gift

We looked on our front porch one recent Saturday morning, and found this bag that had been left at our door.

A gift from the local church that we had been visiting recently! And here's what was inside:

A newsletter, a devotional or two, and a loaf of delicious whole wheat bread from a local bakery.

We really like this small congregation, and I've appreciated the pastor's sermons immensely. He was a former school teacher, and I have the feeling he'll be a great teacher in bible studies as well.

This church seems to fit our family, and we're hopeful that our family will fit this church as well.

One of the ways that I wanted to simplify our lives in this move was to find a local church close by where we can become a part of the congregation and the community easily. This church is less than five minutes down the road. Can't get any closer than that!

And though they are small, they seem very active.They have a mid-week Wednesday bible study night, where folks gather for a simple meal and kids and adults go off to study the Word in classes. I LOVE that! We had this at our congregation in Indiana, and it was such a lovely way to touch base with your church family outside of Sunday service.

This congregation is also beginning a ministry with an international organization to help individuals learn to read and speak English. I've always wanted to pursue the ESL field, and this looks like a great opportunity.

In addition, they pair with local and church organizations in lots of ministry opportunities. They also work with the local Ann Arbor colleges.

Finding a church home is a BIG deal, and finding one quickly has been a blessing. This thoughtful gift really made me smile.

Thank you, God, for prayers answered!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Windows to the World

Good morning, cafe friends!

I've been working on window treatments here at the cottage this week. We finally got some new curtain rods hung this week (Cheap from Lowe's) and I got to work.

I found these lace curtains from IKEA for 12.99 a pair. That's a steal! And when I considered that this is the window Jemma often uses to greet (a.k.a. bark) at the dog walkers, I thought cheap was the way to go. I just wanted something sheer to frame the windows and give a tad more privacy while still allowing the light to come in at the front of the house.

I tried them first at their original length, letting them puddle on the floor, as you can see here:

  But then I decided to hem them. Now I'm not certain if I liked them better longer. What do you think? Long or short?

Then I moved on to the kitchen window. I had this great idea saved from Pinterest. I love the look of this sweet window, so I gave it a try, sewing two panels from fabric I had purchased a while back at IKEA.

And here's what happened:

I just didn't like them at my window.

I think the problem is two-fold. For starters, my window is much smaller, and not nearly as wide as the inspiration photo. And then, because my window has no sash and no panes and it cranks out in a jalousie style, it just didn't look right. It also made it a bit darker, and didn't do much for blocking the view of our neighbor's house next door. It just looked cluttered in my smaller space.

So I took it down and tried this instead:

I used some leftover lace to make panels for the window, hanging them on a tension rod. And then I clipped up the gingham fabric (haven't even sewn it yet!) to the top.

The lace lets in a lot more light, making it sunnier at this spot. And the red check just looks cheerful and matches all of my red kitchen items. I like the idea of the clipped valance because I can swap it out seasonally.

I'm taking a different approach to this house. Simpler, and more hand made. I don't have to think about re-sale, and I have no one to impress. My selections can be frugal, and they can represent my style, not some current trend.

I still have to work on sewing panels for the patio door, and valances for the windows flanking the fireplace. I have a thought in mind, and I'm hoping I can make it work.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Monday, July 24, 2017

When Someone You Love Has Cancer

When someone you love has cancer, it's hard to know what to do.

You pray, a lot.

You listen.

You research.

You pray some more.

And then you start pinning on Pinterest. Cute chemo caps. Recipes for chemo patients. Remedies for nausea. Care packages.

In my pinning phase, I found this pattern for a chemo port pillow. It's a simple design, really. Just a little rectangular stuffed pillow with Velcro straps used to secure it to a seat belt...a little padding so that nothing rubs up against the port in your chest.

If you have a quilting or sewing group at your church that likes to make items for local hospitals, this would be a great project.

Here's the link:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lemon Love

Do you love lemons? I do! Lemon-ade, lemon sherbert, lemon candies, lemony cakes and pies...even just a simple squeeze of lemon in my water.

True story: When I was pregnant for my son, John, I ate so many lemons that the citric acid took the enamel off my two front teeth. Ouch! I had to explain that one to many a dentist over the years, and finally got that repaired about a year ago. Note to self: don't eat too many lemons!

This pin cushion from Just Another Button Company was too fun to pass up. The lemony elements are stitched together with a simple running stitch to give this piece a rough, hand-made quality. And the pins are super cute to boot!

I found this fun Tervis cup, and I'm going to fill it with some lemon candies. A sunny gift that says "Summer time!"

Blessings, cafe friends!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How To Meet The New Neighbors (with crafty gift in hand!)

Hello, cafe friends!  Today I'm going to show you a fun, easy gift to pass along to a friend or, in our case, new neighbor.

I found this idea on Pinterest when researching "How to introduce yourself to new neighbors." As a whole, this neighborhood is WAY WAY friendlier than what we left behind in Illinois. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it's a walking neighborhood, and folks are always outside pushing strollers, biking and walking dogs. We quickly became known here as "Jemma's family". But there are still a few houses nearby where we have yet to meet the occupants.

I know from experience how these things happen. A week goes by, and then a month goes by, and then a year goes by, and it just feels weird and awkward with time. I let that happen at the last house, and I refuse to let that happen here, too. Instead, I'm going to be a little more proactive and forward (which is SO not my nature!) and I'm going to ring on doorbells with gift in hand.

And here are the gift supplies:

A simple bag of microwave popcorn, with a sentiment that says "Popping by to say hi!" How fun is that?

Only problem: I don't have a sentiment that says "Popping by to say hi!" The closest I could find was from Lawn Fawn, and it says "Flying by to say hi". This is where a good alphabet stamp set can really save the day. I spelled out "Popping" on one block, and then left off "flying" when inking the rest of the sentiment. Easy!

I used tags and tag dies from Lawn Fawn. On the back of each tag, I printed our name, our house address, each family member's name, my telephone number and email address. All the contact info necessary. This way, if someone says to themselves "I'd invite Mary Rose for a coffee, but I don't have her telephone number"...well, now there are no more excuses. :)

I added the little stitched leaf diecut because our neighborhood is called "Wildwood" and it's filled with trees and woods. It just seemed appropriate. I kept the color palette blue and yellow to match the popcorn bag and the University of Michigan team colors. Go blue!

And here it is! We will be "Popping by to say hi" this weekend. It's all about building community, one person, one house, one family, one church, one school, one festival, one volunteer organization at a time. Small steps. Big reward.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Saline Celtic Festival 2017

Many many years ago, when our oldest boys were just wee lads, we would take them to the Celtic Festival in Saline, Michigan to enjoy a fun-filled day of festivities.

We never could have imagined that one day, we would live in the very same town!

This weekend, we took the boys once again...only this time, we walked to the entrance of our neighborhood, hopped on the school shuttle bus, and were there in no time.

A fun day was had by all! We watch the sheep herding...

...the caber toss...

...the haggis hurl...

...and the jousting, of course.

There were demonstrations on wool spinning and weaving, too.

Can't go to a festival without eating some fair food, listening to the music, and enjoying the acts!

We are really enjoying our summer of Pure Michigan. Hope your summer is filled with memory-making days, too.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Vive La France!

Bonjour! And welcome to the cafe! Today's brew is a delicious cup of Cafe Au Lait in honor of this special day: Quatorze Juillet, otherwise known in the French speaking world as Bastille Day.

I decided to make something with a little French flair to celebrate. This pin cushion from Just Another Button Company seemed like the perfect chic accessory for the occasion.

I've had this kit from JABC for a while now. I purchased quite a few of their pin keeps from Designers Desk in Geneva.

The kit contains everything you'll need, minus the needle and thread and the hot glue gun. And after some simple assembly, voila!

C'est si beau, n'est-ce pas?

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Cottage Great Room

Here it is! The great room in the cottage. It's a nice cozy space with good flow.

We used to have a couch and matching love seat, but we sold the love seat in the garage sale. I knew we wouldn't have room for both in this house. My plan is to give the couch to Luke when he moves into his apartment next month, and then get a small slip-covered sectional for this space. The little leafy chair will probably move into the office.

This chair and ottoman is about seventeen years old, but I still love it. It's a great reading and stitching chair, too. In the last house, I had slip-covered it to match the lighter furnishings in the office. But this time, I decided to go back to the original plaid. There's a touch of red in the kitchen accessories that it ties in with nicely.

I do love having a fireplace. It's such a nice focal point in the room. But I'm not a fan of the mantle or the pinkish colored tile. I will probably paint both of these white in the near future.

The biggest problem with this space is that it is sooo dark. I've had to adjust the light on these photos just to brighten it a bit. The room is southwest facing, which should give plenty of exposure. The problem is that the windows are small and the roof line is sloped. And when you pair that with a darkish paint color, you get gloomy.

I've been researching paint options, and one thing I've learned is that all colors have an LRV, or Light Reflective Value. It's usually listed on the back of the paint chip. On a scale of 1-100, with 1 being total darkness, and 100 being blinded by the light, I would say this color falls on the scale around 40. To get any benefit, it would have to be over 60 LRV. So I'm thinking of choosing a color like Creamy from Sherwin Williams that has an LRV of 80.

Another option we are looking in to is adding either skylights in this room, or using Solatubes, as pictured here:

We toured a house in this neighborhood that had utilized the Solatubes, and it made a big difference. Honestly, the dark aspect of this house was one of the top reasons why I dismissed it the first time around.

When we moved in, the patio door was covered with vertical blinds, and the windows flanking the fireplace were covered with dark striped sheers. The sheers came down immediately after move in, and the vertical blinds will be coming down just as soon as I can get to it. In the meantime, I keep them to the side and fully open.

I also went to IKEA and bought some lacey panels for $12.99 a pair. It provides just a bit of privacy while allowing the maximum amount of light inside. It also gives a sweet cottage look that I'm after.

And if Miss Naughty Paws gets at them, it won't be a total tragedy because they are cheap.

Next up: I need to sew the curtain panels for the kitchen and patio door. Wish me luck!