Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Aw, Shucks

Aw, Shucks. I missed another birthday.

Why do I send cards so belatedly ALL THE TIME. It's not that hard. Make birthday cards ahead of time, get them in the mailbox, and done.

I never seem to have a decent supply of birthday cards on hand, so I'm always making them one at a time, and slapping some belated sentiment on them.

Note to self: more birthday cards!

{Today's Brew: stamps from MFT, papers from Simple Stories, MFT farm fence die, Memories ink, Prisma markers, PTI card stock}

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Poppies For Tina

Do you have someone in your life who you go to every time you need a calm, rational, take charge person to give you some sound advice and direction?

That's my big sister, Tina. It's no surprise that she's a nurse, given all of those qualities. She's the person who looks at a bleeding injury and very calmly says "Oh-kay. Let's get that stitched up at the emergency room now."

In our family we refer to her as Doctor Tina because we are always going to her for medical advice.

So it was a real blow to all of us when our big sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer early this summer.

And just like a bossy big sister, she was giving us all directions from her hospital bed post surgery, while she was still groggy and loopy from anesthesia.

"Okay, we're not going to have any of this sad stuff," she said. Only she didn't say "stuff". Did I mention she was still medicated?

"We're going to stay positive. My bible verse has been Luke 12 through all of this, so we are not going to worry."

That's around the time I tried to inject a little humor into the sad situation.

"Okay," I said. "Did I mention that I requested the Chip and Joanna Gaines Fixer Upper room here at the hospital? They told me they couldn't get the ship lap installed for you in time."

She laughed, and I laughed. It was good to laugh. We still do. A lot.

I made this card for Tina yesterday. She IS so strong. And she's doing really well through her chemotherapy. Her friends and family are surrounding her with prayer, her church family is lifting her up in prayer. And if you think of it, will you please lift Tina up in prayer, too?

I used the Pretty Poppies and Delicate Poppies stamp sets from My Favorite Things. Aren't these stamps lovely? So glad I got them, and on sale too! I first stamped the solid images on watercolor paper using Distress Inks. Then, I sprayed it all with some white Glimmer Mist and dried it. Then, I used Distress Sprays and dried again. Finally, I went back over with the outline stamps to highlight the flowers and leaves. I really love the painterly effect.

I stamped and water colored the envelope, too. I like to think it makes my mail lady smile.

{Today's Brew: Poppies stamp sets from MFT, die cut from MFT, watercolor paper, PTI card stock, Distress inks and sprays, Glimmer Mist}

September is ovarian cancer awareness month. I will be posting some info here on my blog, so stay tuned.

Bless you, cafe friends!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Bloom and Be Happy

Sometimes, you have an idea for a card, and you go about trying to make that idea happen and, well, it's just so so.

This is one of those cards.

I didn't like the cloud background (too gray), and I didn't like the grass (too weird), and I got a little splotchy with the COPICS. Oh well. At least the hat turned out cute! ;)

{Today's Brew: MFT stamps, COPIC markers, MFT cloud stencil}

I am determined to get into the studio and do some serious card making today. I am SO behind!

Time for a cinnamon latte, an autumn candle, and some inspiration!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash: A Low Carb Pizza Alternative

I love a good pizza as much as the next person. I love pizza, yes I do. But my hips don't love pizza. So I try to find low carb alternatives whenever possible.

This dinner was hearty and delicious. And best of all? Low carb, thanks to swapping out the pizza crust for a nice spaghetti squash.

I picked up this spaghetti squash at Bennett's Orchard this week. To prepare, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, with inside of squash facing up so that it gets nice and golden.

Then, pull out of the oven and shred the squash to make noodles. Top each squash half with about a cup of pizza or marinara sauce, then top with pepperonis, and then light skim mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning, and bake again for another ten minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve with a nice salad, and you have an Italian style dinner that is so good and so good for you!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Invisible Fence= Happy Puppy

There are a lot of things we've learned about buying and selling homes over the past dozen or more years. For example, you can change the interior and exterior of a house pretty quickly and easily. And then there are things that cannot be changed all that easily. If you buy a house with no trees,  you will be blasted by the sun for many years to come. Sure, you can plant trees. But they probably won't even begin to cast some decent shade for the first ten years.

We liked this house and knew we could make some changes. And we really loved the lot, with the woods and creek and marsh. But we also knew when we bought this house that we would not be allowed to fence in the yard for Jemma. It was a tough call to make, and one of the biggest reasons we hesitated on making an offer on the house when we first saw it. She had been so accustomed to her fenced in back yard. How would we manage without a fence?

We did a lot of walking for the first month that we lived here. And at first she enjoyed it. But as weeks went on, she began to tire of walks pretty quickly. She would plop in a neighbors' yard and refuse to move...all 75 pounds of stubborn furriness.

That's when I decided enough was enough. Time to call Invisible Fence. Every week, a trainer would come over to the house to introduce the system to us slowly.

For the first week, we began with training inside the house. Jemma wore her monitor collar inside, and she would walk past these flags in the foyer every day. A signal would let her know when she got too close to the unit. She caught on to this pretty quickly.

The invisible fence was installed around the yard, giving Jemma a nice circle around the house to safely explore.

The next week, we began training outside. Jemma knew right away that the outside flags were just like the inside flags, and she would steer clear of them. She wore the monitor on her collar, and we kept her harness and leash on her at all times. She would drag the leash through the yard as she played. It was a nice safety measure in case we needed to grab her easily.

By week three, Jemma was a pro. We still have the flags in the yard, and we will need to start removing them slowly. But for now, I think the flags help my neighbors to understand that the big bounding dog who wants to greet them at the mailbox is not going to jump on them with fierce and slobbery kisses.

Actually, all the neighbors have been very impressed with how well she stays within her boundaries. And just like us, they have seen what a difference it has seemed to make in Jemma's overall happiness and contentment.

Finally, she is free to safely roam in her yard! She can chase squirrels and watch the deer cross into the woods. Big excitement for this girl! Frisbee tossing, stick chewing...the world is Jemma's oyster.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Small Updates For The Cottage

Things are progressing here at the cottage...slow and steady. A little pruning, a little gardening, some cleaning and sorting and overall puttering. Unlike our past homes, we have no plans to move in the future, so we feel no need to work at a break-neck speed to get it all done. That's not to say that I don't want to paint the entire main floor TODAY. I do! But I know we will get to it soon enough.

We've been swapping out some things that just didn't fit with our idea of turning this modern-ish ranch into a cozy cottage. Take, for example, the lighting fixtures. This one in the office looked way too modern for me. The previous owner was a big fan of all things swirly.

We swapped it out for this lovely vintage-looking fixture from allen + roth at Lowe's.

These amber colored Heritage light bulbs give it a nice finishing touch.

Aaah. That looks better! The light fixtures also go well with the curtain rods. I can't help it. I'm a matchy matchy girl.

And speaking of matchy matchy, I knew I wanted the light fixture in the foyer to match the other allen + roth fixtures we'd purchased for the kitchen and office.

Here's the fixture that originally hung in this space. It was big., at least eighteen inches across. It just felt heavy and weighty and cumbersome in this small space.

Here's what we replaced it with:

When the old fixture came down and the new one went up, it felt as if the foyer had gone on a diet and lost fifty pounds! I love this lantern style. And one of the best features? No dead bugs collect in it. Yay!

We used the same amber Heritage bulbs. It gives a nice soft glow with pretty shadows on the ceiling. Yes, the dreaded popcorn ceiling. For some odd reason, the foyer and great room have the popcorn ceilings, but every other ceiling in the house is smooth. I'm thinking of covering the popcorn with white bead board in the future.

That front door is on my To Be Painted Soon list!

This feature foyer wall? Also on the list!

Paint chips, propped and examined and moved around on a daily basis. LOL!

Jemma photo bomb!

You may wonder: what do they do will all of the stuff they remove from houses?

I try really hard not to be a wasteroo. If I can repurpose something, I do. And if something is in good working condition, I will find it a home. Occasionally, we sell items on Craigslist. Recently, I've been giving away a lot of items on a site called Nextdoor.

Have you ever heard of Nextdoor? I really like it. Think of Facebook for your town, where only locals can see your postings. Need a good plumber recommendation? You can ask on Nextdoor. Lost dog? Selling a bike? Giving away light fixtures? This is the place to do it! I have used it often. It's a great way to connect in my new community.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Monday, August 21, 2017

What I've Been Stitching This Weekend

A fun little project, in anticipation of the season ahead.

Happy Monday, Cafe Friends!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Crafty People Are The Nicest People!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Crafty people are the nicest people!

At the time of the big retirement sale at My Favorite Things, I quickly placed items in my shopping cart before they disappeared, neglecting to really check before I hit the "place order" button. And guess what? I ordered a set of dies for Fly By Friends and forgot to order the stamp set that went with it. Aaargh! Of course, by the time my order arrived, that stamp set was sold out.

I boo hooed over at the MFT Insiders page at Facebook.

And a week later, this envelope arrived at my mailbox with this note.

Sweet Jody Morrow had sent me her stamp set and dies! Isn't that just the kindest thing?

Jody, you are one in a buzz-ilion!

And so, to pay this kindness forward, I'm giving away my brand new set of dies for the stamp set "Fly By Friends" at the MFT Insiders page today.

And here's the card I made with this set for my sister's birthday!

I added a little Wink of Stella to make those wings sparkle, and a few Dew Drops to look like honey!

{Today's Brew: Fly By Friends and dies (MFT), Memories ink, COPIC markers, Distress Sprays, Wink of Stella, Dew Drops, PTI card stock and paper}

Thanks for buzzing by the cafe today!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bee Hive Pin Keep

I made another pin keep from Just Another Button Company this week. This one is a bee hive, complete with flowers, bees, and some fun pins.

I kinda wish I'd filled this one with crushed walnut shells instead of wool roving. I think it might have given it some more heft and stability. I'm going to pick up some crushed walnut shells the next time I go to the pet store. You can buy a bag in the bird supply section, and it works great for pin cushions.

This pin cushion is going to my sister, Jenny. She had a birthday at the beginning of the month, and I didn't have her present finished yet. It's going in this bag of fun summer stuff, along with some Naked Bee hand lotion and soap.

Stop back tomorrow, and I will show you the card I made for her, too!

Blessings on your day, cafe friends!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Create Along With Us: PTI August 2017

Good morning, friends! I spent an hour and a half watering my yard in the dark last night, and guess what I woke up to? Yep. Rain! We can still use a lot more of it, but I'm happy for the rain God sent to my garden today.

Papertrey Ink released some lovely autumn inspiration this week. I loved this card from Melissa Phillips. (Okay, to be honest, I'm not sure if there's a card that Melissa has made that I'm not swooning over! Love her style!)

The little bee! The stripes and polka dots. Ribbons, flowers, sequins. What's not to love? I used this card as my inspiration for the Create Along With Us challenge!

Here's my take on Melissa's card:

{Today's Brew: Tag Its stamp set (PTI), Songbirds dies (PTI), Polka Dot Basics II stamp set (PTI), ink/card stock/paper (PTI), Lawn Fawn tag/scallop/stitched circle dies. MFT cross stitched frame die, sequins, enamel dots, linen thread}

I think Melissa's card has a pretty autumn palette, but my card is still stuck in summer. Enjoying the last of these carefree summer days before they're gone!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Leaves of Three (and other fun things in my yard!)

I thought I'd had a bad reaction to mosquito bites this week. But when they started to blister and rash, I realized...nope! Not mosquito bites. Poison Ivy! Yuck.

We found it along the edge of the woods. I probably brushed up against it while retrieving a frisbee or ball for Jemma.

A naturalist from Fermilabs in Batavia explained it to me this way. She said if you cross your hands over each other, with palms facing down, you will notice a thumb on the left and right, and that's exactly what you will see on the left and right leaves of poison ivy.

I have some nasty spots on my arm and leg, but hoping with lots of Ivarest lotion, they will dry up and stop itching soon.

In the meantime, here are some photos from the yard. It is really very pretty, with woods along the side and a marshy area of cat tails and wildflowers in the back.

Jemma loves the larger side yard. She can watch the walkers and bikers and joggers pass by, and if she's lucky, she can chase a squirrel back in to the woods. Good times.

Note to self: plant more wave petunias next year! These were amazing, and the deer didn't eat them.

We're experiencing some drought conditions here. The grass is starting to get crispy. We could really use about a week of rain.

Sam has a little bird sanctuary at his bedroom window, complete with feeders and a bird bath. He's seeing lots of visitors to this feeding station, including raccoons, as you can see from the photo of the muddy paw prints on the siding below:

The marsh attracts all kinds of birds and butterflies. At night, the bats swoop overhead, eating bugs along their flight path.

And here under the deck is our secret patio, with doors leading in to the basement. I haven't had enough time to really bring this space together, but I plan on getting to it soon. We want to string some lights, set up a table, and enjoy this space, too.

I have big plans for this yard and the gardens. We're hoping to tackle some major re-landscaping jobs in the fall, if the weather cooperates. I see shade gardens, sun gardens, new shrubs and perennials, rose gardens, and maybe even a water feature and a fire pit.

It's fun to dream!

Blessings on your Monday, cafe friends!