Friday, March 24, 2017

Shepherd's Bush Scissor Fob

The house was clean from top to bottom. Flowers were planted, pillows were fluffed. There really wasn't anything to do before yesterday's first house showing but wait.

I needed something to keep my hands busy, so I decided to pick out a needle art project. I didn't want anything too complicated that was going to have me rummaging through my stuff for just the right linens and threads.

That's when I remembered this kit from Shepherd's Bush. Perfect! All assembled and ready to stitch!

Just a quiet moment of meditative stitching.

This sweet little blackbird has found his home. I'm confident that I will, too.

Thank God! It's Friday, cafe friends!

Blessings on your weekend!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Complicated Vs. The Simple

It's complicated.

Life, that is.

I don't how it happens, but it seems to creep up on me, one thing at a time, until I look around me and say to myself "Okay, enough of this. Things have got to change."

I examine my day-to-day routines, and realize the stressors that are necessary, and those stressors that are adding very little to my life.

I'm trying to sell a house and buy a house. Temporary stressor for long term gain.

I'm teaching my son catechism and the foundations of faith. Temporary time constraint for eternal gain.

I'm training a puppy. Temporary annoyance for future good dog rewards.

I'm shuttling Sam to band practice and jazz concerts and track practice and meets. Mom stuff that may be a time commitment for me, but it brings a lot of reward to Sam's middle school life.

And then there are the things I want to do more of, like reading good books and going for long walks. Stitching projects and writing projects. Gardening and going to see my son in Indy.

It's all basic, and it's all life in balance. It's all good.

But other things in life have just become time suckers for me, and they're leaving me drained. They have to go.

Take, for example, today's two featured cards:

I wanted to make a card for my Pastor's family, who are expecting a new blessing in their family. Simple, right?

But as I created this one, it just became more complicated. The blue base needed clouds. And a sun. And a few diecuts. And a few more diecuts. A scallop there, some stitching there. And in no time, I'd taken something simple and turned it into a complicated mess.

I started over this morning. Just a few stamps, a few die cuts, a simple sentiment. Done. And done simply. And done well.

{Today's Brew: stamps and stencil from MFT, Lawn Fawn die cuts and papers, PTI ink and card stock}

The complicated versus the simple. I sense the pendulum swinging in a new direction in my life.

Simple joy, cafe friends!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring On The Front Porch

You know the old adage: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Well, the first impression on the front porch was a little bit sad.

Of course, everything looks a little sad this early in spring. But I knew I could do better.

Cleaning the front porch rockers and adding the cushions was a start. But what I really needed was not in the garden center Pansies. Signs of spring!

I popped in to Home Depot yesterday, and lo and behold, the pansies had arrived! woo hoo!

Aah! That's better!

The welcome mat looks much nicer. It picks up some of the blues and tans that I already have on the porch.

I added the grapevine wreaths and fake forsythia stems to these pots, along with the pansies. The wreath acts as a little booster for the pansies if they get too droopy in the cold, and the forsythia ties in with the front door wreath and adds a little vertical height to the planters.

Now that's a proper welcome!

I'm hoping the front porch now says "Welcome! Buy this house, and you, too, can sit on this front porch!"


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Yummy Dish For Spring! Lemony Pappardelle Pasta With Tuna

What's for dinner?

How about a light and yummy dish for spring, packed with protein and oh so flavorful!

I found a few of these items grouped together on an end cap at Trader Joe's, and it sounded like a good combination to try.

Here's what you'll need:

1 pkg lemon pepper pappardelle pasta
1 can yellow fin tuna packed in olive oil
a little extra olive oil
cheese of choice (I used feta, but parmesan would also be good)

Cook pasta according to directions. Do not overcook! Also, do not rinse and do not overly drain. You will need some of that starchy water to enhance this dish.

Place pasta is serving bowl. Add yellow fin not drain! Use that yummy olive oil that it's packed in. Toss the tuna with the pasta. Next, add two or three tablespoons of capers (I adore capers!), and toss. Add a little extra drizzle of olive oil. Top with some crumbled feta, and enjoy!

Mmm...I was fighting my husband for the last forkful...yeah, it was that good! I think this would also be amazing with some pieces of freshly steamed or grilled asparagus, and maybe a little fresh chive on top.

A super easy dish for a spring dinner. Because seriously, who has time to cook when their are houses to clean for showings?

Blessings, cafe friends!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Moving On, And This Is Why

It's official.

We spoke with our realtor today, and the house is going on the market this week.

We've poured two years' worth of blood, sweat and tears into this house, and we are hopeful that it will sell, and quickly, so that we can move on and begin a new phase of our lives together.

I'm sure a lot of you regulars at the cafe are wondering "Why now? The house is finally complete!"

No, I'm not one of those crazy bloggers who just needs to move to have new material to write about.

And no, it's not because I don't like this house, or this town, or this neighborhood.

All of that is really inconsequential.

The real reason we are moving is because we are missing our families back home.

We've been living on a proverbial island, isolated from the people we love. And while many families can make the distance thing work for them through phone calls and face time and texts, I have grown weary in the process and have missed out on so much.

My sister had a heart attack over the holidays, and I couldn't visit her in the hospital. My heart ached over her aching heart. It still does.

My sweet step mom-in-law fell and broke her hip before Thanksgiving. And because we live so far away, I wasn't able to make her soup or bake her bread or clean her house.

My Mom needed her garden beds mulched, and I never could manage to get it done on our short visits home.

Maybe turning fifty has been an awakening for me, but I have come to realize this...I am not that person. Family and connection matters to me. It does, indeed, take a village. And my village is not here.

I read this awesome book this month. Lady Like by sisters Rebekah Curtis and Rose Adle. It was like opening the windows and letting a fresh wind of truth blow through my thinking. In a chapter entitled "Brains For Women", they had this to write about loving our neighbor:

"Our neighbors are those who are nigh, which means near, to us. No one is nearer to us than the people in our own households. We are their servants before we are any other person's."

I need to be nearer. I crave it. And not only do I want to be near to them, but I want to care for them and serve them. I want to love those who are nigh.

Next weekend, we will be traveling to Michigan to begin looking for a house in a new community, close to our families and yet still convenient for my husband's work.

Our next house is really secondary in importance to me. Yes, we want to downsize. And sure, it would be great to find the perfect little cottage in the perfect town with the perfect schools and parks and libraries.

But in the end, it isn't about house. It's about home.

Mom made me this card, which really says it all.

Life takes us in unexpected places. Love brings us home.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Legend of the St. Patrick's Day Garden

 Legend has it that if you work in your garden on St. Patrick's Day, the sun will come out and the flowers will bloom. Rake a few leaves, pick up sticks and pine cones, lay a fresh layer of mulch, and the luck of the Irish will be on your side!

And if you are very lucky and wait very patiently, a Golden girl will appear!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, cafe friends!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Luke's Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Let me just say a few words about my eldest. He is a really nice guy. A really, really nice guy.

Here are just a few nice guy stories about Luke from recent weeks:

* When he heard his boss was sick at work, he went through Starbucks before his shift and bought her a hot tea. Awww! She was so appreciative!

* When Luke was eating lunch after a shift, an elderly couple saw him in his work shirt and asked him about a product they were looking for. He spent thirty minutes (off the clock!) talking to corporate to find the item for them. And then he drew them a map and gave them instructions, telling them where to go.

* He stayed home to work and watch Jemma so that we could take our Florida trip. Aww! We missed you, Luke!

* He keeps me laughing and sane every day.

Like I said, he's a really nice guy! I'm so proud of him!

Luke works in grocery management. One of his co-workers, who is hispanic, would see Luke coming in to the store to start his shift, and she would say "Loo-cas! My hee-ro!"

That's our guy! A hero!

{Today's Brew: Stylized Sentiments (Papertrey Ink), Hey Pop! Simple Stories collection paper and stickers, bottle cap from my stash}

I'm praying for good things for Luke in the coming year. Good guys deserve good things. :)

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Using Those Pre-Printed Card Front Panels!

Somebody, please stop me. Stop me from buying any more pretty papers!

It is my kryptonite.

Sometimes, I will get a pretty paper pack home, and it will include pre-printed card front panels. They are so pretty that I hoard them. Sure, I will get them out occasionally and look at them, but I have a hard time using them.

So this weekend, I actually used one. woo hoo for me!

I think it's just a matter of finding a way to use them and make them your own creation by adding a little here and there. So that's what I did with this card...a sweet little birdie, and banner sentiment, some ribbon and an accenting piece of paper strip. Done!

{Today's Brew: Petite Pots stamp set (Papertrey Ink), Twig Wreath papers (PTI), PTI inks, linen thread}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's A Snow On Your Nose Kind of Day


We woke up to snow this morning, as did much of the Midwest. Jemma hasn't seen snow for over two months now, so you can imagine the fun she had burying her snout in it!

I worked on some cards this weekend. I have a lot of occasions that need them this month, so I better get busy!

Here's a fun birthday card that needs to get mailed out today!

{Today's Brew: Heart-2-Heart stamp set (PTI), PTI card stock and papers, PTI dies, lace doily, Lawn Fawn sequins, Lawn Fawn stitched rectangle die}

Just a fun card to say "Hope your birthday is fun, too!"

Hey, Jemma. You've got a little something on your nose. Right there.

Never mind. It looks good on you!

Happy Monday, cafe friends!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I Was Blind, But Now I See

A strange thing happened to me two weeks ago. I had some minor eye surgery that left me banged up, bruised up, and bandaged. Luckily for me, my son Luke was there to drive me home from the appointment because I was bandaged up with an eye patch and could not see. I was temporarily blind for a few hours. And even without my sight, I still managed to make a cup of coffee. I could probably do that with one hand tied behind my back, too. LOL!

So there I was, sipping my coffee at the kitchen table, petting Jemma, feeling the sunshine on my face. It was boring, and yet at the same time, it was immensely peaceful. Nothing visually to distract me. No cell phones or tablets or magazines or television.

I was there, enjoying every sip of coffee, totally in the moment.

I couldn't help thinking about my Uncle Jim, who had been blind from childhood. He's one of the altar boys in the photo above.  Jim's blindness was a normal part of our family life. We played card games with braille cards. We served Jim plates of food, telling him that the turkey was at twelve o'clock, the mashed potatoes at 3, the stuffing at six, and the roll at 9. We helped him with his cane, and let him lead so that we wouldn't guide him straight into walls or door jambs.

Even today, when I hear a baseball game on the radio, it takes me right back to my childhood. Summertime, sitting on the front porch of Grandpa and Uncle Jim's house in north Toledo, drinking Vernor's from sweating glass bottles.

Just listening.

Simple, uncomplicated moments in time. I find myself craving more of those lately.

I can't help but think of what a visually distracting world we live in. It's as if the world screams "Look at me!" And oddly, the more we see, the more blind we become to everything else that really matters. Sometimes, I just need to close my eyes and shut it all out.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see."

Grace. My word to meditate on in 2017. I want to hear it. I need to hear it. I never want to be blind to it. Grace, sufficient for the moment.

I came home from Florida to this unexpected gift from my big sister, Tina. A very cool bracelet with the word "GRACE" stamped into the metal. A good reminder for what I have been given. A simple word to remind me of what really matters.

My Uncle Jim is numbered among the saints now. He was blind, but now he sees. All because of amazing grace.

Grace and peace to you, my cafe friends!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Blessed By Mom

My Mom is such a blessing. Look at this beautiful hand crafted card that she made for my birthday!

She stamped the flowers on water color paper, and then went back and painted them. Stunning! I love the effect! Mom has always been so talented with a paint brush.

When she gave me the card, she had to point out the one boo boo (which makes me laugh, because my husband says I do this all the time, too!). Her boo boo was literally a boo boo. She'd finished the entire card, and then looked down and saw that she'd cut her hand and had bled onto the corner. Aaack! I know that feeling. But I cherish this one all the more because my Mom put her blood, sweat and tears into it!

And isn't that just the way with all of us crafty types? We pour our heart and soul into our projects. Some people completely understand that, and others just shrug their shoulders. That's okay. Sometimes, it's about the process even more than the product.

Blessings on your Friday, cafe friends!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Florida and 5.0

I bet I know what you are thinking.

"Mary Rose turned fifty, and then she disappeared!"

Well, not exactly. I turned fifty, and then went to Florida!

It was a fantastic getaway with just Ed and Sam...a chance to soak up the sun and the flowers and celebrate the big 5.0 in a big way.

The Epcot Flower Show had just begun. It is so amazing! The flowers, the topiary, the attention to detail that Disney accomplishes so well.

We love Epcot center...who can pass up the chance to eat and drink our way around the world?

Fish and chips in England...

...not one but two crepes in France! (And we are not even going to mention the macarons!)

Ah, the flowers!

The geeky science nerds in us could not resist a trip to the Kennedy Space Center!

A little space exploration...

A chance for boys to dream.

As long as we are exploring space, why not take a tour of Star Wars?

We couldn't pass up the opportunity to hang out with our Pittsburgh people!

The beach beckoned, so we soaked up more sun on the white sands of Siesta Keys.

I think fifty is going to be a great year!