Friday, July 19, 2019

Craft Break: Three Sunflowers

The craft break continued yesterday....until about three in the afternoon, when Sam came back from cross country camp with a carload of dirty, smelly laundry. Ah well. Those two and a half days smelled pretty good!

The heat this week has made the basement craft room extra special. Jemma follows me down and plops herself on the cool laminate hard woods to take a nap while I listen to podcasts and craft.

I recently got the Sunflower Cover Plate from Papertrey Ink's going-out-of-business-maybe-we-really-don't-know-what-we-are-doing-one-day-to-the-next sale. (whew! That was a mouthful!) Yesterday, I sat down to make three versions with this die.

For the first version, I cut out the die with black card stock. Then, I grabbed some Strathmore watercolor card stock, and did some ink blending with three colors.

Then, I used a lightly wet brush to drag the color down the card stock. I wanted the background to look like a sunset, with the sunflower in dark shadow.

And here it is! Sentiment was from PTI Summer Hills.

For the next card, I cut the die with Kraft card stock. Then, I tried ink blending on a piece of white card stock. I wish I'd used watercolor card stock later. Oh well. The blending didn't add enough wow, so I decided to start adding watercolor, using the cutout die as my guide.

Then, I added more blending with a wet brush. This would have worked better with watercolor paper. I had to let it dry overnight, then really rub it flat with a bone folder. Finally, I decided to glue the panel onto the card front, and really rub it flat with the bone folder. It helped.

I liked this Blessed die cut with the image. It's a softer, water-colory palette, and I like it.

This is a really good time to mention that this pokey tool from Stampin Up (circa 2003? It's part of an old tool kit I got when I was a demo!) is invaluable with this die. I might try to use a metal shim next time, but this time the pokey tool and foam pad really helped to get all the little seeds of the sunflower out.

For the last card, I decided to keep the "seeds". I kept this card soft and subtle, with a white diecut flower on a kraft background and a kraft Tiny Tag sentiment.

Three sunflowers for summer occasions!

Stay cool, my cafe friends!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Craft Break Continues

Have you ever heard of muscle memory? It's the idea that our muscles remember how to do certain tasks, and that over time that task becomes easier and we do it without even thinking.

Well let me tell you, it's been a long time since I've stitched, and my hand muscles totally forgot what to do when I pulled this stitching project out this week. It honestly hurt! My joints and knuckles were screaming "We remember this, and we don't like it!"

But I am persevering in the hopes it will get better and maybe even help my hands with dexterity issues.

Back in January, I decided to choose the word "gratitude" for the year...just an exercise in thankfulness. I figured that word would pop up everywhere over the year, as it usually happens for me. But nope. A totally different word kept coming to me at all angles. I think the two are connected, but I need to think on it some more before I comment on it.

I hope that I'm living with daily gratitude, but sometimes in my cushy life, I'm sure I take much for granted. My family, my health, my home, our church, our community, our country.

It's going to be over 95 degrees this weekend. Ugh! Time to stay indoors and be thankful for air conditioning. We never had AC growing up when I was a kid, and our bedrooms were all upstairs. It was so hard to sleep on those hot and sweaty summer nights! And do you recall non-air conditioned churches? Stifling! I used to take the church bulletin, fold it into a fan, and try to cool down with that.

Thankfully, it's never too hot for coffee. And when it is, iced coffee is a lovely alternative!

Atti-brewed of gratitude, my friends!

Blessings on your summer day!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sentiment or no sentiment?

Sometimes, I add sentiments to the card front right after I've made it. And other times, if the card looks like it could be used for multiple occasions, I will leave off the sentiment and add it another day.

This stamp set is my first from The Ton. I got it from a buy/sell forum for cheap, and thought it'd make some great cards for the guys in my life.

Those mountains! I love them! 

The stamps were obviously brand new, and not conditioned. Sometimes, with new stamps that have a lot of solid surface, you have to clean and condition them either with a rubber eraser or some multiple stamping with Versamark. I forgot about this, and instead cleaned and rubbed my thumb over them. Well, as you can see, the ink is still having a hard time adhering. But you know what? I kinda liked the look for these mountains, so I went with it. Happy accidents, like Bob Ross used to say!

Normally I stink with blending. But I love how this sky turned out! I made a mask with some scrap paper, laid it over the mountains, and began with the lightest ink (Soft Stone), then worked my way up to the top (Spring Rain, Blueberry).

{Today's Brew: Mountains stamp set (The Ton), PTI inks and card stock}

Has anyone ordered the new Taylored Expressions blending brushes? They are on my wish list! I will order as soon as they come back in stock. For now, I'm using my cosmetic blending brushes from Walmart, and they work just fine.

Day two of my Girl Break! I think an iced latte is in my future.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Girl Time: Craft Break

I have two and a half whole days to myself!

Sam is at cross country camp, Ed is traveling for work, and Jemma and I have the house to ourselves.

Why am I so giddy about this? tee hee!

It's been a busy summer...garage sale, driver's ed, travel, yard work, house work, writing, caring for family, helping two adult sons with big moves. Busy.

I really need these days to just regroup.

I have a few jobs I plan on getting done: cleaning carpets upstairs (one room down, two to go!), getting the garden fertilized, working on some story ideas.

Beyond that? I will eat when I feel like it, skip the laundry and cooking, craft and watch some chic flicks or listen to music and podcasts.

I have so many new stamp sets that I plan on playing with this week! This is one of them. PTI Quilted Spring. I've wanted these Quilted stamps and dies for a long time, so I'm happy to have them in my collection.

{Today's Brew: Quilted Spring stamps and dies (PTI), Tiny Tags (PTI) stamps and Tinier Tags die, PTI inks and card stock,  Stampin' Up Quilt embossing folder}

I think I will pick up a stitching project to work on tonight. More fun to come!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Celtic Festival 2019

This weekend, our town of Saline hosted the annual Celtic Festival. It's always a fun event, and a big draw for our small town. It makes me smile to think that we brought our boys to this event over twenty years ago, never guessing that after many years of travel, we'd end up living here.

Good food, good music, fun events, and of course, lots of kilts.

Here are the highlights.

Enjoying the festivals of summer, spending time with family...good memories.

Happy  Monday!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Vintage Treasures

I am a vintage treasure hunter. Occasionally, I pop in to places like Goodwill, garage sales, or local antique shops just to see if something catches my eye. I'm always editing my collection, hence the garage sale last month! But usually, I have to really like a thing a lot to bring it home.

Today, I found this Royal Copely bird figurine for $3 at Goodwill. Score! I can't pass up birds...or pretty brown transferware. I got that sweet little bowl at Butter Barn last month.

This little dog was too cute. He's my rescue dog.

Who could resist that face?

When my mother-in-law was sorting through her storage unit, she donated this cake pan for the garage sale. I was so excited! It matches the vintage Corningware pieces that I found in Illinois!

She also donated this lovely aqua Pyrex, which is a hot collectible right now. Those pieces didn't make it to the garage sale, but I did compensate her with garage sale profits!

Now I have a shelf devoted to my small collection of Pyrex and Corningware. It's so fun to look at when I open the cupboard!

Finally, I also found this little pheasant at Goodwill for $2. He had to come home with me, too. I have a weakness for birds! I know he will look awesome mixed in with autumn decor.

Honestly, some of these figurines would be exactly like something you'd find in a Pottery Barn or Ballard catalog for a LOT more money. I know that some people (cough husband!) think of these things as tchockes. And they are. But I feel a few well placed items can really make a house feel homey. I like to switch decor up and rotate things based on seasons.

Just a few fun things acquired from my summer hunting season.

Blessings on your weekend, cafe friends!

Friday, July 12, 2019


We were staying at a hotel last week while helping my in-laws with some yard work. It was a fast overnight trip, and we were planning on working on the mulch project the next day. I had saved a bottled water, and it was sitting on the table before I went to bed. But when I woke up, this note was in its place.

"Sorry for stealing your water at 10:41PM. I was a thirsty boy." -Sam

It made me laugh.

I added the message below.

"Your sins are forgiven.- Jesus"

I meant to make Sam smile, and I did. But here's the thing. We need to talk more with this next generation about sin and what to do with it.

There's an alarming increase in depression and anxiety among our youth, and an even greater increase in suicide among all ages. A thirty percent increase in the last decade.

How can this be? In a culture that is so hyper-focused on tolerance, acceptance, openness, and self-affirming identity, wouldn't you think that everyone is feeling better about themselves? The world tells us we're fine, we're awesome. You just be you, the world says.

But here's the problem. Deep down inside, we know we are not fine. We are not awesome. Me being me doesn't look like happiness. Me being me looks like a pattern of selfishness and deceit, selfish thoughts and selfish desires.

My nature is not perfect. My nature is sinful, and it is broken.

The world and the culture can tell me that I'm wonderful, but I know that it's a lie.

So where do I take this selfish, broken nature? If nobody tells me what to do with it, I will despair.

The author Pastor A. Trevor Sutton describes it this way. Imagine that someone has developed a sure and certain cure for cancer that works every time. But instead of prescribing this cure, we pass out a placebo.

"God has offered a cure for sin and death. This cure is powerful and efficacious through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus_ but only through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This Gospel, delivered through God's Word, is the only cure. It is wrong to pretend that a placebo religion will function in the same way as the real and authentic Good News of Jesus. Although the world may see this as scandalous, the followers of Jesus do not waver from the truth that the only true cure is Christ Jesus-because God has said His Son is the only cure. But this cure is for all people."  ("Clearly Christian: Following Jesus in this Age of Confusion")

Truth: I have the cancer of sin. But I also know where to go for the cure. I am forgiven. And I'm called to tell others about this amazing Good News.

Just some thoughts that have been percolating in my caffeine-riddled brain this week.

Blessings on your Friday, cafe friends!