Monday, November 18, 2019

The "Using What I Have" Challenge

We've all been down this road.

As crafters, part of our enjoyment comes from getting the next new thing. And then the next new thing. It is a big part of what inspires us. But somewhere along the way, we've turned our hobby that once was about creating into shopping.

This year, I'm challenging myself (along with my $12 Challenge!) to use what I have.

My latest stitching project is a case in point.

I bought this Take Along kit from the clearance spot of one of my favorite shops...Always in Stitches in Noblesville, Indiana. How long have I had it? Oh, probably close to ten years now.

Nine years ago, our oldest son, Luke, was attending Ball State University when I received a phone call.

"Mom? I'm in the emergency room at the hospital in Muncie. They think I have appendicitis."

Yikes! I called my husband, made arrangements for Sam's care, packed a bag and drove an hour north.

In my bag? This Take Along kit from The Trilogy. I needed to work on something while I prayed for Luke in the hospital. And the fact that this kit already had everything I needed? Perfect.

I stitched while Luke got stitched up, and then I put it down later and forgot about it.

I picked it back up this week and decided to take this project from the UFO category (UnFinished Objects!) to the FO category!

I think when I've finished the stitching, I will turn it into a pillow wrap and give it to Luke. He will get a kick out of the backstory that goes along with this project.

Using what I feels good!

Blessings, cafe friends!

Friday, November 15, 2019

White Bean and Turkey Kielbasa Soup

My Dad ate about five meals. I am not joking. As he became older, he crossed more and more foods off his preferred list. He even ordered one of his meals on a cruise ship: peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It actually made it into the comedian's repertoire that night. Who orders PB and J on a cruise?! My Dad, that's who.

My family always comments on my son, Sam's picky eating. HELL-O! He came to it naturally!

This meal was one of my Dad's favorites. Bean soup. It is such a humble soup, and a family classic.

There are a LOT of bean soup variations out there. Some people use ham (my husband's preference), others use no meat, only beans. Some people add a stock. Some folks top their bean soup with diced onion. My family used to add a splash of apple cider vinegar (I don't know why!).

I've changed things up a bit and made it my own. This recipe is fast and simple and done in under an hour. It is low in fat and packed with protein and fiber. It's a great way to warm up on a cold day, too.

White Bean and Turkey Kielbasa Soup

1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. chopped celery
2 T. olive oil
1 c. carrots, chopped
2 cans Bush's Great Northern Beans (Do not drain)
2 cans water
1-2 c. diced Yukon Gold potatoes
1 pkg. Jennie O Turkey Kielbasa, chopped
2 bay leaves
freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

In a Dutch oven or stock pot, saute onion, garlic and celery in olive oil until tender. Add carrots and toss to coat. Add the beans one can at a time, then fill can with water and add to pot. (Some people would substitute a vegetable or chicken broth here, but I honestly do not think you need it). Add remaining ingredients and bring to a slow boil, then turn down heat to cook on low, stirring often. When all vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes to one hour), serve. Great with saltine crackers or corn bread! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Easy (And Affordable!) Holiday Centerpiece

I love the look of birch candles! I have two in my home. Just two, because they can be pricey.

I am trying to assemble holiday decor on a budget for a ladies' Advent Cafe at our church next month. I am hoping to go for the look of Caribou Coffees at Christmas time. Woodsy and outdoors, with evergreens, wood, and red and black lumberjack plaid.

I had a thought. Birch candles would be a great centerpiece for all the tables! Only problem: I'd need about ten centerpieces for ten tables, and there's no way I could afford that many candles.

And then I had another thought. Couldn't I make a knockoff birch candle?

I searched everywhere for birch wallpaper with no luck. Sure, Amazon had some, but it was pricey. And then I stumbled upon this four pack of heavy duty wrapping paper at Walmart for 4.99. YES! Score!

It's very natural looking, too!

And on the back are grid marks, which makes it so easy for cutting.

I needed straight drinking glasses, and found them at Target. Twelve pack for 9.99. Deal!

I decided to go with the flameless LED votives. I think this 12 pack was $7 at Walmart.

I measured the glasses, wrapped the paper, and taped in place. Then, I pulled out some ribbon from my stash and some holiday boxwood greenery from the Target dollar spot. Voila! Instant festive centerpiece!

For just a little over $20, I will have a pretty centerpiece for all of the tables at the event. Not bad!

I plan on buying more of the birch wrapping paper to use in so many other ways...paper crafting, home decor, endless possibilities!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Story of the Concrete Snowman

Years ago, when my oldest sons were little guys, we would take them to see their grandparents in Ohio. Shirley Ann and I would leave the husbands behind and take the boys all over town...parks, train rides, garden centers and nurseries.

On one of our excursions, Shirley Ann found this concrete snowman and had to have it. Let me tell you, that snowman weighed a ton! Solid concrete, not hollow. I managed to lift it into the back of Shirley Ann's Cadillac, we wrapped it in blankets, and brought it home.

Shirley Ann has put out that snowman for over twenty years. But as they got older, it became too heavy for them to move, even with a dolly. It sat in their garage for the past two winters.

So Shirley Ann decided it was time to give that snowman a new home...ours!

Last week, my husband went to visit, and he had the job of lifting that heavy guy, wrapping him in blankets, and bringing him home to Michigan.

We put him out front on Sunday afternoon, and by the next day, the snow had fallen.

Coincidence? I think not!

Over eight inches fell, and my snowman is pretty well covered. He's smiling through it all, and if he could, I think he'd be winking, too.

I made this card today to send to Shirley Ann. I know she will love it!

I used the Shape Up Series Snowman from Papertrey Ink, and paired him with some felt and a sentiment. The snowflake on his hat is a nod to Shirley Ann, who always put a shimmering silver snowflake in her hair in the winter.

{Today's Brew: Shape Up Series Snowman dies and stamps (PTI), Bloomin' Cute Thanks die (PTI), PTI felt/inks/card stock, Jolee's Boutique snowflake}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today! And don't forget to enter yesterday's post for a chance to win some blog candy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

It's the 12th! Time For A Blogiversary Giveaway!

Good snowy morning, cafe friends!

It's the 12th of the month! I am celebrating 12 years of blogging with 12 giveaway on the 12th of every month.

Most of these giveaway items will be coming directly from my stash. I have too many pretty things that need to be loved!

Today's giveaway is a fun collection, just in time for holiday crafting.

Ribbon trim and sparklers from Webster's Pages.

A sweet stocking die from Taylored Expressions.

Twenty-four sheets of double sided patterned papers from Stampin' Up.

Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite hot beverage on a cold day. I will draw a winner at the end of the day on Friday.

Thanks for being a cafe regular, my friends!


LeAnne! You are the winner! Send me your address and I will get this in the mail to you!

Monday, November 11, 2019

A Winter Stitching Project Finished! (and just in time!)

Happy Monday, cafe friends!

I finally finished this cross stitch project from Lizzie Kate this weekend! I was almost ready to pop it in the frame when I remembered that snowman button.

And I'm so glad I did's too cute! I had this frame in my stash. The corners have painted stars, but I decided to cover them with some felt snowflakes using PTI felt and Lawn Fawn stitched snowflake dies.

It's a cute piece to put in the woodsy outdoorsy guest room.

And speaking of snowmen...we are getting several inches of snow today. It seems pretty early in the season to be getting measurable snowfall. Oh well...I am happy to be staying indoors today, with a nice latte and a new stitching project to tackle.

Blessings, cafe friends!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cozy Snowy Coffee To Go!

So this happened yesterday.


We woke up to scattered snow flurries...just a light dusting that coated the leaves and flowers and pumpkins. It was pretty, but it was also a reminder that winter weather will soon be here!

Today's brew is a reflection of winter. It says to me "Sure, you can stay indoors huddled under warm blankets. Or you can put on your LL Bean down coat and flannel lined jeans, fill a thermos with coffee, and go outdoors to enjoy the wintry weather!"

{Today's Brew: Cozy Christmas stamps and dies (PTI), PTI Birch background stamp, PTI Shape Shifters die, Simple Stories paper and enamel dot, Memory Box pines die, PTI inks and card stock}

This is the last day of the Coffee Lovers Fall/Winter blog hop! I've had so much fun making caffeinated creations this week.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!