Saturday, November 29, 2014

Why I am so thankful for my super smart 2013 self!

As October came to a close, I flipped the calendar to a new month and found this. A note! A note from my 2013 self. And here is what it said:

You see, my 2013 self was very smart. She knew a few things about herself. For starters, she knew that she was prone to selective amnesia regarding certain events. This plays out in thoughts like this: Surely the turkey wasn't that bad. The meal couldn't possibly have taken that many days to prepare. It wasn't really that expensive, was it?

Yes. Yes to all of the above. I just had to look in my financial book to see that I spent $75 on a dry, tasteless bird last year. Apparently, free range organic turkey equates to dry and nasty. It's all of those preservatives and artificial ingredients that make that Butterball turkey so delicious.

And so I listened to 2013 Mary Rose and I ordered the Bob Evans thanksgiving entire meal for the price that I paid for the aforementioned nasty bird.  And it was delicious! I served it up on my fancy Spode turkey plates and Longaberger dishes, and we enjoyed it just as if it had cost me $300 and a week of preparation.

So what did I do with all of that free time on Thanksgiving Day? I enjoyed the guests that came for dinner.

It was a lovely day!

I am pretty sure there is a message waiting for me for the month of December...which is Monday, my friends. Aack! It's time to buy a new calendar for 2015! May I make a suggestion? Leave your future self a few notes on that calendar. You will be one year older and one year wiser for the effort.

Hope your Thanksgiving was full of blessings!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sharing What I Learned From Pinterest

So I have these Levi's blue jeans that I love, but they just seemed to be getting smaller with each wash. I swear, they were shrinking. I wasn't growing. Honest. Uh huh.

I am the queen of laundry in this house, and I am normally so careful with the wash. But once or twice, these probably got thrown into the dryer instead of being hung to dry. Boo hoo!

What to do?

Pinterest to the rescue!

I found a pin on Pinterest for how to un shrink clothing.

Step one: Soak item in luke warm water with a capful of baby wash. Let it soak for a while to soften and loosen the fibers in the fabric.

Step two: Remove clothing but do not rinse. Squeeze out excess water.

Step three: Roll the jeans in a towel to remove excess water.

Step four: Place the jeans on a clean dry towel. Now gently pull on the jeans in all directions to reshape. Allow to lay flat to dry.

And when they are dry, voila! Your favorite jeans, back to the shape they were when you first bought them! This works for sweaters, too.

My jeans are finally comfy again, and I no longer feel like a stuffed turkey when I try to put them on.

Tuck this useful knowledge away for after Thanksgiving Day feasting. Trust me. You will thank me later.

And just tell yourself "It's not me. It's the jeans."

Blessings and thanksgiving, friends!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Never Make A Major Announcement

What happens when you make a major announcement in a public profession-kind of way?

The universe instantly conspires against you to make certain that the thing you announced you would do is exactly the thing you will look back on and see that you, indeed, have not done.

It's a conspiracy.

It has been two months since I last reported here on the blog that I would be taking a break to write! write! write! until my stubby little Hobbit-sized fingers were sore from the writing.

Guess who has not been writing.

{insert woman sheepishly raising hand in shame here!}

Which begs the question...what in the world have I been doing for the past two months?

It might be easier to tell you what I have NOT been doing.

I haven't crafted a card in over two months. Not even one.

I haven't been house fluffing.

I haven't been entertaining out-of-town guests.

I haven't been to bible study with my group.

I haven't even added a single word to my novel.

Well, now that THAT list is out in the open, what about the other list? The "What I did on my two months of blogging vacation" list?

I spent my twenty-fifth anniversary with the love of my life in California.

I drank wine.

I hiked in the redwood forests.

I crossed the Golden Gate bridge.

I dipped my toes into the Pacific ocean.

I ate amazing food at vineyards too beautiful for words.

I got a job.

And then I quit that job and got another job.

I crafted a collage-style painting.

I visited the women in my family.

I cut my bangs...myself.

I made delicious pies and soups.

I cared for sick boys and old dogs.

I went to church.

I heard a sermon on being faithful using our talents for God's glory.

I felt that familiar conviction of the Holy Spirit.

And so I came here to say... major announcement.

Just a "Hello, friends!"

It is well with my soul.

Hope it is well with yours, too!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pursuing a God-Sized Passion

Thank you, dear cafe friends, for your understanding and encouragement! After reading so many of your kind comments, I found a theme that became quite evident.

I like paper crafts, but it is not my passion.

I like needle art, but it is not my passion.

I like house and home fluffing, but it is not my passion.

Words. Words are my passion.

You, dear readers, identified with the words. And that makes me so happy!

You see, for quite some time I've been working on a novel. Yep. A novel! It's a pretty ambitious thing, I'll grant you that. It's a story that just won't leave me alone. I've been known to put it down for months at a time, and when I pick it up again, my first thought is "You know, this is pretty good. Why did I stop?"

Recently, God has been whispering to me "Why not now? Let's get this thing finished now."

And the timing just feels right.

I am laying down the blog so that I can pick up this writing pursuit. I need to give it more attention and discipline than I have been doing thus far. It's a big God-sized dream that seems impossible, which is exactly why it now seems so plausible.

By the way, the protagonist of the story may or may not be a crafter. Just sayin'. ;)

I may pop in here periodically to tell you all how I'm doing. Actually, I hope you will hold me accountable to keep this momentum going!

You, sweet friends, have blessed me this week. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blogging, or When The Lord Chooses Not to Bless It

This should be a hard post to write, but I found it to be surprisingly easy.

I am closing the cafe.

It wasn't one defining moment that brought me to this decision. Just a slow decline and an awareness that I've lost my way.

Seven years of actively sharing my ups and downs.

Remember when I was so sick with Lyme disease? And subsequently, suffered from depression?

Remember when I moved from St. Louis to Indiana? And then from Indiana to Pennsylvania?

Remember when I was a Stampin' Up demonstrator?

Remember when I was on a design team?

Remember when I sent kids off to college?

Remember when I sold off nearly my entire collection of stamps?

Remember when I was going to quit stamping and blogging all together?

Blogging was such an important outlet for me. It helped create a sense of community when I didn't have a community. It helped me reach out to friends and family far and wide who just wanted to peek in at what was happening in my crazy roller coaster life.

And it was all well and good. Until it wasn't.

God has really blessed me in countless ways the past year. I have made so many new friends and new connections in a new community. New home, new garden, new churches, new interests. He has blessed me every step of the way and answered prayers in such obviously blatant and lovely ways.

But there's this one area that God has chosen not to bless.


It's been a dead end at every possible turn.

This is not to blame you, the twelve people who consistently read my blog. (Even as I type that, it makes me laugh out loud!) I blame myself. I never had a consistent voice.

Am I a crafting blogger? Am I a home blogger? Am I a mommy blogger? Am I a faith blogger?

I just wanted to be me, a little bit of everything served up with a side of coffee. But the blog world has transformed into an enterprise, a marketing tool. You have to have a "brand" to sell, and if you are not consistent with your branding, no one will read you and no one will care.

I suppose that my background in feature writing is to blame. I was never interested in just one thing. I wanted to write about everything!

The truth is I am a terrible blogger. Pretty, carefully cropped photos showing the prettiest slice of life? Nope, that is not my thing. I know my strengths and weaknesses. A good writer? Yes. A good blogger? No. Good writers do not always good bloggers make, and vice versa.

Perhaps this is why God has chosen not to bless my blog. It is not the ministry that He has in store for me.

I find that the more I get sucked into anything involving technology (the internet, email, Facebook, e-reader), the less I feel God saying "Yep! This is where I want you to be." The more I try to feel connected through technology, the less I actually feel connection. The more I research the process of creating, the less I actually create.

Back in July, I decided to "unfriend" myself from Facebook. Too much drama. Too little of meaning and importance. It was an artificial world that created the impression that I was building relationships, when in fact, I was not. It was the best decision I'd made all summer.

I think it's time to go one step further and "unfriend" myself from the blogging world. I want to be a better steward of the time, talents and treasures that God has given me. So I will continue to write, but not for blog posts. I will continue to create, but not for the photographic opportunity. I am unplugging the "artificial" espresso machine so that I can connect with people face to face. Over a cup of coffee in my kitchen. At the corner diner. In the line at Starbucks.

I am going out of business, folks. The cafe is closings its doors. But if you are ever in Pittsburgh, I'd love to meet you for a nice latte. My kitchen is always open!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Free To Put A Bird On It!

My sister and I noticed a theme last weekend. If you have something old and you want to make it look like fall, you "stick a mum in it!" Crocks, barrels, wheel barrows, watering cans. Stick a mum in it, and you've got autumn!

I also like to "put a bird on it!" And it just so happens that's the theme for today's Free For All challenge at Splitcoast Stampers!

{Today's Brew: stamps from Papertrey Ink, PTI inks and card stock, Simple Stories papers, SU lace punch, SU gingham ribbon}

Joyful Friday, friends!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Stenciled Trees

Today's Ways To Use It Challenge at SCS: Stencils! I've purchased quite a stash of Memory Box stencils from Stamp Fanci, my local stamp shop. I love stencils! So easy to use, so many techniques that can be applied. One of my fast and easy stencil application of Distress Stains, which is what I used here.

{Today's Brew: PTI Leaf Prints stamp set and die, SU God's Way stamp set, PTI card stock and ink, Distress Stains, Memory Box stencil, PTI button twine}

I thought this Bible verse was perfect for this card. Whenever I go out to get the mail, I look up into this maple tree and think of what a blessing our new home is. I may be thinking of these "blessings" a little differently when I'm getting blisters from raking all these leaves, but for now, they are a "good and perfect gift".

Blessings, cafe friends!