Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Newest Addition To The Cafe

My new Senseo coffee maker arrived last week! Hooray!

I purchased my first Senseo ten years ago, while living in St. Louis, and soon had all my friends and family buying one, too!

But sadly, my Senseo coffee maker died while living in Indiana, and I had to switch to an espresso maker. I always missed my original, though.

When Senseo made the announcement that the hugely popular maker in Europe would once again be available in the United States, I was so happy! I placed my pre-order with Dave's Coffee Pods, and ordered a big supply of the delicious Douwe Egberts pods to go with it.

I forgot how easy this maker is to use! Put water in the reservoir, turn it on, stick in a pod, close the lid, and within a minute you have a delicious cup of hot brewed coffee with a crema layer.


I purchased some Ball canning jars to store my pods in, and I used some baker's twine and tags to label the flavors.

Happiness in a cup!

I think I'll brew a cup of French Vanilla to take to my craft room today.

Wishing you a cup of happy kind of day, too!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Springtime Squatters

Do you remember the birds who came to visit my front door wreath on Easter? As it turns out, they weren't just visiting. They were shopping for real estate.

Yep. The pair of purple house finch have now taken up residence in their newly remodeled wreath on our front door.

In all honesty, our front door does not get a lot of use. We very rarely have visitors, and the UPS man just drops the boxes on the porch, rings the bell and leaves. I guess the birds figured out that if no one else was going to use this space, then this would be a perfect place to construct their very own Fixer Upper.

We're using the garage entrance now to enter and exit and retrieve the mail. It's a good thing we made that garage door look pretty.

Blessings on your day, cafe friends!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The $3 Home Improvement Makeover

Yes, you read that correctly. The $3 Home Improvement Makeover. Not the $300 Home Improvement Makeover. This is a post about how a $3 can of spray paint transformed and unified our family room.

It all began with me not loving that brass fireplace insert. Now I know that brass has become popular again, and I've seen it used in lots of homes where it looks great...elegant homes with lots of bling and sparkle. But this insert did not match anything in this house, and it certainly did not give the look of new American Farm House that I am going for on the exterior and interior of our Fixer Upper house.

Pinterest to the rescue!

I read how you can spray paint those brass inserts with this, a $3 can of Rustoleum High Heat spray paint. It comes in many colors and finishes, but I wanted a simple black matte.

If you look inside of the fireplace, you can see where the insert is held in place by two screws. Unscrew those, and out it comes! And even better, the glass windows can pop out, too, so no need for elaborate masking.

My husband gave the panels a light sanding with some sandpaper, then cleaned and prepped the surface. He sprayed one coat, let it dry, and sprayed another coat, using the entire can just as he finished up. And voila!

Wow! What a transformation!

The matte black matches so many of the darker colors in this room...the ceiling fan, the chalkboard, and so many of the accent decor pieces. Finally, the fireplace looks as if it belongs.

Except for the puppy. It does not match the naughty puppy. Silly Jemma! Couches are for people, not puppies!

See? Not every home improvement project has to make my credit card cry.

I truly believe that it's the smaller improvements that can make or break a house sale. Updated light fixtures, updated curtains and curtain rods, paint and even spray paint. Some projects are time consuming, and others can be accomplished in under an hour.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Save Your Drama For Your Llama

I spent the weekend in Indy, visiting and eating and shopping with my son, John. We were walking in the courthouse square of Noblesville when we spotted them in front of Alexander's Ice Cream.

Two beautiful llamas, out for a stroll on a sunny day.

We asked the owner "What's the special occasion?"

No special occasion, he answered. It just seemed like a good day to take your llamas for a walk.

Oh, how I miss living in Stars Hollow! And look! Kirk even has his own hardware store! (That's a nod to all of you Gilmore Girls fans like me out there!)

Luke's Diner. ;)

I drove over three hours to get out of Chicago, only to eat at a restaurant called South of Chicago. The irony!

I love visiting with my son, John. Sometimes, a mom just needs to see her sweet child's face. I told him that his quiet, calm nature is a balm for my chaotic life.

Five states in ten years. We don't often get to revisit the places and people where we once lived. I'm glad that John has built a new adult life for himself near a town that we once called home. Not only do we get to visit our favorite cafes and diners and antique shops, but we also get to worship with our dear church families.

During those times when I feel less than grounded and not quite rooted anywhere, I can go back to a place that I called home, even if it's just for a weekend. A place where people hug you when they see you and can't wait to hear about the latest places where God has taken you.

A place where people take their llamas out for ice cream.

It's a good place to be.

Monday, April 25, 2016

PTI April Blog Hop

I could not believe the calendar when I checked it this morning.

April 25th? Seriously, is that right?

Where did the month of April go? I'm not really sure. But one thing's for certain...

...the 25th of the month means

This month's challenge was a real challenge for me. I am tired and it's Monday. My brain is not in super-creative mode, I guess. Here's the photo:

Hmmm. What do you do with that? Honestly, I didn't know where to go with this photo. So I went for the obvious. Circles and coffee.

I started with the coffee stained background, using various colors of brown PTI ink, and then lightly sponging it all with some spring green. The "happy" die cut is from the Pretty Peonies stamp set. Grind, scoop, pour, sip, happy just made a lot of sense to me.

{Today's Brew: Latte Love stamp set and die (PTI), Pretty Peonies die (PTI), PTI inks and card stock, polka embossing folder, circle stencil, prisma marker}

When in doubt, coffee.

Happy Monday, cafe friends!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Java Jemma

It's official. I have the silliest puppy of the litter.

Jemma loves my coffee bar! She often sleeps under it, tucked behind the coffee curtains. And when I'm trying to make an espresso, she's right there, watching the whole process intently.

On one of our recent sunny days, I decided to sit outside with a cuppa and soak up the sunshine. I went into the house for just a minute to retrieve a magazine, and when I came out I found Jemma, sitting in my chair, trying very hard to lap up a little coffee from my mug.

Silly puppy! Coffee is for Mamas!

It's hard to resist that smiling face!

I think she just wants a little taste of that magic elixir that makes Mama so happy.

Blessings on your Friday, cafe friends!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

An Organic Weed Killer That Really Works!

I started seeing them pop up in the warm weather last week.

They're baaaack!

The thistle weeds that were five feet tall when we moved into the Fixer Upper House last summer? The very same thistle weeds that I spent tons of hours and back breaking work trying to eradicate last summer and fall?

Right back and happily growing in the garden beds where we carefully spread three inches of dark mulch last fall.

I wanted to cry.

My husband's first instinct is to reach for the Roundup. But I finally have birds visiting my garden now, along with bunnies and chipmunks and squirrels. And Jemma. Did I mention that she likes to eat the flowers off the dandelions? I can't spray pesticides willy nilly throughout the yard.

I did a little research on homemade organic weed killers. One popular recipe uses white vinegar, Dawn dish soap, and salt. But I knew that if I started spraying salt in my garden nothing would grow in that soil. I really like my flowers, and my hope is that I can add to the garden and crowd out the weeds one day.

Then I read another recipe that said to just use straight vinegar, and spray directly on the weed. I had a bottle of distilled white vinegar and an empty Febreeze bottle, so I thought I'd give this method a try.

Wow! An hour after application, and the thistle weeds were already shriveling up and browning! Hooray!

Safe for puppies, deadly for weeds. Vinegar, you are my new best friend!

Peace restored!

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!