Thursday, February 28, 2013

A new home and a shower card

Well, we did it.  We made an offer on a new home yesterday and we are very excited.  Soon we will start a new chapter in our lives and we are looking forward to simpler times.

We will buy a darling condo/townhouse in Waltham.  We love the condo.  It's only 10 years old and it's very well designed and built.  It has everything we were looking for in a new home, including a teeny, tiny patch of yard.  I'm already excited about planting daisies, cosmos, cleon and other annuals next to the fence to achieve a similar look to what I have in my back yard now.  Of course there will be much less of it in my new yard, but that is okay.  It will also be much less to maintain.

Bob and I are wondering how we'll adapt to city life though.  I think we are going to like it, but it will be very different.  We are out in the country here in Northbridge and Waltham is most definitely a city. Our house is on a street with steady traffic.   Everyone says you get used to it and we will enjoy the conveniences that come with city living - walking to places, easy access to Boston, short commutes.

The other thing Bob and I will have to adapt to is very little storage space.  Our current home has a bizzillion closets and attic and a large basement.  Plus we store things in the garage in the rafters and in our shed.  the condo has hardly any closets, no basement and no attic.  I've had a walk in closet for the last 20 years.  Now I'll get one small double door closet.  Well, I guess it's time to clear out some stuff AND maybe hit the container store to maximize the storage space. I think this will force us to really get rid of stuff we don't need and get creative about storage.

Oh and of course I've already scoped out my craft space.  The condo is three levels (plus a garage below.) The top level is the third bedroom but it is huge - it goes from the front to the back of our side of the house.  There is a beautiful area toward the back with a double window.  I've decided my craft table can go there, in front of the window.  and there are nooks and crannies from the dormers that will be great to hold my papers and other craft stuff.

The other side of the room will be a TV viewing area so I will mimic my current set up a little. Think of it as a combination of a man cave (TV viewing) and woman cave (crafting.)  Is that even a phrase - a woman cave?  Well, whatever.

So, before I go today let me share my card with you.  Last Friday I went out to Judi's Friday Fest event.  She had this adorable card to make and even though I don't have a shower to go to right now, I'm sure I'll find a use for it.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.  Have a great day.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Faith, Change and 2 sympathy cards

Hi friends, well, life is moving along and I'm having trouble concentrating at work and sleeping at night.  Sigh.  Change. Sigh.  It's good, but oh man, it's also stressful.  I'm a type A personality  and my mind races with ideas all the time.  When change is in the air, my mind races in a million directions.  Usually it's all good.  I keep thinking about how I'll arrange our furniture in a new home or where I'll go to practice yoga, but when I get an idea going it's hard for me to put it on the back burner and leave it be.  I need to work on that a bit.  Breathe.... have a glass of wine..... relax.... have faith...

So, we went out looking for a new home this past weekend and we saw three places. The two places I thought I'd love, I didn't love at all.  The one place I thought I'd hate, I loved.  Go figure.  So now I'm in love with a darling condo/townhouse and it will be a while before we know if it's going to come together.

My mind is racing with 'what if' situations.  We have loved living in this home, but it's not suitable for this next stage of life, but what will it be like to live in a densely populated area?  What will it be like to share a yard with another person/family?  What will it be like to live in a city? This morning I woke up before Bob's alarm went off at 5am.  And I was wide awake.  Good thing we go to bed at 10:00pm or I'd be a wreck, but by mid-afternoon I was fading.

So today I got two bible verses in my e-mail mailbox. The first was my daily bible verse that says:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8"  

So you would think that I would pray 'Lord let this house be OURS and let our house sell QUICKLY.'  But instead here is what I prayed (and asked others to pray for me) 'Lord if we are going to do something foolish or outside your plan please SLAM the door on the deal closed for us and not allow us to wander off in our direction.  I also prayed that if this home is meant for us that everything come together smoothly for an easy transition including a buyer for our home.  Too many times I have caught myself praying for something that really wasn't best for me.  By praying this way, hopefully I won't settle for something not optimal and instead will trust that the Lord has something awesome for me and just wait for it.
Then later today I get this as my daily hope e-mail.  The title was 'Faith is something we do.'

'Faith is more than something you just feel. Many people confuse emotions and feelings with faith. They come to church, and they’re moved emotionally, they're inspired, and they're stimulated. But that doesn’t mean they’re walking in faith.  The Bible says faith is something we do, not just what we feel. In other words, faith is not mere sentimentality.'  This was from Rick Warren's e-mail devotional.

So what does this have to do with my situation?  Well, everything.  I say I believe God is going to guide our decisions.  So I need to stop focusing on it and have faith that if it was meant to be, it will be.  And if it was not meant to be it won't be.  I thought it was very appropriate that today's message was about living my faith.  I know it won't take away the anxiety and the stress, but when I stop myself I can get some peace because I have faith that it is all going to work out for the best.

So do you want to see my two sympathy cards?  You probably want to see pictures of this darling condo.  I don't have any yet.  So you'll have to settle today for my sympathy cards and a few pretty snow pictures.

Oh, and we had a pretty late winter snow last night.  It is soooo pretty out our back door.  I will totally miss this pretty view, but will trust that God has a different pretty view for me at my new home.
And look at these doggies.  Do you think they'll make the transition from 'country' dog to 'city' dog?  Remember Go Dog Go from Dr. Seuss?  I always loved the idea of city dogs and country dogs being 'different' but the same.
Well, thanks for visiting today and if you believe in the power of prayer, please pray that Bob and I won't do anything foolish with our home sale/home purchase and that I'll have patience (and sleep) while we figure it all out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Downsizing and a floral card

Hi friends,

How are you?  Are you looking forward to spring?  I am.  I'm noticing that the days are getting longer and I'm enjoying a bit more sunshine in my day.  Now I'm just looking forward to having this snow melt and seeing pockets of green start sprouting up in the yard.  Usually that happens in March so it's just a few weeks away.

Before I give you my update on the downsizing, let me show you my floral sympathy card.
This botanical set from papertrey has become my go-to stamp for sympathy cards.  It's a pretty image and the cards come together quickly.

So, on to the downsizing.  What an emotional experience this is.  You know what's most surprising about it?  I am so ashamed of the amount of stuff I have accumulated over the years.  As I organize and clean I am just so taken aback by how many things I have.  And most of the things that I have are not necessities.   And many of the things that I have are not highly used.  So many items I touch (games, puzzles, stamps, crafts, clothes, jewelry) have been used only a handful of times.   It seems quite wasteful actually and I can't believe I spent time buying these things, storing these things and managing these things.  I'm actually looking forward to freeing myself from much of this stuff.

Over the last 2 months we have cleaned every room, every drawer, every closet and purged.  But still as I go back into these spaces I still see that I have too much stuff.

So, here is the bottom line.  Our house (with the finished basement) has over 3000 square feet.  That's a big house. And we would be CRAZY to downsize into a home of a similar size.  It's just Bob and I now, we don't need that much space.  So we will probably go to a space that is 2000 square feet.  And the new space will probably have only a one car garage, no storage in the basement and no shed.  So that means that if we want the new space to be equally as 'uncluttered' as the current space, we need to get rid of an additional 1/3 of our stuff.  So as I go through our spaces I am starting to think - will I want this in our new space?  And I need to think 1 in 3 things needs to not come with us.

But it's actually more than just getting rid of things to live in a smaller space.  It's actually way bigger than that.  It's about changing my ways.  I think about how most of the rest of the world lives and I realize that I must change.   I was listening to a podcast by Andy Stanley from North Point Ministries.  He was talking about balance and how it's important for us to be financially balanced.  He was talking specifically about debt (which thankfully is not something I have an issue with) but he was talking about the situation where God may tug at your heartstrings to contribute to an awesome cause.  But if you are strapped with debt, you can't give to that cause because you owe money to your debt.  He said 'why do we not help someone in need so we can instead buy something we don't need.'  Hmmm, so, gosh darn true.   I heard that message Friday and then for the past few days I've been going through all this stuff that I've bought over the years that is sitting in a closet un-used.  Quite convicting.  How would the world be different if instead of buying these things I didn't need I had used the money to help someone in need.  Hmmmmm...  makes me think.

But, it's actually all good.   I'm not dragged down in guilt.  As we move on with this next season of life, I'm just far more aware of trying to keep things simple.  While I may regret some of my bad habits of the past (buying things I don't need) I feel good that as I move forward in this next season I won't do those same things.

So bring on the yard sale this spring.  Oh and bring on the buyer for our house!!!  The house went on the market yesterday and if you want to see how nice it looks with it all uncluttered and staged take a look at the listing from the link below.

Oh and if you have 30 minutes and want to hear a great message about financial balance, check out Andy's podcast on balance.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Have a great day.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Rolled Roses

Good morning friends,

Happy Saturday.  Do you have any fun plans for this weekend?   It's my mom's birthday and my sister and I started a tradition many years ago of doing a 'birthday weekend get together' with her.  Every year we go away for an overnight.  It's a nice thing since we all live in different states so it's  a chance for 'just us girls' to have some nice time together.

If we get together with the families, we don't have as much connecting time because we, as woman, are busy cooking, preparing, hosting... well you get the idea.  We make it a point NOT to cook and it usually involves shopping (of some kind.)  This year we are going to Fishkill NY.  I know, it's not a very romantic destination, but it's convenient for all of us and it's nearby the Woodbury Common Outlet mall.  I'm sure we'll have fun.  It's also fun since my cousin Lin will be able to join us.  She is like a sister to me and it's fun when she is able to join us.

Is February a busy birthday month at your house?  It is for us.   In addition to my mom's birthday, it's also my step mom's birthday and my co-workers birthday.  I made this not so clean and simple card for my co-worker.  She turns 50 today.  It's funny because there are three of us at work (we all sit next to each other) and we were all born in 1963.  Avelina will be the first to cross over the 50 threshold.  I'll be next in July and Erin will follow in September.

I'm on the fence about this card.  I saw the idea on pinterest and thought it was fun how it has the die cut sentiment, the rolled roses and the banners, but now that I've made it I find it a little busy.  Maybe I'll play around with it a bit and see if I can perfect this design.  Or maybe I'll just move on to another sketch for my next card.

Oh and if you are wondering how the downsizing is going, it's going great.  The house goes up on MLS on Tuesday, we have the real estate agent promotion on Wednesday and the open house next Sunday.  We only have a few more things on the to do list.  One includes a septic inspection (that will be a hassle in February.)  Other than that it's keeping it clean and tidy and Bob needs to organize and clean up the garage.   Now that the house is on the market, our next big priority is figuring out where we'll live next.  We have changed our approach to towns.  We had originally thought we'd go to a single family house in Natick or Framingham.  Now we are thinking we may do a townhouse condo in Waltham.  We will be meeting a realtor next week to discuss our options.  Both Bob and I are excited about the idea of 'low maintenance living' in a great commuter location.   We are both praying that God will lead us in our decisions and choices.  Stay tuned for how HE answers that prayer.  Oh and yes, we are also praying that God will bring a buyer for this house.  I'm quite optimistic (maybe unrealistically so) that the market is turning and we'll sell quickly.  We are not in any hurry so it's not a big deal if it takes a bit, but once I make up my mind to do something, we'll I'm ready to get to it.  Patience is not a virtue I have mastered.

Have a great day.  Thanks for visiting my blog.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

Hi friends,

I hope you had a wonderful valentine's day.  For all you single ladies, I hope you found a way to treat yourself today.  For you in relationships, I hope you did something that both you and your spouse enjoyed.

For my DH and I, that means, nothing.  We aren't that much into 'Hallmark' holidays.  Bob offered to take me to dinner, but I hate going out on busy nights when the prices are higher and the service is slower, so I said, let's go out another night and just stay home.

I did make him a card but nothing fancy.  With my craft room at it's minimized state, I'm finding I like the clean and simple look.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful evening.  Thanks for visiting my blog today.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

DeNami Adorable Animals Blog Hop

Hi friends

Well, did you heard about our big storm?  I live outside Boston and we had a whopper of a storm.  At my house we got just shy of 2 feet of snow.  I love snow, but geez, this is a lot of snow!   When I got up Saturday morning, my doggie Joey wanted to go out, but the entire back door was covered in snow.  I had to shovel out a path for him to go in!

My dear husband and I got our 'winter wonderland workout' that includes lifting and hoisting heavy shovels filled with snow.  Yes, we do have a snow blower and my dear husband used it on our driveway but there is still snow to be cleared from the front walkway and the back door.  We also headed out and went snow shoeing at the golf course.  That is a workout - let me tell you.  Most of the walk I was having to lift my feet up to my chest to take a step, especially with the wind drifts.        I'm a little sore this morning.  ) - :
So are you here for the DeNami Blog Hop?  Welcome!  I had lots of fun creating for this challenge.  I chose to ink up and my dog images and bring you a fun card for the hop today.

If you are hopping you probably arrived from Tammy Hobbs 

Your next stop on the hop is 

Pattie Goldman  

Don't forget to leave a comment to be eligible to win a DeNami gift certificate.

Thanks for visiting today.  Make it a great one!  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Shades of Green

Hi friends,

Well there is not much green around here today, it's mostly WHITE.  Yes, we have a storm here in New England and what better activity to do in a storm than to make pretty spring themed cards?

This card is for Impression Obsessions 'Shades of Green' challenge.  I only have a few I/O stamp sets so I had to get a little creative in making a green card.  I still have a borrowed stamp from my friend Karen with a pretty front porch scene.  I thought it would be fun to just do greenery on the card and leave the rest of the image neutral.

Then I have this beautiful sentiment that I thought would go well with the image.  So, voila, my shades of green card using I/O stamps.

I used C3775 Life is a Journey (sentiment) and H1859 Garden Gate to make this.
Check out the I/O blog to join in the fun.  

Below is a photo of my back deck last night at 9:00pm.  Wow, that's a lot of snow and that was only at the storms halfway point.  We were getting about 6 inches an hour at that point so it was building up quite quickly.  

Here is the back porch this morning (after I shoveled out a path for my doggies.)

Thanks for visiting and have a great day.  Stop by tomorrow for the DeNami Adorable Animals Blog Hop.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sweet Peas in the blizzard

Hi friends,

What better card to make in a snow storm than a nice spring floral?  The snow has started to come down near my home outside of Boston and it is beautiful.  Right now it's just a soft falling snow and is very serene but we are expecting the snow to start coming down heavier in a few hours along with some fierce winds.  It might not be so serene in a while, but I'll enjoy the peacefulness of it now.  We are ready with firewood, food supplies and candles in case the power goes out.  hopefully the only impact our house will have with this storm is to lose the direct tv dish feed for a few hours.

The power lines are underground at our house, so we rarely lose power.  I hope all you in New England are staying warm and safe.

This card is for PTI's anniversary challenge.  The challenge is to make a card using any of the 'year of the flower' sets.  I've had this sweet pea set for a while and love to color it up and get creative with it.  It's such a pretty image.  I always seem to go with pinks on this, even though I've seen some lovely cards done in lavender as well.   Maybe next time I'll try that color scheme.

Here is a photo of my bag deck a few minutes ago.  I'll continue to take pictures of this table throughout the storm so I can keep track of how much snow we get.  Our area (near 495 and I-90) is expected to get 2 + feet.  Wow - that will be a lot of snow for one storm.  Let's see how much we actually get.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A birthday card made in my new {minimal} craft room

Hi friends,

I have been avoiding card making.  Yes, I still love to create.  Yes, I still have a bizzillion supplies.  Yes, I still have lots of people to make cards from.  I've just been reluctant to craft.  Why? Well, last weekend I tore down my wonderful, oversized craft space and moved it to a closet. {sigh.}  Oh how I now really, really appreciate the wonderfulness of having a comfortable craft room where everything is at my fingertips and all my supplies are in sight.

I realize that MOST crafters create with a set up much like mine is now, and I give you praise.  It's hard to get motivated to go into the closet, get the supplies out, determine what you'll need, make your creation and then put everything back.

But if you know me, you know I like a challenge so when the papertrey anniversary came upon us and there was a contest if you made a card, well that was all the motivation I needed to get busy making a card in my new set up.  My mom's birthday is also this week and I couldn't put off making a  card too much longer.

So, what is the PTI challenge?  We are to look at the design teams cards and pick one as an inspiration for our card.  I choose to use Dawn McVey's blue roses card as my inspiration.

Below is my card.

and below this is Dawn's cards.

Oh, and if you are wondering why I tore down my craft room, it is to get my house staged and ready to sell.  My realtor is coming this weekend (if she can get here with the pending blizzard) and we have been decluttering and simplifying most of the rooms in the house getting it ready to show.