Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Happy Halloween everyone!  Although I was sad that the wicked drought destroyed our corn and kept us from opening our pumpkin patch this year, I enjoyed making some Halloween projects during October.  In case you missed any, here's a quick run down with links below the pictures.

Did you have a favorite?


Monday, October 29, 2012

Spanakopita Crescent Rolls - Inspiration Series

Want to know what inspires Mary from Sweet Little Bluebird to make such wonderful recipes like these delicious Spanakopita Crescent Rolls?

 To learn a little bit more about Mary and find this incredibly good recipe, head on over to the Inspiration know you'll always find something wonderful there!  


Sunday, October 28, 2012


You know how I am always telling all of you how to get involved in things in the blog world?  How to try new things and meet other bloggers?  Well, just so you know......I do practice what I preach.  I am so excited to be participating as a host, along with some other great bloggers, in the
This is a first for me and I think it's going to be fun!  The prizes are awesome and YOU can enter this challengeCheck out the information below from Carrie at My Favorite Finds, who is the originator of this challenge, then get your game on  and be ready for week 1, beginning November 4th. 

Are you ready? I sure am! I am so ready to get this Crafty Cornucopia Challenge started. I know that so many of you are crafting for the fall, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with. Get your glue guns fired up, your sewing machines dusted off, and your crafty creativity ready because you won’t want to miss out on the Crafty Cornucopia.
Here is how it will work:
Sundays: The craft supply for that week is announced. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: Stop by to see tutorials for some great inspiration from the week’s hosts. Thursday and Friday: Link up your fall craft projects. Saturday: The WINNER from that craft round is announced and moves on to the “Final Round”.
Some of my {FAVORITE} bloggers are joining in with tutorials, prizes for the winners, and judging your fabulous FALL creations:
November 4: Buttons with Dee @ The CSI Project and Carrie @ My Favorite Finds November 11: Ribbon and Burlap with Kelsey @ Embracing Messy, Alecia @ Chicken Scratch NY, and Maria @ Sweet Yarns November 18: Paint with Amy @ One Artsy Mama, Mandy @ Sugar Bee Crafts, Shatzi @ Love and Laundry, and Danni @ Silo Hill Farm
Your projects will be judged by: Kadie @ Seven Alive and Morena @ Morena's Corner
The overall winner will be announced the week of November 25th and will be awarded with a Box of AWESOMENESS from Pick Your Plum~worth $75!
There will be prizes for the winner of each round including: $25 to Starbucks, Ad Space, Hand Crocheted Goodies, Jewelry, and more from these sweet ladies:
Kadie @ Seven Alive
We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
-- Hugs! Carrie My Favorite Finds

Saturday, October 27, 2012


 We have a new Guest post over at the Cafe!

Inspiration Cafe would like to offer a very warm welcome to Talya.  Talya blogs over at Grace Grits and Gardening where she tells amazing stories from her life with humor, and grace, and she even throws in some delicious looking recipes for good measure!  To read Talya's post, click HERE.

Grace Grits & Gardening

Did you know that you could be a guest poster at the Inspiration Cafe?  We'd love for you to!  To get the details on how you can do it, click HERE.  It's a great way to get some extra exposure for your blog and maybe even make some new friends and followers.
If you are intimidated by the idea of guest posting, perhaps you'd like to just be featured.  You can do that too.  

We love all of our visitors and followers at the Inspiration Cafe!!  What?  You aren't a follower?  Now how are you going to know what's new at the Cafe if you're not a follower????!!!  
C'mon...join the fun! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

CHRISTMAS MUG, fun, fun!

I know it's still Fall and Christmas is a little ways off, but I wanted to let you in on something fun for the holiday season.  Heather at Heatherly Loves is doing a Christmas Mug Swap that I'm signing up for because it just sounds like a blast!  
 I've encouraged you before to jump in and try something different in blogging and possibly meet someone new in the blog world. This is the perfect way to do that without a huge commitment!  
Here's how it works....
Click on the link HERE and sign up for the Christmas Mug Swap by Nov. 20th. (It's going to take you about 15 seconds to do that.)  Heather will email you the name, address and blog name of another blogger who has signed up for the swap.  Check out that person's blog.....shhhhh.....don't tell, find a cute Christmas mug that you think might be suitable for that blogger and ship it out by Dec. 8th.  (You can stick something little in it if you doesn't have to be anything fancy.....maybe some cocoa, or tea packets, a little ornament, something little that you made or something that you think they might like based on looking at their blog or reading their bio, but it's really just a mug swap. )  
You'll get a mug in the mail just for you from the person who got your name and checked out your blog. Then, on Dec. 17th you can go to Heathers page and show off your mug by linking it up!  Now doesn't that sound like fun?  So easy and hey, who doesn't like to give and get a little Christmas cheer during this busy season??   Give it a try, you might even make a new blog friend!  
Thanks for doing this Heather, it's a great way to spread a little Christmas fun around the blog world!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Sometimes you just have to stop everything and deal with what's in front of you.  Even if it's a tree that needs climbin'.
You just know that kind of stuff when you're five.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


My little farmhouse doesn't have a great front porch, but that doesn't stop me from having a nice display for fall.  Because I live on a rural road, I wanted something that could easily be seen and enjoyed by passing cars.
This colorful arch display was so easy and I did it in an hour.  Okay, Sam did drive the fence posts and fasten the piece of cattle panel to them. (Cattle panel is that flexible but strong piece of fencing that you see here between the two posts.) It's an easy and affordable enough display base, that doesn't take up too much room in my front yard.
See that wooden spool in the background there?  Remember when I drove to Kansas to pick up a trailer full of wooden spools of various sizes?  Uh huh...that's a lot of spools!!
  You can read about that HERE if you like.  I have to say, it was pretty easy to select one that fit in the center of that arch, which I then loaded with some pumpkins, squash, bittersweet and a garden owl I picked up at a yard sale.  I tied some corn stalks to the front of the arch and added a couple of bales of hay with some more pumpkins, squash, bittersweet and a crow decoy.  At the top of the arch I added a little leaf garland that came from the dollars store.
I stood back, took a look at it and said..."Needs a scarecrow."  
So I made one! 
And that's how I spent a gorgeous fall Sunday afternoon.

Linking up to any or all of the fine parties listed HERE.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Welcome to Inspiration Cafe! 

The day is finally here!  Welcome to our Grand Opening!!! 

We've got loads of fun and creativity planned for the weeks ahead.
We would love for you to join us.

For this round of Inspiration Cafe each of our Contributors will be sharing What Inspires Us personally.  On the sixth Monday we will be launching our very first link party!!!   You must come join in!  The theme for the link party will also be 'WHAT INSPIRES US'.   So stop back each Monday to see what inspires each of us, and then on Monday, November 26th, come back and link up a project, a post, a tip...anything that shares Your Inspiration with all of us.  It can be anything that inspires you.  We will be featuring our favorite links from the party on our individual blogs, sharing teasers on facebook, and of course the overall winners will be featured on Inspiration CafeWon't you share your inspiration with all of us?

And now onto what inspires ME!

Hi!  If we haven't already met...I'm Sherry.  :)  

I blog over at Pondered Primed Perfected.  I hope you'll come by and check out what we've been up to there.  I have been doing DIY projects with my husband for many, many years.  We are inspired to create something out of nothing, so to speak.  It really is rewarding for us to take something discarded, outdated, or unwanted and transform it into something new and useful.  We've rescued quite a few Roadkill Pieces over the years.  We've scoured thrift stores, made over Craigs List freebies, and even pulled things from trash piles.  Sometimes we just want to upgrade something we already have instead of throwing it away.  You should check out our Project Gallery to see some examples of our work!


One of my biggest challenges is keeping my busy family organized.   And when everything is all chaotic and unorganized I have much less motivation to work on my projects.  So here's what I came up with recently:

A while back we went to a garage sale and I bought some stuff for my classroom.  As we were leaving the lady threw this corkboard in for free.  You should all know that I LOVE free stuff! 

It wasn't fancy, or fabric covered, or anything.  Just pure utilitarian corkboard, and that was okay.  The perfect spot for all of the school, sports, friend and family photos, as well as various schedules, appointments, and events.  Did I mention it was free!?

I'm not going to act all cool ~ like I'm ultra organized.  I'm not.  There have been times when I've struggled keeping up with a family calendar.  One that will keep us organized and where we need to be on time.  We lead very busy lives, like most families do ~ with work, school activities, playing sports, coaching, college courses, volunteering and keeping up with friends and family.  We like being busy, don't get me wrong, but it can be challenging keeping it all straight.  (It does help to be informed of events before it's time to hem...not naming any names!).


I wanted to maximize this corkboard's usefulness.  It still needed to be utilitarian, but I was envisioning it being more ORGANIZED at keeping track of our appointments, events, important papers and notes, as well as keeping our favorite photos out for everybody to see!

Here's what I did ......(click here to read the entire post)

Saturday, October 20, 2012


I married into a family of very awesome women.  Whenever one of us has a birthday, we get together and have "Birthday Ladies Lunch".  This week it was my Aunt Jeanne's Birthday.  She is an amazing woman.  A retired high school teacher who loved her job and managed to retire with her sense of humor intact.  She underwent a kidney transplant when she was 70 that gave us all a scare.  We are very blessed to have her with us and I appreciate every minute I get to spend with her.  Now we don't do birthday gifts at Ladies Lunch, just cards.  However, I wanted to give her a little something sweet and handmade.  (I am a crafter after all.)  Sam calls her Aunt Sweetie sometimes and she does have a bit of a sweet tooth, so made her a gift can with some special fall sweetness inside.
Isn't that a fun looking Halloween Gift Can?  Kind of shabby and chic with it's ragged bow and hounds tooth cover.
Remember last week when I got my special package in the mail from Donna, who blogs at Distressed Donna Down Home?  It came wrapped in the cutest paper and I said I couldn't throw it away.
 Well, I'm glad I didn't, because with some double stick tape, an empty can, that tissue and fabric ribbon, I was able to make that cute can in about 5 minutes.  Seriously.
I put a piece of double-stick tape on the can, cut the tissue paper to size and wrapped it around it.  I cut two slits in the plastic lid, put both ends of the ribbon up through them from the underside, trimmed it and tied a bow.  Done.
What did I put inside to satisfy Aunt Sweeties sweet tooth? Well.....
 Keri who blogs at Shaken Together, made this "to die for" Caramel Apple Munch Mix and you can find the recipe HERE.  Keri made so many wonderful recipes in September, that I'm kind of blaming her for my jeans being a little snug this week!  She has a blog full of great ideas and yummy recipes, not to mention a fun Link Party every Friday.  Go check her out at Shaken Together.  She's as sweet as can be!
We ate lunch at a restaurant called Ocean Zen.  They have a wonderful menu featuring Pacific Rim style cuisine in a modern, contemporary setting.  I ordered the Bento Box, which is a good sampling of some of their best items.  I wish I had taken a picture of that Bento Box because it was just lovely.  But, I was hungry and I'm pretty sure it's not quite proper to whip out your camera and snap food pictures right when someone elses birthday lunch is being served!  My meal consisted of  Miso soup, Rice, a California Roll (that's sushi!), Crab Wonton, 2 pc. Pork Gyoza, Asian Slaw, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Macadamia Nut Chicken.  It was a lot of food and all of it wonderful!  It was my first experience eating sushi and my sister-in-law Jen, was kind enough to show me the proper way to eat it!  I have to say it was delicious and I will order it again!
Besides the wonderful food at Ocean Zen, one of the things we love best is the huge salt water  aquarium that seems to just explode out of the wall with gorgeous fish and colorful anemone.  We always request a seat next to it!
These are the wonderful women in my life and I'm so grateful to be able to call them family! (My sainted mother-in-law at the back left, across from her is the birthday girl, her sister Jeanne, front left is my fabulous sister-in-law, Jen and yours truly.)  After our meal, we had coffee and they brought Aunt Jeanne a birthday dessert....Creme Brulee with a candle in it!
Happy Birthday Aunt Jeanne!  You are loved very much!

Linking up to any or all of the fine parties listed HERE.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I love this recipe for 3 reasons.  First, it is seriously delicious, second, you cook it in the microwave, so it's fast (ready in 30 minutes) and third, even my 5 year old grandson loves it!  (If you can get a 5 year old to eat squash that isn't sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon, you're doing pretty good!!)
Oh, and did I mention that it's pretty???
This recipe calls for 2 medium sized acorn squash, but I used the little ones because everyone likes to have their own!
Here's what you need to make these:
 2 medium or 2-4 small acorn squash
1 lb pork sausage
1/2 C chopped onion
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 C Fresh spinach*, finely chopped
1 1/2 C soft Italian Style bread crumbs
1/2-1 C dried cranberries
(*trimmed kale or chard would work in this recipe too)
 Cut squash in half; remove and discard seeds.  Place cut side down in a microwave-safe dish.  Cover and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, brown sausage and onion in skillet; drain.  In a large bowl, beat egg and milk.  Stir in spinach, bread crumbs, cranberries and sausage mixture.
Turn squash cut side up and fill with mixture.  Cover and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

  I like to serve this with fried apples, tossed salad and a hard roll.
It's the perfect fall dinner!

Linking up to:
Any or all of the fine parties listed HERE 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


So I've whined more than once that I can't stencil, but I think I may finally be getting the hang of it!
 I used a piece of pallet wood to make this little Haunted sign. I got some awesome stenciling tips from my friend Donna at Distressed Donna Down Home, who is a stencil queen!  She helped to overcome my initial stencil fears.
I decided to make a little Halloween scene for my pallet shelf. (You can learn how I made that little shelf HERE.) 
Can you guess what these little ghosts are made of?
 They are river rocks from the Missouri River in Montana. (Did you know that the headwaters of the Missouri River are in Montana?)  I collected them years ago and much to my husband's chagrin, I have been hauling them around in a very heavy bucket for about 14 years.  When I picked that bigger rock up on that long ago day, I thought it looked like a ghost!  A few small black beads glued on and now it is a ghost!  I thought the little rock was kind of ghosty looking too.
The tree was a twig that I spray painted black.  The skeleton hanging in the tree is from an old piece of cheap Halloween jewelry.  The owl is a part of a set of 3, a thrift store find for $2.  
  I enjoyed making this little project, and I'm so glad I finally stenciled something!  Thank you for your patience in teaching me Donna!  I promise to try highlighting my letters next time!  I also promise to stop collecting rocks....unless I find a really cool one!

Linking up to any or all of the fine parties listed HERE.

Monday, October 15, 2012



Yep, you read that right...

We are opening up a BRAND NEW and IMPROVED CAFE
...and we can't wait to have all of you come visit! 

We've got our GRAND OPENING coming SOON!!!

*A huge shout out to the talented Jana at Little Web Writing Hood!
Definitely worth a visit for stylish custom graphic design needs.
(blog packages, etsy shops, facebook headers, etc.)

Follow IC on Facebook to get all of our updates!

So this week we're sharing our Contributors' favorite posts from the past, while we get things all finished up at the New Inspiration Cafe. 

Finally, here's a peak at some of our personal favorites.  Just click each photo to be taken to the actual post.  Enjoy browsing...hey, feel free to spend some time checking out each of our Contributors and see what else we've been up to!

     Image Map

Don't forget to leave a comment saying you stopped by.
We're gearing up for Inspiration Cafe to be a much more open and interactive place, and we want to get to know each and every one of you. 
Have a wonderful week!  ;) 

Thanks for the visit and please, come back again!
The Ladies at Inspiration Cafe 

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I swear that I am one of the luckiest bloggers in the whole craft blog world!!  I may have said that before, but it's true and here's why.....
I meet the nicest bloggers!  They even send me cool stuff!  This week, I received not one, but two awesome packages in the mail. Check it out:
Remember when I was fortunate enough to meet a blog friend for the very first time?  It was Loy, from Grandma Loy's Kitchen and I posted about our meeting HERE.  I first met Loy through a package pal exchange and I'm here to tell you I was stunned at the things she sent me.  You can read about that HERE.  Well, Loy happened to see a comment I'd left on another blog (Sweet Little Bluebird) about Honeycrisp Apples.  I had mentioned that I had never heard of them nor had I seen them around here.  Loy emailed me right away and said that she would send me some.  Sure enough a box of those beautiful apples arrived at my door, carefully packaged so they wouldn't get bruised.  Aren't they beautiful??  They are indeed as delicious as they look!  What a treat!  Thank you Loy, your friendship means so much to me!  I am so glad I met you in person!  Check out Grandma Loy's Kitchen for some really great recipes!  You won't be sorry, I've tried many of them myself....some more than once.  (She may or may not be responsible for a few of the pounds that Sam has put on over the summer!!)

Then....later this week, I got another package in the mail.  When my mail lady brought it to my door, she said, "This looks like a fun package!", and it did!
Now really, who takes the time and trouble to cute up the front of a mailing package???  I'll tell you who.......the same person who takes the time to make the inside packages look cute too......and it's someone that many of you already know....
that would be Donna from Distressed Donna Down Home.  If you don't know her, you should check her out.  She makes awesome stuff!  I featured her HERE.  I first heard from her back at the beginning of June when she left a comment on my blog.  We have been friends ever since with many, many emails passing between us.  We have so much in common, it's scary!  Anyway, I want to show you what was in those two packages.  The first one....
 Yeah...the coolest picture of 3 sheep with the cutest tag and ribbon attached.  Now Donna knows I love sheep, I would be raising them on my farm if Sam would do it for let me!  But, Donna also knows something that I love even more than sheep and that's Halloween!!
 Yep...she took that very same picture and Zombified it for a really cool Halloween picture!  Don't you love it!!  It's now my most favorite Halloween item EVER!!  And that cute packaging?  Well, being the crafter I am, I carefully saved it for use in some future project.  I can't help myself!
 I mean really...those cute owls on that card she made, the darling "Witch Academy" tag, some cool hounds tooth tissue and two strips of orange and white polka dot they just not scream, "Craft Me!!!"???  But this is not the first nice thing Donna has done for me.  Nope.  Back last summer, when we lost our beloved dog, she emailed me and asked me if I would tell her my dogs name and said she would make a donation to her local shelter in his behalf.  Seriously, how kind is that?!  Sure enough, a little later I received this card in the mail...
 and inside it said this.....
 Yeah....I cried my eyes out at the kindness all over again!  But, brace yourselves readers, because she did one more thing for me that makes my heart smile.....
Now those of you who follow me know that I may have possibly said some bad words over the last year while trying to stencil and gave up every single time.  Donna, patiently and by email, gave me some stenciling lessons.  Here is my very first ever stencil project:
  Now that's just a teaser and I'm going to post the whole project later this week.  It may not look that fancy to you, and Lord knows she tried to get me to highlight it and I was too scared, but I have wanted to learn to stencil for years!!!  Giving stencil lessons through email to a complete novice, could not have been easy.  Thank you Donna!  Thank you for everything...the cool pictures, the kind donation in Winston's memory and the stencil lessons.  You are a cherished friend and I look forward to meeting you one day! might think this is the end of my story, and it kind of is.  At least until my next package arrives, and I can't wait to see my mail lady's face when this one comes, because it's coming all the way from New Zealand and you can bet I'll be letting you know all about it!! (My mail lady is a great crafter by the way, but not a blogger....yet.)
The lesson of my post is this.....communicate with the people in your blog world!  They're not all going to send you packages, but they are wonderful people and they have a whole world about them that has nothing to do with blogging.  They are interesting, they are kind, they are supportive, they are compassionate and they are just plain fun!!  Take a chance, ask a question...or answer a question, sign up for a package exchange or guest post for never know where it will lead.   

Linking up to any or all of these fine parties: