Monday, May 26, 2014

On Being Patriotic

As most people in this country, I have known and currently know many people serving the United States of America.  Mom, Dad, brother, both grandpas, late father-in-law, aunts, uncles, friends, cousins, etc., etc.  

I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for all these men and women, today, yesterday, and tomorrow, whom continue to serve this country.  Because of these individuals-that VOLUNTEER to protect me and my freedom-I get to sit in a coffee shop planning a friend's baby shower.  I am forever in your debt.

Thank you to all those men and women who died for this country, who sacrifice their safety, who give up their own lives to protect many other lives.  Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bit By the Reading Bug

Lately, I have really been craving a good book.  I'm talking about a can't-stop-reading, completely-immersed-in-the-story kind of book.  I go through book phases, if you will.  Sometimes I crave fiction, sometimes I have a desire for a cry-your-eyes out love story, etc., etc.

This week, I ventured over to our local library.  I love this place so much!  I mean, it's completely free!  What an incredible resource!  I know my taxes help pay for the public library, so you better believe I will be using it.


This photo was not taken on my most recent trip to the library, but still on a lovely trip to said library.  Sometimes, I like to park a few blocks away (if it's a nice day) to walk through part of the downtown area.  But, enough about my leisurely strolls...


Presenting, my lovely stack of books!  Boy, oh boy, am I excited about these!  I was inspired by this post to acquire that particular stack of books.  Unfortunately, none of the John Green books were available (surprise, surprise considering The Fault in Our Stars in being made into a movie...) and I just couldn't find a couple of the other ones.  But, I will go back!

So, really this post was just to share my new stack of reading material!  I've already finished The Gates.  It's a super cute book, that really uses that tucked away childhood imagination we all still have.  I recommend it.  I've recently started Dark Places.  This one is good, in that what's-going-to-happen-next, can't-put-it-down-yet way.  

What's on your summer reading list?


P.S.-Follow my Pinterest board all about books!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Why Are Sounds of Crickets Coming From Your Blog Heather?

Yes, yes, the sound of crickets have taken over my blog as of late.  I know, I'm a terrible blogger.  But, I do have reasons!  Really good reasons!  I also have some not too good reasons, mostly involving laziness and that overwhelming, deer-in-the-headlights look when I need to sit down, reevaluate, plan, and write.

I am here to let you all know not to worry.  I am still alive.  There have been no family emergencies or health issues or anything of that sort.  My life is amazing, a little stressful right now, but still amazing.

So, you all may be wondering, "What's going on?" (queue Marvin Gaye)  At the end of April, you all may remember this post, I went to the Chicago area and then up to Milwaukee (I promise, stories and photos will be coming on that part of my trip!).  Well, during my lovely adventure up North, some big things we happening with the Sweet family.  Mr. Sweet and I live in this lovely bungalow home in what some people would call the middle of Springfield.  It's been a great home.  Mr. Sweet has been living there for 12 years.  As you all know, as relationships evolve and talk of kids starts to happen, you realize, "Hey, we're going to need a bigger place so we have somewhere to put these kids.  Also, while we're thinking of kids, we should think about the schools we want them to attend."  

Mr. Sweet and I have tossed around the moving idea for a little while now.  There was a situation last summer which really sparked the long journey to selling our home and buying a new one.  Step One:  Get your finances in order.  Check.  We've been working on that and budgeting for almost 12 months now.  Pretty proud of ourselves, if I may say.  We then started to be realistic about when we should start looking for houses, get pre-approved, etc.  Fall 2014 sounded pretty good.  As most of you know, life happens and you can't really plan for anything.  There was this amazing house in this amazing neighborhood in the school district we want to be in.  Done.  The process started.  We got pre-approved.  We started decluttering, depersonalizing, and fixing up our house to put on the market.  We made an offer on this amazing house.  It was accepted contingent on the sale of our house!  Amazing, right?!  But, those of you that have bought a house contingent on the sale of your current house knows it's really not that amazing.  You still got to sell your house.  The house you want is still being shown.  It may say "pending," but someone can swoop in at any moment to outbid (if you will) and steal your dream house right from under you.

Yes, this is exactly what happened to us.  Last week in fact.  We (and by we, I mean mostly Mr. Sweet) worked our asses off to get our house on the market in a few short weeks.  Those of you that have been through this know that it's not an easy, or quick task.  Basically, we lost our dream house last Friday.  We didn't want to take out a bridge loan to pay for a mortgage on two houses.  That's just crazy.  Especially since we don't know how long our house will be on the market.  

Even though the reason we started the process is no longer in our hands, it still helped light the fire under our behinds to make the next steps in our marriage, moving toward a family.  Our house has officially been on the market for 8 days.  We are continuing to work on our house and pack stuff up.  We are looking at other houses.  

So, that's where I have been lately.  It's been stressful and exhausting and anxiety-ridden.  I am so proud of my husband.  He has worked so hard, spent so much money, gave up all his free time, took care of all the phone calls, negotiating, etc. to get where we are today.  I am truly grateful for him.  

My scrap room has been packed up. I left some of my stuff out, mostly projects I started and need to finish soon.  I knew I wouldn't be able to survive without pretty paper to help calm me down when I'm too stressed.  

Something I need to remember...always
For the time being, my blog may become more of a personal adventure; a glimpse into the Sweet life; a collection of posts about me.  I'll still try to post scrapbook stuff.  And, of course, Just Two Midwest Girls challenges will still be happening.  But Coffee and Pretty Paper may evolve into something a little different.  And to be honest with you, I'm kind of excited about that thought.  But, more on that another day.

Enough about my big summer plans, what are your summer plans?


Friday, May 2, 2014

Just Two Midwest Girls Scrap Challenge Has Moved!

**If you are trying to read the new challenge post over on Just Two Midwest Girls, something isn't working right.  Kelly and I are trying to fix it and will let you know when everything is up and running again!**

There have been some great things going on with Just Two Midwest Girls scrap challenges!  After much planning and talking, Kelly and I decided that Just Two Midwest Girls scrap challenges needed it's own blog.  Kelly has been hard at work setting this blog up.  Come check us out here!  

Now, our challenge today and all future challenges will be hosted on the Just Two Midwest Girls scrap challenges blog.  

Here's just a little sneak peak of my project for our very special National Scrapbook Day challenge!


Go check out my full project and Kelly's project on the new blog!  Also, we have a very special prize to along along with this epic scrapbooking weekend!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Meeting Teresa Collins!--Weekend Recap, Part I

This past weekend, I had quite the adventure!  I am really looking forward to sharing such an epic weekend (for me, at least) with all of you.  There will be two parts to this post.  Today, is Part I (obviously; it's in the title).

First and foremost, I finally met the lovely Kelster Jean!  So, just a brief history of my friendship with Kelly...

We met and became scrappy pen pals on a facebook page around the beginning of 2013.  We wrote back and forth, slowly becoming friends.  At this point, Kelly had her blog, but I did not have mine.  In September 2013, I finally moved past my fear about starting a blog and launched Coffee & Pretty Paper.  Right after I did this, I contacted Kelly through facebook (because, of course, we were facebook friends at this point!) and suggested we do something on our blogs together.  I don't know if the original idea was to start scrap challenges, but it did evolve to that.

Once we were hosting scrap challenges together, we thought, "Hey, we should text and talk on the phone!"  Which we started doing.  That is how we really became friends.  We would have text conversations, phone calls on our way home from our respective work places, and even Skype "dates."

I was finally able to meet my best scrapbook friend this past weekend!  We both signed up for a mini album workshop taught by Teresa Collins at Creative Cards and Crafts in Villa Park, Illinois.  We made plans for me to come up early, hang out, and stay the night Friday.

Meeting Kelly

It's like we've been best friends for years!  We actually got a lot of comments that 1) we looked like sisters or at least relatives and 2) "I can't believe you both have only met in person today!".  

As you can see, we had to have a photo session.  There were lots of other ones, including more funny faces, but I decided to par down the ton of photos taken during this trip.

And the happiness and excitement did not end with meeting my scrapbook sister Kelly!

Teresa Collins Workshop

I MET TERESA COLLINS!!  Oh my goodness!  To me, she's like a celebrity!  But, can I tell you guys, she was so down to earth.  Teresa is just a sweet, kind, and inspirational person.  I will admit, I was nervous to meet her.  I mean, her company and ambition is kind of intimidating.  But, she's an incredible and lovely woman.  

Honestly, I've never really used her products before.  She wasn't in the "scrapbook world" in a way that other manufacturers were.  After this workshop, I now know why she doesn't fall into the "let's scrapbook pictures or less of a story to use all the new products" category.  Teresa Collins creates and documents memories and stories from the heart.  She creates and uses her own products to HELP document her memories.  

It was a refreshing take on scrapbooking for me.  Lately, I've been struggling with creativity.  I was starting to feel lost when it came to documenting my memories.  I was getting caught up in all the new product and wanting everything out that was getting released.  I was starting to lose sight of the reason I put pen to paper, photos to a page.  Teresa reminded me what scrapbooking is and should always be:  getting your photos printed and writing down your story.  

If any of you ever get a chance to take a workshop or class with Teresa Collins, DO IT!  You will not be disappointed.  I will absolutely be taking another class from her in the future.  Because of her passion for creating and documenting stories and memories that make us who we are, I will forever be a loyal follower and customer of Teresa Collins.  

And ANOTHER plus to this great evening was meeting a couple other gals on the Practical Scrappers design team!  I finally met Jennifer Haggerty, over at Live the Moment (also a design team member for Teresa Collins Designs) and Malika Kelly over at Scraps of Paper (former DT member for Practical Scrappers).  

Friday was an incredible day.  I am so thankful to have finally met Kelly in person.  I am blessed to have met an incredible designer, business woman, and scrapbooker.  Go check out Teresa's exciting news on her blog.   Cannot wait to see more of STUDIO GOLD!