Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What A Year!

Today, at 6:10 p.m. to be exact, I will turn 37 years old. Sometimes it seems like I've been around forever, and other times it seems like there's no way I could be in my late 30s yet. Regardless, I've been blessed beyond measure in each and every one of those years.

Over the past 12 months, I've learned a few very special things. It would be a wonderful birthday present to be able to share them with you today.

* God can be trusted in all things. ALL things. Leave your worry behind, have faith and trust the Lord to know exactly what's best for you.

* Your testimony is the most important thing in your life.

* It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks - it's what God thinks that matters.

* Don't put limits on God. He has bigger, better, more special things planned than you could every image.

* When you're stressed, overwhelmed or exhausted, it means that you're too far away from the Lord and too close to the world.

* Forgiveness changes everything.

* Just because you're uncomfortable doesn't mean you're not in the perfect will of God.

Celebrate my birthday with me today by saying a prayer that I will have a heart that craves God, a mind that centers on Him and a willingness to share the Gospel with those around me.

Who could ask for a better present than a sweet prayer?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Sketch

I love layers - they make a project look finished and thoughtful. There's nothing sillier than a single image on a piece of paper. But you'd never do that, right?

For this sketch, think two sets of layers, one on the outside and one on the inside. You can use the same solid colors for both sets or you can alternate them for some variety.

The two images at the bottom corner of the inside layers have so much potential - match the colors and theme of the patterned paper.

The phrase goes in the bottom corner, completing the pretty package.

For my card, I used four papers from a set - three solid colors and a pattern. The circle accents are punched from a coordinating paper with self-stick buttons at their center.

I love the possibilities here, as you can make the same card with different colors and patterns to make it look completely different.

This card, along with many other paper crafts and wood gifts, can be found in our Etsy shop. Come visit www.stufffromtrees.etsy.com.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Weekend of Walking the Walk

I love my workout shoes. They are UnderArmour, my favorite brand, they're pink and they're gray. They go perfectly with my workout clothes and they fit like glove - only for your feet!

Now, I have to admit that I don't wear them nearly as often as I should. (Translation: I'm not working out as much as I used to.) That's my fault, not scheduling as much time for exercise as I do everything else in my life.

I could still wear my workout shoes and look the part, though. No one would ever know that I wasn't working out every day - it would be easy to play the role of a gym rat. But wearing workout shoes doesn't mean that I'm working out.

This mentality works with my spiritual life as well. I can carry my Bible, be in church every time the doors are open and even write a blog on the Internet. But if I'm not walking the walk, I'm not the only one who would know.

Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess. Deuteronomy 5:33

God gave His commands throughout the Bible for a reason - for us to follow. Walking the walk and actually obeying the commands we read takes us from simply wearing the shoes to actually getting a really great workout.

And when we do, we grow, we learn and we change from the inside out. That's how it will be well in our soul, as the verse above says. Just acting out a role won't change anything, but tying up those laces and putting in the work will change everything.

Make this a weekend of making sure you're walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

Friday, July 25, 2014

5 Ways To Painlessly Save Money

Let's say you have a financial goal - start small and dream big!

Maybe you want to save up for a vacation. Or you'd like to pay off your credit card before the end of the year. Perhaps you've got your eye on a new outfit and can't afford it right now. There's always something that you'd like to buy but it's just out of reach.

Here are 10 things you can do immediately to start setting aside some money, no matter how much you're trying to save up.

1. Trade eating out for eating at home. Make coffee, lunches and other meals at home, purposely planning on leftovers for the next day. Make every meal stretch.

2. Pick and choose what to spend. Would you rather have a latte from the shop next door every day this week or buy that new purse you have your eye on? Check out your priorities and work on your determination.

3. Reduce, reuse, recycle. The old age still applies - if you're looking to save money, start by reusing what you already have. You could probably find ways to recycle many things you've saved over the years, freeing up the money you would have spent buying them (or something like them but newer) again.

4. Save first, spend later. Pay yourself before you start spending your paycheck. Save a certain amount every week or from every paycheck and watch your savings account add up.

5. Turn the short-term into the long-term. Once you've reached your small goals, use the skills you've practiced to achieve something bigger. Yes, you know now that you can save a few hundred dollars in a short period of time. Now think about the grand scheme of things and save for something you never dreamed you could.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Key Lime Pie

Have you ever had a recipe that you wanted to try but were to intimidated to attempt? That's what happened with me and key lime pie.

It sounds like such a decadent specialty dish that only experienced chefs could perfect it.

But it's not!

Try this five-ingredient recipe and you'll wish it was summer all year round just so you can make this key lime pie again and again and again.

And by the way, I've learned that "real" key lime pies aren't green - they're pale yellow. The ones that are bright green have coloring added to make them more dramatic.

14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup lime juice
9" pie shell
fresh whipped cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine milk, yolks and lime juice in a medium bowl, blending until smooth.

3. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

4. When done, allow to stand for 10 minutes and then refrigerate.

5. Serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mini Coffee Cup Gift Card Holders

One of our Etsy customers asked me for a special order a couple of weeks ago, and it was a really great idea.

I have full-sized coffee cups in the shop that are large enough to hold a package of cocoa or tea mix. She wanted to know if I could make a miniature version that would hold a gift card.

My mind whirled - well, of course I could!

So I shrunk my pattern (let me know by email if you'd like one). Then I hand-embossed the white card stock that she was looking for and cut out 20 cups.

She wanted a coffee cup image, so I stamped and colored 20 of the images you see here. A little background color and it came out amazing!

Take a look at one of your crafts - one that you make all the time - and see if there's something new and different you can do with it. You might be surprised at what you're missing.

Come visit our Etsy shop at www.stufffromtrees.etsy.com.