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Sunday Sketch

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I’ve been in love with this textured flower patterned paper for weeks, and I finally found a way to put it to good use - as the background for a beautiful sympathy card.

Today’s simple sketch packs a big punch with a bright patterned paper, a simple embellishment and a powerful Bible verse. Combined, these elements create an eye-catching card that will help in someone’s time of need.

For this card, I started with a strip of green patterned paper on the right side so it would be seen behind my fussy-cut flowers and leaves. The printed verse is embellished with tiny acrylic dots and a 3D sticker word.

Ready to make this sketch your own? Start by choosing a great, bold pattern for the background. Then cut or tear the edge so you can put a light, simple pattern behind it.

Next you’ll need a small phrase and a small embellishment to stack along the bottom of the card. Their size will let you see as much of the pattern behind them as possible while still making the verse stand out. Mat the…

My New Favorite Advent Calendar

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Can you believe it's almost time to start using your Advent calendar already? This year has gone by so fast that December 1 is just two weeks away. If that doesn't bring you back to reality with a jolt, I don't know what will.

That's why I was thrilled to put the finishing touches on this Advent calendar. I've made, used and loved a lot of daily countdown calendars over the years, but this one may be my very favorite. I used a cardboard box calendar from Hobby Lobby for it, and having a blank slate like that was so much fun.

To start, I wrapped each drawer in thick decorator paper, adhering it with a tape runner. This was much stickier and more secure than any of the other adhesives I tried. I wanted to use a circle punch to cut out the finger holes, but I ended up having to cut them by hand.

Once I covered all 25 drawers, I added a matted number sticker, a punched circle of coordinating paper and a 3D poinsettia sticker to each one. 

Then I covered the back with …

Getting In Our Youth Group Harvest Party Before The Snow Hit!

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This picture makes me incredibly happy. When the youth group is at our house for one of our special occasion gatherings, this is what the entry way looks like. Every time. I can't help but smile because all of these junior high-, high school- and college-aged kids actually want to be with us. They want to spend time with us, and that speaks directly to my heart.

As with all teenagers, most of what we do at our youth retreats centers around food. For the harvest party, Danny grilled angus burgers and brats, and we had slow cooker lasagna and dirty rice. Everything gets set out on the counter, and we graze for the rest of the day. (Which makes for very few leftovers. They always take to-go boxes home with them.)

This was probably our last opportunity fish this year, so all the guys wanted to do a fishing derby. We're blessed beyond measure to have three brothers join our group this month, so they had never been down to fish in the big pond. Since it covers several acres, they w…

Creating A Perfect Grazing Platter

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One of my favorite parts of Danny’s birthday party three weeks ago was putting together my very first grazing platters. (You know, after celebrating half a century of my husband’s life, which was so amazing.) The platters were a huge hit, and we were able to share them at church the next day, too!

The savory platter featured three bowls of fruit, which was the perfect way to serve them. The juice all stayed in one place instead of leaking all over the other food. From there, I piled on deli meat and cheese, cut into bite-sized portions, and crackers to pair them with. There were several kinds of chips and munchies, and a bowl of nuts separated in case there was anyone with a nut allergy. My favorite nut mixes come from the dollar store, so I combined two different kinds in the center bowl.

On the other end of the table, close to where I was standing for obvious reasons, was the sweet platter. It was piled high with a variety of cookies and candies, including Danny’s favorite Pinwheel…

Words For Wednesday

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Let It Snow Winter Wreath

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The weather outside is frightful, but it's absolutely delightful to have a winter-themed wreath inside!

This mesh wreath is so perfect for a snowy day, and all the sparkle is just fun. 

I've had this snowy blue mesh for a couple of years now. I originally picked it up on after-Christmas clearance so I could use it for bulletin boards. It makes a great snowy backdrop. So I bought all 10 rolls of it, you know ... just in case. The wreath form is from the dollar store, so that was pretty great, too.

I started by cutting the mesh in half lengthwise. I didn't want the wreath to be overly thick, and this makes for twice the length without buying twice the mesh.

A small disclaimer - I have never made a wreath like this before, but I knew what I wanted it to look like. I created a technique that made that happen. So here's what I did: I tied one end of the mesh to the frame at one of the cross bars. Starting at one side, I pulled the entire length of mesh through the first op…

A Tribute To My Veteran

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Thank you for your service. Five little words that can have a huge impact in the life of a serviceman.
 As the wife of a retired Army soldier, I have seen firsthand everything that is sacrificed and given to our Armed Forces. My husband devoted more than 20 years of his life to the military, and it is with a grateful heart that I thank Danny for his service.
I love hearing stories from soldiers, where they served, what they did and how their lives and hearts were changed during the time they served our country. My heart is always blessed by the men and women who willingly offered their time and their gifts to make our military a better place. 
Today, and every day, I thank my family and friends who served. Freedom is not free, and your efforts have truly made a difference. Thank you for everything you sacrificed and for giving your all for the people of America.
On this Veteran's Day, I pray that we will all take time to thank all our veterans for their service. They deserve all …