Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Circle Punch Flowers

On these bright, sun-filled days in Iowa, our thoughts turn to flowers! Here's a great way to make a flower embellishment for your paper crafts with just paper, a punch, a button and thread. It doesn't get much more simple than this.

Choose the size of punch based on how big you want your finished flower to be. This flower starts with petals made of 1 1/4 inch punched circles. Arrange them the way you'd like them to look when finished - you may want to add more depending on how full you want the flower to look.

Then punch circles one size smaller - 1 inch in this example. Glue them to each other, then adhere all of the petals together.

Finish it off with a threaded button and you've got a completed flower. Have fun mixing and matching colors and patterns in addition to types and sizes of buttons.

Monday, August 31, 2015

What She Might Be Going Through

She may be dressed very well, but inside she's battling with trusting God to handle her home and financial difficulties.

She may be outgoing and bubbly, but inside she is fighting fear and doubt.

She may be active in her church and community, but inside she's struggling to find God's purpose and plan for her life.

You can't look at another woman's outside appearance and know everything that's going on in her heart.

Many of our spiritual battles take place in our deep, quiet recesses. No one will see the battle and struggle going on when we're out of the public eye. Even our close friends may never know the prayers and the tears and the cries to God for grace and mercy.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and glamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

It's so easy to judge the cover of the book without ever opening it. We're well acquainted with our own struggles, but we rarely think about others going through similar trials and tests. It's easier to keep our eyes turned inward than lift them up to see what others are doing.

Looking at a woman who carries herself well, is dressed nicely and seems to enjoy fellowship in God's house, we would assume she's victorious in every part of her life. She sure looks like she's got it all together and is walking closely with the Lord.

But do we stop to ask her how she's doing - really?

Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

God's Word calls us to support one another in His love, to carry the load of someone else's burden when it's to heavy for them to handle alone. Even if there's nothing we can physically do to help, we can always be a listening ear, a should to cry on and a prayer warrior in difficult times.

We're intimately aware of the needs in our own life. Let's spend this week getting out of our own heads and getting into the lives of those who desperately need us.

Find out what she's going through and pray her through it instead of assuming everything's just fine.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Sketch

There's nothing more fun than receiving a handmade card in the mail - unless it's a unique card that doesn't do exactly what you expect!

Today's sketch will have you thinking outside the proverbial box with a different fold and a special detail that you won't find on a store-bought card.

Make your card long horizontally with the fold on the short side on the left. This may be quite different than the way you're used to laying out cards.

Then layer your card like normal with a solid color and patterned paper for your background. Once you've got your paper in place, use a circle punch to take a half-circle out of the top layer ONLY on the right hand side. You want the back layer completely intact because you're going to add a special embellishment.

For my card, I folded it to measure 5.5x4.25 inches. Then I layered a pretty floral pattern on top of a marbled blue paper.

To make the notch, I used a 1-inch circle punch to take out that half circle. This goes through the card stock and decorator paper of the front half of the card only.

Because you need the back part of the card intact to add the flower and metal brad like I did. When folded up, you'll see them as part of the front design, but you'll still see them when you open the card.

I finished the card by adding tiny gems as the centers of the flowers and the matted Bible verse.

For more great ideas, come visit out Etsy shop. You'll find many different paper crafts and wood gifts, with a huge selection to choose from.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Weekend Of Staying Little

Size is a relative term. In order for something to be small, there must be something large next to it. And if something is called large, there must have been something small next to it.

Compared to the trees and the hill next to it, the deer is very small. We have to use binoculars or a zooming lens on the camera to see it in any detail. Otherwise we just have to recognize its shape to know that it's a deer.

Do you consider yourself large or small?

He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. John 3:30-31

John the Baptist knew who was large and who was small in his family. Already having a ministry himself, John knew in his heart that he was just the one preparing the way of the Lord. When his cousin Jesus came upon the scene, John was more than ready to step back and allow the spotlight to shine where it was meant to shine.

The deer doesn't ask to be made bigger so we can see it better across the pond.

John didn't ask to be made bigger so his ministry would rival Jesus'.

Make this a weekend of staying little. Once we take ourselves out of the equation, Jesus Christ can shine more brightly in us and through us. Imagine the changes that would take place in us and around us if we were more concerned about the things of Christ than our selfish desires.

So, are you large or small?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ranch Taco Slow Cooker Chicken

Combine four ingredients in a slow cooker and leave it alone for the day.

Sounds like a recipe we could all use!

I love being able to use our slow cooker and take a few steps out of making our evening meal. We always buy frozen chicken when it's on sale, so this dinner is also incredibly affordable.

1 2-1/2 pound bag frozen chicken
1 envelope dry Ranch dressing mix
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 cans chicken broth
taco or wrap fixings as desired

1. Thaw the chicken in the refrigerator overnight.

2. Place thawed chicken in slow cooker. Add both envelopes of mix and seasoning. Pour in chicken broth. Add enough water to cover chicken if necessary.

3. Turn slow cooker on high for 1 hour, then reduce to low for 6 hours. You can also turn on low for 8-9 hours if necessary.

4. When cooked through and tender, shred chicken and toss with 1/2 cup of the broth/seasoning mixture. Serve in tacos or on wraps with veggies, salsa and cheese.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Upcycled Tin Prayer Box

The more we watch how we spend our money, the more opportunities we see to save, reuse and upcycle. So when something as simply (and as neat) as a tiny tin box is emptied, it's definitely an opportunity to get creative. They're perfect to give as a gift or keep for yourself as a reminder of your prayer requests.

In addition to your empty tin, you'll need two coordinating papers, embellishments and white card stock.

Trace the top and bottom of the tin with pencil onto the back of your decorator paper. Then cut just inside the line so it's slightly smaller than your box. Then distress the edges for a slightly worn look.

Embellish the top as you'd like. I used inked foam letters and tiny colored gems for the centers of the flowers.

To complete your prayer box, measure the inside of the box and cut the card stock slightly smaller so they will fit easily. Use a corner rounder punch on each one and embellish them with coordinating images, like my glittered butterflies and flowers.