Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Ready-For-Fall Accordion Album

The cooler temperatures in the morning and evening are a sure sign that fall is on its way. It's my favorite time of the year, and there's nothing like an autumn-themed project to get you ready for the change of seasons. 

This adorable accordion album is so easy to make and will make a great gift - if you can part with it yourself!

You'll need cardboard, card stock, patterned decorator paper, ribbon or thread and some strong adhesive.

Cut two pieces of cardboard however large you'd like the album to be. Mine are just over 5 inches square.

Cover all four sides with card stock and ink-distress the edges.

Add the tie closure by adhering your ribbon to what will be the back of the album.

Then cover the two outer sides with patterned paper, effectively covering the ribbon and holding it in place.

Cut strips of card stock that can be matted inside the card stock of the inside covers. They'll be as high as the paper you used on the outside covers and as wide as two of them. Cut four strips and fold each one in half, making eight pages.

Connect the v-shaped card stock strips, alternating directions, so they form an accordion. Adhere them together.

And then adhere the two ends to the inside covers.

Once you've decorated the cover, you can tie it all up for a pretty gift. Give it empty like this as a DIY project or fill it with photos, quotes, verses and anything else you can think of.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wild Blackberry Crescents With Cinnamon Honey Butter

Wild blackberry season on the property is over, but I've tried so many blackberry recipes that I'll still be sharing them during the upcoming weeks.

I'd never made flavored butter before, but this cinnamon honey butter is perfect for dipping, spreading or swimming in, whichever you prefer. Once you've made it and if you have any left, store it in the refrigerator and then heat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to make it soft again. (Not enough to melt it, but just enough to soften.)

Blackberry crescents:
1 tube refrigerator crescent rolls
1 1/2 cups blackberries, asked and dried
1/8 cup sugar, plus some to sprinkle

Cinnamon honey butter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick, room temperature)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees or as directed on the crescents package.

2. Gently toss blackberries with sugar.

3. Unroll the dough and break into triangles. Spoon a small amount of sugared berries onto the large end of the triangle, roll dough into a crescent and place on an engrossed baking sheet.

4. Bake according to package directions, until tops of the rolls are browned.

5. While crescents are baking, use the whisk attachment of a stand mixer to whip the butter until fluffy, about 1 minute. With mixer on medium, add other ingredients until combined and smooth. Once combined, increase speed and whip until fluffy.

6. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Reading Through Your Hymnal

Can you identify the hymns that the following lyrics come from?

1. For the Father waits over the way, To prepare us a dwelling place there.

2. Many arrows pierce my soul from without, within, But my Lord leads me on, thru Him I must win.

3. When I am sad to Him I go, No other one can cheer me so; When I am sad He makes me glad - He's my Friend.

4. Sweet is the tender love Jesus hath shown, Sweeter far than any love that mortals have known.

5. But drops of grief can ne'er repay The debt of love I owe; Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee, 'Tis all that I can do.

6. Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done, And great our rejoicing thro' Jesus the Son.

Do you have all sorts of melodies and harmonies going through your head now? Good. Have fun with that all day!

How many of the six hymns were you able to name? A couple of them, most of them? Were there any that you could sing the melody but you couldn't remember more of the words? Or do you know the chorus but not the verses?

We so often sing on Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night without really thinking about what we're singing. If you've sung "Amazing Grace" every week for 20 years, has it lost its spark in your heart? Are you going through the motions when the song leader has you turn to "What a Friend We Have In Jesus" because you know the song forwards and backwards?

Some of the most beautiful uses of Scripture can be found in the hymnal you hold each service. The songwriters have used their faith, their experiences and the truth of God's Word to give us these spiritual songs. They poured out their hearts, their souls and probably a few tears to put pen to paper and notes to the staff.

I am just as guilty of not paying attention to hymn lyrics as the next person. When you've been raised on these songs, they're more muscle memory than present-day experience. When I would practice piano growing up, I would always play a few hymns at the end of my half hour, so I'm quite familiar with the patterns, the notes and the key signatures. But if that's all that is in my head, I'm really missing out.

Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before;
Every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more;
Jesus saves and keeps me, And He's the One I'm waiting for:
Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.

If these are the lyrics in front of me this Sunday, I want to think about my Saturday while I sing. He did amazing things all day Saturday, blessing me and protecting me. We had good fellowship together, I was moved during my Bible study time and He prepared my heart for the Lord's day. What a wonderful, beautiful Saturday.

But now it's Sunday, and I'm standing in the midst of the congregation singing these words. Yesterday was sweet, but every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. How precious is this promise that no matter how amazing yesterday was, today will be even better. There is no such thing as an "off day" with Jesus Christ, so today He will build upon the blessings of yesterday and make today even more special.

Wouldn't have we missed that perspective on the Lord's blessings if we're just reading words on a page and putting them to music? We can't expect to be moved by the Holy Spirit in a worship service if we're not personally invested in each part of it. That's why understanding and applying these words are more important than just reading them as words set to music.

Whatever hymns are chosen for your services in the upcoming week have been placed there by God for a reason. If He has laid them on the song leader's heart, then there is an important message in them that you're supposed to see. I pray we will dig deeper into the music this week and open our hearts to the possibilities God can move us to.

And in case your were wondering, here are the answers:
1. Sweet By and By
2. Oh, I Want to See Him
3. Jesus Is All the World to Me
4. Where He Leads I'll Follow
5. Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?
6. To God Be the Glory

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Sketch

While this is a very simple layout today, you'll have so much fun creating your card that it won't matter.

All you need this week are a few scraps of various colored card stock and a piece of decorator paper.

Mat two colors for your background, putting the brightest color on top. Use the other colors to mat a phrase that is at least three lines deep.

Then you'll tilt your decorator paper so that it's slightly askew and hanging off the edges of the card itself.

For my card, I chose a back-to-school theme because it's almost that time. (Whether you like it or not.) I used two of the colors from the decorator paper to use as the colors for my background mats.

The background paper is trimmed down to almost a square and turned so it overlaps the edges. If it didn't already have a green border around it, I would have added one myself to separate it from the green in the background.

I printed out my three words since I didn't have exactly what I wanted, and then I matted each one of a different scrap of colored card stock.

To make it a little more interesting, I added tiny gems to the different alphabet cards.

For more great inspiration, come visit my Etsy shop. You'll find hundreds of cards for ideas or to purchase, along with handmade journals, albums and other paper crafts.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Weekend Of Redefining Commitment

When soldiers begin their training in the military, they leave behind everything they've ever learned. Their drill instructors will break them down so they can be built back up as good soldiers, experts in their chosen fields and better people in mind and body.

They'll also find that their priorities change. Selfishness is laid aside, exchanged for determination, responsibility and respect. Their commitment level soars as they focus on their mission, their fellow soldiers and their country.

And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good. Deuteronomy 10:12-13

Make this a weekend of redefining your commitment. Just as Moses explained it to the people of Israel, he explains it to us as well. The only thing that God requires is your full and total commitment. There can be nothing else in your life that is more important than Him, and He will find uncomfortable ways to remove them if they are. He expects for your focus to be 100 percent on Him 100 percent of the time.

This commitment means walking the path He has called you to, giving Him all of your love, honoring Him with your service and keeping His commandments. Coming from an earthly boss, leader or commander this would seem over the top and unreasonable, but not so with the Lord. It is the honor that is due Him by each of His children every day.