Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Painted Acorns For Fall Decorating

I have entitled this photograph "Glass Jar Full Of Ugly, Boring Acorns."

This is where we end up so many times when we're decorating for fall. Autumn often means bringing the outdoors in, and this is what we get - natural, neutral tones.

But that's not all fall is about.

After a few minutes in the oven to kill the bugs and dry them out and a little dusting off, you have the perfect work surface.

Now add a light coat of paint (or a heavy, bold one if you'd like) and cover with a little Mod Podge.

Half the fun is seeing nature up close and personal as you carefully paint an acorn no bigger than your fingernail.

And you end of up with a much more beautiful collection of acorns.

Now you're asking, "So what do I do with them now? All I have is a jar full of pretty acorns."

Here are my suggestions to start you off:

* Glue them to floral foam to make a wreath.

* For the ones connected together, tie them to a piece of ribbon for a napkin ring.

* Use them as table scatter at a family meal.

* Glue them to a bow and use as a package topper.

* Fill a bowl with pretty rocks, tuck a candle in the middle and scatter acorns across the top for a centerpiece.

* Add a little glitter while the paint is still wet. Then fill a small jar with them for party favors or hostess gifts.

Monday, October 5, 2015

21 Things Prayer Should Be

When we're in a middle of a crisis, prayer seems vital.

When times are going smoothly, we either switch to praises or stop communicating with God as we did when we felt we needed Him most.

When we're too comfortable in our prayer life, we use clich├ęs and pretty words to get through our prayers.

When we're at the end of our rope, we may not be able to use any words at all.

Prayer is a frequent topic through the Bible, both in the Old Testament and New Testament. They words prayer and pray are used hundreds of times in God's word, proving that it was an important part of daily life that we need to continue even now.

Here is just a sampling of what Scripture tells us prayer should be.

* Heart-felt - 2 Samuel 7:27
* Postured - 1 Kings 9:3
* Emotional - 2 Kings 20:5
* Enduring - Nehemiah 1:6
* Pure - Job 16:17
* Early - Psalm 5:3
* Honest - Psalm 17:1
* Believing - Psalm 66:20
* Repentant - Isaiah 26:16
* Determined - Daniel 9:3
* Remembering - Jonah 2:7
* Continual - Luke 6:12
* Agreeing - Acts 1:14
* Unceasing - Acts 12:5
* Helpful - 2 Corinthians 1:11
* Persevering - Ephesians 6:18
* Joyful - Philippians 1:4
* Thankful - Philippians 4:6
* Faith-filled - James 5:15
* Fervent - James 5:16
* Watchful - 1 Peter 4:7

I encourage you to look up these verses for yourself and read the Word with your own eyes. I pray you'll discover something about prayer that will open your heart to see this special communication with your heavenly Father in a whole new light.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Sketch

It seems like Christmas already at our house. We're getting ready to add all of our holiday items into the shop on Monday, so the craft room looks like we've already opened gifts!

Today's sketch will hopefully share that feeling with you a little - if you're ready for a little Christmas spirit.

For this design, you'll be cutting out a shape from card stock to reveal the pattern behind it. It can be any shape for any season, as long as it's large enough to fill most of the space on the front of the card.

You can either us a die cut machine or go old school and cut out a shape from a stencil. Either way, you'll be able to use this idea for just about any event or holiday.

The sentiment is then centered on the bottom of the card over a piece of coordinating  ribbon.

For my card, I started with a background of aged stripes. Then I cut the green card stock to fit completely over the card. (It's really important to do this first so your cut-out image is centered.)

I chose a large Christmas tree stencil that I've never used before. It's one of my new favorites, as it's a great size and shape.

Before adhering it to the card itself, I wrapped it with gold, wired ribbon across the bottom. This keeps the ends hidden once it's put together.

Then I added a vellum sticker phrase, raised on 3D adhesive for some added dimension, and decorated the branches with a variety of gems.

This card, along with many other paper crafts and wood gifts, can be found in our Etsy shop. Come visit today for lots of great ideas and a special gift or two.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Weekend Of Pointing The Way

When people come to our home for the first time, we normally lead them to the sliding glass doors first. While the whole house is full of windows, this is the best place to see the beauty of the woods and ponds.

If we didn't show them where to look, they might still wander that way, but we'd miss out on the smile when they see it for the first time. And they might miss out on some special time with us, just looking at the property.

I like to think this is how the Samaritan woman felt after speaking with Jesus at the well. She had something amazing for the people of the town to see, and she just couldn't keep it to herself.

The woman then left her waterspout, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. John 4:28-30

The men might have found their own way to Jesus, perhaps hearing about Him some other way or wandering around until they stumbled upon Him. Instead, the joy of this woman pointed the way like no map ever could.

Make this a weekend of pointing the way. Don't assume that people already know about the love of God or the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. Take them by the hand and show them the way. What begins as a blessing for you may turn into he changing of a life.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cleaning The Waffle Iron

Everyone's looking for faster, easier, less-elbow-grease ways to clean. The less time we spend scrubbing, polishing and washing, the more time we have for something else.

So here's one very simple way to do just that.

I adore my waffle iron. Danny gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago, and it's the kind that rotates like the ones at a hotel. I use it for everything from waffles to cornbread to cake.

Did I mention that I love my waffle iron?

What I don't love is cleaning out all the grooves and notches. It is always greasy, and it's not as if you can just let it soak in the sink for a couple of hours. (Please do not attempt that. It's silly.)

Instead, take three or four paper towels and get them slightly wet. As soon as you've made your last waffle/cornbread/cake, unplug the waffle iron and lay the paper towel inside. Close it up and let it steam for two or three minutes, standing close by to watch. You don't want to burn the paper towel and make an even bigger mess.

Once you've opened it back up and discarded the paper towel, you'll be able to wipe the insides clean without scrubbing. Be careful not to touch the metal parts with a bare hand yet, as they'll still be hot enough to cook.

The steam loosens it all, leaving you with just a little bit of wiping. Once it's cool, you can finish wiping down the metal parts and the outside, leaving you with a like-new waffle iron.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Upcycled Paper-Covered Cardboard Boxes

When I started a Faithbox subscription three months ago, I was very excited to be receiving a box full of books and treats that would not only feed me spiritually, but financially support organizations that feed people physically.

What I didn't think about was that I'd also be receiving a box every month. A sturdy, brown, wonderful box.

So you have probably guessed what I do with them! Instead of just recycling them, I upcycle them into some amazing reusable gift boxes!

I start by removing all of the tape and labels. Then I cut individual panels of paper for each side. I leave the edges of cardboard showing through because I love that natural look.

I haven't done a lot with Mod Podge except for my reversible holiday blocks, but it's incredibly easy. On cardboard, I applied a thin coat with a brush to serve as glue to hold the paper down. 

After it dried, just a couple of hours later, I brushed on another thin coat for sealant. Another couple of hours drying time and it was all set.

Using all one pattern looks amazing, and next month I'm planning to try different patterns on each panel. I'm hoping it looks like a quilt - stay tuned!

Then came my favorite part - the decorating. I made one fall and two Christmas boxes using scraps from my season paper collection. (Let's just say that I had a lot to choose from and leave it at that.)

To add the ribbon, I adhered it first with glue dots and wrapped it around the flaps of the lid. There is still plenty of room to get the flaps tucked in, and it looks much neater than cutting it off on the lid.

This technique will work with any sturdy cardboard, so take a look around the house. You'll probably find several boxes you could upcycle into reusable gift packages. Have fun!