Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Embossed Backgrounds

When you can't find a background paper that you like, or you want to try something completely different, try making your own embossed background for your next handmade card.

You'll need a piece of card stock, embossing supplies and a tissue.

Cover the entire piece of card stock with embossing ink. You can either press the card onto the pad until covered, or you can use a brayer to transfer the ink. Then use the tissue to wipe away part of the ink in one corner and cover it with embossing powder.

Wiping off a portion of the ink will give you the perfect spot to stamp a sentiment later. When you pour off the excess powder, you'll be left with an interesting pattern as well. If you don't like it, wipe it all off and try again. 

The amount of embossing ink in each section will determine how thick and bold the embossed image will be. This is half the fun, creating something interesting and unique from scratch.

In a minute or two, once it's cooled, you can stamp directly onto the embossed background. The second, darker ink will sink into the spaces between the dots of embossed pattern. You never know exactly what it will look like then, which is also neat to see.

Lastly, stamp your phrase in the open space using embossing ink and the darkest of your powders. This will make it jump off the page and stand out from the colors around it. You can use it as is, or you can trim it down and mat it to a coordinating color of card stock. Just be careful cutting through embossed images, as they often fray and tear.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Where Do You Place Your Glory?

Everybody loves applause. We enjoy hearing the praise of our performance, getting a pat on the back for a job well done, and even seeing our name up in lights. It feels good to know that we're loved and appreciated for what we do.

But pride is a terrible thing when we place the glory of ourselves before the glory of God. We may know that price is a sin and our talents come from the Lord, but it's hard to fight the desire to hear people brag on us for our good works.

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23-24

God doesn't say that it's wrong to be wise, mighty or rich. What He does condemn is the glory given to our own merits when they came from God alone. Yes, you may be a wonderful writer, musician, crafter, mother, wife and church member. These are all wonderful traits to have and use, but do you want the handshake and thank you note or would you rather turn the focus back to the One who gave you the talents to begin with?

If you're going to glory in something, God told Jeremiah to share with the people, glory in knowing Him. Rejoice in having a close, personal relationship with your heavenly Father. Brag on God, about how good He has been in your life. Give a testimony of a time when He was so kind and loving that you could hardly stand the joy overflowing in your heart. Tell of when He cleansed you, changed you and brought you closer to Him.

These moments are His delight, He says. Can you truly grasp how those special times in your life, when He was good and loving and everything you needed, blessed Him just as much as they blessed you? He delights in hearing how much you love and appreciate all He has given, especially when it would be just as easy to take the credit yourself. He knows and understands your heart, and He rejoices when you take the time to know and understand Him, too.

As we begin a new week, let's lay aside the glory that we would normally keep for ourselves. While it may bring us temporary gratification - because who doesn't want a verbal and physical pat on the back? - this glory only lasts for a moment. But giving God the glory and the honor and the praise will lay up another treasure in heaven.

So glory in the Lord, rejoice in knowing Him and celebrate understanding His character a little more every day. What a beautiful way to start the week.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Sketch

Today's sketch will let you combine patterns in an eye-pleasing way, plus making your sentiment, phrase or verse front and center.

Choose a background color or pattern. Then add two patterns, both fairly light, to mat on that background. They'll be overlapped in the middle by that same background paper, bringing its color to the forefront.

Before attaching it to the background, wrap a fiber around the middle a couple of times so you can tie it off next to your sentiment.
For my card, I stayed in the purple family. All three patterns are from the same collection of papers, so they're pre-coordinated.

My sentiment is layered on the same purple and the coordinating yellow, then attached on top of a yellow baker's twine.

Simple, sweet and ready to send!

You can find this card, along with many other great cards, journals and paper crafts, in my Etsy shop. You'll get lots of inspiration, plus you'll probably leave with a gift or two - for you or someone else.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Weekend Of Mushrooming Your Faith

After our thunderstorms last weekend, our yard turned into a hotbed of mushroom activity. Many types of mushrooms seem to appear overnight, which is exactly what ours did. And because they draw in water and expand, they were having a field day - literally - all around our house.

This is why we say that something "mushroomed" when it expands rapidly, or "popped up like a mushroom" when it appeared unexpectedly and out of nowhere. They're common English phrases based on exactly what happens in nature.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9-10

Make this a weekend of mushrooming your faith - growing in the knowledge of God and in His wisdom. This isn't something that just happens, though. You have to make a conscious effort to read, study, pray, learn and ask God to show you what He wants you to understand. This isn't like putting a book under your pillow and hoping you'll become a stronger Christian while you sleep.

With God's direction in your life, by striving to walk worthy and be filled with knowledge of His will, your faith will mushroom up and grow healthy and strong. Just imagine being fruitful in all your work, increasing in your understanding of Scripture and finding yourself filled with the Spirit of the Lord. It's really as easy as putting yourself in the place where there is heat, water and soil perfect for growth. You'll find them all in God.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Upcycled Summer Succulents Planter

Summertime is the perfect time to bring some of the outdoors indoors. I have an ever-growing collection of hen and chicks succulents in one of our flower beds, so a few of them now have a new home in our dining room's bay window.

With just a few bits you probably have around the house already, you can make this sweet picket fence planter, too. Wash an empty tuna can thoroughly in soap and water. I don't know if succulents like the smell of old, rotten fish, but I sure don't. Most clothes pins are the perfect size to cover the outside of the tin can. You can use a small flower pot if you have one, but a trimmed-down paper cup will work, too.

Clip the clothespins all the way around the lip of the can.

Because of the clips' two pieces, you'll have an inside ring to keep the pot in place and an outside ring to decorate.

If you're using a cup, make a line around the edge of the inner ring so you'll have a guide line to cut with.

Cut just underneath the line so the cup will tuck in and not be seen.

Fill the trimmed cup with potting soil and add your precious succulents. Decorate the outside of the fencing however you'd like. I used some baker's twine wrapped through the clothespins, and you could add twine, burlap or felt flowers - whatever makes you and your fence happy!

The hens eventually grow some chicks, and then you'll be able to replant the hens in the garden and leave the chicks here to get all big and healthy. Choose smaller succulents so they'll have plenty of room to breathe and grow.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie Stacks

Layers of chocolate, decorated with chocolate sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day, doesn't it? With these super-simple cookie/brownie stacks, you'll have all the chocolate you can handle.

And maybe more.

1 box brownie mix, plus egg, oil and water as directed on box
1 container pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough
1 can chocolate frosting
white chocolate-covered espresso beans, or other garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees or as directed on the brownie mix box. Lightly spray two 13x9 inch baking dishes and two 9-inch square baking dishes with nonstick spray.

2. Mix brownies as directed. Divide between one small and one large baking dish.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

4. Repeat with the cookie dough, dividing between the two remaining dishes. Bake according to container directions. Allow to cool completely.

5. Using a circle cutter or rim of a glass, cut 12 circles out of the chocolate chip cookies. Gently lift them out and save the leftover cookies for ice cream later.

6. Cut 12 circles out of the brownies, saving the leftover brownie for ice cream later.

7. Lay the 12 cookie circles on your serving tray. Frost each one with an abundant amount of chocolate frosting.

8. Top each cookie with a brownie circle and frost the top. Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans or other chocolate-themed embellishment.