Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

I just had to share our Christmas morning breakfast with you. It was yummy and warm and simple and absolutely perfect.

This may seem silly, but I made cinnamon rolls in the waffle maker. It's quicker than making them in the oven, and they're crispy and lovely when they're ready.

If you want a quick snack, just use a couple of rolls. If you want to make a whole roll, just make two batches. Make sure you spray the waffle maker incredibly well with nonstick spray before each batch.

Using a can of refrigerator cinnamon rolls (I chose the orange ones because they're my favorite), put one in each section of the waffle maker. If you want smaller ones, just use fewer rolls. Place one in the middle to do them individually and they'll spread a little.

They take just as long as it takes for a regular waffle to cook - just a couple of minutes. Spread a thick layer of icing on and they're ready to go!

Try this the next time you're looking for something quick and unique. You'll love it!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

For A Busy Christmas Eve

You probably have some last-minute plans for this Christmas Eve day, right? A few more gifts to buy, a meal out with family and friends, the Christmas Eve service at church.

As you're with all those people today, please remember these six simple words.

Whoever you're with, believer or not, needs the influence of the Christ Child we're celebrating this week. And you can share that influence everywhere you go today. You may be the only way they hear about it.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Sketch

Sometimes sketches look better in my head - and in card form - than they do on paper. I've never claimed to be a professional artist, but the idea that I had for this card didn't draw very easily.


The plan is to make three blocks, each one slightly larger than the one on top of it, and add an adorable accent. Two background layers give you a chance to layer, layer and layer some more.
 

I ink-distressed all of the paper and then matted each block of patterned paper with a coordinating paper behind it. Put the accent, in this case a butterfly, and you're all set.

If you start with the top layer - your focal point - and build out from there, it's much easier to make your blocks proportionate.

You can find this card, and many other cards, paper crafts and wood gifts, in our Etsy shop.
Visit www.stufffromtrees.etsy.com.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Special Cookie Plate

No, it's not a cookie plate you'll find in any kitchen store, but it's so special at this time of year.

If you're doing a lot of baking to give as gifts, consider decorating your own cookie plate.


OK, so mine aren't cookies - they're chocolate chip mini muffins - but that's beside the point.

Pick the sturdiest plate you can find and then grab your hole punch. You know, that one that will open a little wider and punch a little further than the others.


The space your punches, starting with the ones at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock. Then add more in between until you have enough to weave your ribbon through. You'll want to choose an even number, like my 12 here, so both ends of the ribbon will end up on the same side of the plate.

I used two different colors of ribbon and intertwined them. You can do something similar, choose a different fiber, color of plate and style. Then just slip it into a big, flat baggie and you're ready to go!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Just Care

A couple of days ago, I stopped caring about something.

It was only briefly, but I just stopped caring.

I was tired, and I was sad, and I was discouraged and I was angry.

So I made the choice to just stop caring.

The devil whispers in that tiny little voice of his - no one else cares, so why should you?

Would you believe that was the most miserable I've ever felt in my entire life? Not caring is the most empty, depressing, evil feeling in the entire world.

I don't want to not care. Danny says that if I stop caring, I'm not being who I am. I'm not being the woman God made me to be if I stop caring.

I refuse to go against who God wants me to be.

I don't want to be so uncaring and so unfeeling that He can't use me anymore. I don't want to have hardened my heart so much that I'm not usable.

Once I put my heart and soul back into that thing that I stopped caring about, the difference was like night and day. A weight has been lifted and I can breathe again. The peace that I had lost during that short period of time returned.

Please - I pray that if you're carrying around the evil, ugly baggage of not caring, if you've given up and decided not to care about something, that you'll change your mind. And change your heart.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7

If my God cares, shouldn't I? Shouldn't you? Shouldn't we all?

Just care.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Mini Album For Your Pocketbook

As you think about Christmas, stocking stuffers and DIY, this mini album is the perfect project to combine all three. It's simple enough that the kids can help you make several and personalize them for the recipient.


You'll need:
One piece of card stock
Three pieces of decorator paper
Ribbon
Several flat embellishments

Start by cutting the card stock into a 4x11 inch rectangle. If you have a scoring blade, score it at the 2-, 5- and 8-inch marks. If you don't have a scoring blade, mark those measurements and use a metal ruler to fold on the three lines. This will give you three equal sections and one slightly smaller. The smaller one will be the front flap.


Cut each of the three patterned papers into 2.75x7.5 inch rectangles. Fold each on in half. I rounded the corners, but you can decorate them as you like.


In the second section (the first large panel), attach the ribbon with adhesive. You want it to be behind the patterned paper so it won't show.


Attach one patterned piece to each of the larger sections of the card stock. Alternate them as I did here, or keep them all facing the same direction - it's up to you and your creativity. You can also use decorative scissors to trim the cover panel, add flat embellishments like the die cuts here or you can do some other decoration as you'd like. Just don't make them too high or the album won't close very well.


Then use the remaining decorator paper to cover the outside panels. If you want to use 3D embellishments, these are the panels you want to play with. You can either add your own pictures or leave the pages blank for the recipient to put in their own.


Finish by folding it all up and tying it closed.

For more ideas on cards and paper crafts or to find this mini album, check out our Etsy shop at stufffromtrees.etsy.com.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Cover Of The Book That Is You

Imagine that God gives you a book at the beginning of your life with a simple command: Fill it.

Imagine that the blank pages are ready to be filled with your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your failures and every experience you experience along the way. Some pages will tell of love, others of sorrow and still others of joy unspeakable. And every word of every page will point to the glory of God.

But what about the cover? The cover of a book is what makes someone pick it up from the shelf in the first place. The cover is a snapshot of what's in store once you open it up.

What would your cover look like?

* The cover of your book sheds some light on who the author is. It describes her reason for writing, her inspiration and what point she's trying to convey to the world. Plain and simple, it tells why she's the perfect person to tell this story.

* The cover gives the title of the book. No two books have the same title, just as two people will never have the same story to tell. Short, sweet and to the point, this is the main point that you're presenting about your life.

* The cover of your book is an outer layer of protection. It keeps all the pages in order and keeps them from getting torn and soiled. It has to be sturdy enough to survive being dropped, stepped on, throw in a pile or shoved back on the shelf.

* The cover gives a quick synopsis of what's inside. In just a few words, it has to sum up everything from the first chapter to the last page. And it has to be presented in a way that peaks someone's interest enough to start reading.

The cover of the book that is your life is the first thing people see. They want to know what you're living, why you're living it and how it affects them. So if you're filling your book with words that glorify God, that's what will be on the cover of your book.

If someone who doesn't know you were to walk up to you and see the cover of the book of your life, what would they see? Would they know immediately that the author is a child of God, or would they wonder? Would they clearly see the title, or would it be a little fuzzy around the edges.

You are the only one who can fill the book of life that God has given you. And you are the only one who can design the cover because it's so completely you.

What does your cover look like?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Sketch

There are days that even the most seasoned crafters needs some new ideas. We all have favorite layouts, papers and embellishments that we return to time and again, but something fresh gives us a little creative jumpstart.

This sketch was one of those jump starts for me. I wanted something I would never normally do, and this was definitely our of my comfort zone.

To begin with, I don't normally put all of my elements on one side, but a busy pattern on the center strip helps balance it out. The only thing that's really "me" is all the layers.

I used papers I would normally shy away from - they're not my favorite colors, but they combined perfectly. In fact, I'm planning to use them more often now that I know how well they coordinate.

Also, I really liked how the ink-distressed edges softened the whole card. Normally I wouldn't use this technique on a light color, but here it was the perfect touch.

Give this sketch a try this week and let me know how it turns out.

This card, along with many other paper and wood crafts, can be found in our Etsy shop at stufffromtrees.etsy.com. Come by for a visit!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Weekend of Prayer Walking

This is my favorite part of our driveway - up the gravel and right before the curve that takes you to our house. It always makes me feel like I'm going to summer camp. If you roll the windows down, all you hear is leaves rustling and birds singing.

This is also one of the first places I pray for when I'm prayer walking. The hedge of protection that I pray around our property and throughout our home begins here ... from the very edge of where we live.

If you've never prayer walked before, it's a life-changing experience. I start at the bottom of the driveway and pray for the traffic that travels up and down the highway. I pray for our mailbox and mailman, asking God to protect whatever comes in the mail and for guidance to handle it.

Then I work my way up the driveway, asking the Lord to make it the most welcoming drive friends and family can have. I pray for everyone who drives up and down the drive, that they will be blessed while they're here and safe when they leave.

I had Danny make me a sketch of our house so I could prayer walk when it's too cold or I'm too sore to move. With this map, I can linger in each room and pray for God to use everything that happens in each to glorify Him. It takes a while some days, but the blessings are worth it.

Make this a weekend of prayer walking. Work your way around your little piece of the world, asking God to bless and keep it. Mention each room and building on your property, asking for the Lord's protection and His guidance in keeping them clean, organized and profitable to Him.

If you can't get outside, use a map or walk through it in your mind. The best part will be seeing the answered prayer down the road because of the time you spend now.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Getting Rid Of Carpet Divots

This week I rearranged the living room furniture to make room for the Christmas tree. In addition to the tennis ball Sadie had misplaced ages ago, I also found several carpet divots. Those are the indentations left by something heavy on your carpet, which I thought you could just vacuum out over time. Trust me ... that doesn't work.


Here's what does work - ice cubes. Pictured here are two of the divots left by my side table. You can clearly see the one on the left, including a divot within a divot, and the ice is in the other one.


Fill the divot with ice cubes and then let them melt. This may take a few hours, especially during winter. You can either sit and watch them melt, which is a lot like watching paint dry, or you can go on with your day.


Once the ice has melted, use a clean, dry cloth to fluff the area. You're not trying to soak up all the moisture, just get the wet carpet fibers to stand back up. They'll dry on their own and be all fluffy again.

Now I just have to do this 11 more times and the carpet will be back to normal. Until after Christmas when I move everything back.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Three-Layer Cookie Bites

Are you ready for an amazing sugar rush? Do you want to combine three wonderful treats that are fabulous on their own and make something lovely?

If so, you have to try these three-layer cookie bites.

Ingredients:
1 package pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough
12 snack-size peanut butter cups
1 package brownie mix
vegetable oil
eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Heavily spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray. You might want to use cupcake papers if you have any concerns about sticking.

2. Using 1 1/2 squares in each opening, fill the bottoms of each. You'll probably have some leftover if you want to make more.

3. Place a peanut butter cup upside down in each opening.

4. Mix up the brownie mix according to the directions and pour over each cup, filling about 3/4 of the way full - just enough to cover.

5. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Allow to cool briefly, then pop them out and place them on a cooling rack.

You can serve these warm, so the peanut butter cup is soft, or serve within a few hours so they're fresh.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Treat Bag

Here's a great Christmas idea for all of your gift-giving needs. Just a few items and you've got something special to share.

This adorable treat bag starts with a Christmas-themed cupcake liner. Place it in the bottom of a clear cellophane baggie. Then you can fill it with your gift recipient's favorite candy. Thread a handmade gift tag onto a beautiful ribbon and tie up your treat bag.

As wonderful as this is for Christmas, keep thinking. These would be adorable for baby shower favors, holiday treats for a classroom or take-aways for a Valentine's party.

All you have to do is change out the liner, the type of candy and the colors you use in the tag. So much fun, so many creative ideas!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Share What Is Good

We all know people who are perpetually negative. If the sun is shining, they'll complain about getting sun burned. If it's raining, they're wearing new shoes. If their favorite team is losing, it's the end of the world. If their team is winning, it must be a fluke and it will never last.

These are the people that, intentionally or not, tend to bring us down with them. We can start the day walking on sunbeams with a smile that could break our face, but by evening, we look like someone kicked our dog - all because we've spent time with someone negative.

Did you know that there's a way to break this cycle?

It's all about attitude. If your heart attitude is right and you've spent time this morning with the Lord, you've got all you need to fight negativity with truth. And you don't need sunshine, lollipops and rainbows to do it.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

Paul reminds us that nothing should come out of our mouths unless it is specifically to lift someone up. Edifying means building up, instructing and improving the mind. These are to be our motivation every time we speak.

But this can be so hard when all someone wants to talk about is doom and gloom. And we're not talking just "glass-half-empty" people. There are often people in our lives who are so bogged down in everything that has gone wrong in their lives that they can't see the proverbial forest for the trees. After a while, that weighs down on us and can start bringing us down to their level.

Reread that verse from Ephesians: ...that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Our words can be used by God to minister to others. This is impossible if we're repeating negativity back to someone in need. But when we're read up, studied up and prayed up, we can be a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master's use.

Imagine being a God-called tool in lifting someone up. Picture being chosen specifically for this moment to share the truth of the Lord with someone who is desperate. That's a gift for them, but it's also a blessing for us, knowing that God Himself thinks we're capable of building that person up.

So share what is good. Don't get sucked into a "my life is worse than yours" sparring match. Instead, look them in the eye. Smile. And tell them that your God is bigger than that. Then explain all the great and mighty things He's done in your life. It might be the only time today they'll hear something positive.

And you can let them know it came from God's Word, that you're just passing it on.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Sketch

 This is such a fun sketch to play with! And it's perfect for just about any theme, giving you four accents to play with.

The two background layers gives you a color to tie things together. The top one is cut to stick out on the sides of the patterned paper, which can be as busy or as reserved as you'd like.

For accents, pick combinations that you can alternate. Images and words can make for a striking presentation when used together.

That's what I did with this example. The white and aqua are the same colors found in the glittered, textured patterned paper running down the middle. I made it a little wider than what I drew in the sketch so there would be more of the glitter stripes.

The snowflakes are all layered as well, adding even more dimension. They came from different sets, but they're still in the same color family. The phrase is stamped, so I was able to use the same blue as in the patterned paper, too. And mixing together the words and snowflakes as my four elements made it much prettier to look at.

Do you have some winter-themed supplies you could do this with? How about Christmas? The possibilities are endless, and they'll never look exactly the same when you change things up a little.

This card, along with many other winter and Christmas cards and gifts, can be found in our Etsy shop at www.stufffromtrees.etsy.com.