Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sticky Note Holder Purse

It's not very often that I get time to just sit in the craft room and play, but that's what I did Sunday afternoon. I took two hours all to myself, pulled out some fun supplies and let my imagination run wild.

You should try it. It's amazingly relaxing. The creative juices start flowing.

That's where the idea for this sticky note holder purse came from. I absolutely adore pocketbooks (you should see my closet), and these sticky notes were the perfect size to make this work.

Start by cutting a piece of 12x12 card stock slightly larger than the sticky notes. Mine ended up 5 1/4 inches wide. Yours may vary depending on the size of your stickies.

Then crease the card stock at the top and bottom edges on either side of the stickies to make the card stock wrap tightly around the paper. I usually eyeball it and mark it with my finger nail, but you can use a more precise measurement if you'd like. (I do words, not numbers.)

Then cut decorator paper to fit inside each panel that you've folded. This lets the color of the background card stock show through. I also used decorator scissors to trim both ends of the flaps.

Set two eyelets in the top skinny panel for your ribbon handle. I haven't used eyelets in a project for a very long time, so I will be now that I have them out.

Thread your ribbon through and tie it at the top for your handle. A small piece of Velcro will hold the flaps in place.

I have one more pad of sticky notes, this one in pink, so you know where I'll be for a while.

Monday, March 30, 2015

As For Me...

How do you make choices? Do you make decisions based on the circumstances around you? By what other people are choosing? Or by what the Word of the Lord says?

We are faced with literally hundreds of decisions every day: Will I get up and be at work today? How will I dress? What will I do? Where will I go? Who will I talk to? How will I speak?

And that's just within the first few moments of the day.

Throughout the Bible, we are shown how choices affect the lives of individuals, their friends and family and everyone around them. Some chose for good, others for evil. Each of those choices is recorded in Scripture for us to read and learn from.

There are 24 instances in Scripture where the words "as for me" are used. They show the contrast between those who choose earthly, worldly things and the will of God. The verses that precede these words tell the stories of people with no concern for the things of the Lord. They are sinful, wicked, world-minded people.

But then the speaker uses those three words ... as for me ... and things change. They have made the decision to go against the grain and live for God.

The first time we read someone make this godly decision, it is in the book of Joshua. One of his most well-known statements says:

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

The entire nation of Israel had a choice - God or gods. Joshua told them point blank what his decision was: as for me, I choose God. He and his family were blessed exceeding abundantly above for this decision, as were those who made the same choice.

In the book of 1 Samuel, the people of Israel again have a choice to make. They have been drowning in their sin, and the Lord has sent the storm. In fear, the people ask Samuel to pray for them, knowing they have done wrong.

Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way. 1 Samuel 12:23

Samuel had a choice - he could leave them to be punished for what they had done, which would have been sin in itself, or he could continue to pray to the Lord for their rescue. He chose to continue bringing them before the Lord in prayer, in addition to teaching them how they should continue from here on out.

There are several times in the book of Psalms that David tells the Lord about his choices. Again, they follow verses that describe how sinful the world around him is, but he chooses not to follow the crowd, instead following his God.

But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. Psalm 5:7

David begins this Psalm of morning prayer by describing to God the foolish, wicked people he sees around him. He knows God will punish and destroy these people for the choices they have made against Him. But as for David, he chose to be in the presence of God, worshiping and building that relationship. What a contrast to the dark world outside of the will of the Lord.

We will make these same choices this week - faced with pleasures of the flesh, momentary happiness and selfish motives, what will you choose? As for me, I will serve the Lord.

To read more "as for me ..." verses, start with Genesis 17:4, 1 Chronicles 29:17, Psalm 41:12 and Jeremiah 26:14.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Sketch

Think tiny when you see today's sketch. It's all about the little details to make this card work.

A solid background color is the backdrop to make rows of small images stand out. They can be punched shapes, small stamped items or little 3D embellishments.

Line up your itty bitty images, and then double mat them on coordinating paper.

Mat your phrase or verse and tuck it into the design. It will overlap onto the background, balancing out your shapes.

For my card, I chose to use a medium-sized flower punch. Then I added a tiny pearl to the center of each one.

My background is a coordinating blue that goes with the other colors I chose. The flowers were then matted on white card stock and double matted on a dark green.

I left space for my verse, which was matted on a fourth color of card stock.

This card, along with many other cards, paper crafts and wood gifts, can be found in our Etsy shop. Come visit today for more crafting and gift ideas.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Weekend Of Opportunity

We're pretty sure that this pair of geese is the pair that comes back to our property year after year. Don't ask me how we know - we're not on a first name basis with them or anything. Maybe we'd just like to think that they enjoy our ponds enough that they make return every spring.

They have a handful of babies each year, but unfortunately they never make it through the year. We have enough other, bigger critters on the land that we're guessing find them. But the adult geese keep coming back, and they keep trying again. I'm excited to see if this will be the year they make it.

This spring is a brand-new opportunity for life.

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; Endevouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3

Make this a weekend of taking advantage of the opportunities you are given. There may be a time to fellowship, a chance to show kindness or an opportunity to be bold and share your faith with a lost and dying world. Each one is a time to let Christ be reflected in all you do and say.

Only God knows what opportunities you will encounter this weekend. Make sure you're ready to face them through His strength.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Week Of Craftiness

Danny's had four of the past five days off from work, so we've been having fun working on projects around the house together. Here's just a sampling of what we've done. 

I made a box out of paint stir sticks for some spring plants. Danny taught me how to use several of his power tools, so it was a real learning experience. I also discovered that if one corner of a project leans a little bit, you can't always fix it. Chalk that one up to experience.

I finally got around to painting my second filing cabinet. I absolutely love the way this one turned out, too. So now I can finally finish organizing the office ... a project for another day.

Danny's putting together some intarsia ornaments for this year's Walk On Art Street craft fair, and this little bear was his first attempt. I think it is just the cutest thing ever - look for them in the shop sometime this summer.

And we put our heads together to make this beautiful welcome sign for the entryway. This one definitely a team effort, and I'm thrilled with the way it turned out.

Danny cut the board down for me, and I put the word on using the wax paper technique. You write the word in your word processing program, then flip it horizontally. Cut a piece of wax paper down to 8.5x11 inches and tape it to a piece of card stock. Then run it through the rear tray of your printer, and it will print on the wax paper in reverse. Carefully flip it ink side down onto the wood and burnish it with the edge of an old credit card.

Then Danny cut two small boards just high enough to attach this pipe clamp around my old jar. I finished the whole thing with sedona red stain for this rustic look with the copper.

A couple of eyelets in the top of the board and a piece of twine finished it off. Now I'm just waiting for spring to actually arrive so I'll have fresh-cut flowers to put in it.

Not bad for four days, I'm thinking. We have so much fun together - wait until he sees what I have planned for his next weekend off ...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Baked Pears

For a special occasion or just a tasty touch to a week-night meal, you'll want to try these baked pears. Four ingredients and 30 minutes later, you'll wish you had made twice as many.

2 pears
walnut pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper.

2. Cut the pears in half, removing the stems. Use a spoon or melon baller to remove the seeds and make a nice circle in each half. I also cut a small slice off the back side to help them stand upright.

3. Place the halves on the baking sheet and liberally sprinkle them with cinnamon (to taste). Fill the centers with walnut pieces, then drizzle each with honey.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. (Check at 25 minutes.)

5. Serve immediately with yogurt or ice cream.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sin: Stop, Drop And ROLL

As a little girl, I remember when the firefighters would come to the school. They'd bring their big truck, sound the siren and show us all the parts of their uniform. And then they'd teach us all how to Stop, Drop and Roll. If you ever caught on fire, you'd stop moving, drop to the ground and roll around until the fire was extinguished.

As serious as they were about Stop, Drop and Roll, I assumed there would be more opportunities in life to use it. That's the mental process of an elementary school student. To this day I've never caught myself on fire, but I still know what to do.

Now, as a grown up, we can still use this time-tested philosophy in our spiritual life. Sin is a day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour battle. If we practice Stop, Drop and ROLL with our sin, we can put up a fight against the enemy that would like to see us destroy ourselves.

Stop: When sin enters our lives, we need to come to a dead stop. Continuing in the direction we're going is a dangerous journey when we're aware of the sin we're committing. God cannot look upon sin, so we're tearing apart our relationship with the Lord when we do things that He hates.

I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgets the iniquity of my sin. Selah. Psalm 32:5

Stopping and acknowledging our sin is the first step toward repairing that relationship and living a life dedicated to God.

Drop: Picture your sin as a hot pan on the stove. If you pick it up, it burns. It leaves a mark. Your natural instinct is to drop it as quickly as possible so the pain will go away. The same applies to your sin.

On a certain sabbath day, Jesus walked by the pool at Bethesda and saw the lame man waiting to enter the healing waters. Instead of helping him to the side of the pool, Jesus tells the man to take up his bed and walk. Immediately the man was made whole, taking his bed with him as he walked away.

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. John 5:14

If the Lord Jesus Himself tells someone to sin no more, it's a command - not a suggestion. He knows the pain sin causes in our lives and the lives of those around us. We need to drop that sin like it's white hot and refuse to pick it back up.

ROLL: Rely On the Lord's Leading. It's not "if we sin," it's "when." We are sinful creatures, but our sin doesn't define us. We are daughters of the King, and as such, we have access to the strength of the Lord to move on after we've sinned.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin ... Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Psalm 51:1-2, 10-13

By relying on the Lord, we can find strength in temptation, cleansing from our sin, mercy in difficult times and the lessons learned to keep others from committing the same sins. On our own we are nothing, but staying in step with God will protect us and keep us in the days to come.

You'll never Stop, Drop and ROLL the same way again.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Sketch

For this week's sketch, let's start with some basic building blocks, then let our imaginations run wild!

Choose a beautiful background color stop begin with, then add four blocks of coordinating decorator paper. You can make all four blocks the same width, or you can make two of them a little wider, making a more interesting final layout.

Overlap your phrase on the top two blocks, matted in another coordinating color.

Then finish it up with an embellishment in each corner of one block. It can be eyelets, brads, gems or some other tiny accessory.
For my card, I started with a dark purple, textured card stock. Then I chose four coordinating patterned papers. They are all from the same set, so coordinating them took no thinking on my part at all.

The blocks on the left hand side are slightly wider than the ones on the right, since all of my embellishments are on the right.

The thank you vellum sticker is matted in another shade of purple, then laid over the two top blocks.

Finally, there is a tiny pearl in each of the four corners of the bottom right hand block.

This card, along with many other cards, paper crafts and wood gifts, can be found in our Etsy shop. Come visit today for more ideas and some great gifts.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Weekend Of Spring Fever

It's been quite a week at the Carrell Wildlife Preserve. The deer that left the property for the winter have come back, and we can hear the baby coyotes having howling practice once the sun goes down.

The turkeys are taking their well-planned out route around the property every day, and as long as the feeder is filled, there are birds and squirrels galore.

Molly's not quite sure about all of this action. She spends much of her day in front of a window, growling and letting me know when something new has come up onto the deck. It's fun to watch our puppy see new things.

For as the earth bright forth her bud, and as the garden caught the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61:11

Make this a weekend of catching spring fever. The days are warmer, the sun is high in the sky longer and the earth is bursting forth with new life. Soon everything will be green and lush, a lovely respite from the cold, dreary winter.

Get out and enjoy. Let praise spring forth for the beauty God's creation.

Friday, March 20, 2015

My Fitness Motivation

Being home every day has allowed me to improve my fitness routine. It was terribly difficult to find the time and energy to work out after a long day at the office and then taking care of the house.

Now I'm able to work out at least five days a week, including two trips to the YMCA for cardio. The other three days I do weights and core here at home. I'm already seeing a little of the results, so I can't wait to see what the future holds.

We're also eating much more healthy since I'm here to plan meals and cook. We've cut out almost all of our bread and sweets, while adding in more lean meats and veggies. There's a baked pears recipe that I'm very much looking forward to trying.

So why am I so focused on fitness now? I'm so glad you asked.

1. God created this body. (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:14)

2. Jesus Christ died for this body. (Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 15:3)

3. The Holy Spirit lives in this body. (Romans 8:11, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

4. It's my responsibility to take care of this body. (Proverbs 31:17, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Yes, I want to look my best. Yes, I want the energy and health that comes from exercise. And yes, I want to glorify God and help others on their own journey.

But most importantly, I want to take care of the vessel God has given me for this lifetime. That is my reasonable service and an example of good stewardship.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Adventures With Cookie Pans

I surprised Danny with a special cookie treat this week. Despite our healthy eating habits, we both still have a terrible sweet tooth. And a treat every now and then is more than acceptable, right? Right? This is where you say, Of course!

This cookie pan was a present to myself in a Valentine's Day sale last year, and I still hadn't gotten around to using it. But I had a special Valentine's cookie mix that I thought would work perfectly. I made the dough according to the package directions, then filled each cavity 2/3 full. After 9 1/2 minutes (yes, that's very specific, but that's the time that didn't make them too crusty or too gooey), they were absolutely perfect.

Then I had fun decorating them. For most of them, I just followed the decorations made by the pan itself, which is much more difficult than I thought it would be. And I learned that I definitely don't have the patience to be a professional decorator. On the other hand, I can dunk cookies in melted chocolate all day long. And most of the chocolate did actually make it onto the cookies - I promise.

And then I looked at Danny's plate. Apparently I could have just mounded frosting on top from the beginning and he would have been happy. I'll remember that next time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tri-fold Friendship Card

It's been a while since I played around with different styles of cards, so this weekend I made this tri-fold card. It was so nice to get outside my normal comfort zone and let the creativity flow.

This card unfolds to show the Bible verse inside. You can even use up some of your scraps, as this card measures only 4x4.25 inches when it's folded up.

Start with an 11x4.25 piece of card stock. Mine is textured, which means it took a little extra work to make the creases stick. Think about this when you're choosing your paper.

Score 2 inches and 3.75 inches from both ends of the card stock. This will create two folds on either end, making the flaps of your card.

Fold the outer creases to the outside and the inner creases to the inside.

Then I covered the outer parts of the flaps and the center section with card stock.

Folded up, this makes the front of your card. You can leave them like this ...

... or you can add a layer of decorator paper to dress them up.

The I matted a vellum friendship phrase on the same purple card stock and attached it to the gray card stock with 3D adhesive. Then just the left side gets permanent adhesive - otherwise your card is glued closed, and that defeats the purpose.

I attached the verse to the inside and that's it. You can get as creative as you'd like and add additional paper panels and embellishments. Just remember that the card still needs to lay flat when it's closed and put in an envelope, so don't go too crazy.

Here's my card all done and ready to go! I love this color combination.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Here we are at the beginning of another week. There are so many jokes about how terrible Monday is, how we'd like to just call in sick to have another day to ourselves and even how we'd just like to skip it all together.

But that's a waste of a perfectly good day! How about we look at Monday like this:

M - Marvel. For the Father liveth the Son, and sheath him all things that himself doth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. John 5:20 God is planning to do great and wonderful things today, and we'll miss out if we're walking around with our heads down mumbling about how it's already Monday again. The day of the week doesn't matter because the Lord is going to do things today that we will marvel at - are you looking for them?

O - Obey. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13:17 Those that have the rule over you begins with God and trickles down to your boss, your husband, government officials and law enforcement. Rule doesn't mean heavy-handed, but those who will have to answer themselves for how you acted and worked today. If we're thinking about our "boss" in those terms, our attitude may be drastically different.

N - Nourish. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. Genesis 50:21 How many people will you meet today who are malnourished? It may not necessarily be a lack of food, but they may be deprived of kind words, comforting companionship and a few moments of prayer. You may be the only person they come across today who shows them compassion, and it would be a shame to miss that opportunity to love them to the Lord.

D - Determine. Now set your heart and soul to seek the LORD your God... 1 Chronicles 22:19 Without determining in your heart and mind to walk with the Lord today, it's probably not going to happen. Monday is a brand-new start that you don't want to miss. Make this the start of a wonderful week lived for His honor and His glory, not your own. We set our hearts on all sorts of earthly things that don't mean much in the long run - make today the day that you set your heart steadfastly on God.

A - Abide. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. John 15:4 Monday has this terrible reputation for being too busy, too much work and too frazzled. If we're resting in the Lord, abiding in Him and allowing Him to abide in us, that frenzied Monday goes away. Or at least it gets toned down some. If we're at peace with the day and everything it has to bring, that rubs off on those around us, creating a better environment for everyone. And doesn't that sound like a wonderful start to the week?

Y - Yield. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and you members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Romans 6:13 You have a choice today - you can either join the complainers around the water cooler or you can work joyfully as unto the Lord. You can muddle your way through the tasks and errands of the day or you can praise God that you have money to pay with, a car to drive and a home to return to. Surrender your words and deeds to Him and you'll lose those Monday blahs.

With these six keys to living on our minds, the day doesn't seem so awful, does it? And what if we shared these ideas with someone else who was having "one of those days?" What a difference we could make - and change everyone's outlook on Monday.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Sketch

Finally - another sketch with embellishments!

This one calls for six brads or eyelets to frame a left hand border. Your main image or phrase will be in that border, and there's plenty of space left for other accents like die cuts or blocks of coordinating paper.

If you double mat the background, you'll get some added dimension and another spot of color. Coordinate everything for an eye-popping finished product.

The great thing about this sketch is that it can be as simple or as intricate as you'd like. Mix and match papers and images until you find something you really like.

For my card, I used blue card stock for the background panel, then added a vertical-striped piece of decorator paper with the same blue in it.

The border uses the green from the striped paper as the card stock background, then my hand-stamped phrase is matted on the light blue from the stripes.

I moved the bottom three brads (which could easily have been eyelets) up to more closely frame the Scripture. This left more room for the hand-cut dragonfly in the lower right hand corner.

You can find this card, along with many other paper crafts and wood gifts, in our Etsy shop. Come visit today for more inspiration or to find some amazing gifts.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Weekend Of Clothing Yourself

One of the most pressing projects that I wanted to tackle last week was my side of the closet. It was overflowing and messy - a cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind, so something needed to be done!

After just part of an afternoon, I had six plastic shopping bags ready to go to the thrift store along with a huge bag of hangers. I promised myself more matching hangers if I tackled this job, so I'm absolutely thrilled.

I don't need a closet full of clothes, though, that's for sure. I like that what I do have is taken care of and well organized now. Just being a good steward of the blessings God has given. And now someone else can benefit from the clothes that I've outgrown or just plain don't wear anymore.

But there's something to clothe yourself in that makes even more of a difference.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3:8-14

Make this a weekend of remembering what clothing yourself truly means. It's not about the blouse, the skirt or the boots - it's about putting off the old man of sin and clothing yourself in the holiness that now becomes you. Love, kindness, meekness and patience are just a few of the accessories that will make you beautiful both inside and out.

Wouldn't you rather have a closet filled with the new man's accessories than the junk of the old man? How lovely that closet would be!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tree Branch Wreath With Burlap Bow and Flowers

This is the fourth week of my "retirement," and I'm having an amazing time being home every day. My quiet time with the Lord has been amazingly sweet (and much longer than normal), and I have so much more time to clean and decorate our home, something that went by the wayside for three and a half years.

 Out of the desire to learn new things and keep the house, I decided to make this wreath - a project I've wanted to do for ages but didn't have the time or energy to do. Spring seemed like the perfect time to tackle it.

To start with, I very sweetly asked Danny to cut me some tree cookies, the branch slices that would make up the wreath itself. Mine are about 3 inches in diameter. Then I made him a template for the circle they would be attached to. It's a plywood circle 9 1/4 inches on the outside and 7 inches on the inside. A circle cutter makes this incredibly easy.

Then a little hot glue adheres the cookies to the circle. I was able to fit 10 on the bottom layer, and then I added 10 more to the top layer when that one was dry and cooled.

This is what it looked like in all its naked tree cookie wreath glory. But you can't have a naked wreath, so I added a bow and pink flowers to make it perfect for spring.

To make the wreath, you can't just tie a bow like you tie your shoes - burlap doesn't bend that way. For the bow part of the bow, I cut a thick piece of burlap ribbon in half, so it is now 2 3/4 inches wide. I stapled the ends together to make a folded circle.

Then I pinched the middle together into an accordion.

Half a dozen stitches with brown thread and it will hold quite well.

Then I cut a small piece of burlap for the wrap in the middle of the bow. Two staples work perfectly because they will be on the back of the bow.

Then I cut a long strip of burlap ribbon for the tails of the bow. At this point, they're about 8 inches long.

Both pieces of the bow are then put together and fastened together with the little wrap I cut. A few more stitches will hold this part together.

Then I flipped it over and trimmed off the frays from the edges where I had cut. I also cut a wedge out of the tails to make it look like finished ribbon.

I used two lines of hot glue to attach the bow to the lower left corner of the wreath and accented it with three pink carnations, one of my favorite flowers.

It's now hanging on our entryway door, ready to greet visitors and greet spring!