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Showing posts from July, 2016

Sunday Sketch

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Here's a fun layout for a square card - something unique and different from the normal card sizes you probably make on a regular basis.

Any sketch can usually be turned into a card of a different shape, so make sure you go back and play around with your favorite layouts to make them vertical, horizontal and square, with each one looking a little different.

You'll need three patterns of decorator paper, two  solid colors, a small sentiment and some tiny embellishments. Start with one of the solid card stocks as your background and build up from there.

Make a large panel of your favorite pattern and mat it on the other solid. Then cut two strips, one each from the other patterns, and run them across the card, one slightly shorter than the other.

Add your sentiment overlapping the panel and your embellishments in the bottom corner.

For my card, I chose three purple patterns and two purple card stocks from a coordinating set. My sentiment is a card stock sticker matted on the dar…

A Weekend Of Discarding Assumptions

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I am not an entomologist. Let's get that straight right now. When I found this little guy on the steering column in my car, I assumed it was a grasshopper.

It matches the image in my head of what a grasshopper looks like: the long, thin body, bent up legs and beady eyes.

But it's not. It's a katy did, not a grasshopper. It's about the size of the nail on my pinky finger - too small for a grasshopper - and its antenna are three times longer than its body, another katy did trait.

The image I already had in my mind gave me confidence that I knew what this adorable little bug was. My preconceived notion became an assumption, and that became truth in my mind - until I was faced with the truth.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth no…

Happy Birthday To Me!

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Blackberry Glazed Grilled Chicken

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One of the best parts of having a property full of wild blackberry bushes is looking for recipes to use them in. I've shared a few with you already, and there will be several more before blackberry season is through.

I don't think you'll mind. And remember, you can substitute other berries if you like them more. It's not about following a recipe to perfection, but in making a meal that's perfect for your family.

So this week I steered clear of sweets and made a lovely blackberry marinade and glaze specifically for chicken. And then I got the grill out and got to work.

Ingredients:
5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups blackberries, partially smashed
1 cup olive oil
1/2 balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp hot sauce
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
steak seasoning to taste

1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup blackberries, partially smashed

1. Combine blackberries, olive oil, vinegar, hot sauce, sugars and seasoning in a ga…

Words For Wednesday

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Embossed Backgrounds

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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 directl…

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 the…

Sunday Sketch

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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.

A Weekend Of Mushrooming Your Faith

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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 tha…

Upcycled Summer Succulents Planter

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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 …

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie Stacks

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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.

Ingredients:
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 choco…

Words For Wednesday

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DIY Wooden Bead Ring Toy

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A couple of years ago we were given several large tins full of wooden bits. There were cut-out shapes, partially completed scenes and lots of balls, plugs, circles and other parts that could possibly be turned into ... something. That's when I got the idea for putting together a child's toy with painted numbers, letters and colors. This week I put that idea to work.

All you really need are wooden beads, twine and non-toxic, child-friendly paint. You can buy wood beads with holes already through them, or you can just ask your wonderful husband to do it for you, which seems way more fun to me.

Then do a little planning. I didn't want any of the same colors on each bead or the one next to it, so I mapped out what would go where. Each bead has a number, a letter and a dot of color.

Then comes the fun part! I've never thought of myself as a painter because my hands are a little shaky, but this was so much fun. And I actually followed my own instructions.

You can put whatev…

The Ten Paths Of Proverbs 2

There are many times during my Bible study each morning that I notice things about Scripture that I never saw before. It may be a phrase that jumps out at me, or maybe it's an entire verse that I don't remember being in that chapter before. It was right there, of course, tucked in where it always has been. But this time God opened my eyes to something new and exciting in HIs living, breathing word.

Reading through Proverbs for today's daily devotion on the side of this page, two words jumped off the page. Two words are liberally sprinkled throughout Proverbs 2: way and path. For any victorious Christian woman walking with the Lord, these two words are incredibly precious.

Here are the 10 uses of these words in this chapter.

1. The paths of judgment - On these paths, those who make considered decisions and come to a sensible conclusion will find themselves in God's perfect will. We may be tempted to stray from here because it's not the easiest path to walk, but we c…

Sunday Sketch

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This is the time to pull out your circle punches, circle cutters, circle templates or circle-drawing ability. You're going to need them for this sketch!

Layered circles in a variety of coordinating colors and patterns are the focal point of this beautiful card layout. If you have several sheets from a mat stack, you've found the easy way out. Or if you're feeling a little more confident, pick a theme or color palette, then mix and match to your heart's content.

Cut two large circles, two medium circles and two small circles, then randomly overlap them from the bottom left corner to the top right.

You'll need a sentiment that's also a circle, or you'll throw this whole sketch out of whack. And we can't have that now, can we?
For my card, I chose a autumn theme, since fall will be here before we know it. The patterns are all from the same paper pack, so they're pre-coordinated, which makes me very happy.

I cut three sizes of circles from five differe…

A Weekend Of Leaving Behind What You Were

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It's easy to tell which blackberries are ready to be picked - the ones that are black.

This may sound silly, but it's truly how you choose berries. If they're completely black, they're good to go. But then there are red ones, light pink ones and even some partially black and partially red.

The color makes a dramatic difference in texture and taste, so we wait until they've changed from their light beginning color to that deep black they get their name from.

If you don't look carefully, you can accidentally pick a berry that is black on the top but red underneath. From your perspective above the bush, it looks like a good, ripe berry. But underneath, it's nowhere close to ready.

Common sense, right?

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

This well-known verse seems like common sense, too. When we accept Jesus Christ, we are a new creature, but how have we done…

When A Project Doesn't Go So Well...

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Not every project you attempt will turn out like you planned. This became crystal clear to me recently. I wanted to try making a birdseed wreath to hang on the deck, so I gathered what I needed.

I mixed it up according to the directions I found.

And poured it into a prepared pan to set up. But that's where it ended. I'm still not sure what I did wrong, but when I tried to take it out of the pan, it broke in half. It wasn't very sticky, so I assume it was just too big and heavy to stay in that perfect wreath shape

But here's the most important lesson I learned from this crumbling experience: the birds didn't care one way or another if it wasn't in a fancy wreath shape hanging from a burlap ribbon.

They didn't care that I had to set it on the corner tray in a haphazard pile. At least I think that's what this look means.

All they cared about was having a big pile of birdseed that they didn't have the day before. My expectations and their expectations …

Organization Born Out Of Frustration

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Maybe you've had this experience, or maybe I'm the only one. You're ready to sit down and work on a craft project, and you're even slightly inspired. You're sure this is going to be a wonderful experience with a creative outcome.
Then you try to find the supplies you need, and it's all downhill from there.
That was my experience this week, and I couldn't believe how quickly my inspiration was zapped. I couldn't have made a card to save my life - it was that bad.

So instead of making a paper craft, I made a decision. No longer would I sit here swamped in stuff when it could be used for an actual, creative project. But how could I do that when I wasn't even sure what I had? Good question, self. Let's just pull it all out and see what's actually here.

I was shocked and a little embarrassed at everything I found. I had embellishments I don't remember buying and some I know I've had since my very first scrapbooking party more than 15 ye…

Words For Wednesday

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Dressed Up BLT Wraps

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Summer just wouldn't be summer without a classic BLT, right? The simple combination of bacon, lettuce and tomato is a staple of these hot months.

But what if you were to upgrade the ordinary BLT in a fun and healthy way?

Cook your bacon and slice up a beautiful, ripe tomato. Add some extra protein with slices of hard-boiled egg.

Then lose the bread and substitute a large lettuce leaf, like the romaine I used here. Just fold the edges up and you'll have a neat little package of deliciousness!

What are some of your favorite ways to have a BLT?