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Showing posts from April, 2016

A Weekend Of Spring Cleaning

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I'm three weeks into spring cleaning. It feels like three months, but only because so much is getting accomplished. I have a dear, sweet friend who has been helping me with the big tasks, and then it comes down to the detail work.

What details? No one can help me file paperwork, sort my closet or organize the craft room. While I'd like to delegate the scrubbing of dog bowls or the cutting out and organizing of more than three years worth of newspaper articles, it still rests on my shoulders.

After a full day of work inside, moments like the one pictured here make it all worth it. My home is clean (or getting there), it's welcoming and it still has the most special place in my heart. Cleaning and organizing make you see your home through new eyes —  in a way you would never experience it if you weren't intimately aware of its every nook and cranny, for better or worse.

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27

Ma…

Candy Surprise Snickerdoodle Cookies

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Snickerdoodle cookies are an amazing treat by themselves, but add a candy surprise to the middle and they're out of this world!

They're best eaten warm, so don't worry about how to pack up the leftovers. I think you understand what I'm trying to subtly tell you...

 Ingredients:
1 bag Snickerdoodle cookie mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 package of the tiniest chocolate/peanut candy you can find (like Snickers)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2. Pour cinnamon/sugar mixture from the cookie package into a bowl and set aside.

3. Combine all ingredients except the candy and the cinnamon/sugar mixture in the cookie package.

4. Wrap each piece of candy with just enough dough to cover it completely, pinching the edges closed. This will keep all of the obey-gooeyness in.

5. Roll the cookie dough ball in the cinnamon/sugar mixture and place on the baking sheet.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minute…

Words For Wednesday

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Faux Tile Backgrounds For Handmade Cards

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Why have a boring background for your handmade card when you can make a faux tile look on any patterned paper in just a few minutes?

Depending on the pattern of your paper and how strong you make your "tile grout," it can be a subtle look or a very dramatic one.

Start with an embossing mat, metal ruler, embossing stylus and your chosen paper. If you don't have an embossing mat, you can easily make light pencil marks on the edges of your paper and erase them when you're done.

Flip your ruler over and use the flat side to line up equal measurements across your paper. Use the largest embossing tool you have to make bold lines, or the smallest to make subtle ones.

Too subtle? There's an easy way to make them stand out more.

 Dab a small amount of chalk in each intersection of lines, then smooth it out and blow off any excess. 

 This will give some dimension to your new tile pattern and make the lines pop off the page.
This card, along with many other paper crafts an…

Are You Asking The Right Questions?

When you do your daily Bible study, are you asking any questions like these?

Am I done yet?
Do I really need to know this?
Why is this even in the Bible?
Does God really mean me here?
Have I read enough for today?
How is this important in this day and age?

If these are your questions, you're probably not getting too much out of your devotion time. It's easy to get distracted and rush through when you know yr to-do list is waiting for you. And besides, you've read this passage a dozen times and know it by heart? Why really study it again?

Well, for starters, the Bible is a living, breathing book inspired by God. You are my the same person (mentally or spiritually) that you were the last time you read it, so God is prepared to reveal new truths and meaning this time through. What a waste it would be if you hurried to get done and missed out on the blessing He had all ready for you.

Also, Bible study isn't just about you. It's about absorbing all you can and hiding it away in …

Sunday Sketch

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Some craft ideas and techniques are completely out of my comfort zone, and that's why I love them. I'm never satisfied doing the same layout or the same color combination over and over again. I want the interesting, different, unique products and designs to spark my creativity whenever possible. That's what today's sketch did for me.

It's simply a combination of two background papers, four images or embellishments and a sentiment. For a girl who loves layers and the little details, this was rather difficult for me to wrap my mind around.

But when I did, it was so much fun to play around with it. Use the diagonal line across the card to pair up papers you wouldn't normally put together. Choose and theme, then find some large images that will balance the card and take up the vast amount of space.
For my card, I chose a patriotic theme, as I'm just beginning to put summer cards back into the shop. A blue card stock and red patterned paper, matted in slightly …

A Weekend Of Overflowing Cups

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I started doing spring cleaning last week, getting rid of the dust and the dog hair that has accumulated over the winter. It's been wonderful to open up the house, air things out and really do a deep cleaning of our home. Until you're really in the thick of things, you don't realize how a little bit of dirt and clutter quickly spread.

Part of the process for me has been getting rid of things we haven't used since we moved back to Iowa, paring down things I have duplicates of and organizing everything that is left. I truly believe that a cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind, so with how cluttered my brain has felt lately, apparently this needed to be done.

But when I attacked the kitchen this week, there was one cabinet I couldn't thin out. This isn't the only cabinet that has coffee cups in it, but it's the one with the most coffee cups in it. The problem, I think, is that they each hold a memory — they are places we've been, people we knew and mom…

Bless Me, Lord

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Baked Cinnamon Donuts With Cinnamon Sugar Topping

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I've been making an effort lately to clean out the pantry and use up what I can before they reach their expiration date. (And save money by using what I already have on hand.) Many three- and four-ingredient recipes still require some out-of-the-ordinary item, so it can be difficult to make things from scratch.

But donuts are not this way. Donuts — lovely, scrumptious, perfect donuts — may have a number of ingredients, but they're all ones you already have in your kitchen. Plus, if you bake them, they're quick, easy and slightly healthier.

But who wants to be healthy when they're eating a donut?

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
half a stick of butter (4 Tbsp)
1/2 cup sugar (I used vanilla-flavored sugar)
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 stick of butter (8 Tbsp)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pull out two non-stick donut pans. (No need to grease or spray them.)

2…

Words For Wednesday

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A Single Cup Coffee Pod Gift Box

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If you're looking for something small to make that you can give as a thank you present, birthday present or gift for any occasion, you'll love these single-cup coffee boxes. They're a miniature version of my explosion boxes.

Start with a 6-inch square of card stock. Choose any color - I chose white so it would stand out for you.

Score it into nine squares.

Then cut out each of the four corner squares.

This is what will make the bottom and sides of the box.

To make the lid, cut a square just over 3 inches square. Score around the edge to make a 2.25-inch square in the middle.

Going around the box, cut one side of each tiny corner square to make tabs.

These tabs fold in to make the edge of the lid.

When you put the lid on, it will fit loosely, holding the sides of the box in.

Now comes the fun part! I cut squares from spring-themed paper to mat on the outside of the box and the top of the lid. Each one is 2 7/8 inches square so there is a little white showing around the edg…

Where Does Your Power Come From?

When I first got my poison ivy three weeks ago, one of the first things I had to do was give up working out. I've been on quite a roll, and I've lost quite a few much-needed pounds. But once I was sick, itchy and medicated, I knew there was no way I had enough strength to exercise, and it took quite a few days before I started back up.

And boy, could I tell the difference. After more than a week of not lifting weights or doing yoga, I felt as weak as a baby. I had increased my dumbbell weight just before I got sick, but I had to go back to the starter weight to be able to lift them. And I couldn't hold some of my yoga poses as long as I could just a few days earlier.

Talk about a blow to my ego!

I've slowly increased and improved during my workouts again, but I'm still not back to where I was before. I hoped I would just bounce back - and be even better - but that wasn't the case. Losing some energy and strength is just part of being sick, though it's hard …

Sunday Sketch

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Find the largest embellishment you have and get ready to make a dramatic card with today's sketch.

While it doesn't have to be a flower, you'll want to choose a vertical image to fit a vertical card. Think buildings in a cityscape, the tower of a castle or a tree with spring buds.

Then you'll do two sets of double mats. The back two will be a solid color of card stock and a subtle pattern that won't detract from the image. The top two will frame the image on white with a coordinating mat behind it.

Add a horizontal sentiment across the whole card and you'll have a beautiful card ready for brightening someone's day.
For my card, I started with the beautiful purple iris and worked my way backward. I matted it on white card stock to make those colors pop and then added a medium purple mat. By starting with the image, I was able to cut everything else in the right proportions, which might not have happened if I started with the background.

I chose a light purp…

Keeping The Thief Away

If you leave your front door unlocked at night, you're giving a burglar an engraved invitation to come take your stuff. If you leave your car windows rolled down, you can bet that the car will be empty - or gone - when you return. If you leave your purse unattended at the grocery store, don't be surprised if you end up paying for someone else's groceries, and possibly an overseas vacation.
These scenarios may sound ludicrous, but this is what we often do to our hearts and minds, giving the devil open access to our lives.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy... John 10:10
In the tenth chapter of John, in the midst of Jesus' message about being the Good Shepherd, He reminded his followers that there truly was an enemy out there. The thief only has two things on his mind - making the sheep miserable and drawing them as far away from the Shepherd as he can.
The enemy would love to:
Trade your faith for fear. Steal your joy and replace it with depress…

Fourteen Years Of The Bailey Dog

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Over the weekend we had to say goodbye to our sweet Bailey. She was 14 years old and was starting to get sick, so we knew it was her time to go. 

Bailey was the very first dog I'd ever had, so she was very special to me. She loved to be nearby no matter what you were doing, and she would watch carefully, waiting for you to drop something so she could investigate it.

When we lived in town, she would wear her backpack on walks. It helped her work off a little more of her energy and gave her a job to do while we spent those precious morning hours together.

She and Sadie were inseparable from the moment they met. Sadie is four months younger than Bailey, so she doesn't remember a time when Bailey wasn't around. They were truly sisters and hated to be away from each other. We even had them put in the same kennel when they had to be boarded, just so they wouldn't be apart.

 Bailey was a water dog all her life. Whether it was in a pool in the backyard or diving head-first in…

Words For Wednesday

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There Will Be Showers Of Blessings

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The word "spring" always makes me think of cool spring rains. You sit back and listen to the rain drops on the roof, then rolling down the rain spout.

For some people rain means dreary days and dodging puddles. For me it means spring days, trees turning green and new life coming up all around.

This is the same image that I have in my mind when I read Scripture about rain. There are so many passages where God promises rain for faithfulness and drought for those who stray from His presence. He uses rain to heal, to quench thirst and as a picture of His desire to bless us in so many ways.

And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the …

Sunday Sketch

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Today's sketch is a great opportunity to create your own backdrop using your favorite paper craft supplies.

After double-matting two colors of card stock, use stickers, stamps or a fun patterned paper to create a sweeping background. Going from corner to corner, you can draw the eye from one edge to the other.

Then position three small images across the swirls, adding to the movement of the design.

A small sentiment in the bottom corner will add balance, especially when it's made in coordinating colors.
For my card, I chose to use simple black and white. I started by double-matting black and white card stock, finishing with the clean, white background.

Then I used textured swirl stickers to draw the eye from the bottom left to upper right corner.

I stamped two dragonflies and a butterfly on textured, white card stock and matted them on black to make them stand out even more. Arranging them randomly on the swirls helps them "fly" across the card.

The card is finished…

A Weekend Of Healing

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After having a cold, sunburn and poison ivy all at the same time last week, it's no wonder our medicine cabinet is bursting at the seams.

Yes - it was a rough week.

And your stash of over-the-counter medication probably looks very much like this. We stock up on whatever we think will get us through this round of illness, just hoping we'll survive with all our body parts intact.

But what are the choices when your hurt goes deeper?

Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely ... He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Psalm 147:1, 3

You can have all the bandages, lotions and lozenges on hand that you want, but when your heart is hurting and bruised, there is no overnight fix. You can't pop a pill and have instant relief. But praise the Lord, the psalmist wrote, that our heavenly Father can heal the broken heart and bind up every wound.

Make this a weekend of healing - not the kind a throat dro…

Three-Ingredient Breakfast Cookies

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With three ingredients you probably already have in the pantry, you'll be able to serve a quick, healthy breakfast treat tomorrow morning.

Ingredients:
2 large bananas, mashed (the riper the better)
2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Mash bananas until smooth. Add in oats and combine. Gently stir in chips.

3. Drop by rounded spoonful onto parchment paper.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes. Remove immediately to a cooling rack.

Words For Wednesday

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Cardboard Building Squares

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One of my goals for the new year has been to use up a lot of the old craft supplies that are taking up space in the sun room. I'm ashamed to say that I still have many things (like paper, embellishments and stickers) that I purchased the very first year that I started stamping and scrapbooking. If there was a support group for addicted crafters, I would join in a heartbeat.

So in this effort, I came across a bag that simply had cardboard in it. I'm guessing they were in packages of scrapbook paper, but to be honest, I don't really remember.

Why have a bag full of cardboard when you can have a huge stack of cardboard building squares? Doesn't that sound like much more fun - for kids and adults alike?

Making the building blocks is almost as much fun and playing with them. All I did was take a handful of pieces of cardboard ...

... score them with the paper trimmer ...

... and cut out the squares.

Now comes Creative Part 1. Each square gets random notches cut out. Some …