Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sticky Note Holder Gifts


One of the best parts of owning your own homemade craft business is being able to pick and choose the projects to work on each day. I love playing (I mean working, you know) with new techniques, tools and ideas to make something out of nothing every day. These sticky note holder gifts are a prefect example, so follow along to make your own.


You'll need 3x3 inch sticky notes, cardboard, card stock, decorator paper, fiber, your favorite embellishments and adhesive.


Cut the card board to 3.5x4.5 inches. This will give you an even mat around the 3x3 note pad with extra space at the top to embellish.


Cover the entire piece of cardboard with card stock, then mat a 3.25x4.25 piece of decorator paper on top. Adhere both layers.


 Then attach the back layer of the sticky note pad.



Embellish the top portion to your heart's content. Not only is this a great way to use up random bits and pieces you have on hand, you can decorate these holders for any occasion or holiday.


When you're done, you'll have a clever, creative note pad specially designed for those special people in your life.


Think Father's Day, last day of school, Fourth of July, that summer birthday or even Christmas! The possibilities are endless, just like your imagination!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Sketch

Today's sketch will give you the opportunity to layer panels of beautiful decorator paper. Add in a heartfelt sentiment and anyone would be blessed to receive this card in the mail.

Choose a solid or soft patterned paper for your background, as you'll be stacking several patterns on top of it. You can use two layers if you'd like, too, as long as they're subtle patterns.

Then, like the panels on a door, you'll make four rectangles of coordinating patterned paper. Make them all the same or use two patterns and stagger them for some added depth.

The sentiment is squarely centered inside another, more vibrant pattern. Use single layers or mat each one on a coordinating solid color. Choose one that really pops the pattern and you'll love the way it looks.

For my card, I started with a light, fabric-weave patterned paper. I had already chosen my other patterns, so it made sense to use something incredibly light and subtle.

Then I cut four rectangles, two of each pattern, and matted them all on the same shade of brown. The papers all came from the same collection, so they're pre-coordinated. I like not having to think...

The large leaf-themed pattern is the perfect background for my small verse of Scripture, matted on more coordinating paper. I love the way the verse stands out, white on dark, so it's the real focal point.

For more great layouts, come visit my Etsy shop. In addition to some inspiration, you'll also find a wide selection of cards, journals and other paper crafts. You'll walk away with new ideas, and maybe a gift or two.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Weekend Of Showing Mercy

Webster's defines mercy as showing compassionate treatment when one has the power to inflict harm, a disposition to showing compassion to an offender or adversary.

Jesus Christ spoke often of mercy, especially in teachings about the law of love and showing kindness to your enemies. He was an expert on the subject, as He faced a constant barrage of hate, anger, torture and eventually death.

But His instruction was always the same: be kind, show love and hope for nothing in return.

Be ye therefore merciful, as your father also is merciful. Luke 6:36

Using His own heavenly Father as the example, Christ told His disciples and the great multitude of people they were to show mercy as God had shown them mercy on so many occasions. Even those who had rejected God, rebelled against Him and turned their back on Him would be shown gentleness, kindness and compassion simply because it is part of His nature.

Make this a weekend of showing mercy. Think of how closely we will share His goodness when we are compassionate to someone who doesn't necessarily deserve it because He was compassionate when we didn't deserve it. Even those who have hurt us deeply can be shown mercy because God has been so very good to us.

Friday, May 27, 2016

10 Steps To Detailing Your Car

I'm in the last week of spring cleaning - finally! For the past several weeks, a friend and I have been going room by room through the entire house, deep cleaning anything and everything we could find. You really don't appreciate your home until you've been down on your hands and knees scrubbing, or high on a step stool tearing down cobwebs.

The last two tasks on the list are the one-car garage attached to the house and the windows. Friday will be an exceptionally long day as we have literally dozens on huge windows throughout the house.

To get a jump on the garage cleaning, I detailed my car. After the extremely long winter we had this year, the car was full of salt, dirt and ... yeah, I'm not sure what some of that was.

If you'd like to do a down-to-the-carpet deep clean of your own vehicle, here's a handy check list to get you motivated.

1. Gather your cleaning supplies. (It's always best to use car-specific cleaners, just to be on the safe side.) You'll want cleaning cloths, multi-surface cleaner, window cleaner and a shop vac. The smaller the attachments you have, the better.

2. Pull the car into a large open space and empty it completely. Pull out the floor mats, clear out the glove compartment and unload the trunk. Remove any cup holder liners and window clings, if you can.

3. Spray and clean the openings around the doors, especially if this is its first cleaning since winter or you live on gravel roads. This will probably be the dirtiest part of the job, so do it first.

4. Clean the insides of all the windows.

5. Get all the dust off the dashboard and console. You'll get in the crevices in a little while. Wipe out the glove compartment and any plastic, metal or rubber edges showing. This is probably the longest part of the process, but it makes all the difference. You'll see.

6. Depending on whether you have cloth or leather seats, use the appropriate cleaners to get all the grime off.

7. Grab your shop vac and run it over the entire interior of the car. This includes the seams on the seats, under the front seats and where every floor mat was. Don't forget the back window sill, since that's where the bugs like to collect.

8. Rinse off the floor mats, and scrub them if necessary. Leave them out to dry.

9. If you normally wash your car by hand, now is the time to get the outside done, or you can run it through the car wash. Treat yourself to the Executive Wash this time and watch it shine.

10. Sort through all of the stuff you removed from the car in Step 2. Only return the important paperwork to the glove compartment. Put a trunk organizer or crate in the trunk to keep your shopping bags and groceries from pouring out all over. Rotate in some new CDs and replace the cardboard coasters in your cup holders.

While it may not be a new car, you can definitely take good care of it. Who knows ... it might even run better without all that junk on it and in it!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rocky Road Fudge

In just over an hour with only four ingredients, you'll be enjoying an incredibly large batch of a delectable treat. If you even slightly like rocky road ice cream, you won't want to miss out on rocky road fudge!

Ingredients:
1 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips (any kind)
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
3 cups of mini marshmallows (approximately half the bag)
1 cup peanuts (finely chopped)

1. Line a 13x9 baking dish with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray.

2. Combine chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring each time. Continue until smooth.

3. Remove bowl from microwave and stir in 2/3 of the marshmallows. Save the rest for the topping.

4. Pour the warm mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining marshmallows and the chopped nuts. Press down with your hand to keep the toppings in place.

5. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to allow the fudge to set.

6. Cut fudge into squares. Remove carefully from the dish using the foil. Blot the underside with a paper towel if you used too much nonstick spray.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

$4 DIY Burlap And Twine Picture Frame


I wanted to make something special for Danny's parents since they're coming to visit in less than a week, and I thought a decorated picture of the four of us would be perfect. 


With just four items from the dollar store, I was able to put together this lovely gift: a frame, a small roll of burlap, a spool of twine and a bunch of flowers.


I started by taking the frame and wrapping it in the burlap. A line of hot glue keeps the end in place.


 Then I wrapped it all the way around the straight edges, leaving the corners exposed., trimming and gluing as necessary.


On the second time around, I focused on the corners and added a little hot glue to keep them in place. 


This is what it looked like after that step.


 Once around with the twine.


Then I attached the picture to the cardboard stand of the frame with double stick tape. I used a thin line of glue around the very edge of the cardboard and adhered it to the back of the burlap-wrapped frame.


A little more hot glue for the two flowers and it was all done! In a matter of minutes, with just a few dollars spent, I had a beautiful gift that I hope they love as much as I do!

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Enemy's Plot

It is no secret that Satan targets Christians. We are a threat to him simply by our association to Jesus Christ, and the enemy will do all he can to defeat us emotionally, mentally and spiritually while we're on this earth.

He can't have your soul, but he can try his hardest to steal your joy.

If you don't study Scripture and understand the enemy's plot — his tactics for warfare against you — there is no way to stand against him. He wants to keep you ignorant and confused so you'll be useless to the Lord and His plan. God has given us the weapons, and now it's up to us to see the devil's schemes for what they are.

* He will provoke you to do things you wouldn't normally do. (1 Chronicles 21:1)

* He wants to sow tares into the field of the world. (Matthew 13:37-39)

* He will hinder the word of God any chance he gets. (Mark 4:15)

* He will work for a while, then leave for a season before returning. (Luke 4:13)

* He wants nothing more than to bind you. (Luke 13:16)

* He is nothing but a murderer and there is no truth in him. (John 8:44)

* He comes only to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10)

* His target is your heart. (John 13:2)

* He speaks nothing but lies, to you and the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5:3)

* His favorite tool is oppression. (Acts 10:38)

* He uses subtlety and mischief to get his way. (Acts 13:10)

* He turns people away from light and toward darkness. (Acts 26:18)

* He wants to see the destruction of flesh. (1 Corinthians 5:5)

* He will tempt you away if you are not consistent. (1 Corinthians 7:1)

* He is always looking for an advantage into your life. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

* He will hinder you any way he possibly can. (1 Thessalonians 2:18)

* He will gladly turn you aside from the Lord. (1 Timothy 5:15)

* He is continually on the prowl to see who he can devour. (1 Peter 5:8)


But there is so much hope.

* He knows he has a short time left. (Revelation 12:12)

* He has already been cursed to everlasting fire, prepared just for him. (Matthew 25:41)

* He will spend eternity in torment. (Revelation 20:10)

* We have been given power over him by Jesus Christ Himself. (Luke 10:19)

* He can't have a place in your life unless you give it to him. (Ephesians 4:25)

* The armor God gives us will stand against the devil's wiles. (Ephesians 6:11)

* Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee. (James 4:7)


The mighty Lord we serve has come to bring us life more abundant. We're not bound to the misery and subtlety of the enemy because God has provided us with ways to defeat him time after time. I encourage you today to recognize the lies of Satan, turn to God's word for truth and stand firm in your faith. He is a conquered foe, and we can live a joy-filled life that is pleasing to God despite the enemy's best efforts. What a promise!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Sketch

If this sketch reminds you of something, then my work here is done. Today's card is designed to look like a composition notebook, and I've made several journals like this lately. Making a card that looked like them just seemed natural.

Use two different patterns of paper for the background, like a composition notebook has. Keep them coordinated, choosing one subtle and one bright pattern. The two right hand corners are rounded just like the notebook.

You'll also need two fibers - a thick ribbon and a smaller twine. An adorable big button will be strung on the twine to accent the ribbon.

Add a more vertical sentiment and you've got a great, one-of-a-kind card.
For my card, I started with two fall patterns. (Yes, I'm starting to work on autumn cards for the shop!) One is more subtle, and that's the one I used as the "spine" of the composition notebook. Once the patterns were adhered, I rounded the right hand corners of both layers of the folded card.

The ribbon was attached to the back of the paper before it was tacked down, as was the brown and white baker's twine. Then I strung the button and tacked the whole thing down.

The hand-stamped sentiment fits perfectly in the open space on the bright pattern.

For more great card inspiration, along with hundreds of other cards and paper gifts, head over to my Etsy shop. Not only will you get some neat ideas for you own projects, you'll probably walk away with a gift or two!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Weekend Of Getting The Weeding Done

This picture comes from the result of a whole year without weeding. It's not a pretty picture, but an accurate one nonetheless. You see a combination of dandelions, creeping Charlie and some other unidentifiable green stuff.

I have a brown thumb, can you tell?

Not to mention that all sorts of spiders and other bugs had made their homes under all that overgrown mess. I sent Danny a picture of one of them because it was the largest spider I had ever seen on the property. You don't realize how many different types of insects there are in the world until you stir them all up in your backyard.

In contrast, this is the rock garden that was hidden underneath all that growth. I knew it was there, but it took several hours of work to find it. There's still more to be done, but finding the rocks inch by inch was (and is) motivation to keep going.

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word: and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. Matthew 13:22

Make this a weekend of getting the weeding done — not in your garden, necessarily, but in your heart. Have you let the cares of the world grow up inside? Are you so overgrown with weeds of other priorities that God's word isn't getting a chance to flourish?

If so, it's time to get on your knees and do some weeding. You might be surprised at all the loveliness you'll find underneath the junk.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Birds Of The Carrell Wildlife Preserve

 If there was any doubt in your mind as to what time of year it is, you'd just have to walk the property this week to see all the animals were have right now. The birds, especially, are everywhere in May.


We have at least two groups of turkeys, each with different walking patterns around the property. One group only has three members, and they walk across the driveway in the early evening. The other is twice as big and walk around the little pond early in the morning.


I put up our hummingbird feeders this week, and they were put to good use within an hour. This window in the dining room has a screen on it, so the birds aren't able to see in. This makes it much more fun to watch them and take their picture.


And they're not the only ones enjoying the nectar. There is a pair of orioles that drink from them just as much as the hummingbirds do. I try to chase them away because they're big bullies.


And I'm in Proud Aunt mode again, as the mama sparrow in the nest above our security light has a brand new set of quintuplets. They're still so little, and mama is very protective of them. Right now she won't even move off the nest when the girls and I come outside. Molly seems to know they're there, as she'll sit under the nest and listen to the chirps.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Italian Chicken Crescents

Most everyone has frozen chicken in their freezer, and this recipe is a fun way to use some of it. It's tasty and a fun appetizer, so you can make it in large batches to feed a crowd.

Ingredients:
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter
Italian seasoning
1 tube crescent roll dough
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 slices mozzarella cheese

1. Thaw chicken and cut into 6-inch strips.

2. Melt butter in the bottom of a large skillet. Add chicken, stirring to coat on all sides. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Cook 10 minutes or until almost completely done.

3. Remove chicken from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

4. While the chicken is cooling, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

5. Unroll crescent roll dough. Place one piece of chicken at the wide end of each roll. Top with Parmesan cheese and cover with 1/4 of a slice of mozzarella cheese.

6. Roll up the crescents and place on baking sheet.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 14-16 minutes, or until rolls have browned and cheese is all melted and gooey.

8. Serve immediately with marinara sauce or BBQ sauce. These are best eaten the day they're made, so prepare accordingly.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Handmade Cards With Pockets


Don't just send a card - send a card with a gift! This adorable pocket card can be modified however you like: to hold a bookmark like this one, to give a gift card or even a small book. All you have to do is change the size and shape because the technique is the same.


Start by covering your card with a pretty pattern. This is what will show when the pocket is folded down, so make sure it coordinates with everything else.


Then cut another pattern of the same size, but don't adhere it yet. That comes later.


Place the top layer over the card and fold down one corner. By laying it on top, you can see exactly how much of the underneath pattern will show through.


Tack down that corner by whatever means you'd like. I put a piece of double stick tape underneath to reinforce the three metal brads.


Now here is the most important part of the whole process - adhere just the edge of the top layer but NOT the folded edge. (Yes, this is the voice of experience talking. You don't want to waste any paper.)


Then, when you stick it down, that top layer will make the folded edge a pocket so you can tuck your bookmark or gift card inside. Then embellish it to your heart's content.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Game Of Scripture Tag

If you've never played Scripture Tag before, it's a fun way to study and learn Bible verses with a friend. You pick a topic, like forgiveness or mercy, and go back and forth giving the book, chapter and verse of Scripture on that topic.

You can play this game anywhere, but it's most fun to play by text. A friend and I played for most of an afternoon this week while we were doing other things around our respective houses. It only takes a minute to look up a Scripture, then you wait for the other person to text back with a follow-up verse. You look that one up in your Bible, then "tag, you're it!" as you send another verse. They'll look yours up and add another one.

This can go on indefinitely.

Try playing with a variety of topics and you're sure to discover some new gems as your friend shares her favorite verses.

So here's how ours began. I'm not going to type out the verses because reading them on your own is half the fun. Our topic was encouragement:

Romans 8:28

Psalm 143:12

Philippians 4:13

2 Thessalonians 3:3

John 11:27

1 Corinthians 15:58

Psalm 27:14

Joshua 1:9

We had to pause for a while as she was driving the kids home from school and then while I was actually talking on the phone. (You know you can use phones to make calls, too, right?)

Matthew 5:6

3 John 11

James 1:12

1 Samuel 7:3

Proverbs 31:25

Psalm 9:9

We also had to make some comments as we went, like mentioning that I had just read this verse in my morning devotion time. If there's something that you just need to shout "Glory!" over, make sure you do that, too.

Jeremiah 29:11

Ephesians 6:10-13

Philippians 2:13

Psalm 37:4

Psalm 37:5

Matthew 5:16

Scripture Tag really keeps you on your toes as you think of verses within your topic and where they are. Technically you could do a search for that topic and copy-and-paste, but that's cheating. Do as much as you can from memory. Then mark the verses your friend sends as you go so you'll remember what they shared with you.

I've also heard of this played as a youth group game, going around in the circle until each person is stumped. However you play it, you'll have these Scriptures on your heart long after the game is over. Keep track of the verses given and you'll have an extensive Bible study on a number of topics.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Sketch

Here's a fun sketch that will let you dress up a patterned paper and make it spectacular! Little embellishments can make a one-of-a-kind design when paired with a great decorator paper.

Choose a pattern and embellishments that coordinate, like flowers and gems, circles and punched images or hearts and metal brads. This is a great time to use up several little embellishments all at once.

Then choose a small, coordinating image for your focal point. Mat it on coordinating card stock and stack it behind a sentiment. Everything will tie together because you've used the same colors and theme throughout the layout.
For the front of my journal, I chose a beautiful blue and green flowered decorator paper. Because the centers were already purple, I used purple gems as the flowers' accents. There were eight flower centers showing, so they each got a gem.

Then I cut out the same green flower, but from the coordinating paper with a white background. This is why that flower seems to pop off the page as a focal point.

The focal point flower and the Bible verse are both accented with teal gems, the same color as the background paper. This way everything stays in the same color family.

This prayer journal, along with many other cards and paper crafts, can be found in my Etsy shop. Come visit today for more great inspiration, and maybe a gift or two!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Weekend Of Better Sleep

Are you a heavy sleeper, or do you toss and turn all night? Does the slightest noise wake you up or could you sleep through a rocket launch?

Sleep is such an important part of our well-being, physically and mentally. If we're worn out just getting out of bed, it's going to be a long day. And no, rolling out of bed onto the floor doesn't count as getting up.

On the other hand, when we've gotten the rest we need, we wake up feeling refreshed, relaxed and ready to take on the day. A good night's sleep reboots out system and prepares us for whatever lies ahead.

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

Make this a weekend of getting better sleep. I don't mean taking an extra nap this afternoon (although that sounds lovely, doesn't it?) but instead preparing your heart for an amazing night's sleep. How do you do that? By talking to the Shepherd instead of counting sheep.

David wrote this Psalm to praise God for the peace and safety he felt in His presence. He was able to sleep comfortably and wake up refreshed because he trusted int he Lord to stand watch over him by night and take care of whatever situations the day would bring. That's the secret to better sleep.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Our Downstairs Coffee Cart


Danny's parents will be here in less than three weeks, so much of my spring cleaning emphasis has been in the prophet's chamber downstairs. I love being able to make that area special and cozy, a get-away just for them. And for this visit they'll have an added amenity - their own coffee center!


We used to have this rolling cart in the kitchen of our house in South Carolina, but there's been no room for it upstairs here in Iowa. It's been unused down in the basement, so now it will be put to good use. Our Vue is down there, too, along with a microwave for reheating if necessary.


Several small coffee products, plus enough cups for a couple of days are in one side of the cart. I also put the water kettle down there, with some loose tea and extra water cups. I'm excited to see what else they might need and add it to the collection.


Plus it's Molly approved. That's the best seal of approval you can have!