Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer Vegetable Salad

If you're ready to use up those last summer vegetables - whether they're from your garden or someone else's - this salad is the perfect choice.

With a mix of several favorite veggies, you can mix and match to your heart's content. If you come up with a great combination, let me know!

3 ears sweet corn, cooked and cut off the cob
12 grape tomatoes, quartered
1 can sweet peas, drained
1 roasted red pepper, chopped finely
2 celery stalks, chopped finely
1/2 cup Italian dressing

Prepare all of your ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with salad dressing. Refrigerate in an air-tight container.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Follow Peace, Be Holy, See The Lord

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14

Times don't change, and there in no new thing under the sun. When the writer of Hebrews penned the words above, he was making an appeal for endurance. There would be trying times in his readers' lives, circumstances that would cause their hands to hang down and their knees to get weak. Some of them would be so tired and useless that they would simply give up and walk away from God's path for them.

Doesn't this sound exactly like today, too? There has been no change in people over the centuries, as believers still give up in the face of trials and turn away from the guidance of the Lord. We still get worn down, frustrated, disillusioned and weary in our well-doing, leading some to just take their toys and go home.

But in Hebrews 12:14, we find words of encouragement for those tough moments. First, follow peace with all men. When your flesh wants to take over, when you want to verbalize your innermost thoughts or you think you would feel better getting everything off your chest, it seems easier to just lash out and deal with the consequences later. After all, isn't that what has been done to you in the past?

Instead, follow peace. Go after it. Pursue it with all your heart. Chase peace wherever it takes you and stay as close behind it as you can. Follow peace, that whispering of the Holy Spirit that directs you to pause before you speak, deal with even the most belligerent of people with kindness and have patience in your soul. It's not easy, or everyone would do it. It takes determination to follow peace, and it requires the resolve to say you won't react in a way that hurts in any way, shape or form.

The other half of the Hebrews 12:14 coin is holiness. What good will it do to make a change in your spiritual life without getting your heart right with God and living a life that is pure in His eyes? That's like washing the supper dishes in the water you washed the lunch dishes in. It may be a good idea to wash them, but it's pretty ineffective to use cold, dirty water. You would never do that, right? You'd empty the old water, rinse out the sink and start over in clean, hot, soapy water.

The same applies to your heart. If you're going to follow peace with all men, God wants you to be a clean, pure, holy vessel for Him first. He can't use you to your full potential if you have filth left inside you. This is the time to purge yourself of anything that is separating you from the Lord, and only you know what that is. It's probably that thing that you're comfortable with, scared to give up or refusing to lay down. Start there and pray about anything in your life that is keeping you from holiness.

With these two messages in mind, men will be able to see the Lord. When you're treating everyone in your life with love and respect, following peace in your relationships, they will see God working and moving in and through you. If you were to attempt peace with all men without living a holy life, they won't believe anything spiritual you try to share with them - and why would they? You're not living it, so your influence is drastically reduced.

The purpose of your time here on earth is to bring God glory and honor. Your testimony is based on how you let Him use you in His way. If you're truly following peace with all men and making your vessel and life holy every day, those who know and love you - and even strangers you meet in passing - will be able to see the Lord in you. And it may be the only time they ever see Him. Let your faith lead everyone back to God.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Sketch

If you've got some great themed papers - especially one with words on it - today's sketch will be a great place to use them.

Practice your paper-tearing skills by layering two torn patterned papers on the top of your card and overlap a large, fun image in that upper left corner.

This will leave the bottom of the background paper peeking out the bottom. This is a great place for a longer sentiment, or you can let the words on the paper itself be your sentiment.
That's what I did for my card today. The youth of our church went back to school this week, so I thought this card would be more than appropriate this weekend.

I started with three patterned papers - no card stock today - each with its own colors and designs. I used the chalkboard as the very back layer, making sure I could read the whole phrase and see the apple in the bottom corner.

Then I tore the paper of the textured red and the large letters to layer on top of that. When you have a background image that you want to see, work from the back to the front. In other words, don't tear the paper until you know how much to tear off.

Then I matted the 3D book image on two layers of coordinating decorator paper and trimmed it to overlap the two torn papers.

For more great inspiration, visit my Etsy shop. You'll find hundreds of handmade Christian cards, journals and paper crafts there, and probably a gift idea or two.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Weekend Of Sticking

When I found this fruit infuser tumbler at the dollar store, I was so excited. I've wanted to try this popular trend for a while, but just couldn't bring myself to pay so much money for a glass. So when there was one for $1, and in purple, I couldn't resist.

I went to take the manufacturer's sticker off the side, though, and it was tough going. It was incredibly sticky, and attempts to remove it in one fell swoop were futile. It ripped into many pieces and left a nasty residue where it had been.

Even washing it and using a variety of cleaners didn't help. One sponge I used did the opposite of help - it scratched the plastic, which you can see on the right side of this picture. I'm still using it because it works great, but there is still sticky on the side of the glass.

I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. Psalm 119:31

Make this a weekend of sticking. Don't get stuck to the side of your glass, but stick so close to God and His Word that you would leave a sticky trail behind you if you were peeled off. Stick yourself to His grace, His peace and His joy with the strongest adhesive your heart has to offer and then stay there. Be sticky - but in a good way.

There are many things that will try to unstick you from the presence of the Lord: troubling times, upsetting circumstances, obstinate people. This is when you double up on faith, put your trust in God and stick as close as you can so you won't get scraped off by the world around you. Be so stuck to Him that you become part of Him, because that's the perfect place to be unremovable.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Ready-For-Fall Accordion Album

The cooler temperatures in the morning and evening are a sure sign that fall is on its way. It's my favorite time of the year, and there's nothing like an autumn-themed project to get you ready for the change of seasons. 

This adorable accordion album is so easy to make and will make a great gift - if you can part with it yourself!

You'll need cardboard, card stock, patterned decorator paper, ribbon or thread and some strong adhesive.

Cut two pieces of cardboard however large you'd like the album to be. Mine are just over 5 inches square.

Cover all four sides with card stock and ink-distress the edges.

Add the tie closure by adhering your ribbon to what will be the back of the album.

Then cover the two outer sides with patterned paper, effectively covering the ribbon and holding it in place.

Cut strips of card stock that can be matted inside the card stock of the inside covers. They'll be as high as the paper you used on the outside covers and as wide as two of them. Cut four strips and fold each one in half, making eight pages.

Connect the v-shaped card stock strips, alternating directions, so they form an accordion. Adhere them together.

And then adhere the two ends to the inside covers.

Once you've decorated the cover, you can tie it all up for a pretty gift. Give it empty like this as a DIY project or fill it with photos, quotes, verses and anything else you can think of.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wild Blackberry Crescents With Cinnamon Honey Butter

Wild blackberry season on the property is over, but I've tried so many blackberry recipes that I'll still be sharing them during the upcoming weeks.

I'd never made flavored butter before, but this cinnamon honey butter is perfect for dipping, spreading or swimming in, whichever you prefer. Once you've made it and if you have any left, store it in the refrigerator and then heat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to make it soft again. (Not enough to melt it, but just enough to soften.)

Blackberry crescents:
1 tube refrigerator crescent rolls
1 1/2 cups blackberries, asked and dried
1/8 cup sugar, plus some to sprinkle

Cinnamon honey butter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick, room temperature)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees or as directed on the crescents package.

2. Gently toss blackberries with sugar.

3. Unroll the dough and break into triangles. Spoon a small amount of sugared berries onto the large end of the triangle, roll dough into a crescent and place on an engrossed baking sheet.

4. Bake according to package directions, until tops of the rolls are browned.

5. While crescents are baking, use the whisk attachment of a stand mixer to whip the butter until fluffy, about 1 minute. With mixer on medium, add other ingredients until combined and smooth. Once combined, increase speed and whip until fluffy.

6. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Reading Through Your Hymnal

Can you identify the hymns that the following lyrics come from?

1. For the Father waits over the way, To prepare us a dwelling place there.

2. Many arrows pierce my soul from without, within, But my Lord leads me on, thru Him I must win.

3. When I am sad to Him I go, No other one can cheer me so; When I am sad He makes me glad - He's my Friend.

4. Sweet is the tender love Jesus hath shown, Sweeter far than any love that mortals have known.

5. But drops of grief can ne'er repay The debt of love I owe; Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee, 'Tis all that I can do.

6. Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done, And great our rejoicing thro' Jesus the Son.

Do you have all sorts of melodies and harmonies going through your head now? Good. Have fun with that all day!

How many of the six hymns were you able to name? A couple of them, most of them? Were there any that you could sing the melody but you couldn't remember more of the words? Or do you know the chorus but not the verses?

We so often sing on Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night without really thinking about what we're singing. If you've sung "Amazing Grace" every week for 20 years, has it lost its spark in your heart? Are you going through the motions when the song leader has you turn to "What a Friend We Have In Jesus" because you know the song forwards and backwards?

Some of the most beautiful uses of Scripture can be found in the hymnal you hold each service. The songwriters have used their faith, their experiences and the truth of God's Word to give us these spiritual songs. They poured out their hearts, their souls and probably a few tears to put pen to paper and notes to the staff.

I am just as guilty of not paying attention to hymn lyrics as the next person. When you've been raised on these songs, they're more muscle memory than present-day experience. When I would practice piano growing up, I would always play a few hymns at the end of my half hour, so I'm quite familiar with the patterns, the notes and the key signatures. But if that's all that is in my head, I'm really missing out.

Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before;
Every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more;
Jesus saves and keeps me, And He's the One I'm waiting for:
Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.

If these are the lyrics in front of me this Sunday, I want to think about my Saturday while I sing. He did amazing things all day Saturday, blessing me and protecting me. We had good fellowship together, I was moved during my Bible study time and He prepared my heart for the Lord's day. What a wonderful, beautiful Saturday.

But now it's Sunday, and I'm standing in the midst of the congregation singing these words. Yesterday was sweet, but every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. How precious is this promise that no matter how amazing yesterday was, today will be even better. There is no such thing as an "off day" with Jesus Christ, so today He will build upon the blessings of yesterday and make today even more special.

Wouldn't have we missed that perspective on the Lord's blessings if we're just reading words on a page and putting them to music? We can't expect to be moved by the Holy Spirit in a worship service if we're not personally invested in each part of it. That's why understanding and applying these words are more important than just reading them as words set to music.

Whatever hymns are chosen for your services in the upcoming week have been placed there by God for a reason. If He has laid them on the song leader's heart, then there is an important message in them that you're supposed to see. I pray we will dig deeper into the music this week and open our hearts to the possibilities God can move us to.

And in case your were wondering, here are the answers:
1. Sweet By and By
2. Oh, I Want to See Him
3. Jesus Is All the World to Me
4. Where He Leads I'll Follow
5. Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?
6. To God Be the Glory

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Sketch

While this is a very simple layout today, you'll have so much fun creating your card that it won't matter.

All you need this week are a few scraps of various colored card stock and a piece of decorator paper.

Mat two colors for your background, putting the brightest color on top. Use the other colors to mat a phrase that is at least three lines deep.

Then you'll tilt your decorator paper so that it's slightly askew and hanging off the edges of the card itself.

For my card, I chose a back-to-school theme because it's almost that time. (Whether you like it or not.) I used two of the colors from the decorator paper to use as the colors for my background mats.

The background paper is trimmed down to almost a square and turned so it overlaps the edges. If it didn't already have a green border around it, I would have added one myself to separate it from the green in the background.

I printed out my three words since I didn't have exactly what I wanted, and then I matted each one of a different scrap of colored card stock.

To make it a little more interesting, I added tiny gems to the different alphabet cards.

For more great inspiration, come visit my Etsy shop. You'll find hundreds of cards for ideas or to purchase, along with handmade journals, albums and other paper crafts.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Weekend Of Redefining Commitment

When soldiers begin their training in the military, they leave behind everything they've ever learned. Their drill instructors will break them down so they can be built back up as good soldiers, experts in their chosen fields and better people in mind and body.

They'll also find that their priorities change. Selfishness is laid aside, exchanged for determination, responsibility and respect. Their commitment level soars as they focus on their mission, their fellow soldiers and their country.

And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good. Deuteronomy 10:12-13

Make this a weekend of redefining your commitment. Just as Moses explained it to the people of Israel, he explains it to us as well. The only thing that God requires is your full and total commitment. There can be nothing else in your life that is more important than Him, and He will find uncomfortable ways to remove them if they are. He expects for your focus to be 100 percent on Him 100 percent of the time.

This commitment means walking the path He has called you to, giving Him all of your love, honoring Him with your service and keeping His commandments. Coming from an earthly boss, leader or commander this would seem over the top and unreasonable, but not so with the Lord. It is the honor that is due Him by each of His children every day.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Two Versions Of Puppy Hide And Seek

In these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, our puppies aren't spending as much time outside. This means one thing: bored dogs that are full of energy. My solution is simple, though. We play one of two versions of hide and seek!

For the first version, close the puppies up in another room while you scatter treats around and about. This is how I use up the little broken treats in the bottom of the bucket.

Then you literally release the hounds. They get to use their noses and find all the little treats. I normally hide them all over the living room floor - by the chair legs, under the tv table, between the sofa and their beds. Anywhere they can't really see it, but have to smell it out.

Sadie's been playing this game with me for years, but at 14 her nose isn't what it used to be. When I point out the treats to her, Molly tags along to see what's going on. (Even after two years, she doesn't quite get it.) After a while she figures it out, but Sadie has found most of them by then.

The second version, which is much harder to photograph, is to hide yourself. You'll need an assistant for this one, someone who can hold the dogs or open the door when you're hidden. Then they'll release them and you call their name. Be prepared to reward them with your excitement when they find you!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wild Blackberry Hand Pies

As I continue to find new and exciting ways to use the 6-7 cups of blackberries I pick every day, this is truly one of my favorites. Some premade dough and a few baking ingredients will give you light, fluffy hand pies in just minutes.

And if you don't have wild blackberries on hand like some of us, any fruit will work beautifully inside this airy dough.

1 can (8 biscuits) refrigerator biscuits
2 cups blackberries
1/8 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. Combine blackberries, flour, sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Stir until coated.

3. Flatten each slice of biscuit dough until very thin. Place rounded spoonfuls of berry mixture on one side of the dough and fold over. Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork.

4. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake until tops are brown and filling has just begun to ooze out.

5. Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack. Serve with ice cream.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Plastic Spoon Butterfly Craft

This is the end-of-summer bulletin board I put up at the church this week. I adore the bright colors, and I pray everyone who sees it is blessed by the truth of the Scripture on it.

I decorated my favorite tree with ladybugs and butterflies, each made from a plastic spoon and craft foam plus some gem stones and a little bit of paint.

Click here for the tutorial on making the lady bugs.

As much as I love the lady bugs, I think the butterflies are my favorite of the two. You can do just about anything you want to decorate them, and they're super easy to put together.

I found a butterfly template online that I liked and printed it out on card stock. I sized it so one wing would fit on my small sheets of craft foam.

I traced around each wing and carefully cut just inside the line so it wouldn't show.

The two wings are connected with tape right behind where the spoon will cover the seam.

Then came the fun part - I punched circles to add to the wings and used tiny blue gems for the eyes.

To put it all together I taped the spoon to the wings with tape, keeping it carefully hidden so you can't see the tape from the front. 

And here's the finished product! They're very light, so all I needed was double-stick tape to adhere it to the fabric of my bulletin board.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Times When It's OK To Acknowledge Your Weakness

Little children are taught that they're supposed to be strong. We feed them well so they'll grow up big and strong. We take them outside to play so they'll get that fresh air and strengthen their muscles running around in the sunshine.

Women are taught that they're supposed to be strong. Don't rely on your parents or on a man. Be able to stand on your own two feet. Don't let anyone take advantage of you, and don't let anyone make you into their doormat. Be able to multitask, care for everyone around you and still have a smile on your face.

Men are taught that they're supposed to be strong. Bring home bacon. Provide for your family. Don't show anyone your tears or your fears. Do everything that's asked of you without question, without hesitation and without breaking down.

If we've heard one of these phrases over the years, we've heard a dozen of them. No, they might not be said out loud, but the world expects great and wonderful things from us. Technology allows us to do more. An increase in pay means we can buy more. A day off from work means we can cram more into our schedule to prove we are still busy and capable.

And that's why the words "burn out," "exhaustion" and "complete psychotic breakdown" are even in our vernacular. We've been convinced - and convinced ourselves - that we have to be strong all the time. Other people can handle the pressure, so why can't we? So we push and push until we're running on less than fumes, if that's humanly possible.

We're not designed physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually to be that strong. God did not create you with the ability to be strong all the time. The proof is this: try to simply speak coherently after a full of day work, taking care of your family, cleaning your house, working on a project for church and trying to plan your activities for the next day. It's just not possible.

And now I'll tell you why it's not possible, and you're probably not going to like the answer.

You're just not that strong.

Did your hackles go up a little when you read that? Did you get a little defensive and start to think about how you could argue just how strong you really are? All the things you can do in one day? The number of crises you've survived? Not to mention the fires you put out on your job or in your home every single day?

Yes, you're strong - but you're not that strong. And I'll be glad to tell you why.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

It's not about you. It's not about me. It's not about how much I can bench press at the gym or how many grocery bags I can bring in from the car in one trip. It's not about being able to keep your head in an emergency or withstand the hurtful comments you hear about third-hand.

It's not about bringing home bacon, overcoming your fears or even planning your family's schedule down to the last detail. It's not about you. It's not about your strength.

It's about willingly admitting that your strength doesn't come from you. Any strength that you have comes from God alone. He has a reserve of the exact kind of strength you need for today, and He delights in giving it to you. That little bit of strength you have inside you runs out quickly, but God's never does. You'll never find yourself down for the count or panting on the uphill climb if you're tapped in to His never-ending supply of grace.

It's perfectly acceptable to admit your weaknesses when you're giving the Lord all the glory and honor for His gift of strength. You might not dream of letting someone else know about your weaknesses because that might make them look down on you. "She can't even handle that little situation? Poor girl." What a bashing our ego would take then. We think we'll never get asked to anything again because we're viewed as not capable, not strong, not enough.

But it's a completely different story when you admit your weakness and glorify God when He overcomes it for you. His grace is sufficient - not just enough, not almost all you need, but grace when you need it and exactly what you need it for. If you don't admit how much you need Him on a day-by-day or even minute-by-minute basis, the world will never see the perfection of His strength and grace through your life.

When Paul wrote these words, he was openly admitting that he didn't have the strength he needed to do everything God asked of him, but he was far from ashamed. What he was saying was that he was more than willing to go through a difficult situation and rely on the strength of the Lord Himself to help him thrive and be victorious in it all. That was the testimony that he wanted, one that would shine the spotlight on God alone and not himself.

You will have the opportunity today to admit that your heart is willing but your flesh is weak. You can calmly admit that you don't have it all together and you're not able to everything everyone is asking you to do. They're not words of defeat but words of power. And then you can slip in these life-changing words:

I'm just not that strong, but my God's grace is sufficient for whatever He asks of me.

With this simple phrase, you can gladly face the day knowing that God will give you the strength you need, He will be glorified in your life and the power of Christ Jesus Himself will rest upon you. You don't have any of those things when you're working under your own power.

As we begin this new week, I pray that you and I will take ourselves and our over-sized egos out of the equation and take full advantage of the reserve of strength God has for us. He will give us grace sufficient for the moment and do mighty things through us that we never would have dreamed possible on our own.

So acknowledge your weakness. It's ok. God's grace is sufficient.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Sketch

Today's sketch will allow you to combine two beautiful patterned papers to create a lovely framed picture, complete with your favorite phrase or verse. Changing the colors and image will make this a versatile layout for any them or occasion.

Start with a solid card stock background that coordinates with your patterns. Then you'll cut two pieces of the patterns, one for the top and one for the bottom. Experiment with what patterns look better on the top and which ones are best as anchors on the bottom.

Run another piece of card stock across the card as a center border and let it run over to the edge of the card. This will make a clean edge and will cover up the seam between the two patterns.

A large image in the bottom corner and the sentiment in the upper corner will balance each other out across the card. And by keeping your phrase on the outside, you'll have a blank card inside and plenty of room to add another small image or mat a writing block with some pretty designs.

For my card, I used some beautiful shades of blue, beginning with a fairly dark shade as my background.

Then I matted my stripe and swirl patterns, covering the place where they meet with a second shade of blue card stock.

I matted the verse on a third color and overlapped it onto the border. My house and tree images balance out the card from their place in the bottom corner.

For more inspiration, visit my Etsy shop. You'll find hundreds of handmade cards, journals, paper crafts and lots of great gift ideas. And you might even find something special for yourself!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Weekend Of Taking A Step Back

Between our two garages is a small rock garden. It is notorious for growing over with weeds on a regular basis, making it look like this picture on the left. Even after the largest of the weeds are pulled, I could stay there for days trying to get all the little stragglers out.

Fortunately, I have better things to do.

But if you get on your hands and knees, like you're going to pull out the smallest weeds, it seems like they're everywhere and there's no way you can get them all. This narrow focus of a small snapshot is overwhelming, giving the impression that you haven't really accomplished anything.

But when you take a step back and look at the whole rock garden, it suddenly becomes clear that you've done some amazing work. What was once literally covered with brown and green weeds now looks like an actual rock garden. There is still a lot of work to do, cleaning up around the edges, but viewing it from a distance instead of with a magnifying glass helps tremendously.

It's a different perspective when you take a step back.

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

Make this a weekend of taking a step back - not from your work but from having to be seen. When you're up close and personal, all people can see is you. They see your achievements, your personality and your views on the world around you. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's definitely not the most important thing.

John the Baptist knew that for Jesus Christ to come on the scene was the most important moment in human history. And for Jesus to make the greatest impact on the world, John was willing to take a step back and see the larger picture. He chose to move back and let the people take their focus off the little things of life that had grown up between the rocks in their hearts and see the bigger picture of eternal salvation that Jesus wanted so desperately to show them.

They wouldn't be able to see Christ if John had kept himself in the forefront of the picture. His decision to step back - decrease so Jesus Christ could increase - was the most impactful choice he had ever made.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cleaning Your Stove Vents The Easy Way

A burnt-out lightbulb over my stove led me to a startling discovery - the caked-on, greasy vent that was making my kitchen smell nasty when the vent was turned on. Once I knew what the problem was, cleaning it couldn't have been more simple.

If your vents look like mine (you can go look now if you'd like), boil water in the largest pot you can find and add enough baking soda to make it all fizzy.

Soak each vent in the baking soda water for a couple of minutes and the grease will just float off. The difference truly made me sick to my stomach.

Repeat with both ends of each vent, rinse them off with water and let them dry. Not only do they look immensely better, you'll lose that hole-in-the-wall restaurant smell that you probably didn't even notice anymore. Your nose, and the meals you cook on your stovetop now, will thank you.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Craft Show Booth Layouts And How They Change

 Having two craft shows on back-to-back weekends makes for a challenged mind. One is indoors, one was outside. One was almost a whole day, one is just three hours long. But that's where the differences stop for the most part.

The way I practice my set up is the same for both. I partition off the 10x10-foot space that the tent covers and then set up my tables. I love the two vertical shelves in the back, and they'll hold up the oil drip pan that I display my magnets on.

From there, I cover the tables with tarps to keep the "Stuff From Trees" theme and decorate the two trees with music note and snowflake ornaments. I decided not to take the Christmas card display board, but this is where I would have put it.

I made this table gift-themed with my upcycled gift boxes, tag sets and baskets for greeting cards. There is also plenty of room for some random altered books and albums.

Since I'm all about symmetry, both sides of the booth are mirror images of each other with two screens, two chalkboards, two stools, two tables ... you get the idea.

The other side I planned as a paper crafts table - journals, explosion boxes and clothespin signs.

I tried to have as much height on each table as I could without it looking too cluttered and junky. I bought this cake display stand for the sole purpose of giving three more layers of height to the table.

At the first show, the outdoor one, I had to modify my layout idea some. When you're not sure of the exact setting you'll be in, prepare to be flexible about everything. (This works in life, too, as well as booth layouts.)

I was able to keep the two sides looking the same, but the ground under the tree where I was to set up was incredibly unloved. I needed up strapping the two vertical displays to the back tent posts just so they wouldn't get blown over. I needed up not using them, though, as the binder clip photo holders I planned to display on them wouldn't stay put in the wind, either. Lesson learned.

This left a huge open space in the back, so I leaned my magnet display against the tree instead of the green stands. It wasn't the best option because of the wind, but short of duct taping it to the tree, there wasn't much I could do.

I left the table layouts the same, which worked wonderfully, and I was able to direct customers back and forth across the booth for items that were in the same themes and colors. Many people were drawn into the tent by the ornaments on the trees, which I had set up at the very outside edges of the tent entrance. This idea is definitely a keeper and will be even more important at the indoor show.

This weekend I'll be at the shorter indoor show, so I won't have to take as much with me, as tables will be provided and I won't need the tent. I'll also be able to stick to my original layout because (hopefully) the floor will be level, making those tall green displays work as my back wall. Please pray for me, that all will go well and God will be honored. I love the idea of being able to send Scripture and gifts home with people who want to share them with others.