Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Simple DIY Beaded Keychains

We're having so much fun putting together goodie bags and door prizes for our upcoming ladies retreat at the church. So many of our ladies have donated craft supplies, decorations, time and energy to treat our visitors to an amazing time. These keychains are just one of the gifts some of the attendees will find in their bags.

All you need to make them are a variety of beads, some fairly thin yet sturdy cord and a jump ring.

Cut a length of cord, fold it in half and string it through the jump ring.

String matching beads on both sides.

And tie it off with a double knot. So simple, yet so pretty.

Here's another variation: Cut a length of cord, fold it in half and thread it through a jump ring.

Tie one or two beads on one side and tie it off with a knot.

Make the other side longer with additional letters and beads before tying it off.

Make a variety of lengths, colors, patterns and phrases so no two are alike.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The One Time It's Ok To Be Angry

How does your anger come out? Do you throw things? Scream into a pillow? Run away and hide? Clam up and glare? All of the above to varying degrees?

There are many, many verses of Scripture that talk about anger and how to avoid it for the sake of your testimony. Anger eats away at your joy and forces you to obey emotion instead of truth. It's a nasty little feeling that can quickly and easily grow into a destructive monster.

But rest assured, you are not alone. Each one of us battles anger off and on throughout our daily lives. It's how you handle it - and what you allow to trigger it - that makes all the difference.

Take Moses for example. We are introduced to him before he becomes a murderer, killing in anger over the poor treatment of his people. He retreats to desert and gets his emotions under control for the next 40+ years. God then calls him to a high-profile lifestyle that requires him to interact with anger-inducing people on a regular basis. But still, time after time, Moses fell on his face before the Lord and begged Him to spare the people. They sinned, and Moses interceded. They murmured, and Moses prayed. He didn't turn his back and he didn't walk away in anger.

Then came Exodus 32 and the golden calf. Moses' anger finally came to the forefront and it was completely and totally justified.

Moses, the meekest man on earth, had steam coming out of his ears. He came down from the mountain where he had just spent time in the presence of God to find the people of Israel wrapped up in golden idols and naked dancing. The icing on the cake, though, was his own brother's story of how this calf just suddenly appeared out of the fire that the people made him make. Yeah, right.

You know the story from here - Moses hurled the tablets to the ground, and they shattered. Then he separated the Levites from those who refused to be on God's side, and there was a slaughter. He wasn't acting in anger because the Israelites had sinned against him, but because they had the nerve to sin against God, again. Their choice to do wickedness in the face of the Lord stirred up a righteous anger in him.

This is the only time that anger is justified. It was understandable that Moses was boiling over because he would not stand idle while Israel flagrantly disrespected God. Getting mad because the people pulled him down off the mountain with their rebellion would not have been the right kind of anger. Remember it's not about us, it's all about God.

And in the end, Moses did go before God and asked forgiveness for the people. Was he still angry? Probably. But it wasn't because of the inconvenience of it all or the time wasted talking about sin when he wanted to be talking about tablets and tabernacles. That anger was put aside, though, as he petitioned the Lord to be the definition for forgiving once again.

Things will happen this week that will make you angry, I'm sure, and I don't have to have premonitions of the future to tell you that. The way to get through those moments, though, is to give them a little test: are you angry because you've been hurt or are you angry because of sin against God. That's the litmus test. If it's personal anger, confess it immediately and move on. If it's anger over the wickedness and sin in the world, you can still take it to God in prayer.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Sketch

Here's an outside-the-box sketch to try this week! Let's work "a round" this shape, using a circle cutter and patterned paper.

If you can find a pattern that's already in a circle, that's great. Just cut around it and adhere it overlapping the bottom of the card. Add another partial circle across the top that follows the line of your circle.

Choose a matching image or square of coordinating pattern and attach your sentiment there.

For my card, I cut down a patterned paper that had a circle of buildings on it and matted it on a solid brown card stock. I loved the jet trail behind the plane, so try copying that in your own layout.

The sentiment is layered on top of a coordinating square of patterned paper and placed in the center of the circle.

For more great layout ideas, come visit my Etsy shop. You'll find handmade Christian cards, journals and lots of other paper crafts and gifts.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Weekend Of Standing Out

As I was out on the deck recently, this walking stick caught my eye.

Now, this is the exact opposite of what should happen. A walking stick bug is specifically designed to blend in to its home in the woods. It looks like a stick so its predators will think it is just another stick among sticks. This is very smart camouflage for an insect that lives in the woods of our property.

But he wasn't in the trees when I saw him - he was on the deck railing. If he had been sitting on a pile of twigs stacked not he deck, that would have been a different story. But there he was, just hanging out on the old wood of the deck.

A walking stick can't blend in with the background when he's on the wrong background.

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. John 17:15-18

Jesus prayed for His disciples, not that they would be spared from the things to come in this life, but that they would be protected and prepared along the way. Christ asked His Father to share with them all His truth so they could be salt and light to a lost and dying world. This is how they would stand out - people would know that they were different on purpose.

Make this a weekend of standing out. The walking stick would have blended in and gone unnoticed if he had stayed in the trees with all of the sticks. Instead, he wandered out to somewhere different and could easily be seen. The people who need you the most will see Jesus shining brightly through you when you're right where He wants you to be.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Get Ready For Fall With Eight Scarf Tying Ideas

While it may still be hot and humid during these September days here in Iowa, the mornings and evenings are finally starting to get cooler. This is the first hint we have that autumn is on the way, so let's pull out our scarves so they're ready to wear soon.

I have dozens of scarves in my closet, and all of them can be turned into infinity scarves. Simply fold the scarf in half and tie the matching corners together. Put the knots at the back of your neck, drape the scarf to the front, twist and hang back over your neck. Then adjust it so you have two loops, one longer than the other.

For something a little more traditional, start with the center of the scarf at your throat and the ends hanging down your back. Cross them behind your neck and drape the ends to the front over your shoulders. Adjust the size of the loop so the ends hang exactly where you want them.

A simple drape with knots in the end allow you to also showcase a long, pretty necklace.

For this one, fold your scarf in half and hold the loop on one side with the tails on the other. At your throat, tuck one of the tails through the loop. Then twist the loop once and tuck the other tail through the new loop.

Make a square knot - like you would on a gift box - and add a fancy clip to the center of the knot.

Start with the center of the scarf at your throat and the ends hanging down your back. Cross them behind your neck and then tuck the ends underneath the loop.

Again, start with the center of the scarf at your throat and the ends hanging down your back. Cross them behind your neck and drape the ends to the front over your shoulders. Instead of letting them hang loose, make a large knot. Rotate the entire scarf so the knot sits just in front of your shoulder.

Fold your scarf in half and hold the loop on one side with the tails on the other. At your throat, tuck both of the tails through the loop. Then twist the loop and tuck both ends back through the new loop.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tilapia And Broccoli Slaw Wraps

Fish is a great, easy summer meal that takes very little on-the-stove cooking time. This tilapia dish is ready in just a few minutes and combines an amazing source of protein with the crunch of fresh veggies.

I use individually frozen tilapia filets and thaw two small ones in a bowl of hot water for each wrap. Just remove the fish from the plastic and submerge them in a bowl of the hottest tap water possible. You may need to change the water once, but they will be thawed in just a few minutes.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet while you're draining the water from the tilapia. Then season one side of the fish with your favorite seafood seasoning and place that side down in the skillet. Season the other side.

As the tilapia is cooking, heat a cup of fresh broccoli slaw in the microwave. (You can find broccoli slaw by the bag in the produce department.) Then drain off as much water as you can.

Flip the fish and put a whole wheat tortilla on a large plate. Heat it in the microwave for just 10 seconds.

When the fish is done, spread the slaw on the tortilla and layer on the fish. Drizzle it with sriracha, soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce. Wrap it up and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Coffee Filter Flowers

You can make beautiful, frilly flowers in just minutes using something you probably have in your kitchen right now - coffee filters! Because they're already rippled around the edge, they make lovely waves of flower petals when you fold them and fan them out.

You'll need about 40 coffee filters, a large brad and a hole punch.

Fold the first coffee filter in half...

And then again...

When you've folded them all, punch a hole in the point of each one.

Then layer them on to the brad and fan them out as you go.

Once they're all on the brad, you can fold the brad down to hold them in place and even out the spacing. Turn it over and you'll see this big, beautiful flower just waiting for you to decorate with it.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How Much Are You Worth In God's Eyes?

Who or what in your life tells you how much you are worth?

Do you check your bank account like clockwork to make sure you're in the black?
Are you asking your husband to validate you on a daily basis?
Would your friends say you're relying on them to show you how special you are?
How happy are you when you're by yourself?
Can one comment from a stranger send you into a tailspin?

If you're looking to anyone or anything other than God to determine your worth, you will never be satisfied. People come and go, situations change and surprises pop up every day. If we're relying on the winds of change to show us we're worthy of love, affection and attention, then we'll be sorely disappointed for the rest of our lives.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10

The description of the Proverbs 31 woman begins simply enough, with one question: who can find a virtuous woman? This lovely woman with high spiritual standards and strength is a rare, scare and precious person. In a world of mixed-up priorities, she is becoming more and more difficult to find. But King Lemuel's mother tells him that this is the woman he is to spend his time looking for - and she will be more than worth his time and effort.

I found a picture recently of a 6-carat ruby ring set with a diamond on either side wrapped in white gold. It was absolutely breathtaking, and incredibly expensive. The jeweler wasn't joking around when he put a price tag of $1,128,600 on it. When I picked my jaw up off the ground, I thought about that ring, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and how the world would consider that a treasure of unspeakable worth.

I'd be afraid to actually wear it and then lose it, but that ring is described as a jewel of great price.

God says you are worth far more than that. A Christian woman living for Him and striving for a victorious life is above and beyond any man-made creation or discovery ever known. Your worth doesn't come from an appraiser or tax adjuster - your worth comes from the Lord alone.

The next time you're feeling worthless or cast aside, here are three things to remember:

1. God created you. You weren't slapped together with leftover parts or given life as a last-minute decision. You were hand-crafted by the Creator of the universe because He knew the world needed you. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14

2. Jesus Christ died for you. The Son of God left His throne in heaven to come to earth and be the Savior you needed. He gave up everything so He could save you into everlasting life. He died for you. But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

3. The Holy Spirit dwells in you. You are the special, chosen vessel for the Holy Spirit Himself. He will never leave you or forsake you because He has taken up residence in you forever. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are brought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Did you notice that this encompasses the complete Trinity of God? Father, Son and Holy Spirit all have a part in showing you how much you are worthy, important and loved. I pray that you will cling to this truth today and let it give you strength and courage. The world may lift you up for a moment, but God will show you how precious you are to Him today and throughout eternity.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Sketch

If you look through your paper craft supplies, you'll probably find a good-sized collection of large, 3D letters. They might be chipboard, alphabet stickers or even some fun stencils. Gather them up and put them to good use with today's sketch.

You'll choose a three-to-four-letter word to run across the bottom of the card with some coordinating embellishments on the side.

Print out a Bible verse that contains that word and place it in a border across the top of the card.
For my card, I started with a deep cranberry decorator paper for my background. Then I used chipboard letters in coordinating colors to spell out "love."

The circles on the right side are punched from papers in the same set as the background so they were sure to coordinate.

My Scripture was made on the computer and printed onto white card stock. It is matted on coordinating decorator paper and trimmed into a top border.

For more great layouts and other inspiration, come visit my Etsy shop. You'll find hundreds of handmade cards, journals and other paper crafts, along with the perfect gift ideas for those you love.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Weekend Of Making Your Home Your Heart

As the mornings and evenings begin to cool off, the weather signals the beginning of fall cleaning. In just a few weeks we'll be donning sweaters and boots, so this is the time to get some outdoor projects done before you're too bundled up to move.

Walking around and through our home, I have made a list of projects I would like to accomplish this autumn, and it seems to grow on its own overnight. There are things that need to be done, projects I would like to get done and some that are just wishful thinking with everything else going on.

I'm the type of person who look looks at that list and carefully plans out how to attack it. I love our home, and I treasure every moment that I can spend making it more inviting, more cozy, a little cleaner and more organized. It's not always easy, but this is where my heart is.

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. Psalm 101:2

Make this a weekend of making your home your heart. If you're like many people I know, this has been an incredibly busy few months, so I'm sure there are many projects you could tackle. Or at least there are many projects you can plan to accomplish. Each tiny thing you do in your home ties your heart to it, as you see the floors, windows, rooms and grounds in a whole new perspective.

The heart that you give to your home is so important. It shows God your gratitude for all He has given you, it shows your family how much their joy and comfort mean to you and it shows those who will come spend time with you that this place is your treasure. Whether it's small and cozy or large and welcoming, your home deserves all your heart as you ask God to give you wisdom to build it up.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Special Gift For Your Favorite Baker

We are having such a wonderful time preparing for our church's upcoming ladies retreat. The first of the decorations are already up, and the sign-up sheet for jobs and donations is almost full.

And now I'm concentrating on door prizes! We're only doing a few this year so we can focus on the real reason we're gathering - to hear God's word. The gifts we've already been putting together are so much fun, and it will be such a joy to give them out that Friday night and Saturday morning.

Two lovely ladies will be receiving these adorable baker's gift bags. It's filled with all sorts of fun tools, treats and supplies to make time in the kitchen a little more special.
To make one yourself, all you need are oven mitts, cookie mix packages, a couple of kitchen tools, a cookie cutter and curling ribbon.

From there, you can get as creative as you like. You could tuck a cloth napkin or dishcloth in the bottom of the mitt, add some frosting or tuck in a bottle of sprinkles. Choose things that the recipient wouldn't normally buy for herself.
Then start filling your oven mitt, beginning with the fingers and working your way up. Tuck in everything except the cookie cutter with just a little bit peeking out the top for a tease.

Finish off your gift by tying the cookie cutter around the oven mitt and curling up the ends. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Chipotle Meatloaf

The next time your local grocery store has that great sale on ground beef, stock up. Then you'll be able to make this amazing meatloaf recipe at a moment's notice.

If you don't like meatloaf because it's dry, tasteless and boring, this combination of flavors may change your mind.

It takes an hour and a half to cook, so make sure you start in plenty of time before your meal.

2 lbs ground beef
2 Tbsp chili sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 eggs
1 cup quick oats
1 Tbsp chipotle seasoning
1 cup fruit salsa

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2. Combine ground beef, chili sauce, garlic, eggs, oats and chipotle in a large bowl.

3. Press mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 80 minutes.

4. Remove from oven, cover with salsa and return to oven. Bake 10 additional minutes. Internal temperature should be 165 degrees.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Happened When I Gave Up Pinterest For A Week

Now, I love Pinterest as much as the next person, but let me tell you why I walked away for seven whole days.

1. I was starting to rely on it instead of enjoy it. If I had a question, I looked it up by searching Pinterest. If I wanted a recipe, I went to Pinterest. When I needed inspiration, I checked Pinterest first. When I was bored...I think you understand.

2. It was actually making me feel depressed about my spiritual life. This was the main reason I had to back off. My feed is full of Scripture, inspirational quotes and links to some amazing women speakers and bloggers. But all of these tools that were supposed to be lifting me up and encouraging me were instead making me feel like everybody else has it all together because I don't feel like those quotes all of the time.

3. I was using it as my go-to instead of as an addition. I came to the realization that I wasn't in my actually paper-and-ink Bible nearly as much as I once was. Instead of reading and studying several books at a time alongside my Bible at the kitchen table, there were moments of time during the day that I would just catch up on my Pinterest feed, read the new quotes and call that good. Not a good substitute, I'll tell you that.

That being said, I had an amazing week. I looked up recipes from my hand-written cookbook that I started many years ago. I read books. I studied by Bible - the Bible itself, not a program. I watched some great classic television shows. I even looked for a couple of craft projects that I knew were somewhere in my craft room - and I found them, rather than looking for something new.

I'm not giving up my Pinterest app, I just understand now that it's about moderation. I also have to find a balance between browsing to find fun things and deciding that have to find this-number of new pins today. It's not a serious endeavor, just a way to stretch your creativity and point you in a direction to live your own life, not a Pinterest-perfect life.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Weekend Of Staying The Course

One afternoon Sadie, Molly and I found two fuzzy caterpillars on the driveway. One was bright orange and brown, and the other was this pretty green one. He was shorter than my pinkie finger, but he was trucking along from one side of the drive to the other with amazing speed.

Sadie was quickly bored, but Molly was fascinated by this tiny traveler. (Okay, everything is tiny to Molly, but you get the picture.) She only stepped on him once, but not even a paw the size of a coffee cup stopped his forward momentum.

To keep him away from the very large dog, I used a tiny stick under his middle to carefully lift him and send him in another direction. But instead of heading that way, he immediately spun around and double-timed it on his original course. No matter how many times I tried to get him to go around Molly so she wouldn't crush him, this little guy was determined to make it to his destination, Great Dane or not.

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Paul experienced more roadblocks in his walk with the Lord than many of us will ever experience. Any number of them could have turned him away from his forward momentum. They could have knocked him off course, frustrated him or stopped him dead in his tracks. But his determination to fight, finish and keep moved him on no matter what landed in his path.

Make this a weekend of staying the course. We know what it's like to stumble and reach the point of giving up, but there is something wonderful and perfect waiting for us at the end of our journey. We will receive the crown of righteousness with joy and gladness because we have refused to allow anything to stand between us and the end of our course, the final battle and the finishing of our faith.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Prayer Walk Your Husband

When I am in desperate need of quiet time, I usually go prayer walking. For a beginner course on prayer walking, click here. There's a spot along our driveway that is the perfect place to sit, so I start there and pour my heart out to God. From there I pray for the highway at the bottom of our drive and the people who will come up that driveway to see us. I pray a hedge of protection around our property and ask God to keep evil away from it.

If you've prayer walked before, you might do your neighborhood, a downtown business area or around some of your local schools. You walk and pray for the people in each building, their families, the wisdom to do their jobs and their safety throughout the day. Walk as far as you want and pray for as long as you want - the Lord has no time limits.

But several weeks ago I realized that when I was prayer walking our property and home, I wasn't focusing very much on my husband. I desperately wanted to change that, and I've been asking God to soften my heart to his needs, desires and burdens. By thinking specifically about my husband as I walked through the house and our acreage, it was very clear how God wanted me to pray for him.

Here are just a few examples:

* The garage: Lord, I ask you to touch the work of my husband's hands. Let the projects in his wood shop be the best quality he can make, and may people want to make them a part of their own homes. Help him to keep our vehicles, his tools and the other equipment in the garages in good working order.

* The kitchen: Please have your hand on my husband's appetite. Give him cravings for good, healthy food, and remind me to keep it on hand so it will be available for him. Let us not be wasteful with our food, but may he enjoy what we have and never have to go without.

* The bedroom: Heavenly Father, I know that after a long, busy day of work, my husband needs time to rest and recuperate. Touch his mind and help him to quiet any racing thoughts. Relax his body and let him fall asleep quickly and easily. When you wake him in the morning, may he be rested and ready to start the day.

* The living room: Gracious God, give my husband the desire to read Your word, spend time alone with you and seek Your wisdom above all else. When he sits in his chair, draw him close to You and show him exactly what You want him know and apply to his life today.

* The basement: I pray today, Lord, that our home will be a place my husband would want to come to, a retreat where he could have fun, enjoy music, relax with a movie and a snack. Help him find happiness here, a true joy straight from You that this is where he belongs.

Take time today and spend a few minutes prayer walking with your husband in mind. Once you're done with the world he lives in, you can move on to his physical, spiritual, emotional and spiritual needs. Pray from the top of his head to the tips of his toes,.

* His head: Lord, give him Your wisdom, filling his mind with the knowledge and understanding that can only come from you. Give him clarity of thought and open his mind to your truth.

* His eyes: Remove any scales of lies or deceit that might cover them. God, please help him to focus his eyes on You, not allowing himself to look at anything vulgar, disrespectful to you or me, or that would not bring you honor and glory.

* His ears: May he be able to discern Your voice above all the noise of the world. My he listen, not just hear, when you speak. Tune his ears to hear you no matter where he is.

* His mouth: Let his words be kind, uplifting and full of your truth. Keep him from lies, half-truths, telling people what they want to hear or avoiding conversations.

* His heart: Lord, tune his heart to sing your praise. May it be a soft heart, one that is compassionate and loving, putting others above himself. Give him the right heart, a servant's heart, motivated to do Your will.

* His shoulders: Strengthen his shoulders so he can carry whatever challenges life gives him today. Help him to carry the responsibilities You have given him with joy and resolve, and encourage him to lay down any burdens that he is not to be shouldering at Your feet.

* His arms: May he use his arms to hold onto Your truth, wrap up those he loves and hold up the home he has created. Encourage him to work well with his arms, strength his arms and give his arms tenderness to be gentle with his loved ones.

* His hands: Bless his hands to work for You, that he would delight in his labor and develop many different skills. Convict him to work joyfully, using his hands to help and never hinder. Don't let his hands be idle, but be in motion for Your glory and honor.

* His legs: Give him the stamina he needs to not just survive the day but thrive in it. Strengthen his legs so he can run the race before him without growing weary or giving up in the face of exhaustion.

* His feet: Lord, allow him to root and ground himself in You, finding the firmest foundation upon Your word. Let his feet be quick to run from temptation, eager to chase after You and stand firm when patience and endurance are necessary.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Cinnamon Sugar Almonds

Here's a light, healthy snack that gives you a little sweet, a little spice and a whole lot of crunch. After just a few minutes in the oven, you'll be snacking away!

1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 bag (4.5 oz) whole natural almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spread almonds in the bottom of a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for five minutes, then stir and bake an additional five minutes.

3. While almonds are baking, mix cinnamon, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl.

4. Lightly spray almonds with nonstick spray, stir and lightly spray again.

5. Immediately drop almonds into cinnamon sugar mixture and carefully toss to coat them completely. Eat them warm or store them in an air-tight container once they've cooled.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Build A Handmade Card With Square Tiles

A fun way to use up paper scraps and lots of those spare embellishments is to put them together with "inchies," small squares of paper that are used like tiles on your cards.

Start with white card stock fold in half for your card. Using the card's measurements, cut the number of squares that will fit. For example: my card measuring 4.5x6.25 inches. Six squares measuring 1.75 inches will fit in this shape. Make them smaller or larger depending on how many you want to fit on the face of the card.

Choose your background color.

Then use the squares to cut out pieces of decorator paper. You can either cover the card stock squares to make them thicker and stand out not he paper more, or you can just use them as a template to cut out a single layer of decorator paper. try it both ways and see which you like better.

And this is my favorite part. Pull out those trays, bags and boxes of embellishments you've saved up and have fun. You can put one in each square, layer smaller scraps of paper, leave a space in the middle for a sentiment...the possibilities are truly endless.

Once they're done, you might want to package up a few to give as gifts or use them for your holiday cards. Who wouldn't love to receive a handmade card with your hand-written message in their mailbox this week?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sunday Sketch

When you pick your favorite colors and patterns for this beautiful sketch, you'll love mixing and matching them for some amazing layouts.

The sketch itself is very simple, which means you can make it your own. Start from the middle and work your way out - the round image and sentiment are the focal point of this design. Mat them on a coordinating decorator paper and a solid color background.

Then choose a larger pattern as a panel that will mostly fill the right hand side of the card. Mat a solid color behind it to add some additional color.

Finally, the background is a very light pattern on top of one more shade of card stock.
For my card, I decided to use up some of my fall-themed paper. I started in the center, layering a vellum sticker onto a punched circle of decorator paper. I mounted it and the sentiment on a second pattern and matted the whole piece on card stock.

The right hand panel is a fun pattern in autumn colors and is mounted on a deep yellow card stock.

For the background, I covered the card in brown card stock and matted the same pattern I used on the very top layer. Every single layer is ink-distressed to give it a finished look.

This card, along with many other handmade cards, journals and paper crafts can be found in my Etsy shop. You'll find lots of inspiration and probably a gift idea or two. I will also be at Ottumwa's Walk On Art Street on Sept. 17 - check back for more information this week!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Weekend Of Getting Your Joy Back

This is the look Molly gives me when she's bored out of her mind. She doesn't even feel like pulling a toy out of her toy box, which is what she's leaning on here. That's a lot of *meh* all wrapped up in one puppy.

This is the look that lets me know it's time to get down on the floor or take both girls outside for a while. It's easy for me to get wrapped up in the busyness of the day and not realize that quiet isn't necessarily a good thing when you have dogs.

A few minutes of wrestling on the living room floor or a half an hour of hiking through the woods gets Molly's blood stirring again. Her eyes sparkle and her tail wags in a way it wasn't earlier. Sadie is moving slowly these days, but she'll bounce a little after I pay attention to her and let her get sunshine and exercise and playtime.

Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehosaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. 2 Chronicles 20:27

The source of Israel's joy was clear - the success God gave them over Ammon and Moab. They rejoiced all the way home after the battle, which they didn't even have to fight themselves, singing praise for the grace their Lord had shown them. Otherwise hardened soldiers celebrated for miles as they headed home to tell their families of their victory.

Make this a weekend of getting your joy back. God has blessed you in abundance, whether it's giving you the victory over some circumstance or providing something special when you needed it most. There are so many reasons to sing and praise God, and this is the time to get that boredom and *meh* out of your spiritual life.