Showing posts from 2019

My Favorite Photos Of 2019

As 2019 comes to a dramatic close, I can't help but be amazed at all of God's blessings over the past 12 months. Here are just a few pictures that prove just how good our God is.

Winter is my favorite time of year on the property, and the year began with a beautiful blanket of snow.

When the Bullriders of America come to town, I live at Bridge View Center for the weekend. This year they added a Cowboy Breakfast that included meeting some of the riders and having breakfast right next to the bull ring.

But the highlight of the weekend was my amazing husband making his debut as a celebrity bull rider! Danny rode longer than any of the others, and our teens were totally impressed.

The puppies had a great year, too. Molly had some health problems we had to deal with, but they have been simple to treat. She adores her vet and knows that we'll go to the park when we're done.

From the day we moved onto the property, we've been blessed with an abundance of wildlife. A few …

The Little Things Make Hard Times Better

After spending Christmas Eve in the emergency room learning that Danny has kidney stones, we spent the rest of the week at the VA hospital in Iowa City trying to get him some pain relief until the stones can be removed. It’s been a long, difficult week watching my husband suffer with excruciating pain, knowing it will still be several days before he can have surgery.

But even in the midst of pain and suffering, there were still blessings and moments of joy. We had some of the most amazing doctors and nurses taking care of us. I was able to stay in Danny’s room with him, which was the answer to my prayers of not having to be apart. And even having the kidney stone diagnosis was better than the stress of not knowing what was causing his pain.

Something small but special was coming our way, too. During the second day of our hospital stay, an older man knocked on the door and asked if he could come in. He laid a handful of items on Danny’s tray table and said he was a volunteer there at …

Planner Layouts For The New Year

This year I decided to do something completely different in my Sunday posts. For several years I have been giving you a sketch you can use for cards, journals, whatever you create. This made sense because I was making so many new cards every single day. But now I’m creating bigger projects and trying some new things, so even though I still make a lot of cards, I have other priorities in the craft room.

So instead of Sunday Sketches like last year, I’ll be sharing my planner layouts for the upcoming week. If you know me at all, you know I never go anywhere without my planner. I love designing, decorating and planning, so sharing this love with you seems natural right now. I use a simple planner from a big-box store and a variety of stickers, die cuts and colors to make pages and layouts I actually want to look at every day.

My weekly pages have spots for Bible study notes, our meal plan and lots of encouragement and just plain fun. I’ve found I have most of the supplies I need to make…

Glory To God On This Christmas Day!


Christmas Eve: Promising Not To Leave The Baby In The Manger

For the past few weeks we have been surrounded by images of the Nativity. We wait patiently (sometimes) for the day we can lay the baby Jesus figure into the manger, surrounded by barn animals and their caretakers. We celebrate the day of Jesus' birth and His decision to leave heaven and come to earth to walk among us. This is why we have Christmas Eve services and sing hymns of peace on earth, good will to men.

But we can't leave Jesus in the manger. We cherish the tiny babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, drawn to the miracle of birth and new life. But that life was given so Jesus could die on the cross for our sins. It sounds so ugly and violent, but Jesus Christ was born to die. His birth was perfect, His life was perfect and His death was perfect - designed by a Heavenly Father who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die.

In the midst of today's hustle and bustle, I pray you will take time to reread the Christmas story from the gospels of Matthew and Luke. But thi…

Sunday Sketch

Here’s my final sketch for the holiday season, and it’s one you can use all year round! Just switch up the colors and patterns and you’ll have a versatile layout for any time or season.

For my journal cover, I started by choosing my patterned paper and then cooridinated two colors of card stock to go with it. They made my background, and I layered the border of the patterned paper along the left edge, tearing it off for some added texture.

The embellishments are very simple because of the busyness of the patterned paper. I matted a square of pattern to make a large image and did the same for the card stock sticker sentiment. A few gently placed acrylic dots balance it out and finish it off!
Ready to make this sketch your own? Card, journal or something else - you choose! Start with a pretty patterned paper and choose two card stock colors to go with it. Mat the three papers to make the background. Then run a strip of pattern down the left hand side of the card.

Use a large image and …

Personalize Your Wood Gifts With Handwriting!

One of the best ways to make one of our Stuff From Trees wood gifts special and one-of-a-kind is with personalization. Danny has wood burned names, photos, dates and various other additions to our pieces, and now we can add handwriting to them, too!

One of most recent custom orders came from a longtime customer and friend who wanted a personalized cutting board for a Christmas gift. She provided us with a handwritten recipe card to wood burn in the center, and it was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen!

After transferring the writing, sheep and border, he carefully went over it and burned them into place. The end result was a perfect copy of the recipe on a one-of-a-kind Christmas present for someone special.

Step two was to test the recipe and make sure it was tasty enough to share the recipe (wink, wink). Danny followed the recipe and made these no-bake cookies - and they were fabulous! We had to put them in a container and hide them away so we wouldn’t eat them all in one sitti…

DIY Winter Window Upcycle

Would you believe I’ve had the supplies for making this beautiful upcycled window for more than a year, but I never put it together? Crazy, right? Especially when it lights up a room and makes me smile. And it’s a piece of art that I can keep out through the winter, too.

I knew that I wanted to make this snowy piece as soon as I saw the window in a friend’s shop downtown. It’s scuffed up a little, but that gives it amazing character. And I love the lock at the top and the handle at the bottom. I know, the hardware makes me happy ... 

The bottom is covered with fake spray snow specifically designed for this. You can find it in a spray can in the Christmas section of your favorite store. I used three coats to get the coverage and amount of fluff that I wanted. I’m not sure if “fluff” is a proper crafting term, but it totally works.

I used thick wire to attach the swag to the window frame. I would just like to add that I bought this swag (regularly $60) in an after-Christmas sale last y…

Christmas Morning Cake Mix Donuts

There’s nothing more special at Christmastime than homemade goodies. Start your holiday mornings with these cake mix donuts, and you’ll get everyone up and around early!

Don’t use the measurements on the box or you will actually bake cake. The adjusted measurements below will turn the thicker batter into donuts.

1 box of your favorite cake mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 egg
1 can cream cheese frosting
Christmas sprinkles

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray two donut pans with nonstick spray.

2. Mix the donut ingredients in a large bowl. Fill donut pans half full.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes. The tops will spring back when you touch them.

4. Allow to cool in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before adding glaze.

5. For the glaze, melt frosting in a microwave-safe bowl at 15-second intervals. Stir and melt until smooth.

6. Dip tops of donuts in the melted frosting, then in sprinkles. The glaze will harden as it …

Christmas Stories Hanging On The Tree

One of the best ways to share the story of your life and your family is to look at the ornaments hanging on your Christmas tree. The nativities, angels and stars on our tree share our faith and our hope during the Christmas season.

More than anything this holiday season, we need peace in our lives, in our hearts and in our homes. This peace is part of a set of ornaments that sparkle and shine with words of truth from the Scriptures. They stand out against the green of the tree and remind me of the real reason for the season - Christ Himself.

While Iw as working at a gift shop in Kentucky, I fell in love with Boyds Bears. This adorable moose is just one of the Boyds ornaments in my collection, and I love that his legs wiggle if you touch him. 

These two ornaments are in memory of Bailey and Sadie, my first two dogs ever. They were black lab mixes, both about four months apart and rescued from shelters in Kentucky. They travelled to Iowa with us, and both lived to be 14 years old. They…

Sunday Sketch

As we get down to the last days before Christmas, you will love being able to use this year’s worth of sketches to make some last-minute Christmas cards. There are always names we think of after all our cards have been sent, so here is another fun sketch that is both easy and beautiful!

What sets this card sketch apart is the garland draped behind the main image. In this example, I used a white thread with white pom poms on it, which tied in perfectly with the white background and white Christmas tree.

To make the image stand out more, I matted it on ink-distressed card stock and raised it on 3D adhesive. Then the thread didn’t bunch up the paper or get trapped and snagged underneath.

Ready to make this sketch your own? Start with a solid color of card stock for the background. Then choose an image that also coordinates, mat it on card stock and embellish the corners however you would like.

Before you attach the matching patterned paper to the card itself, wrap it three or four times…