Showing posts from 2019

Our Puppies Are Growing Up!

A few weeks ago we started leaving the puppies out in the living room while we were gone for short periods of time. Up to now they’ve been crated in Molly’s oversized crate together because God forbid they’re not together. Molly hasn’t been crated for years, but we just hadn’t been able to leave the babies out yet. They have too much interest in ripping the stuffing out of ... anything.
It’s only been in the past couple of weeks that we’ve left them out for three or four hours at a time. They’ve had a few behavioral problems, but they’re things we’re really working on.
The first, and possibly most expensive, is their addiction to the ottoman. It no longer has fabric or stuffing around the bottom panel, and most of the wood is now exposed. Yes, that’s a very happy face Diesel’s sporting in this picture because he is incredibly proud of himself. “Yep. That was me!”
I hate admitting that our dogs are still struggling with basic obedience. They’ve grown up so much, though, and I have to …

Words For Wednesday


An Insight Into My Creative Process

If there were just one thing I could do for the rest of my life, it would be making greeting cards with Scripture tucked inside. I love everything about the process - from choosing papers and embellishments to moving all the pieces around to make the perfect layout. It helps to be addicted to paper and stickers, but that’s a story for another day. 

When I’m ready to sit down and put a batch of cards together, I start with paper. I have a box of card stock and a bag of decorator paper scraps that I start with. I’ve always liked to used up the bits from other projects before I tear into new, full sheets. Two patterns and two colors of coordinating card stock can make an amazing card.

Then I stack those papers together, match up the embellishments (which live in another basket) and choose my Scripture verses. It takes up a good chunk of space for a while, but it keeps my brain clear and focused to have these steps already done.

Then I’m ready to sit down and make a batch of greeting car…

My God, He Is ...

David was well acquainted with God’s many characteristics. This man after God’s own heart had seen God be and do so many things during David’s lifetime. As we read through David’s life story, we can’t help but notice all the references he made to who God is and what He does in a believer’s life.

Our daily readings for the past few days have been in the book of Psalms, and these songs and praises are filled with David’s testimony of the Lord working in his life. How many of these have you experienced for yourself?

My God, He is...

My shield, my glory and the lifter of my head. (Psalm 3:3)

My portion. (Psalm 16:5)

My rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my God, my strength, my buckler, my salvation and my high tower. (Psalm 18:2)

My shepherd. (Psalm 23:1)

My light, my salvation and the strength of my life. (Psalm 27:1)

My shelter and my strong tower from the enemy. (Psalm 61:3)

My rock, my salvation and my defense. (Psalm 62:2)

My help and the shadow over me. (Psalm 63:7)

Which of God’s ch…

Sunday Sketch

Summer calls for some bright colors and gorgeous patterns! Today’s sketch will let you combine the two and make a stand-out card!

For my thank you card, I started with two colors of textured card stock and two coordinating patterns. The flowered patterned paper is from the same set, one in black and white and one in pink. This is a fun little trick you can use when you don’t feel like deciding if patterns go well together.

To make the trio of tags on the right, I cut down a die cut sentiment, then made a pink and a black square to match. An eyelet through the corner is tied up with pink floss. I adore the way this card turned out!

Ready to make this sketch your own? Start with two colors of card stock and two coordinating patterns. The two patterns will be used to make three building blocks on the left side of the card. Matting the middle one on coordinating card stock will help it stand out from the other pattern.

For the three right hand blocks, center your sentiment on a square of…

Ways to Keep Your Cool This Summer

Iowa is notoriously hot and humid in the summertime. Many people plan to stay indoors during the hottest times of day, or they go from air conditioned building to air conditioned building as much as they can.

But there are some great, fun ways to keep your cool no matter where you have to be this summer! Here are just a few:

* Fill silicon ice cube trays with smashed berries and water to add a little flavor as you hydrate.

* Host Water Wars by finding a place in the shade to set up the sprinkler, some garden hoses and water balloons.

* Since your basement is probably much cooler than anywhere else in the house, set up downstairs for a picnic and a movie.

* Make pretty paper fans out of card stock and decorator paper. They’ll be fun to make, and you can use them as party favors at all those summer gatherings.

* There’s no need to turn on the stove or oven when it’s terribly hot outside. At the coolest time of day, do some batch cooking and meal prep so some meals will be done and read…

Breakfast For Dinner Street Tacos

Yesterday I shared my recipe for pulled pork street tacos, one of my new favorites! We subscribe to Butcher Box, a company that ships organic, grass-fed meat to your home every month. We can’t believe the difference the meat itself makes when it comes to flavor and quality.

So today we’re switching from dinner to breakfast. Or breakfast for dinner, which is really amazing, too. For these scrambled egg street tacos, we’ll use the same mini taco shells as the pulled pork version. They’re super soft and have an amazing flavor. You’ll find them in the same aisle as the regular sized tortillas.

When I make scrambled eggs, I always add a good splash of almond milk to the beaten eggs to make them nice and fluffy. This time around I used a refrigerated mix of cooked sausage and bacon, making it much quicker to make. If you want to start fresh and cook the meat yourself, have at it!

Top them with a great shredded cheese blend and you’ll have the most amazing breakfast street tacos! Serve them…

Pulled Pork Street Tacos

Today and tomorrow I’m going to share two street taco recipes that we’ve enjoyed recently. They’re tiny tacos that pack a huge punch of flavor!

First up is an incredibly juicy pulled pork street taco. The meat only takes about 3 hours to cook to tender perfection, making it simple to prepare and a delight to eat.

If you don’t have birch beer or pomegranate apple cider vinegar available, you can substitute regular beer and cider vinegar or create your own basting sauce.

2-3 pound pork butt
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup birch beer
1/2 cup pomegranate apple cider vinegar blend
1 Tbsp liquid smoke
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
Small street taco tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

1. Whisk together the dry rub ingredients - paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Completely coat the pork with the rub, then wrap and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat ov…

Words For Wednesday


Sunday Sketch

Let’s celebrate with color for today’s sketch! A big, beautiful splash of color will help turn any card or page into a statement piece.

My card started with this striking flower die cut. On a background of pastel stripes, it’s incredibly eye catching.

The question then is, how do you lay out the rest of your card without being overwhelmed with too many colors? The answer is, use patterns in black and white that make the pink stand out even more.

A few coordinating acrylic dots, a strip of self-adhering ribbon and the phrase matted on coordinating card stock bring the whole layout together. And tucked inside is the perfect Bible verse!

Ready to make this layout your own? Start by finding a big, bold image to be your focal point. From there you can choose some coordinating patterns and colors.

To balance the big-ness of the image, use a small sentiment and small embellishments so the finished piece isn’t too overwhelming. You can use just about anything for accents here - acrylic dots,…

Diesel ... Not A Morning Dog

My sweet Diesel dog is such a Mama’s boy. There is rarely a time that he’s not sitting next to me, touching me or making sure he can still see me from wherever he is. He’s incredibly protective and fiercely loyal - great qualities in a pupper.

The only time this closeness is not the case is first thing in the morning. The dogs and I usually go outside at around 6 a.m. Diesel wants to be close, but he’s never completely awake at that point. He’s been known to stare aimlessly at nothing, or just stand there staring at me with a blank look on his face.

My sweet boy has trouble waking up. And no, he’s not getting a swig of my coffee. A dog jacked up on caffeine is the last thing any of us wants.

Yesterday morning was a great example of his brain fog early in the day. Normally if there’s anything walking, running, moving or breathing around the yard, he’s usually the first one to get a whiff and take chase. That’s definitely not the case before the sun’s all the way up.

There are several l…

A Morning Walk On A Summer Day

It’s the hot and humid season in Iowa, but you can beat the heat if you get up early enough. That’s what I did this week so I could go check on the blackberry crop. Many of the trails are shady all day, so it was relatively cool at the top of the hill.

Many, many blackberry bushes grow wild on the property, and it won’t be much longer before they’ll be ready for harvest. Right now, though, they’re still small and green. Even the wildlife won’t eat them right now.

The berries are densely packed into several acres of the wooded areas, and I’d like to clean up some of the other growth around them this year so they’ll be easier to reach and pick. However, I will not be touching (or even looking at) the poison oak. There is quite a bit running through the woods, and I am incredibly allergic. But I will have to admit that those fresh, juicy berries are almost worth it. 

Our Prayer This 4th of July

In the midst of our 4th of July celebrations, let’s not forget to pray for our nation, its leaders and its people.

* Pray for unity where there is division, peace where there is hostility and comfort where there is pain.

* Pray for our president, lawmakers and judges, that they will put allegiance to God over their political promises.

* Pray for our city and county governments, that they will see the needs of the people and do everything in their power to make their quality of life better.

* Pray that Christians across these 50 states will seek the Lord and follow His word more diligently than ever before.

* Pray for the pastors, their wives and their families, that they will continue to lead their flocks with strength and boldness, standing on the truth of God and calling us to greater holiness.

* Pray that God will strengthen families, giving them everything they need to withstand the attacks of the devil, because if he destroys families, he destroys the church.

* Pray for our law …

Words For Wednesday


They’re Caffles — Part Cake, Part Waffle!

If you have a waffle maker, especially if it’s one like they have in hotel breakfast rooms, you can have amazing cake in just minutes!

They’re not just cake. They’re not just waffles. They’re caffles!

I made these 4th of July treats for Danny and the youth group, and they’re so much fun. We have one of the waffle makers that you pour batter into, rotate and wait until the Ready light comes on. No timing, no measuring, just waiting for the light. How easy is that?

Just whip up a cake mix as directed on the ox and you have everything you need!

I much prefer decorating to baking, even if the steps are simple, so turning these caffles into patriotic caffles absolutely made my day.

All I did was spread soft frosting on the corners and cover them in red, white and blue sprinkles. You can also melt the frosting in the microwave, stir it until smooth and then dip the caffles into the frosting. It’s a little more labor intensive, but it’s totally worth it.

I always store away several kinds of…

Add Sparkles To Your 4th Of July Crafts!

Yesterday I showed you the sketch I used for this patriotic card. Click back HERE is you missed it. Today I’ll show you a fun way to create the sparkling fireworks.

To start my card, I heat embossed the sentiment. Yes, when it’s 95 degrees outside, I enjoy using a heat embossing tool. It’s just fun to be hot inside and outside.

Then I stamped the large fireworks in several different colors and mixed in a few little ones for good measure. Then I drew over the large fireworks with three different colors of Stickles glitter glue. I haven’t used these in ages, but I accidentally found some at the craft store recently and I couldn’t resist.

They dry in a couple of hours, and even though they pucker the paper a little, it smooths back down when you attach it to the card. The clear glue lets you see the colored ink through it, so you get a different look with each firework stamped. Oh, imagine the possibilities!

Sunday Sketch

With just a few more days until the 4th of July, today’s sketch explodes with sparkles and creativity. (See what I did there? Explodes...yeah, you got it.)

The background of the sketch ties directly to the theme - fireworks and Independence Day. It’s hand-stamped and decorated, and I’ll show you tomorrow how I did it.

The phrase is stamped and run as a banner across the bottom of the card. It’s accented with more fireworks because, let’s be honest, you can never have too many fireworks. Unless it’s midnight and the neighbors keep firing them off.

Ready to make this sketch your own? Start with a white card stock card base. Then cut your decorator paper 1/4 inch smaller so you have a border around all four edges. You can also use a color instead of white if it coordinates better with your decorator paper.

Once you’ve stamped or printed or cut out your sentiment, mat it on a coordinating piece of card stock, leaving a border on the top and bottom. Then attach it close to the bottom of t…

DIY Patriotic 4th Of July Wreath

Let’s start this week before Independence Day at the front door! You can put together a fun patriotic wreath with just four simple pieces - and you can mix and match and red, white and blue decorations in it that you want. So get creative!

For my wreath, I used my white wreath, which is a wreath form with several lengths of white, glittered garland wrapped around and through it. The rest is from the dollar store - wood stars on burlap, star scatter and stars-and-stripes burlap ribbon.

The strip of burlap was the perfect length to go around the wreath six times. Hanging it while I work is always easier for me, but work it however you’d like.

The stars on burlap is attached through the wreath and not he back with a twist tie. Then comes the fun part! The red and blue stars from the scatter are just tucked securely into the wreath. You could always glue them in if you’d like to keep it for the next year, but I use this wreath for everything, so I like to keep it interchangeable. It’s fu…

Why We Will Always Love Special Orders

This week I’ve been working on a special order of 30 handmade cards - 10 each of birthday, sympathy and encouragement. The friend who ordered them is a regular customer, and I love that we love the same things when it comes to cards: something pretty, something meaningful and something that shares our faith.

Inside all of my cards (and sometimes on the outside), you’ll find Scripture. That has been the core of everything Stuff From Trees stands for since the beginning. We are Christians before every other name or description we have. We’ve done many projects for many different people, but we will always run this shop the way we feel God is leading us to.

We sold out of much of our inventory over the Christmas season, and we are slowly beginning to put more items back into the Etsy shop. We pray over every piece we make, and we pray for the people who will purchase them and receive them as gifts. We’re not just putting a sticker on a piece of paper or painting a piece of wood. We’re c…

Someone Totally Needs To Invent A Smell-O-Phone

Danny had yesterday off, and he was able to get so much done on the property. (Thank you, Lord, for keeping the rain away.) So there I was, sitting at work minding my own business, when I get this text. Attached was the picture above with the words: About to go on. My wonderful, amazing, talented husband was grilling St. Louis Ribs! Maybe he should have a day off more often ... not so subtle hint there.

All he did was a put a simple dry rub on them to start with. The secret then is to cook them fairly slowly without letting the temperature get too high too fast. He made a three-ingredient basting sauce, and that was it. But it takes mad skills, I tell you. So when I got home, they were done and resting. This is the finished product, and they were SO good. I thank Butcher Box for the grass-fed meat and Danny for spoiling me like crazy every chance he gets.

Words For Wednesday


Sunday Sketches

One of the many reasons I love today’s sketch is because you can combine several colors and patterns on one card with it, and you won't end up with a mish-mash of papers. Draw from the colors of your main image, and you'll have a fun card put together.

For my card, I started with the birthday packages and chose my color pallet from it. That's how I coordinated the patterned paper behind it and the teal corners. I also had a sentiment the same length as the image, and I matted them and staggered them across the card from each other.

Because of the metallic sentiment and background paper, I used silver, glittered acrylic dots as embellishments in the two empty corners.
Ready to make this sketch your own? Start by choosing a great image, then use those colors for your card's color scheme. You'll need a solid background and two patterned papers for the panel and the corners.

Look for a sentiment - or create one in your word processing program - the same shape as your im…

Lessons Learned While Training Dogs

See that blur at the bottom of this photo? That is our Callie dog hurrying out of the room because she knows she’s in trouble.

The puppies are two years old now, and we’re finally able to leave them out of their crate for short periods of time. They are too smart for their own good, and having copious amounts of time to do stuff can be a dangerous thing ... for their blanket and the footstool.

So what am I learning in this transition phase from babies to grown-up dogs?

* pick everything up off the floor, unless you want it shredded and eaten.

* give them something to occupy their minds, like toys, unless you want your nice things shredded and eaten.

* start with incredibly short periods of time and work your way up, unless you want everything in the room shredded and eaten.

* make sure they’ve been outside and they’re empty before you leave, unless you want everything peed on before it’s shredded and eaten.

We’re definitely still a work in progress. I’d like to say we’re getting it a…

The Best Laid Plans...

Today is the longest day of the year and the first day of summer. I was so prepared for the event - I had social media ready at work, I was going to get some great pictures of the sunshine and I was going to spend some time out in the hammock relaxing in the warm summer sun.

But that was not meant to be.

Instead of extended hours of sunlight, dark clouds blotted out the sun. It was fairly warm, but not enough to sit outside, let alone bask in the warmth.

To be totally honest, I wondered why God has chosen to fill the past few months with clouds and dreariness and rain. We’re not able to get outside and do the things we consider important for being good stewards of what He’s given us. My planner is filled with to-do lists that keep getting pushed back week after week.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain…

Our Corn Hole Board Project

Cornhole, Bean Bag Toss, or Bags? Whatever you call it, this is one popular game!  Whether at the State Fair or in your own backyard, many hours have been spent targeting that 9-inch hole on a 2x4-foot board with a small bag of “beans.”

This set was ordered from Stuff from Trees by a friend as an anniversary present for her husband last year. Customized with his favorite sports team logos, wood burned and colored by hand, Danny said it was truly a pleasure to build these boards for him!  Made from 3/4” plywood and premium 2x4’s, they feature dark-stained edges and a polyurethaned surface.  The legs fold up inside the base for easy storage. 

Here are just a few behind-the-scenes pictures of the corn hole board-creating process:

Interested in getting a set of corn hole boards for your next event or gathering? We'd love to make them for you! You can message us, call us, email us, yell out the window at us - just contact us! You choose the designs for the top and we'll do the res…