Showing posts from February, 2019

You’re Not A Train, But Your Engineer Is Still In Control

The train tracks run right through the middle of town, parallel to the river itself. You can hear the whistle blow from anywhere you are. Passenger trains, coal trains, box cars carrying things from one coast of America to the other - they go through Ottumwa every single day.

Once you figure out the train schedule, you know when you can and when you can’t cross from the north side of town to the south. If you don’t time it right, you’ll be stuck sitting at the crossing, waiting for the long string of train cars to end. Count them if you like, but it won’t make them move by any faster.

If you take a look at the steel rails the train rides on, they’re strong and they’re metal and they’re made to last. They don’t allow for any deviation from the course because that’s how trains derail and destroy. The purpose of those tracks is to hold the train in exactly the place the engineer wants it to go.

Life lesson: You are not a train.

Common sense, I know. If you are reading this, you are not …

My Husband, The Bullrider

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since the Bullriders of America Finals competition. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year, and we had so much fun this year. We volunteered to help with the kids’ activities Friday night, which meant Danny got to help run the bucking bull ride. Talk about a workout!

As always, the cowboy breakfast was amazing. Chef Bob Newell at Bridge View Center creates the most wonderful menus and amazing dishes. New this year was Breakfast with the Bulls. Tables right next to the arena gave us an up close and personal view. Luckily all the dirt he threw over the fence went into the stands and not onto our plates.

From the first year the BOA held their finals in Ottumwa, the cowboys have always been so gracious to their fans. They take time during their competition days to say hello, answers everyone's questions and be available for media, photos and autographs. That means a lot, knowing the pressure they're under to compete each night.


Happy Valentine’s Day!


Words For Wednesday


DIY Eraser Valentines

If you're looking for a fun, last-minute craft for a class or group, make these adorable little Valentines with just three supplies and a little adhesive. 

To make these cute cards, all you need are some love-themed erasers, self-stick hearts and some scraps colored paper.

Cut two pieces of card stock - one slightly larger than the heart and the other slightly larger than the first piece.

Then use double stick tape to adhere them all together. The tape is strong enough to keep them together, but not too strong that you can't get the eraser off. Make a set of these and have fun passing them out to everyone you see!

Combine National Friendship Day And Valentine’s Day!

Love isn't reserved for one day each year, and it's definitely not saved for that one special person. Love is a gift that comes directly from the lord Himself, and all those amazing people in our lives can share in that blessing when we're willing to share it around.

Today is National Friendship Day, and there is no better time to celebrate our amazing friends that the week of Valentine's Day.

One of my favorite stories about friendship is found in 1 Samuel. From the moment David and Jonathan met, their hearts were knit together. They fought for each other, protected one another and stayed friends through some incredibly difficult times. And when the moment came to save David's life, Jonathan was right there in the thick of things.

King Saul, Jonathan's father, knew David had been anointed king, and he hated David for it. After attempting to kill David several times, Jonathan knew he had to get David out of the kingdom. Pretending to be out for target practice…

Sunday Sketches

One of my favorite projects I do for Stuff From Trees is creating custom orders. It's such a blessing that people trust me to take their special Scriptures and turn them into one-of-a-kind handmade cards. This sketch came from my latest custom order.

I absolutely adore this flowered paper, but the pattern was so big that it needed a larger sentiment that wouldn't get lost on it. Tiny, contrasting accents in the corners were all the card needed to stand out in every way.
Ready to use the sketch for a card of your own? Cut a patterned paper slightly smaller than your card and tilt it corner to corner. Mat the sentiment on a coordinating color and adhere it in the center.

For embellishments, choose something small that will stand out from the patterns and the color combination. It doesn't have to be bright and busy to pack a punch.

Like what you see here? Get more inspiration and fall in love with our handmade cards and gifts in our Etsy shop. When you make this card for you…

Don’t Stress Over Stuff This Valentine’s Day

Have you racked your brain, spent hours doing research or wandered the stores aimlessly looking for ... a Valentine's Day gift for your husband?

It may sound a little far fetched, but sometimes find that special something for your special man can be difficult. He gets himself things he wants, some gifts are way out of your price range and nothing just screams "He'll love this!" It's frustrating, right?

Here's my foolproof solution to the gift problem: don't get a gift.

Before you shake your head and walk away, hear me out. Does your husband really need more stuff? Do you have a copious amount of space to store this stuff? Does he need another 3-in-1 whateverthatthingis? My guess is that the answer to all three of these questions was NO.

So what do you do instead? You don't want to pretend like it's not a special day or just gloss over it. In fact, my suggestion is quite the opposite.

Don't buy stuff - collect experiences.

Instead of going out…

Puppy Love Really Is An Actual Thing

Our twin babies spend all day, every day together. When they're crated, they're crated together. When they sleep, they sleep together. When they eat, they eat together. When they get the idea. You'd think puppy love would wear off after a year and a half, but they can't stand to be apart. Even when they can't stand each other.

This puppy love spills over to their big sister. Yes, she can be a bit bossy, but the puppies love to be around her. They clean her ears while she tries to sleep, they cuddle close when they can and they follow her from room to room. I'm sure they're taking mental notes of some kind, keeping track of what she's doing. 

It's always the two of them. For some reason, I think Callie was the runt of the litter. I think she stays as close as she can to her brother because he's the only constant in her life. They had been in a couple of homes before they came to us, but he was always right there beside her.

Even when…

You Too Can Make Tons Of Tiny Valentines

Don't you dare go to the store and spend money on Valentines. Just stop. Right now. Grab a few of your paper craft supplies and make something special, handmade and totally you. 

The best part of making your own cards is you can use up the extra, spare, overstock and leftover bits and pieces you have saved up. Remember when you said you'd keep that because you might need it some day? Well, today is that day. Yay!

Make your cards tiny, using the card stock you cut down for another project. Make them with some paper that just doesn't go with anything else. Use up part of your sticker collection. Part with some tiny die cuts. Be ruthless and make someone else happy at the same time. Add you personal, hand-written message inside and you're sure to make someone's day so much brighter.

Words For Wednesday


Strawberry Valentine’s Day Cake

Valentine’s Day-themed treats don’t have to take tons of work and loads of time to create. The right flavors, colors and decorations can make all the difference in whether you actually make a recipe and then want to share it with those you love.

So, for example, take a fun twist like this soda pop-inspired cake and make it all lovey dovey. You might be surprised by the number of recipes you already have that could be romantic with just a little tweak here or there.

1 box strawberry cake mix
12 oz Sprite
1 can strawberry frosting
1 package of love-themed cake decorations
(Yep, that’s really it.)

1. Combine the cake mix and the Sprite and stir until combined and smooth. Pour into a 9x13 baking pan.

2. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

3. Cool completely. Frost and add sprinkles or other decoration as you see fit.

I wish there was more to this recipe, but that’s really all there is to it. What recipe are you going to have fun with next?

Love Is Shaped Like A Cross

When many of us think of the love of God, this is the first Scripture that comes to mind:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have every lasting life. John 3:16

And this is one of the most amazing verses in the entire Bible. It encompasses the entire gospel in just a few words, and it quite simply shares the depth of God’s love for us.

Digging deeper in the New Testament, though, we find dozens of passages that detail the love of Christ.

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. John 15:9

Reading Jesus’ own words, I am struck by His command of the way we are to love. His love for us and in us is to force its way outward to everyone we come into contact with. As Jesus loved us, we are to love others. This gives us no excuses or grumbling - if we love as He loves, those people will see Jesus living through us.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him t…

Sunday Sketch

One of my favorite things about sharing these Sunday Sketches with you is that I get to do some playing around of my own. So often I use the same layouts over and over, but having a weekly post like this gets my creative juices going.

So this week's card is the result of just such a challenge. I combined some great denim paper with the cutes little chickens you've ever seen. Three special things about this card: the center banner is raised on 3D adhesive, the images are encircled with punched shapes and it's accented with acrylic dots. Too cute!

For today's sketch, you'll need two different papers, three images and a handful of embellishments. Combine coordinating patterns to make them stand out, and attaching the center banner on 3D adhesive will give it some extra dimension.

Punch out your  circles, then trim your images to fit. You could also alternate patterned paper if you only have one or two images small enough. And there's no wrong way to use embellishm…

Valentine’s Day Flower Arrangement From Dollar Store Supplies

If you were to do a thorough investigation of our downstairs hall closet, you would be amazed at the bags of flowers, tablecloths, garland, die cut images and other miscellaneous bits you'd find there. Most of the collections are from church bulletin boards in years past, but they're useful for those days I get the whim to make a centerpiece like this one.

From two such bags I cabbaged a few stems of valentine-looking flowers, a bag full of heart picks and a block of floral foam. We have a boatload of tissue paper, and I reuse the votive holders and wood tray for so many different projects.

I started by cutting three blocks of floral foam just smaller than the votive holders. Then I wrapped them in tissue paper so the green wouldn't show.

The three largest flowers became the foundation for the arrangement. I had to trim the stems fairly short since the votives are so shallow.

Then I spaced the flowers evenly throughout the remaining space and tucked the hearts into he ope…

Love Themed Valentines Nails With Etsy Links

Today I’m beginning my countdown to Valentine’s Day. I’ve been holding on to these sweet nail decals for just this day, too.

One of the quickest and most fun ways to decorate your nails any time of year is with decals. They’re easy to apply, and you can switch them out for any theme or holiday.

I have two Etsy shops that I buy my decals from, and I just have to share them with you. If you want something fun to try, on Valentine’s or any day, check them out and show them a little love, too.

To do the nails I have here, I used two shades of pink and the love decals from Millie Nails Creation. If you’ve never used nail decals before, you can check out my post here and try them for yourself.