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Showing posts from 2021

The One Non-Destructive Animal On The Property Right Now

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If you were to come to the Carrell Wildlife Preserve today, you would probably see chewed-off branches in the ponds and piles of churned-up dirt all around the house. Between relocating beavers to curb their destruction and smashing down mole hills, we’re in full preservation-of-the-land mode. That’s why this quiet, unobtrusive resident of the property is a welcome sight. All of God’s creatures are amazing, but walking sticks are so unique. Believe it or not, there are actually 3,000 different species around the world, and the largest can be almost 2 feet long. This one was just palm-sized, though, and I have to admit that I couldn’t tell which end was which for a minute. Their camouflage lets them blend into the branches they’re snacking on, which means they can eat in peace. That camouflage also means you have to look closely to find a walking stick. Luckily he stood out on the side of the big garage because he was a different color. Just one more reason to keep your eyes open when y

Making Fall Mini Books That Are So Versatile

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Today is definitely a fine, almost-fall day! In the spirit of cooler weather and warmer treats, let’s put together a mini book that celebrates the season. When I started this mini book, I had a couple dozen die cut journal blocks and cards with fall images. Using their size as my guide, I cut white card stock an inch larger all the way around and covered them with denim decorator paper. This makes super-sturdy pages to embellish on. On other pages, I used white card stock to make mats for photos, drawing paper or journal blocks. The variety of pages makes it interesting and versatile for absolutely everyone. If you don’t have preprinted cards and images to work with like I did, you can pull out all the stickers, washi tapes, die cuts and other fall embellishments you have and create your own patterned pages. We’re all about stoking the fire of creativity around here. The circles I used are punched in two different sizes to layer and creat some depth. Are your creative juices flowing? A

Words For Wednesday

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Healthy, Portable Snacks With The Good Stuff

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Snacking doesn’t have to be a terrible thing, especially when you know what to eat and when. This is super important when you’re traveling because you may not always find something healthy at the next stop on your journey. When our group of ladies went on retreat last weekend, we had a total of 6 1/2 hours in the van together. We were driving through lunchtime, so we packed plenty of snacks for the trip. While we adored the pumpkin cookies and chocolate squares, we definitely needed something nutritious to balance out the sweets.  Here are a few practical, portable and perfect healthy snacks for the road: * bite-sized fruit * dried fruits * dried veggie chips * single-serve yogurts * energy balls made from oatmeal and peanut butter * trail mix * string cheese * healthy muffins * tortilla wraps * fresh sliced veggies * yogurt-covered pretzels * small containers of hummus * chips and crackers for dipping What’s your go-to travel snack?

The Power Of God’s Word To Women

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This weekend was one of our church women’s favorite weekends of the year - the Iowa Regular Baptist Camp’s Renew Conference! This year’s theme was Adorned With Strength, looking at what God’s word says about femininity and holiness.  One of my favorite parts of our free time is visiting the Faith Bible College bookstore. Not only can the speakers recommend books, but the bookstore brings used books, sheet music and lots of fun gifts. And I limited myself to three new books. I’m so proud of myself. And the first snack and fellowship time features a popcorn bar, complete with chocolate, flavored popcorn and lots of sweet mix-ins. No two bags are ever the same! I’m a big fan of the zip line, which I was finally able to do again this year. I went down the first year, chickened out the second, we didn’t go last year, but this year was different. With support and encouragement from the greatest pastor’s wife ever, I conquered the zip line! Next we were going to try the crate stacking challen

A Week Of Illustrated Faith Print & Pray Planner Layouts

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To prepare my heart for last weekend’s ladies’ retreat, I created seven planner spreads using my favorite Illustrated Faith Print & Pray Shop sets. I was so centered after a week of Scriptures and beautiful graphics. Monday’s set was from the Weeds & Wildflowers devotional, reminding me to be still for a bit so I can bloom and grow. For Tuesday, I used the hearts and flowers from Becca Bonneville’s Like Flowers in the Desert. So simple and so full of joy at the same time. The next day I used Like Flowers in the Desert again, but this time focused on the cactus and flower images. That hanging glass planter is one of my faves. This adorable Kelly Bangs set is called When I Rise, based on that wonderful praise and worship song. I shrink these three pages to half-sheet size so they will fit better in my planner.  In the Good News devotional kit, there were some beautiful flower ephemera that I’ve been using absolutely everywhere. I love the colors and shared of pinks and greens. Th

Updating The Teen Room Prayer Wall

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A few years ago when we were painting and redecorating our church’s teen room, Danny made this incredible prayer wall for us. He built two wooden boxes with bungee cord woven through them, and we’re able to clip our prayer request cards on them with binder clips. It’s right inside the door, so it’s one of the very first things you see when you walk in. While it breaks my heart to admit it, we’ve not been filling the prayer wall like we had planned. We’re still taking prayer requests and we’re still praying at the end of every meeting, but we’ve been pretty lax about writing them down. It doesn’t mean prayer isn’t important, we just haven’t made filling the wall a priority. So this past Wednesday night we had a very small group, so we made our prayer requests the main part of our evening lesson. We took down all the outdated requests, praised the Lord for answered prayer and sorted out the requests that we’re still praying for.   Then, in one of the best parts of my entire week, we wrot

Stuff From Trees Is Back Online!

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It’s amazing how people change and grow over the years while still keeping their great personality. This is probably the best description of owning your own business - times change, but who you are at the core of your brand remains the same. Stuff From Trees is the perfect example of this. We’ve had our own shop in many forms since 2009, going from Etsy to our own website and growing with each move. And now we’re going entirely to Facebook, another change that fits with who we are and what our priorities are right now. So many of our customers visit us and message us through Facebook already that this seemed like the logical move. Several times each week you’ll see new gift ideas, learn how we do what we do and start your own custom orders for one-of-a-kind treasures. Stuff From Trees has always been a creative outlet for both of us, and we look forward to seeing what God will use it for next! Message us today so we can start planning your next custom order.

A DIY Dollar Tree Autumn Wreath

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Although fall doesn’t officially start until September 22, I couldn’t resist pulling out my autumn decorations this week. I picked up several new Dollar Tree craft supplies recently, too, so I disassembled my 4th of July wreath and turned it into this celebration of fall! I used my favorite white wreath to start with, along with some metallic mesh, leaf garlands, floral bouquets, a metal sign and four clip-on leaves. The mesh rolled up very nicely and reached all the way around the wreath. Then I wove in the two leaf garlands. And no, I can’t do any project without a puppy. That would just be wrong. The sign came with a twine hanger, so it was easy to tie it into the wreath. And I didn’t even mean to, but this truck was the exact size of the inside of the wreath. It was meant to be! And then I tucked in the flowers and clipped on those big, glittered leaves in the open spaces. The result is a beautiful, inexpensive decoration that will work all autumn long.

Words For Wednesday

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Lower-Calorie Frozen Cool Whip Dessert

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Ice cream is by far my favorite sweet treat. I grew up having a bowl every night for dessert, and it’s still my go-to when offered a choice. But when you’re trying to eat (a little more) healthy, ice cream probably isn’t the smartest choice. Danny found this fun recipe that sounded yummy, and tastes even yummier! All you need is a small tub of sugar-free Cool Whip, a small box of your favorite flavor of pudding mix and about half a cup of mix-ins, like mini chocolate chips. Thaw the Cool Whip in the refrigerator, then stir in the dry pudding mix (the powder, not pudding made up). Toss in something fun and crunchy and you’re all set! Return it to the freezer, and you’ll have something sweet and a little more healthy to snack on.

Keep The Dangers And The Enemy Out Of Your Life

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I actually saw them before I heard them. When there’s movement around an inanimate object, that should catch your eye. And in this case, I’m very glad they did. Climbing up and down and all over our decorative water pump is an army of wasps. They’ve claimed it as their own, and apparently they are building a colony inside the spigot. This is not great because it’s smack dab in the middle of where we walk the puppies around the driveway, and the dogs are more curious than most. The last thing I want is for a little nose to get stung because there was something weird happening. The more I look at this picture of the tiny, dangerous insects in our front yard, the more I think about how the devil makes his way into our hearts and minds. It’s never in some grand and glorious battle. It’s in the small, subtle ways, the times when we’re not guarding ourselves the way we need to be. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that

My “Mixed Metallics” Planner Layout

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Who doesn’t like the sparkle and shine of metallic embellishments? They make everything pop when you use them, and they’re so much fun! I combined several supplies in gold metallic for today’s planner layout, and I absolutely love it. I started with that thick, gold washi tape, which I think I’ve used about 100 times on planner pages because it’s so wonderful! Then I added a smaller, striped washi in the other, bigger journal blocks. Then they’re all accented with gold leaves and branches. The whole reason I wanted to do a metallic page was because I fell in love with this long sticker. It says “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good” in gold. After layering it on the small washi tape, I added shiny numbers on black tags to make them stand out as the date. Now, when I move the page back and forth, the sparkle makes me smile. And that’s what creative planner pages should do!

Even Puppies Can Sport That Distinguished Gray

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All four of our dogs are about middle-aged, ranging in age from 4 to 8 in doggie years. But they all also have some gray around the edges, in the most distinguished of ways! Molly, our big dog, is 7 years old, and she has the most gray fur of them all. I like to think of them as Great Dane glitter, giving her an extra sparkle in her personality. She wears it well, don’t you think? Parker is my little old man. He is already 8 years old, and he has the cutest sprinkling of gray around his muzzle and his eyes. And apparently he took his cue from Molly and gave me the profile pose to take a more distinguished photo. Callie and her brother, Diesel, are 4 years old and are just beginning to show a little gray around the edges. Most of the tiny gray patches of fur on her face are where her brother has nipped her or scratched her, and it grew back in gray.  But before you feel too sorry for her, Diesel has those same patches from when Callie has gotten the drop on him. Yes, those two gray spot

Don’t Even Think About Giving Up

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What you’re going through right now may be overwhelming. It may be emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually exhausting. It may seem unbeatable, insurmountable, unavoidable and impassable. But this moment in your life is just that - a moment. It is huge right now, I would never downplay that, but you have so much going for you. Don’t you dare give up. God can see you through the storm. You just need to hold on.  From God’s perspective, this moment has been placed here for a reason, and He’s going to give you everything you need to be victorious. Not just get through it or barely survive. Defeat in such a way that all you can do is praise God for winning this battle for you. He will give you the strength to hold, so don’t give up. He will be with you every step of the way, so don’t give up. He will turn this test into a powerful part of your testimony, so don’t give up. He will bring you through stronger, more focused and more trusting that you were before, so don’t give up. It’

Generational Stamping In My Weeds & Wildflowers Devotional

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Sometimes I’ve used a certain technique so many times that I put it on the back burner and forget about it for a while. There are so many fun, new things out there to try and so little time to try them all! But when I got my Illustrated Faith’s Weeds & Wildflowers devotional, it absolutely screamed generational stamping! If you’re not familiar with the term, generational stamping is simply stamping twice without reinking in between. This gives you a lighter version of the same color on the same stamped image. It’s totally easy and so much fun. In the Weeds & Wildflowers kit, there is a clear stamp set that includes this beautiful flower. I loaded it up with brown ink. The first stamp looks like you would expect, dark and colorful and beautiful. Then I turned the card and stamped again, using just the ink that remained on the stamp. It produces the same color, just lighter and slightly less detailed. The result is a beautiful, two-toned card. You can do this with a variety of co