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My "October" And "It's A Beautiful Day" Planner Layouts

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It's suddenly October. Every time I turn my planner to the next month, I feel like the year is flying by. Hopefully I'm not the only one.  My planner has both monthly and weekly spreads, so I use the monthly for my blog post ideas and the weekly for work and personal schedules. I have several seasonal sticker books, so finding some adorable and spooky images and phrases for October. My favorite way to decorate the monthly pages is to "random stamp," but with the smaller stickers in my collection. That's how I use up some stickers that I might not normally use for cards or scrapbook pages, while making a super-cute layout to use for a whole month. For the first full week of October, I started with ripped pieces of washi tape in a beautiful burnt orange. This is by far my favorite technique for washi, especially in a pretty pattern like this. I chose that color on purpose, too. I had my eyes on this sticker set, full of botanicals and tiny phrases. Each one is layer

Upcycled Denim Dog Toys And The Canine Reaction

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Your dogs may be motivated by toys and absolutely in love with them. Not ours. Ours are cuddlers, not players. But when they get a hold of something new - and something they can fight over - they're completely happy. While cleaning out the spare bedroom closet, I found this huge bag of scrap denim. By scrap, I mean that I've cut the pockets out of old, trashed jeans to use on the front of handmade journals. The rest of the denim went in this bag and was tucked in the closet. (As if writing it this way makes it sound like someone else did it...) And, apparently, they smell really good because the dogs were all interested in them - even before I knew what I was going to do with them. They were going to become dog toys! They're so easy to make that I don't know why I didn't just make them, instead of putting them in the closet. I cut all the way down on either side of the long seam, whether it's pants or skirts. They don't have to be the same width, just a simi

Words For Wednesday

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What I Learned Ordering Frozen Treats Every Day For A Week

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Last week was the Frozen Treat Trot portion of our office's Restaurant Showdown. I was a willing participant, taking one for the team and going all over town to sample the ice cream and frozen yogurt our city has to offer. I know ... selfless, right? So here's what I learned along the way: Our city has so many restaurants with ice cream that I didn't even know had it on their menu, so there were several I had never tried. I learned that there's a lot happening around here and that I need to look around more. How about you and your town? It's fun to order something that I've never had before. Many of our treat spots have a Flavor of the Day that might sound a little crazy at first, but I'm so glad that I tried them! This week it was Orange Pineapple and Red Raspberry. I will report that they were both scrumptious. I will never let the fact that I've never been in before stop me from trying someplace new. I've learned that some people are hesitant to w

What The Book Of James Says About Making Godly Choices

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Do you have decisions that need to be made in the coming days, weeks or months? The guidance you need for making the best choices possible can be found between the covers of your Bible. It may sound  cliché, but everything you need for making a godly choice in right there on those pages. In black and white. Without exception. The book of James in the New Testament is a great place to start, as this letter was written by one of Jesus' brothers to a church where they weren't living holy lives. These poor choices were affecting everyone around them, especially their brothers and sisters in Christ, so James wrote very plainly about how to make better decisions. Read on for a few examples of God's wisdom for putting Him first in all your choices. * Before all else, pray and ask God for His wisdom. (1:5) * Ask believing, not double-minded or wavering (1:6-8) * Decide whether your choice will help you endure temptation or give in to it. (1:12) * Take time to consider whether you w

My "Agape Love" Planner Layout

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Sometimes you just need a word from God. This is one of those times, and my planner is the perfect place to put it.There is so much love covering each of us, straight from God's heart to ours, and sometimes we're just too blinded by the circumstances of the moment to pay attention. That's why I want to slow my week down and turn my eyes and heart to that agape love that can only come from God. As these die cuts and images so beautifully put it, His love is steadfast, unfailing, everlasting and totally unconditional. It's that love that abounds and believes in us, especially when we don't believe in ourselves. I don't know what you're facing this week, but I pray that you'll be purposefully aware of the agape love that God is lavishing on you, even as you're reading these words. His love will never change, never go anywhere and never diminish. With that truth firmly before us, let's walk into this week with confidence - not in ourselves, but in Go

How And Why I Pray Over Our Business

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It's less than 24 hours until our first craft show in a very long time kicks off. I'm a little nervous, a lot excited and so blessed to be able to present our work to the world. Some of our tried-and-true customers are planning to be there, and I can't wait to meet a lot of new, potential friends, too. So all this week I've been praying specifically for this event. But before you think I'm praying that we'll make a ton of money and retire to the islands, I have certain business-centered prayers that are always on my heart. But first, why do I even pray for our business in the first place? Why #1 - God has given us gifts, and it's our responsibility to be good stewards of them. Without the skills and interests that naturally live in our hearts, placed there by God, we wouldn't even be doing what we do. I know for me, personally, I get heavy and weighed down when I'm not making something. I know that crafting is an outlet placed in my brain and my hear

Ways To Attach Scripture And Phrases To Your Cards

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It's just two days until Stuff From Trees has a booth set up at the Ottumwa Community Market! (Shameless self-promotion: Saturday from 8-2 at St. Paul Lutheran Church) It's been months since I had a show booth, so I'm super excited, and I'm looking forward to getting our handmade pieces into the hands of people who will love them and use them. I'm spending the last week before the show stocking up our inventory of handmade cards. Almost all of them have KJV Scripture on them or in them, and it's fun to find new ways to attach these verses and phrases. I usually mat or double mat them in coordinating colors if they're on the inside. Double stick tape is my best friend. It's always a challenge to creatively add Scripture to card fronts. I refuse to glue a picture to a piece of paper - so boring - so I'll often use 3D adhesive to give phrases and images some dimension. You can see the shadow in this picture, and it's only about a quarter of an inch

Words For Wednesday

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Pecan Pie Cookie Bars

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Can you tell that I'm in an autumn mood? It's only two days until the first day of fall, so I used one of my favorite autumn ingredients - pecans - to create a dessert or snack or treat or whatever you want to call it! These pecan pie cookie bars take a few steps to make, but only a few ingredients. Make sure you use real maple syrup, and cut the butter into the crust with a pastry blender. You'll save yourself some time and energy by not using just a fork. Also, do not spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray thinking it will be too sticky. I only used a light spray and I still had to wipe oil off the bottom of the cookie. Ingredients for the crust: 1 cup flour 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed Dash of salt 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and salt. 3. Cut the butter into 1-inch chunks. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture. Small

What Scriptures Make You Think Of Fall?

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It is only three days until the first day of fall. Reread that if you need to. Somehow we have raced through winter, spring and summer of 2022, and now we're headed into sweater weather and bonfire season. It's my favorite time of the year, so I'm ready for it! When I change the seasonal decorations at the church, I always switch the bulletin board to match. This year my fall board has three Scriptures on it:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Proverbs 3:5 Keep me as the apple of your eye. Psalm 17:8 The third verse was the only one I would have thought of on the theme of fall and autumn. I suppose you could use any Scripture on a leaf or an apple and call it fall-themed, but there are several more I would pick from. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the e

My "Hello Fall" Planner Layout

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This Thursday is the first day of fall - can you believe it? I guess it's true that the older we get, the faster time goes by. I'm more than happy, though, to pull out all my fall craft supplies and get my planner ready for the change of seasons! If you participated in my " Do this before you buy one more fall decoration " challenge, hopefully you have some stickers, washi tapes and other embellishments already gathered and sorted. If not, I'll wait while you catch up. Ready? Good. I made top and bottom borders with a pretty leaf washi, then placed my three phrases. Those were each accented with metallic leaves and some tiny phrases. So this will be the official beginning to using up every single fall image, phrase and ephemera I can find in this house. Self-inflicted challenge accepted! Between you and me and the chair, I could probably create an entire planner full of fall pages, but where's the fun in that? The fun will be seeing how many different pages ov

The Trees Are Turning Colors ... Little By Little

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I wish I could say that the Carrell Wildlife Preserve was full of fall colors. I'm beyond ready for summer to be over - I'm a sweater weather kind of girl. Sure, I'd love to see reds and oranges and yellows of every shade. But, little by little, yellow is creeping up on us. If you look at the edges of my favorite tree, you can see the yellow at the ends of each branch. Soon it will be a riotous rainbow of colors, but for the moment, I'm happy with the beginning of that rainbow. In certain parts of the timber, there is a deep contrast of greens. And again, there are hints at the breathtaking beauty to come. That hope is easy to enjoy because we have seen this happen year after year. Green will turn to red, to yellow and to deep orange. It's just the way God has blessed the nature around us. Little by little summer will fade into autumn, the temperatures will drop, we'll drink more lattes and less iced coffee, and sweaters will feel oh so good again. And little by

7 Things To Pray Over Your Husband Today

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The most powerful and most loving act we can do for our husbands today is lift them up in prayer. It may sound trivial, but I am determined to be a prayer warrior, standing in the gap for my husband and fighting Satan in spiritual warfare. Every day I put on my combat boots and get in the trenches with Jesus Christ. Scripture says that He is seated at the right hand of God making intercession for us, so I'm going straight to my Intercessor on behalf of my husband. Daily, hourly, sometimes minute by minute. This is my fight and my battle for my marriage and my family, and I take it incredibly seriously. I hope you do, too. If you're interested in some very specific, very practical ways to pray for your husband, here are seven suggestions to get you started. It's always good to pray Scripture and insert your husband's name into every verse, so I've included a verse with each prayer to pray over him. 1. Pray that your husband will understand God's calling and purpo

Getting Price Tags Ready For An Upcoming Craft Show

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In less than two weeks, on September 24, Stuff From Trees will have a booth at the Ottumwa Community Market. It's been close to a year since we've been to a show, so I've been prepping for a few weeks. One of the major projects is updating price tags, like these on Danny's pens and pencils.  With many different kinds of products, all made from different combinations of wood and paper, there are different kinds of price tags for each. While I would never consider individually pricing cards or bookmarks or tags, there are many different ways I can let customers know their prices. Many of our tiny pieces are packaged in different sizes of plastic bags. This protects them from sun and dampness, and it also makes them perfect for those small garage sale stickers. I write the price on them in Sharpie and stick them to the back of each bag. They can be quickly and easily removed at the cash register, and then they're packaged and ready to give as a gift or kept safe until

Words For Wednesday

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Marinades And Inspiration For Your Next Grilling Menu

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Over Labor Day weekend, while Danny was working hard on outdoor projects, I decided to up my grilling game and find some new recipes. Danny is the grill master in our house, so it was definitely a little out of my comfort zone, but I took a leap of faith! As soon as I got up that morning, I fixed two different marinades - one for chicken breasts and one for beef tips. I cut each into chunks large enough to either thread on a skewer or put in a single layer in my grill basket. The corn is super simple, since I'm an Iowa girl. After pulling off the silks, I break the ear in two, coat them with butter and lay them on a piece of foil. Then I liberally coat them with salt and pepper. They get wrapped up in the foil and placed on the grill for 15-20 minutes, turning two or three times. The corn will come out tender and juicy and yummy. I'm not a huge steak eater, but I really like them with just a steak seasoning and then directly onto the grill. They take 4-5 minutes per side on a h