Friday, December 30, 2011

12 X 12 Family Name Tiles

I already posted about the coasters I made with this design from Paper Pastime and decided that I needed to make these for Christmas gifts for my family. Oh how I love them! They turned out so nice. My family was quite pleased with their presents.

I have posted some pictures of the finished product. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Add caption

 These would be great for housewarming, wedding, or just because gifts!

Monday, December 19, 2011

What a Day!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

We are so blessed to go to a church that knows the importance of young children, and the role they will be in the church of tomorrow.

Yesterday was the day that our children performed there Christmas program. They had been working for a couple of months and they did a great job. The funny thing was, we had two adults that had roles in the musical and they were the only ones that did not remember their parts. We all had a good laugh!

After the musical was over, we went to the lunchroom (our church is a church plant; we meet at a school) to have a birthday party for Jesus.

Donna and I helped by making the cake. We were pleased with how it turned out! For the table decorations, we cut 3D Christmas trees and made the 'to Jesus' tag using my Sizzix eclips and eCal, we also used deco mesh around the cake stands. I have included a few pictures of the final cake.

I am so thankful for the birth of Jesus Christ and the Love that he has for each one of us!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

As Silver Refined...

Have you ever felt like you are being attacked? or Questioned God why? Most of us have at one time or another.

Lately, I have come to the conclusion that the more I try to serve the Lord, the more my families health is attacked. When I say our health, I am not saying life or death illness, just your everyday crud. Let us back up a few weeks.

One of my craft mentors asked me to help with a project for our Mom's group meetings. Can I just tell you that the fact that she asked me, made me feel good in some strange way. I mean, she is amazing and she asked ME!?!? So, I was more then willing to accept this offer! Becky and I had already planned to get together the Tuesday before the group was supposed to meet, just to get things ready. She and I spoke on Monday where she told me she was ill. Like, very ill! So, I told her I would still come to her home, pick up what I would need just in case she could not make it. So, I wake up Wednesday (the day of our meeting) and I still have a bunch of tiles that I need to load, toys for children, a wagon to carry it all in, etc.

Did I mention that my husband has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and was in the middle of a relapse? Thankfully his relapses are not often but, because of this he was home. He was my help. I try very hard not to be late to anything. There was a torrential downpour in Central Alabama that day so, Jamie offered to back my car into the carport so I would not get soaked. Wasn't that sweet??? Before he could do this, I had to move our grill. This is not your average grill. Donna had connections and had it made for us and it weighs approximately 500 pounds. I really don't know the weight but, it took I believe 4 people to get it out of a truck. It's on wheels so I just had to roll it back. Once I moved it, Jamie proceeds to back the brand new van in to his grill. Guess what? The grill did not move and the rear of my van is now cracked!!! So I took a deep breath, finished loading what needed to be loaded and went on my merry way. By the time I got to the highway, I knew it was going to take a long time! Lets see 30 mph in a 70 mph zone.....I AM LATE!

I will try to hurry the story along. I get there, we get the tables arranged just so and the tornado alarm goes off. Little did we know, when the alarm goes off at the public library everyone that is in the library is led to the basement. Not just the basement but, specifically the room that we meet! So my sweet friend AB says, this is the Lord's plan and we are going with it! We start telling everyone that we are making tiles, how to do it, etc.  Just a few decide to come and make one but, one of those few spoke Spanish. Abbie did the best she could trying to explain the 'how to' of the project. You could tell our new friend was quite confused!

Side note: Our regular sitter for our children was not able to make it, AB and I had searched for another one, with no luck, until 12:45AM that morning.

Little did we know, the sitter that was able to help us that morning was fluent in Spanish! Coincidence, I don't think so!!!

We may only have spent a few minutes with a few people that day but, I believe that they felt the love of Jesus through us!

Now, that was November 16th. Since then, I have had a URI that required antibiotic and steroids, Nate and Allie both had strep, Nick currently has a sinus infection, I had the dreaded puking virus Sunday night through Monday morning, and my sweet Allie Grace was diagnosed today with Fifth disease.  All this illness while trying to get ready for the Cookie Swap for the ladies group at the church and a Happy Birthday Cake for Jesus for our children at church.

I was talking (and crying) to my sweet friend Shannon about how I know with all my heart that we are being attacked to prevent me from doing God's work. I even went on to say, the Lord can prevent these things from happening, why won't he protect our family? She remembered a story that she had read and was kind enough to type it out in an email.

I won't torture you any more with my poor writing skills. Instead, I will leave you with great analogy from Kay Arthur's book As Silver Refined.

By Kay Arthur from her book, As Silver Refined 

"Come let me take you back to a Judean village in ancient days. Inside a small, walled courtyard under a blue and blazing sky, there stands a refiner of metals. In his hands, gnarled with age, he is rolling and fingering a lump of ore. He watches the sun play on the streaks and veins of lead and other minerals running through this bit of rock chiseled from the bowels of earth. His experienced eye knows that, intermingled within this ore, there is silver.

He lays the ore on his worktable then builds his fire with care and the wisdom of years. Soon the flames are rising in the pit situated against the courtyard's stone wall. At the worktable he picks up his hammer and begins crushing the lump into smaller pieces. He pauses occasionally to stare at the fire, as if in study. From time to time, he places more fuel upon the already-blazing coals and works his bellows until the flames are in a frenzy. When the fire is right, he gathers the hammered bits of ore from the place of their crushing and lays them in a small, sturdy container of tempered pottery, his crucible.  

He places the crucible in the fire and sits down beside it. A long day is before him, and this is where he will stay for as long as the metal is subject to the flames. Silver is too precious to be forsaken in the furnace, too valuable to be ruined through inattention. Carefully he watches the fire. It must be maintained at exactly the right temperature for the right duration of time to accomplish its purpose. Slowly the ore softens. The silver, with its greater density and lower melting point, liquefies first, hissing and bulling as oxygen is released. The still-solid impurities rise to the top of the molten metal. This is the dross, and the refiner skims it off. 

Now he adds bits of charcoal inside the crucible. He knows this will enhance the sheen of the silver. The carbon of the charcoal will keep the refined metal from reabsorbing oxygen from the air which would only dull its finish. He tends the fire, adds more fuel, and applies more air from the bellows. Amid the relentless heat surrounding the crucible, more dull impurities newly revealed, rise to the surface of the mixture. Again the refiner carefully skims away the murky, smudgy metal floating at the top of the crucible. Gazing down up the molten surface, the refiner sees at best a dim reflection of himself.  

The refiner works and watches and waits. The heat and its effect continue. More impurities rise to the surface, and again he skims them off. He never leaves the crucible unattended, never steps away from the fire he has formed to do its work. The finished product he cherishes demands this process. Only his guided and guarded refinement will yield the promised and precious metal.

And yet he is still not satisfied.

He lets the fire cool. Eventually he sets the crucible aside. Then once again he builds up the fire, and the process begins all over again. This time the skilled refiner makes the fire hotter. Within the crucible, new impurities are released, brought to the surface, exposed for what they are; then skimmed off.

 Finally his leathery face breaks into a smile, for now as he gazes into the liquid silver his reflection is apparent - not yet sharp, but more distinct than before. More hours pass as he perseveres in his anxious and delicate work. And then.... once more he bends over the crucible, and this time he catches his breath.

There it is! In the silver he sees what he has waited for so patiently: a clear image of himself, distinct and sharp. Delight banishes his frown. His task is done. The impurities are gone. The silver is refined. He has his treasure. He has "choice" silver, the most lustrous of all metals, beautiful and highly valued. The refiner has taken what was impure and made it pure. What was dull and made it beautiful. Potential value had become actual value. And the fire - the guarded, guided, relentless fire - made the difference. The fire allowed ordinary ore from the earth to be transformed into treasure. All under the refiners watchful care, for all the while he never left it unattended.

1 Peter 1:7 "that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

My prayer for you is that when you don't understand why, that you will remember that God is purifying your heart.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wood Burning

I was just talking to my husband about how I have went from no hobbies at all (except eating and shopping) to now, I want to try my hand at everything!

I also have an ornament addiction. I was on Pinterest looking at different Christmas items and I found a picture of little slices of wood burned with the words~ Peace, Hope and Love. I fell in love with the simpleness of the ornament, it was both rustic and meaningful.

My husband started turning wood on a lathe to make bowls, spinning tops and whatever else he can think of so, there was plenty of limbs around the house to have him slice up for me. I purchased a woodburning kit and the first thing I burned was a snowflake. I must say, I did not do too bad. It was a lot of fun!

As mentioned in previous posts, we have many families that are adopting within our church.  Jennifer and John are one of the families that are adopting. Jennifer is making many different items to help fund their adoption. Her blog is One Less Designs. You should check it out!  Anyway, she had made a few ornaments for herself and others showing the country/state where they were adopting.
That gave me the idea to do something similar on wood. I love them! I need to work on writing. I can tell you, writing on wood is not quite the same as writing on paper.

Ethiopia                                                               Uganda-for friends who adopted last year.

Baking, baking, and more baking....

Whew, have we had a long week!!!

The past few days we have been doing so much baking. Donna and I were doing cake pops and gingerbead cookies for a birthday party, we also dipped and decorated 144 pretzels and baked 218 butter cookies for the Cookie Swap at our church.  I was able to finish icing the cookies this afternoon and now I need to think about my oldest son's birthday cake. Did I mention to you that his birthday is tomorrow??? Oh my stars, am I running a little behind. At least the cake is baked and all thats left is to decorate!

You will notice on the cake pops pail, I have attatched the cutest little gingerbread man that I found here, edited with ecal and cut with my Sizzix eClips. Too cute!!!

Crazy. Busy. Baking!

 Isn't this dough beautiful!

 I'm not going to lie...this is tasty dough :)

 These angels turned out so pretty!

My husband got me a new lens for my camera. It is what I asked for, for Christmas. Of course, it came on a day I could not 'play' with it. 

 He was taking pictues of everything...most did not make the cut!

 Again, pictures of everything! The dough looks pretty, don't ya think?

I am so pleased with how this turned out! I love the font we chose and the little gingerbread man. He is too darn cute!

Donna found the cutest sprinkles. The gingerbread men were perfect for the party!

Wow, that's a lot of baking!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Angel Silhouette

Last night I was working on a project for our church. We have several families that are adopting children, both domestically and internationally. As you can imagine, the cost of adoption is quite large. Donna and I, along with the Women's Ministry at the Station Church, are working to put a cookbook together so that we can create an adoption fund to help with current and future adoption needs within our church.  So, that brings me to the Angel Silhouette.

Last night, while baking a cake for an anniversary, we used my new toy, the Sizzix eClips, to cut these beautiful Angel Silhouettes to place on our reminder cards about the cookbook. We used this Angel Silhouette SVG file I found here, and imported it in to eCal (this is a specific version of SCAL made for the Sizzix eClips.

We cut these to fit on a 4 x 6 card. Because of the size of the card, we had to make these very small. I cut them 2 inches wide and 1.55 inches high. I used Wassau Card Stock, that I purchased at Target. The color I used on the top was White Gold. It had a shimmery look which is what I wanted for the angel. The shadow background was a basic red.

The angels have very intricate details on them so, I was concerned at how well they would cut out due to the size of the angel. Again, why do I doubt the Sizzix eClips??? It did amazingly well!!! As you can see, there are four hearts that get cut out, 3 on the bottom of her dress and 1 on the sleeve. They cut perfectly! I am excited and pleased with how they turned out! Attached are a few pictures of the finished project.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sisters in Christ, Friends for Life

I might as well introduce to you my best friend, Donna. You will hear about her in many posts because, we do many crafty things together!

Donna is one of the key people in my life that opened up the door to my crazy craft addiction. It started with sewing!

When I had my daughter in December of 2008, I did not even know her. She had started going to our church in the fall of 2008 and between illnesses and traveling, we did not meet until January 2009. Our amazing church, the Station Church, had decided to start having small group meetings. My husband and I opened our home to serve the people in our area. Well guess who started attending our small group??? You guessed it, Donna. She lives 1 mile away (if you were a bird).

Anyway back to sewing. After we met, we almost became inseparable. She made my daughter the most cutest outfit ever! Now being a single income family, money can be tight at times. Especially after having a baby one month after you buy a home! After that, I would help (I use the term help, loosely) make boutique type clothes for my sweet girl!

Then I started talking to her about making my son, Nick's birthday cake. She bakes a bunch and she is good! I told her I would like to start a tradition of making and decorating my children's birthday cakes myself. This was a two fold idea. I thought it would be nice to design and make the cake without telling my children what they were getting and I thought it would save money!!! Ha, save money, I don't think so. It just made me want cake decorating tools.

Okay, I guess I have talked enough about her for now. I know you will hear more about her in the future. I will leave you with a picture of the first cake I ever attempted and a picture of Donna and I! I was proud of what I had designed! For those of you without boys, this is supposed to look like the cards they use when boys play Bakugan.

I could keep going on and on but, I know you will hear about her more in the future.

My First Attempt! Bakugan

Donna and I at Trunk or Treat at our Church (notice the theme)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My First Project

I am so excited to show you what I have worked on tonight. Now, let me first remind you that I am new to papercrafting and SCAL/eCAL, so by no means is it perfect.

I am sure that you have seen where people make coasters using 4in. x 4in. tiles covering them with Mod Podge and scrapbook paper. I did the same thing except I used photos. I am making these as Christmas gifts for our family. Can you say cheap??? Lets see, I paid 33 cents on the tile and 13 cents a photo. Can't beat that and you know the Grandparents are going to love them!!!

The part that I am excited about is I purchased a SVG file for a split monogram from Paper Pastime at the bargain price of $5.00 for the entire alphabet. I promise you, you will use this for Bridal Shower/Wedding gifts. It is elegant and gorgeous!

The amazing thing is I cut these monograms to fit a 3.75 in. x 3.75 in. Do you see how intricate the mongram is??? I can assure you I would not have been able to cut the vinyl using my Cricut. I believe it would have shredded the vinyl. The Sizzix Eclips did a great job!

Just in case you would like to make your own coasters, I will give you some quick directions.

What I used:

Agora Almond 4 inch tiles (I purchased mine from Lowes)
Mod Podge
Foam Brush
2X Painter's Touch 12 oz. Gloss Clear Spray Paint (purchased from Home Depot)

Wipe tiles clean from debris or dust and let dry.

Once your tiles have dried apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on the tile and another thin layer on the back side of the picture. Place picture where you would like and set aside while you continue to do the rest of your tiles.

Once you have completed the tiles, apply another thin coat of Mod Podge over the picture. I wait so that the picture can set a little. Otherwise, it seems to shift.  Let them dry completely. I think I waited 24 hours.

Final step is to spray your tiles with the Gloss Clear Spray Paint, This will help protect the pictures. I ususally apply two coats.

I hope you enjoy this project and see how well the Sizzix Eclips did cutting the split monogram.

Don't you love them??? Easy peasy and inexpensive!

Woohoo...I got my new Sizzix Eclips

I am so excited to open my brand new toy...the Sizzix Eclips. Now, I am fairly new to papercrafting so everything I do is a challenge. However, prior to the Eclips, the only machine I owned was the Cricut Expression. Don't get me wrong, it's a great product. I just wanted to be able to download and cut what I want. I had heard of Sure Cuts A Lot but, also was aware that it was no longer available for purchase (unless you want to mortgage your house or something, lol). When I searched SCAL on Ebay, there were only two listings. The first listing was a buy it now item, for the bargain price of $250.00 (no, that is not a typo! It really is Two Hundred Fifty dollars). The other was for auction starting at $150. So from there that sent me on a search of something different.

Two days before Thanksgiving, I started talking to my hubby about selling my Cricut and all that is with it and purchasing this new machine. My husband is the best! You should learn that now!!! His response was to do research on it before I make any decisions.

Boy, I bet he regrets those words! The next day we had were leaving Alabama to go visit our families in Ohio. That is an 8.5 hour drive, if you don't get in to traffic. Well, guess what? The traffic was horrible! We were on the road with our three precious gifts from God (not to mention our 11 month old Yellow Lab, Windy) for 10 hours! He had to endure lots of videos, blogs, me talking, and of course children arguing and asking how much longer.

One of the reasons I wanted to blog about the Sizzix Eclips is that, I was having trouble finding people that use this machine. Most blogs are of people using the Cricut.

Anyway, I will be working hard this week on some projects and I will let you know how in love I am  with my new toy.

I must run, I need to get ready to Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the Station Church, Kids Camp 2011

We just got back from camp on Sunday. I must say we were and still are exhausted. That being said, I can't wait until next year to do it again!

We got there Thursday afternoon and were welcomed with a monsoon and lightning storm. We sat in the car for probably 15 minutes when I posted on Facebook the following status:

Lord, I will praise you in this storm however, I have a bunch of stuff for camp I need to carry and walk a long distance. Can you give us a 15 minute break to unload?

It was not too much longer that the lightning quit and the rain became a light mist. I knew at that point, our camp was going to be Spirit led!
I am not sure which part the boys enjoyed the most. They love to swim but could not wait for Daddy to get there with their fishing poles. They loved fishing! Allie I think enjoyed the playground and the craft the most. She also LOVES to clap and dance during worship time! I think all of us adult could use a lesson from her on how to praise the Lord during worship. lol

There was so much at camp that I enjoyed. I loved being with the girls. The first day I told one of the young ladies that my boys were here but, I was going to miss my daughter. The young girl told me she would be my daughter during camp. Made my heart smile! :) I loved taking pictures of all the children having fun, worshiping God and learning to love Him more. I enjoyed watching our preschoolers pray after a long hike to the cross. RJ had us all trying not to laugh out loud while he sang God our Father at the top of his lungs. I enjoyed the craft watching Jamie help Nathan. Great father-son time.

Camp ended on Sunday morning where we continued to praise the Lord with our youth praise band, Enshadowed, singing Jesus Freak (a song that was made before they were even born, ha). Sunday evening we had a baptism scheduled for those who asked Jesus into their heart. What a beautiful way to end the 2011 camp!

Nathan praying after the hike to the cross.

Allie enjoying herself outside.

Nathan with the cross in the background.
Nick making his cross craft.

the Station Church, Kids Camp 2011