Thursday, December 30, 2010

Devotion: My Talent

"You have been faithful with a few things;
I will put you in charge of many things."
~ Matthew 25:21

I was offered two jobs in one week, although both were non-paying situations. However, both of them were plum positions.
One was to write a column for a newspaper and the other was to join a design team for a well-known rubber stamping company. As I wrestled with accepting one or both of them, while thinking it through and praying for wisdom, I became intimidated. There are better writers and many good card designers out there. What did I have to offer?
And so, when seeking advice, some tried to dissuade me from accepting either one of these invitations, dismissing them as of little importance because they weren't "real employment" and saying that these people were taking advantage of me.
Others, however, told me if I am faithful with the volunteer positions that come my way, perhaps some day it might lead to bigger things.

Prayer: I don't know what to do, Daddy. Help me. This has to be a God-thing! I can't explain it otherwise. I feel honored to be asked; yet I'm still afraid. Help me overcome it. Show me which one I should accept or if both are okay. My life is in your hands!

Today's Quote: "From the time we are small children, a dream lies hidden deep in our heart. Sometimes it is shared with our best, most trusted friends; but often it is kept hidden because the possibility of it ever happening is too unbelievable to consider." ~ Jo Packham.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Handmade Paper from Used Christmas Wrap

Note: I originally took a papermaking (pouring method) class at our local Conservation Department (free to Missouri residents). Check out Arnold Grummer’s website for more tips and ideas.

Used Christmas wrapping paper or other paper such as junk mailing paper or scraps of cardstock
Your hands or a paper shredder
Optional Inclusions: glitter, a pinch of tiny seeds [purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea); the Gray-headed Coneflower (ratibida pinnata); the Plains coreopsis (coreopsis tinctoria) and the Black-eyed Susan (rudbeckia hirta L.) for example], mica pigment powders, dried flower petals or leaves, snippets of embroidery floss, crayon shavings, etc.
3 cups of water per blender pitcher
dishtub or container to save water in
Kitchen Sponge/cotton sack toweling/felt couch sheets
Paper mold = Window-screen stapled to a wooden frame
Die-cutter/Embossing Folders

1. To make the paper molding frames, saw a piece of 1 ½” x ½” wide wooden board into 8 (7 ½”) lengths. Nail 4 pieces into 1 rectangular frame using a hammer and 2 nails on each join, then cut out a piece of wire window screening to size and staple it to the bottom of one mold with a staple gun. (see photo). Then make another one with the remaining 4 pieces. Mark the one without the screen as the top as this piece will be removed later when your paper pulp is completely poured. 
2. Prepare frames for paper making by fastening the molding frames together with two large rubberbands at each end with the screen in-between.
3. Tear used paper in small bits (about the size of the end of your thumb from the first bend to tip) or run it through a paper shredder. If the Christmas paper has metallic pieces on it, you might have to shred the paper a little finer. Throw pieces into a cereal bowl or paper cup until you have about ½ ounce of paper (weigh bowl or cup first). Tip: 1 ½ or 2 copy-weight sized sheets of scrap paper + several tiny scraps of colored cardstock = 1 sheet of colored cardstock for this size of mold.
4. Place paper into blender pitcher without compressing and pour warm water over the paper until paper is covered (approximately three cups of water). Replace lid and blend on highest setting for 30 to 60 seconds until paper becomes pulpy looking. If you have off-white or grey paper pulp and want colored paper, throw in a few scraps of colored paper or cardstock (I save my cardstock bits in sandwich-sized zip bags by color.) Keep adding and blending until you get the color you want. Remember that your paper might dry lighter, so keep adding colored paper until it’s a slightly deeper shade than you want.
5. If you wish to at this time, add your inclusions to your pulp before you pour it out. Stir with a spoon to mix thoroughly.
6. Set the mold down into your dishtub and pour the blender water/pulp mixture through the screen into it, dumping the pulp as evenly as you can on the screen. I start pouring at the corners around the edges to the middle in a circular motion. Sponge bottom of screen dry and sponge top of paper until flat. Remove rubber bands from mold, lift off top frame and set it aside.
7. Supposedly, one is able to turn over the frame and peel the paper off the screen onto the couching sheet. I messed up the paper several times trying to do this and had to start over (glad I saved the water in the dishpan instead of letting it go down the sink). I found it helpful to use a kitchen spatula to lift up one end of my new paper to slowly peel it from the screen. At this point you may let the paper dry naturally on the couching sheet or carefully iron it. Be sure the iron is on the coolest setting and don’t leave it in one place too long as it may burn the paper. Do not iron seeds.
8. If the paper buckles as it dries, lightly spritz with a bit of water to relax the fibers on both sides, then press under a few heavy books or in a homemade book press.
9. To decorate: Try spritzing dried paper with inks and cut paper into shapes with a die-cutter to use as Christmas ornaments or gift tags. Punch a hole in one end and thread a strand of ribbon, gold cording or embroidery floss to paper as a hanger or tie. Or use embossed handmade paper on cards!

Postcript: I have a tip for making a new seal for your thrift store blender pitcher here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Birthday Cake for Jesus

While this idea of a birthday cake for Jesus was not my original idea, I did write this article explaining the idea and it was first published on the Old Fashioned Living website.

Cake Ingredients:

1 chocolate cake mix
1 white cake mix
white frosting
yellow, red, and green liquid food coloring
2 (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans
large red candle taper
box of small birthday candles

Mix and bake chocolate cake mix according to box directions. Cool and flip out both. Wrap 1 layer and freeze for later use. Mix white cake according to box directions. Divide batter in half. Put several drops of red food coloring in one half and mix to desired shade. Pour in one round cake pan. In the other half of batter, drop in green food color and mix. Put in second cake pan. Bake, cool, and pop out. Stack one chocolate layer first on the bottom, frost with white frosting, next red cake layer, frost, and last green layer. Frost whole cake with white frosting. Decorate.

Decorating Ingredients:
Red and yellow food coloring or
plastic decorations or stencils and
 red and yellow piping gel

Decorating Instructions and Symbolism:
Cake is round =
because Jesus was born into a world that is round.
1st layer of cake =
is brown for our sins.
2nd layer =
is red for Jesus' blood shed for our sins.
3rd layer =
is green for life = our new heart.

Frosting is white =
stands for Jesus' purity and righteousness.
Border of Hearts around cake sides =
represents each one of us standing as witnesses for Jesus around the world.
Gold Star in middle of cake top = 6 pointed Star of David =
Jewish nation in which Jesus was born. The Star of Bethlehem led wise men to Jesus.
Yellow border around Star =
Grace of God encircles us.
Big Red candle in middle of Star of David is Jesus.

Light candle then read Christmas story out of Bible.
Light each person's small birthday candles out of Jesus' candle and carefully stick in cake. Let our lights shine before men!

Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!

Take photographs for scrapbooks.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Cottage

Note: I found the original idea in the Kansas City Star newspaper, but rewrote the directions so children could understand them with older teen/ adult help. I have taught this craft as a class several times to elementary age cousins and homeschooled children. This recipe was originally published on Old Fashioned
Basic Christmas Cottage Ingredients =

Note: some ingredients will be enough for 2 houses. You can share or trade extra ingredients such as the candy with others in the class if you so desire. 

A Tip: Pour candies into a clean muffin tin or small custard cups to so that you can easily grab individual candies to decorate your Christmas cottage and to pass around. If they aren't eaten before the house is done, pour them into small Zipper bags to take them home.  

10 pop tarts for each house and yard (in any flavor and frosted/unfrosted)

1 can white pre-made/canned frosting

candies such as candy canes, teddy bear grahams, sprinkles, M&M's, jelly beans, gum drops, pretzels, cinnamon candies, peppermint candy, sugar ice cream cones, colored vanilla wafers, string licorice, large marshmellows, etc.

1 tube each of red and green piping gel

Other Supplies:
1 tray to put cottage on or a foil covered piece of cardboard (app. 15" x 15")

several small bowls to put candies into

1 small frosting spatula for each person making a cottage

1 table knife to cut pop tarts with

paper towels or wipes for the messies

camera & film to take photos of cottages before taking home

1 box to carry creation home in

Cottage Instructions
Step 1: Put a dab of frosting on tray or cardboard to "glue" (anchor) your pop-tarts down.

Step 2: Base = 4 pop-tarts. Smooth frosting along 1 long side edge and one short side edge of pop-tart rectangle and gently press together flat onto the center of your tray. This is your Christmas Cottage's garden (yard).

Step 3: Ends of House = 2 pop-tarts. Cut off corners of one end of long side of pop-tarts to make gable of house. Don't cut too deep until you see how roof of house fits together. Cut deeper if needed. Top of pop-tart will look like an A.

Step 4: Sides of House = 2 pop-tart rectangles laid sideways. Slather frosting on all 4 side edges of pop-tart and fit together the short bottom sides of the "gabled A" pop-tarts at the corner of the cottage, pressing gently into each other & down onto the center of your base "yard". Hold the corner a bit until frosting dries and "glues" itself together. If you need reinforcement at corners, a toothpick or pretzel stick will help. (Note: sticky icing fingers may pull apart your house or decorations, so wipe your hands periodically with a damp paper towel). Do the same with the other pop-tarts.

Step 5: Roof = 2 pop-tarts sideways. Put frosting on one long end and on undersides of "roof" where sides of "cottage" will meet. Press roof together with both hands on top of house. Fill in holes or gaps with frosting, especially at the "A" ends. Be gentle as these houses will not stand a lot of rough treatment.

Step 6: Fun part = Decorating! Tip: pull down tip of spatula to make snowy icicles on roof of house. Use the left over frosting to dab on candy to fasten it to your house or "garden yard". Use the red and green piping gel to outline your windows, doors, sidewalk, and Christmas lights around the eaves of the roof. Make snowmen out of marshmallows and pretzels sticks. Dab on gel for eyes & mouth. Make fences with pretzels or gumdrops. Layer vanilla wafers for shingles on your roof & a large gumdrop or marshmallow for a chimney. Be creative, but most of all have fun!

Step 7: Take a picture of your Christmas Cottage creation for your scrapbook and clean up your area! Gently ease into your box to take home and enjoy!

Our Christmas Cottages usually last about 3 days before they get gobbled up! But the best part of this is now you know how to make them and can create another!

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

“Postscript” = I found Kellogg’s Pop-tart Toaster Pastries in Gingerbread Flavor at Walmart this past Christmas (2011). So yummy! The gingerbread flavor wasn’t too strong, but just right and the frosting is on the inside, so they would be very appropriate for making Christmas Cottages!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Advent Article

Note: I wrote this article several years ago for my church. I have also included the crafts the children made during the Hanging of the Greens evening. This article was first published on Old Fashioned

Advent is an European custom and it prepares us for the birth of the Christ Child. We begin Advent four weeks preceding Jesus' birthday on Christmas day (Holy Day) by lighting a candle on each of the Sundays. It corresponds with the "Hanging of the Greens" service in our home church. (Isaiah 60:13).

Greenery in the midst of winter symbolizes eternal life which we are to receive from the One to Come, the Christ Child (Matthew 1:21). He is to come to save us from our sins. The other colors of the season are also symbolic of Christ -- white depicts the purity of Jesus and red, the blood shed for us in his act of self-sacrifice at Eastertide.

Along with the hanging of the greens and Christmas decorations, we sing Christmas carols. These songs helps us remember the story of Jesus' birth. Did you know the first Christmas carol was sung by angels? (Luke 2:8-14). Angels were the "news anchors" of their day (i.e. heralds, messengers).


In our "Hanging of the Greens" celebration tonight, we want to give you an opportunity to help us make our church building as beautiful as our Lord's coming. You can do this by making some ornaments to decorate the Sunday School rooms. Afterwards, you can also make others to decorate your own homes if you have time. On the following pages, there are directions for the crafts along with what they mean to us as Christians.

In the olden times, back before videos, television, radio, and even lots and lots of story books, most people didn't have the means to learn to read or even own a book if they could. So to get the story of Jesus' birth to these common folks, the church leaders had to find a way to tell the Christmas story to them. One of the methods of teaching the Bible stories was having artists paint big pictures on the walls (murals) of the church building or to have them make stained glass windows representing a story. Another was to write songs (carols) or to put on plays to tell the stories. Missionaries sometimes use these methods today in remote areas of the world where there isn't a written Bible yet in the native language. The first person to come up with a real nativity idea was said to be a monk by the name of St. Francis of Assisi. He made one in Greccio, Italy in 1223 or 24. He used real live people and animals to show people the story of Jesus' birth. It helped people realize that it wasn't just another make-believe story, but really, really happened!

God used symbols in the Holy Scriptures to remind the Jews who He is and what He has done for His Chosen Ones not only during their holidays, but everyday. We use decorations in the same way during our holidays too, to remind us of who He has sent and why. Below are Christmas ornaments we are crafting tonight along with explanations of the symbolism attached to each.

DECEMBER 25 = near the Jewish festival of Hanukkah or Feast of the Lights = our Light appears to save us (John 8:12; 10:22-23, 28)

CANDLES or CHRISTMAS LIGHTS = represents Christ who is the light of the world (Matthew 4:16; Revelation 22:5)

CANDLE IN THE WINDOW (country of origin - Ireland) = A welcome to the Holy Family to show the Christ Child the way. There was no room for them in the inn, but there is surely a place in our home for him. (Luke 2:7)

SNOWFLAKE = In the northern hemisphere Christmas falls during the winter.
1. Snowflakes are six-sided designs. Begin with a circle of thin paper, such as silver foiled or white paper. Fold circle in half and then in thirds like folding a zig-zig with the middle point on the fold. Cut designs on fold of paper
and unfold. Nice to hang in the window or on bulletin boards. Look for pictures
of snowflakes. These will help in cutting good designs.

APPLES = represent Adam & Eve's fall = sin (Genesis 3).

BELLS = announces the Old Testament High Priest in the presence of God = represents the glad tidings of the Presence of our Savior (Exodus 28:34,35)

WHITE ROSES = represent Virgin Mary = a symbol of purity, love, & beauty

STRAW ORNAMENT = straw from manger, Christ Child born in lowly circumstances = (Luke 2:7,16)

STAR OF BETHLEHEM = Guided & still guides wise men who seek Him (Matthew 2:9-10; Luke 11:10)

BIRDS (Dove) = symbolizes the Spirit of God or the peace of God (Matthew 3:16,17)

ROUND WAFERS or COOKIES, Later ROUND CHRISTMAS BULBS = Last Supper, Body of Christ as the Sacred Host or the Bread of Love = fruit of redemption (Luke 22:19)
2. Round Christmas Ornaments - We stamped Christmas designs on round gift
tags. We colored them with magic markers and threaded a curling ribbon
through the hole and tied to make a loop.

HOLLY = evergreen shrub = in Germany it is known as "Christ's thorn" = the thorn woven in the crown of Christ = represents the blood that issued from his wounds for us (John 19:2)

CHRISTMAS TREE (country of origin - Lutherans in Germany) = the evergreen symbolizes the Tree of Life & of the Crucifixion = Eternal Life or Immortality (Genesis 2:9; Luke 23:46; Revelation 2:7 & 22:2)
3. Christmas Tree - Cut out green paper triangles and brown construction paper rectangles. Use a piece of double face tape to attach rectangular trunk to the
green triangle Christmas tree. Use tiny Christmas stickers to decorate the tree
with. Then run the green part of the tree through a paper crimper and punch a
hole in top corner to string a loop through for a hanger.

STAINED GLASS WINDOWS (European custom) = Bible Stories told in glass designs
4. Photocopy coloring pages or clip art that looks similiar to a stained glass window, preferably ones with heavy black lines on copy weight paper.
Color the decorated side in heavily on one side only with wax crayons. Trim off
extra paper and turn colored side down on a paper towel. Wipe baby oil on the
back of the sheet (use a postal water tube - we found several at an office supply
store for 69 cents and up). Make sure the whole back is coated with oil, then wipe dry. Tape on glass windows with clear tape.

BATHING ON CHRISTMAS EVE (we bathed the back of the "stained glass" paper windows in oil) = washed in preparation to his birth - washing and renewal of our hearts (Titus 3:4-7).

Hope you have had a wonderful time making and decorating tonight in our "Hanging of the Greens" service. May we open our hearts to his presence and coming in this blessed Holy Season.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Card Exchange

We have a Christmas tradition at our church. We exchange Christmas cards with each other. It helps to save postage and yet give a bit of Christmas cheer to our spiritual family members young and old alike. We’ve done it several different ways = many years ago, the youth group arranged to deliver the cards for five cents a card for a fund-raiser. Several years later, our son, with my help, decorated a box like a huge gift (covered it with green contact paper, a red bow and ribbon) as a community service project. The box had a multi-slotted insert that was divided up alphabetically. Another year we had a basket and the greeters in their off-minutes, would rearrange the cards by families whenever someone dropped their cards off. Last year, I offered to make a new church telephone directory and it was ready for distribution by Christmas card time. This year, I went to the Hancock Fabric store to buy a piece of material to make a tablecloth for a nice-sized (meaning tall), but ugly table for the Christmas Card exchange table in the narthex. I also painted a wooden sign stand in red and green acrylic paint, glitzed it up with a bit of glitter glue around the edges and made a card-sized cardstock sign of red and white embossed paper attached to the back with foam tape. In the center of the card is a QuikCut bracket diecut in aluminum foil tape framing the hand-lettered wording “Christmas Card Exchange” and 3 small silk poinsettas are attached to the upper right corner with green brads.
I would love to hear what you’ve done at your church to arrange a station for a Christmas card exchange. Please post your ideas in the comment section below. Christmas Greetings!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Devotion: Christmas Greetings

"Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:21

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Sir Henry Cole, director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in Britain, in 1843, decided that there must be a better way of sending holiday greetings to his family, friends, and business associates than the colossal chore of handwriting holiday letters to each, so he commissioned an artist friend, John Calcott Horsley to create a card with a simple message that could be duplicated and sent to all his acquaintances. Horsley lithographed and hand-colored 1,000 copies of this first commercial card. It was a three-panel card – the center panel showed a family celebrating and the two wing panels depicted people feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. The card bore the simple greeting, “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You,” which would become the standard sentiment of commercially mass-produced Christmas cards.

After 1890, Christians, wanting to focus on the reason for the season in their holiday postings, favored religious Christmas cards.

Prayer: Happy Birthday, Jesus! Thank you for loving me so much you would come to earth to be born in a humble village to bring me the good news of God’s saving grace! Remind me to pass forward the message of Christmas joy when I select my cards this year and to greet all in your name.

Today’s Quote:
“ Old Christmas card collections may relate little of importance to the material of ordinary history books, but certainly reveal and preserve almost every other aspect of life and atmosphere, fashion and the changing panorama as seen through the eyes of their contemporaries, and thus provide a realistic background to the appreciation of the more momentous events of the period.” ~ George Buday

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Technique: Waterfall Card

Karen & I made waterfall cards Monday. I found the directions in the Resource Section at Splitcoast Stampers. This is my sample. Snowflake stamps are the Vap Scrap brand (probably from Michaels; $1.00 bin). In addition, I also used a couple more techniques on the snowflakes called thumping and stippling. Thumping is where you ink the stamp in a lighter color, then thump a darker color marker across the stamp in various locations to give more depth to the impression. Then I stippled the lighter color around the snowflake & dragged the edges of the square across a dark red inkpad to finish it off before gluing the squares to the center strip. Now I'm gonna have to make a few more in Christmas colors. By the way, it was helpful for me to have a template of the center strip, with pencil marks across the strip where the folds go, because I was scoring it on a mini Scor-it and I didn't want to take the time to measure again.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm So Tickled!

Verna Angerhofer & I both have a tip on the Inklings page in the January 2011 All Star Issue of Scrap & Stamp Arts issue! I love those frugal tips and incorporate many of them into my own craftin'!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Devotion: An Attitude of Gratitude

"give thanks in all circumstances. . . " ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I was ranting and raving in my prayer closet about the latest series of letters from our town's Neighborhood Services about our tall grass. I was feeling put out and persecuted because we have had a couple of lawn mowers stolen recently and it's rained too, which has put a damper on mowing. It was hard to be thankful in those circumstances and I was letting God know my feelings.
In the children's book by Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna plays the glad game. She finds something to be glad about despite the circumstances. Her father, a missionary, began playing the "game" with her when after requesting a doll, the missionary barrel contained only crutches. He said that she should be happy (thankful) she didn't have to use them.
So as I was standing, praying at my kitchen sink, the thought came to mind that perhaps I should thank the Neighborhood Services Department for doing their job. What? Me thank the Department? No way, that was too radical!

Prayer: Lord I'm not feeling very thankful at the moment for the employees of the Neighborhood Services department. Show me where my attitude has gone wrong and renew a right spirit within me. And may the card I made bless them. In Jesus name, Amen!

Today’s Quote: “At the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, I can hardly think of a disappointment that you can’t turn around into a good situation. It sets you off on a different track, & there’s nothing wrong with that. It just makes you look at things differently.” ~ Mary Engelbreit.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pink Baby Bonnet Card

This is a pink baby bonnet card I made sometime ago. I traced around the template I made from cardstock, folded it in half, then drew in the "stitches" with a rose colored marker. Punched the holes down the "lace ruffle" with a rectangular hole punch and threaded pink ribbon through the holes, tying off the end. I thot it was quite cute!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Devotion: God is Our Source

"a kind word cheers him up." ~ Proverbs 12:25

As I was thinking on kindness, I remembered a certain rubber stamping website I visit frequently in which members enjoy surprising others with RAKS (random acts of kindness). RAKS usually contain a beautifully decorated card and sometimes, small gifts such as sample-sized artist supplies. It gives the RAK-giver joy to share a bit of cheer with someone. It's kinda like sharing a cup of cold water with the thirsty (Mt. 10:42). I know as I've been on the receiving end a time or two!

Prayer: Daddy, I need your help today. I don't come by kindness naturally and I know you delight in it. When I moan and groan about the "exercise clothes" I must put on to follow you, gently remind me that I'm yours, dearly loved. Season my words today with kindness to make them a reflection of you. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Today's Tip:
“Lighthearted color and upbeat, positive imagery emphasize the supportive writing of the Religious card.” ~ Eva Szela.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Veggies & Fruits

I found a couple of poems that I believe Bob the Tomato would like!

Tutti-Frutti Lovesong,
by Mary Grace Dembeck.

You are my darling CUMQUAT,
Oh, you're my PEACHy pie,
I think you are the BERRIES,
The APPLE of my eye.

Don't make me MELON-choly,
Please be my HONEY DEW,
'Cause oh, my sweet PAPAYA,
I'm BANANAS over you!

I would be oh, so GRAPEful
If you'd just say you care,
For it takes two to MANGO,
And we're a PEACHy PEAR.

Oh, ORANGE you a little
COCONUTS for me too?
Please say you'll be mon CHERRY,
I'm so GUAVA over you.


Do you carrot all for me?
My heart beets for you,
With your turnip nose,
And your radish nose.
You are a peach,
If we cantaloupe,
Lettuce marry—
Weed make a swell pear.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mary Engelbreit Style Hallways

In my last article on Bulletin Boards, I showed a few of my favorite bulletin board ideas that I used at church. Another time I decorated the children's classroom hallways in Mary Engelbreit style. I enlarged an open font in my word processor and printed the letters out about the size of an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, cut them out and attached them to black sheets of cardstock, trimmed them in checkerboard and sticky gummed them to the walls. I also had an old calendar that I took apart and used the ME pictures as posters all along the walls as well as "dots" of black paper (see photo). For each doorway, I also stamped a 8.5" x 11" inch classroom ID tag to post next to each door.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry.
By Akiane Kramarik. 2006.

WOW! I was checking some poetry books out of the library and I don't remember ordering this one, however, I'm absolutely delighted that it was among the 33 other books that did come! I sat down the other night to read it and absolutely fell in love with several of her paintings, esp. her "Prince of Peace: The Resurrection" and "Father Forgive Them." I'm so awestruck that she painted them at age 8 & 9. God has gifted her mightily and I'm so glad she listened to his voice. I want to find this book, so I can keep it in my personal library at home. I sorta feel a kinship to this young lady as her family also lived in Missouri at one time, her father suffered from asthma and the children were homeschooled.
I was looking at her drawings at age 4 of faces. My preschool/kindergarden children in Sunday School are drawing stick figures, let alone faces with details and shadows. Absolutely amazing!

Update: Here's her YouTube channel!

"A great artist is not better than others, Akiane. A great artist makes others FEEL better. . . A true artist is the one who finishes to the END." ~ Mrs. Forelli Kramarik, Akiane's mother. 

Art is prayer. Inspiration waits for Akiane Kramarik. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bulletin Boards

I made these bulletin boards for my Home Church's Sunday School hallway several years ago.

The first one is a bulletin board for our church's Resource Room where the Sunday School supplies, children, youth, and adult ministries equipment are kept.

I compiled a list of many good virtues/character traits from the Bible such as the fruits of the spirit to make these flap cards on the Honey bee board. I stamped bees on the top of the cards and hive, and stapled them to the bulletin board so that a child or teen could lift them as they passed by.

This was a very popular one. It's my own version of the "I Spy" Books by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick. I cut out many pictures from old magazines and stapled them to the bulletin board, then wrote out the verses with a magic marker on a long sheet of shelf paper and sticky-gummed it to the concrete wall next to the bulletin board. We hosted some district teen event the following week after I put it up and they all enjoyed solving the puzzles.

I Spy With My Little Eye
By Mrs. Dolores J. Rush, 2006.

I spy an apple, a leaf, 5 rings,
An orange, a chain, & lips to sing.

I spy a circle, the color green,
A worm, some bugs, & a pair of blue jeans.

I spy a sandwich, a shopping list,
Some juice to drink, & a bracelet on a wrist.

I spy 10 bowls, a stack of blocks,
A teddy bear, and a lock.

I spy the alphabet, the number two,
A bus, a nurse, & a big, fat shoe.

I spy Tony, a bear, a frog
Some sunglasses on a dog.

I spy a rectangle, a cookie, a fish,
A cracker, a vacumn, & a dish.

I spy a girl, I spy a boy
I spy a little, bitty toy.

I spy some peanut butter & a mouse
A glass of milk & a treehouse.

I spy a compass, a hat, a bear,
Two big hearts & a chair.

I spy an egg, a pig with wings
We’ve spied a lot of little things.

I spy Miss Liberty & the time,
I spy the end of this big long rhyme!

I love gingerbread houses and had to make my own version from a cardboard box and construction paper for this bulletin board. To hang it, I screwed a large cup hook into the bulletin board. When I trimmed the flaps off the top of the cardboard along the long sides of the rectanglar box, I cut small U-shaped flaps near one end that was going to be the top of my gingerbread house, bent them into the center back and strung a length of wire between each flap. Kinda like stringing a picture frame. Then I hung my decorated house on the cup hook.

Guess What?

I received my advance copy of Just Cards! Holidays! in the mail. Volume 2. There's some really cute cards in there!
I found a Lindsay Weirich card, a Mother's Day Tea card by me, another one by Lindsay, another card by me, a spider card by me, two more Lindsay cards, a Paula Huiras card, and a Christmas card by me. Plus lots of other guys and gal names that I recognize but don't know personally. What fun!!!

Devotion: Sentiments

"Grace be with you." ~ 1 Tim. 6:21

We invited a storyteller to our church to perform the story of a boy and the lunch he shared with Jesus (John 6:1-13). During the course of his presentation, he said as we greet each person, we should bless that person with words of life such as "Shalom" (peace) or "Joy" to build them up in Christ. Almost immediately the thought crossed my mind that I could sweeten the greetings on the front of my cards by carefully choosing a sentiment to do the same.
Apostle Paul wrote two letters to Timothy, a young man he had befriended. He opened his first letter with these sentiments: "Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." (1 Tim. 1:2) and closed his second letter to Timothy with "The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you." (2 Tim. 4:22) Both letters contained encouragement to continue living like Christ, using the Word of God in his ministry.

Prayer: Thank you for providing us with your word, Lord God, so we know how to live. Continue teaching us to be holy and to spur others on to holy living too. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Today's Tip:
“Make every card you send a standout! Personalize each one to convey the message in a very special way.” ~ Sandi Genovese.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Paper Dolls

I've been reading some books on dolls & paper art dolls. I wanna make some of these too! I have a doll rubber stamp and recently found stencils at a thrift store to make small doll faces. I'd like to make historical (esp. Bible story or figures from Christian history) or literature paper art dolls. Here's an ugly little one I made some time ago for an atc doll swap.

As I was reading the book list below, I was trying to remember what paper dolls I had as a child. I must have had a few, because I remembered that the fold-over tabs on the paper clothing never lasted long, nor fit the dolls well, but for the life of me, I don't remember what they were. I do remember a scrapbook I kept for awhile, my first one I believe, of babies and baby dolls I cut from old magazines and catalogs and pasted into an old school notebook on lined paper. I didn't dress them, but enjoyed collecting them. I might just have to find new-to-me paper doll parts and make a new scrapbook as I journey into paper doll making.
(* starred ones are from my home library; others were found in the public library)
Artful Paper Dolls: New Ways to Play with a Traditional Form. By Terry Taylor. Lark/Sterling, 2006.
Collector's Guide to Raphael Tuck & Sons: Paper Dolls, Paper Toys, & Children's Books. By Blair & Margaret Whitton. Hobby House, 1991.
* Fanciful Paper Projects: making Your Own Posh Little Follies. By Sandra Evertson. Sterling 2005.
* How to Dress an Old-Fashioned Doll. By Mary H. Morgan. Dover, 1973, reprint of 1908 book.
Paper Dolls: Their History and How to Make Them. By Edith Flack Ackley. J.P.Lipponcott, 1939.
Paper Dolls of the 1960s, 1970s, & 1980s. By Carol Nichols. Collector Books, 2005.
Paper Puppet Palooza: Techniques for Making Movable Art Figures & Paper Dolls. By Norma V. Toraya. 2009.
Paper Sculpture. By Alan Allport. Drake, 1971.
Storytelling with Dolls. By Elinor Peace Bailey & Noreen Crone-Findlay. Krause, 2003
* The Doll.By Carl Fox. Harry N. Abrams, NY.
I was rummaging around in my stash of craft stuff and ran across a Doll Back from the Artgirlz, Inc. Oh, goodie, something else I can play with!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Free Art Classes!

I received my MO. Conservation Department newsletter in the mail today. I've taken several of these fun and FREE classes!

Anita B. Gorman Discovery Conservation Center = 4750 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, MO. 816-759-7300.

Leafy Tees. September 4/Saturday/10:00 Am – 2:30 pm. (Walk-in/All Ages). Printing T-Shirts with inky leaves. Says T-shirts will be provided. (They won't have any t-shirts big enough for me, as I am a BBW, so if I were to take this class, I'd better take my own, pre-washed and pressed. The sizing starch in a new t-shirt prevents material from absorbing the inks well.)

I'm Hungry, Help Feed Me. September 7/Tuesday/6:30-8:00 pm OR October 19/Tuesday/6:30-8:00 pm. (both are Walk-in/Ages 9 & up with adult). Construct a Bird Feeder.

Art Festival. September 21/Tuesday/6:00 – 8:00 pm. (Walk-in/All ages). A variety of nature themed art activities are planned for this evening such as printmaking with leaves and block inks. Also a class on creating a customized walking stick. There will be an exhibit of work from talented students of the Mattie Rhodes Art Center's after school program also.

Delight Your Eyes. October 5/Tuesday/6:30-8:00 pm. (Walk-in/Ages 9 & up with adult). Construct a leaf press & a colorful arrangement of leaves.

New Cards from Friends

I received these cards in the mail this week. I feel so special and loved. Thank you dear friends. The three commercial cards are from friends at church and the hand stamped one is from one of my friends across the pond – Joan Petty.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chair Railing Idea

While Mom and I waited to see a surgeon for a follow-up visit, we noticed a nifty chair-railing. Whoever designed his waiting room had a great idea for an unobtrusive way to keep the chairs from marking up the wall. It wasn't the usual molding placed at chair height on the wall; it was a two x four inch board covered in matching floor carpet, wrapped like a gift box, placed just behind each grouping of chair legs (each group consisted of 2 to 3 chairs), and equal in length to each grouping. I don't know whether the boards were fastened to the floor or not as I didn't get a chance to investigate, but I can imagine that it would be easy to pick them up to vacumn under and be replaced along with the chairs.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shoebox Party

Do you know what a shoebox party is? Well, I was invited to one last week and these are the cards we made during the day. A shoebox party is like a crop for scrapbookers, only this is for cardmakers. Each person brings one or more shoebox(es) filled with a sample card already prepared (I took three boxes) and all the fixings (including adhesive & tools) to make that card in the box along with the directions. So if ten people have been invited to the party, there is enough material in the one shoebox so ten people can make one card from that box, then it is passed on to the next person at the table and so on. Each person has the option to make their card just like the sample card or change it up to suit themselves from the materials at hand and at the end of the day, when everyone has made all the cards, then we get to take them home. We also donated to a potluck luncheon.
There were all levels of expertise represented – very simple cards for beginners to more experienced cardmakers. I made them all plus a template for an envelope. I also took some rubber stamps with me that I no longer wanted to swap & I think most had fun digging through the box. HELLO! I hope everyone remembers that I want Christian type rubber stamps in exchange!
Golly, I had a blast!

Devotion: A Shot of Peace

“Is there no balm in Gilead?” ~ Jeremiah 8:22

Gilead was famous for its healing ointments and the ancient spice merchants traveled through this area near the Holy Land regularly. I hope and pray that my card ministry will point the way to the Great Physician's healing balm for wounds. He’s the only one that can heal hurt, give peace, and bring comfort to battered bodies.

Prayer: Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. ~ A Prayer attributed to St. Francis.

Today’s Quote:
"The Greek word for peacemakers is eirenepoios, which can be interpreted as "peace poets," suggesting that peace is a thing to be crafted or made. We need to seek ways to be not just "peacekeepers" but to be engaged "peacemakers." In such a definition, peace (or the Hebrew word shalom) is not simply an absence of war but a thriving of our lives, where God uses our creativity as a vehicle to create a world that ought to be." ~ Makoto Fujimura.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Recipe: Homemade Glue Dots

Aleene's Tack-It Over & Over
Reynolds Release Aluminum Foil (2 sheets)
2 or 3 half-sheets of cardstock, cut length-wise, stacked layers
Scotch tape

Tear off a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap around the 2 or 3 layers of cardstock cut into half long-wise. Fold over sides and ends. Tape on backside. Smooth foil flat on top (I rolled a wooden brayer over mine.) Dot foil with Aleene's glue about 1 inch apart (make dots about the size of a pea) in rows and let dry flat. When glue dots are dry, place another piece of aluminum foil over the top (I reused a long piece of non-stick UPS direct thermal label backing paper over my glue dots), roll all up, and rubber band all the layers together. It's easy to stick in a pocket of my craft bag to take with me to stamping/crops. To use: open by un-rolling a small row of glue dots, place item over glue dot and lift up. It's ready to put it in place on your card or scrapbook page.

Tip: If you should use these dots as not only glue but as popdots between stacks of something such as punched flowers and after constructing the stack, a bit has squeezed out and is sticky, then dust with a bit of talcum powder on the end of a paintbrush. No more tacky!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Devotion: Greedy Guts

“You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
~ Exodus 20:17.

I was shocked the first time I looked into the advance copy of the rubber stamping magazine I was published in at the envy I felt looking at all the wonderful ideas. I wanted all the ideas to be my ideas. I was jealous of the inventiveness God had given the other card crafters. Whew, I had the greedies BAD!
Ephesians, chapters four and five, have been my life verses for many years. In chapter five, it says that a greedy person is an idolater (v. 5). I had become a bit proud of myself! Through the word of truth, He showed me that I should put off the sin of selfish pride and thank Him instead for the gifts of grace he has apportioned to each artist--crafter. As a dearly loved princess, I want to be an imitator of my Daddy King; gentle, kind, and good; not a beady-eyed, self-important braggart I was in the danger of becoming if I continued to think of myself more highly than I ought (Philippians 2:3).

Prayer:Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your wise distribution of talents and for my portion of your abundant creativity. Forgive me as I put off greed, purify me from it, and clothe me with humility and the other graces of a princess. Amen!

Today’s Tip: “Ugly is easy to come by and hard to get rid of.” ~ Sandy Lyman Clough.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fruit of the Spirit = Bananas

I found some cool Fashion Magic Brites Sunbathing Bananas T-shirt transfers (#19835) recently by Western Trimming Corp. Chatsworth, CA. I thought about using them for prizes for my Sunday School class and applying them to pillow-slips instead of T-Shirts as they are pretty big! I'll have to add some paint to finish them off with eyes. If I were to use these transfers for T-shirts, they suggested using Westrim's small sunglasses, lips, & pail w/ crab buttons.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Sunbonnet Card

I made this card after reading a book about one of my favorite childhood authors. This is a template card of a sunbonnet such as Laura Ingalls Wilder might have worn as a girl. Recently I wrote a short biography about Laura for my history blog as she lived in Missouri and Kansas too. I don't know who the rubber stamps are made by as they were given to me, unmounted, by a girlfriend and she doesn't remember where she bought them. As a sidenote, in 1915, Laura and Almanzo owned a dog named "Inky."

Here's a link to Laura Ingalls Wilder's biography on my History Nut blog.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just Knuckle Down and Do It!
“ for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

I was diagnosed with A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder) by Dr. Grace Ketterman, M.D. several years ago as an parent of a child with the same. One of the pitfalls of this condition is I struggle with procrastination.
I tell myself, ‘I don’t feel like making cards today,’ so I fill my day with other things. I didn’t get the cards done, reasoning there’s always tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and somehow, I still didn’t get them made and sent again. God, in a still small voice behind me says, “Come on, just knuckle down and do it!”
I read somewhere that procrastination is really disobedience. James says in his letter that if anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins (vs. 4:17). That means I’m being selfish and disobeying God when I delay. Somebody might not get the lift s/he needs to keep going one more day. Ouch!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your understanding, grace, and forgiveness. Keep nudging me in the right direction towards obedience. And help me serve others with a smile. Amen!

Today’s Tip:
“Try to set aside a little time on a consistent basis for card creation. If a given time is scheduled, you are more likely to get to it.” ~ Sandi Genovese.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


As I've said before, our Sunday School classroom is decorated in Veggie Tales. Some people go for Disney, but not me, I go for those cute little talking vegetables with no arms or legs like Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato. I found the border and a plaque at the thrift store and have accessorized with items as I (or girlfriends) find them. Like for instance, I happened to see Veggie-Tale material at our local Walmart some time ago and sewed two pillows and velour blankets to make our reading center. And yes, those are Veggie-Tale board books in the basket!

Later I found a chili pepper piñata on clearance for three bucks and hot-glued two huge wiggle eyes on it which hangs in the corner over the reading center.

A girlfriend gave me a Veggie-Tale decorated picture frame and I computer-generated the insert which hangs outside our classroom door. I am using the the pictures cut from last years Veggie-Tale calendar as cheap posters in our room and cut out the small ones on the back cover to tape to attendance reward atc's. A Veggie-Tale cup is our pencil holder and a Laura the Carrot hand puppet stands guard over our Veggie-Tale VCR tapes. I've also computer generated some scriptures pertaining to the Fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22) and vegetables (Proverbs 15:17) to hang on the walls and found curtains decorated on the bottom with crocheted vegetables at a local salvage store.

Just recently, a couple of my students, in honor of the Lord's day, brought me a huge gift-wrapped box containing the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything ship which I will cherish because of their thoughtfulness. We opened it with excitement and giggles and already have had fun sharing this wonderful toy with our whole class. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Literary Magazines

One of the most enjoyable extracurricular activities I participated in in high school and college was the publication of the campus literary magazine. I wanted to carry that over when our son was homeschooled, so we combined two activities into one in our homeschool support group = a literary magazine and yearbook.
In the samples below, I combined scans of the front covers of each of the publications my poetry were published in along with one poem. (click on photos to enlarge for viewing).