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05 Aug

What is the Gospel?

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YOU’VE PROBABLY MET PEOPLE who have told you about Jesus Christ, haven’t you? They may have said that Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship. They may have told you that you can have that relationship by saying a simple prayer. But that’s not the Gospel.

People have received many benefits of Christian life in this country, including peace and the ability to gather freely at places of worship, whether that is in a church building, a storefront, or a home. But that’s not the Gospel, either.

Christian fellowship may include teaching, praying, and eating together. Sharing the Lord’s Supper together is a wonderful way to fellowship. But it’s not the Gospel.

Here’s the Gospel. God is holy and righteous. I am not (neither are you). One day you will die and face the Lord God Himself. You will be judged, either on your own righteousness or that of someone else. Our righteousness is as filthy rags, says the Bible. So God caused His Son to walk through this world and live a sinless, righteous life. Then, to pay for all the sins I’ve committed (and you, too), He allowed His Son to be crucified and become the sacrificial lamb to pay for those sins. Then He raised Him from the dead. His death has purchased my freedom and given me His righteousness in place of my own (yours, too).

Now when I stand before God, I will be able to claim Jesus’ righteousness as my own (you can, too) and because of what He’s already done, I will be welcomed into God’s kingdom.

If you understand and believe that, then a simple prayer will, indeed, make you a Christian and guarantee your entrance into heaven. That’s called faith. The Bible says we must come to Him in faith, and His grace will do the rest.

Are you ready to believe? Jesus will save you. And that’s the Gospel truth.

14 Jul

A Gentleman’s Legacy

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It’s been almost two months since my father passed away.

Yesterday would have been his 86th birthday. And as I sit and reflect on his life and influence on me, I realize that the thing that most touches me is that he was a gentleman.

He held doors for women. He walked between me and traffic. He pulled out my mother’s chair. He taught my brothers what it meant to treat women right and he taught me how to expect a man to treat me.

We didn’t always see eye to eye.

In fact, during my teenage years (my rebellion), I didn’t even like him very much. But I always admired and loved him, nonetheless. I was proud that he was my dad, proud of the way he acted and looked the part of a gentleman. And while I was running around with people of dubious character behind his back, I never forgot what he represented.

He grew up in a family of faith, with a preacher for a father.

Somewhere along the way, he quit going to church and living his faith out loud. But he never let us forget the difference between right and wrong, and how to treat people with respect. In the end, a year or so before his death, he admitted to me that he was a believer, that he looked forward to being in heaven with Christ when he died. That meant the world to me.

He was generous and kind, but full of jokes and pranks, too.

Nothing delighted him more than finding himself the butt end of a joke, and the laugh lines on his face were deep. He could really put out the teasing, but he could take it, too.

I’ll never forget the year a friend gave him a live pig for his birthday. He reciprocated by giving her a monkey! And then there was the time he took a cow in another friend’s kitchen. (Somehow, though, he didn’t see the humor in it when I brought a pony in the house on our slate floors!)

All in all, I feel very blessed to have been raised by this man. He wasn’t perfect (who of us are?).

But he was a gentleman.

11 Mar

Glass Pebble Magnet Tutorial

glass pebble magnet tutorial

glass pebble magnet tutorial

MAKING GLASS PEBBLE magnets is one of the easiest crafts there are, and they make some of the nicest magnets around, perfect for giving or to put on your refrigerator. I’ve created a simple tutorial for you to follow if you’d like to make some of your own.

Gather your supplies

You’ll need:

Glass marbles
Decorative paper
1″ hole punch (not shown)
3/4″ magnets (not shown)
Glossy Accents dimensional glue
Hot glue gun and glue sticks

glass pebbles supplies

Glue paper circle to glass pebble

I’ve tried adding the glue to the glass pebble and adding the glue to the paper circle, and found the second way much more effective. Just add a swirl of Glossy Accents glue to the circle on the right side of the paper and then adhere it to the pebble. Let dry completely.

glass pebble backside

Add glue to the magnet

Using hot glue, add just a dollop of glue to the magnet.

glass pebble magnet with glue

Adhere to the back of the pebble

Add the magnet to the back of the pebble, over the back of the paper circle.

Finished magnet

When the hot glue is dried, you have completed this simple craft! Now you can hold several sheets of paper to your refrigerator, or a photo, or anything else lightweight (the magnets are not really that strong and won’t hold a lot of weight). Of course, it totally depends on how strong the magnets are that you use. I used ProMAG Flexible Magnets that I bought at Michaels, but I’m sure there are stronger versions if you look for them. An office supply store is a good place to look.

For an alternative look, draw on the backs of the glass pebbles with Sharpies and glue the magnets to them for a very colorful, one-of-a-kind look that you can customize anyway you want to. This is a great idea for kids crafts, too!

finished magnets

 

I’m linking to That DIY Party!

09 Mar

9 Crafting Tools for Better Projects

9 Crafting Tools for Better Projects

No one likes crafting fails, but one way to make sure they don’t happen is to use the best crafting tools. Some you can make by hand, but it’s often better to spend a little money that will make your crafting easier for years to come. Here are some of my favorites. (This post contains affiliate links, which just means if you buy something from one of the links, I get a small commission. Feel free to get your crafting tools elsewhere, though.)

1. A good sanding block for sanding down furniture, distressing wooden projects, and making all your sanding projects easier. It saves your hands, too!
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2. A hot glue gun with a stand. The stand is really important, as it keeps your gun in the right position, protects your surface that you are setting the gun on, and keeps it always at the ready.
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3. An Xacto knife or craft knife to cut stencils, lift small pieces of vinyl or paper, and a variety of other purposes. (I carve tiny doors in my little wooden houses with my Xacto.) Make sure you have plenty of blades, too.
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4. A paper cutter for cutting paper, vinyl, and card stock. Paper is such a wonderful medium and so useful for so many different crafts!
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5. A metal edged ruler for drawing and cutting straight lines.
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6. Hemostats are excellent for pulling stubborn needles through thick cloth and for turning and stuffing narrow pieces.
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7. A Cropodile for punching holes and setting grommets.
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8. A pen-style holder for felting needles makes needle felting go faster and easier and is much easier to hold in your hand.
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9. A selection of good paintbrushes. I can’t tell you how important that they be good quality is, especially for sign painting and for other projects where you need fine lines. Believe me, the extra money you spend on your brushes will make a big difference in the ease of making your project and the success of it in the long run.
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Good tools pay for themselves. Take care of them and they will last far longer than lesser quality tools and do a better job along the way.

01 Mar

Peanut Butter Cookies, Low-Carb, Only 3 Ingredients!

cookies-medIT”S NATIONAL Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day, and I’ve got a really special treat for you! When I started this low-carb lifestyle, I thought I’d have to give up all my favorite things, like peanut butter cookies. After all, they’re full of sugar and flour—pure carbohydrates!

Then I discovered the antidote to my doldrums—a peanut butter cookie recipe that was all protein and a little artificial sugar, but no carbs. And they taste great!

It’s super simple. In fact, there’s hardly enough content to make a blog post. So I’m including pictures of the yummy things…and a few words so you can make your own. It takes about 15 minutes total, including baking.

Here’s what you do.

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Put one cup of peanut butter in a bowl (I used peanut butter made right at the grocery store, so there’s no added sugar or anything except peanuts, but you can use store-bought peanut butter. Just watch the sugar content. You really just want peanuts and maybe a little salt. Don’t use the kind you have to stir up, though. You want fresh made or blended.)

Add a beaten egg and a cup of artificial sweetener (I use sucralose, but you can use the sweetener of choice).

Beat together well and then roll into small balls and place 1″ apart on a greased cookie sheet (I used a silicone baking sheet, but you can also use parchment paper, too).

Press in a cross-hatch pattern with a fork, and pop them in the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

That’s it! They’re really yummy and low-carb. You can even eat them on Atkins Level One!

What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter?

27 Feb

Craft Room Reveal: From Chaos to Creative

 

titleIN CASE you didn’t see the before photos, take a look at this previous post. It shows all the chaos that was my craft room… but the after photos in this post show all the creative it is now!

The room is not large, so it’s hard to get back far enough to take a picture of the gorgeous table my husband and son made for me. (Actually, my husband designed it—with my input, of course—and my son built it for me.)

We took all the furniture out of the room and put in all new. New desk for my computer, new shelving for storage, and—how exciting is this?—my handmade, glass-top, craft table!

Did I mention I LOVE my new craft table?

It has storage in all four corner shelving units and there’s three inches between the glass top and the wood underneath. Ample space for storing my cutting mats, rulers, t-square and such.

I’m in the midst of labeling everything with chalkboard labels (chalkboard tape by Duck brand duct tape) and chalk markers from Chalkseries.

So without further ado, here’s my Craft Room Reveal!

craft tableBecause of the glass top, the windows are reflected in the glass. But you can plainly see the space between the wood and the glass… such a brilliant idea!

Glass-top craft tableAnother photo from the other side of the table, still showing reflections, but at least the windows are not showing.

desk1Here’s my computer workstation. My Curio cutter is peeking into the picture on the upper left, with it’s handmade dust cover on top. The little red and white storage unit holds tools and pens for the Silhouette.

desk2Another view of my computer desk, showing some quilled cards my husband gave me, a cross (in the little box), and a handmade cedar box crafted by my son. Notice my basket of scissors!

etagereThe etagere that holds a few items, including a birdcage given to me by my daughter, some devotionals, a basket holding some fabric, and some things you cannot see in this photo.

Kallax1We used Ikea Kallax shelving units to create storage for my many craft supplies. The labels aren’t on them yet, but they’re coming!

pigsOn top of these shelves are my three little pigs soft sculptures with paper mache heads. You can also see some needle felted animals (a horse is unfinished), my tall knitting needles, and my “Jesus knows me, this I love” sign (soon to be repainted).

Reading nookThis corner shows my reading nook, which doesn’t yet have the reading light that will be beside the chair. Two Kallax shelves hold books and lots more craft supplies. Above the chair is my inspiration board.

Kallax2The view of the Kallax shelves across my craft table.

dollsOn top of one of the Kallax shelves are a few of my prim dolls that I made.

Kallax3Beside my reading chair, this Kallax holds books, jars of thread and buttons, baskets of tape and clips, and more.

Kallax4Here’s the Kallax on the other side of the chair, holding more books and other supplies.

boxesOn top of the shelves is a collection of my handmade boxes.

memesMy craft room memes.

plastic drawersI kept this plastic drawer unit because I needed someplace to house drawings that would keep them out of dust. The middle drawer houses some miscellaneous craft supplies, too. The picnic hamper on top holds pads of lined paper and clipboards.

One piece of furniture still needs to be bought. Since this is the only room we have for a guest room, it has to do double duty. That means we have to  buy a day bed that opens out into a double for guests. We’ve not yet decided exactly what we want, so that’s on the back burner for now.

What are you doing in your craft room?

 

20 Feb

10 Favorite Font Combinations for Crafters & Designers

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IT’S NOT ALWAYS easy to find good font combinations for your craft or design projects. In fact, sometimes it’s downright frustrating. Do you combine serif and san serif faces, or how do you decide which roman font goes with your script font? Well, to make things a little easier, I’ve come up with ten of my favorite font combinations and put them in a graphic for you so you can see what they look like together — they’re in pairs, first the script, then the roman. Then I’ve included links to where you can find the font (just click on the font name). Most of them are free, but be very careful about the license. Some of them are okay for commercial use, but most are for personal use only, unless you buy a commercial license.

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These font combinations are ones that I’ve used in crafts and for making posters for myself. Of course, you may decide to combine them in different ways, and that’s fine, too. Because in the end, it’s what strikes your fancy that matters.

One tip, though. Don’t use script fonts for all caps, because it makes it difficult to read.

What are your favorite font combinations?

17 Feb

Simple Burlap Wreath: A Tutorial

I’VE BEEN busy today. As I sat listening to Willie Nelson singing some of Frank Sinatra’s songs, I enjoyed not only the music but some time crafting.

We went to see War Room today (which is fantastic, by the way!), and on the way home took a little trip into JoAnn’s to pick up some burlap for table runners for our Rosh Hashanah celebrating in a week. I say we because I have a husband who never minds craft shopping with me. And I love to take him ’cause he always buys more than I ever would. LOL! Although the burlap was only for table runners, he suggested that I should make a burlap wreath, too.

Now what you need to understand is that we’ve never hung a wreath on our door. He didn’t want the paint scratched from a wreath hanger, so we always hung our Christmas wreath on the brick wall beside the front door (which works, too). But husband dearest saw a burlap wreath at JoAnn’s and said, “I bet you could make one better than this one!” Which was good, because it was ON SALE for $24.99. I don’t know about you, but I have trouble buying something that could only cost a little money and labor. So I got some extra burlap and a foam ring and took a picture of the wreath (which husband dearest liked) so I could do something like it.

Here’s the picture of what we saw, including how it was made.

 

As you can see, it’s rather sparse and the bow is a complete disaster.
Now here are a couple of pictures of my wreath in progress.

 

I covered the wreath with a long strip of brown burlap and then began gluing down the burlap “fluffs” in a different manner from the store-bought one. I made squares of burlap and stuck the end of a paint brush into the center, gathering the burlap around the paint brush. Then I slipped the paint brush out and hot glued it to the wreath. Much fluffier!

Here’s a picture of it on our door. (Notice that I didn’t cover our beautiful brass dove descending on the cross, but framed it with the wreath.) I made a bow of brown burlap and looped a “ribbon” of brown burlap around the top of the wreath. Then, using flat tacks, I tacked it to the top of the door. No worries about it scratching the paint!

 

 

Have you ever made a burlap wreath? How did you hang it?

17 Feb

Sharpie Pens: 8 Tutorials for Things to Do With Them

EVERYONE HAS a Sharpie or two lying around.  At least, if you don’t, you should. These pens are like magic! Just them and a little creativity and you have a masterpiece.  Sharpies come in multiple colors and several tip thicknesses, so you can have just about anything you need for whatever craft you can think up.  I’ve scoured the internet and come up with eight tutorials that are diverse and interesting, and require more dedication than skill. None of them are very time consuming, either, so you can decide today and be done today, too! Instant results!

Tutorials for Things to Do With Sharpie Pens

From Kimmykats, Sharpies and washers tutorial.
What magic can happen when you combine a sharpie,
some muratic acid and hydrogen peroxide…

By Stephanie Lynn, Sharpies and dishes tutorial.


Once the designs were drawn, the dishes were set on a cookie sheet and baked at 350º for 30 minutes until the designs were set.
From Homespun Happenings, a Sharpies and sign tutorial.
With dark stain, the effect was perfect.
Doodle Easter Eggs from Alisaburke tutorial.
Eggs this pretty can be for any day!
Just Crafty Enough brings you Marimeko Shoes tutorial.
Give plain sneakers a whole new look!
The Thirty Sixth Avenue gives you a Christmas ornaments tutorial.
Get your Sharpies, some fun stencils, and give those ornaments a makeover!
Tye-Dye some shirts with Markers and Alcohol from Genuine Mudpie tutorial!
Pretty flowers effect with just a couple things you already have around the house!
Dear Lilly had a Christmas Project tutorial.
With fabric from your stash, some old pillows and a Sharpie, no cost pillows!

I know you have a zillion more ideas of what to do with your own pens, and I’d love to hear some of them. Leave me a comment and tell me your favorites.

What will you do with your Sharpies?