Thursday, November 15, 2012

We Gather Together...

to ask the Lord's blessing...

So sorry to anyone who has been wondering, where did I disappear to - sometimes I get in over my head and then I hide under the bed until I can face tomorrow - ever been there?!  I won't bore you with the details but, I seem to have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew, if you know what I mean...?!  Anyway, enough of that.  Let's turn our faces to the noon day sun and discuss the most pressing matter at hand - Thanksgiving!!!  One of my very favorite holidays.  Especially these days!  Somebody else does the cooking!  It just doesn't get any better than that!

Pictured above is a very simple and sweet "do it yourself" project that you and your family/friends can all have fun with.  It is a simple white tablecloth signed by everyone at the table. (Just be sure to use washable ink markers!)  I did it one year for my daughter and forgot to check the ink. They were not washable markers and my beautiful treasure was ruined when I washed it.  NO ONE wanted to get in my space for quite a while after that one!    

So, you have checked your markers and given each guest one to write with. They just write something they are thankful for, sign it and date it.  When dinner is over, wash and put the table cloth away 'til next year.  This is something you can repeat each year.  I wish I had done this when my children were little.  What an heirloom this will be if you do it over the years!  I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't be happy to have one for themselves or for their kids!  Great memories and a truly beautiful reminder of God's blessings over the years!

Praying the blessing of the Lord on you and your family on this beautiful Thanksgiving.  May God be with you at your table...  

Note to God!  Thank you, Lord, for readers, bloggers, and creative hearts all over your beautiful world!

Note to Readers!  To find the exact directions (for those of you who like more details!) here's the link that will walk you through it all.  Have fun. You don't have to do much on this one!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teddy Bears...

I have known...

Most women my age, with the abundant blessing of grandchildren, can relate to teddy bears like old friends.  After all, we've read stories about them, purchased them in all different sizes and colors, maybe even patched up a favorite bear that has lost an eye or a leg or lived through some such terrible trauma.

As for me, I love the little bears, no matter the color or style.  I have even collected a few over the years.  When it comes to the bears, I could tell you some stories...!

One of my favorites conjures up memories of my father, playfully nicknaming his last child, a daughter, whose beautiful christened name, Teresa, was much too formal for my father, so he nicknamed her "Teddy Bear".  He was a kid at heart and loved the playful, sweet pet name he assigned to his last baby.  Teresa played along, dutifully cooperating with her tasks as a hug-able little doll, willingly giving and receiving all the kisses and hugs that are expected from a good teddy bear.  The name stuck with her probably far longer than she would have preferred!

When my first child, Christy, was born, my sister, then eleven years old, sewed a stuffed teddy bear as a gift for her new niece, the first grandchild born into this big family.  She was little more than a child herself, but made this little funny looking bear all by herself and named it "Buttery But!" Christy played with that bear for years, until it finally fell apart at the seams. Wish we still had it today!

I love the memories those two stories bring back for me. How about you? Any stories you attach to an old doll you had as a child? What memories do you picture in your mind when you think of that toy? Amazing how something like that can bring yesterday back as if it were today!

In honor of Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear, Pooh Bear, Buttery But, and my sister, "Teddy Bear!", here's a fun video of an old classic, "Teddy Bears Picnic". I hope you enjoy it and my trip down memory lane!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Every Good and Perfect Gift...

"Comes down from the Father of Lights..."
James 1:17

I am attaching, for your loving prayer support, a little story from Voice of the Martyrs regarding a group of ladies who live far away from our shores in Central Asia.  The short story from VOM tells us that these ladies have received the gift of sewing machines, which, on their own, they could not afford to purchase.  So they prayed and God answered their prayer.  

These women, simply because they are identified as Christians, are denied employment.  The sewing machines give them the chance to support their families through the work of their hands.  They also plan to use their machines (and their talent) to "bless the church" around them with clothing and hand made linens.  What a beautiful use of the gifts God has given them!

Please pray for these ladies, our sisters in Christ, across the sea.  I hope this short story inspires you to seek how God can use you and the simple gifts He has poured into your life.  Do you sew, crochet, paint, write, sing, dance...?  Do not underestimate the value of the gifts He has given you. They reflect the love of the Gift Giver for you - His magnificent creation...


VOM-USA Prayer Update for October 12, 2012

Thank you all for praying for this weeks important prayer
requests. Your prayers really do make a difference. Please print these up and share them with your praying friends.

Central Asia—Sewing Machines Help Make Gospel Outreach Possible
Source: VOM Contacts   James 1:17

Ten Christian women in a Central Asian country received sewing machines that will help them generate an income for their families. “Thank you for your blessing,” wrote one of the sewing machine recipients. “We wanted to buy a good sewing machine for a long time, but we didn’t have funds. It will help us to earn money and to bless other church members.” Nearly all the sewing machine recipients mentioned that they will also use the machines to bless other church members with clothing and linens. These families live in an area where potential employers first ask if job applicants are Christians. If the job applicants say they are, they will not be hired. Each of these families is involved in ministry. The sewing businesses will also allow them to be flexible with their work hours so they have more opportunity for ministry. One mother of four who received a sewing machine wrote, “I will teach my children, and we will serve our church and neighbors with a practical gospel.” Thank you for your part in blessing these women with sewing machines. Praise God for his work in Central Asia.

Used by Permission The Voice of the Martyrs
PO Box 443
Bartlesville, OK 74005

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Do You Have in Your Hand...?

"And they said to Him,
We have only five loaves and two fish..."
Matthew 14:17

One of the purposes of this blog is to stir up the gifts that God has bestowed on all of us and to use those gifts to bless others.  That means getting creative about imagining how God might use the simplest little gifts He has given you and me. 

The question becomes, "What do you have in your hand?"  In other words, don't overlook the everyday "simple" talents He gifts us with each day.  We tend to look for some unusually exceptional talent and, if we don't find one in our possession, we dismiss all that He has given us that can be the seeds of something magnificent in our lives.  Much more common to most of us, it is the "simple" every day talents that God has rained down on us to be used for blessing others.  To me, that is the picture of the feeding of the hungry when Jesus took the simple loaves and fishes of the little boy who had just come to hear Jesus and left transformed by the glory of a God who took what he had and multiplied it over and over and over again, beyond anything this little child could have ever imagined.  Here is a modern day version of that miracle, in my mind.  What a beautiful picture of Jesus accepting our "little" and multiplying it for blessing of unseen multitudes... 

It is my privilege to introduce you to my dear friend, Lottie Krol, a two time cancer survivor, mom, grand-mom, and servant of the Lord.  Her story is both simple and extraordinary, all at once.  I hope it inspires you to open your mind to how you might be used of God to make a difference in someone's life.  Don't say you have nothing to give.  What do you have in your hand...?


A Crocheting Ministry

It all started with a hook and some yarn many years ago. As a child , my mother taught me and once I learned, my new talent lay on life's shelf for the next thirty years. Who knew that something I learned as a child would not only be a comfort to me later but also serve as a ministry to others.

In 2007, I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. During my recovery, I pulled out that hook and some yarn and proceeded to make a huge blanket. It wasn't pretty nor had it any design. I simply kept on crocheting a blanket that seemed to go on forever. It was the ugliest thing you've ever seen, just like my cancer .

Once again, last year, the cancer came back and once again, I pulled out that hook and some yarn. Only this time, I wanted to make something pretty, useful and meaningful for someone. After watching a telethon for St.Jude's, tears still streaming down my cheeks, I wanted to brighten their day. To make for them something colorful and playful to take their minds off their illness and their pain. I shared my desires for these children on my blog.

A couple of weeks passed and then one Sunday, at Church , a family handed me a basket full of yarn to realize that dream for St. Jude's that I wrote about... to make slippers for them to wear while in the hospital. I would give myself a whole year to make as many as I could during that time. They stood there smiling up at me as if they handed me a million dollars. I could only stare in disbelief, somehow managing a decent reply. Inside, I was wrought with fear because I knew that I was called out of my comfort zone and actually had to do it. I've never made a crocheted slipper in my life. Once I learned, it became easy and soon there were 300 pairs.

While on vacation, my son decided to interview me for his radio program. Fear and doubt settled in once more. People will think this is stupid. I am an amateur crocheter and these slippers are simple. Besides, I'm not sure that St. Jude's will take them. What if they won't want them? All this will be for nothing and I will end up looking like a fool.

Every time I 'd feel doubt, God responded with something positive to propel me forward on this project. After the interview, yarn came pouring in from people I never met, from Church, from friends. I felt like God was telling me to stop complaining and start crocheting. He would provide what I'd need to finish the project.

Even now, almost 600 pairs later, I'm amazed at how far I've come with this project... a ministry that I started. I still struggle with doubt and insecurity because I don't want to fail. I pray constantly for strength and endurance to finish through. To think it all started with a hook and some yarn...


If you would like to contact Lottie, she writes a blog at:        

She writes about her journey through cancer to encourage and assist cancer victims and their families and friends.  

Sunday, September 30, 2012

All You Who Are Weary...

"I will give you rest..."
Matthew 11:28

Whose idea was it again to have a day set aside just to rest?!!!  Oh, yes, now, I remember!  It was the Creator's!  I love that - don't you?!  I love that Jesus speaks to us about being weary and "heavy laden" and invites us to come directly to Him with our tired, worn out, weary selves and He will surely give us rest.  

I am learning to take Him up on His invitation and do just that - nestle up under the covers (winter's coming!) and actually choose to rest.  No guilt allowed!  After all, God has invited us to lay our burdens down - just for a few hours - let it all go - run to Him Who knows the beginning from the end.  Choose to find some ways to rest!

Now that can be pretty tough in a world that is pushing us in every direction.  This blog gives me the freedom to incorporate whatever I choose for the creative "scoop of the day"!  So I have decided to indulge in my passionate affection for lullabies!  

My gift to myself and my readers every Sunday will be to close out the week with a beautiful lullaby or children's poem set to music.  You do not have to have a baby to sing to, in order to enjoy this!  Remember that you are the child wrapped in the father's loving arms.  You are the one He has invited to rest.  You are the one He is singing a love song to.  You are the Apple of the Father's Eye...  This is for you!

Lay every tired thought aside - it will surely be waiting for you tomorrow! Tonight is just for you to rest.  May God bless you "all over the place" in every nook and cranny of your weary little heart!

Hope you enjoy this beautiful music as much as I do!  Goodnight!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Delight Yourself in the Lord...

and He will give you the desires of your heart!"
Psalm 37:4

I am so much learning the truth of this scripture at this time in my life! How good is the Lord to not give up on me!  He is teaching me to dream dreams and delight in the wonder of life all around me! I love this crazy picture for the joy it depicts of a grown-up just playing in the paints! Plus, it doesn't hurt that this young man looks a whole lot like my oldest son, Don, an actor and very, very creative spirit. He makes me smile "all over my face"!

Anyway, since I started this blog I have been leaping over tall buildings and jumping off of skyscrapers, in terms of creative pursuits!  Seems like I am learning more from this little blog than anyone else may be!  I hope I may be encouraging all you would be painters, sketchers, musicians, poets, and dreamers, to go ahead with your artistic dreams - have fun. Don't listen too long to the nay-sayers.  They probably wish they had someone to encourage them to dream a little dream of what might be if they let themselves go in the direction of their heart...  That's where I always find the Lord.  Sitting on the porch on a sun filled morning waiting for me to come and join Him.  The birds are singing, the bees are sipping nectar from the roses, the baby is rocking in the porch swing. Joy is dripping from the rafters.  God has given me the "desires of my heart"!

Here are some sketches I did this week in a new art form I am learning called "Zentangles".  I highly recommend it to all of you!  It is free form sketching of doodles and patterns that are everywhere we look.  I cannot tell you how relaxing it is. You will have to try it for yourself...!

These are all pics from my sketch book.  I never had one before but it is so much fun!  Great idea for a place to give yourself permission to go and just write or draw or, like these pics show, just doodle or "zentangle"! You can find more information about Zentangle art on the web - just Google Zentangle.  Also, lots of books in the library.  Even kids (or maybe, especially kids!) can zentangle!

This is the first effort I made at doing a bird!  It's a little off in the chest, but, hey -
this is my first ever effort at a zentangle bird!
He's cute and quirky, don't you think?!

Close up showing some of the variation of "tangles" used throughout.
I also added the verse "His eye is on the sparrow
and I know He watches me."
A favorite verse from an old hymn I love!

This is the second bird I did and I think it's getting better!
Lots and lots of tangles in this one!

Close up.  Isn't he cute?!

I loved doing this, especially the tail!
I am nothing without swirls and dots!!

The End!!

Hope you enjoyed my little art show!  I loved sharing it with you almost as much as I loved doing the drawings!  Now, I hope you take your "inner child" out for a play date and have some fun drawing, or whatever the two of you love to do!  You and I were made for JOY!

P.S.  A huge thank you to my very special art teacher, Kathy Hughes, for teaching me to "Zentangle".  Kathy - you are a treasure!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Paper Dolls...

My Father Knows What He is About...

I am often recruited by my children and grandchildren to help them imagine (and sometimes, create!) a craft project that they have been assigned but have no idea how to complete.  How can I say no?  I always seem to have more fun than they do with whatever the project is!
 I guess I am an incurable kid at heart.
Give me some paints and scissors and leave me alone for at least a couple of hours.
 Don't even think of taking them away...
 It could get embarrassing to see a grown woman throwing a temper tantrum on the floor.
I want my crayons!  NOW!!

This weekend, Ella came over, anxiety written all over her little face, over, of all things, a craft project!  Now, how could any grandchild of mine have anxiety over a craft project?!
What was it, you ask?  She was required to make a paper doll!  How could anyone get anxiety ridden over a fun assignment like that?  I know - hard to imagine, right?!  Little did she know just how much she had come to the right place!  I am a paper doll fashioneesta , if ever there was one!  So off we both went, selecting the perfect pink satin fabric for a fairy princess; drawing the stick figure dolly, with her pretty face and locks falling down her cheeks.  She was gorgeous when we finished with her!  Well, not really, but, we were pretending! Make believe is an essential ingredient in every work of art!  When we were finished, Ella was thrilled with her pretty paper doll.  A masterpiece from her own little hand and imagination.  It doesn't get much better than that in my world!

I say all that to say this:  I have been caught up in sewing for my granddaughter, Ella, a pretty little dress that suits her personality.  All in pinks, with hearts and love splashed all over the face of the fabric, I think she will love it when it's done.  Not quite there yet, but almost.  I am posting some pics of the "work" in progress.  I sometimes get bogged down with sewing.  I always like it better as an idea than I do during the actual doing of it!   Can you relate?!

As I was doing this dress - cutting out the pieces, choosing which fabric to use that perfectly suits Ella's personality, I thought of the Lord, imagining Him having all the pattern pieces to my life, cutting off this remnant, adding this decoration, piercing the fabric with His needle as it goes in and out of the seams of my life.  

He knows how all the pieces fit together - something I have a hard time imagining.

He has perfectly chosen what will best compliment the me that He, Himself, has fashioned with His own hands.

I, like Ella, have never seen the pattern pieces He is using to make the finished piece. My granddaughter doesn't ask me how I made the dress, She doesn't think to argue with me about how the pieces will fit together. If I show her little eight year old eyes the pattern, it just looks like a bunch of craziness to her! How in the world could those pieces fit together to make something pretty that she will love? She doesn't ask. She just looks up at me with perfect trust that I, the seamstress, have a plan in mind. I can visualize the finished work. And she is perfectly content with that. She trusts that I will make her something beautiful, because I love her, I know her and I am working on her behalf. That's all she needs to know.
She is perfectly content with that knowledge.
I want to be like her when I grow up!

This weekend, watching my little granddaughter create her "masterpiece" I reminded myself that we aren't little paper dolls. We are real life, flesh and blood people who sometimes argue with the Pattern Maker, sometimes insisting that we know more than He does about who we are or what we want to be. But, we just see a little piece of the picture. He has the whole pattern in His mind's eye. I don't understand why He is cutting that piece off. Why is he pulling the threads so tight over here? Why did He choose that color for me? Doesn't He know that I look better in red than in blue? I argue with Him about so many of the decisions He makes about me. Imagining that I know more than He does about me, I question His choices for me.

Does He know what He's doing?
Sometimes, I just get scared that I am not in charge.  
I have to trust that, when it comes to me, 
He knows what He is about.  
After all, I am no paper doll.  
I am His child.  
Precious beyond words to My Heavenly Father.  
He knows what He is about...


Here's a few pics of Ella's dress in process.  Not a finished work yet!
I'll try to remember to post a pic of Ella wearing it when it's done!

Fabric for a girly girl!

It takes a lot of pieces to make a finished product! 

Beginning to look like something!

This is the first ruffle in a 3 tier ruffle dress.

The top of the dress from the back.  It is fully lined in, you guessed it, PINK!

Fits her perfectly!  Made to order, just because, I love her...

Always remember, that is exactly how God feels about YOU!

Monday, September 24, 2012

More Than Chocolate Ice Cream...

I Love You More...
Spent this beautiful fall day with my two youngest grandchildren.  Watching them, I see them racing toward life, full of joy and eager to get to the next stage, whatever that may be!  I see the kiss of God on their beautiful young faces.  I want to teach them everything I know, which is maybe not so much after all.  Mostly, I want them to know, deep inside their little girl hearts, that they are loved.  Simply that.  Nothing less.  Nothing more.  When all is said and done, there really is nothing more than that.  So that is my prayer for them as I close this day.  May they know, and you and I know, we are loved. More than anything.  We are loved.  As your head hits the pillow tonight, rest in the certain knowledge of The Father's love for you.  Good Night!  

Here's one of the most beautiful old poems of love ever written, interpreted for a child's heart.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  

(Just hit the Youtube link below the picture to hear and watch the video.  Enjoy!)


Saturday, September 22, 2012

And Baby Makes 3!

Here's a few things I made recently for the babies in my life!  Who can resist the fun of a baby and all of the little doo-dads that go with them?!  Not me, that's for sure!! 
The arrival of a new little one into the world
is a great opportunity to dig into your imagination
and create something special
just for him or her.
I love handmade gifts!
Worth the time and effort to make something
 unique - one of a kind -
"Not available in stores!"

Tied baby quilt (farms animals print)  Easy to make.
This is what is known as "whole cloth" quilting.
Just buy one piece of fabric for the front,
one piece for the back
and enough binding to go all around.
Sandwich together with batting in between,
tie every 4 or 5 inches with yarn or ribbon of your choice.
Finish with binding all around edges.
Easy Peasey!!

Close-up.  Aren't they cute?!

Just a little closer!!

I used a pink gingham for the backing since it's for a girl,
but, of course, you can choose something blue for a little boy!
Or, go completely crazy and choose purple or something radical -
whatever suits your personality! :)

I made a bunch of these little stuffed baby bears.
They went so fast, I only have four left!
Only about 6 inches tall,
they are made of fleece and
hand sewn with embroidery thread
in buttonhole stitch around the edges.
I love hand-sewing!
Lots of fun!
This was one of my favs.

Different edging.  Running stitch around the edge -
clipped outer edge gives this little guy a
"Raggedy-Ann" look.
The kids loved this edging more than the other!

I had a lot of bears made up for baby boys,
but this is the only one I have left!
I have to make some more.
Never thought the little boys would like them so much!

Had to make one in polka-dots, of course!
I am a polka-dot addict!
Gotta have my dots!!

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of the things I'm working on at my house.  These are very easy projects for you to try at home!
Happy sewing!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Colors of the Rainbow...

"I set My rainbow in the cloud..."
Genesis 9:13

I am definitely not a black and white gal!  I LOVE COLOR!  I am so grateful that God does too!  He created a world that is overflowing with extravagant color.  There are endless shades of green and blue, purple, red, orange, even white, to tickle and excite our senses.  I love exploring them all, photographing them, and just plain enjoying the visual feast our God, The Master Artist, sets before us each day!
What a wonderful world He has blessed us with!

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to color in my coloring books!  Do you remember that?  I always prided myself on staying in the lines!  Today, I am learning to break the rules, color "outside the lines" and let myself explore the possibilities of my creativity.
Sooooo much fun!

 I hope you enjoy the Do It Yourself projects I have posted for you below.  Use the Source Links posted below each picture to go to the website of the originator for the full instructions on how to proceed.

 Whatever you do, have fun!  This is an invitation to the "child within" each of us to "come out and play today!"  Or, invite the children in your home to create something with you.
They might just make you a keepsake you will treasure from their childhood.
There are few things in life sweeter than that...!

Here is a DIY project to creatively re-imagine a favorite photo of your child.
Although you could use a picture of anything you love - a parent, a lover, a favorite flower.
The possibilities are endless!

Easy-Peasey watercolor votive candles for your table!  
DIY of course!

I have become a great fan of Art Journals!
Introduce your children to them with this super easy DIY project!
Encourage the creative spirit in your child and celebrate the natural artist in every child!


Can you tell by now that I love watercolors?!
Oh, yes, I do!  
If you see the world in black and white,
give watercolors a try!  Just play with it!
I think you will love this DIY project for a unique, one of a kind calendar!

Who doesn't love children's art?
Especially your own little artist in the making?
Spontaneous and simple, always unique.
This is an art journal page from a child's book.
Give your child the gift of freedom to explore his creative side.
Who knows - you may have given birth to the next Picasso!

I couldn't resist including a picture of the beautiful watercolor artwork of
Vivian Hersefield.  
Check out her website if you want to see more of her work.