Easter

 

Easter is almost here! I can hardly believe that this year is moving so quickly. I have been looking for some simple ideas for Easter decorating. I found several, but one in particular stood out to me, and I liked it for several reasons. First, it is beautiful. Second, the cross represents Christ’s love and sacrifice for us, which is what Easter is really about. Third, this is a project that can be made easily with few materials (in others words, cheap). And lastly, this could be hanging on your wall all year long, not just for Easter. See why I picked this project?

Remember this old picture I bought? I told you I had a project in mind for it.

All you need to make this project is a wooden frame (find a cheap used one), a roll of wide burlap (mine was lace covered), a glue gun, some ribbon for a bow in the center, twine and artificial flowers. You probably already have most of these materials.

The first thing that I did was remove the old picture from the frame. Next, I removed all the staples on the back and clean it up.

I painted it with some white acrylic paint, but you could use any color you like. I decided to go with a distressed country look, so I didn’t worry about some of the brown showing through the white. I painted the front and back.

Next, I measured out my burlap by pulling it around the frame in the area that it would be placed. I cut it leaving a little extra burlap. I’d rather have too much than not enough when you have to cut it.

I started by hot gluing one end on the back of the frame, then pulling it tightly around the front and gluing it to the back in the same area that I glued the starting piece, overlapping the edges.

You can see the finished glued edge on the top of the frame here. Be sure to pull the burlap tight and then glue.

After you glue the verticle burlap piece, you will need to tighten the center area where the two pieces of burlap overlap. I cut a long piece of twine and wrapped it around the vertical piece of burlap.  Pull it tight to cinch it, then tie the twine in a knot, and cut off the excess.

Next wrap the second piece and secure with the glue gun, and tie it off with the twine.

The twine will be mostly covered when you finish off the cross.

The next step is to make a bow with your ribbon. I used a neutral colored ribbon, but you could certainly add color to this project if you wanted.

I secured the bow in the center of the cross with a glue gun, and then I cut off my artificial flowers to glue behind the bow. For my flowers, I used some that looked similar to babies breath. You could glue actual babies breath on to the burlap. Small simple flowers work best. You don’t want the flowers to dominate the project.

Here is a close up of the bow with the flowers, and the finished project.

I love how this project turned out. I have mine displayed on our piano, but you can add a hook to the back and hang it on the wall. I made a hook by using a paper clip, wire cutters, glue gun and an extra piece of burlap. I bent the paper clip to make a “u” shape and cut off the excess. Next, I glued the wire to my frame with a glue gun, and covered the glue with a small piece of my burlap to finish it off.

I really enjoyed this project, and thought that it turned out really nice. It was exactly what I was looking for. I hope you give it a try.

Hope you have a great week!

 

Welcome Spring!

I love springtime. In the spring, all the migrating birds return, the grass gets green, and all the beautiful springtime flowers and trees start blooming. Nature comes alive. It is a time of rebirth and new growth after a cold, dormant winter season.

Spring is a beautiful season. Everything is renewed in the springtime. We get revived as well. We long for the warmer temperatures, the sunshine, and longer days. We get excited about outside activities like walks, bike rides, picnics and cookouts.

One word that I would use to describe spring is flourishing. To flourish means to grow vigorously, to succeed and prosper, and to be in the prime or peak of development. Just as nature flourishes in springtime, we can flourish for the Lord and help people see the beauty of the Lord in our lives. The Bible has a lot to say about flourishing for our Lord.

Psalm 92: 12-14 says, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a Cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing…”

The word flourish or flourishing appears in these verses three times. Christians should be vigorously growing and prospering for our Lord. Notice that there is no age barrier for this growth period. The scripture makes a reference to being fruitful in our old age. Although we may become limited by our bodies as we age, our spirits can still flourish. Isn’t that encouraging?

Notice in Psalm 92:13, the psalmist mentions the palm tree. The palm trees of Lebanon were trees with a very long life span. The scripture says, “Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” For something to be planted, it has to be grounded with roots. Palm trees have deep roots. We must also have deep spiritual roots to flourish. We must have roots deep enough to withstand the storms of life that will come. The palm tree sways with the winds of the storm. If it falls, it’s because the root system wasn’t strong enough. When the storms of life come, we may bend, but we won’t break if our roots are deeply ground in God’s Word.

Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” This is how we grow deep spiritual roots – rooted and grounded in the love of Christ.

Another interesting point about the palm tree is that it’s roots grow deep searching out a water source. In desert places, the palm tree can thrive because the roots seek out an underground water source. Sometimes, we may have to survive a dry desert-like time in our life. We can survive and even flourish if we are drinking from the right water source. John 4:14 says, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” We can always have refreshment for our souls in dry places as long as Jesus is our source.

I want to flourish as a Christian, now and as I age. Psalm 71: 17-18 says, O God thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come.” No matter our age, we can still bring forth fruit and show the next generation God’s strength and power. Our fruitfulness gives others a glimpse of our God and His goodness to those who will give their lives to Him.

A palm tree grows straight and tall, resisting every attempt to press or bend it downward . It grows straight toward Heaven. What an example for us to resist those things which will try to make us break or bend. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” Life’s trials will try to press in on us, discourage us and yet, we continue to flourish, moving Heavenward with each trial – getting more like our Lord. We, like the palm tree, have to resist the urge of our flesh to bend and break, to despair or feel sorry for ourselves, and press toward Heaven like a beautiful palm tree.

 

Psalm 1:3 says, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

We can prosper, flourish, and bring forth much fruit. We can remain strong, immovable, and upright during the storms of life. We can rely on our inner strength that comes from the Lord. We can stay green and watered in the desert places of life and be a symbol to the world of God’s goodness to those who love Him. By showing the world the goodness of God we can help others to see their need of Him.

Just as the springtime flowers and tress are flourishing and becoming beautiful, we can flourish and grow and be a symbol for the world to see God’s wonderful blessings in the lives of His children.

 

THRIFTING

Do you like a good treasure hunt? Well, that’s what I do every time I go out browsing the local thrift stores. I absolutely love old stuff! My favorite thing to do is to leisurely stroll into a shop full of second hand goodies. I get excited when I find old sewing notions, vintage paper goods, old dishes and glasses, vintage jewelry, sheets, pillowcases, and general home goods. To me, it’s like going on a hunt for some long forgotten treasure. I love things that used to be valued, but, in today’s culture, have lost their relevance. They are still relevant to me, and I cherish these items. Vintage paper goods are one of my favorite finds. I love the cute old-fashioned images that take us back to innocence and virtue.

I recently was able to go out by myself, so of course I headed to the thrift stores. I was able to find a few items that really made me happy. I found a hydrangea wreath, and a wooden tray. I plan to repaint the tray, but I’m not sure yet on how I will use it.

I paid $1.49 for the tray. It has a sticker from ABC Distributing. I paid $2.99 for the wreath, and it still has the original tag from Reliance. It is a handcrafted Cottage Hydrangea wreath.

Next, I found a goodie bag full of ribbons. Ribbons can be expensive, so I was really happy to find a whole freezer bag full for $1.99

As you can see, there was a good variety of sizes, colors and types. Some were printed with cute designs, stripes, dots, leaves & acorns. In this bag, there was also some scrapbook items.

I thought these cute bunnies were adorable, and will look nice if I do a Spring project.

I am planning to work on a DIY Easter project, and have been gathering my materials for a blog post. I needed an old wooden frame, and this old picture and frame will work nicely for my project. I will take the picture out, and repaint the frame for the project. I can’t wait to show you the final project, so stay tuned.

Finally, I have been looking for a basket that would work for my front door. I wanted some type of a flat basket with a pocket to hold flowers. It needed to be flat on the back to hang against the door. I have seen these used like a wreath, and they look really cute filled with seasonal flowers. I found one that I am hoping will work. I will need to insert some foam to secure the flowers, and I am debating about painting the basket. I paid $.99 for this cute basket.

I am excited about this project as well, and will be sharing it with you on the blog.

Thrifting is a great way to find supplies for new projects when you are on a limited budget. Any time I find old craft supplies for a good price, I stock up. You never know when creativity hits, and you can use those old vintage finds.

If you haven’t subscribed to the blog, please do it now. There is a subscribe box on the sidebar. You will receive updates in your email everytime I create a new post, so you won’t miss a thing.

Go thrifting, and find some treasures!

The Owls Have It…

 I absolutely love owls. I’m not sure exactly what it is about them that I love so much. They just captivate me. I thinks that owls are mysterious creatures. You hardly ever see an owl in the daytime. They are nocturnal predators so they hunt in the darkness. Their special feathers allow them to fly in complete silence, making them even more difficult to hear than they are to spot. It would be a very special thing to be able to see an owl in nature. I have heard plenty of owls. In fact, they sound a little creepy at night. Definitely not your typical “who, who” call that we are familiar with.

Through the years, I have started collecting owls. Some are really cheap, some have been gifts, and some have been thrifted. I thought that I would share a few of my finds with you today.

This owl was gold when I found him in the Goodwill store. I spray painted him white. I think that he has a lot of character. I love his eyes. I think he has the sweetest face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This white owl lamp was purchased for me by my husband from Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Restaurant. I put a red bulb in it for the Christmas holidays..  The little golden owl was a thrifted find. I spray painted it gold.

 

 

This owl bookend set was given to me by a dear friend. She found them in an antique store and knew that I would love them. I found some older books with really pretty binders and displayed them on our old piano that I painted white.

The gold owl was given to me by one of my daughters and the blue owl I bought on clearance somewhere.

These little green owls are so cute. The larger one was purchase at the dollar store, and the smaller one is actually lip balm. His head screws off and the balm is in the center. I used up all the lip balm, but just couldn’t throw him away.

I’m not sure what this little owl is supposed to be. He is made out of cast iron. I have a trivet just like him, but this one stands and looks like a napkin holder. The colored pieces are plastic, and the drawing at the top of the page is one that I did, based on this owl. He seems to be pretty old. I keep him in my kitchen window at my sink. When the light shines through him he looks like a sun catcher.

 

 This owl is actually a vase. It was a gift from a friend. I like his large eyes and the mottled brown color. He is pretty large.

 

 

 

Finally, I have an outside owl that I move around in my flower bed. This one was also a gift. I love how he looks.

 

 

I do have others owls, but obviously could list them all in this post.

Owls are amazing, beautiful creatures. I am so thankful that our Lord created so many wonderful creatures for us to enjoy. Do you have a favorite animal or bird that you enjoy collecting?

Apple Dumpling Goodness

This passed Sunday, my church had our monthly fellowship meal after our PM service. We all enjoy this time together, and sampling all the delicious recipes. There are always a few that stand out.

Well, there was one dessert that really stood out to me. I had never seen this dish at our meal before, so I decided to try it. I’m so glad that I did. After trying mine, my husband decided that he had to go get his own serving. This prompted a friend to go and get some as well. We were all in agreement that it was delicious!

The dessert was apple dumplings. A sweet lady in our church named June Mitchell had made it. When I got home, I pulled out the church cookbook to see if the recipe was in the book. I was so happy to see it, and it was Ms. June’s recipe. Right then, I set out to buy the ingredients and make it for a blog post. So, here goes…

All you need to make this dish is:

4 Granny Smith apples, 2 cups sugar, 2 sticks of butter, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract, 2 cans of crescent rolls.

The first step is to preheat the oven at 350, peel your apples and cut them in quarters, making 16 pieces.

                

Next heat the sugar, 2 sticks of butter, cinnamon and vanilla until dissolved.

                

Wrap the apple quarters in the crescent rolls and place them in a greased baking dish.

Pour the dissolved sugar mixture over the dumplings and place in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. I added some walnut pieces to the top of my dumplings during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

After the dumplings are cooled, plate them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – delicious! Enjoy this sweet dish with your family.

       

D I Y Monogram Wreath

I enjoy hanging a pretty wreath on my front door, but I just can’t make myself spend a lot of money on a wreath. Most get faded way too soon, and have to be replaced. Because of this, and a small budget, I usually end up making my own.

The biggest dilemma is what to do in between the holidays and seasons. I just removed my Valentines Day wreath (which I paid $1 for), and want to replace it with something till spring arrives. I started searching for ideas on Pintrest. This is my favorite source for new, budget friendly ideas. I saw a lot of holiday and seasonal ideas, but one type of wreath just kept popping up – a monogram wreath. Monograms are so popular right now, and all the craft stores carry various monogram letters in different fonts. I already had a large letter “P” for our last name, and never did anything with it. I also have several grapevine wreaths that I save and change out for this type of project. I can ususally find one at Good Will for a couple of dollars or less.  Artificial flowers are available at the dollar store, so I always have plenty left over from projects. I search through my stash and found some that I thought would work for my new wreath.

I found a picture on Pintrest of a design that I liked, and used it for my pattern. This wreath had tulips, but since I didn’t have any of those, I just used what I had. This design is from the blog Sugar Bee Crafts, called the Spring Tulip Wreath.

I liked the burlap bow, but I’m not very good at making bows. I recently found a used wreath with a straw base. It was wrapped in a ribbon with an attached bow. I decided to reuse this bow on my wreath. This saved me a little time and stress because I didn’t have to make a bow from scratch.

I began by gathering all my supplies, a grapevine wreath, flowers, bow, glue gun, monogram letter, spray paint and twine.The stems of the flowers have to be cut to separate them from the bunch. Just separate each stem and cut at the bottom with wire cutters. Next, start arranging your flowers. I just tuck them in the twigs of the grapevine wreath. Most of the time I can get them in tight, but if they won’t stay, glue them with a glue gun. I tried to lay out my flowers on one side like the tulip wreath above.

I left room in the center to place my bow.

The bow that I had was already wired, but the wire was really thick and hard to manipulate, so I cut off the access, and decided to attach my bow by tying it to the wreath with some twine. The twine will blend in with the twigs.

 

You can see how I attached the bow in this picture. I added a little glue to secure the twine, and tied it in a double knot.

If I decide to rework this wreath at some point, it will be easy to remove all the flowers and the bow. That’s why I really like using grapevine wreaths. They are really easy to clean off and reuse again. I feel like I’m getting my moneys worth because I can use it again and again.

Here is what the wreath looks like after I attached to bow to the front. I think it looks pretty just like it is, but I wanted to add my monogram. I have had my letter for a while. It has been hanging in my dinning area. Kind of reminiscent of Mary Tyler Moore and her “M” on her wall. My letter was black, so I knew that I would have to paint it to use it in my wreath. I thought about color, and decided on white. If I take the wreath apart, I can use my letter again, and I thought that white would work best for that purpose. Plus, white will show up really well in my wreath.

It took about three coats of white spray paint to ensure a solid coverage. Since my wreath will be hanging outside in the elements, I knew that I needed to spray it with a top coat of clear enamel to protect it from water damage.

I attached the letter with some glue, but found it hard to get the glue to hold on the twigs of the wreath. I finally got it to hold, but just for security, I took some twine and tied the letter to the wreath. At least I know that it won’t fall off and break if the glue comes lose.

Well, here is the completed project. I am really pleased with how it turned out. I really like the fact that this wreath was completely free. I already had all the supplies. That’s the best kind of project, right?

This was an easy wreath to make, and it looks really nice on my front door.  It looks kind of like spring because of the flowers that I used, but you could make this with just greenery. I plan to leave this up until I make an Easter wreath, and after the holiday I will probably hang this one back out again.

Give this project a try. It would make a great gift for a friend.

Homemade Goodness

Hey everyone, just thought I would do a quick post on some homemade goodness.

I went to the store on Valentines Day to purchase some cute holiday cupcakes. I was just in the mood for sweetness. I didn’t ask for any chocolates this year, but wanted a little something sweet. Do you know that there wasn’t one package of Valentine cupcakes. All that was left were cookies. I guess that I wasn’t the only one in the mood for a holiday cupcake!

Well, I thought, “I’ll just get a pack of regular cupcakes.” There were several flavors, but I just couldn’t get over the price. I kept telling myself, “I can make them much cheaper that this.” I wasn’t really in the mood to go home and bake, but I thought that me and my youngest could do it together for Valentines Day. I already had a chocolate cake mix at home, and decided to make some yummy homemade icing.

If you have never made homemade icing, you should try it. It is soooooo easy, only takes a few ingredients that you probably have already, and doesn’t cost a lot to make. It really makes a cake mix cupcake taste special.

All you need is:

1 box (1 lb.) of confectioners sugar, 1 stick of margarine, 4 Tbsp. cocoa, 1 tsp. vanilla, milk as needed to thin.

I started by softening the margarine in the microwave. Next, I added the sugar and cocoa, then the vanilla. I used my mixer to blend the ingredients together, and just add the milk as needed. This recipe was enough to cover a dozen cupcakes with a little to spare, but we piped the icing in a pastry bag so it took a little more icing than just spreading it. We had some sprinkles, and added them to the top.  I would double this recipe to cover 24 cupcakes, but one batch is enough for a sheet cake. Homemade icing taste so much better than store bought, and it saves money as well.

Give this recipe a try, and let me know what you think.

Valentines Day 2017

Valentines Day is a small holiday that we celebrate to acknowledge our love for those special to our hearts. In my home, we don’t really make a big deal out of this day. Normally my husband and I will go out to eat, exchange cards, and maybe a little gift. I try to get my children a little something, nothing big. I do like the holiday because it is a nice day to remember those dear to our hearts.

This special day centers around L-O-V-E. Four little letters, place together to form a word that means so much to us all. We all want to feel loved, appreciated and special to someone. Love is vital to our joy and contentment. The Bible reassures us that  God’s true love will never fail. What is true love? The type of love that we find in God’s Word. When I say true love, I mean love built on the truth of God’s Word. This kind of love NEVER fails.

God’s Word has a lot to say about love. We are given a good description of what love is and is not in 1 Corinthians 13. Based on the Bible, “Charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”

God’s love is a selfless love that “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” God’s love is kind and patient, long suffering. His love gives to others, seeking nothing in return. This type of love will never leave you alone, heartbroken, or lonely. Doesn’t that sound wonderful. God has made it possible for everyone to know His love.

John 3:16 is the easiest way to describe how much He loves us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Now that’s giving love and expecting nothing in return! God’s love sets the example for us as believers.

True love is a giving love. True love seeks to encourage others. True love puts others before self. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) The verb “lay” is the present tense which means a continual action (dying daily) for others. He tells us here that we are to daily surrender ourselves for the needs of others. We all know that we can’t do this alone, but only through the help of the Holy Spirit. When we allow God to lead us in our loving, then love will never fail.

I hope that you have a wonderful Valentines Day with those you love. Take time to remember our Lord, and His great love for us. He reminds us in John 15:9 “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”

       

Easy DIY Project

Do you like old plates and dishes? I absolutely love finding beautiful old vintage plates when I go out thrifting. I just can’t resist them. Usually they are very inexpensive. Good Will is one of the best places to find old stuff dirt cheap. I love to look through all the house goods, and find little inexpensive treasures.

I have been collecting old plates for a while, and knew that I wanted to use them for a plate wall. If you have never heard of a plate wall, it’s pretty self-explanatory.  Just choose your wall, and hang your favorite plates. A plate wall can be designed by color scheme or themes, or just a random assortment of great looking plates.

The one problem that I had in creating my plate wall was buying the wire plate hangers. If you are hanging a lot of plates, this can get a little pricey. My plates have just been sitting in a drawer waiting on me. Well, I found a really great blog post on a cheap way to hang plates. This tip came from the blog, The Frugal Homemaker. She has great ideas for decorating, and of course frugal tips. You can find this DIY on her projects page.

Here are a few of my collected plates:

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As you can see, I love floral prints, and the bird plate was a favorite find. I think I paid about a dollar for it. I tried to group my plates with various sizes, but similar content. All of these plates have gold trim, and three of the five have gold accents in the design.

The first step is to find your wall, and figure out how to hang your plates. I laid my plates on my dining room table, and started arranging.

Next comes the frugal tip that I discovered. You can make your own DIY plate hangers. All you need is some felt (white), glue gun and paper clips. You  simply uncurl the paper clip to make a hook.

   

Cut your felt in a small circle. Next, add glue to the hook on the back of the plate. Make sure that you are putting the hook in the right place before adding the glue. I wouldn’t want to hang my bird plate upside down. When you are sure about the location of the hook, add glue to the hook, and put glue on the felt. Press the felt on top of the paper clip hook and hold to secure.

        

This will not come off, so be sure that your placement is correct. When I purchased my plates, I knew that I would be hanging these and not using them for dining. If you would like to use your plates for dining at some point, then I would recommend purchasing the wire plate hangers. This solution worked perfect for me. My beautiful plates are now being displayed instead of sitting in a drawer. I have plans to make another plate wall, so I guess I will just have to go shopping for more plates!

               

Sorry about the quality of these photos, but you can get an idea of how nice the plates look displayed on the wall. I started with five plates, as you can see in the first picture. It just didn’t seem to fill in enough, so I added another plate to the top. The top plate has the sweetest Lilac print, (I love Lilacs)!

Have fun making your own plate wall.