February Reflections

February seems to have flown by—and not just because it’s a shorter month. It’s been a busy month, but a good one.

Valentine’s Day is always a fun for us with some special treats. We celebrated our daughter-in-law’s birthday last weekend. We closed on the rental house that my son and daughter-in-law had been renting. My husband is so relieved not to have an extra property to take care of. My youngest son found an apartment and will be moving next month. I’m excited for him but also facing the reality of an empty nest.

February is also the time of year when winter starts getting to me: the sky is often grey, the cold seeps into my bones, and I long for spring. Thankfully we’ve had some sunshine and temperatures in the 60s this week. We still have several weeks of winter, but each day brings us closer to spring! My daffodils are blooming already!

Creating

February is a big card month for us!

Early in the month we celebrated my youngest son’s 10,000th day of life. This was the card I made for him:

It took me a while to figure out what to do—I haven’t seen any other 10,000th day cards to get ideas from. πŸ™‚ I printed off a February calendar and had a stencil with the shape for the saying.

Then I made a card for each family member for Valentine’s Day. I had seen several variations of this idea on Pinterest and knew I just had to use it since my husband is a scientist.

I cut out the beakers using Cricut. I tried various background papers, but they made the card look too cluttered.

This was for my oldest son, Jeremy, who likes foxes:

I used a stencil for the heart. I printed off the sayings or captions and inside sentiments from the computer since my handwriting is not good. I cut out this one with decorative scissors and then outlined it in black. I had the hardest time finding the right fox. I have several stickers and looked up clip art, but none of them looked just right. I had some wooden cutouts, but I wasn’t sure if the glue would be strong enough to keep it on, especially as this one had to go through snail mail. Finally I got the idea to scan the fox cutout and print it, and that worked pretty well.

This was for Jason:

The bear was from a scrapbooking paper collection.

This was for my daughter-in-law, Mittu, who likes purple:

I printed out the tree from some free clipart I found online, then used a paper punch on various scrapbooking papers for the hearts.

This was for Timothy, my grandson:

I had seen an idea using the moon on Pinterest, and then saw this moon and stars design on the Cricut.

And this was for my youngest son, Jesse:

I had seen several variations of this idea on Pinterest using typewriters. But since he types via computer, I used that. I cut the computer out with the Cricut and positioned the caption behind the computer “screen.”

And finally, my daughter-in-law also likes sunflowers, so I was looking to use them somehow for her birthday card. In looking for something else on the computer, I stumbled across a file that I had purchased on sale some years ago from Karla Dornacher using sunflowers. Since Mittu also has blue in her home, this seemed perfect. So it wasn’t exactly handmade, except that I printed it off and cut it out. But I liked it, and I think Mittu did, too.

I just checked Karla’s site, and she doesn’t seem to carry this exact collection any more. But she did use the sunflower design in this printable card set.

I made one more birthday card for a friend. But when I double-checked to make sure I had the right date, I discovered her birthday was in June! I thought I saw somewhere recently that it was in February. Oh well—the card is now safely tucked away until June.

Watching

I’m still working my way through the Lark Rise to Candleford series while using my exercise bike. Jim and I really enjoyed the new PBS series of All Creatures Great and Small. I was sorry to hear the story had been changed from the original—but we did like this version.

Reading

Since last time I completed:

I usually read much more fiction than nonfiction, but that hasn’t held true this month.

I’m currently reading:

Blogging

Besides books reviews and almost weekly Friday Fave Fives and Laudable Linkages, I’ve shared on the blog this month:

As we turn the calendar page to March in a few days, we’ll have a busy couple of weeks with my husband’s birthday and my youngest son moving. But life should settle down a bit after that. I hope. You just never know.

How was your February? Any signs of spring yet?

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire,Hearth and Soul,
Senior Salon, InstaEncouragements, Shannan’s What I’m Into)

End-of-December and 2020 Reflections

Well, it’s been quite the year hasn’t it? Truly we never know what a day—or a year—will bring forth (Proverbs 27:1). Much has been written about the pandemic and other events of the year, so I won’t reiterate them here. Probably the top takeaways for me this year are:

  • Hold plans loosely.
  • God is still in control. Life’s circumstances have not taken him by surprise.
  • We walk the same way we do in any circumstances—by faith.
  • Listen more, assume less.

Thankfully, our family had a couple of excursions right before the lockdowns began. That helped the initial isolation not feel as bad. My husband and I celebrated our 40th anniversary from last December a little late and went to the Gatlinburg/Sevierville/Pigeon Forge area in January to stay in a nice, cabin-like hotel, eat at a nice restaurant, attend a couple of attractions, and reread some love notes from college days. Then in February we visited the Biltmore House and Downton Abbey exhibit with all the family except my oldest, who lives out of state.

A friend and I went out for lunch during the early days of the virus and discussed it and what effects it might have. We had no idea it would be so widespread and last so long. But we were glad that we had that time together right before it.

Thankfully, my husband and three sons could all work from home for the most part. Jason, my middle son, had to go in a lot during December, their busiest time of the year. Because we were all isolating, we felt safe getting together (the strictest regulations here so far limited gatherings to ten, and we’re only seven when all together). My oldest son missed his April visit, but came in August and December via train, mostly on a sleeper car. So he hardly saw anyone on the trip, which he felt was safer (though much longer) than flying. Those gatherings and Zoom church sustained us.

We had some health issues: the atrial fibrillation which I had surgery for three years ago started up again and landed me in the ER twice. I have follow-up appointments in the next couple of weeks to see what we should do about that. The last hospital visit exposed us to COVID, as a nurse who talked about isolating from family because she worked with COVID patients kept pulling down her mask as she talked. That was the week before Jeremy’s scheduled train trip here, which made for some uncertainty. But we got a rapid COVID test the day before he was supposed to leave, and new guidelines said no symptoms and a negative test from day 5 or later after exposure only required a week’s quarantine, so we were good to go—and very thankful.

Normally I include “Timothyisms” in my monthly posts—quips from my six-year-old grandson. The only one I noted this time was when we were isolating due to one of Jason’s coworkers testing positive for COVID. They had helped us put up and decorate the Christmas tree earlier, and as we FaceTimed, I showed Timothy some of the presents accumulating under it. He said, “Granddad Claus is coming to town!”

We send store-bought Christmas cards to loved ones, but I make them for the immediate family. I try to incorporate their favorite colors and interests.

This was Jim’s:

The little squares were made with the Cuttlebug embosser.

This was for Jeremy, who likes foxes:

The background was embossed, and the fox and trees came from a scrapbook paper set. The Merry Christmas was a sticker.

This was Jason’s:

He likes blue, and I am often drawn to cheery, whimsical ideas for him. The words at the bottom were on a sticker.

This was for Mittu, my daughter-in-law, who likes purple:

The idea I had seen on Pinterest (where I get most of my inspiration) showed a tree made with heart-shaped cutouts. I decided to add the glitter-frosted edges. I liked it better before I added the Merry Christmas sticker at the bottom, but I couldn’t remove it once I glued it on.

This was Timothy’s:

I saw the idea here (via Pinterest) for using shapes to create the penguin. But mine must have been shaped a little differently—it didn’t look right to try to make it short and squatty like hers. But I thought it turned out cute. I had to get Jesse to help me with the eyes: I just couldn’t get something that tiny cut out and glued on. I wished later I had outlined the little sign so it stood out better.

This was Jesse’s:

And this was for our anniversary:

I usually list what we’ve been watching in these posts, but we haven’t watched much out of the ordinary the last two months (I missed November–there just wasn’t a good time to work an end-of-month post in). I’m still working through the Lark Rise to Candelford series while using the exercise bike. Somehow we didn’t watch any of the usual Christmas movies or specials. We streamed The Croods: A New Age and Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey to watch with the family. They were . . . okay. My husband and I watched Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors when it was on TV one night and were surprised that network TV allowed such upfront messages about faith and eternal destiny. I wouldn’t take all my theology from the movie, but the message of the need to trust in God was clear.

I won’t list the books reads in November and December since I just posted all the books I read this year as well as my top twelve.

And, since this is an end-of-year post, instead of listing posts from the last two months, I thought I’d look back at the posts from the year that seemed to resonate the most with readers. My five most-read posts of the year are:

I’m thankful people found something useful there. I need to go back and remind myself of some of those truths.

It’s hard to end the year with a sense of closure and look to 2021 as bright and shiny and new when so many of this year’s problems remain: the pandemic and its physical, emotional, and economic toll, the civil and racial strife and unrest, a new administration with alarming values. But my Daily Light on the Daily Path entry for this morning was all about God bearing His people as on eagle’s wings. My Bible reading in Exodus 33 told of the time just after Israel made and worshiped the golden calf instead of God. He was going to send them on to the promised land, but not go with them Himself because they were a stiffnecked people. But Moses pleaded, and God promised, “‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he [Moses] said to him [God], ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here'” (verses 14-15). Whatever happens in the coming year, we can rely on God’s presence and depend on Him to bear us up.

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Senior Salon, InstaEncouragements)

Cards Made in December

I’ve written end-of-month posts this year, but I didn’t for December. There just wasn’t time, plus I figured most of us were doing the same things: getting ready for and then celebrating Christmas.

One thing I mention in those end-of-month posts is the books I read. Most of December’s reading was for the Literary Christmas challenge: one Christmas novel and three collections of Christmas stories or novellas. But I also finished up The Gilded Age by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner and Shakespeare’s King Lear, both audiobooks, to complete the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge. Plus I finished the devotional book I had been reading all year, Seasons of the Heart.

At the end of the month I also share any cards I’ve made that month. December was a busy month for card-making.

This one was for my husband for our 40th anniversary. It’s supposed to look like a bouquet of balloons. It didn’t come out quite as I had hoped, but my husband liked it.

I buy Christmas cards to mail out, but I make cards for the immediate family. Only once before have I had a theme in making Christmas cards, and that was snow people. This year, as I looked at the design ideas I had accumulated on Pinterest, I saw several that looked like ornaments. So I decided to use that idea. I had a Cuttlebug embosser that looked like a fir tree, so I used that for all of the backgrounds.

The design I used for Jim’s and Jeremy’s came from a free pattern I used for felt ornaments for Timothy a few years ago. I just loved both of these designs and was glad to have a chance to use them again.

Jim’s:

I used this for Jeremy because he likes foxes, but this ended up looking more like a dog. I could not find a single rust-colored paper or card stock in Hobby Lobby or my own collection. I’ll have to stock up next fall.

I think Jason likes designs that are a little playful, so this one seemed perfect. I used stick-on felt for the snowman and card stock for the bird. The eyes and smile were stick-on beads.

Mittu likes purple, and one of their Christmas trees was white, so this seemed like a good combination for her. I cut strips from various pieces of scrapbooking paper and glued them side by side for the design.

The snow people on Timothy’s were made with stickers. I was delighted to find some that represented their family.

And this is Jesse’s, cut from a piece of glittery cardstock. The word is a sticker.

I had thought about coming back and adding a word at the top of each card, but there just wasn’t time.

Finally, this card was for my step-father’s after-Christmas birthday. The design was all done on the Cricut.

So that was my month in card-making! It was a busy one. But there are none to be made in January, so I’ll have a bit of a rest before February’s Valentine cards.

(Sharing with Create, Bake, Grow, Gather)

Cards and Crafts

I thought I’d share with you some of the recent cards I made as well as a hot-off-the press craft.

This was for a baby shower for a couple at church:

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I had seen several ideas similar to this on Pinterest. The “onesies” were made with the Cricut machine. I learned you can make a reasonable looking cloud by cutting an oval or circle with scalloped scissors. I was a little afraid the twine would come loose, but I kept the card propped open on my table for a couple of days, and everything stayed put.

This was a thank-you card for a friend:

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This was another instance where the paper itself was so pretty and had enough detail that adding much else would have been superfluous.

This was for a little boy in our church recovering from surgery:

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I asked someone who knew the family well if there was an animal or character he particularly liked, and they mentioned dinosaurs. None of the dinosaur shapes on the Cricut looked like what I wanted, so I used puffy stickers. I cut the grass and hills free hand and snipped across the strip of grass to make it look a little more 3-D. then I tucked a couple more packages of dinosaur stickers inside for him to play with.

This was for Jesse’s birthday:

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He is very much into computers – his work, his major, his classes, and his hobbies all revolve around the computer. So I wanted to reflect that. The computer shape was done on the Cricut, and the desk was a scrap of wood-grained paper I had on hand. I liked it better before I added the “snacks,” so I should have left well enough alone. But they also reflect him accurately.Β  πŸ™‚ The bottle was done with the Cricut and was supposed to look like the type of flavored water he drinks. The plate and brownie I did free-hand.

When I put out my autumn decorations, I realized there was a door I had no wreath for. And we can’t have that, can we? πŸ™‚ Somehow I must have misplaced one, because I remember having a scarecrow one in addition to the one near the front door. Anyway, I remembered I had the same thought about needing another wreath last year, and even bought supplies for a burlap wreath, but didn’t get around to it then. So I found them in my craft room closet and worked on it bit by bit. It didn’t take all that long, but I had to work it into odd bits of time. I found a plethora of burlap wreath ideas on Pinterest. I found instructions for the burlap part here, and a helpful video tutorial here. The felt roses came from a site I had used before for them here. This is a much simpler way to make felt roses than many tutorials I’ve seen that tell you to cut multiple petals and sew them all together. I used a hot glue gun instead of stitches. I was really pleased with how it turned out!

I cut the leaves freehand out of felt and glued everything on with hot glue. I learned to do the bow when I worked part time for a florist friend in early married days.

True confessions: I didn’t realize until I got the burlap part all done that I hadn’t gotten the burlap loops even in length all around. So I put the flowers and bow on the place the difference was the most noticeable. Also, a couple of times while pushing the burlap through the wreath form, my thumb accidentally poked a hole in the burlap. But thankfully the loose weave that enabled the hole also enabled fixing it by just moving the threads around.

I’m trying to decide whether to put an initial or something on the other side. But for now I like it as is.

It felt really good to get some creative projects done!

Recent Cards

I thought I’d share some of the cards I’ve made recently.

This was for a friend.

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The wording was made with a stamp. I don’t remember where I got the stamp, but I love it.

This one was for Jim’s birthday in March.

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The wording was done on the computer and it and the background shapes were made with two different sized punches.

This was for Timothy’s birthday:

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Since these are licensed characters (PJ Masks, for those of you unfamiliar with preschooler TV heroes. πŸ™‚ They provided the theme for his birthday this year), I wanted to be careful not to just copy images from the Internet. I searched for free PJ Mask printables and found these as cupcake toppers, then printed and cut the figures out for the card.

The rest are for Mother’s Day. This one was for a sweet lady I’ve looked up to as an adopted spiritual mom since my college days.

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The paper was so pretty and detailed, I wanted to keep any added decorations simple.

This was for a friend, and I ended up using the same basic idea, but on a square card.

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This was for my mother-in-law:

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The design was done on the Cricut, but was a little smaller than the card, so I filled in the corners with these stick-on 3-D flowers.

And this is one of my favorites, for my daughter-in-law:

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This just looked like her and Timothy! This design was on the Cricut also, so all I had to do was choose the design and papers, push the right buttons to cut them out, and then glue it all together.

You can tell I am not a professional, with not-the-best lighting and my fingers in some of the photos to hold the cards down. But I make them as an expression of love to the recipients and for fun and a creative outlet as well.

Recent Cards

I thought I’d share with you some cards I’ve made lately, most of them for Valentine’s Day.

This one was for Jim, from an idea I saw on Pinterest.

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None of my heart punches was big enough for the size I needed for the heart cut-out, so I traced a stencil on the back to cut out with an Xacto knife. But I forgot that, since it was on the back, I needed to tilt it the opposite direction from what I wanted it to be on the front. So trying to write the initials the right direction was really confusing – I guess that must be the way left-handed people feel about much of the right-handed world. In fact, after a number of tries, I ended up tilting the paper with the initials on it to line up with the direction of the heart, resulting in the “grain” of the wood print underneath to run diagonally instead of vertically. But don’t tell anyone – maybe they won’t notice. πŸ™‚

This was for my oldest son, apt since he lives in another state:

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This was also spurred from a Pinterest find. To take you behind the scenes a bit, when I clicked through to the web site from which it came, I read that the box came from a stamp. I didn’t want to buy a stamp for a one-time usage and didn’t know if I could find one anyway, so first I tried to draw one. That didn’t go so well. πŸ™‚

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So I thought I’d look for a clip-art box online that I could trace around, and then it dawned on me that I could print off a clip-art box and then just cut it out (duh!). So I did that and used an Xacto knife to open a slit to put the little hearts into. The hearts were made with a heart punch and several scraps of red paper. The letters were stickers, which I ended up not being too crazy about because the sticker wasn’t just the letter: it included a little plastic around the letter, and when the light hits it just right, you can see all the plastic. But I did like the script and the way it came out overall.

This was for Jason, also inspired by Pinterest:

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I just noticed the title there said this was from designs “for her,” but I thought this was masculine-looking and used it for that reason! I found a world map online, printed it out, and used a stencil to make the heart shape.

This was for Mittu. She likes purple, so I looked through my purple papers until I came up with an idea. The design was embossed with a Cuttlebug folder, one I don’t think I had used yet.

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The wording on all of these except Jeremy’s was done on the computer, and I used scrapbooking scissors to make the edge on this one.

This was Timothy’s:

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You can tell who he likes. πŸ™‚ This idea was also from Pinterest. I found the cityscape on the Cricut and cut it out there. I found the Batman logo online and finagled the ray of light myself. I was going to put “Have a SUPER Valentine’s Day” in the light, like the example did, but the space ended up being small, so I just put a heart there and wished him a “super-duper” Valentine’s Day inside – apt not only for the superhero logo but also because he says “super-duper” sometimes.

This was Jesse’s:

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I found this design on the Cricut Design Space and and used the Cricut to cut it out, so it was pretty easy. And this was good for him – conveying the thought without being mushy. πŸ™‚

This one I was going to throw away, but I ended up not having time to make another one. It was from this idea and was going to be for my husband. Though it looks cute there, my version ended up looking childish, so I put it aside and went with the other idea I had for him above. As I worked on the other cards, I thought perhaps I could rework this for my mother-in-law and decided to use that idea if I didn’t have time to come up with something else. As it turned out, I didn’t have time – somehow I miscalculated and thought I had another week before Valentine’s Day, and then it hit me I think on Sunday that Valentine’s Day was THAT week. So I had to do all the cards between Monday and Wednesday. I changed the sentiment to “You planted love…” on the outside, and inside, “…and grew a family,” and went on to say that her love started it all for the rest of us. I liked the thought but still didn’t like the design itself – primarily the stems. I had tried to cut them out freehand and that just didn’t work very well.

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Then we celebrated my daughter-in-law’s birthday recently, and I made this card for her:

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Once again I looked through my purplish papers for inspiration, and when I started to use this one, I decided to keep the design simple since the paper itself was so pretty and had a lot of design in it. The wording and mat underneath were done with two different-sized punches.

The hard time I have with making cards for Mittu is that, since she’s the only daughter-in-law in the family so far, I have all these feminine ideas pinned and have a hard time narrowing down which one to use! And then I ended up not using any of my pinned ideas at all for her cards. But I liked how they turned out.

So, that’s it for this time – not perfect or professional, but heartfelt. πŸ™‚

Homemade Christmas cards and other stray thoughts

Today is the first “back to the old routine” day in a while. I love all the holiday activities, and God was kind to grant me some pockets of quietness and rest amid the busyness. Getting out of the normal routine for several weeks was fun and refreshing. Getting back into it feels both good and sad at the same time. We had a wonderful Christmas with all the family home and then a very quiet but enjoyable New Year’s Eve and Day.

I thought I’d show you the Christmas cards I made for the family. I buy boxes of them for extended family and friends – I’d never be able to make as many as I send out – but for our own family I like to make individual ones.

This is Jim’s:

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It doesn’t show up in the photo, but the white words are flocked. If I had been thinking, I would have cut off the bottom pine cone so more of the word Noel showed up.

This is Jeremy’s:

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Sometimes ideas come from others I’ve saved on Pinterest, sometimes from something in the Cricut design space, and sometimes they come as a result of looking over the materials I have. This one started out with the fox sticker, as Jeremy likes foxes, and then the other elements came one by one. This is one of my favorite cards I’ve ever made.

This is Jason’s:

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I had wanted to use blue because he likes blue, and I had also wanted to use the snowflake embossing folder on one, so those came together here.

This is Mittu’s:

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I love that cozy sweater background paper, and they love coffee, so these seemed like a good pairing. The cups were done with the Cricut.

This is Jesse’s:

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This started with the word sticker – that just seemed to fit him. Everything on the white part is a sticker.

This is Timothy’s:

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I had seen the cookies on a cookie sheet idea on Pinterest, but the shapes on it were three of the same gingerbread men. As I looked through my scrapbook paper, I found one with these gingerbread figures on them, so I cut them out. Thankfully I had enough of a scrap of the metallic paper for the cookie sheet. πŸ™‚

This is Jim’s mom’s:

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And this was for Jim for our anniversary:

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Other stray thoughts this morning:

  • We had turned on the TV New Year’s Eve long enough to see the ball drop, and I commented that I always wondered how they did bathroom issues in Times Square during that event. I envisioned a long row of port-a-potties somewhere. Jeremy looked it up and said there are no port-a-potties – and businesses don’t let the crowds come in to use the restrooms. And some people are there as early as 8 in the morning! They also don’t allow backpacks or large bags, don’t allow people to sit down, and they kick out the food stands to make more room for people. I looked up a couple more articles this morning (here and here). I never had aspirations to go to this anyway, but it’s definitely on my “Nope, I don’t think I’ll ever do this” list – which is guess is the opposite of a bucket list. πŸ™‚
  • I’ve rediscovered cheese and crackers as a snack. My mom used to always send Swiss Colony cheese and sausage packages for Christmas until the kids all got older and it got too expensive to send them. But usually one of us gets a Hickory Farms package at some point during the Christmas season. This year we opened it on Christmas Eve. Then I had mentioned earlier that somehow we got started having the Chicken in a Biskit and Easy Cheese during the holidays, so I have enjoyed munching on them all month. They may not be the healthiest snack, though – especially the Easy Cheese – so I probably need to find a better salty snack.

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  • One of the things I miss most about putting Christmas decorations away is the lights. But not enough to keep any up year-round.
  • I’ve also enjoyed several weeks of Christmas music. I got a new Christmas CD this year, Worship the Newborn King from the Wilds Christian camp. I especially loved the Candlelight Carol. I’ve loved that for years but rarely hear it. Other long time favorites have been their Christmas With Friends album (although that doesn’t seem to be available any more) and Sacred Music Services’ King of Glory. I also like some of Pentatonix – not the more raucous stuff, but I especially like their versions of Silent Night, The First Noel, Carol of the Bells, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Mary Did You Know, and others in that vein.
  • I don’t make resolutions per se, but I do like to make reading plans for the year and map out some projects I want to work on, so I hope to do that this week. I like to incorporate some purposefulness in my reading but with some flexibility in case I come across something new I want to read during the year. I hope to have my reading plans posted in the next day or two.
  • Also this time of year you see a lot of people writing about words for the year. I’m not sure how that got started. A lot of people derive great blessing from it, and that’s great. Personally I have never felt led to do so. Usually God has more than one word to work on in my life at any given time. πŸ™‚ But can I say, if you feel stressed about choosing a word for the year or guilty because you don’t have one, don’t worry about it. Seek God about it, and if you sense His leading toward one area of concentration, then go for it, but if not, just seek Him in His Word and seek His will every day.
  • This is also a good time of year to find a good Bible reading plan if you haven’t already. I wrote on that extensively here. There are all kinds available. Probably the best plan is one you’ll actually use. Reading the Bible through in a year is a good thing for several reasons. A Christian radio station I listen to reads through the Bible throughout the year during daily 15 minute segments, not really too difficult for anyone. The last few years I have continued to read the complete Bible, but not in a year. I am not sure how long it takes me. I aim for a couple of chapters a day, but vary it according the the length, difficulty, or density of the passage I am in and whether I want to stop and slow down in certain passages.

And now I had best get on to some of that daily routine that needs attending to. Thanks for visiting. πŸ™‚

(Sharing with What I’m IntoΒ atΒ Leigh Kramer)

Father’s Day Cards

I thought I’d show you the cards I made for this last Father’s Day.

This was for my step-father, adapted from an idea seen on Pinterest.

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I love that it’s simple but still makes for a nice design. The buttons were made on the Cricut machine. I toyed with using real buttons and thread, but I was afraid they might fall off in transit.

This was for my son. My grandson likes super-heroes, so I thought it was fitting for a super-dad. πŸ™‚

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This was from one of the Cricut Design Space’s “Make It and Take It” cards, but I tweaked it a bit from what they had – they didn’t have the “Super” at the top, and their whole card was the size of the blue frame.

For my husband, I wanted something to do with grilling, so I searched the Cricut Design Space’s files for “grill.” Both this grill and the little man showed up, so I used both of them. The design kind of evolved as I worked. I cut little snippets with scissors in the “grass” so it would look like grass blades. I started to stick the figures in the grass, but we grill on our patio, so I used the textured-looking grey paper for the patio. I was going to put “Well done” at the top (a play on the idea of well-done food and well-done fathering), then decided I would put that in a cloud. I had everything centered in the middle but thought the cloud looked odd centered right over the figures as if it was about to rain on them. So I moved it to the side and added another for balance, cutting them both out freehand (I had typed the “Well Done” and printed it on cardstock, along with the inside sentiments of the cards). Then the bottom corners looked like they needed something, so I looked up flowerpots. This flower design actually had a couple of other layers on the flowers and leaves, but they were so tiny they didn’t come out well. I decided the flowers looked ok as is.

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That was it for this time. I think everyone liked their cards. πŸ™‚

(Sharing with Made By You Monday)

Recent Cards

It has been a while since I’ve shared with you some cards I have made, so I thought I’d catch up. πŸ™‚

This was for Mittu’s birthday. She likes purple and lavender, so I tried to incorporate those.

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This was for Timothy’s birthday. He is very much into anything on wheels right now, especially construction vehicles.

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Though I have been driving for decades, somehow I got the traffic light upside down…but when I noticed it, I didn’t want to try to peel it off and tear the paper underneath. I don’t think he noticed. πŸ™‚

This card is the only one I have made on more than one occasion (only with different colors of paper), the occasion being a bridal shower. Since the recipients were in different states and didn’t know each other, I didn’t have to worry about them comparing notes. πŸ™‚

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I got the idea from Pinterest, and the dress part of the card there took up more space and the top and bottom of the dress flared out more. But both the girls I was making this for are very slim, so I slimmed down the dress here. I ran white card stock through my Cuttlebug to get the embossed pattern on the dress. I printed off the label on the computer and used two different sized punches for it. If you turn the punch upside-down, you can position a phrase in the opening, though it is a little tricky to get it to stay centered and still while you punch the design.

Paper punch

I don’t have a steady hand for cutting, so punches help a lot. (Punches can be expensive, but craft stores often have them on sale 40-50% off, and with gift cards I’ve collected a good many.)

The next three were for Mother’s Day.

This one was for a friend, someone I consider a second mother:

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This was for Jim’s mom, who likes yellow:

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Even though I don’t care for yellow myself, this ended up being one of my favorite cards I’ve made.

Up til now, I’ve made the inside sentiment of the cards on the computer, printed them out, and cut them out, and glued them in, but I felt that came across a little tacky and made it look home-made in a negative rather than positive sense. I don’t do lettering or even write well, so I didn’t want to do anything by hand. I could run cards through the computer. But for now I decided to try embellishing the inside as well as the outside.

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This was for Mittu’s Mother’s Day.

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Sorry about the shadows! This was the only one I’ve used the Cricut on lately. If I had it to do over, I’d use the lighter color as the floral frame and the medium color as the background. But I didn’t think of that til a few hours after it was done. πŸ™‚ I didn’t realize at first that the little flowers look like little faces:

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I have a Cards and Paper-crafts board on Pinterest where I go for ideas and inspiration. Sometimes, as with the bridal shower card, I’ll have a specific idea in mind before I start. Other times, like with the rest of these, I’ll look through the papers and embellishments I have in the colors or theme I want to use, and then ideas of how to put them together will arise. Sometimes I’ll scroll through the Cricut Design Space online either at their ready-to-make cards, or, as with the last card, I’ll search there for specific items, like flowers or sayings, and then put them together.

At any rate, this is a creative outlet I enjoy, and I wanted to share it with you.

Valentine’s Cards

We had a lovely Valentine’s Day. We’ve always made it a family day. We’ve tried once or twice going out for dinner, but the restaurants are so crowded it took a long time and wasn’t enjoyable. A few years ago for Valentine’s Day I used the recipe for Li’l Cheddar Meat Loaves but shaped the loaves into hearts, and that has become a tradition. (Note on the recipe: I use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs, only about 1 1/2 Tbs of brown sugar instead of 1/4 cup, and I omit the mustard because it gave it more of a BBQ flavor).

It’s also become a tradition to make heart-shaped cupcakes…

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..and peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s heart candies on top.

img_0083I received flowers and candy from my dear husband and cards from him and Timothy.

img_0084Jason and Mittu and Timothy also gave us these cute magnets from Photo Barn.

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I’ve also been making my own cards the last few years, and I know some of you like to do the same, so I thought I’d show them to you. I collect card ideas on Pinterest – I have one board for cards and one for Valentine’s Day. So when I have occasion to make a card, I’ll scroll through those for ideas plus the Cricut Design Studio. My generous husband gave me a Cricut Explore a few years ago, which can be hooked up to my laptop. They have “make it and take it” designs, which will allow you to cut the needed elements piece by piece and tell you how to layer them (the computer sends the design straight to the Cricut). Or, if you have an idea of your own, you can search for particular things, like “mug,” and it will show you several designs to choose from and then you can cut them out with the Cricut. So I peruse a lot of these ideas beforehand and see which one seems to “fit” the ones I am making a card for. I seldom copy a design exactly. Some times, like last Christmas, I don’t use the Cricut at all; this time I used it for every card. Of course, many things, like a mug, can be cut out without a machine like this. I can wing it with some things, but not so much with others. πŸ™‚

So here’s what I came up with for this year:

For my husband:

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For my oldest son, who lives out of state:

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I had planned to put something like “Sending love your way…” on the front, maybe on one of the clouds. But I thought this looked balanced as is, so I put that on the inside.

For Jason, a coffee aficionado:

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For Mittu (it’s nice to be able to do one girly one. πŸ™‚ ):

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I was particularly excited about this one for Timothy. He likes anything on wheels right now, and I had seen one design with a dump truck with hearts in it that I was planning on using. But when I saw the design for an excavator, I had to use it. He’s very much into excavators right now (and it is so cute to hear him say it) thanks to this guy, and can even name all the parts.

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I was thankful to find stick-on letters (for sale half price!) for that one and the next one at Hobby Lobby.

This was Jesse’s. From the time he was very little, he’s always had a bright, happy spirit, so this seemed perfect for him.

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And this was for Jim’s mom. My machine had some trouble with the small cuttings – I think maybe I need a new blade, but I didn’t have time to run out for one. There were four hearts layered for this one.

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I enjoy making these as my gifts to my family.

All in all we had a great day. πŸ™‚