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Monday, December 31, 2012

I Want To Let Go of Insecurity in 2013

I want to let go of insecurities that keep me from enjoying my life....
  • I want to not think my husband is just being nice when he says he thinks I am beautiful.
  • I want to accept an invitation from a friend to go on a short one hour trip, and not wonder if she really wants to be in a car with me that long.
  •  I want to know that I am still liked even if I am not invited to every party with every person I know.
  • I want to be happy when I am invited to a party, and not wonder if it's obligation or that they like my husband and we are a package deal.
  • I want to believe a friend when she says she values me, instead of thinking she must not really know me if she likes me.
  • I want to not think everyone who loves me will stop loving me if I say or do something wrong.
  • I want the sins of my past to remind of the Grace and Redemption of my Savior and NOT how far and often I have fallen short.....
Sometimes I wonder why I hold onto these insecurities like a warm blanket.  I think because familiarity feels comfortable.  Because of abuse in my past I don't remember ever feeling secure, ever knowing I was loved unconditionally.  When I failed, it was nor forgiven.  When I said the wrong thing, I was then reminded of it every time I failed after that.  I was taught that continually replaying my sins and never forgetting my grief over those failings meant I was repentant. My true road to being a Christ-Follower is based on me finally believing Grace has nothing to do with me at all.  Beth Moore says it best when says, "Even if you are filled with self-loathing, you are filled with yourself."

My prayer to my faithful and loving Heavenly Father is that in 2013 I be filled with YOU, and not my own insecurity.

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

FAMILY~Grandparent Christmas Present

My sister-in-law and I came up with a joint present idea for my in-laws.  I have two children and she has four, and since grandparents already love grand-kid pictures, what  better than ALL their grand-kids in one picture?!

By using free boxes from Aldi, and discounted yarn for the letters, this whole gift came together for less than $35!   The frame was the most expensive part of the whole gift.

My mother-in-law cried tears of joy as she opened it.  I was so very thankful we could give her this!

Materials Needed:

1. Cut letters out of cardboard
 Tape printed letter (link to free printable above) to edges of sturdy cardboard.
Use  X-ACTO Knifeto cut on lines to create the letter silhouette. Don't forget to put a  Cutting Mat underneath or you will damage your table.

2. Wrap letter with Yarn 
 We used hot glue to start on bottom of letter, then secured with glue on back as you wrap.  A good tutorial can be found here

Tip : On edges, cut the yarn and glue in lines,like this,  instead of wrapping around difficult corners.  You will see on the "L" we had an unattractive big bunch around the corners, but on the "A" we glued them in diagonal  lines.  You may have to click on picture for full size to see difference.

3.  Take & Print Pictures
 For consistency in your pictures, use the same background for each of the kids.  We just used a wide tree in the front yard.

When Printing, I highly recommend black and white, it really makes the letters pop.   We printed  in color and in black & white to test out which we like better. We found the color distracted you from the fact that you were trying to make a cohesive collage that spelled ONE Word.

4.  Mat and Frame
We used buy a six opening collage frame that includes matting at  online. It comes in 3 opening or 4 opening also.  Depending on the amount of grand kids and  you could spell out any type of word:
  • JOY
  • LOVE
  • I <3 u
If you have more than 6 kids in your family, consider doubling up in each frame.  For example, have the eldest hold the baby, and the baby holds the letter. Or each child holds one side of the letter.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

What I want to be when I grow up...

When I was six years old, I told anyone who would listen that I wanted to be an artist and a teacher.  Let me be clear, I didn't want to an art teacher; I wanted to be an artist AND a teacher. I was very clear in my first grade All About Me book that they were two different jobs.   

 Recently I received some somewhat not kind opinions about the fact that I "only have an Associate's degree".  I was also once told that Associate Degrees were "a dime a dozen and would get me nowhere in life".  I think these opinions were spoken from an earnest belief in my potential to "do more", I  respectfully disagree. While I am extremely proud that I have an associates degree for many many reasons ( a few being that I earned it while being married, paying for college completely by myself, maintaining a 4.0 AND without taking out a single penny in college loans), the most important it has led me to what I want to be when grow up....

I am a Teacher.  I used the student teaching of the A.A in Early Childhood to get hired by a prestigious college's Preschool/Kindergarten and teach along some of, in my opinion, the best teachers in the country. Now I am in the roles I know God has shaped me for since my youth. The skills I learned teaching children 2 years old to kindergarten at the preschool has enabled me to contribute immensely to teaching and help shape my church's kid's ministry .I am also a teacher of my children as we home school.  While I don't at all think you have to be a "certified teacher" to home school your child, I will praise the Lord in how my training has given me the preparation I  personally needed for this challenging call. As an extremely insecure and impatient person, if I had not been given those early opportunities to learn from talented teachers, I would probably have ignored the call to home school.

I am an Artist.  My time working with so many great preschoolers led me to know I never wanted to miss a moment of my own children's preschool years. As my twins grew up I found myself framing pictures  in my minds eye at every wedding I attended.  I saw possible locations for senior pictures wherever I drove. Now I run a successful part time photography business that I began when my twins were two years old.  Now after almost 4 years in business I have grown leaps and  bounds in my abilities and  leaning on God for his leading.  God brought me to something I never knew I loved, and He knew I needed to seek His glory and not my own to be successful.  I have learned so much  how He is sufficient as I rely on him to turn His creation into art. 

I am Teacher.  I am an Artist.  I am everything I wanted to be when I was six years old and so much more than I could have ever imagined. And most importantly, I am everything God wants me to be at such a  time is this.... I know I have a lot more growing up to do :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stamped Personalized Bookmarks/ Necklaces

I love the industrial look of washers as necklaces, and also the personal touch of names.
 These can given as necklaces, or just as easily be used as bookmarks. Make sure you buy  several extra washers because there will be a certain amount of trial and error.

Main Lesson learned was to use a HEAVY HAMMER.  Do no use a cheap light weight hammer or you will have to pound 20 time for one letter, which leads to the  stamp slipping.


1. Stamp letters onto washer

Make sure you use a very heavy hammer.  I tried a cheaper hammer and ended up hitting about 20 times and still not make a clear letter.  With the heavy hammer only 5 to 8 good hits would make the  letter clear. The more  hits you make, the more chances you have of making a mistake with the stamper slipping or dropping the stamper...or worse hitting your finger

Personalization ideas:

  • my niece's name
  • my sister's married name and year of they were married on smaller washer
  • meaningful phrase. For two of my young nieces I put the phrase from The Help that the main characters tells the little girl over and over: "U R Kind, Smart & Important" 

2. Use Sharpie on to add contrast to lettering

After using the sharpie, if you mess up a bit, you can wipe it off quickly with wet wipe to get off of surface but leaving the sharpie in creases of stamped letter)

3. Attach to make ornament, necklace, or bookmark

To Make Necklace: In each bag I also included a second length of leather  or second necklace ribbon so they could change the color of necklace depending on outfit.  
I personally think this looks best as just a bit longer than choker length , but I included different and longer lengths so recipients could decide how long they wanted the necklace.

NO SEW~Tie Snakes

Great present to wrap around the tree for Christmas morning!

This project came from having two sons & two nephews who all asked for gifts they could use on "adventures". I threw in a pair of inexpensive binoculars, and you have hours of imaginative fun! I also found a few pink ties, and made these for my nieces!  All kids loved them and played with them all Christmas Morning.

Materials needed:
  • old tie (s)
  • hot glue gun 
  • stuffing from an old pillow
  • googly eyes
  • red felt
  • scissors
  • un-sharpened pencil  and marker

1. Stuff Tie
I first found an old pillow we didn't use anymore and cut it open to harvest the stuffing.  Then  I used the pencil to slowly put small pieces in the snake.  Stuff from one end, and push till you get to the middle; you will need to bunch the tie over the pencil.  Once one side is stuffed, stuff from other side of tie. Push slowly so you don't tear the seams of the tie.

TIP: At the smaller end, do not over stuff end and even leave the end empty to make gluing easier. At larger end leave room to refold side of tie to original triangle shape. A marker is good for ends to, but the pencils gets the stuffing to middle of tie better without breaking seams.

2. Glue Ends
  I used the hot glue guns to close the ends. Make sure when stuffing to not to over stuff because it could tear seams of tie.  I ended up hot gluing middle seam for extra security since I knew the snakes were going to active boys.

3. Decorate
 Glue googly eyes and red felt tongue  to the large end of tie.  If you are giving to girl you could even add some yarn hair or felt bow:) I am thinking if I find a pink tie at the thrift store that my niece may be getting one of these next year:)

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