Friday, June 27, 2008

Thankful Journal - finis!

I'm sitting here with my right hand in the air. I do hereby promise... no more Thankful Journal posts. Ok, if you beg, maybe. Short of begging, I will move on.

In the meantime, here is the finished journal. I am so happy with it. There was a complaint that the previous photos were too vague, so I have included a few straight-on shots to show the final product.

the front cover

pages ready for thankfulness!

love these two pictures

note the freshly mown grass
You have probably noticed that there are no "fun clip" binders. That didn't work out at all.

I'm glad it's ready for the birthday. It will be a joy for me to give.

..the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thankful Journal - part 2

Yay!!! I'm finished with all 52 pages of the Thankful Journal. While this stack may not appear to be all that much, look at what the grass/weeds did while I was tucked away in my workroom!

monster weeds poking above the paperwork
The only thing left to do is to punch the holes for the binding. I am going to experiment with some "fun paper clips" I found today. If they don't work smoothly, I'll go back to the original suggestion of sensible book rings.

love the thumbs-up
And don't worry... this has been such a project, that I will share pictures of the completed journal before I give it away.

As is true of everything I work on, there are the select parts that I really like. I had a hard time narrowing it down to just a few (this really was fun to make), but here is the blue group.

journal fav's
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever. I Chronicles 16:34

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Making a journal

Thankful (aka Grateful) Journals have been around for quite a while. The idea is to write something that you are thankful for every day. It's a nice idea, but it hasn't inspired me... until I saw this.

My daughter-in-law has a birthday that we will be celebrating on July 4th, and this is the perfect gift for her.

Today was a day of planning, scanning, printing, and stamping... working my way to a page for every week of the year. When I started the journal, that didn't seem like a huge task. Right now, 35 pages are ready to go... 52 feels like it's waaaay out there!

The pages are not large. If there is too much room for writing, it begins to look like an assignment rather than a brief sentence stating "What I am thankful for today."

I will be seeing #1 - #7 in my dreams!
I've tried to create pages from my own stash of materials. In addition to some decorative paper pages, there are some vintage hankies and postcards, unique clipart, and photos from my backyard.

pictures ready to be cropped and stamped
I hope, one year from now, that she will treasure this book and the pleasant thoughts that it holds.

I also hope, today, that she's too busy to spend time reading blogs!

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18

Monday, June 23, 2008

Completed project

Aaah. I breathe a sigh of relief. I love the process of making each new prayer album - finding photos, picking the papers, reviewing the concepts, planning the pages - but the part I like best is the first day of using my completed album. My enthusiasm for prayer is renewed. It's just... well... great!

I have discovered when each album is completed that there is a page or two I really like. Something just clicks and, for me, that page is particularly beautiful or it expresses perfectly the concept I had in mind. It isn't that I plan so well, or that I'm so artsy that beautiful things happen. It just comes together. The combination of papers, colors, and extras adds up to special.

This book has several of those pages. I want to share the sense of just three...

The "Thy will be done in earth" page...

texture and simplicity
the "families" page...

the tree image and the colors
the page for one of my children.

the paper and the photo
With this project finished, I am off on my prayer journey again. My album and I are refreshed, renewed, and reporting for duty!

Pray without ceasing. I Thessalonians 5:17

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Praying in color

These books are tangible evidence of a spiritual decision I made ten years ago.

prayer albums
You see, my finite mind has a tendency to wander, to follow rabbit trails, or, if left too quiet, to lapse into dreamland.

I'm saying that to sugarcoat the fact that all my adult life, I never was disciplined about daily prayer. Oh, not the "now I lay me down to sleep..." or "Thank you Father for my food..." type of prayer, but the kind of prayer that reviews the wonder of who God is and then invites Him to "search me... and know my heart... see if there be any wicked way in me..." (Psalm 139:23,24)

But 10 years ago, I realized that I would never know God if I never talked with Him. In May, 1998, I resolved to pray every day from that day forward.

Using the Lord's Prayer as my pattern, I created an album to be my crutch - my visual prayer list. The colorful pages keep me focused... or bring me back from my woolgatherng. (The picture above shows almost all the albums I have worn out over the past days, months, years of praying.)

Today, I am celebrating ten years of consistent, daily prayer. I am filling a new blank book with fresh photos and colorful images that will draw me into conversation with God about the topics of His choosing.

I am a different person than I was ten years ago. Praise God alone.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9 - 13

Monday, June 16, 2008

Garden goodies

Most years I want to plant peas in early spring... but life gets busy, the date goes by, and then it's too warm for peas to thrive. Not this year! I have vines covered with colorful blossoms. And today? Peas! Ready for harvest. Yummm.

snow peas ready for picking
Another great idea that rarely gets farther than the light-bulb-over-the-head in my garden, is to plant summer crops (like beans) between the rows of spring crops (like peas) so that a small garden space can do double duty. This year, I did it!!!

Look at my little bean sprouts at the base of the pea plants!

beans sprouting between the peas
When the news is full of floods, salmonella, crop disasters... how thankful I am for the blessings from my backyard garden.

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Psalm 128:1 & 2

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Making cards

This weekend is the "Good Deeds" auction at church. It's a fun time on Sunday evening when the teens offer their muscles (for raking, weeding, painting, etc.) to the highest bidder and all the funds go toward paying for their week at camp. This year, we have an added twist... adults have been invited to contribute their own unique talents to the auction as well.

Someone already donated a custom made purse, so I had the brilliant idea to add sets of handmade cards to the auction. With that goal before me, I have spent two days working like a madwoman creating what I hope will prompt people to put their hand in the air and bid.

After the first day slaving (Ha! If this is work, bring it on!) over piles of paper, I had an interesting thought...

almost finished
how much money will a few sets of cards add to the camp fund? Would it pay for a day? A half day, maybe? Oh my... a drop in the bucket!

Then I remembered a phrase from an old song, "Little is much when God is in it."

So, my little sets of cards will go into the auction. Not much to offer, but maybe, the few hours at camp that the cards provide, will be the exact time one of our teens makes a life changing decision to follow God.

A good investment, indeed.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us... Titus 3:5

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Making decisions

It's paper week for me. Time to start, and finish, a few paper projects that have been playing about in my mind.

Today, I tackled one of the pictures provided by my Band of Little Artists. The first thought I had when I saw this was, Ah, a perfect world. So I have scanned, resized, enhanced (by hand...I'm a purist... ok, ok, I get lost with Photoshop) printed, adjusted and printed again.

Then the real decisions present themselves. Fancy edges? Yes? Which one?

Which background paper will best frame my little treasure? So many to choose from... but they are too big, too busy, wrong color, wrong feel... Then, the Goldilocks moment - it's just right.

And finally, after all the adjustments, a card that I like.

I hope the little artist is as happy as I am.

Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. Jeremiah 32:17

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cookie jar love

I collect a couple of things - candle snuffers and Ransburg pottery. The Ransburg collection began by accident. I bought a box loaded with junk (my favorite thing) at an auction. When I got home, I discovered this at the bottom of the box.

Original blue paint peeks through the flowers
The body of the jar looked like it had been swabbed in a 50's-green watery paint. The glued together lid was not a match. I had never seen anything like it and thought it was reeeeally ugly... but I didn't throw it away.

After a few weeks of wondering where to put it, I decided to clean it up and take it to a resale shop. At least I could retrieve some of my money.

Wouldn't you know, while I washed, I fell in love.

Over many years, my lonely painted-over cookie jar, was joined by better looking members of the Ransburg family.

 Fifteen year collection
Then two weeks ago I hit the mother lode. Two more cookie jars and another box of junk yielded this counter full of redness.

Some are keepers. They are unique to my collection. Others are duplicates. I'll look for good homes for them. What's funny is, with their bumpy flowers, chipped paint, and layers of grime, I love them all.

But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Monday, June 9, 2008

Learning to look

from a prompt at
Two Writing Teachers

I was nine years old when my grandpa gave me my first paying job. I was to come to the family department store every Monday at closing time and sweep the floors in the Basement.

In about an hour, I could vacuum my way through aisles of dishes, pans, knick-knacks and, at one time, toys. I learned to sweep with one hand and examine goods with the other. It was a wonderful job.

While I was busy in the Basement, my grandpa and aunt worked in the little mezzanine office space that overlooked First Floor. They worked silently, adding the day’s receipts, counting the money, and preparing the night deposit.

I often finished before they did, so while waiting for my ride home, I wandered through the darkened First Floor, quietly honing my shopping skills. One night, I decided to smell every perfume bottle in the cosmetic department.

I worked my way across the long counter, careful not to clink any of the glass bottles. (My single aunt was not particularly patient with the activity of any child.) Halfway down, I picked up a beautiful cut glass bottle. It was fairly heavy, smaller than the rest of the perfume bottles, and filled with chunks that looked like salt in a golden liquid. The other perfumes were all beginning to smell alike, so I couldn’t wait to see what was different about this bottle with its chunky contents.

I took a big sniff.

Lightning struck. There may have been angels singing in the distance. I’m sure my eyes did a cartoon-like popping in and out of my head. I can’t believe I didn’t yelp, but there was no reaction in the office, so I must have maintained my composure.

When the store stopped whirling, I looked at the label. Smelling salts.

“Let’s go home,” grandpa said. I followed him out the back door of the store a wiser 9 year-old.

I read labels now.

… For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. I Samuel 16:7

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Craft supplies - $3

I love it when I can snag a full box of stuff/junk at a thrift store. A couple of weeks ago, I found a great big box labeled "craft supplies - $5." I poked through it, decided that for $3 it would be useful to me and made my offer. It was promptly accepted. I couldn't wait to get home and discover what goodies were hidden inside the tangle of yarn, plastic mesh and old patterns.

With the contents of the box sorted out on my workroom floor, I found lots of unfinished projects - baby quilt blocks, all but the border neatly cross stitched; a gray plaid wool skirt, pins still holding the waistband; a plastic mesh circle, partially filled with a fluffy yarn design; bag after bag of supplies for all types of projects.

Today, the brightly colored crochet cottons in one of those bags caught my eye. I emptied the contents on my table and for a few moments savored the colors and textures.

crochet cottons
That's when I noticed this. My crafty predecessor was learning to tatt! Just a few inches of finished tatting... still attached to the shuttle.

tatting and shuttle

Did she get a phone call? Were the kids hungry and demanding lunch - now? Was there a family emergency? Did life change forever, and she lost her desire to create?

I think I'll frame this little piece of lace still attached to the shuttle as a reminder of the uncertainties of life... of well laid plans that half happen.

...for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. II Timothy 1:12

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Two little birdies

Saturday we went to an auction. The estate being sold included inventory from an antique store that had been closed for decades. We brought home a few treasures. They won't make us rich, but they will add richness to our lives.

Like these sassy salt & pepper shaker birds... alert and ready for the cue to start their song. They look like the front of an anniversary card... or maybe a birthday card "from the two of us."

salt & pepper birds
A little tweaking... some fancy paper... who know's where they will appear?

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. Ecclesiastes 4:9

Monday, June 2, 2008

Memoir Mondays - Food

I was challenged by the Memoir Mondays prompt at Two Writing Teachers. Write about memories at a beloved eatery, they said. I knew immediately the spot to describe.

There is a place I have been eating for years… and the memories are as varied as the foods.

My dining room table.

Grampa's birthday
My dining room table is why I learned to cook. Six people waited there to see what I had to bring to the table. Together we taught our tongues to try new cuisines, new animals, new textures. We filled our bellies with Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas chili and Fourth of July baked beans. We built a repertoire of “remember when” stories over Mexican Beef Rice, pumpkin soup, and cherry cream pie.

At my dining room table we endured soon-to-be ex-boyfriends, evaluated future sons/daughters-in-law, and strengthened new and old friendships. We entertained Marine buddies that we would never see again. We fed neighbors that wouldn’t go away!

Around my dining room table we have celebrated birthdays for family members from four generations, and mourned the loss of my brother, my father and my son.

On every occasion, upon being seated, we joined hands and the gathered circle bowed heads while my husband thanked God, who provided food for our bodies, and salvation for our souls.

I love my dining room table.

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Psalm 128:1,2