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Working on a Business


As many of you know I have health problems, and some of those health issues cause me to be susceptible to every virus that is brought around me.  That is one of the struggles when you have Epstein-Barre Syndrome, every time someone has the flu, a virus, colds, strep throat, or any other such thing, I get it.  So my last few weeks have been filled with these things.  I spent a lot of time down with the flu, a sore throat and a ear infection, along with dealing with my pain from arthritis, bone spurs, and fibromyalgia.  But I didn’t let this all keep me from doing something constructive…something that I’m still working on.  With the cost of things  going up in the U.S., and government budget cuts that affected my husband with a 6 month layoff, we found ourselves in the same position as many Americans, living from pay day to payday, well actually more like payday to the week before the next payday.  So I set out to find a way to help my husband with finances, despite having to spend so much time in bed due to pain.  A couple weeks ago while straightening up things in my room, I found a program that my husband got me that allows me to design cross stitch designs.   I can use my photos, clipart, or my own artwork to create beautiful design instructions for other cross stitchers.  For those who do not know what this is, it is a type of embroidery where simple X’s are made on canvas to complete a design using embroidery thread.  I’m still working on getting designs together, but I’m also researching ecommerce sites that offer what I need to have my own site.  I’m praying God’s leading, direction and blessing on this endeavor.  I’m hoping that it will be the help my family needs to get through this tough time.  However in doing this I’m not able to spend too much time blogging, or on other things.  I’ve had to cut down other activities on the computer, even time on Facebook and on my email.  I know once I get it up and running I will have more time for other things though.  I wanted to share some of the designs I’ve finished working on in this post.  Each design comes with…

  1. the original photograph or artwork I used,
  2. a jpeg of the finished design,
  3. a pdf of a black and white representation of the design with symbols showing wear each color goes,
  4. a stitch pattern pdf showing what the finished work looks like in cross stitch,
  5. a color key pdf showing the colors of embroidery thread used for that design, and the measurements of it.
  6. a pdf with color blocking of the design, for those who prefer to use a color graph without symbols
  7. and a pdf with color blocking with the symbols.

I’ve worked on hard designs for those who are looking for a challenge, medium designs for those who are at the intermediate level, and easier designs for those who are new to cross stich along with children who are just learning how to cross stitch.

I’m rejoicing to have found some way of using my own drawings and photos in a way to help my family.  Please pray with me that this works out, and that God will bless each step and open the doors along the way.  Below are some of the designs I’m finished with.  Enjoy!

An angel, one of many I drew and designed.

A chocolate milkshake from my

art.

Woman with the Alabaster Jar of oil.

A parfait from my artwork.

Blueberry Muffin

A Cupcake with Pink Icing and Sprinkles

Stained Glass design

Original artwork

Stained glass design done in cross stitch.  It looks better without the glare from my camara.

Very colorful parrots

A secluded waterfall.

King Solomon

Bird and Flower

Fashion Face. I love designing hats, shoes and clothes. Jk wants me to make a bunch like these and make them into a quilt for her bedroom.

Patchwork Boot…my artwork

 

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Two Awards in One…“Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award”

I was nominated for this award twice in the same day, and within moments of each other.  Thank you to Diane at… http://hometogo232.wordpress.com/ and Terry from… http://terry1954.wordpress.com/ !  What is funny is that both of these wonderful women said the same thing to me when they nominated me for it…that I would love the name for the award, and that it was perfect for me…lol.  I wasn’t sure whether they meant the Mrs. Sparkly part or the Ten Commandment part…lol.  I remember saying the same thing to both, that I found the name funny because it was the first time I had heard the word Sparkly used in the same sentence as the words Ten Commandment!  I took it upon myself to add the title of this award, “Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award” to the picture that was posted for the award.  So that those receiving it will always get a smile when they see the name.

The rules for this award are that you must answer the following ten questions and nominate ten blogs that you think deserve the award.  So here are the 10 questions…

1. Describe yourself in seven words… Sinner Saved By Grace, A Vessel of God

2. What keeps you up at night?  Insomnia from Fibromyalgia…well it did until a friend suggested Melatonin to me because it helped her sleep through the symptoms of insomnia that accompanies fibromyalgia.  It Works…Praise God!

3. Whom would you like to be?  Well, the Bible says that God made me quite unique (I’m fearfully and wonderfully made by him.)  So I wouldn’t want to be anyone but who God made me to be…however I would like to be more like Jesus.

4. What are you wearing now?  My favorite pajamas…the comfortable red ones!

5. What scares you?  Now this is funny, because everything I’ve ever had a fear of I’ve had to face and get over.  For example…I have never been afraid of dieing because I know where my eternity will be, but I always feared living with pain.  Now with Fibromyalgia I don’t fear it anymore because I live with pain daily.  I was afraid of heights and tight places, and working in theater I had to deal with both.  God has a way of teaching me that the only fear I need to have in my life is the fear of God.

6. What are the best and worst things about blogging?  Best is writing and sharing with other bloggers, the worse thing is there is never enough time in a day to do all the blogging and reading of other blogs that I would love to do.

7. What was the last website you looked at?  Does this mean blogsite or website?  I would have to say my blogsite since that is what I’m writing on right now. But I would have to say not counting blog sites, and other than WordPress it would be MSNBC homepage for about 10 seconds until I started blogging on here…lol.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?  No more pain, so I could do all the things with my youngest daughter that I was able to do with my oldest daughters.

9. Slankets, yes or no?   Slankets?  Are we talking Snuggies, because I have a bright red one and it is the most comfortable thing on my bed, which I use every single day, and my daughter, Jk, keeps trying to take from me…lol.

10. Tell us something about the person who nominated you. Well, I was nominated by two very unique, loving, caring, and compassionate women that I’m proud to call friends and sisters-in-Christ.

I am nominating five other bloggers to receive this award, since I’m not sure how many I’m suppose to actually nominate.  Those I nominate will either fit the Mrs. Sparkly part of the award name or the Ten Commandment part, so either they will be creative in a sparkly kind of way, or they will be really grounded in their Christian faith.  Here are my five…

1.  http://e1aine.wordpress.com/ …This blogger is definately one of the Mrs. Sparkly bloggers, and a wonderful crafter to prove it.  I love her posts on the jewelry she creates.

2. http://creationscience4kids.com/ …If dinosaurs and science could be considered sparkly this blogger could prove it.  Also grounded in their Christian faith, I find this blogger a great candidate for both parts of the awards name.

3. http://allinthelifeofjk.wordpress.com/ …I don’t know anyone as sparkly as this blogger, and I know she has been grounded in her faith in Jesus Christ, because she is my youngest daughter and I live with her and her sparkliness ever day!

4.  http://futureflyingsaucers.wordpress.com/ …This blogger would get the award for being the sparkliest homeschool site… that is if there was an award for that.  Since there isn’t I’m giving her this award!

5.http://originalapplejunkie.wordpress.com/  …Now this award is perfectly named for this blogger!  She is spunky, sparkly, and grounded in her Christian faith.  Hmm…no wonder I keep thinking she reminds me of one of my daughters!

Okay I may have to add one or two more nominations, because I see a couple more blogs that fit my idea of ones that deserve the “Mrs. Sparkly Ten Commandments Award.”  So here goes…

6. http://katescreativespace.com/ …This is definately a creative sparkly site.  Usually when I check it out I’m either thing…Yum or That is so cool!

7. http://jelillie.wordpress.com/ …This is a site that shares their heart for God and is creative both!  You can look at a blog post of a craft or such and before you know it this blogger has related it to something from God’s Word, or a thought about the Lord.

Alright! Two more award posts finished!  Congratulations to all those I have nominated, and thank you to Terry and Diane for giving me this award!

 

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The Prayer Shawl

This past year I watched as all the things that happened in this world started having an affect of many of my friends and family, even to those in our home right now.  Military budget cuts caused massive layoffs for those working in the military contracting area, my husband, Don being one of them.  For a guy who had worked all his life, including serving 22 years in the military, it was devastating and quite worrying to him, to say the least.  With no federal budget being passed, and very few jobs open in his area of expertise things didn’t look promising.  As a pretty new babe in Christ, having something hit you from out of the blue can be a real trial on your newfound faith.  What made it worse is the way he was laid off.  We had been away at his father’s funeral, and just returned the day before.  He got up that Friday and went into work like usual.  For some reason his key pass didn’t work and a fellow worker had to let him into the building.  He went straight in and began his work day, doing what he knew he was suppose to.  About  2 hours into the day, one of the bosses came walking into the room he worked in, and asked my husband what he was doing there.

My husband looked at him puzzled, and said, “I’m working.”

“I can see that, but why?  What are you doing here today?”  The boss was as puzzled at Don’s response, as Don was at his question.

Don paused, and looked at the boss, sizing up what he must be talking about, thinking he meant why had Don come instead of staying home the extra day after the loss of his father.  Don finally responded, “Oh I just couldn’t set at home today.  I figured it would be better for me to keep my mind busy working.”

The boss suddenly looked down, shuffled his feet, and said, “No, I mean, why are you here today?  Didn’t they tell you that you were laid off yesterday?”

To say the least, Don was stunned!  No one had called, emailed, sent a letter, or even spoke to him face to face.  Not one of the leads at his job had thought to let him know, although they all knew he was gone at the funeral of his father.  Not one even after that tried to explain how it all happened, or the reasoning behind it.  It was months before he  finally found out what all took place and how the failure in communication came about.  Nor did they seemed concerned about their failure, or about how their failure affected Don at that time.

I’ll never forget the look on his face when he walked in that door 4 hours earlier than he usually would.  To say he was downcast would not cover it.  We didn’t know how we were going to get by, because we had just used our savings to travel up north for the funeral, and for expenses while there, and we had to put out most of it before time on a replacement for our refrigerator, dishwasher, and the clothes dryer.  We knew we were looking at some tough times ahead.

Most people would have gotten angry,  downcast, even angry with God.  I knew that with new believers that happens often because their faith isn’t built up to the point of total trust in the Lord.  But for me, it was old hat.  I had been a single mom, who had to trust the Lord to help me through, even to provide for our daily meal at times.  I knew that my God was faithful and if we turned it all over to him, that the Lord would care for our needs during this time.  It was the best gift I could give my husband that day, my love, the encouragement that the Lord would see us through, and a hug filled with all the love and hope I had in me.  Of course the Lord took care of us, for over 6 months my husband was without a job.  The house payment was met, the utilities, gas for the car, medical needs, and even groceries were taken care of all during that time.  God was faithful to care for us, and all during that time we felt his loving arms around us, showing that love and compassion to us daily.  Yet, there were so many we knew going through similar things, and some going through worse things.  What in the world could we do to help so many?

Jesus with a prayer shawl.

It was during that time, a friend said to me, if I lived closer I would be giving you a hug right now, to let you know just how much you are cared for.  I live quite a distance from my dearest friends and my family, so this thought from her was really something that got me through, and it is what the Lord laid onto my heart in showing my own love, care and compassion for others.  There have been so many times that someone I knew was going through something and I wished I could be there to hug them, love them, and encourage than, but I couldn’t physically do so.  I knew that prayer is affective and I could do that, but I wanted to do more, and have them know that I was indeed praying for them and sending them warm hugs and comfort.  That is where the idea of making prayer shawls for my loved ones and friends came from.  Led by the Holy Spirit, I decided to do something that would wrap my love and prayers for them whenever they needed them.  But it wasn’t just about making the prayer shawls, or in giving them.  It was about putting prayer for the person who would receive it, in every stitch and line of the crocheting.  I knew to really be a shawl that would share the love and comfort of the Lord, then the Lord must be in every single stitch.  I knew that my heart would have to be in prayer for the person each time I picked up the shawl to work on it.  I would sit and pray for their needs, their health, their salvation, even the simplest parts of their day, their goings and comings, rising, and sleeping.  I knew during the week or two that I worked on the shawl, I would have to make an effort to find out how they were doing and if there were any special prayer needs.  It became a full out prayer campaign for that one person for the period of time it took to make, and send the shawl to them.  Like most humans, at first it was about what I was doing for someone else, never realizing what the process was doing for me.  Inside me something miraculous was happening, and much like the Grinch whose heart doubled in size when he felt the warmth of love and giving warm it, my heart was growing into a fervant heart of prayer and love.  God was laying something bigger into my heart that is setting me on a new mission for His Kingdom…a prayer shawl ministry for my local church.  It is just in the infant stages, but the urgency in me for it to come to fruition is great.  Each Wednesday our church has a prayer meeting and each week there is a new list of prayer needs for us to pray about, and we literally take each to the alter of God right there on that night.  Some pray by themselves, some pray in couples, and some pray in groups, but everyone prays.  There have been times I went to the altar, prayed with my husband, or by myself, and there are times when I have been blessed to pray with these two wonderful elderly women who are the strongest, mightiest prayer warriors I have ever met.  They don’t miss a name on the list, even if there are a hundred of them.  Each is given the love and prayer that could only come from one who knows how the Lord sees them as if they were the only one in the world. They pour over each name as if that were their own grandchild needing love, mercy and grace, and they come before God’s throne boldly.  That is how I knew I would need to pray for those I would give the prayer shawl to, as if they were my dearest family, and before the Lord boldly and in faith that he would answer each prayer.  But I would also have to pour the love that was in my heart for them into each stitch too.

This whole lesson to me about prayer, planted the seed of this ministry deep into the soil of my heart, and I began seeing that list at church in a different way.  Those on the list for prayers of salvation began to appear as hungry orphans needing food and hope.  The soldiers on our list of Military to pray for, in my heart became pictures of patriots long ago at Valley Forge needing to know that they would find strength and courage through the Lord, and his divine protection upon them.  Those on the list for prayer who had health needs, in my mind, were in a hospital that was filled to overflowing, to the point that there were not enough doctors and nurses to care for them, so would need the care that only a mighty and compassionate Lord, and Great Physician could give them.   The more I saw these mental pictures of their needs, the more that seed grew.  I had no car to go see each one, and my own health issues doesn’t always allow that, or the distance they are away as in our military prayer requests.  But with the help of our church and other crocheters and knitters like me, we could be able to wrap each one in love and prayer, through the warmth of a prayer shawl or a prayer lap quilt.  I’ve been praying about God’s leading on this, knowing that my health was limiting me on being part of the music ministry through the choir.  And God is answering my prayer, as the Music Minister/Assistant Pastor at our church has written me this week that he felt God telling him that we also needed a ministry like this.  For a woman to think so would be as common to me as Jesus appearing to a man first after his resurrection.  But God doesn’t work that way.  Mary was the person during Jesus’ time that people would have felt Jesus least likely to appear first to, and a man who doesn’t knit or crochet in our day and age would be the least likely to feel led to start a prayer shawl ministry .  So I know that this is God’s leading.  The funny thing is, God hasn’t stopped getting my attention about it with just this.  It seems like at every turn around now I’m introduced to someone new in my life, my blogging world, my facebook friendships that is involved in a prayer shawl ministry, or starting one up at their church.  It is like God is opening doors for me to learn more on how to start the one at our church, or sharing ideas with others who are involved in one.  There are times like these that I stand at the garden gate of God’s Kingdom and watch him at work, and I am as amazed as a child looking at the first robin in Spring, or the first earthworm to wiggle through the winter hardness of the soil, or the very first bloom bursting through the bud on an early Spring day.  I stand amazed at the fullness of his plan for me, and at the way he picks, waters and prunes the idea, then opens the doors to let the sunshine down on it, so that it make come to its fullness for his Kingdom.  That is where I am right now, looking at that garden, knowing that I have been planted for a purpose and God is the gardener, helping me bloom into his Will.

Here is a poem that the Lord gave me, to include in with each prayer shawl that I made last year, and with those that will be given in the future.  If you would like to use it feel free to copy it, but please don’t take credit for writing it, this one is of God, for God, from God, and to be used by God.

I will be updating this post with pictures of some of the prayer shawls I have already crocheted, and some I will finish in the near future.  None will be similar, because no two people are 100% the same, and so my heart says each shawl should be an individual too.

THE PRAYER SHAWL

Nothing in this world

Is as comforting at prayer.

Nothing draws us closer

As when the Savior’s near.

As you wrap this shawl

Around your shoulders tight,

May you feel the love and prayers

That have poured out day and night.

Prayers for your happiness,

For joy, hope, and peace,

Prayers that God’s blessings

For you will increase.

So as you wrap this shawl,

And feel its comfort there,

May you always feel assurance

That  the Savior, Jesus, is near.

 

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Spring Wreath

The finished wreath

Today my daughter Jk and I sat down and made a new wreath for the front door.  We wanted

Supplies needed

 

 

something that could stay up throughout Spring and Summer, and we wanted to have it be something we made together.   So we sat down on my bed and decided what we needed and  as we thought of things Jk ran around the house collecting them.  Then Jk started the first step.  She mixed food coloring, hot water and a tablespoon of vinegar together in cups and dyed about a half of a pack of coffee filters.  When she

Dyed coffee filters

was done dying them, she squeezed out the excess water, and piled them onto a plate covered with paper towels, and threw them in the dryer at a low temperature.  In about a half hour they were dry and we were ready to work on our wreath.

Our supplies were:  Dyed coffee filters, pipe cleaners, beads, jewelry wire, 2 colors of ribbon,  jewelry making tools such as wire cutters and pliars,  rubber bands, a store bought grapevine wreath for the base, and paper cutting scissors.

Jklyn started by placing one coffee filter inside another and wrapping it with a rubber band.  She

Filters cut in half and 6 inches of jewelry wire.

then took the scissors and cut the inside coffee filter like fringe to looks like the stemen of the flowers.  Then I replaced the rubber band with about a 6 inch piece of jewelry wire.  We set these aside when we were finished making all that we needed, which depends on your own feeling about how many flowers you want on your wreath.

Next, we cut green and yellow dyed coffee filters in half, then folded each half in thirds.  Then we gathered the wide end together and wrapped it with about a 6 inch piece of wire to give it the shape of a leaf.

Folding the halved coffee filters into thirds to make leaves.

We decided to make a few butterflies out of pipe cleaners, beads and a coffee filter that had been dyed and fan-folded.  We used the beads as the head and tail, by putting one at the half mark of a pipe cleaner and twisting the pipe cleaner to hold it.  Then we inserted the fan-folder coffee filter and again twisted the two sides of the pipe cleaner to hold it.  Then we put the other bead on one end of the pipe cleaner and pushed it toward the filter, and twisted the two ends of the pipe cleaner together once more.  The two ends of the pipe cleaner were then curled to look like antennas.  Jewelry wire was attached to the back of the butterfly to add them when we were ready.  Jklyn also designed her own butterfly to put on the bow out of pipe

A finished leaf.

cleaners and beads.

When we were done making all the flowers, leaves and butterflies, Jk and I were ready to put the whole wreath together.  I started by using the plain green ribbon around the wreath leaving spaces of about 3 to 4 inches for the flowers and leaves.  Then I took both ribbons and folded them to create a bow, and wrapped wire around it and hook the bow to the wreath.  Next we put the leaves around the wreath, and began adding the flowers making sure we mixed the colors up.  Finally we added the bow and the butterflies around the wreath.

This was a simple project and as you can see, it turned out cute!  Jk was excited and barely paused to let me take a picture of her with the wreath,  It now adorns our front door for us to enjoy until fall.  I have to laugh though, because here we are making something that celebrates warm weather and just a few minutes ago they put us under a Frost Warning.  Oh well, when it gets cold I’ll just look at this wreath and be reminded of warmer weather.

Leaves wired to wreath.

 

Bow attached and ribbon wrapped around wreath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the butterflies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jk with finished wreath.

 

 

 

 

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Handimals…A Very Cute Family Activity

A sign dispaying some of their Handimal family units.

This past Saturday, my husband and I took my daughter Jk, on a homeschool field trip to a  local zoo.  It was a great day that I will blog on later, but for this I want to blog about one of the cutest ideas I saw at the zoo.  It is called Handimals.  Basically you paint your hand and press it onto a piece of paper, or other medium for painting such as canvas, newsprint, or even fabric.  Then with permanent markers you turn that handprint into an animal of some kind.  When I saw this being done at the zoo, my mind started racing 100 miles per minute thinking of ways I could use this idea.  What I loved was that they made family units from these handprints.  They would not only have the children make a handprint, but mom, dad, and even grandparents.  I thought what a wonderful way to teach children about animals and about the family in one project.  I took pictures of their display and am posting them so you get the idea.  My daughter just finished a unit learning about the different types of animals, land, desert, artic, ocean and so on.  In each she learned even more about the animals, whether they were mammals, reptiles, birds or amphibians.  She learned about what made each animal special to their environment.  It was a wonderful way to instill in her how vast and awe-inspiring creation is, and in the same way how awesome God is to have created it down to the tiniest bit of DNA.

Usually with each subject we tackle I try to give her a fun project to work on to share what she has learned.  I want to use the idea of Handimals in a project for this portion of her Science for the year.  I thought maybe a quilt for one of her nephews with Handimals on each square.  Another thought was a family tree with each person represented by an animal.  Since she is so close to being a teenager and loves purses and other girly things, I also thought maybe a totebag or purse that she could carry.  Of course knowing my daughter it will have either a leopard, cheetah, or zebra as its main focus.

With this in mind I’m going to let you join in on my decision on what to give her to do.  Do you have an idea on how I could use these Handimals for a project that a tween would love to do?  Please leave a comment giving your idea.   For those in foreign countries, please write in English.  My German, Spanish and Portuguese are very limited, and as far as other languages, I wouldn’t have a clue as to what you are saying, and I really am interested in your ideas no matter what country you are in.  Thank you!

 

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Beaded Heart Pendant Necklace

Made for one of my older daughters for Valentine’s Day, this mixture of black glass and colored beads were strand on a double over length of beading wire to give a 2 strand affect to the necklace.  I was lucky enough to find 4 of the heart pendants at a local second hand shop, just laying on a shelf together calling for someone to put them to use.  I added a pendant clasp to the pendant to hang it, and a jewelry clasp to the combine the ends of the strands at each end to allow it to be put on and taken off.  It only took me an hour to make, and for the low cost of the materials it was truly a cost affective gift.  What better way to go from my heart to my daughter’s as a reminder of my love for her!

 

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