Benjamin Franklin & Alma 37:6 — Small & Simple Everyday Things!

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Two facets of the same subject: First, I love this quote by Benjamin Franklin. “Human felicity is produc’d not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.” Secondly, it made me think of one of my all-time favorite scriptures. Alma 37:6 “Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” When we study that concept in seminary, I always try to warn my students that the reverse is also true: small and simple things can lead you down the path of spiritual destruction as well — those flaxen cords! But, mostly, I love this scripture for its acknowledgment in the great power of simple choices made repeatedly over time. Strength truly is consistency over time — whether it’s food, exercise, spirituality, or another choice. I love when quotes from unrelated parts of the world combine to affirm a universal truth!

Making a Custom Framed Cork Bulletin Board

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So I had a brilliant idea to take an open frame from Hobby Lobby and a perfectly sized fitting cork board (also thank you to Hobby Lobby) and made this custom framed cork bulletin board as a thank you to a fellow seminary teacher. I am really loving Hobby Lobby’s collection of glossy black ornate frames at the moment! At least I think it turned out really cute! This teacher had taught all four years so everyone knew her and she wasn’t going to be teaching another year. I had each student put a favorite memory on a doily and pinned them around a card that said “You deserve a bouquet of thanks!” I hope she liked it, but I think she did.

What I Designed Today: a Book Cover for Wake Up the Youth

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Here is a book cover I did a few years ago (and finally read when I got asked to teach Old Testament to the high school sophomores this year). I highly recommend the book for anyone who teaches youth and especially love the bright green cover.

What I Designed Today: Do It Yourself Water Bottle Labels – Jesus Christ is the Living Water John 4:13-14

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So my husband was in charge of refreshments at the youth activity this week at church and since he was helping me with a client’s custom WordPress install and website, I pitched in and helped him with the food and drink. Since I recently have been working to help a party goods designer (more announcements and info to come on that later!), I knew I could quickly throw together a water label with a fitting scripture: John 4:13-14. Free jpg file for download here. You will want to use packing tape to adhere them to the water bottle. I found the easiest way was to remove the official label off the bottle, stretch out a piece of packing tape a little longer than your new label and center it on your tape and wrap it around each bottle – voila! So cute. I think I’ll have to use this for seminary, too.

What I Designed Today: Favorite Quotes

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Some of my favorite recent quotes include these that I prepared for a church lesson. The one without the attribute is also from Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Dare I wonder if the 2nd quote down means computer is part of idling away my time? I’d rather like to think of it as sharing a talent instead!!!

What I Designed Today: Christmas Songs Book Cover

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So my smarty-pants friend is, among many things, very good with words. He compiled this testament of a book as a Christmas gift for friends and family and asked me to do the cover. I can’t wait to see the final product!

Write It On Your Heart

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Another favorite quote sign that I have hanging in my home (a Goodwill find!): “Write it on your heart that the ones you love are life’s most precious gifts.”

Inspiring Gardening Quote

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ALL THE FLOWERS OF TOMORROW ARE IN THE SEEDS OF TODAY.

I bought this because it is one of my favorite gardening/life analogy quotes. I also love the one that says, “You can’t tell the quality of the soil until you plant the seed.” So profound. I think of my kids and friends with that one, as well as sharing the gospel. Hope you like it as much as I do!

Catching Up & A Glimpse of Summer

The big news for me is this past Sunday I got released from serving the women in our ward.  Whew.  I am so excited – my schedule just got MUCH more clear!  I feel like I finally have time to clean up the house and finish moving in.  We never really settled since I received that calling about 8 weeks after moving in.  So, what have I done with the past 3 days?  The kids started swim team and even though nobody has had even a lesson, they are doing fantastic and adjusting and, most importantly, enjoying themselves.  Here’s to a glimpse of summer! 

Gabe’s Pinewood Derby Car

When Gabe said he wanted to make a Duracell battery, I thought…well, okay, if that’s what you really want. I should have known better than to second guess this creative kid. It is adorable and a very cool looking car! He came in 2nd and 3rd in most races – and I think Gabe had a really fun night. Great job to all the boys involved: Don, Cole & Gabe! They all had fun making the Duracell car. I think we’ve started a new tradition because next year they want to do a Coke can, then a bag of Lay’s chips, then a Kleenex box. I sense a recurring theme here…

What I Designed Today: Book Cover for Dandelions for Mother’s Day

I get to do a quick and fun book cover for Brenda Craner Benedict. She did the cute dandelion illustration on the cover (as well as writing the book!). My job can be so much fun sometimes. Plus, I get to meet great people.

Cub Scout Blue & Gold Banquet Cakes

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I was making one but I wanted a backup. I had two backups. Gabe and I decorated THREE cakes and he liked them all so much he wanted to take them all, which was kind of embarrassing (I am a recovering overachiever), but I let him and it was fine. If you click on any of the pics, it will take you to our flickr account so you can see all of the photos. The ganache seeped into the hurry-up chocolate cake and it was divine. The sponge cake was also very good. I don’t think I can pick, myself! Which one is your favorite?

Ben’s First Article of Faith x2

Book Club at My House (aka Learning to Make Do)

Book club at my home was approaching. All the other book club ladies have such nice homes and nice furniture to go with them. I was aching for a coffee table and perhaps an end table or two so that people wouldn’t have to put plates on their laps. It is a tight week for us this week so I also wanted to make nice things to eat without going to the store. Which meant no fresh fruit. Hmmm. I made a blackberry coffee cake streusel and a bundt cinnamon coffee cake as well as a hash brown bake. No going to the store also meant no paper plates (at least not sturdy enough ones to use)…no problem, I don’t mind doing dishes, and using real plates is always nicer than paper.

I was trying to clean stains off the couches, stains off the carpet and feeling bad for myself that I didn’t have all new-matching-beautiful-perfect furniture. I could quickly see everywhere the dog has been…but would I give up the dog? Definitely not. She is worth the stains and hair. Then, I quickly got a grip and realized none of those things are important.

The house looked so nice from midnight to about 10 minutes AFTER book club was over. I was very thankful for Cole – one of the BEST KIDS EVER – who was more than willing to stay up and help me clean. He even manually picked out leftover red M&Ms from the Christmas bags I stocked up on after the holiday when they went on sale (he did the same thing with candy DOTS! What a kid!). The red looked so cute in my valentine heart dishes and nobody knew how frugal I really was.

I had been at Kohl’s earlier that day and had a clearance banquet tablecloth in my hand for $19.99. Mind you, I have two white banquet tablecloths that I can’t seem to locate since our move. I searched. Don searched. No such luck. I put the purchase back on the shelf at Kohl’s and walked out empty handed. Even though I felt like I desperately needed that tablecloth. So, I went home and took a cream colored fabric shower curtain and washed it and laid it out on half the table. Then, I took another cream colored tablecloth I had (smaller than banquet) and put it over the other half. Then, I took a small square tablecloth my mother made for me and put it over the seam. I can honestly say that I doubt anybody even noticed and it looked so good! I really AM learning how to make do and it felt pretty good! Give it about 3 days and I’ll find my white banquet tablecloths somewhere…isn’t that how it always goes?!

When all was said and done, I was so happy with how everything looked and tasted and the company was the best of all. I learned a couple of things: 1) if you refrain from the impulse to buy something just because you think you need it, DON’T DO IT!!. You’ll feel better in the long run. You and your home can shine with what you already are or have. 2) Women who don’t care about those things, anyway, are the best friends to have. If anybody would have cared in the least, I really wouldn’t want to have them as a friend, anyway!!!

What I Designed Today: Poster for Knitted Valentine’s Hearts

I’ve been busy knitting hearts for Valentine’s Day. A friend of mine is teaching crochet and I’m teaching knitting in an upcoming workshop for church.

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I made the potholder pattern from Lion Brand Yarn just fine but I’m trying to alter it for a dishcloth.

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JoAnn’s pattern for a heart here is a little easier but they’re all basically the same. It’s not difficult, I got it on the first try!