Handmade Christmas 2014: Folded Antique Music Ornament

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Hey everyone!

So I am slightly obsessed with things made out of either vintage sheet music pages or book pages.

I have done a number of previous crafts on here using this as a medium, usually for Christmas.

This is my latest trial set of projects and I have to say that I made quite a few.

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Definitely one of those things that once you make one, you are eager to do more.

They are fairly simple to pull off, and I promise that those who are supposedly “uncrafty” can still make these.

You can buy old books or hymn books at yard sales, used book sales, thrift shops, etc. I scored several antique music magazines from the 1920’s-1930’s at a local antique store for a couple bucks. They are awesome! I could seriously frame some of the ads in them for decoration, but that’s for another day.

Here’s the process I followed:

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I ripped out some pages and cut same-sized rectangles out of the paper. I stacked three together, lining up the edges, and folded them accordion style, or like a fan. It’s important to keep your folds approximately the same width.

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Next step is to separate them and fold each accordion in half, like in the above picture.

Glue together the middles of each so they all turn into a one-piece fan shape.

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Finally, to complete the circle, glue the three (or you could do a fuller one with 4) fan shapes together where they meet.

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You could leave them plain, but I chose to put some kind of embellishment in the center. Some have a bit of burlap with a sparkly snowflake on top, others have a glittery word like “Joy,” and some have little pictures from that old music magazine that are backed with cardstock. Cutouts from vintage Christmas cards would be really cool too I would think.

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Another option that looks neat is to make another layer that’s larger and place it underneath. Just use much larger pieces, or even a full page, to fold. I love the look of these, and you could go really big to make a wreath.

For any size you choose, just make sure to back it with something for stability. I used canning lids that had been used and washed, hot gluing them to the back. For the larger ones I used a round plastic lid that had been on an ice cream pail. You could use a circle of cardboard or something else that’s sturdy though.

Happy crafting! Stay tuned for more handmade Christmas ideas.

Handmade Christmas 2014: Glitter Magnets

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If I’ve seemed rather sparkly lately, there’s a clear explanation for it.

(No, for those of you who tell me I need another baby, I am NOT pregnant!!)

I have been testing out a few Christmas projects that involve glitter.

Inevitably, no matter how careful I am, I always sparkle for the rest of the day. Glitter ends up on my face, in my hair, and on my clothes.

This is one of the projects I really have had fun making.

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They are a snap to make and end up looking downright amazing.

The process is such that you could knock out a bunch of these in one sitting.

For starters, you need to purchase the flat backed glass gems that come in mesh bags. I usually get mine at the Dollar Tree.

You also need Mod Podge, a foam brush, and different colors of glitter!

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Lay out the glass gems so that the flat side is up. I like to glitter over pieces of scrap paper so I can salvage unused glitter back into its container (and so my table doesn’t end up looking like a sparkly mess).

Brush the entire flat side with Mod Podge, then sprinkle heavily with glitter while it’s still wet. This is where you can do a bunch of one color at a time. Give it a few minutes, then tap off the excess and lay glass onto another sheet of paper. Funnel the first paper into your glitter jar so all that extra good stuff gets saved for another use.

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Now is the time to fire up your hot glue gun. I buy packs of round magnets at Wal Mart or the craft store to glue on the back.

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When all are dry and ready, flip them over so that the rounded top is up.

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The result? The sparkliness is magnified and looks really cool.

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This is a great project for kids to help with–or at least to shake on the glitter.

I have packaged these in groups of 4-5 stuck to a canning lid, then bagged in a cello bag with ribbon. They would be a cute, easy, and inexpensive little Christmas gift.

Shine on!

Rachel

Canning Jar Band Pumpkin

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Today is a revisit to one of my past favorite fall projects. This particular one is from just over two years ago. Enjoy!

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I am such a huge copycat sometimes and this little project is no exception. Granted, I do have a lot of at least semi-original ideas, but some are just imitations of other cute ideas I’ve seen and just put my own little twist on. To be fair, I always try to acknowledge my source of inspiration and I am incredibly grateful when others do the same for me. For this project I completely fell in love with Simply Klassic Home’s canning lid pumpkin and knew I had to try making one.

This was a snap to make and only used a few materials, all of which I had on hand.

For the stem I rolled a length of burlap and glued down. I trimmed this up a bit as well.

Then, simply gather a bunch of canning jar bands of the same size and run a string or twine through their middles. Gather and tie around the stem. Arrange bands so that the tied portion is covered up and there are no major gaps.

I added a green felt leaf for some of the pictures and tried it without for others.

As you can see, I didn’t try to clean up or pretty up my canning bands.

Some are newer, but others are well-worn and loved.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Rachel

 

“Gather” Mini-Grapevine Wreath

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Well, apparently I’m on a bit of a wreath kick again. They really are one of my most favorite things to make.

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This time around I went for a grapevine one, just to mix things up.

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It is adorned with these little flowers I made from a cute orange & white houndstooth print fabric.

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Across the top I formed the word “Gather” using scrabble tiles. They are mounted on a rectangle of burlap, which I let peek out around the edges. The burlap is on another rectangle of felt for a little stability. Everything is hot glued onto the grapevine.

I used just a basic gold ribbon for hanging.

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All in all, a quick little project that turned out sorta cute.

Blessings to all,

Rachel

Criss-Cross Fall Wreath

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Howdy everyone!

I’ve been a little MIA lately, but it’s all been for a good reason.

School started and I’ve been in PTO mom mode, dealing with beginning of the school year craziness and preparing for our big yearly fundraiser coming up in several weeks.

This is how I deal with stress:

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I make stuff. No surprise, eh?

I also take lengthy walks, pray for wisdom and sanity, drink too much coffee, and eat comfort foods.

But I digress. About the wreath…

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Again I went with a yarn-wrapped style. This time I picked out a brown with neutral flecks of color in it.

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For the flowers I used different neutrals as well, then added in a little pop of pink. IF I had some coral-y orange I may have thrown in a bit of that too for interest. I placed a rectangle of burlap underneath them all, leaving a bit to peek out near the middle. A couple of buttons were used for accents. To make this more interesting, I used a buttery light yellow yarn and criss-crossed it around the portion of wreath not covered by flowers and such.

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And since I hadn’t busted out my trusty chalkboard for pictures in awhile, I thought this would be a good shot.

Happy Fall Y’all!

–Rachel

Summer Memories 2014

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Forgive my randomness, but I am putting up just a variety of pictures taken this summer. They are not in chronological order, but capture some things I would like to remember this summer by.

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One small sampling of the many green beans (and purple beans) we picked and then froze.

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A cute little turtle that my husband found when mowing and “rescued” for my kids to fuss over for a few hours. They then released him back into his habitat.

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I had the fun experience of taking my twins to a combine demolition derby. (Yes, such a thing does exist. I live in southern Lancaster county, this is what we do for fun;))This was one of their favorites. Do you recognize what movie he comes from?

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My older boys were learning the art of doing lashings and made me a cool trellis-type thing for some of our tomato plants.

Photo: Feelin' saucy on this fine day.

A spectacular batch of spaghetti sauce, probably our best ever. We’ve learned that using a giant can of tomato paste thickens it up perfectly. Roasted garlic also adds a nice touch!

Photo: Kilby Cream!

I don’t think I’ve ever taken a selfie until this past year (and no I haven’t taken hardly any, I think it’s slightly narcissistic). To the young folk this is apparently a life skill. This one was at one of my favorite ice cream haunts.

Because ice cream is very important to me. Amen.

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Each of my kids had a chance to attend summer camp, even my little boys. We are fortunate to have a fabulous Christian summer camp just a few miles away from our home. They all had a grand time!

Photo: Our crew at one of many pretty spots within Black Moshannon State Park. A summation of our week there: lots of hikes, swimming at the lake, too much great food, pontoon boat tour, campfires, reconnecting with an old friend and making some awesome new ones, family time, and sharing a wild blueberry patch with a Black Bear!

Our family vacationed at Black Moshannon State Park, in central-ish PA. We rented a cabin within the park for a week, which is what we did last year at another State Park. On the day we left we also celebrated our fifteenth anniversary, Woohoo!!

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Just a little snapshot of the lake at the park. The water really was almost black, but not dirty.

(Not pictured: The looks on my husband and big boys’ faces when they hiked and ran into a black bear when stopping to pick wild blueberries. Apparently the bear was doing the same thing! I so wish I could have seen it play out.)

Photo: Picking Lima beans...along with cantaloupes, beets, berries, corn, tomatoes, and some peppers. Feeling extremely thankful for this provision in our lives!

Two of my kiddos picking lima beans.

A cowboy themed party we attended just last weekend for a friend’s birthday. They had a little photo area where my hubs surprised me by pulling this off. Probably one of the best pictures of us ever!

What can I say? We do still enjoy smooching on each other.

Another snapshot of the shooting range at the same party. My crew was all over that!

Hope you had a wonderful summer!

Rachel

Climbing Out of the Comparison Trap

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This post is one that has been niggling at me for awhile. After another candid conversation with my best friend about this subject, I decided to actually sit down and write out what I was thinking.

You see, I think this is something that affects almost every woman at some point, maybe even daily. I’m sure men have their own version of it, but I’m obviously not a guy, so I’m mostly addressing the ladies here.

Comparison. I really, truly believe that comparison is a deceptive thief that sneaks in and leaves us feeling cruddy about ourselves. It can work the other way and make one feel superior or self-righteous too.

Either way this is NOT a good thing, my friends. With our society’s overdependence on social media, I’m certain this has escalated to the Nth degree.

I consider myself to be a relatively joyful person who exercises thankfulness and is usually quite content with what the Lord has given me. As I get older I find myself even more comfortable with who I am and how God has designed me. However, I still fall victim to the comparison trap ALL the time.

It can start innocently enough. I may be feeling like things are going honky-dorey and Bam! All it sometimes takes is one little picture, post, blog, phone call, article, or visit to someone’s house to suddenly evaluate and compare many aspects of my life to my perception of that person—my looks, home,  kids, personality, marriage, style, talents or gifts….the list could go on.

A few recent examples from my own experience:

*I was invited to a pool party at another Mom’s house. As I enjoyed an afternoon there, I admired her beautifully landscaped pool area. Excusing myself to use the bathroom inside, I found myself envying her neat and well decorated home. Right away my own little Cape Cod seemed cramped, messy, and lacking in charm.

*Back in July we took a simple yet beautiful vacation as a family. For the second year in a row we rented a small cabin at a State Park, a nice week-long getaway for just the 7 of us, completely unplugged. We also celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary at the tail end of it. Well, upon coming home I decided to “catch up” on Facebook for a bit. Immediately I was bombarded with what seemed like tons of pictures from all these great getaways that other people were having. The wonderful trip we just took seemed a little so-so compared to the places these other families visit!

*One weekend night we had a quiet evening at home. I baked some homemade pizza and we watched Netflix, very content to be together with no other happenings going on. I even remember thinking, “wow, this is so nice. This is just who we are and I’m good with that.” Again IT hit, this time a day later when I heard of someone’s fun party they attended that same night I was sitting at home. Now I thought, “Wow, maybe we need a better social life after all…”

*On yet another day, I was actually feeling fairly self-confident as far as looks. I had what I would consider to be a cute outfit on and my hair was not a complete mess. I felt “put together” and was pretty sure I had a few appreciative glances from the male species when the kids and I were out and about. (Not that I should notice that or care, but hey, I’m being honest here.) Better yet, my wonderful man looked at me when he got home from work, smiled huge, and gave me a good old fashioned wolf whistle. I felt good, right? Yeah…not so much later on when Facebook (Yep, that again!) was fired up and I saw a picture of another Mom almost my age wearing a bikini on the beach. That self-confidence I had just hours before was blown apart and I felt old, fat, and frumpy.

I’ll stop with the examples now. I’m sure you have your own times when comparison has done a quick job of making you feel crappy about yourself in some way.

However, as I did mention starting out, it can work the OTHER way too. This doesn’t happen as often, but I have fallen into that trap as well, and it is equally as dangerous.  I won’t give personal examples of this one, but I’ll readily admit that I’ve sized other women up, made a quick judgement, and deemed myself better in some way. It pains me to write that, but it’s the truth. I know I am in no way better than anyone out there. Not in any way, shape, or form.

So ladies, what do we do about the comparison trap?

I wish I had some pat answer to give you, but I am in the same boat here.

What I would recommend is to seek some scripture verse that personally speak to you regarding this subject and memorize them or write them down on index cards so they can be referred to easily.

Here are a few that I really like:

“…But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

 

I think another important thing to remember is that what we see may not be what is really going on. We are comparing all of our inside stuff with what they are choosing to show on the outside. That person who you may think has it made may really be a mess on the inside, or is hiding all sorts of hurt.

 

Another thing is that that person may be comparing themselves to YOU. You know that conversation I had with my best friend regarding comparison? She pointed out that those same people that I found myself not measuring up to in some way may be comparing themselves to me and feeling the same way. I was kind of like, “Whoa, really?” Yup. Yikes.

I’m not going to stretch this out any further. I obviously haven’t “arrived” in this area of my life and am not sure I ever totally will. Ladies, we need to stop doing this. It only causes discontent, jealousy, and all kinds of ugliness. Next time we find ourselves falling into the comparison trap, let’s stop and remember all the good things we do have going for us. Let’s be thankful for all the blessings God has given us. You are amazingly made with care by a loving God who treasures you just as you are. He has a specific plan for your life that looks like no one else’s.

My Favorite Narnia Quotes

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I am happy to announce that our family is almost done reading through the Chronicles of Narnia series.

We began this winter and try to read about a chapter a night. Granted, there are many evenings during the school year where this didn’t suit, so we could have finished much faster. However, we try as much as possible to stick to this as part of our nightly routine. Believe me, these kids would remind me if I forgot to break out the Narnia book of the moment! They absolutely love them.

I didn’t actually read this series myself until I was in college and I could have smacked myself for not reading it sooner.

It is an absolute treasure! I was blown away by the genius of C.S. Lewis and love all the correlations and symbolism between the book series and the Bible. What has made me proud as anything is hearing my own kids put together things from the books and the Word.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t let them watch the movies that go along with them until after we had gotten through that particular book. However, I think the movie series was pretty well done and enjoyed them too. (Confession: I get teary eyed every time the kids have to leave Narnia at the end. Every. Single. Time.)

So, in celebration of our almost completing the series, I put together a little list of some of my favorite quotes from this remarkable series. They are in no particular order at all, just random. Each one spoke to me in some way–as I mentioned, C.S. Lewis was very gifted and has a special way of expressing truths. Hope you enjoy!

"You would not have been calling to Me unless I had been calling to you."

You wished yourself away, and with it much more . . . You doubt your value. Don't run from who you are.

For what you see an hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.  -- C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew

Since it is so likely children will meet cruel enemies... #quotes #authors #writers

Forever Narnia- Forever Heaven. With Him for eternity. That was C.S. Lewis' best description of it..

Safe Lion Narnia Quote by RebeccaHDesigns on Etsy, $5.00

This is why CS Lewis and Tolkien were friends... they saw the same Truth.

Aslan print for baby girls room (MAKE ONE!) Love it.

Determination.

One of the best Narnia quotes. It comes from The Silver Chair. And Puddleglum says it!

Aslan, Chronicles of Narnia. I read that in Liam Neesons voice.

C.S. Lewis is a genius, and all Chronicles of Narnia books are excellent. If this profound and thought-provoking quote doesn't convince you, nothing will.

I learn more from fictional characters than real people.

The Horse and His Boy- one of my favorite scenes in the Chronicles of Narnia

I just love this...I would love to find a plack or something that has this quote and hang it on my wall!

“Welcome, Prince,” said Aslan. “Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?”
“I – I don’t think I do, Sir,” said Caspian. “I’m only a kid.”
“Good,” said Aslan. “If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been a proof that you were not…”
Prince Caspian – Chapter 15

If you have any recommendations for a new series for us, I would love to hear them!

–Rachel

Summer Boredom Buster Series: Spy Obstacle Course

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Well, August is literally right around the corner and we’re starting the back to school countdown in our house.

Today I am sharing a little idea that I actually did the first week school was out and it is one of my favorites.

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Think obstacle course mixed with a little spy/secret agent intrigue.

It would be a great one to break out on a rainy day or when the kids are bored to death and driving you bonkers.

All you need is a ball of yarn, scissors, painter’s tape, and a hallway area.

Cut lengths of yarn long enough to stretch between both walls. I used red to mimic the laser lines used for security systems in a spy movie. (I was thinking along the lines of spies and secret agents, but my kids instantly thought bank robbers and jewelry store thieves. Hey, whatever.)

I placed them at varying heights and at different angles so they would have to maneuver through them all to get from one end to another.

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We started out with some yarn lines, then as everyone had a turn, I stepped it up a notch and added more lines to make it more challenging.

My older kids obviously had a harder time as their bodies are much bigger.

The twins, who are still little and wiry, did a pretty good job of it. My 8 year old niece, who is also very wiry and flexible, was the only one who didn’t eventually knock down a yarn line. When we were all done I let her run through them and knock them down for fun.

Overall, a fun way to kill some time and get those little minds and bodies working.

Apricot Pineapple Jam

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This recipe is a newbie for me as I have never really worked with apricots much before.

At first I was planning to make a basic apricot jam, but then in my research discovered that some people combine it with pineapple.

I am so glad that I did, for this was a winner! In fact, it turned out so well that I plan to make another batch later today.

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The recipe was taken directly from Sure Jell’s website, seen here. The only variation I had from this was that I used the basic yellow box of Sure Jell, not the MCP box (which I’ve honestly never even seen before).

Here is a breakdown of how to make this:

3 C prepared apricots

1 can crushed pineapple, drained

1/2 C lemon juice

1 box pectin

1 tsp butter (to reduce foaming)

8 C sugar

Prepare jelly jars. Wash, pit, and then finely chop apricots (with peels on) until you have 3 cups of it. Place in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, then add drained pineapple, lemon juice, and pectin. Heat until it comes to a rolling boil, stirring often. Add sugar and stir in, then bring to a boil once more, allowing it to boil about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if desired.
Ladle into jelly jars, then place lids with bands on tightly. Process in a hot water bath about 10 minutes. Remove from water and let jars sit about 24 hours before removing bands.