Category Archives: Crafting

Vintage Art Microscope Slide Christmas Ornaments

I had a wonderful customer from my Etsy store make these lovely Christmas ornaments using my vintage collage designs.  I’m in LOVE with these!Vintage Christmas Microscope Slide Ornament 1 She graciously offered to share her ideas and instructions for others to enjoy.  My thanks to Patti at ETSY DEARSHABBY SHOP (click on name for link) who developed these very thorough and easy to follow directions.  Her photos are outstanding, but I bet they can’t even begin to show the elegance of the diamond glitter encrusted beauties 🙂
Here’s what you’ll need:

Microscope slides (buy on line for a very reasonable price)
Digital Download images available on Etsy from AudreyJeanneRoberts (or other wonderful Etsy artists as well )
Decoupage Glue
Detail Paint brush (to apply the decoupage glue to slides)
A pop-sickle stick if you don’t have a decent thumb nail
Glitter in assorted colors and sizes
Diamond Dust ( Large container ) of glitter
High Gloss top coat spray
Rainbow Gallery Plastic Canvas 10 (this is in the jewelry making department of your favorite craft store.
Preserve It spray (a strong hairspray will also work )

Vintage Santa OrnamentI’ve found that the most efficient way to do this project is to do each of the steps all at once. Meaning that instead of completing one piece at a time, do step one to all of your pieces, then step two, step three and so on. It works out much better for you if you do it this way.
Here’s our first step.
1. Decide first how many pieces you’ll want to make. Do you want to just experiment for now? Or would you like to create about 25 of these to hang on your tree?

2. You’ll want to go to AUDREY JEANNE’S ETSY SHOP. (This set used is found here: VINTAGE ANGEL)
You will see ALL of the beautiful digital downloads in her store but I was looking for Christmas items so I searched Christmas once I was in her store.

3. Once you have printed out your images you will want to protect them from running which can happen with ink jet printers. If you happen to have a laser printer~ you can skip this step. You can either use “Preserve It” spray, available from your craft store, (look in the art section or the scrap booking section) or a very strong hairspray. . Spray a very fine mist over the whole page. You don’t have to soak it, better not to. It will dry within 15 minutes
Vintage Ornament Craft Instructions4. If you have a “Cutterbee Cutterpeed” Cutter or any paper cutter like we used in grade school, that’s the best way to cut these out. Cut out strips first then with your scissors you can cut the individual clips out. They come in sizes of 2 inches long. You want them to be able to fit on the microscope slide so you’ll want to cut them into strips.

5. Once you have all of your pieces cut out, dip your detailed paint brush in the decoupage glue and apply a small amount of the glue on just one side of the slide. Don’t cover the whole slide only because you don’t need to. Just put a thin layer where you will be applying your image.

6. Center the image face down so that the picture will be showing through the front of the clear glass. Use your thumbnail or your popsicle stick to remove any air bubbles and excess glue. Please don’t skip this step, there will be air bubbles and excess glue. Just make sure you don’t rub too hard.
7. Put the pieces aside to dry. If you can place them in sunlight (indoors) or near a heat vent, all the better.
8.Once they are dry, grab your glitter glue. . I am using different colors of glitter on each one . Place the glitter glue on the same side of the glass as your image. So the glitter will be behind the glass. It is just as brilliant and the glue dries clear.
9. Once the glue is dry, (place them in the sunlight or near a heat vent. If you have a small bathroom where you could shut the door and let the heat turn the room into an arid environment, all the better). 15 minutes if you have them in the bathroom and 25 if the conditions aren’t so dry. Take them outside or in a well ventilated room and spray the high gloss top coat on the back where you’ve done all the work. This way you won’t have glitter falling off whenever you handle the pieces.
10. Next, let’s take a hot glue gun or if you don’t want to work with that kind of heat, a jewelers glue that works on glass would be fine, and in small sections, add it to the edge of the slide. Then quickly take your ” Rainbow Gallery Plastic Canvas 10″ and line the edge. Do this all around the edges. When you’re done, add glue all around the edges again and only working in small sections, dip the glued piece into the large container of Diamond Dust. Tap the excess off each time you bring the slide out of the diamond dust. Now turn the piece over and using your same glue attach the Rainbow Gallery string in a U shaped pattern on the back so that you are now able to hang your pieces.
The other great thing about this project is you can follow these instructions for all different holidays and just hang the slides in sunny windows.

If you are going to have a Christmas cookie exchange or a party, these would make a fabulous favor gift tag on your packages.  Just add a beautiful ribbon and use to tie on a package or bag.  Is it Christmas yet?!

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Celebrate Spring! FREE Easter Gift Tags

Vintage tulip, elegant design FREE for your own personal use!

Some of us have heard rumors that it’s Spring, others are deeply enjoying the warmth of the sun and the most welcomed harbinger of spring – Tulips and other bulbs.  To celebrate spring I’ve created a FREE tag set that you can pick up on my Facebook page

You can also click on the picture to go to my Facebook page, you’ll go to a “Welcome” page first, where you’ll have an opportunity to sign up for my newsletter that I’ll be producing soon on a somewhat monthly basis 🙂  You’ll also have a chance to “like” my page which will give you access to special coupon codes listed on a separate page under “For Fans Only”

FREE Shaped Gift Tags for Easter or other uses!

There are several digital clip art kits available in this design in my Etsy store.  The complete art kit runs $7.95 and has 27 pieces in the kit. 3, 12″ square papers, 2, shaped tags, 14 art pieces, 1 word art, 2 intricate borders, 4 frames and 1 card front. Created from vintage botanical illustrations and highly designed, layered and textured, then mixed with original watercolor art by Audrey Jeanne.

Vintage Red and Yellow tulips, swirls and butterflies

You can click on the picture to go to the kit at Etsy or use this link: ANTIQUE TULIPS ART KIT There will be several more kits coming over the next few weeks, including jewelry making collages, compact mirrors, coasters and more.

Beautiful for card making, scrapbooking and other craft uses

After having a foot of snow two weeks ago we finally had a marvelous weekend – just in time for the outdoor wedding of a very special young couple that are dear friends from our church.  It was a magnificent day for them and we were so excited to be a part of their lives and to be a part of helping them as a married couple in the years ahead.  Congratulations Andrew and Monica!

“This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!”  One of my favorite verses and one I try to meditate on frequently – whether the day is beautiful like today, or stormy, it’s a day that God has given me to rejoice and delight in.  When I greet the storms with rejoicing in the Lord they pass more easily and disturb me less.  When I greet the beautiful days with gratitude in my heart they are all the more enhanced!  Everything goes better in my life when I rejoice in my Lord!  Have a great Spring day.

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A Plethora of Peacocks!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE peacocks!  When I was a little girl we went to the San Diego Zoo several times a year.  Anyone who’s ever been there has been regally greeted by the resident show offs that hang around the entrance.  I could have watched them for hours if my mother would have let me.

Peacocks are showing a resurgence in art and especially for weddings.  I have happily gone along with this trend and have some new things to show today.  A new line of wedding invitations at Zazzle.  And new craft oriented designs for sale at my Etsy store.

I am still in the process of adding designs in both stores.  The wedding ensemble will have cupcake wrapers and toppers, table seating charts, table numbers, escort cards, wedding menus & programs and much more.

The Etsy kits will include both square and round designs in 3″, 2.5″, 2.25″, 2″, 1.5″, 1″ and 7.8″ sizes as well as ATC cards, shaped tags and more.

If you’re looking to add some elegance to your Thanksgiving or Christmas table, try this quick idea:  Use peacock feathers, a custom name on a circle design like these collages and a beautiful wired ribbon – cut the feathers to about 5-6″, tie them on to your napkins, tuck them inside the ribbon and place across your table setting.  Easy Peasy Elegance!!!!

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A Summer Sale

I have a sale going in two places.  My Aimee Asher Digital Clip Art store is running a special for the month of July.  Buy $20 of  items and get 25% off your purchase.  I rarely do sales and this is the best pricing I ever offer, so if you’ve been looking for new art for your crafting for the Christmas season, now’s the time to stock up.

My Etsy store is running the equivalent, Buy 3 get the 4th FREE.  There are items at each location that are different and some cross-over so check them out.  Etsy has mostly has jewelry making collages and scrapbooking tags, journaling tags and the like.  AAE has complete digital clip art kits, paper kits etc.

LINK TO AIMEE ASHER STORE

LINK TO ETSY STORE

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Christmas in July Blog Contest

My NEW KIT shown is available at my ETSY store: LINK TO STORE and will soon be available at Aimee Asher as well.  Click on pictures to go to the store or the link.  There are 1 x 1″ squares, 1 x 2″ dominoes in collages there to match as well as lots of other new art sets.  Much, much more to come!  On the left side panel of this blog is a link to the store that will be active at all times if you forget how to get there 🙂

My long time readers know that I used to do a monthy drawing for a FREE kit for the people that left comments.  Leaving a comment on a post was an entry into the contest.  It fell off because I simply wasn’t posting enough at the time so it made it difficult to justify having a contest.  However, since I have become a regular at posting again, I have decided to revive that Contest again.  I really enjoyed the feedback and the daily chatting!

Soooo…. this month’s prize will be “AJR-ETSY-DC010-ATC” Christmas, Love, Joy, Peace; is an elegantly collaged art collection of Christmas Trees, snow covered trees, red snowflakes, beautiful word art, swirls, texture and line art.

This digital collage sheet, has 9, rounded corner rectangular step shaped tag backgrounds on a sheet. All the art used on these digital 8.5 x 11 collage sheet was hand painted in watercolors, scanned on a high quality Epson 10000 and then digitally designed with the addition of some original art brushes.

Use for ATC cards, card making, package tags, scrapbooking, magnets, stickers and more! Sent as a png file. Open with your graphics program and add text or monograms if you wish, then print out. I have intentionally left spaces for working for you. If you cannot use png files, simply message that you would prefer jpeg or pdf.

The 9 tags are $4.95 and all of the new kits like this are being sold with slightly different ANGEL POLICY terms than I have been.  They are sold with no limit on crafting uses in a year.  Keeping track of how much you are doing with which kits is a burden, these kits don’t require you to make a limited amount.  If something turns out to be a best seller for you, go to it with my blessings!  Every little bit can help a family in these hard times.  The old terms still apply to my standard sets, you will need to look at the TOUs (which are included in every kit) to determine which they fall under.

I have been making jewelry making kits of dominioes, 1″ x 1″ squares, I’ll be doing some circles of various sizes soon.  It’s been a lot of fun envisioning new uses for my art.  Please leave me some suggestions in the comments as to what else you might like to see — and earn a spot in the monthly drawing as you do!  If any of you make glass pendant jewelry would you please private message me?

Have a great weekend and be sure to read the post below about Amanda Curtin.  A card designer and demonstrator for my cardcrafting products licensee, DO Crafts in the United Kingdom.

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Amanda Curtin, Product Demonstrator and Crafter Extraordinaire

Last month, when my card crafting products debuted at Create ‘n Craft TV in the United Kingdom, I got to “meet” an amazing bundle of energy and personality – Amanda Curtin.

She’s a demonstrator for my Scrapbooking, Paper Crafting Licensee “DOCraft” also known as Design Objectives.  We got to chat via telephone on air and after the show, I asked her a series of questions about herself for this article.

INTERVIEW:

1. When did you start cardmaking and crafting?
My parents bought me craft kits for every birthday and Christmas, right from when I was very little, and I loved trying out all the new things. My first crafting as an adult was making novelty cakes for friends and family about 15 years ago. The obvious limitation with cakes is that they have to be hand delivered! As my work responsibilities and hours increased, almost all my hobbies fell by the wayside though, and I didn’t start making cards until 5 or 6 years ago, when I took a lifestyle decision to step off the career ladder and work part time with my husband instead. I went to a couple of Do Crafts demos and became well and truly hooked!

2. Are you an artist yourself?
Definitely not! My Dad paints beautifully, as did my Grandad, but unfortunately I didn’t inherit their talent! I’m fine if I have a picture to copy, and I love painting stamped images, and creating backgrounds for decoupage, but I don’t think I could claim that my efforts were art 🙂
That’s one of the things I love about crafting, that you can create lovely images without huge artistic technique or talent.

3. How did you get involved with demonstrating and what is your favorite thing to do?
I found demos so helpful when I started papercrafting and, as my experience grew, I thought it would be great to be able to help people the same way. I generally craft alone, so demonstrating gives me a different way to explore my hobby, and I love to see what crafting means to other people. As for my favorite type of crafting, it has to be rubber stamping. There are so many stamping techniques, and I love to make projects from scratch, so that the finished masterpiece is made up of just paper and work. In the summer I do a lot of jewelery making and cross stitching too,as I can do these in the garden without everything blowing away!

4. What kinds of demos do you do and where?
Most of my demos focus on cardmaking, but I also do scrapbooking, jewelery making, and other papercraft projects. Until recently all my demos were in craft stores, but I’ve recently started appearing as a guest on the Create & Craft shopping channel too. It’s a very different way to demo, and very exciting as it’s all broadcast live!

5. What is your job at Do Crafts? (Am I right in believing you’re on staff there?)
My role is to show people how Do Crafts products work, and to give them ideas for how to use them. This is normally through demonstrating either in person in shops, or on TV, but I sometimes design projects for the Do Crafts website and “Creativity!” magazine too. I’m freelance, but Do Crafts keeps me busy enough that, apart from a few demos at local craft clubs, I don’t work for anyone else.

6. Do you have a website for your services that we can post? Any way for someone who would like a demo to contact you?
I don’t have a website, but I do have a blog: http://quackersaboutcraft.blogspot.com/
I’m a rather erratic blogger, but am trying to update it more frequently!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Amanda as much as I have.  Thanks for sharing with us and I look forward to seeing more of your work.

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New Fabric Collection “Garden Tea Party” is Available Now

I realized that I have never posted my “Garden Tea Party” fabric collection from Studio E Fabrics!  The collection is based on my Antique Victorian Pansy collection, but with a contemporary twist for fabrics.  Those of you digital crafters will recognize quite a few of the fabrics and see some new coordinates that were created to complete the collection.  LINK TO GARDEN TEA PARTY

The first fabric shown is a stripe that can be cut in many different ways to help add great pizzazz to your quilting or fabric projects.  Each length of fabric has 4 repeats of each stripe per yard so it is as economical to use as possible.  The second is a panel fabric that can be used to create place mats, tea cozies, aprons, pillows, curtains or other fun projects.   If you’re a quilter or love to sew home crafts or clothing I hope you’ll really enjoy the blend of contemporary and classic that we tried to accomplish in this collection.  Also, with the digital clip art kits that are available and ink jet printable fabrics, the sky is the limit in what you can create with the combination!

Overall there are 8 fabrics offered in 2 or 3 colorways to make your projects easy to customize to your own style and taste.  If you create something with my fabrics, I would LOVE to see it.  Feel free to leave your information in the comments section and I’ll email you personally.  I’d love to feature any projects that have been made (Cheryl, that’s a hint!!!)  I have another collection that will be releasing at the Spring Quilt Market and will bring that to you as soon as it is released.

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“Christmas Wishes” Fabric

I happened to pop by my Fabric company’s website today and my newest collection is up and will be in stores beginning in April 2010.

This is a classic Christmas Red and Green collection with a contemporary twist.

Here’s the link to the site: STUDIO E FABRICS

There is also a Panel Fabric for making pillows, aprons, quilt blocks or other creative goodies with.  The image is not terribly clear as it is 44″ wide and reducing it to 72 dpi does not give you the depth of detail that the original design has.

Additional fabrics include peppermint candy stick stripes, some elegant tone-on-tone patterns, the elegant snowflake pattern as seen in the panel fabric, the plaid that is shown there as well.  I can’t wait to see the printed fabrics!

I could not believe just how long it has been since I posted here.  I have slapped my own hand for being so naughty and will do my best to start picking up the pace on posting.

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Deja’ Brew Paper Pack New in Store

ajro1-227-aa-1This paper pack coordinates with my new Deja’ Brew Digital Clip Art Kit, but with its contemporary color palette it can be used for much more than coffee-oriented designs.

There are 12, 12″ digital papers included in this kit for $2.98.  There is a third kit in this series that I will have out in another couple of days (hopefully!)  That kit is “Deja’ Brew Holidays” and has fall and winter art with a coffee theme.  All three kits color coordinate for your use.

ajro1-229-aaAlso, I have a FREEBIE bookmark and gift tag set that is available at this link:  LINK TO FREEBIE IN AIMEE ASHER STORE

LINK TO KIT IN THE STORE

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:  1 Thess 5:16-18  Be joyful always; pray continually;  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  NIV

COMMENTS:  I’ve been watching people for many years.  I am fascinated by watching how people weather the storms in their lives.  It seems that the same storm that swamps one person and begins to send them underwater elevates another person to a new place in their walk with Christ.  What makes the difference?  What makes one person  bitter and other better?

I’m not sure what the entire answer is but here are a few things I’ve observed over the years.  ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.  Circumstances come and circumstances go — God’s will as expressed in the scripture above isn’t about the circumstances — it’s about our response to them.

An attitude of gratitude carries us to victory especially over difficult circumstances.  When faced with terrible struggles, those who lead a joyful life find their proper perspective by looking first to God.  They recount what He has done in their lives in the past and begin to expect Him to bring them through the current situation as He has many, many times before.  They express gratitude.  They look for the good that can be brought out of difficulties.  They ask God to use their current circumstances to touch others.  They ARE NOT “ME” CENTERED, but are others and God-centered.

So far in my life, I have not yet met a continually depressed person whose life is characterized by a spirit of gratefulness and thanksgiving.  For those that struggle with depression, I know that it can be a physical issue, a mental issue and a spiritual issue.  Without discounting the physical aspect, there are ways that you can take control of your thoughts and choose to express gratitude for what you have and look up to God to make a way out of the darkness you feel trapped in.  Your focus and attitude can change your feelings.

This scripture is a command.  Notice it doesn’t say “Feel joyful.  Feel prayerful.  Feel grateful?”  Instead it says “Be joyful always.”  What’s the difference?  Choice, pure and simple.  I can choose to be joyful.  I can choose my attitude and usually the feelings follow.  If I wait for the feelings to take the steps toward the action I’m usually waiting and waiting and waiting….

When dreary thoughts come, try this exercise.  Think about what God has done for you in the past week, month, or year and thank Him for His faithfulness.  When you feel overwhelmed and depressed or perhaps feel that no one cares for you — ask God to show you someone who you can make a difference in their life today.  Turn your thoughts outward rather than inward.

If you wish someone would call to cheer you up, find someone to call and cheer up!  Be joyful!  Spread joy!  Be thankful!  Spread thanksgiving to others.  Find someone who is doing a great job and tell them so!  Do you wish someone would take notice about what you are doing for them?  Do you feel unappreciated?  Trust me we ALL have to admit to feeling this on a regular basis, LOL!  Look for someone else that is doing kind things and express your appreciation.  These actions can go a long way to lifting your depression and blahs.

Joy is contagious!  Gratefulness is contagious!  Living in an attitude of thanksgiving produces great joy and satisfaction in our lives — without our circumstances changing one bit and if they do change?!  Whoo hooo hoooo!  IT’S PARTY TIME!

PRAYER:  Lord, sometimes I find my eyes become downcast and I become so focused on my own needs that I can’t break loose of depression and heaviness of heart.  Show me how to be joyful.  Help me to learn that joy is an action not a feeling.  Teach me the attitude of joy and gratefulness.

Remind me of all you’ve done for me in the past that I might express my heart of thanksgiving towards you in a new way.  Let thanksgiving fill my heart and my mouth so that I can be filled with your presence and joy.  Show me others who are in need of the joy of the Lord today and help me to be bring a ray of light to their dark and dreary world.

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Deja’ Brew Coffee Digital Clip Art Kit New in the Store!

ajr01-225-a9-1I finally was able to spend a morning getting a new digital clip art kit into the store!  This one has been long awaited by many of you.  It’s my Deja’ Brew Coffee Collection.  For those of you that are quilters or love to sew you may have already seen the fabrics that debuted in January with Studio E Fabrics.  This digital clip art kit coordinates with the fabrics and if you love to sew the possibilities are endless.  You could design and print your own coordinating pieces on printable fabrics such a Pabric (www.pabric.com) and create a whole kitchen decor between the items you print yourself and the fabric panel from Studio E or the coordinating fabrics!

For those that don’t sew you’ll also find plenty of ways to use this artwork, especially if you love to create your own gift/food products for gifts or as a crafter.  If you don’t sew, try using the coordinating fabrics as your “gift bag” by cutting out large circles of fabric with pinking shears, putting your cookies, chocolate covered coffee beans or other goodies inside the fabrics and creating your own gift tags, product toppers or other packaging options.

There will be a paper pack to coordinate and a Deja’ Brew Holidays that contains both fall and winter designs that coordinate.  Look for them in the next couple days if everything goes okay.  Enjoy!!

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Custom Personalized Baby Name Digital Art for Framing

LINK TO CUSTOM BABY BOY NAME FRAME KIT IN STORE $9.98

LINK TO CUSTOM BABY GIRL NAME FRAME KIT IN STORE $9.98

I’ve been working on a really fun idea, one that’s very different than my usual product.  When I first started my framed print business, I designed a fun baby room name frame called “Brennan’s Bears” (which was because my last name then was Brennan)  These were framed 8″ x 20,” hand watercolored individually created artwork that sold for close to $100.00 framed.  I always have enjoyed the specialty baby business and creating gifts that can be treasured for a lifetime.

I wanted to update that product line and came up with “Jungle Babies.”  This is a item that I will custom create for your baby, grand baby or baby gift.  You order your item by downloading the instruction kit, which consists of an instruction sheet on how to order your custom name, and two idea sheets with suggestions and instructions for what you can make with the art when you receive it.

Once we receive your email telling us what the baby’s name is and the color combination you would like to order, we digitally create your own custom artwork and send it to you within two weeks or less (the goal is always to send it as fast as possible).  You will receive via email your artwork in two sizes, a 14″ x 4 1/2″ version that can be printed out on legal sized paper (8 1/2″ x 14″) and an 11″ x 3 1/2″ that can be printed out on standard letter sized paper.  Both are jpeg files of original water colored art work with your baby’s name surrounded by jungle animals that is suitable for framing or making a variety of crafts with.

We give you instructions on how you can make a simple plaque version of this artwork to hang in your child’s room.  We also give you some ideas of how you can print this art on printable fabric and create a quilt, a crib bumper, a pillow or a diaper stacker.  Print it on iron-on transfer paper and make a baby onesie and a matching Grandmother’s sweat shirt, the ideas are endless!

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Three New Easter/Spring Digital Clip Art Kits

LINK TO HAPPY EASTER 2 CLIP ART KIT IN THE STORE $4.98

Three more Easter/Spring Digital Clip Art Kits have been released today.  There is a second Easter Clip art featuring two Easter Bunnies, more Easter eggs, papers, tags and other fun art.

The font used in making the word art with this kit is AJ’s Whimsical and it is available in the store in case you would like to coordinate all of the elements.

LINK TO HAPPY SPRING ALPHA IN THE STORE $3.98

There are also two alphabets that have been created to coordinate, one is a plain, striped, stamped 2 1/2″ tall alpha bet with two different versions of every letter in a large size and a third version in a smaller size.  This will allow you to create word art or titles that are “Upper” and “Lower” case even though the letters are all capitals.

LINK TO DECORATED HAPPY EASTER ALPHABET IN THE STORE $4.98

The second alphabet is a coordinate to the plain alpha and it is decorated with bunnies, chicks, eggs and flowers for Easter.  There are two totally different versions included to make creating words easier.  Mix and match the two alphas to create an endless supply of word art!

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“Happy Easter” Digital Clip Art and Crafting Kits

LINK TO HAPPY EASTER CLIP ART KIT IN STORE  $4.98

A couple of new kits to debut today!  I got some painting time in last week and created some brand new Easter art for children (naaah, my grandson had absolutely NOTHING to do with my motivation, LOL!)  There are 4-5 more kits in this collection coming over the next few weeks.  I hope you’ll enjoy them.

LINK TO ABIGAIL SCOTT’ S HOPPY EASTER TREAT BAG KIT IN STORE  $3.98

Also I’m reviving our “Abigail Scott DESIGN Studio” brand of printable digital crafting kits.  There’s a new kit using the “Happy Easter” art.  This is a fun kit that is very, very quick to assemble making it perfect for  doing treat bags for a classroom full of kids, a few kids in the neighborhood or perhaps for your own children or grandchildren.

I have also uploaded two of my previously released fonts to the store.  I have a couple more that I hope to get up soon as well.  Thanks for your patience!

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:  Job 4:4-6
Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.
But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed.   Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?  NIV

Eph 3:12-19
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.  I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. NIV

DEVOTIONAL:  I’m continuing with our theme of understanding why our hearts become dry and shriveled spiritually.  When we experience dryness, how can we overcome it?  I’m tackling one of the most common reasons I have seen people pull away from God and that is their disappointment with Him over unanswered prayer or unexpected suffering.

All of us decide in our heart just how God “should” respond to our prayers or  circumstances, whether we realize it or not.  If God “fails” to perform as we wished, it is very easy to get discouraged, disappointed or even angry with Him.  When someone we love suffers and God doesn’t seem to be in the situation or someone that is dear to us is not healed but instead passes away, when the job we believe is perfect for us goes to a less worthy candidate, we can begin to harden our heart towards the Lord.

There are two different responses to suffering in the verses above.  One is from the book of Job and is a comment from one of Job’s friends who is observing him going through terrible suffering, with no apparent reason.  He believes that if Job is as righteous as he claims he wouldn’t be suffering.

The other is Paul encouraging others not to be discouraged at Paul’s own suffering on their behalf, but to be built up, filled with God’s love, encouraged and even empowered by it!

You will suffer at some point in your life.  You will be disappointed in God.  You will be disappointed in others.  You will become discouraged or saddened when the innocent suffer and the guilty appear to go free.  Life isn’t fair.  Life doesnt’ treat those we love fairly.  Will you pull away from God at this point or run toward Him?

I share with you the counsel of a wise saint of God who encouraged me early in my walk with the Lord.  She said, “A God you can control and manipulate isn’t much of a God my dear.  When life doesn’t go as planned, when God doesn’t do what you want — that’s when you have to decide ‘Who is God?’  Are you going to become your own God or will you let Him be?  Will you trust that He understands more than you and is working His purposes or will you pull away?”

Sometimes we will see in our lifetime the “Why” answered.  The job we wanted disappeared a year after we would have gotten it.  The home we were so sure was perfect for us sold before we could buy it, and a better one appeared soon thereafter.  But most often, like Job, we will never see the amazing plan of God, hidden in our suffering and the power of what He accomplishes through it.  Do you think Job might have gone through his suffering differently if he realized that multiplied billions of people would know his story and be encouraged by it?

If you don’t understand, praise God anyway.  If you’re hurting, choose to hand that hurt to Him and ask Him to use it to bless you and others.  If life is unfair — and it is, turn to the one who is perfect and who loves you perfectly.  If you’re angry with Him, tell Him that — He’s big enough to handle your temper tantrums.  The bible tells us that there are only two “gods,” the true God, our loving heavenly father and the false “god” of this world, Satan.  When you reject God as being “unfair” and turn away from Him you turn toward the “god” of this world… do you think he’s going to be fairer?!  Of course not, he wants to steal, kill and destroy you and everybody and everything you love.  But God loves you, trust Him in the middle of your pain and ask Him to help you through it.

PRAYER:  Lord, I am discouraged and weary.  Life isn’t going as I hoped or planned.  It seems like you are so far away from me and uncaring.  I know that isn’t true, but it feels like it.  Help me to praise you in the middle of the pain.  Help me to trust you when all I trusted in seems to be failing.

Restore my trust in You where I have allowed doubts and anger to destroy it.  Show me that you truly are God, You are real, You are powerful and You are sovereign over my life.  Please show me where my assumptions about You as God are off and teach me who You really are.  Please God, help my suffering to not be in vain but to be used to build me up and strengthen me that I might in turn strengthen others.

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Elegant Easter Egg Favor Boxes and Pillow Box Purse Set

CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO EASTER EGG FAVOR BOXES IN STORE  $4.98

While I’m working on kits I got on a roll this morning!  These Elegant Easter Egg Favor Boxes are just adorable!  They’re the perfect size to fill with a few Hershey’s Kisses or other Easter candies.  The three eggs work beautifully together and can add an elegant touch to place settings at a family dinner, a women’s Easter brunch or other Easter gathering.  Add your own tags to them for place settings or to add all of the children’s names in a classroom.

There are photographic instructions included so it’s very easy to figure out how to put these together and even an older child could do these.  Cutting and scoring are at a medium difficulty skill level.

SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY:  Matt 11:28-30   “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  NIV

DEVOTIONAL:  Continuing on yesterday’s theme — when we are spiritually dry there are a few common reasons.  Sometimes we are in sin, sometimes we are disappointed with God or our perception of God’s “fairness,” sometimes we are caught up in the world around us and sometimes we’re caught up in worrying.  I’ll go over each of these in successive devotionals, but today I’m going to talk about the most common reason we get spiritually dry and that is we grow weary.

Weary, tired, exhausted, overwhelmed — these are the most common words I hear in my daily life when I ask people how they’re doing.  I bet you hear it/say it too.  We’re all doing too much, in too little time with little or no rest to restore ourselves.

Did you notice the “rest” in “restore.”  There is no restoration of energy without rest and there’s no shortcut to being refreshed.  Unfortunately you can’t plug yourself in like an electric car when you go to sleep at night to recharge in a few hours — it takes many consistent nights of adequate sleep to restore our bodies and with it our souls.

Jesus understands our weariness.  He wants us to come to Him, give him our weariness and burdens and find His rest.  I’ve discovered over time that His rest isn’t a magical formula, it’s a dramatic change about the way we approach all of life.  Are the tasks/assignments that you are stressing over, actually coming from the Lord or have you taken them upon yourself?  If the latter, His rest might come as you let go of the commitment.

Jesus pulled away from the crowds and sought communion with His Heavenly Father — even when it meant leaving the hurting masses.  Do you “leave” your family from time to time to go away and spend time with the Lord?  Most of us can’t physically get away, but we can go into our rooms each day and spend time seeking the Lord AND LEARN FROM HIM HOW TO FIND REST.

Start your time with Him with a simple prayer and ask Him to help you find out the root reason that you are weary and discouraged.  Then ask Him to lead you to the scriptures that will speak to your need.  It can be as simple as looking up “weary” in a good concordance and following the trail of scriptures.  Then I find that “pray-reading” the scripture is a great way to take it into my own heart and give the Lord permission to do the work necessary to change my heart.  The prayer at the end today is an example of how I like to “pray-read” the word.

If you are dry, or maybe you’re even in a long season of drought, you won’t feel restored over night.  You probably won’t feel different at all for quite a while, but I promise you, if you continue seeking His rest you will find it.  And with it you’ll find the refreshing rains of his living waters.  You’ll find the rains that bring forth the spring flowers.

PRAYER: Lord, you have commanded me to come to you when I grow weary and burdened.  I am so weary and dry right now.  I am so exhausted with carrying my burdens that I have come to you to find your rest.  Please show me what I need to do in my life.

You have told me that if I take your yoke upon my shoulders it will be a comforable and restful yoke.  My work will be less painfu, be more easily accomplished and lead to rest.  Help me to learn from you.  Teach me about where my life is out of balance and headed in a wrong direction and teach me what needs to be changed and perhaps more importantly, how to change it.

Thank you that you aren’t angry with my weakness, you understand.  You’re gentle and understanding and have a desire to lead me into your rest.  AMEN.

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