Tag Archives: digital card crafting kit

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 Vintage Peacock Favor Gift Tag Freebie!

Vintage Peacock Wedding Favor Gift Tags, Free download

Just for fun today, I created this Vintage Peacock punchable gift tag.  He’s a free download.  All you have to do to claim him is go to my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/audrey.jeannes.expressions (or click on the image and it will take you there).  You may have to scroll through posts to find him or you can go to my albums and look for “Freebie” as the title.

Inexpensive yet Elegant Table Card Numbers, any Color Background

While you’re there would you please consider “liking” my page?  We’re working toward reaching 500 “likes” and then there will be a link to a $4.95 digital clip art Easter kit for FREE!  If you have a friend that would enjoy the freebie too, would you consider letting them know about it for me as well.  It’s all about connecting!

Elegant "Vintage Peacock" Save the Dates available at Zazzle

To use these as Favor tags for a wedding reception or bridal shower, you can either hand write on them after printing, or typeset your names on them before printing.  This requires some graphic program or Microsoft Word knowledge.  Make sure you use as heavy a card stock as your printer can manage, it makes a difference in the finished product.  To create the tags, simply either cut them out on a paper trimmer, or use a square or round punch.  I left lots of background to give you more options.   Punch a hole in the top and use a lovely ribbon to affix them to your favors and you have a beautifully elegant touch for your wedding reception tables, bridal shower decor or other party event.

Antique Vintage Peacock Wedding Invitation, Monogrammed Custom Color

There are invitations, RSVPs and other stationery goods in a wide variety of background colors, that have been designed to match this collection.  I’ve linked just a couple here in this post, but you can find a wide selection of peacock designs – from vintage to contemporary and in many different colorways in my store.

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Social Marketing 101 – Getting Past the Fear

BRAND NEW DIGITAL CLIP ART KIT $4.95 AT ETSY.  Just click on the picture to go to the store.  There are more sizes and shapes in this collection.

A CONTEST EVERYONE CAN WIN:  I want to build my Facebook page up from 204 likes to 500 as my first goal.  Will you help me do it?  If you do, you can win the kit I’m showing in this post.  The minute we reach that goal I will post a link to the kit on my page as a thank you to everyone that helped as well as to be enjoyed by everyone who joined!  So if you have friends that enjoy digital art, please invite them so I can give away at least 500 kits!

Social Marketing 101 – Getting Past the Fear

I took a great class yesterday from Constant Contact (the people I’ve been paying to host my 5,000+ name mailing list for 3 months, but have never sent out an email to yet!!!)  Am I lame or what?!  I’m not sure what the hold up has been, but I’m determined to get past it.   My darling friend, Karla Dornacher has even agreed to hold my hand through the process so I’m going to take the plunge… very soon…

The conference was actually 2 classes, Social Marketing was the morning topic and Email Marketing the second.  Does the word “marketing” scare you?  It isn’t my favorite word either, but I realized that if you take the word “marketing” out – it’s really about connecting, I hate to “market” but I LOVE to connect.  What’s not to love about connecting with people who share your likes and passions.  Connecting with people that enjoy what you do and vice-versa.  When I started to think of it in those terms it immediately became much less scary to me.

After listening to Kelly Flint – Constant Contact’s LA Regional Development Director give the presentation, I did a lot of thinking about what I have and haven’t done in the past.  She is delightfully hilarious by the way, if you get a chance to go to any seminar she’s teaching do it.  You can find her Facebook page by clicking on her name, it’s a live link.  Kelly is a wealth of ideas and information and I’ll share bits and pieces of her tips via my twitter feed in the next few weeks.  If you haven’t connected with me there it’s TWITTER @audreyjeanne.

Kelly shared a lot of real life stories.  While listening to them, it dawned on me, I don’t believe I have ever told anyone that reads my blog that I HAVE a Facebook Page, much less invited you to come visit.  I did say I’m at the 101 course level.  You can find it here: facebook.com/audrey.jeannes.expressions

I enjoy Facebook because it’s so interactive – much more so than a blog.  I would love to dialog with you.  I would LOVE to hear about your passions.  What arts and crafts are you into?  What do you want to learn more about?  What are you making and selling or just making to give away?

Do you have friends that love to create with digital art?  Are they professional crafters that love to find new things to make, new art that they can use for selling at craft shows?  Do you have friends that scour the net for the next hot craft and would love to share what they find?  I’d love for you to invite them to come connect with us.  I’d love to see what people are doing in their creative spaces and try to encourage you to bring more creativity and beauty into your life.  AND I’d love to have you come and post those kinds of things on my Facebook page so we can all go check them out.

Now, if I can figure out how to post a “find me on facebook and twitter button”, I’m in business…  Oh Cheryl, are you out there?!  (she’s my favorite geek helper!)

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New “Vintage Roses ‘n Butterflies” Collection of Digital Art

I am really enjoying playing with classic vintage art mixed with my own art.  There are quite a few sizes offered in this collection all of which will be found at my Etsy store Here are a few of the images of what is available.  Because of the way that Etsy works with a single listing for a product, I’ll link to the entire store, not the item in question.  They often sell in a day and that makes the link inoperable.

Shown are three different kits.  Each is allowable for small commercial crafting use.  This means that one person, crafting all their own items with home tools (no mass production equipment) can create physical crafts (not digital) to sell at craft shows, craft booths in malls and in online stores like Ebay and Etsy.

The first kit is one 4 inch by 6 inch postcard or card front with 4, 3 inch squares for greeting card making, magnets, gift tags or other uses.

The second kit is a 1″ circle set for bottle caps, inchies, soldered glass pendants, pebble magnets and other uses.  The circles are available from 2 1/2″ on down to 7/8″ size.

The third kit is a 2 1/2″ square set that is also available all the way down to 7/8″ size for a wide variety of uses.

There is also a design collection at Zazzle for Wedding, Bridal Shower and other invitations.  This design received a “Today’s Best Award” from the Zazzle Design Staff.  There is a complete Wedding Ensemble coming including Table Seating Charts, Table Cards and Place Cards.

TODAY’S WINNER FOR THE BLOG CONTEST DRAWING IS:

Cheryl!  She won her choice of any of the $4.95 kits at Etsy.

Thanks to each that wrote a comment, please keep it up.  I read and enjoy every one of them.  It makes me want to come blog more when I hear back 🙂

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Stopping to Enjoy Life!

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s pretty trite saying isn’t it “Stop and smell the roses?!”  But today, that’s what I’m doing.  I’m stopping to think about all that’s right about my world.  Are there troubles?  Of course.  Are there frustrations?  Duuuuhhhh!  But all in all, life is GOOD.

It’s too busy, but a lot of that is my fault and how I choose to prioritize my work.  I’m working on that one.  Working really hard on that one and making some significant progress. Some times you have to work harder and longer in order to work less — but if you have a plan you can get there.

Why is life good?  My family loves me and I adore them.  We have FUN together, not just tolerate each other 🙂  We actually get along with each other.  We love to play together, whether it’s playing a new board game, watching a movie (if we can stay awake long enough to catch the ending).  We like to 4 wheel together, at least those of us with backs strong enough to take the pounding.  We’re going camping together next week in one of the most beautiful places on God’s green earth and it’s in our own backyard so to speak.  I’ll take some pic with my new DROID phone and see if I can figure out how to post them.  Isn’t that the key?  LIFE is really about the PEOPLE we share it with.

I’m just writing to remind each of you.  Stop and think.  What’s GOOD about your life?  Who is good in your life?  Have you told them that?  What’s AMAZING about your life?  What are the things that God is teaching you out of the tough times in your life?  It’s all a matter of perspective, even tough times can be incredible blessings.

Would you please share with us what’s good in your life and share your blessings in the comments section so that we can remind each other about how wonderful life really is?  Remember, there’s one week left in this month’s blog contest.  Each comment is an entry into the contest.  Feel free to post those comments away.  Any day of this month is eligible.  You will win your choice of any of my Etsy store $4.95 digital kits. Notice on the right hand side of the blog is a new “Pocket Shop” provided from the wonderful website “Craftcult.” Thanks to them for making ways for those of us who hand craft to get the word out about what we do.

LIFE IS GOOD!  Take time to remind yourself.  Like the picture below says “RELAX!”  Have a cup of tea with someone you love.  Enjoy the sunset.  Pamper yourself or someone you love.  Enjoy life…

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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! Puppy Love Digital Clip Art Kit

It’s been a little bit since I released a brand new art, digital clip art kit.  Today I released “Puppy Love 1” at www.aimeeasher.com.  It is priced at $5.98 for 26 pieces and if you are a crafter, you are allowed to use it to create products to sell at craft shows.  See the Angel Policy terms for the limits on usage.  Here is the link: LINK TO PUPPY LOVE KIT or simply click on the image to go to the store.

In the kit is 4 card fronts of various sizes, the puppy dog icons in borders and separated, 7 papers, 4 borders and a circular border that would be perfect to use on a paint can for a new puppy gift or packaging for a “Puppy Love” gift basket/can.

Now, my question to you… What products would you like to see made out of this kit for my Zazzle store?  Do you have some ideas for me to work on?  Here are my thoughts.  They’re perfect for purses and tote bags, magnets, greeting cards, note cards, T-shirts and maybe even some really fun shoes!  I used to own a Dalmatian and would have gotten a kick out of having a pair of shoes or shirt with a Dalmatian puppy on it.  Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

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Digital Clip Art Link Now Available

We have now disabled our own store and linked this site up to our complete storefront at Aimee Asher Elite.  If you look to the right you’ll see “Browse Digital products”  When you click on that link it will open my store in AAE here in my blog.  Be patient, it may take a few seconds, but you’ll be able to scroll through all 15 pages of digital clip art that is currently available, with more coming weekly.

In addition, on the left side column under the “Zazzle Store” products, you’ll see “New Products” previews.

To purchase any of the clip art, you will need to become a member at Aimee Asher and log in.  There are lots of other wonderful artists there, so go take a peek and enjoy!

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A Freebie Kit for the Fourth of July

A quick post this morning to let you know that I have a FREE patriotic card making kit available in my store at Aimee Asher.  It is a 3 card, 2 envelope kit that I designed to make writing to a serviceman or woman very easy.  If you have a group that writes to these people, feel free to make and send as many cards as you wish.

There’s also a blank card that can be made into a 4th of July party invitation or ?  Have fun with it and have fun with your summer!

You do have to log into Aimee Asher in order to download there, but there will be no charge.  While there take a little time to look around and see the other fun kits that are available.  If you like to make your own cards, one of my very favorite card making duos is “Kizzy Dizzy.”  They are my dear friends from the United Kingdom.  Their kits are amazingly detailed and creative.  They have made quite a few cards from my art kits as you can see here their “Hazy Hydrangeas” is from my Blue Hydrangeas clip art kits.  Here’s a link to their store:  KIZZY DIZZY CARDMAKING KITS AT AAE

LINK TO FREEBIE KIT AT AIMEE ASHER STORE

Happy Crafting!

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I am Going to Change my Blog

I have some “housekeeping” items I thought I would throw all into one big post.

DIGITAL CRAFTING FANS:  I offer digital clip art kits on my blog store and have for several years.  In the next week or so, with Lynnie’s help (from www.aimeeasher.com) I am going to replace my blog store with a link to my store inside of Aimee Asher.

As those of you that have experienced it in the last couple of months know, my automated delivery system has been screwy and has failed to provide usable links more often than not.  The Aimee Asher system is great and well worth my sending the business their way instead of here. The prices are identical as are the kits and terms of use.  If you want to purchase any digital clip art kits, I would suggest that you use this link and go directly to AAE from now on.  LINK TO AUDREY JEANNE’S STORE AT AIMEE ASHER

Perhaps with fewer issues to deal with and without needing to upload and install a kit in two places I’ll be able to get some fresh new kits up 🙂  That is my goal anyway!

ZAZZLE STORES:  I have two Zazzle stores now.  One features “Everything Business” and is stocked with business cards, stationery, thank you notes, postage, address labels and more.

LINK TO “EVERYTHING BUSINESS by Audrey Jeanne”

LINK TO AUDREY JEANNE’S EXPRESSIONS ZAZZLE STORE

The other contains a wide variety of products from wedding invitations, baby announcements, baby onesies and tee shirts, scrapbook notebooks, recipe notebooks and pages and more.  You’ll also notice a new panel to the left with 3 of my Zazzle products shown in it.  Those three products change frequently so be sure to take a peek each time you stop by.  This format provides larger images that can be seen more clearly.  I had to give up the flash panel, but small moving objects aren’t really good for seeing anyway!

TWITTER: If you would like to follow me on Twitter, LINK TO TWITTER PAGE

FACEBOOK:  If you would like to follow my on my fan page at FaceBook, LINK TO FACEBOOK FAN PAGE I don’t play any games on FaceBook, so please don’t message me about that, but anything else I’d love to hear!

I update both Twitter and FaceBook daily and sometimes a couple of times a day and it’s very easy to connect with me there.  I love to hear feedback on designs I’m working on and often show the first peeks at Facebook as I’m working those collections out.

Okay, now off to bed after a long and wonderful day with my family!

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On Create & Craft TV in Europe, New Paper Crafting Kit debuts

New from Design Objectives, digital scrapbooking collection "Jade Treasures"

One of 80 papers in the collectionOn May 4th, 2010, the European Create & Craft TV show will be featuring a brand new collection of art for paper crafting called, “Jade Treasures.”  It will be their “Pick of the Day” set.  You can view the show May 4th, 2010 on this link: http://www.createandcraft.tv/

I will be trying to find out information as to whether this product can ship to the US and how much if it can.  I’ve been told there shouldn’t be any reason that it can’t ship here, but do not know what the costs might be.

This is a HUGE paper crafting product set.  There are wonderful papers in two different sizes, frames, icons, tags and literally anything you can think of that will make card making and scrap booking fun and easy.  I have yet to see exactly what is in the kit, but will let you know as soon as I do!  There will eventually be a 2 disk digital scrapbooking set released as well.

Design Objectives is the largest manufacturer of scrapbooking and card making products in the United Kingdom.  The new products are not yet up on their website:  www.designobjectives.com but will be soon.

I used this artwork to scrapbook my daughter’s wedding in September.  You can also see a range of Wedding Invitation products created from this art collection for those of you in the US.  LINK TO WEDDING INVITATION and LINK to AQUA/BLUE WEDDING INVITATION SELECTIONS (the “Fleur di Lys Damask” items shown on these pages are not from the “Jade Treasures” collection).

The partnership with Design Objectives is a growing one.  They are a FABULOUSLY creative company with amazing resources and ideas.  They are great fun to work with.  We have a Christmas collection of products releasing soon and look for more as they are developed.  I’ll keep you posted.

If there are any stores that carry their products on line and will carry my line, please let me know and I’ll be happy to make referrals to you!

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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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