Thursday, February 20, 2014

I've moved...

Check out my new digs here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

remember me?

I didn't mean to take such a long break...but boy have I needed it! Christmas came and went in a whirlwind...and then my poor sweet father got sick. He's all better now but it took a while for him to bounce back. I'm going to continue this little blogging break for another little bit...and then I'm hoping to get back, better than ever. But first I wanted to share this...

My father getting sick was an eye-opener for our family. I haven't mentioned it here before but my darling mother was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago. So far, it seems she mostly has trouble remembering people's names and the names of some things. First it was the names of people she rarely saw, then progressing to people closer to her. And when my father was sick and not eating, we realized she wasn't eating either. The only thing I think she could remember to fix was peanut butter crackers.

My father is completely dedicated to taking care of her. When we talk to them about the future and getting extra care, they insist that they are doing okay on their own. My mother prays to God everyday that her memory won't get any worse. Compared to others in similar circumstances, she actually is doing quite well. She even reminds my father to take his medicine. And she knows all about what bills to pay and when.

What makes me so sad though is to think of the parts of my mother's life that are forever more knitting, sewing or crafting of any kind. No more cooking or baking. Back when she was first diagnosed, and we were looking blindly into the future, I worried how could she be happy if, among the things she loses, she loses hold of the things that make her happy. It's still a question I worry about but what I've realized is that the roots of who she is are still there. She is still my sweet mother.

I never imagined that writing this post would be so hard but I suppose that's really why I've never mentioned it here. I'm in denial, for certain. This isn't a disease that ever improves, is it? Little bits, like crumbs from a cookie, are lost everyday. It hit me especially hard the other day when I called and said to her "This is Amy"...and there was a unspoken "who?" It's so silly because I knew she forgot others names. Somehow though, I just didn't think she'd forget mine.

What can I do? Denial isn't the way. I know that. But maybe the thing to do is to realize that we still have most of that sweet cookie and treasure her. I suppose the day will come when most of the crumbs have fallen away. Perhaps then I can try to rejoice that I can still remember and those memories can make her whole again. My sweet mother with her golden heart.

I'll join my mother's daily prayer. She doesn't ask that it be taken away...just that it not get any worse. See? Even in that, you can see how sweet her spirit is. So I do that...I pray that her memory stays as it is as long as God wills it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

prayer journals

I wanted to show you how I made the prayer journals that I sold last month at the school craft fair. They were a big hit...and so easy to make.

The idea for them was sparked by a project over at Big Picture Classes using a cheap "brag book" type photo album ($1 from Walmart and Dollar Tree) to create a mini-book. Such a great idea...So you'll want to grab some of these $1 plastic photo albums. The ones at Walmart have fewer pages than the ones at Dollar Tree. Unfortunately Target sells these for twice the price.

Cut a bunch of paper to 4" x 6". The great thing is that there's no waste since regular scrapbook paper is 12" x 12"...just cut each sheet in half (6") and then cut those halves into 3 4" sections. Easy peazy.  

Next find and lay out the prayers or inspirational messages you'd like to include. Print them out on paper. You can either set it up to print on larger paper, 4 up or so, and then cut to size. I found it easier to cut my paper into 3" x 5" cards which I then fed through the printer. You could also use index cards for this.

Another idea is to layout the pages at 4" x 6" and use digital scrapbooking elements to design the page. Or, you could create works of art for each page, scan them in and then print them out. It would take a while, sure, to make all that artwork...but then you'd have a wonderful gift you could reproduce for lots of people.

Slip out the covers included with the book and use those as a guide to cut 4 pieces of printed paper. (If you are using 2-sided printed paper, you can just make 2 cover for the front one for the back) I like the look of making the front and back cover the same design. It makes it look more like a book. You can include a label if you'd like on the front cover. And the inside cover could include a message to your recipient, including ideas for how to use the journal. 

Then, it's just assembling the book. I used 2-sided tape to secure the prayer card in the middle of one of the 4" x 6" papers and added the prayers to every right page. I put blank patterned papers on the left pages but you could put prayers there as well. My thought though is that you could tuck in prayer intentions on slips of paper...or write them directly on those blank printed papers, so that as you use the journal you can pray specifically for those people and situations. You can also add your own prayers...or change them out. 

This next step is essential for transforming the book from cheap-plastic looking to something better. Simply add bookbinding tape along the spine. Instantly better. 

I'm cranking these out! One of the ladies who bought a bunch at the craft fair called and wanted a few more, including one for her mother with specific prayers. 

You can take this idea and make all sorts of journals! It would be a great gift for a teacher with a photo of each child and a little note. It would also make a great project for a child to do...a way to create a book easily.

Have fun with this idea!

Julie, the font is Carolyna Pro Black. I also love using Emily Lime, Itchy Handwriting, Jenna Sue, and Mrs. Blackfort. All these can be purchased at first search for free ones.