Crafters of Faith ~ Away in a Manger ...

    She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” 
    (Luke 2:7 NIV) 

Good Morning! 
 It's the end of the month which means the Crafters of Faith post our monthly card challenge :)  This month our hostess was the wonderfully sweet Maryrose and she gave us a joyous challenge to create:

Make a card based on one of your favorite Christmas songs or carols. (The Bible verse I chose is often associated with Handel's Messiah, another favorite!) Make sure your card has a little twinkle to represent the light of the world. Bonus points to anyone who includes kraft and gingham in their design (just because I LOVE kraft and gingham!)

We are a very musical family and there isn't much of a time when we aren't singing along with music!  Christmas, of course, is no exception and it's hard to narrow down a favorite Christmas carol!  So I chose one that I had on hand which had the verse already there and went with "Away in a Manger".  I was happy to use Inky Antics wooden holiday stamps which I just treasure ... I scored a 4 piece wooden IA stamp set for $5 on SCS a couple of years ago and so happy this one could see some ink this year!  

For the requirements, I went with a chocolate base but paired it with Crumb Cake since I don't have Kraft :)  Papers are a mish-mash from my stash and I used some gingham paper and ribbon in hues of yellows, kraft and browns! It's a very non-traditional Christmas card!  I'm really tickled with how this card came out - although I will have to rephotograph in the morning light as I'm just beat after the week I've had and just getting home at this very late hour!  

Please stop by and see my sistahs of faith and their beautiful Christmas Carol card creations! You can find them listed in my side-bar :)

Thank you, Maryrose, for your beautiful theme for creating our COF cards!  

Big Hugs,
Bigger Blessings~



Happy "I love to write!" Day! :)

Hello, friend!  Today I have a card to share with you for the Calendar Girl's monthly post and it's a funny one!  The theme, that is :)  This month, our hostess Jeanette (creator and founder of the Calendar Girls) challenged us to find a non-traditional bizarre, silly, crazy, unknown November holidays from a little site called Brownielocks (you should check this out - it's super fun!) 

As tempted as I was to use National Button Day *smile*, I went with November 15th ~ I love to Write Day!  My card was a challenge for me in many ways - I wanted to combine a few challenges that I've been meaning to play in and managed all but one (the sketch!) Without further adieu, here is my card using the color combo challenge #13 from Color Me Beautiful, an image from Dearie (it's absolutely free!) and my flower! I'm so proud of my little lilac!  See, the TAT challenge for the Stamp Addicts Blogging Group awhile back was to make a card with hand-made flowers and I have been waiting to use mine :)  I'm so very tickled with these flowers because I made them with love and lots of laughs with my daughter ~ we made a series of flowers in shapes and sizes and I confess, we had more glue and glitter in our hair, clothes and floor than anywhere else but what fun we had! :) 

This was colored with prismacolor markers and paired with DSP from SU!
from the Brocade Background, Kiwi Kiss and Thoroughly Modern colletions and all SU cardstock (but PTI white).  And that's my post for today!  I hope you get a chance to stop by and see what the other Calendar Girls posted today in the wonderful world of wacky holidays :)

Big hugs,

Bigger Blessings!


Entered into:  Color Me Beautiful - #13


Shhhh ... I hear Santa!

Shhhhh ... I think I see Santa! :)  

Hiya!!  I'm back today with another Riley and Company cutie -- 
Old World Riley in his jammies + nightcap
 tip-toeing past Santa!  

Today's card is for the new bi-weekly challenge that's hosted by ... me! :)
The challenge this week is to create a card using the color scheme Burgandy, Old Olive and Cream and as a bonus, create a card/project with a theme of gratitude and thanks!

For my card for you today, I used papers from my stash:  Bravo Burgandy, Old Olive and cream to create this charming Santa Riley card, added some ribbon and buttons *smile* and ta-da!  I'm really tickled with how this came out and might have a new contender for "the" 2012 card! :)  Be sure to enter your cards on the Riley Blog HERE!

Be sure to stop by the Riley and Company DT to see what they have created as well!  If you want to add your card to the gallery, please use the keyword Riley2412.

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!



Book Review: Prayer Never Fails, Especially During Trials

Good Morning!  I hope you had a marvelous Thanksgiving and your weekend has been a splendid one!

Today's review is for the book by Berney K. Dorton entitled 
Prayer Never Fails: Especially During Trials. 

What drew me to the book initially was the title and right from the start, I realized it was so much more than that.  You know how we all have that one good friend – the one who invites you in for coffee when you need a shoulder and you feel the love and warmth right away?  That’s what kind of ‘read’ this book is – inviting, supportive, refreshing.

Prayer Never Fails opens with the scripture from Philippians 4:6-7 and I could just feel the strength of that verse from cover to cover.   It has beautiful stories appropriate to real-life crisis. It’s heavy in personal stories and gives you a glimpse into the author’s faith-filled heart.  She invites to ponder:  “When things go wrong – should we shake our fists in the air and shout about the unfairness in life?  Or cry out to God in prayer?”  This book not only answers that wonder, but invites you to put God in every trial and situation that has, or could, come your way.  I burst out laughing at her description of her friend calling her at 5 am, waking her up out of a deep slumber to say “Wake up, prayer partner – it’s time to pray!”  I’m not so sure I would have been quite so exalted!   I also caught tears coursing down my face at the heart-wrenching story of the loss of her nephew, Brian, in a tragic, senseless shooting.  Mrs. Dorton carries scripture through-out her writings and while this book is just chalk full of things to think about, one thing remains constant:  “We are forever grateful for the hand of God moving in our lives."

Five areas of prayer that are emphasized in the book are:

1. Prayers to confess and confront the sins in our lives.
2. Prayer to thank God for his blessings.
3. Prayer to develop intimacy with God.
4. Prayer for cleansing and restoration.
5. The righteous prayers that availeth much.

The only critique I had with the book is that at times I felt like I was reading more of an autobiographical thesis than a novel.  As mentioned,  it’s heavy with personal stories pertaining to her life but not so much that it’s overdone.  I think, perhaps, that’s just the author’s writing style.  It doesn’t take away from the beauty of the written work and the message is still loud and clear: “Prayer is ordained by God”, she explains, “honored by Christians, and relied upon when we are doubtful.”  

I invite you to learn more about the author at her personal website here:   http://berneykdorton.com/   Make sure to watch the moving book trailer as well!  

Big Hugs
Bigger Blessings!

I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.


*Riley and Co* New Stamp Release BLOG HOP!

Happy Blessed Thanksgiving!!

Thank you so much for spending your Thanksgiving Day with us!
Now that your turkey has been gobbled up, we have quite a smorgasboard of sweetness for you to see with this month's Riley and Company new stamp release Blog Hop :)  Be sure to start here at the Riley and Company blog so you won't miss any of the fun!

Are you ready for another awesome Riley Release??

We have something very very special for you this time! Riley & Co. stamps are now being released in CLEAR SETS! This release has six adorable new clear sets which include Riley and 3 - 5 matching phrases!

Special #1: Buy all six sets for only $50.00! (reg. $10 each). That's the same as buy 5, get one free! 

Special #2: You can also get a set of 3 FREE Funnybone stamps during this release by simply placing an order of $25 or more (before tax) in the first 24 hours of the release! (One per customer please.)

Special #3: But wait - there's more! As an added bonus, we are giving EVERYONE FREE SHIPPING from Thursday night at 9 pm CST until Sunday night at midnight CST! Just enter FREESHIP in the coupon code section!

I have two cards for you today.  Dog Walker Riley set ~ I literally *squealed* with delight when I saw this Riley - the cutest!! I'm also showcasing Surprise Cake Riley and both clear sets come with matching sentiments!
  I made this duo with a burgandy and pink winter combo to give it a fresh and festive feel.  

Surprise Cake Riley

Inside of the card with 1 of the 3 sentiments

Next up, Dog Walker Riley - so cute!!  I have one of the matching sentiments on the bottom of the easel card which says "from all of us!" :)
Dog Walker Riley

From here you'll hop on over to Laurie's blog and her amazing creations!
If you get lost along the way, start at the Riley blog here and be sure to visit each blog on the stop for your chance to win a stamp set from the release.

Thanks for stopping by!

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!

Entered into: make it monday, anything goes
Flourishes - something that makes you happy
Paper playtime - anything goes


Sneak #4 ~ Dreaming of Snow :)

How I dream for a white Christmas every year!

  One of the fondest memories for me is the beauty of the real winter ~ ice skating, find the perfect Christmas tree, snow angels, sledding and beyond!  This new Riley and Company "Carrying Tree" clear stamp set sure makes me smile when I remember those moments!

In case your wondering about the stamp set wording ~ it's true!
Riley and Company's new stamp release will consist of clear stamps WITH coordinating sentiments!  Super fun!

For this card, I used two challenges from SCS.  First up, sketch challenge #SC411 and second, the beautiful color combo of CC401 - such a stunning color palette for holiday cards!

Here is the front of my card ...
And the inside with 1 of the matching sentiments!
 And here was the fun sketch:

And the color combo! Pretty, right!?! :)

One more sleep til the BIG HOP!!  I hope you are as excited as I am!

Riley and Company will be releasing 6 new Clear Stamp Sets including matching sentiments!

The Blog Hop is this Thursday, Nov. 22 at 10 PM starting at
There will be one lucky winner from each blog with one free release set of your choice so mark the date!  
Be sure to stop by the DT blogs for more sneak peeks! 

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings,


Sneak #3 ~ I Dream of "Sophie"!

Raise your hand if you watched I dream of Jeannie as a child!  

:::: me! :::  

Now we have the Riley and Company I dream of Jeannie ~ Sophie style!  She's a gem!   This stamp is to be released at the Blog Hop this Thursday!  It comes with 3 sentiments as well - one of which I've used here. 

I've used this wonderful sketch from CAS(E) this Sketch - super fun to use!

Don't forget our new stamp release Blog Hop is Thursday,
November 22 at 10 PM, starting at the Riley and Company Blog!
We know it's Thanksgiving but what a better way to 
share the day with friends AND have a chance at some free Riley stamps!

6 stamp sets will be released in clear and each one comes with
coordinating sentiments! 

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!

Riley Sneak #2 ~ Let's Party!

You know you are a mom when you're favorite ornaments on the tree are the ones made out of construction paper into a paper chain! And the ornaments made with Macaroni :)  I cherish those and they make it to the top/front of the tree every year :)

And Riley and Company is ready to party!!

Here is sneak #2 ~ Using "Riley Christmas", perfect for this festive time of year!   I adore his little ornaments on his antlers!  I used the MFTWSC98 for the card base and holiday paper from SU.  This clear Riley set will come with 3 matching sentiments, two of which I've used on this card :)

Card front with Riley Christmas!

Here is the inside ~ Using another sentiment from the set!
Don't forget our new stamp release Blog Hop is Thursday,
November 22 at 10 PM, starting at the Riley and Company Blog!
We know it's Thanksgiving but what a better way to 
share the day with friends AND have a chance at some free Riley stamps!

6 stamp sets will be released in clear and each one comes with
coordinating sentiments!  Fun!

Thanks for stopping by!  For more inspiration,
stop by each of the DT blogs and marvel their Riley and Company creations!

  Big hugs,
  Bigger Blessings!


*Riley* Sneak 1 ~ SMILE!

Sooooo excited - the Riley Sneaks for this new release are starting! 
 Yay!!  First up, I'm sure you've heard the new by now ....
Riley and Company stamps are now clear stamps!!  
Each stamp also comes with coordinating sentiments, too ...
so you get the stamp AND sentiments to match!
How fun is that :)

First up, I am showing you Dentist Riley!
(and as a mom with 3 kids who are all in the braces/retainer stages, this one just tickled me pink!)

Here is a sample 3 x 3 card using 1 of 3 sentiments ~ "A smile is a curve that sets everything straight."   Sweet!!  

I'll be back each day with a new sneak peak so be sure to see what else Riley will be up too!   Here is some important information to remember :)

Release Date: Thursday 22nd November 2012
  • Sneak Peek week starts on the Sunday 18th July
  • Blog Hop and stamps are available for sale at 10PM EST on the 22nd November
  • One free release set of their choice for blog candy winner  
Big hugs,

Bigger Blessings!



Planes, Trains and Automobiles!

Vroom, Vroom!  It's the 15th of the month and the duel for the Darlings has 'taken off'!   This month, the hostess for the Divas is the fantastic, sweet Carol and she sent us a kit that is over the top fun!  And even more exciting, we have a brand new member in the Dueling Darlings ~ Kadie!!  We're so excited to have you "on board" - hee hee! :)

Here is a little bit about Carol and Deb's traveling theme for this month:

Here is a bit of information about the month of November… 
November is Aviation History Month and National Model Railroad Month.

 Also, November 22 is Go for a Ride Day!

Well, with those things in mind, a theme of: Planes, Trains & Automobiles was mentioned.  Then Carol asked me if I had ever seen the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles? (I have not.)  But she explained that the characters of the movie are trying to get home for Thanksgiving. 

Well….duh… with those events taking place in November and the theme of the movie around Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving coming in November… it was decided that “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” would be our theme. 

How fun is that!!  That is one of my dh's ALL-TIME favorite movies and it makes us chuckle every year - how I miss John Candy and his humor/smile but grateful his movies live on for us to enjoy.  I thought of my brother when creating my card, and pretty much made a collage with a little bit of everything ... and this kit had mucho!   

My brother and I grew up as the unstoppable duo - as close as siblings could be.  Being a military family, we traveled extensively and saw a lot of the world.  After college graduation, my brother continued traveling and I got married :) He has seen 6 of the 7 continents, speaks and reads 6 different languages including Arabic and has led a life to be very proud of :*)  So I had him in mind when creating this card and made it for him - and believe it or not, it's destination is currently Norway (being that's where he's at!)

The very busy card :)

Look at all the dimension of this card!
And the inside, I used one of the journaling cards as the sentiment - perfect!
Wow, did you make it this far?! :-)  Well, we are still traveling through the blog post!  There's more to this flight! 

As a bonus please tell of a Thanksgiving memory or a memorable trip to get to your Holiday destination...

My dh and I have traveled quite a bit since we've been married, too - and even took the kids on not one but TWO whirlwind trips around Europe in the last 7 years, including to cities we didn't speak the languages and both of us speak several between the two of us!  To say it was like watching Chevy Chase's National Lampoons Christmas would be an understatement, LOL!

But best of all, the most memorable trip BY FAR was last year's Christmas trip to the Mountains of Tennesse.  We are all still nostalgic every time we talk about it, see pictures and just dream of a day we will return.  We rented a GORGEOUS two story log cabin in off the beaten path so the kids could see some snow and just get away from the hustle and bustle of 'life'.  It was a warm winter, but we did see snow for two of those days!   Each day we were there, we all felt like we were in a mountain paradise and I am sure that when  I get to the other side of heaven, it will look a lot like this place did :)

And that's my journey today!!
I hope you book a ticket on over at my mates blogs - right over there on the sidebar you can find them and see what they created :)
Thanks for stopping by!

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!


Good Times Always with Riley!

Hi there!  Who loves Good Times?!  Riley!  :)  I hope you had a wonderful long weekend, blessed by the sacrifices of so many to give us this freedom to cherish.  Dh and I scooted off to a romantic getaway without our kiddos - *Bliss!*  

My card is getting up a little late as I looked at it this morning after rushing to complete it before we left and blech!!  It was NOT happening.  I started all over from scratch with the same stamp and am much happier with the brighter, cheerier, funner colors of this non-traditional Riley card!  

I went with the uber fun Gingerbread Riley and Sophie stamp and had visions of sugarplums dancing in my head when I paired it with these papers ;)  The challenge this week at the Riley and Company blog is to make a pocket card.  These are always fun to make!  I made a pocket with a hidden tag - wonderful for a quick note and then I added the same theme on the inside for this fun holiday card :)

We'd love to see what you come up with this bi-weekly challenge!  If you use a gallery, use the keyword Riley2313.  Have fun!

Be sure to see what the rest of the DT has made this week - you can find their blogs over on my sidebar.  

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!

Entered into:  LEJ Challenge - Die cuts
Artistic Stamper - anything goes
Tammy's Scrappin' Corner - anything goes
CraftyCreations - no flowers
Papertake weekly - anything goes


Let it Snow!


How I wish it would snow here in Miami!  Wouldn't that be some entertaining Winter fun  :-)  We are actually waking up to temps in the 60's here and it's positively GORGEOUS!  I have had the windows open during the afternoon for 2 days straight to let in some of the fresh air and balmy goodness :)

In an attempt to get a head start on some of the holiday cards heading out this year, I created this quick card with a digi and some of my favorite papers of all time ... if I had to craft with just one holiday paper, this would definitely be my top choice!  I kept the inside of this one blank for future writings and a space for stamping if need be and gasp - there's glitter on this for the snow :P  

I have so much to share and catch up on but time has not been on my side these past few weeks so I will keep this short for now.  I send you warm fuzzies for those of you who really are snowed in and feeling chilly right now!

 Big hugs,
 Bigger Blessings!


Book Review: Everyday Matters Bible for Women

Book Review ~
Everyday Matters Bible for women

Everyday Matters Bible for Women is 
1603 pages of sheer beauty!

The day after I received this book from CWA for review, I took it to my women’s bible study and it was an instant hit, passed around from friend to friend to admire.  It’s  aesthetic beauty is is more than a traditional bible – it’s an NLT bible, a study guide, and a manual for changing “should” into “could!”  If there was ever a moment where you had to grab a book – just one book – to read over and over again, this one would be the perfect choice.  It not only speaks to the heart with it’s biblical passages but enriches the soul with it’s practical applications and weaves a path that allows you to navigate the bible along your journey.  

I cannot express enough how much I adore the presentation of this bible.  The 24 colorful spiritual icons in the front of the book help you navigate through important practices.  They are listed in alphabetical order and look like small aps for a phone ~ easy to recognize, remember and apply to your daily faith walk!  

The 4 basic features that make this bible extraordinary are:
1. Everyday Matters
2. Everyday Profiles
3. Everyday Q & A
4. Everyday Reflections

There are also scriptures of note that are easy to reference topics of relevance.  For example, if you are looking for scriptures on Stewardship, the index guide has scriptures at a glance that you can go directly to the bible and read The Word.  I found the vast list of contributors to the book to be a nice touch as well and is great insight to thoughts and works from other authors.  

One inspiration quote that drew me in is about halfway through and it reads:
“One morning as  I looked out at my front yard, rather than noticing the yard work I needed to do, I simply thought:  "Lord, there’s a new day out there – and I’m alive to enjoy it!”   Amen!  Rather than focus on our daily to do lists and things we have done, or done wrong, or didn’t get done, as christians it’s vital to focus on God first and foremost as a our spiritual guide through the day.  We can CHOSE to have that frame of mind that says “I’m here, I’m listening” rather than let the mundane activities of our daily, busy lives take over.  

This isn’t a book you can rush through.  Take your time.  REALLY read it.  FEEL it.  Let it speak to your heart.  Due to a 3 week turnaround time for reviewing, I had to rush through this faster than I would have liked, however, it will be a forever book for me. The only drawback to this exquisite book is the pages are terribly thin and are very easy to rip even with a simple turn of a page.  It needs to be treated very kindly and with loving care.  I give this book 5 stars and wish there were a higher mark than that!   It’s simply splendid!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book product to review.   I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.   The opinions I have expressed are my own.   I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. 
  I am part of The CWA Review Crew.


SOTC ~ Faith as small as a mustard Seed!

Good afternoon!  Another whirlwind weekend after a whirlwind week but I'm super excited to share today's card!  I belong to a crafting group called the Sisterhood of the Traveling Cards and every other month, our hostess gives us a theme to create a card around.  This past month, our hostess was Kadie - the founder and creator of the SOTC!  And each of the participants got a totally different theme, unknown to each other until reveal day (last week, I'm running a whole lot behind!)  Isn't that the best idea ... so clever and unique!  I loved it!

And what's more ... I LOVED my theme Kadie chose for me!!  My theme was "Faith as small as a mustard seed" and it's PERFECT!!  I literally squealed when I saw the faith-filled theme she challenged me to use as I truly try to balance all of life's gifts in a faith-filled manner and just truly give Him all the glory for the blessings I've been bestowed.  

So, using my new Whipper Snapper Designs stamp called "Chase", a giftie from my sweet friend, Barb!  {love you muchly!!}   Originally I was pairing this challenge theme with a beautiful Gorjuss stamp and then I remembered this lovely Unity stamp sentiment with the same theme in my stamp drawer - dug around, found it, inked it up and just was so excited to use a stamp was a perfect match to the chosen theme :)

I hope you have a beautiful day/week ahead!  

Big hugs,
Bigger blessings!