Christmas Every Day – Guest Post by Dalene Reyburn

This entry is part 1 of the series Thankful Thursday

I’m all about the honesty so here it is:

I love Boney M.

I love their crazy Afros. I love their funky disco-era renditions of ancient holy carols. I love their proclamations of glory: Oh my Lord, you sent your Son to save us, oh my Lord . . .

I get that musically, Boney M is atrocious stuff. But it’s my childhood. It’s summer holidays and my sisters and me dancing on the lounge carpet in front of the Christmas tree. It’s market shopping and tinsel and turkey.

Scandalously, I have passed on this passion to my sons. Now, in March, and July, and every day from mid-October until Christmas, I get requests for ‘Christmas songs pleeeeeez, Mommy!’ They don’t care that it’s inappropriate – freaky – to listen to (bad) Christmas music in the middle of the year. read more

How to use Cutting Dies for Christmas

This entry is part 4 of the series Write Tribe ProBlogger

Blogging Challenge

I’m participating  in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. Once again, a big hello to the other members of my sub-tribe. Hi Guys!

I have chosen not to go with the prompt once again, but rather to follow on with another post about card-making with a cuttlebug.  Previous posts on this theme are #1 – Pattern,  #3 – Word Card-making Day, and #5 – Embossing Folders.

Last week, we took a look at embossing folders, and we saw how they turn a piece of plain card-stock into a beautiful background. This week, we’re going one step further, and look at Cutting Dies.

How do Cutting Dies work?

When you put card-stock into embossing folders and roll it through the Cuttlebug, it comes out with a design embossed on the surface. (See here if you didn’t read last week’s post.) But there is another use for the Cuttlebug, and that is cutting out shapes.

You buy cutting dies, which I mostly get through eBay as they are way cheaper than the local shops, and use them to cut out designs you can use on your cards. Each die has outlines of sharp blades, which cuts out the shape, and often has additional raised bits of metal that emboss the shape as well. Take a look at the lady on the left.

The blade has cut out the shape of this carol singer, while other raised pieces have “drawn” in lines to complete the image.

Take a look at this video where I show you how the cutting dies work.

Once the dies are cut out and the card-stock embossed, it’s a matter of assembling them, adding a greeting and a few finishing touches. Here are a few small cards made using embossing folders and cutting dies.

Which do you prefer? The longer (normal) sized card, or the small square ones?

Next week

Next week we’ll take a look at some varieties you can get using the dies and embossing folders.

Write Tribe ProBlogger Challenge #3 ~ October 2017

This entry is part 1 of the series Write Tribe ProBlogger

I’m participating  in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. I have chosen not to go with the prompt for today, but rather I will follow on from my previous post in the challenge (#1 – Pattern.)

Disclosure: This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.
Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

In my first post for this challenge, I spoke of the patterns we can create using the Cuttlebug craft machine. I had so many comments and queries that I decided to do a short series on this, posting on the topic each Monday for the month.

For those who didn’t read the post (available here) this is what the machine looks like.

cuttlebug

Click on the image to see this on Amazon.com

There are, of course, a number of different models, including bigger ones, electronic machines, and even one that works via the computer. But mine is just the lowly cuttlebug and I wouldn’t swap it for anything.

Saturday 07 October was World Card-making Day! Can you believe it? Is there anything that is not celebrated by an annual day?

Saturday 07 October was World Card-making Day! Did you know? #writebravely #writetribeproblogger Click To Tweet

History

Cards have played a key role in society for hundreds of years. There was the calling card used in Victorian days by gentlemen wanting to arrange a date with a lady and the dance card, where the ladies filled out the names of the men who wanted to dance with her.  Today we make great use of business cards, giving our details to anyone we want to give them to; invitation cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, get-well cards, mother’s day cards and Father’s Day cards . . . and so the list goes on.

In 2006, Paper Craft magazine made the decision that every first Saturday in October should be celebrated as the World Card-making Day, and card-makers across the world are encouraged to make cards on that day and publicize them on social media.

As I mentioned in my last post on the topic, I belong to a great group of ladies who get together about once a month and learn new card-making techniques. It is great fun creating when you are surrounded by others with the same interest. Unfortunately, due to all sorts of other commitments, we weren’t able to get together on The Day this year, but a number of us planned to make cards anyway.

My Card-making Day

This year, I was involved with a morning’s meeting that took the whole morning, then I had a certain blogging challenge to catch up with (guess which one!) So I only got down to cards at about 4 pm. I couldn’t wait. I had a number of new embossing folders and cutting dies to try out on my cuttlebug.

First, I cut the basic card out of firm white card stock. I decided to start with small square cards, as I have a small order for 6. I then cut background layers in contrasting colors, and dry embossed them.

Embossing

To dry emboss, I first created a sandwich of processing plates which came with the machine. The A plate is the thickest and is always used as the bottom of the sandwich. I then put my card inside the embossing folder of my choice, and then used two B plates, one on either side of the folder.

Looking at some of my new Christmas cuttlebug folders and dies. #writebravely #writetribeproblogger Click To Tweet

Here is an embossing folder which makes a very pretty background (Christmas trees).

I put red card inside the folder, then I turned the handle and fed the sandwich through between the rollers (just like Granny’s old mangle!) Out came the result.

Cutting

Once I had sufficient backgrounds, I turned to my new Cuttlebug dies. This time the sandwich comprised a B plate and a C plate, which is thicker. The die went face down onto the card stock. Once again, I fed it through the rollers, and out came my images. This is obviously a very simple description and there are many tricks of the trade I have learned, and continue to learn, to use when dies don’t cut easily the first time.

A start on Christmas

Here is the result of my few hours work. (See the Christmas tree background on the red card, behind the silver bells.) In the background, the television showed me Bangladesh battling to defend themselves against South Africa on the cricket pitch.

About the challenge

Those participating in the challenge are members of the Write Tribe Blogging group on FaceBook. We are committed to post at least twice a week for the month of October on Mondays and Fridays. There is no specific theme, but we have an optional prompt for each post. I plan to write about card-making with the Cuttlebug each Monday for the month, and I will continue my series on blogging on Fridays (instead of Thursdays).

Christmas Greetings!

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted.” John 3:16-18a The Message

When God says He made us in His image, He doesn’t mean we look like Him. Just take a look at some of your friends. Do they look alike? So how can we all look like God?

No, when He made us in His image, He made us like Him, with the ability to think and reason, to plan and orchestrate, and above all, the ability to be creative. However, where God created the universe out of nothing, we need to use existing material to create new articles.

As writers, we use existing words and letters and probably a computer. Carpenters use wood and tools. Artists produce beautiful pictures with paints and brushes. Dressmakers create clothing out of material using a sewing machine. Whatever you want to create, you use items that are already in existence.

When God created us women, He gave us a special nurturing instinct, so that we could be good wives, mothers, aunts, daughters and friends. When He created men, He gave them the desire to lead and protect their families and be responsible for those around him. He made us “in his image” yet different. He also gave to us all a desire to give to others. Many of us love making things for those whom we love. We want the article to say to them, “I love you. You’re special.”

Sometimes, especially if the recipient is far away and we have to post the card or gift, we wonder if it will really be appreciated. Will our loved one realise it is special because we made it ourselves? Or will they give it a mere glance and throw it to one side? If only we could stick ourselves in the envelope, or wrap ourselves with the gift, so that we could personally deliver the message.

Over 2,000 years ago, our Creator God did just that. He sent us a special message, He sent it with a gift, and He delivered it in person.

The message? “I love you!”

The gift? His only Son, Jesus Christ.

A few people accept The Gift, and allow Him to transform their lives. But sadly, many take one glance and reject both the gift and the message.

God’s Son was a very special person and lived a perfect life—yet He had no home of His own. His friends left Him when He needed them most. He was ridiculed, beaten, and killed in a dreadful way. Why on earth did He go through this? The Bible tells us He did it because of God’s love for us. He did it because we are special to Him.

This year, as you prepare for Christmas, think about how much God loves you. As you spend time getting your gifts “just right,” see how God works to make your life “just right” too. As you put your final touches to your gifts and step back with a sense of satisfaction, picture God’s reaction when He made you. He stood back, and He said, “They are good. They are very good.”

As you buy or make gifts in preparation for Christmas this year, remember the gift and message God sent you, and accept it with all your heart.

PRAY WITH ME?: Lord, thank you for your amazing creation. Thank you for making me a part of it. Thank you for the gifts you have given to me. Most of all, thank you for the gift of Jesus. Help me to accept that Gift, and always to remember that I am special in the eyes of my creator. Amen.

Unexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias

Unexpected Christmas Hero

What a delightful read! I hated to put it down, even to eat.

By using a young woman and her two children as the main characters, Kathi Macias immediately draws her reader into their desperate situation. I ached for them to have a warm meal, or a proper bed to sleep in. I felt quite cross with Josie at times when she turned down offers of shelter, even though I understood her point of view. I don’t think I could have been that brave. The idea of this young woman and her children curled up in her little “spot behind the cleaners” terrified me, especially with the approaching winter.

I ached for them to have a warm meal, or a proper bed to sleep in. I felt quite cross with Josie at times when she turned down offers of shelter, even though I understood her point of view. I don’t think I could have been that brave. The idea of this young woman and her children curled up in her little “spot behind the cleaners” terrified me, especially with the approaching winter.

Despite it having a Christmassy title, this is a book for all year round. As I followed the story, I became increasingly aware of the tragedy and despair of homelessness. Josie had done nothing to deserve this, and it made me realise how often this is probably the case. I will never look at a homeless person in quite the same way again.

It also made me aware of the even more helpless situation for the homeless person in South Africa, where we do not have the regular soup kitchens and shelters that are described in this book. Oh, that Unexpected Christmas Hero will come to our country so I can encourage people here to buy it. Maybe someone somewhere will catch a vision and start a new work.

The real-life miracle that occurred at the same time as the book’s release was so very exciting, and made to an even more thrilling read. For those who don’t know, the man the publishers chose for the book cover was indeed homeless. As a result of this book’s promotional material, friends of the family recognised him, and today he is reunited with his own family. This book has already brought change and transformation into the lives of many, and I believe it will continue to do so.

Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. She is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

 

Bethlehem’s Warrior Baby by Ray Hawkins

In 31 daily devotional meditations Bethlehem’s Warrior Baby takes you out of a sentimental nativity scene and into a contest with eternal significance.It walks you through God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 of Someone coming and the clues to His identity in the old Testament. You become aware that in the Christmas event that ‘Someone’ has come. read more