Friday, May 3, 2019

"The Love of God" Reclaimed Wood Art


It's one of my favorite hymns, "The Love of God" written by Frederick M. Lehman.



The love of God is greater far
  Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
  And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
  God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
  And pardoned from his sin.



I love reading the history of how these rich hymns steeped in Scripture came to be.  It seems there is a story behind almost every one and this one is no exception.

 Lehman was a California businessman who lost everything through business reverses. He was forced to spend his working hours in manual labor, working in a Pasadena packing house packing oranges and lemons into wooden crates. Frederick was a Christian who did not allow his circumstances to define his faith in the Lord. One Sunday he heard a sermon on the love of God. He was so moved that he could hardly sleep. The next morning, the thrill of the previous evening had not left him. As he drove to the packing house, the makings of a song began to come together in his head, with God’s love as the theme. 



Throughout the day, as he packed oranges and lemons, the words continued to flow. There are varying accounts of how he chose to pen the words but regardless, he was so moved by the love of God even in the midst of these circumstances that he wrote the first two verses of the song and composed the music to go along with it.

The second verse says:

When hoary time shall pass away,
  And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;
When men who here refuse to pray,
  On rocks and hills and mountains call;
God’s love, so sure, shall still endure,
  All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
  The saints’ and angels’ song.

However, Lehman was 'stuck' when it came to creating a third stanza. . . until he remembered a poem someone had given him before.  He found it was the perfect third verse to his song!  (This is my favorite verse and the one I used for this project!)



Could we with ink the ocean fill,
  And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
  And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
  Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
  Though stretched from sky to sky.

Now for the even 'cooler' part . . . the origin of that poem.


It is not known if this rabbi was a follower of Messiah but either way, it's apparent that God moved him to write this poem knowing it would be the perfect fit to Frederick Lehman's hymn, "The Love of God".  It's said that workers went into his cell to paint the walls after his death and found these words.  Being moved by them, they copied them down before painting over them!  Praise God they did!


A friend gave me a  bunch of these old tongue-and-groove wood siding pieces.  They were perfect for this project. A white wash, and they were ready for the words.


Traced onto the wood using graphite paper underneath, they're ready for painting.


The painting isn't perfect but I sand lightly, which helps to hide 'flaws'.  However, some flaws need fixed like this "r" that went haywire. Easy . . . a little sanding removes the "oops" and then you're ready to paint.



I used some of my favorite stamps (love that 'water mark ring') and some random 'splotch' mark stamps to weather this a bit more.


I added a piece of 1/4" plywood on the back with nails to secure all of the pieces together. You could use any scrap wood for this project!  This is now hanging in my office at the church where I work.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
  How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.

AMEN!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Cleaning Blinds - Quick and Easy!


Cleaning is not really my first activity choice on any given day.  And cleaning blinds . . . uggggg.  Hate it.  And as you can see . . . it's not something I do as often as I should.  Here you can see where I wiped away a spot of grime . . . yeah, they were bad.


I was looking on Pinterest (when I SHOULD have been doing something more productive) and saw this post from The Intentional Mom on cleaning blinds.  I decided to give it a try.  I tweaked a little bit by using Dawn in my water.  SO, all you need is a few old socks, some Dawn and a sink or bucket of hot, soapy water.


Wet your cleaning sock puppet in the water, add a tiny drop of Dawn and squeeze to distribute (You don't want your sock TOO soapy . . . just a tiny bit to help remove grime.)


You can clean the top and bottom all at once.  I started with the blinds straight open to easily clean both sides.  Depending on how dirty the blinds are, you can do a section, go rinse your sock puppet and begin fresh.


EEEEEW!  This was after about 1/3 of a blind!  Just take the sock, rinse, add some Dawn to clean it and start again with the same sock.


Once you've cleaned the whole blind, close it in one directions and go over it with a clean, rinsed sock to pick up any stray gunk.  Close it in the other direction and do the same.


And if you have a cute puppy, of course let them have fun by trying to grab the socks while you're working.  

Does anyone do "spring cleaning" any more??  My mom did (and fall cleaning).  I remember her taking down all of the drapes, curtains, blinds and washing them all or replacing them with seasonal window treatments.  She washed the WALLS, BASEBOARDS, and scrubbed everything top to bottom.  She also ironed sheets.  I did not inherit this gene.

What's your favorite cleaning 'tip'?  


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

How to Age Clay Pots



I wanted to make some little gifts for the Sunday school teachers who serve with me and thought a little flower or plant would be perfect for Easter.  I found these lovely Viola plants at our local nursery and some cute little terra cotta pots at the dollar store (3/1.00).  The pots were way too "new" looking so I decided to 'age' them.


I didn't really have a plan so I just looked online at "old" clay pots and tried to duplicate some of the features.  I started with what I had on hand which was a tub of joint compound that will probably never been used for 'joints'!  By dabbing this on with a piece of towel, I thought this was a good start. I would think you could use things like spackle or other 'construction' compounds too.


After the joint compound dried, I mixed some green, white and dark brown paints sponging on in random places with another piece of towel to give them a dirty, mossy look.


Next I decided I wanted to 'mute' the colors so I used sandpaper to go over certain areas to blend it together.  


Here's the finished product!  Now, IF I were going to actually use these outside (and if I make bigger ones to use outside), I would seal these because the joint compound and paints would probably wash off after time.  


The pots are ready for their little flowers!


I love how these turned out . . . no two are the same.
The nice thing is . . . you can't mess these up! If you don't like the look, just go back with more white paint to lighten areas, more joint compound, more sanding . . .


To finish off the gifts, I added some green, shredded paper to a little bag, put the pot in and tied with a ribbon and this tag.  I'm including little boxes of chocolate too :)

I have to share these photos before I go.  Two days ago it was of course, Palm Sunday . . . and we got a record-breaking snowstorm!  This is what it looked like when we came out of church as my husband began cleaning off the car!

Those who know me, know that after March, I do NOT wear anything related to cold weather, including boots.  No. Matter. What.


Now . . . I took THIS picture TODAY . . . just two days later.


It's true what they say: If you don't like the weather in Chicago, just wait a day and it'll change!

Have a wonderful Resurrection Sunday!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

EASY Fabric Flowers


When making a collar for a friend's dog, I wanted to add a fabric flower.  After playing around with some different ideas, I came up with this simple method.

Here's what you'll need:

Cotton fabric (To make 8 flowers I used 6 pieces of fabric, each 1/8 yard)
Pinking Shears (probably NOT a must but you'll get more fraying . . . which is what you want, with pinked edges)
Fabric scissors
Two sizes of circle patterns


You can use one fabric or several.  Find something for your pattern.  I used this plastic container's TOP edge for the larger circles and the BOTTOM edge for the smaller ones.  You can make these as big as you want though.  Cut 7-8 large and 7-8 small in any combination of fabrics. Layer your large pieces and then top with your small pieces.

I have to say that this part is a bit tedious with all the cutting so you definitely need sharp pinking shears or fabric scissors.  I just sat and watched a movie while I cut!


I have to say that I spent too much time making sure the pieces were in a repeating pattern.  Once the flowers are finished, I don't think it really shows or matters that the patterns were in a certain order.  Once you have your circles stacked (7-8 large topped with 7-8 small), stitch through all pieces in the center.


Now the fun part.  Wet each flower and crumple, crunch and smoosh into balls then . . . toss in the dryer.  They will come out like the center picture with frayed edges.  Next, dampen them (don't soak them this time or they'll take days to dry).  Gather them up and rubber band as shown in last picture.  Let them sit out to dry (overnight).


The next morning you can unwrap them and this is what you'll have!  I scrunched and wadded them up and peeled back each 'petal', fluffed and scrunched a bit more.


Just play around with them until you are satisfied with the look and amount of fraying.


I just placed these around my different Easter vignettes for a pop of color and softness.


I'm thinking these would make pretty hair accessories for a little (or big girl!) or a brooch.  I'm thinking of making some for a summer robe I'm making.  Lots of possibilities.

We are finally enjoying REAL springtime here in the Midwest! Hoping it's the same wherever you are!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

He Is Risen Easter Signs



I know  . . . you're thinking, wait, that looks like CHRISTMAS.  It is.  I used the reverse side of these same boards and painted them for EASTER.  It's a great way to get double duty out of your decorations when you do this!

It's a simple process.  I have a bunch of reclaimed fence boards I use for these projects.  A light coat of white chalk paint and sanding and they're ready.


I print the words out on paper playing with the size and font. Since you're going to paint these, you want to keep the font simple and clean.  


I highly recommend getting a roll of graphite paper.  I have this box for years.  You can use one piece of paper over and over and over.  It looks like a box of plastic wrap or foil and I got mine at an art supply store.  I put a piece under my paper and using a pen, trace the letters out onto the board.


You'll get a faint outline that is now ready to be painted.


I use a fine, round tip brush which I also highly recommend. This one was only about 8.00 and again, I've had it for years.  Important Tip:  I put a little bit of acrylic paint in a lid and have a lid of water.  Dip the tip of the brush in the water FIRST and then into the paint.  This makes the paint go on SO much easier and smoother!


Here is is painted and ready for a little distressing.


Carefully and using a very fine sandpaper, rub gently to get this distressed look (if that's the look you want).


Here are some more of my Easter/Spring decorations.  



I always have fun decorating this 'ledge' in the living room.


This year I decorated my ladder with a few of my mom's Easter hats and her hankies.  Remember the days when ladies wore their Easter hats to church on Easter Sunday? 


Hopefully it's beginning to feel like spring for all of us! I think it's ALMOST safe to put the snow shovels away . . .