Monday, September 26, 2011

Encouraging Words

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. (John 1)

God gave us words, He wrote stories, and He gives us the creative ability and drive to do the same. I heard a statistic at the ACFW Conference this past week. Eighty percent of our moral values come from stories - either our own or ones we have been told. It is a powerful motivation to write.

Here are few snapshots of the conference:

General Session starts with worship songs

Me, Kellie Coates Gilbert and Patricia Carroll. We all met in Texas last February, and it was great to reconnect. Watch for Kellie's "Mother of Pearl" coming in 2012.

A few more writing friends, notably Lynne Gentry (purple top) who wrote "Reinventing Leona". She and Kellie caught me after a hard moment and were God's words of encouragement to me.

Yep...that's me with the amazing Liz Curtis Higgs who, when I stuck out my hand in the bookstore and said, "I'm such a huge fan," was kind enough not to laugh at me. And then, when I asked if she would be willing to take a proof picture, leaned over and smiled big. What a thrill!

And another proof picture with Tracie Peterson. Her gracious, humble spirit is an inspiration to everyone who is lucky enough to meet her. She won the Lifetime Achievement Award this night. She has published ninety-five novels to the glory of God.

And a last proof picture with the woman who got Christian fiction going, Carol Johnson. The ACFW now gives "Carol Awards" in her honor. It was a true honor to be able to thank her for getting Christian fiction into the publishing mainstream.

A couple of Romantic Suspense writers who can kill you six different ways from Sunday and get away with it. Ronie Kendig (L) writes military thrillers that deal with PTSD, and Kimberley Woodhouse who sets her stories in Alaska and still makes you sweat.

I did not get the "Rich and Famous" contract offered to me, but I did learn a great deal, made some wonderful new friends, and am ready to get down into the nitty-gritty of learning this craft.

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CAS Christmas

Doesn't get much more simple than this, and yet it has an elegance I love.

The bottom is not a black border but a shadow.

All supplies are CTMH. I used New England Ivy, Cranberry and Black ink with the "A Holiday" stamp set.

I am entering this in the Less is More Anything Goes challenge. With their thousandth follower, they are attempting to get 1000 cards. I am also entering it at Simplicity by Late Blossom - One Layer challenge.

 I'm not sure if this will end up being my Christmas card for the year. My brain has been spinning with all the options, so I'm doing some test runs on possibilities.

Until next time,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Welcome New Friends

Tonight we are welcoming the new Commander's wife and other spouses of the new command team. I'm not sure what the Army protocol is for an incoming Commander's wife (I even looked it up in the Army etiquette book to see if it had any helpful hints - it didn't), but I wanted to take a small gift.

I think it would have been really fun to weave a ribbon through the spaces created when I stamped the border from the new CTMH "Snowflakes" stamp set (D1480), especially if I could have made the ribbon follow the same scalloped pattern as the stamp. Alas, I need to make several of these in a short amount of time, so it's basics only.

The challenge over at Heart 2 Heart this week is three colors of cardstock only - no patterned paper. I love the simplicity of a challenge like that, which is why I'm also entering this in the Less is More "Anything Goes" challenge. However, in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I stamp-lifted this card directly from Laugh a Daisy.

All supplies are CTMH. The scalloped circle was cut using the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge (1.75" for the white, 2" for the Cocoa) and stamped with the "Connections" set (D1330). I stamped the sentiment using "Say it in Style" (D1283). Colors used are white, Juniper and Cocoa. In order to remember what size I used when I stamped the circle, I wrote it with a Sharpie directly on my carrier sheet. Many of the sets released prior to the Art Philosophy cartridge can be used in conjunction with it, so I'm trying to make sure I update each carrier sheet as I go along.

Two more days before I leave for the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference. Wish me luck!

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Autumn Chowder

This is the recipe I pull out every time the weather turns to signal the start of fall, my favorite season. It comes from a church cookbook which was given to me when my husband and I were missionaries. I keep the whole book for this one recipe.

Here's it is:

1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 C. water
2 t. chicken bullion
2 1/2 C. potatoes, diced
1 C. carrots, sliced (or not - see below)
4 C. milk
16 oz. frozen corn kernels (or canned corn, drained)
1/2 t. pepper (to taste)
16 oz. Velveeta cheese (which I found by the chips and salsa, not in the refrigerated section. Hmmm.)
3 T. flour

Fry bacon until crisp in a large soup kettle. Add onions and brown until onions are almost clear. Add water, bullion, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes until potatoes and carrots are cooked. (I use the baby carrots and don't slice them. I think the chowder looks better with large chunks of color. It has nothing to do with being too lazy to slice them. Really!) While the soup is simmering, prepare the Velveeta by cutting it into 1/2 inch cubes and coating them with the flour. (I put the flour in the bottom of a med. size bowl and, as I cube the cheese, I drop them into the flour and toss them around until they coat. You want each cube of cheese to be on its own.) When the potatoes and carrots are tender, stir in milk, corn and pepper. Turn the heat back up, and when the soup is hot again, drop cheese cubes one at a time, stirring constantly.

This is delicious as a meal served with a hunk of crusty bread and green salad. It sure ain't diet, but it sure is GOOD!

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Texas-sized Thanks

Last February when I attended the writer's conference, I met a wonderful lady from Texas. She did me a huge favor last week as I'm preparing for the national American Christian Fiction Writer's conference, so I am thanking her with a huge card. I think I may have to hand-carry this one onto the plane.

The roses and leaves were created using the new Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge, so I'm entering it in this week's Heart 2 Heart challenge.

All products are CTMH, although the only current things are the "Pair-A-Phrase" stamp set (butterflies, green swirly vines, and the "friend" part of the sentiment) and the Art Philosophy cartridge. I also must give credit where it is due. I completely stamp-lifted this card from Stop and Stamp the Roses. I tried to find the link for the actual post but couldn't. Sorry...go browse!

Now isn't that brown fluffy ribbon adorable? My husband should NEVER leave me alone in Hobby Lobby with extra time and a little extra cash in my pockets. I need more ribbon like a hole in the head, but...yeah. So stinkin' cute! (Shhh, don't tell him, but I got some in pink and red, too.)

One more week to put the final touches on my first three chapters to present to editors and agents. I took them to my writing group tonight and they liked the story. They laughed in the right places, got the heeby-jeebies in the right places, and yelled at me for not having more done. Can't ask for much better than that. However, they are my friends rather than acquisition editors. I'll let you know what the editors/agents have to say in a couple weeks.

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Favorite Color Combination

Over at Heart 2 Heart, the challenge this week is your personal favorite color combination. Pink and Black is just so classic. And, combined with the touch of lavender as part of this discontinued paper pack, LOVE it.

I was able to complete five cards in record time by using my Art Philosophy cartridge and coordinating stamps. Using the measurements on the carrier sheet, I pre-cut several labels and flower shapes (though I messed up the flower and cut it one quarter inch too small, but it still works okay). I then black labels a quarter inch larger.
The edges of the label stretched longer, but I actually like the look. I glued the pink label to the black backing and then cut it in half to create a tab.

The popped up flower was tissue stamped with both pink and purple. I had a flub in the very middle, so I stamped another one and cut out the center. Nice when a covered up flub looks better than what you originally had planned.

I found the little sparkle stuck to my finger. Not sure where it came from, but bling is always good, too.

Until next time,