April ’18 Blog Train

Mug and a Book
Location:  Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  Overcast, Cool

Related imageLook!  A library book checkout card with Elvis Presley’s signature on it. Originally published in 1904, “Told By Uncle Remus” was the first of several stories about Brer Rabbit.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” —Dr. Seuss

“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” — Anne Lamott

What?  Book wisdom from both Dr. Seuss and Anne Lamott, in the same paragraph?  Yup.  It’s pretty much universal – reading is good for you.  There’s nothing better than cuddling up with a good book. Books inherently offer solitude and a temporary escape from your own story. They’re basically magic. Avid readers usually have a long history with books that often either started in the womb or shortly thereafter — thanks to parents and their incessant desire to enrich your brain. So it’s no surprise that you are at your happiest, when you’re reading.

According to library use and sales statistics, the three most read books (in order) are:
1.  The Holy Bible
2.  Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung
3.  Harry Potter.

Additionally, here are some interesting facts about reading (If you are still reading this…..)

  1. Reading about yawning makes you yawn.
  2. Books used to be shelved “backwards” with the spine facing the back of the shelf and the fore-edge facing out. The earliest books in the Library had their shelf‐marks written on their fore‐ These volumes were shelved with their fore-edges, rather than their spines, facing outwards,  with the shelf‐mark written in black ink
  3. Research now indicates that the 4- to 6-year-old age range is the sweet spot for teaching reading. Beyond the age of 6 or 7, teaching a child to read is a game of catch up.
  4. On average across the world people spend 6.5 hours a week reading.
  5. According to a study from Yale University, three-quarters of students who are poor readers in third grade will remain poor readers in high school.
  6. Dr. Seuss coined the word “nerd” in his 1950 book “If I Ran the Zoo.”
  7. It takes an average of 475 hours to write a novel.
  8. Books that were penned or conceived behind bars include Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes), Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan), De Profundis (Oscar Wilde), and The Prince (Machiavelli).
  9. Books used to be chained to the bookshelves in libraries.
  10. The ratio of customers to bookstores is highest in Nevada, Texas, and Mississippi.
  11. On the average, a bookstore browser will spend eight seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds scanning the back cover.
  12. Half of all books sold today are to people over the age of 45.
  13. Adults who read literature on a regular basis are more than two-and-a-half times as likely to do volunteer or charity work, and over one-and-a-half times as likely to participate in sporting activities.
  14. The largest advance ever paid for a self-published book? A whopping $4.125 million. Simon & Schuster paid that for Richard Paul Evans’ The Christmas Box.
  15. Women buy 68% of all books sold.
  16. The page most readers lose interest at? Page 18!
  17. A glimpse into the NASA library reveals astronauts’ preferred reading includes A Tale of Two Citiesby Charles Dickens, 20,000 Leagues under the Seaby Jules Verne, and London Bridges by James Patterson.
  18. The longest reading aloud marathon by a team lasted 224 hours and was completed by Milton Nan, Silvina Carbone, Carlos Antón, Edit Díaz, Yolanda Baptista and Natalie Dantaz (all Uruguay) at Mac Center Shopping, Paysandú, Uruguay between September 13-22, 2007.
  19. The Penguin paperback was created to make books as affordable as cigarettes, and the first Penguin paperbacks were distributed from a church crypt.
  20. Nancy Pearl, in addition to being the most famous librarian in the world, is also now the only librarian to have an action figure created in her likeness.
  21. Studies have shown that American children who learn to read by the third grade are less likely to end up in prison, drop out of school, or take drugs.
  22. The 1930’s reading primer series Fun with Dick and Janeby Dr. William S. Gray is rumored to be plagiarized from Sir Fred Schonell’s similar Dick and Dora readers, found in his Happy Venture Playbooks.
  23. It is estimated that limited literacy skills cost business and taxpayers $20 billion in lost wages, profits, and productivity annually.

(Source:  helloGiggles.com)

So you guessed it – The theme for this month over at Pixelscrapper is about reading.  The theme is “Mug and a Book”.  I love reading – I read every evening before I go to bed.   Yet I found it hard to design a scrapping kit around the theme.  So, as usual, it is a scattered bunch of designs and I am hopeful that you will find something useful to you.  Visit the other designer kits here:  All are free to download, but each designer has their own terms of use.

My designs are free to use, including commercial use.  I only ask that you do a kindness for someone else in a quiet and loving way.

Color Palette

PSAPR2018_Mug-and-a-Book_Books
DOWNLOAD BOOK COVERS

PSAPR2018_Mug-and-a-Book_elements
DOWNLOAD ELEMENTS

PSAPR2018_Mug-and-a-Book_jornal-cards
DOWNLOAD JOURNAL CARDS

PSAPR2018_Mug-and-a-Book_papers
DOWNLOAD PAPERS # 1
DOWNLOAD PAPERS # 2

I wish you a really terrific month of April,  I will have another free kit coming out in a few weeks, so if you haven’t signed up for an email alert, it’s an easy way to be aware when new downloads become available.

Easter Blessings to you!

Sunny
therushranch@gmail.com

 

March ’18 Challenges

Peaceful In My Soul
Location:  Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  Snow/rain
Listening to:  Soundscapes

The rains of the season splash against my windows.  The crockpot simmers with the inviting scents of homemade stew.  Today it is peaceful in my soul. It reminds me of the lyrics of  “Peace in My Soul”,  by Jermaine Edwards:

“There’s a peace in my soul when I’m with You
There’s a peace in my soul when my spirit is in tune
You’re my Master and I’m not a slave to sin anymore
There’s a peace running deep in my soul. 

In Your will, that’s my strength when I’m with You
Just can’t stop getting closer to You
When my mind now renewed and conformed to the image of You
There’s a peace running deep in my soul.

My spirit bears witness that I’m a child of a King
And I’m sorry I just can’t walk the way I used to
Say the things I used to do I just can’t do them no more
There’s a peace running deep from my soul.”

At the Rush Ranch, things march forward in March.  Moving the clocks forward (I hate that).  Changing vehicle snow tires to summer tires.  Cleaning out flower beds, and trimming trees.  Cleaning out the horse barn, and repairing the fencing line.  The usual.  New birds show up everyday  with the promise of spring.  Red-winged blackbirds and Kittyhawks have arrived just this week.  It will be another month before I begin looking for hummingbirds. I wait, some days with my nose pressed against the windowpane, for spring.  Glorious SPRING!

I have two downloads for you today.  Both were Designer Challenges at Pixelscrapper.  One theme was on birds, and the other was on “The Letter J”.

I don’t draw birds well, so I just used antique bird paintings to make journal cards with – and then I did make one bird with a swirly tail and carrying a beaded chain. Sort of a whimsical peep.  The journal cards are 3inX4in. You can see and download the other designer kits here.

The “Letter J” challenge required several things, such as jade, something jagged, something joyful, jewelry, etc.  It was a rather enjoyable challenge.   You can see and download the other designer kits here.

As always, these are free to download and are CU for CU friendly.  Use as you wish, and in return, please do a kindness for another.

PSMar2018_spring-birds_cu
DOWNLOAD BIRDS

PSMAR2018_letter-J-preview_cu
DOWNLOAD LETTER J – ELEMENTS

DOWNLOAD LETTER J – PAPERS

Thank you for visiting my humble blog, and I look forward to providing you with another Blog Train kit on April 1st!

Sunny
therushranch@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

March ’18 Blog Train

Love Knows No Borders
Location:  Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  Snow, Cold

Parkland, Florida.  It is difficult to see any wisdom in current events.  Yes, difficult to see how we can glue all the broken pieces back together again.  I’m not talking about politics, democrat or republican.  I’m talking about human values.  Our nation’s heart for each other.  At the very least, I wish that we lived in a world where all children are safe, healthy, fed, clothed, educated and nurtured. My husband is a direct descendent of Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the United States Declaration of Independence. I wonder what the signers would think today – have we been good stewards of their hopes and dreams?

So, I focus.  I focus on local things.  Making a difference in my church, neighborhood, in my hometown.  It’s hard to see how letting someone else go in front of me in line at the grocery store can make any ripple of goodness throughout the state, country, world – but I keep on believing it is so – I keep on keeping on.  It is because I know the ending to this story – I do!  I know how it all ends.  They lived happily ever after.  It’s true.  I quote the Message bible:  I Colossians 1:18-20

“He was supreme in the beginning and – leading the resurrection parade – he is supreme in the end.  From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything.  Everyone.  So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding.  Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe – people and things, animals and atoms – get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.”

Keep the faith.

Although the title of this month’s Blog Train was “Love Knows no Borders“, I misread it to be “Bounds“.  It means the same in the long run, but I wanted you to know of the title difference.

“Love knows no reason, no boundaries, no distance. It has a sole intention of bring people together to a time called forever.” (unknown author)

As always, my designs are free to use however you wish, including for commercial use.  All I ask in return is that you pass along a kindness to another.  You can find all the other designer’s blog hop kits at Pixelscrapper.

PSMar2018_Blog-Train_PapersPSMar2018_Blog-Train_Papers_Watercolors
Two paper previews, but both are in one download:
Papers Download

PSMar2018_Blog-Train_journal-cards

Journal Cards Download

PSMar2018_Blog-Train_elements_clusters
Two Elements previews, but both are in one download:
Elements Download

Below is a special challenge that I did for Pixelscrapper Designer Forum,  designing clusters for Spring.  Your can download my clusters here.

PSMar2018_spring-clusters_cu

Sign up for email alerts, to be notified of future releases.
Thank you for your kind words over the past year.  Together, we can make a difference.  May you be blessed beyond measure.

Sunny
therushranch@gmail.com

 

Free Downloads – February 2018

Black, White and Read All Over
Location:  Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  51F, cloudy

Spring is in the distance, but has not yet visited our valley.  The coat of many colors in the valley floor is a reflection of remnants from a tired winter.  Colors of emerald and chartreuse are trying their best to weave their way through the dark, brown earth.   I love how the valley changes with the seasons.
grande_ronde_beamsLife around the ranch is as busy as ever.  I have asked my husband to plan a few getaways for us this spring and summer.  I need to see the sea.  I need to close my eyes and hear (and feel) the sound of the surf and seagulls.  I need to feel the breeze against my face, and the sand beneath my feet.  I need to let it all in, and let it blow away the dust and dull of winter greys.
Related image
I am all at once focused and then again wandering amidst  thoughts of where I need to be in this world, and what I need to be doing.  My dear husband and I have been talking to the local Food Bank, as we consider our volunteering options. I must take into consideration my ability to handle the emotional aspect of dealing with people that find themselves in stressful situations – I tend to be too overly emotional about children in sad situations, and know that my heart would break at every story. Tears will fall down my face and dry there, time and again.  But perhaps that is what we need, what is human about us, to feel another’s broken heart and reach out with compassion and respect.  Perhaps we are meant to have our hearts broken daily, to encourage each other, to be the light for one another.  I have no answers, I simply move through each day and hope that I am getting at least 10% of my actions right.

I participated in two small challenges at Pixelscrapper.  The first one was to design 3 items for commercial use, using a Mardi Gras theme.  The second was called “Black, White and Read All Over”, and challenged us to use newsprint in our designs.  We were to use a limited number of colors, mainly black, white and green, with another color of our choice – I chose red.  Then we could use a neutral color to round it out.  Well, you know me and color; I never seem to get it right.  So, I simply offer my results and hopefully you can find something that you can use.

PSFeb2018_mardi-gras_cu

Download Mardi Gras

PSFeb2018_black-white-read_papers_cu

Download Papers

PSFeb2018_black-white-read_elements_cu

Download Elements

I most likely will not have another download until the Blog Train on March 1st.  Sign up for email alerts if you wish to be notified of a download.

Have a great February,

Sunny
therushranch@gmail.com

February ’18 – Blog Train

Enjoy Each Moment
Location – The Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  37F, sleet

It is Wednesday, early morning.  Still and dark outside. Strong winds rush across the valley below.   Princess Daisy the calico sits beside me, delicately cleaning her mittens after her royal breakfast. She will soon head back to bed and purr herself to sleep, tummy full.  I am up early, because my mind is full.  Full of many emotions, many prayers.

You see, my friend Darlene has been moved into Hospice this week.  She has been a brave and courageous warrior in the fight against breast cancer this past year.  Always smiling her way through it all.  One of those folks that you love immediately upon first contact.  The smile.  The laugh.  The love freely given.

And I wonder, as I sit here in the darkness, why her and not me?  Why was my life saved, as hers slips away?  And perhaps, just perhaps, the reason I am here is to tell you about the miracle that I experienced during my cancer journey.  So, if you’ve a mind to sit with me for a bit and hear me out, let’s do this for Darlene.

I had been diagnosed with one of the worst breast cancer types – as if you could classify ANY of them good.  It was invasive, rather than in lumps.  It was also called “triple negative”, because my cancer cells were not the type to be affected by the various hormone drugs – they had no “receptors” that could be used to kill the cells.  My husband was frightened, yet I was calm.  I had gone into “warrior mode”, working the solution.  I could have left our mountain to travel to the big city to intake to MD Anderson, or Cancer Centers of America – but I just felt the Lord telling me to trust him.  I could do this, close to home.  And that is what I did.  I trusted him every step of the way, partnering with my “small-town country doctor”.

The miracle happened on the day of my surgery – a double mastectomy.   I woke up early and before I even got out of bed, I started to pray.  I prayed for the Lord to give my doctor the wisdom he needed to work my case.  To bless his hands with knowledge in the surgery room.  There were other things I must have prayed for, but what I most remember is, the moment that I prayed for myself, I was hit by a bolt of electricity.  That’s the only thing that I can compare it to.  It wasn’t painful, but there was that definite feeling of a current of electricity passing from my right shoulder, down to my left hip.  It lasted less than a minute, but I knew that something special had happened.   In surgery that morning, my surgeon found my invasive cancer cells that had previously been scattered throughout  my breasts and most likely my body, was now in one lump.  And easily removed.  My miracle.  HIS miracle.  And one of many that kept occurring throughout my journey.  What an awesome God!

So thank you for listening.  Just – well, Thank you.  For being here.  For hearing the name of Darlene ringing out in your ears and perhaps your heart.  Bless the coming and going of her.   Had I known that the cancer was moving so swiftly in her, I would have made my kit a bit special this month just for her, celebrating her exuberant life.  A kit with poetry, beauty, smiles and warmth.  Generosity and serenity.  Celebrating the volunteer that freely gave for years and years of service, honoring those around her.  We are all better for knowing her.  Yes, bless the coming and going of her.

Launching my part of the February Blog Train, at Pixelscrapper.  I have a habit of not using the entire palette and blending the colors that bring about different shades.  But if you check out the other Pixescrapper Blog Train designer kits you will find that they have faithfully stayed with the colors of the month.
37948168471_6fcb9b5501_o

My designs are available for commercial use, I only ask that you try and pass along a kindness to someone else in exchange.

The elements have three previews below, but there is only one download necessary for them.

PSFeb2018_enjoy-each-moment_watercolor-papers

Download # 1 Papers
Download # 2 Papers
Download #3 Papers
Download # 4 Papers

PSFeb2018_enjoy-each-moment_elements-1PSFeb2018_enjoy-each-moment_elements-2PSFeb2018_enjoy-each-moment_elements-3

Download Elements

PSFeb2018_enjoy-each-moment_journal-cards

Download Journal Cards

Thank you for stopping by!  Sign up for email notifications if you want an alert when I release new designs.  Have a fantastic week.

Sunny
therushranch@gmail.com

Free Download – Valentine’s Day

Monthly CU Designer Challenge
Location – Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  49F, Sun
Listening to:  Beautiful silence

The sun was shining today, after days of rain and overcast skies.  I sat at the window of a drugstore diner, watching the world go by.  Two children were playing on the lawn over at the Library.  One boy did a standing somersault, not once but twice!  I was very impressed. It took my mind off the two gentlemen that were sitting at the soda fountain, discussing politics.  My husband and I would give each other an occasional shake of our heads as differing political points were made – I hope that they soon resolve all of the world’s problems, because their soup was getting cold.  There was a big black dog in the truck parked along the curb.  He would bark occasionally at the vehicles driving by – but only if they were pickups.  Apparently, being locked up in a pickup at lunch time did not endear one to pickups, in general.

The warmth of the day gives me a false sense of spring – I yearn to fill pots and planters with new starts;  I yearn for the full measure of Mother Nature’s color palette.  But alas, it is months away.  I patiently wait, with mail order seed catalogs spread out across my coffee table.

Over at Pixelscrapper, the monthly Designer Challenge for Commercial Use products was “Valentine’s Day”.  We were tasked with making from one to three items for commercial use.  I made several more than that, but this is not a complete kit – it is something put together rather quickly, in order to participate in the challenge.  I am not too fond of the papers, so I won’t take it personally if you aren’t, either!  The color palette for this year’s CU challenges has been jazzed up with some bright colors of red, green, turquoise, yellow, and orange.  Much more enjoyable to work with.

I hope that you find something here that you can use in your own designs.

rushranch_-valentine's-day-2018_elements_cu

DOWNLOAD ELEMENTS
DOWNLOAD PAPERS

I have a monthly calendar, a weekly page and a note page made for another challenge.  All are in US size 8.5″x11″.  Each have a download of both black and white, and color.

display-journal-pagedisplay_calender_cu

display_weekly_cu

Download Note Page

Download Calendar

Download Weekly

It’s a busy month for me, but my husband and I are taking some time out of our busy schedule in order to have a date night at the movies.  I have been wanting to see “The Greatest Showman”, so I hope that it is an enjoyable movie.  Popcorn and hand-holding are much in order!

By the way, take the time to tell each one of your family how much you love and appreciate them.  One of my friends just lost two of her dear family due to a car accident – one a child!  Don’t wait to say the things that you need to.  And all of those things that you have been wanting to do?  You should go do them.

Sunny
therushranch@gmail.com

 

January ’18 Blog Hop – Treasured

Treasured
Location:  Rush Ranch – Eastern Oregon
Wx:  Snow, cold
Status:  Busy!

A new year lies before us like a book, waiting to be written.  Another opportunity to “get it right”.  Ever hopeful, ever forward, even in the midst of crazy and/or cool moments, we bring along our knowledge and experience of the past into our future. What could possibly go wrong, right?  Cough.  It usually DOES go wrong at just the worst possible moment……..But we can do this.  Let’s make the best of it. Let’s give it a good go of making better decisions.  Of loving who we are.  Remember, your smile is your logo.  Your personality is your business card.  And how you leave others feeling after an experience with you is your trademark.  And what a wonderful thought that the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet!  GAHHHHH!

And if you are considering establishing new resolutions for the year, take a look at these wise words from a woman from a religious denomination other than mine – but of like-mind:

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, manicured fingernails.  I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking the kids to scout camp.  I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children.  I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.  I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.” – Majorie Hinkley.

I don’t do resolutions, but Mrs. Hinkley sure has a way with words!  And, a remarkable way with kindness.

I am crazy/busy at the moment.  As the new Church Treasurer, January is going to be a very busy month for me:
1.  Balance 2017 4th qtr books.
2.  Prepare 2017 (final) Annual Report for the Board
3.  Prepare 2018 Budget for the Board
4.  File W-2 employer form with IRS before 1/30 – (Pastor wages)
5.  Prepare and distribute 2017 record of donations to each parishioner
6.  Prepare church 990 IRS form for filing
7.  Box up 2017 files and start new 2018 files
8.  Update procedures in my “Standard Operating Procedures” handbook for the Treasurer, with January tax duties – it will be my first time, so I know that there will things that pop up unexpectedly, and I will need to document it all so that I don’t make the same mistake(s) next year.
9.  I’m sure that I have forgotten something – but perhaps I will be better at saying “No” in the future when asked to volunteer for duties……..But I really can’t say no –   Jesus didn’t say no when he gave his life for me.  I remember HIM every time I feel tired or weary from my volunteer things.  So, onward.

The blog hop theme over at Pixelscrapper is “Treasured”.  You will find many other interpretations of that theme over at the official Blog Hop site, and I encourage you to visit and download all of the other free kits.  The talent of the other designers is really awesome.

My kit is CU friendly.  You know the routine by now, all my designs are free.  I simply ask that you show a kindness to a stranger, in return.

PSJan2018_treasured_elements_cuDownload Elements

PSJan2018_treasured_papers_cuDownload Papers

PSJan2018_treasured_journal-cards_cuDownload Journal Cards

Additionally, I have included a download of four treasure pieces.  They are in a separate download because they do not meet the minimum design standards.  I did not scan these images at the minimum of 300 DPI – they are images from the internet, and they were trimmed, sharpened, and enhanced with beads or other small things.  Therefore, they are not sharp and clear, nor are the edges sharp and defined.  I offer them only as an additional enhancement to your work, if clarity is not a consideration. The two round ones are museum pieces from the 9th century, the bottom right one is called the “Strickland Brooch”, and is at the British museum.  I have added the blue beads to it.

PSJan2018_treasured_ornaments
Download Treasures

Thank you for your kind words this past year – I am truly blessed beyond measure. And in return, I wish YOU many blessings in the coming new year –

Sunny
therushranch@gmail.com