DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles

Well hey, friends!

This was a super busy weekend as I wrapped up the summer and my first course for my master’s degree! My brain was pretty tired after writing and proofreading my final project, which means it was time for a mindless but super rewarding décor craft. Are you ready for this thing?

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

GUYS. I have been eyeballing these book page wreaths since my friend Jaime made TWO: one for a baby shower (made with the pages of Little Women), and another for her home (made with a hymnal). Jaime has a lovely and sweet blog called Hatcher Homemade that you have to check out! After seeing her book page wreaths, I decided I had to have one.

As a former English major, I wanted to use a book that was meaningful to me. If you know anything about me at all, it’s probably that I love Harry Potter. I grew up reading those books; they epitomize my childhood. I’ve been to two Potter conventions and have a whole friend group – arguably my most enduring friendships – who I met due to our mutual love for the series.

Needless to say, I figured Harry Potter would be a good choice for this wreath.

Between Chris and me, we have multiple copies of the complete series of Harry Potter, but there was no chance I was going to tear up one of those. Instead, I got my hands on a used, slightly battered copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. That installment is pretty significant to me because it was the first book I really anticipated. I faked sick the weekend it was being released so I wouldn’t have to go on a family camping trip; I knew if I stayed with my grandma, she’d take me when the morning came to get my brand-spanking-new copy. I toted it around summer camp that July, prideful because it was easily the fattest book I had ever read. I read and re-read it; it never gets old.

DIY Book Page Wreath made out of a Harry Potter book! // Wayward Sunflower blog

I hesitate to call this a wreath for bibliophiles because I know some would argue that, if I loved books, why would I destroy one? But let’s be real: Harry Potter books aren’t exactly an endangered species. I will admire my wreath forever.

In lieu of posting my own tutorial, since I basically synthesized directions from Restoration Beauty and Makely School for Girls, I decided to just share some pictures of the process of this lovely DIY! If you have any questions about my specific process, you can feel free to ask them in the comments.

Let’s dive right in!

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

If you want to make a Book Page Wreath like mine, you need:

  • Book
  • Wreath form (I used a 16″ one)
  • X-ACTO knife
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Mascara tube or similarly-shaped implement
  • Ribbon
  • Optional: acrylic paint and Q-tips for applying

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

I read in Restoration Beauty’s tutorial, which Jaime linked to in her blog post, that she painted the edges of her pages in order to give them an aged look. Well, she didn’t provide any instructions for this step, so I found directions on Makely Home School for Girls’s tutorial. Instead of using a paper towel, however, I used Q-tips to apply. I didn’t paint the whole book; I just estimated how many pages I would need for my wreath. (I ended up using pages 1-200, which means I needed 100 pages total. I’m happily hoarding reserving the remaining book for later projects.)

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

Then, I got to slicin’.

DIY Book Page Wreath made out of a Harry Potter book! // Wayward Sunflower blog

Okay, it was really lovely to skim these pages and remember what it was like to read them for the first time as an eleven-year-old.

DIY Book Page Wreath made out of a Harry Potter book! // Wayward Sunflower blog

DIY Book Page Wreath made out of a Harry Potter book! // Wayward Sunflower blog

My favorite tip from Restoration Beauty’s tutorial was to use a mascara tube to form the ruffles and keep your fingertips from burning off with the hot glue!

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

At this point, Chris came by to see my progress and paid some mild compliment about it looking nice. It wasn’t until later, when he got home and he saw the finished product on the wall and said, “Well that looks like a wreath!” that I learned he was worried about whether or not the project would actually turn out. Haha!

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

Alright. Are you ready for this? Because I was honestly not prepared for how gorgeous my Book Page Wreath would look on the wall above our bed.

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

DIY Book Page Wreath for Bibliophiles – Wayward Sunflower blog

And that’s all I have for you! This is a really not-too-complicated wreath to make for your home. It took me a few hours, though my progress was kind of slow because I kept stopping to take pictures. And these wreaths are even more beautiful when you pick a book that is significant to you and your family!

If you were to make a Book Page Wreath, which book would you use?

DIY Book Page Wreath made out of a Harry Potter book! // Wayward Sunflower blog

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Mini Pancake Puffs

Hey friends!

This has been a really lovely week for me. I wrapped up my first year of teaching Sunday school on Sunday, had a busy and productive workweek, spent some time with Chris and some friends, reset/reorganized my Sunday school classroom on Wednesday, and today my coworkers and I curated a seriously delicious breakfast for one another to start Friday off right.

I also started a devotional plan on the She Reads Truth app. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to download the app and start studying. The “This is the Gospel” plan has rocked my week and restored my joy in my salvation (Psalm 51:12). I honestly can’t wait to read my devo each morning and sometimes I can’t resist reading a second devo later that day. Most of you are probably wondering what rock I was living under, if I’m just now discovering She Reads Truth, and I don’t know what to tell you; I’ll blame it on willful ignorance. But anyway, if you struggle to meet God each day in a personal quiet time, and you’re a lady, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out the free She Reads Truth app and starting with “This is the Gospel”!

I just really have a lot to be thankful for, y’all.

But back to that in-office breakfast! I have such an awesome work family. We pray for and encourage one another and really, really love to fellowship over food. We like to do a little thing called Fun with Food Friday wherein we make up an excuse to bring yummy food to the office and pig out. This week, we decided to do a breakfast-themed FWFF and we killed it.

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I wanted to make my favorite breakfast dish, pancakes, but needed a more “snack” version to make it cubicle-friendly. I thought about doing some pancake pops I saw on Pinterest but I just didn’t feel like putting forth that much effort on a Thursday night when I really should be doing some homework, especially considering this is the last week of my first subterm of classes for my master’s. It dawned on me that I could probably make adorable and yummy pancakes in a muffin tin!

After prowling around Pinterest for a bit, I couldn’t find the exact recipe I was looking for: one using “complete” pancake mix (the just-add-water kind, my favorite) and a mini muffin tin. So, I made my own.

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

For my coworkers, I made 48 mini pancake puffs with a dozen each of four varieties: plain, chocolate chip, blueberry, and strawberry. If you want to make these seriously cute and easy mini pancake puffs for yourself, here’s the way how!

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

You need three cups of complete pancake mix. This is the kind with powdered egg and milk, so that you just have to add water and hydrate the mix into a batter. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

Preheat your oven to 350° and prepare two 24-count mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Baker’s Joy is my jam. This is your fair warning that these pancake puffs will stick to the pan if you don’t liberally spray your muffin tins!

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

Add two cups of water to three cups of complete pancake mix, blend out all the lumps until smooth, and you’re already halfway there.

Once you have your seriously too easy batter, divide it into four equal portions. This is optional, of course, but I wanted to have a variety of puff flavors to take to the office.

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

Go ahead and add ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips to one bowl and give it a good stir.

If you haven’t already, chop your fruit. I used frozen whole blueberries and strawberries because I’m cheap; I chopped them in my Pampered Chef food chopper because I’m lazy. Make sure you give them a fairly coarse chop; you don’t want to pulverize them.

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

Blend the blueberries into one portion of the batter and the strawberries in another. Don’t stir too much; just incorporate the fruit and leave it at that. Too much stirring and your batter will turn perfectly blue or pink and look less-than-pancakey (another reason to not obliterate your fruits while chopping).

With all your batters blended in their separate bowls, start pouring (or, in my case, scooping with a cookie scoop) the batter into the mini muffin tins. You should be able to fill twelve muffin tin cavities about ¾ full with each portion of batter.

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

Pop ’em in the oven for just ten minutes!

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

When they’re done, give them a few minutes to cool before gently working them out with a spoon. If you didn’t grease your muffin tins well enough, this will be the moment of reckoning. Let them cool on a cooling rack and try not to eat all the chocolate chip ones while the chocolate is still melty.

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

I packaged mine up in a Tupperware container to tote them to work the next morning, but I highly recommend serving them warm with your syrup of choice. Ridiculous.

Mini Pancake Puffs - Wayward Sunflower blog

Honestly, how cute are these?!

Mini Pancake Puffs (yield: 48 mini muffins)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups complete pancake mix
  • 2 cups of water
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped blueberries (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped strawberries (optional)
  • syrup for serving

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 24-count mini muffin tins.
  2. Combine complete pancake mix and water. Blend until smooth.
  3. Optional step: Divide pancake batter into four even portions. Stir mini chocolate chips into the first portion, blueberries into the second, and strawberries into the third. Leave the fourth portion plain.
  4. Pour pancake batter into mini muffin tins; fill each cavity approximately ¾ full.
  5. Bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Carefully each puff with a spoon and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  6. Serve warm with syrup.

A Goodbye Letter to My First Sunday School Class

This year, I taught my very first Sunday school class. I had a class of third graders, averaging about 12-15 kids per week. Most of the roster were boys, though the girls in the class were outspoken enough to even out the demographics. Each of them was challenging, and clever, and surprising.

Today was the final Sunday with this class before they are promoted to fourth grade classes next week. My co-teacher taught the final lesson, so I was able to sit back and observe and reflect on the year. Here is my goodbye letter to the kids who God used to reveal His guiding plan for my life.

Dear Third Grade B,

Today was our last Sunday together! I’ll still see you at Awana and in the halls on the way to children’s church, and hopefully some of you will be in my VBS class next summer. But this year in Sunday school will always be my favorite.

Thank you for always being willing to help, for each time you eagerly asked to be the one to pass out the pencils, and for collecting the markers with fervor.

Thank you for obligingly reciting the memory verses (I fully acknowledge you mostly did it for the candy). Thank you for loving my Reward Board idea and not destroying it (much) as the year wore on. Thank you for not complaining (much) when you didn’t get the exact piece of candy you wanted. Thank you for all the jokes and puns you shared.

Thank you for the cards you made for me when I had to miss a Sunday for my grandmother’s funeral. Thank you for your prayer requests for your sisters and brothers and parents and grandparents and friends at school; you have compassion and no trouble believing that prayer works.

Thank you for excitedly telling me about what you did last week, each week. I know more about Minecraft, Frozen, and Pokemon than I ever wanted to, including the fact that kids still care about Pokemon for some reason.

Thank you for the times that you misbehaved and taught me to be patient and go with the flow.

Thank you for building my confidence in teaching God’s word to you by being attentive and showing excitement when I went “off-book” and presented you with a new activity or craft idea. Thank you for being enthusiastic to find and read Bible verses. Thank you for showing me the value of teaching elementary-age kids about Jesus by growing in your faith; I could tell, even if you didn’t realize it, that you were learning and understanding about salvation and grace.

Thank you for the spontaneous hugs at the end of class today.

I’ll miss you, but you probably won’t miss me, because fourth grade is going to be even more awesome. Don’t lose your enthusiasm for the Bible. I pray that each of you truly meets Jesus as your savior, and that my class was only a stop along the way.

I’m sorry in advance if your new teachers only give you the cheap candy. You can always drop back by our blue-painted classroom for a Jolly Rancher or Pixy Stix.

Love, Mrs. Ashley

A Goodbye Letter to My First Sunday School Class

Revisiting Rahab

Good evening, friends!

Yesterday I shared a devotional with my coworkers at our weekly “small team” meeting. We’re absolutely blessed to work in an environment where faith is an apparent component of the culture. For those of us who are believers, we are not pressured to censure ourselves when speaking about our faith and are able to encourage one another through God’s word. It’s a big deal!

Anyway, back to the devo. I was feeling very nervous. As I told my team, intentionally sharing God’s word with them was somewhat outside my comfort zone. I’m used to speaking to a class full of third graders in small chairs on Sunday morning in a blue-painted classroom, not a conference room full of my peers. Still, I barreled forward, reminding them (as if I hadn’t talked about it enough at the time) of the week in July when I taught a class of fourth graders in VBS.

On the second night of VBS, the prescribed lesson was on Rahab and the spies.

Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. Joshua 2:1

My lesson book gave me two pieces of advice about sharing this verse with “middle elementary”-age students:

  1. Avoid saying “Shittim,” and
  2. Gloss over Rahab’s occupation.

Being me, I didn’t take either piece of advice. I just read the verse with a straight face, without pausing, and the kids didn’t even blink. (It’s possible they weren’t listening to me. Kidding! I had an amazing, attentive class.)

I continued on through the rest of the Bible story, summarizing Joshua 1-2 for them. I told them how Joshua had taken over leading the Israelites after Moses died, and how God repeatedly commands Joshua to “be strong and courageous” (1:6, 1:7, 1:9) as the Israelites pursued the promised land. The people prepared to cross the Jordan River and Joshua, as a good leader, sent spies into Jericho for recon. The spies found Rahab, and she sheltered them in her home.

However, the king learned that the spies were in Jericho. He sent someone to ask around, and Rahab lied right to his face. She admitted that the spies had come, but she said that she sent them away. It turns out that Rahab knew that the spies were God’s people; she had heard all about God’s power:

…and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Joshua 2:9-11

Rahab asked for the Israelites to spare her family when they took Jericho. They agreed, and the rest is history. When Isreal took Jericho in chapter 6, Joshua kept that promise (verses 22-25).

Returning to the recap of my VBS lesson, I told my coworkers how, when teaching this lesson, I ended up “confronting” Rahab’s sins with the fourth graders. As a harlot, Rahab was habitually sinful, and even within the story above, she flat-out lied. God still used her to do accomplish a great thing in the history of Israel.

My fourth graders had precisely zero issues with accepting this truth. They had no trouble understanding that God will still use someone so blatantly sinful, someone who believes in Him. In fact, it can be pretty easy to talk to kids about sin.

It’s much harder for adults. It’s harder for me.

I didn’t feel the need to discuss what sin is with my coworkers; as believers, we tend to be well aware of the “definitions and examples” of sin. However, we often have complicated feelings about our sin:

  1. We feel shame regarding our sin and don’t want others to know about it; this mentality often leads us to feel protective of our sin.
  2. Worse still, we feel comfortable in our sin.

I am absolutely guilty of both of these! In my ministry, I spend time worrying that God won’t use me due to my mistakes, instead of spending that time actively fleeing my sin.

With the remaining time in my devo, I chose to remind myself and my coworkers of God’s promises regarding sin in the following verses:

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Throughout all time, in every conceivable situation…God is faithful.

He kept His promise to Rahab.

He kept His promise to send a savior. (This is key: we must remember that we need Jesus because God hates sin!)

And He will keep His promise to make you a new creation worthy of being used for His glory.

The bottom line, as I told my coworkers, is that when you are struggling with sin, always turn to God’s word and remember His promises. Those listed above are just a few! He wants you to be liberated from your sin and sanctified for your ministry.

John 3:17

Welcome to the Wayward Sunflower!

Hello, world! 🙂

Welcome to my brand new blog! I’ve been working on this for long enough and have finally gotten enough guts to really launch it! 🙂 I’m glad you’re here!

The nitty gritty: my name is Ashley. I’m a 26-year-old woman living in Virginia with my husband and our two cats!

Wayward Sunflower welcome

I work at Liberty University and I study online there; I just began pursuing my Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree a few weeks ago. I also work with the children’s ministry at my local church, where I teach a Sunday school class of rowdy and clever third graders and other activities throughout the week!

My vision for this blog is to share with you my adventures in children’s ministry and my endeavors in wifehood! I have some ideas for what that will look like, and will be “re-homing” some blog posts from my current Tumblr to their new spot here. I hope you’ll stay tuned as this unfolds!

Thanks for dropping by!

Ashley 🙂