September 28, 2011

a happy video

I hope this video makes you smile on this lovely Wednesday afternoon :) 
"God is not a white man"- Gungor

September 27, 2011

Branch art

I love crafts. 
I love crafts even more when my husband is excited to do them with me :)
We decided to create branch art:

1. Get some yarn and hemp. Optional: You can also use ribbon to hang your finished art.
2. Gather some sticks
3. Break the branches into smaller, even pieces
4. You will need to make a donut shape base. We made this one out of a thin piece of wood but you could use cardboard as well.
5. Trace two circles to form a donut. 
6. Cut the shape out.
Michael used a jigsaw, but if you used cardboard scissors should work fine. 
7. Start wrapping the base with string or hemp
8. You will need to cover all the wood/cardboard. You can add hemp or other string for texture.
9. Hot glue the branches to the base. 
10. Hang it up and ta da! art :)

Our inspiration came from a door wreath but it turned into a huge piece of art. 

To make it for the front door, use a small base and short branches. The base should be the size of a salad plate and the branches around 2 feet. 
Happy crafting!!

September 25, 2011

welcome fall!

Happy 3rd day of Fall!
Time for boots, scarves and leg warmers.
Pumpkin, butternut squash, chai tea and pie!
I love how the leaves change colors
and the air gets cooler.
I love Fall. 
 I've waited 3 month to light this candle. 

We had to use up our vegetables, so Michael created:
Broiled tuna-stuffed roma tomatoes, with purple cauliflower puree and sauteed collard greens.

I made dessert/drink:
Chait tea with Frangelico (Hazelnut liqueur) and spiced rum.
I topped it with some delicious homemade whipped cream (which is ridiculously easy to make)

1. Combine:   1 cup of whipping cream
                     2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar
                     1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2. Blend with a mixer until it becomes thick and creates little peaks (about 4 minutes)
3. Chill until ready to serve!
Yum. I love fall!

September 21, 2011

Latest Quilt

I made a baby quilt for my boss who is expecting a little boy in November. 
I really love the colors and patterns that went into this quilt!
 I diagram all of my quilts before I start sewing. 
 Piecing it together...
 After basting the quilt top and the batting to the back of the quilt
 Close up of the fabric. 
 Back of the quilt with Jordan's name embroidered in it. 
Finished quilt!
 Jordan Robert : "For the one who descends to be bright"
 Yay! Mommy with quilt!
Quilt in the nursery! 

I absolutely love making quilts. There is so much math, color coordinating, measuring, charting, and 'mindless' sewing involved. It is one way that I de-stress. 
I can't wait to see pictures of baby Jordan with the quilt!

September 16, 2011

Quilts for Missions

Michael and I are going to Rwanda and Ethiopia this December to love on sweet children! I have seen pictures of the orphanages we are going to and I am already in love with their precious faces!
My last post described a little of what we will be doing...

As many of you know, international travel IS NOT cheap. We need to raise $4,000!

I decided to put my craftiness to good use and sell some things I have made to raise money for the trip.

First thing I am posting are some baby quilts I made:
I am selling all 3 quilts for $100 each.
 Here is a close up of the fabric. The flowers are the back of the quilt

 I love the little creatures on this quilt. It is more of a whimsical, scrap fabric quilt

Let me know if you are interested in buying any of these quilts or if you had a custom quilt idea in mind. All the proceeds go directly to the trip! 

For those of you that simply want to donate, you can do so at:
Select the "December Ethiopia/Rwanda" trip
And put Merrill Durham in the memo

Enjoy your weekend!

September 11, 2011

On my birthday

It is so interesting how people seem more reflective on their birthdays. I find myself thinking, 
"Where do I see us in 5 years?"
"What do I want to accomplish in the next year?"
"Wow...look at all that God has done in our life this last year!"

This weekend I had the wonderful privilege of spending 2 days with 80 team leaders who came from around the country to participate in the official training conference of my work, the nonprofit Visiting Orphans
I felt like I was meeting my distant family for the first time. These are the people I email, call and contact everyday and here they all are together. It was so amazing to feel the passion of the leaders and to know that the work that our staff does at Visiting Orphans is supported by so many people! It can be easy to loose sight of the big picture when ministry is your full time job. Everyday is filled with discussions about money, policies, applications, etc. And I found it so encouraging to see so many people willing to give up weeks of their year to lead trips around the world. It was as if, as a staff, we were seeing the fruit of our labor. This is what it is all about... training more leaders so that more and more team members and orphans are touched by the love of God.
I was listening to all the stories of team leaders who experienced the love of God in a very real way while "visiting orphans". Since I started at VO I have found that I have often had to defend the work that I do. This weekend reminded me that one planted seed, one "I love you", one American heart awakened, is worth every second and every penny. And as we sat for 8 hours yesterday discussing policy and trip etiquette, I was encouraged that VO is doing it right and we truly are helping. 

Pure Religion is this, to visit orphans in their distress -James 1:27
My husband and I are given the opportunity to go to Rwanda and Ethiopia this December. This weekend tripled that fire inside of us. We were both born overseas, Michael in Europe,  myself in Africa. We have both been on numerous short term trips all over the world. But this is our first trip as a married couple to walk into what we strongly believe God has called us to. (And for some reason I feel God stirring in my heart for the country of Rwanda....) We will be working in multiple orphanages, including the largest orphanage in Rwanda, where there are over 200 children under 2 years old. There will be lots of baby holding! We will also be working in the Korah trash dump in Ethiopia, a tough place to stomach but a place that God has filled with such hope! 

We need your support. We need at least $4000. 
If you are interested in partnering with us and investing in our future, please go to:
and click on the donate tab in the top right corner. You can designate the donation to the December Ethiopia/Rwanda trip and put Michael and Merrill Durham in the memo.  Call it a birthday gift to us :) (Michael's is on Wednesday) 

This weekend has truly reignited a fire in both my husband and me for the nations. And we are so blessed to be part of the work of Visiting Orphans and all the leaders that we met this weekend! 

And as I sat at training today, with tears in my eyes, I knew that God was beginning to unfold an exciting and new chapter in our lives. Walking with God is such an adventure! 

The incredible staff at Visiting Orphans
By the way...I have the most amazing coworkers, whom I call my friends! 

September 1, 2011

DIY Magazine Bowl

I have been so inspired recently by lots of DIY crafts. I think I will tackle a new one each week!
If you want endless hours of inspiration go to:

First Project - Paper Bowl: 

-Paper Cutter (or mad folding and ripping skills)
-Hot Glue Gun
-Modge Podge

 1. You need to gather a few magazines. 

2. With a paper cutter or precise folding, cut the paper long ways 8 times. (They should be 1 inch wide)

 3. Fold the strip in half

 4. Open the fold and then fold each side in towards the middle crease.

 5. Then fold it all in half. 

6. This is where it gets extremely tedious, start hot gluing a strip of paper into a coil. 

7. Continue for a few hours, slowly adding more and more strips of paper

8. This is what I currently have. 
I will post a follow up blog to show you how to finish the bowl! (Once I find a few extra hours in my day!)

Other things I hope to make:
1. Glass Tile pendants

2. Scrabble Tile Pendant

3. Twine Lanterns

4. Button Letters

5. Scrap fabric art

6. Mason Jar Herb Garden

7. Wreath

to name a few....