Archive for Gifts

Eleanor’s American Girl Birthday Trip

Although Eleanor’s 12th birthday is a month away, she had the huge treat of birthday shopping at the Denver American Girl Store when we were in Colorado for Jacob’s dog grooming competition. Her extremely generous siblings gifted her with enough money to purchase every item on her wish list. And I had the honor of accompanying her on this dream-come-true expedition.

First, Felicity and Emily were secured for the car ride.


And we made it to the mall without incident, thankfully!


We made an initial perusal of the whole store, admiring the set-ups.



This is the American Girl Just-Like-You doll that Eleanor would buy if she ever got one.


We were wondering if Tim would appreciate this tent-camping scene.


We took this photo for Addy-owning Amelia.



And we took this photo for Grammy since she has a roll-top desk.


Hey, Paula, remember my top that looked like this?


After we looked at everything, Eleanor made her purchases and we reluctantly–but happily–exited.



And got some ice cream for the drive back to the motel.


It was so fun for me to accompany Eleanor on this exciting shopping trip. It’s nice being the mom of an almost-twelve-year-old.


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Needlebook Swap: My Contribution

My friend, Laurie, hosted a needlebook swap. Now, I like needlebooks and I like swapping and I like the thought of a lot of embroidery on a swap project. So, why was I so conflicted about participating that I joined the swap at the last possible moment? Well, Take a Stitch Tuesday had been occupying a lot of my time every week and I didn’t want to let anyone down by not having enough time to fully participate in the swap. THEN, we unexpectedly had a week’s break from TAST and I jumped on my chance to make a needlebook for someone.

I knew that getting this project done in a week (because I’m still a homeschooling, homemaking, etc., etc., etc. mom all week, every week, too) would require some concentration and immediate action. I was so happy to quickly find Goosie Girl’s heart-shaped needlebook pattern. Eeps! I was overwhelmed by the overall awesomeness of this pattern. Then, I set to work. I cannot even describe how delightful it was to make this needlebook. I enjoyed everything from the wool felt to the heart-shaped awesomeness to the functionality to the jewel-tone colors to the opportunity to embroider my little heart out. I had a hard time parting with it, to tell the truth. SO…I took a ton of photos so I could re-create one someday for myself. And I mean a ton of photos. Get ready.

This is the inside, unfolded.



Aren’t these pockets so sweet?















This is backside of all of that…unfolded.






Connecting stitches held the panels together.


All folded up, tied shut and ready to go.




I hope Kim enjoys it!


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Mixed Media Calligraphy, Part 2

As promised, here are some more of the mixed media calligraphed Christmas gifts I gave to Joey and the older kids. These were on a significantly smaller scale than the two I previously posted. I used the same scrapbook papers, stencils, acrylic paints, inks and stamps and rub-ons (oops, I think I forgot to mention those last three in the previous post), etc. that I used in the larger pieces. First, Tim’s:


I calligraphed his verse with my calligraphy pen in Roman miniscule and capital letters.


One serendipitous event was discovering (while I was trying to “tone down” the yellow in Amelia and Stephen’s piece) that gesso and acrylic paint mixed and applied thinly gave a texture with a nice “bite” for calligraphing. Otherwise the mod podge I used for creating the backgrounds would have been too slick for my calligraphy ink. I needed that texture for Margaret’s:


This piece is calligraphed in Uncial (which, as you probably know, was the script of the early Christian texts–cool, eh?). I probably need to be sealing this one soon, too.


Okay, this one is Eleanor’s:


It is calligraphed in Copperplate (English roundhand) which I adore as a font.


I’ll save Joey’s and Peter’s for another post. PLUS, Clara and Levi’s was a different technique…oh, the suspense.

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Mixed Media Calligraphy

I had an inspirational time this past Christmas since I was creating gifts with what I had on hand. I calligraphed favorite Bible verses for the older kids (and Joey) on a wide variety of backgrounds that happened to be hanging around my craft room. For example, I made this for Amelia and Stephen:


I loved using the techniques I learned in Christy Tomlinson’s online SheArt workshop I completed last year.


The canvas for this piece started out as a very ugly still life oil painting that I bought for 75 cents at a thrift store. With some scrapbook papers, stencils, acrylic paints, mod podge and gesso, I was able to get a background that (I think) perfectly reflects the decorative scheme of Amelia and Steve’s house.


I then used acrylic paint to form the lettering (Proto-gothic miniscule and Gothic capitals, for those who love fonts as much as I do). I had never painted lettering quite like that before, but I would do it again because I like the way it turned out.


I used a similar mixed media technique for Jacob’s gift’s background.


But his started out as a dry-erase board paired up with a cork board (that Joey had bought at the semi-annual hospital rummage sale). I just took the dry-erase board out of the frame and flipped it over to have a more porous surface on which to work.


I didn’t paint the letters, though, I actually got out my good old calligraphy pen to form the (Art nouveau) letters.


I might need to seal this eventually, but I was happy with it, too.


It was a fun challenge to transform these surfaces and experiment with calligraphy again. The other pieces that I completed using mixed media were much smaller that these two. I’ll stick some of them in a second post…so, as usual, stay tuned.

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Giveaway over at A Bit of Sunshine!

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Advent Calendar Kit in my Etsy Store!

After Amelia was born (almost 25 years ago, now–eeps!), God clearly gave Joey and me a Family Mission Statement. The major gist of it is to glorify God with a unified family. One of the many ways that God showed us to accomplish this was to involve meaningful traditions in our celebrations. And, obviously, we have quite a few traditions surrounding our Christmas celebration.



One tradition is using Advent Calendars and I just added another one to our collection! I designed this Advent Calendar using yummy wool felt pennants and embroidery. Starting December 1, each day we can pull out a little card and read a portion of the story of Jesus’ birth.




It is so festive strung around the little tree on top of our piano!



The only drawback is having to wait a month to start using it.

Get your Advent Calendar Kit in my etsy store by clicking here!

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More Therapeutic Creativity: Thanksgiving Banner in my Etsy Store

I’m sure many of you have read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. Or read her blog, A Holy Experience. One of her recent blog posts meant a lot to me. (You can read When It’s Hard by clicking here.)

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Over the past couple of years, I’ve caught glimpses of giving thanks, anyway. Giving thanks when, by human standards, there seems little to be thankful for in a particular circumstance. This idea of giving thanks, anyway, cannot come from my own will power or out of duty, but has to have God, Himself, as the Source.

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Maybe, maybe, maybe I am learning to sing along:

Thank You for the trials,
For the fire, for the pain.
Thank You for the strength
Knowing You have ordained
Every Day.

(Joel Sczebel and Todd Twining, 2008, Sovereign Grace Praise)

Maybe this little Give Thanks banner will remind me to be giving thanks, anyway. Every day. So…I’ve made this banner for myself and then listed a kit in my etsy store.

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I’m thankful for therapeutic creativity!

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