Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review

The last day of 2013........... amazing how fast that year went!

As far as blogging goes, I kept myself quite busy.  2013 was my most productive blog year yet with 169 posts, participating in lots of link parties and other opportunities.  It was exciting, but towards the end I realized that I couldn't keep up with it all.  I had to let go most of the link parties.  I only join a couple a week vs. 20 a week and I'm finding I'm much happier that way :)

So here's a review of my favorite projects/ posts:

This year I also shared more about my faith and how it helps me through my struggles... particularly my health struggles.  You can read those posts HERE.  It's helped me deal with it all better and I hope that in some small way it has helped someone else out there too.  

Thanks for reading and I wish you a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Photos of the Week

I spent the past week in sunny Arizona and part of a day in snowy Southern Utah!  It was such a good good break.  Going home and being with my family is the best vacation I could ever ask for.  I don't have to cook much, there's always lots of talking and laughing and game-playing, and I get to be far far away from my stresses and worries.

I haven't written about much about my new health struggles here yet because I was waiting to get tests done and results back. So, it's not absolutely 100% sure, but the doctors think I have a disorder called Endometriosis.  The tests and MRI images show cysts and growths that look consistent with the disorder, but you basically have to have surgery to get an official diagnosis.  It's been a hard few months, full of wondering what this disorder is going to do to me and what lengths I will have to go to be able to have more children.  At times my sadness has been more than I thought I could stand and other times I have felt peace as I have prayed about this struggle.  Sometimes it's just good to get away from it all and forget it.  Going home for Christmas was the break that I needed.  Being around a family that loves me always makes me feel better about life :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Look at my Sketchbook

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas vacation! Here are a few pen drawings from my sketchbook.  Some of these may end up as paintings one day :)
tribal feathers ink design: Grow Creative
tribal feathers ink design: Grow Creative

I was in a christmasy/wintery mood when I drew this one.  I'd never even attempted to draw a deer before..... and ....... it was harder than I thought.  It took several takes to get it right.
deer pencil drawing
deer pencil drawing

Monday, December 23, 2013

Photo of the Week

"Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2: 10-11

Such a beautiful scripture to remind us why we have all this celebration in the first place.  Merry Christmas friends and remember...... fear not.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Homemade Cornstarch Dough Ornaments

Homemade ornaments are the best!
Cornstarch and Baking Soda Christmas Ornaments
Cornstarch and Baking Soda Christmas Ornaments

I have such good memories of making salt dough ornaments as a kid.  One of my siblings made a cinnamon roll ornament that I will remember forever. It was the coveted ornament to hang on the tree every year...lol!

I wanted to create the same memories for my little guy, so we tried making some cornstarch ornaments.

Cornstarch and Baking Soda Christmas Ornaments
Cornstarch and Baking Soda Christmas Ornaments

This recipe uses cornstarch, water, and baking soda.  You mix up the ingredients over heat and then let the dough cool.  It rolls out nicely, but we had problems with it sticking to the table.

After baking, they did crack a little on the backsides, but they were fun to stamp and paint!

Cornstarch and Baking Soda Christmas Ornaments
Cornstarch and Baking Soda Christmas Ornaments

Our very own little gingerbread family... hehe!

gingerbread family ornaments

Monday, December 16, 2013

Photos of the Week

Out for a date night with the husband.....

We went to a concert at Temple Square and it was the perfect Christmas date!  I think we've only been on a total of three dates this year.... so sad...... I have a good resolution for next year :)

Going out to this concert brought back such good memories of the first time I went with my husband to temple square and met his whole family.  Oh, the good ol' days.  Falling in love was exciting, but being married is even better.  I heard an awesome piece of advice yesterday that I knew I had to share here:

"Choose your love, then love your choice."

I definitely do love my choice.  This past week I was reminded of just how amazingly kind and thoughtful my husband is.  I don't always appreciate him enough for that.  It's during the hardest of times that I remember just how grateful I am to have married such a man.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Felt Circle Ornaments

Felt Circle Christmas Ornaments

Ready for another decorating tutorial?  I have this stack of old felt that's been sitting in my art room for a while and I finally thought of a good project for it... some soft and kid friendly ornaments!

several different colors of felt fabric
embroidery thread

Step 1:  Cut three sizes of circles out of felt.  Cut 2 large circles of one color, two medium of another color, and 2 small of another color.

Felt Circles

Step 2:  Place a small circle on top of a medium circle.  Make sure it is centered and stitch the small circle to the medium using colored embroidery floss.  Fasten off.  Repeat with the other small and medium circles.

Felt Circles
Felt Circles

Step 3:  Stitch the medium circle to the large circle with another color of embroidery floss.  Fasten off and repeat with other set.

Step 4:  Make a hanging loop.

Step 5:  With wrong sides together, stitch the two large circles together using a whip stitch around the edge of the circles.

Felt Circle Christmas Ornaments

All finished!  Enjoy the fun colors and the decorating!

Felt Circle Christmas Ornaments
Felt Circle Christmas Ornaments

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Giraffes, a Deer, and an Armadillo

New giraffe paintings.............
watercolor giraffes
watercolor giraffes

 A deer head silhouette with leaves and flowers-  not sure how I feel about this one. I can't quite like or dislike it.
deer silhouette with flowers watercolor

And yes, this is an armadillo!  This was a sketch for a larger custom painting I'm making for a lady who wants armadillo artwork to hang in her ranch home.  I never thought I would ever paint one of these animals, but it wasn't as bad as I had imagined :)

watercolor armadillo

Check out my Giraffes and Hearts Paintings at my Etsy Shop!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Photos of the Week

I've been admiring my neighbor's pine trees............

Even though it is a little strange that these five giant pine trees grow in their front yard, they look so glorious all covered in snow that I don't mind at all :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Junk Mail Flowers Tutorial

I hope you haven't been throwing away the loads of junk mail that's been filling your mailbox for the past month.  I have the perfect thrifty decorating project to use up that junk mail on!

Junk Mail Paper Flowers

Junk Mail

Step 1:  Grab a stack of junk mail 8-10 pages thick and cut out three sizes of circles from it: one large set, one medium set, and one small set.

Step 2:  With each circle set, cut five small triangle slices towards the center, but don't cut all the way into the center.  You want to leave room in the middle.

Step 3:  Starting with the smallest circles, stick an unopened brad through the center.  I could only get the brad through 2-3 layers at a time.

Step 4:  After getting the brad through the smallest circles, stick it through the medium and then large circles. Turn over and open the brad to secure it in place.

Junk Mail Paper Flowers
Junk Mail Paper Flowers

Step 5:  Gently fold or curl the layers of your junk mail flower to give it some texture.  All done!

Junk Mail Paper Flowers
Junk Mail Paper Flowers

You can string these little flowers up on a garland to decorate for the holidays or use then as bows for gifts. Perfect!

Check out my Junk Mail Snowflakes Post for another cheap decorating idea.

 Happy Junk Mail Decorating!

Junk Mail Paper Flower Garland
Junk Mail Flower Bows

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