Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Little's Rooms Got Some Love

Last week I was thinking about how much creating I do for custom orders or for volunteer jobs. I spend a lot of creative energy on people outside of my family and so I suggested to David that it would nice to spend some creative energy on the littles. I had some ideas brewing and when he gave me the thumbs up, I went into full design mode. We settled on a gallery wall for each room plus curtains, hooks for their towels, shelves for each bedside and an art hanger for each little. I made a list of elements I wanted to include in each room.

  1. something sewn/fabric element
  2. woodcut element
  3. string art
  4. monograms
  5. photograph
  6. printable art/quote
  7. scripture verse
Then I narrowed down to specifics as to what that looked like. So for the girls' room it ended up like:
  1. kite
  2. heart (inspired by HEart by CC)
  3. crown
  4. cut out of foam board
  5. siblings picture
  6. "Dream Big" (source)
  7. I will add a verse to the heart woodcut at a later time

The boys room:
  1. deer head
  2. arrow
  3. sword
  4. cut out of foam board
  5. siblings picture
  6. fox
  7. I will add a verse to their arrow art later

David shopped, cut and stained wood during the daytime. He was in charge of the woodcuts, string art, shelves, towel hooks and art hangers. I painted the clothes pins (for the art hangers) and the frames plus rough cut out the fabric elements during the day. The rest of the projects were done in the evenings after the littles went to bed. That meant late bleary eyed nights, but I'm really happy with the results. Last night I planned the gallery walls, but putting them on the floor. I took pictures to give to David for hanging and while I took the children out on a playdate, David re-arranged the girls' room and hung all the elements we crafted. What a thrill it was to reveal it all to the littles!

The deer head was made from a pattern found here. I found the wood plaque at the thrift store and a with a bit of paint it made a great mount.

David cut this based on a few pictures I showed him on Pinterest. I didn't want to tell him exactly what to make, but I knew I wanted an arrow. It turned out great. His favourite piece.

Again, I asked for the sword, but I left David to do the style he wanted. He found a sword image on google, added a cross in the middle and enlarged it to make the template. Screws were an easier choice and he just went with it. I like it a lot!

The monogram "M"s I printed out on the computer, taped to foam board and cut out. I painted them and that's it! Super easy and a great and cheap monogram! We enlarged a photograph from our last family pictures in 2014. The same picture for both bedrooms. 

I thrifted and painted this cute frame and got the printable from here

Here's Malachi's art hanger in action (sorry for the dark picture). Just clothespins painted and glued to a board. Each little has one, though we haven't hung Hannah's yet. We are saving it until she is a bit older.

Michaels had these cutlery clothespins in a bin and I simply glued them onto this little board, also from Michaels. Cheap and funny, considering the boys are always thinking about food. This wasn't planned for, but added on a whim.

I found this wood pineapple at the thrift store. It was varnished and worn, but I saw its potential and snapped it up. I painted it and glued an oversized clothespin on it and it's adorable! My favourite piece in the girls' room!

David did the crown the same way as the sword and he did a great job!

The girls' monograms were done the same as the boys. I found the birdhouse and bird at Michaels and threw it in. 

The kite I made up as I went. I drew a pattern and did a basic quilting pattern on it. Then simply tied jersey bows onto a ribbon tail.

Each little got a shelf on their bed. They all needed a place to put water bottles and treasures etc. Here's Abby's in action. David made simply with two boards, painted white and attached right to the bed frames.

David made this based on a picture I showed him. Abby thinks it looks like a minecraft heart.

I used flat sheets from two of the littles' bed sets to make quick curtains. Not too difficult as I cut them in half, finished the two cut edges and voila! Curtains! I hate sewing curtains, but this wasn't too bad. We are exhausted, but happy with the results!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Checking In

It's February. To me that means more than a statement about which month of the year it is. It has become a statement about the season I'm in. It's a dark month, not much sunshine. There are moments where the sun peeks through, but I'm weary. There is a history of depression in the women of my family and I'm not sure exactly whether or not this is classified as such, but I'm ready for "February" to end. In the meantime, I choose to believe that God is good and I have SOOOOO much to be grateful for. In 1 Samuel 30:6 the Bible talks about how David encouraged himself in the Lord. Have you ever noticed that where your focus is, that is where your heart is, too? Well, I've come to realize that if I focus on my circumstances instead of the goodness of God, I quickly become buried in heaviness. So, how do you "encourage yourself in the Lord"? Remember his promises. If you don't know His promises and about how he is always faithful to keep His word, then that's a great Bible study to begin. At my Moms' group, we have a little bookmark card with a great reminder on it...

My friend last night reminded us that when we are discouraged by life's circumstances or we are consumed with how big the storm is, we just need to study about how BIG God is and it's amazing how our change of focus can bring encouragement and hope. Bad things happen and life is hard, sometimes, but God is good ALL the time. That is what I will stand on.

In other news, here's a bit about what's been going on...

  • The actual season of winter has been pretty amazing. Yes, we've had some 'stupid cold' days with a windchill of -40C, but the cold snaps haven't lasted for weeks and weeks and the nice days, have been really nice. That has meant sledding days and river walks and getting outside. We've really been enjoying the toboggan runs (winter slides) at Kildonan Park. I don't recall ever seeing these in Alberta, but we've really appreciated how much easier the stairs are than hill climbing with littles and David's injured ankle. They're super fun, too.

you don't even need a sled!

  • The Forks! I still think this is by far the coolest place in the winter. The river is frozen so you can walk (or skate) for a long way before you run out of room. The artistic warming huts and ice sculptures make it engaging and fun even for the littles. We went on Louis Riel day (Family Day for a lot of Canadians) and I just kept saying "I love this city!"
The littles are looking for sharks under the ice

checking out an ice sculpture on the river

  • This is one of the warming huts on the river and since it was painted the same colour as Malachi's jacket, we told him was so camouflaged that we couldn't see him. Then I had the littles pose for some pictures and I only showed him the pictures without him there. He was totally convinced.

  • Valentines was quiet and nice. David and I went on an unexpected date on the Friday evening before. We weren't planning on it because we have big plans next weekend, but when you are offered free babysitting you go on a date! We did a "fancy" littles friendly dinner and had a mini family selfie session. We ended the day with a glow stick hunt. It was simply sweet.

  • Bible journaling has begun to fill my Bible nicely and there are certain books that are full enough to require adding in pages. I still have plenty of room in the Bible in general, so I won't be buying a new one for some time, and I think I'll be sad to close this one. It's become so dear to me. Not because of my art, but because the art represents more time in the word and more word getting into my heart.

  • My Documented Faith journal is also filling in nicely, but I love how it will take the entire year to fill properly. 

  • I haven't had very many custom sewing jobs lately, though I've played around a bit.
"doodled" house keychain

Bible cover inspired by this

  •  I am thankful that I've been able to save from my sewing jobs and David and I are going to have a weekend away - just the two of us. I am beyond excited. It is long overdue.

  • Oh, I have a little art journal that I use to practice faces and play around with doodles etc. On a particularly cold day, I filled in a page with what I love about living here. I really do love it here!

Thanks for stopping in today. If you're struggling in life's circumstances, join me in turing our focus from the storm to the God who not only created it, but who is able to calm it (and if not, He is still good!)

Monday, February 1, 2016


At the end of last year I tried something that I hadn't tried before. I drew (half of) a face. I spent a loooong time on that little sketch and put her into my Documented Faith journal. It began something in me that surprised me. It filled me with a desire to learn how to do faces and incorporate them into my art. My goal is for the faces to be whimsical more than realistic, but not so technically off that another artist cringes to look at them. I am hard on myself, but I also have really learned to love the work of my hands and appreciate the talents that God gave to me to use and to improve. Here's a run-down of the faces I've practiced so far...

My first (partial) face in my Documented Faith journal - December 2015

painstakingly coloured with watercolour pencils

An attempt at a whimsical self-portrait in my journal - December 2015
Now that's a BIG head!

I can hardly believe that growing up I preferred wax crayons to pencil crayons - I love pencil crayons, now!
a fun little sketch I did after I decided that I was going for fun and not realism - December 2015
January 2016 - Faces

1/2016 my first rough sketch before the colour.

My first attempt to paint a face. I wrote on Facebook and Instagram "Someday I'll look at her and either laugh at how far I've (hopefully) come or look at her with pride because I took a chance and began." 1/2016

2/2016 Usually I leave the watercolour pencils dry, but I experimented with water and had fun with it. She looks kind of sad, I'm working on that.

3/2016 One of my favourites so far! I usually prefer my raw sketches and other than a little bit of white chalk marker for highlights, I left her with the background showing through.

4/2016 My first face in my Bible journaling. Hebrews 2:1 I did a quick colour, but mostly kept it in it's raw sketch form. 

5/2016 My least favourite so far. Her proportions are odd and I think I was rushing too much. I never attempt to show a specific age, but they end up younger or older as I go and I don't fight it.

6/2016 I was determined to try another face in my Bible and spent a good long time on this one. I couldn't figure out how to do her hair under her crown, so I went with more of a medieval queen's attire instead. Cheated a bit, but I still think she's beautiful.

7/2016 I practiced some basics in my art journal - just pencil and pen (no pictures to share - sorry)

8/2016 My first canvas attempt. I am much better with pencils and markers than I am a paintbrush. Though she is flawed in many ways, I am overall happy with her and am not discouraged from trying again. Practicing for progress not perfection.

9/2016 In my art journal. In an attempt to find a faster medium than pencils, but not as much mess/effort as paint, I tried oil pastel in her hair. In the end, it's still pretty messy and took a decent effort. I'm not unhappy with it, but probably won't be too quick to go that route again.

10/2016 a did a pencil sketch of a face in a letter to my sister. Again, no picture to share.

10 faces in the month of January. I'm pretty happy with that.  Oh, and on a side note, I am trying to get them to look happier and would definitely benefit from some proper training. I have gleaned a lot from Youtube videos by Dina Wakley and Jane Davenport. I have several art books in my amazon wish list, but for now, PRACTICING!