Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday Cards — a look back.

Thought I'd share how my Christmas cards have evolved over the years 
as well as my inspirations that helped create them.
2010 Inspiration: Paper and Cake
Copy: I had "Wizard of Oz" in my head
Printed using:
2009 Inspiration:
Copy: inspired by the rare picture captured of my sons hugging each other.
Challenge: I couldn't find the bubble font used on the Minted cards so I created it myself. Tedious.
(The bubble font is actually called "Budmo" free on
Printed using:
2008 Inspiration: the Photobooth outside of Monkey Joe's on International Drive.
Printed using: my inkjet printer
Assembly required: trimmed each card and glued ribbon

2007 Inspiration: All the fun pictures of the kids. I couldn't pick just one!
Printed using: Walgreens Photo

 2006 Inspiration: Again, all the funny pictures of the kids.
Copy: Jackson wasn't talking at all yet, but I just knew this is what he was thinking.
Printed using: Walgreens
Assembly required: glued the letter to the back of each card.

2005 Inspiration: My need to keep up with the Joneses and do an expensive card.
Purchased from: Exposures with pre-printed greeting on the inside.
Lesson Learned: Too expensive. Decided I could have done it better myself.

2004 Inspiration: I was scrapbooking at the time, hence the paint, stamps and embellishments.

2003 is a blur

2002 Inspiration: The year I discovered Paper Source.
This was my first talking baby. I was going for a Forrest Gump feel.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An heirloom to treasure.

This past November, my kids' school held their annual Fall Festival and Silent Auction. I donated my services as a Silent Auction Item— offering a "ewe"nique opportunity for someone to buy a mixed media reproduction of their own home. 

David White and his wife Kelly bid on my item and won! I gave them the painting all wrapped up on Christmas Eve. Here is their home.

The White's House
11"x14" Mixed-Media Acrylic on Stretch Canvas 

The thoughtful details:

• Pages from an old book wrap the walls of the home;
• balsa wood columns add dimension to the front porch;
• a painted burlap matt is a welcoming added detail, while the fabric window simplifies the look;
• felted wool, yarn, pom-poms and buttons depict the lush landscape;
• the exaggerated roof was created using molding paste, acrylics and a pallet knife;
• masking tape and acrylics create a subdued sky.
• and finally, paper pulp was used to create a 3D tree that embraces the home; 

    The meaning behind the expressionist style:
    I drew a distorted home with exaggerated lines and angles, and added colorful accents to simplify the look and make it fun. At first glance, it's a simple home, but as you look more closely the thoughtful details are revealed. To me it almost looks like someone has given the home a big hug with a tight squeeze (just like my kids give to me). I'm sure the White's house has a lot of love in it. That's what makes a house a "Home".

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    What Christmas means to me.

    Well, on the surface,
    it's hustling and bustling from morning to night.
    It's shopping and spending
    'til our credit card balances reach new highs.

    I've had fun holiday crafting and painting
    and wrapping presents galore.
    I've gone overboard baking
    and eating Christmas cookies until I think I'll burst,
    and then... maybe just one more:)

    It's our little elf on a Shelf who's been visiting us each day.
    And my son Jackson who, on Christmas Eve,
    cried when he found out (our elf) "Pluto" had to go away.
    Back up to the North Pole we told Jackson
    as his eyes welled up with tears.
    He said sadly, "I will miss him
    and I don't want to wait to see him another year."

    It's the Christmas Eve worship service
    that moved my heart to sing.
    Oh thank God for giving us Jesus our King!

    Beyond all the tree trimming and presents and decorations
    Christmas is really about love and joy and celebration.

    Carolers came to our door tonight bringing good cheer.
    We all gathered around to listen
    and I thanked God right then for such a precious moment
    to remember why we're all here.

    Yes, Christmas is about being with family and friends
    and giving and receiving thoughtful cards and gifts.
    I can't wait til next year so we can do it all again!

    But truly the greatest gift we've been given is life.
    And the way we choose to live it is our gift to Him.

    Merry Christmas.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    The Holly Jolly Holiday Party!

     I'm happy to report that Addie's Holly Jolly Holiday Party was a smashing success! The girls had a delightful "Crafternoon" making yarn wreaths. The perfect craft for a lively group of 7 year olds. We'll have to do this again next year!

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Simple Holiday Decor— Day 5

    I'm keeping the decorations simple for the holidays this year. I got this handmade Merry Christmas garland last January on sale at Anthropologie. I just love it and couldn't wait to hang it eleven months later. The red lacquer wreath is from the Magnolia Company. My old high school friend, Matt Roth, runs the Magnolia Company and his red lacquer wreath was hung in the White House in 2009! Thanks Matt— your wreath made it to MY mantel this year!

    My favorite little birds were on a shelf in another room. I made little polka-dot scarves for them and set up a wintery scene with twigs and branches and light-up trees. The stars on the stairwell were hung outside last year. I like them better inside!
    Hope you have as much fun decorating as I have! 

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Mixed-Media Holiday Workshop— Day 9

    18"x24" Mixed-Media on wood

    Ok, so none of my friends are the creative types, but I thank my lucky stars that their daughters are! Way back in October the extremely talented Jennifer McCully hosted a VERY FUN Mixed-Media Mom's Night Out holiday workshop  and I couldn't wait to attend with my friend Shona's daughter—Claire. We used wrapping papers, scrapbook papers, acrylics and any other embellishments we brought along to make these adorable wall hangings. Loved every minute of it! Thanks for joining me Claire! Everyone created such wonderful pieces, I just had to share.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Host a Holly Jolly Holiday Party— Day 13

    Tis' the Season— I'm hosting a Holly Jolly Holiday Party for my friend Carolyn's daughter— Addie. Addie is in first grade and loves making crafts! So she and five of her closest (and luckiest) friends are going to spend a Holly Jolly Holiday Crafternoon with me on December 21st. We're going to make special gifts for Mom and Dad while snacking on cupcakes and punch. Be sure to check back on party day for details and party pictures:)

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Christmas Tree Painting— Day 17

    "Christmas Tree" Painting by Jackson Crownover

    I was out in my studio on Sunday night painting after dinner when Jackson came in and announced that he wanted to paint a picture with me. I was thrilled! My sons never want to do anything crafty with or without me! So I seized the opportunity and quickly got him all set up at the table with paints, brushes and the works. I turned on some cartoons and he happily painted the Christmas tree I sketched for him. When I could see he was starting to lose interest, I pulled out some candy canes to give him a little surge of energy and then helped him finish up the project. He was very proud when he finished and said, "Mommy, I fink you should put dis on your bwog."... so I did.

    I made the fuzzy yarn retro light wreath on Sunday too. Wrapped some floral wire around the wreath and added the felt light cutouts. Another easy project to do with kids (if they're interested in crafty stuff— which mine are not.)

    Be merry!

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Count-Down Calendars—Day 22

    A Christmas Countdown Calendar made using toilet paper rolls. Yes, really! I've been collecting TP rolls for a long time because I know Jackson's kindergarten teacher will be asking for them at some point for a school craft, but mostly because I've always felt like there was something really creative I could do with them. Such lovely little cardboard cylinders. I hate to even recycle them. And I finally found it! I got this great idea for a Christmas count-down calendar from the very talented Maya over at Maya Made. Genius, I tell you! And it was so fun to make. Thanks Maya for the inspiration!

    Here are a couple of shots of my work in progress. Plus, I'm giving away the countdown numbers below as well! If you're a fellow TP hoarder, hop on over to the Maya Made bog for complete instructions on the Countdown Calendar how to.
    Count-Down Calendar numbers just for you!

    And now for the Christmas Countdown Calendar the kids love...

    The Lego City Advent Calendar is a HUGE hit at our house this year! The boys can't wait to wake up and find out what Lego prize they get to put together each day. It's a hot commodity this year!  I called every Toys R Us and Target in Orlando looking for it and finally found it for $34.99 at Target. There are several different versions to choose from online. We just love it!

    Be jolly!

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Countdown to Christmas— Day 26

    I was lucky enough to have my best friend, Amy, over for a visit on Saturday. She and her family flew down from New Jersey for Thanksgiving to visit family and they stopped by to see little ole' me for the afternoon.
    I LOVE winter. Too bad I live in Florida! Since I probably won't be able to wear cute and cozy sweaters very often this winter (unless I turn the A/C way down) I thought it would be fun to mess around with my yarn stash. So... Amy's daughter, Maddie and I made these adorable wreaths for the holidays! Amy, a self-professed non-crafter, enjoyed watching and chatting with us while worked.

    Thanks for stopping by Amy!

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Thanksgiving 2010

    We had a small gathering around the table this year, but our one and only guest was a very special one—my grandmother. We call her "Mamaw". She turned 93 last month and although she moves a little slower these days, she still wants to help me out wherever she can. She lives  just a few minutes away. We picked her up at 11am this morning and the two of us spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen together. We cooked up some Pole beans—an old family recipe—and a delicious sweet potato casserole. Plus, we made my favorite cranberry apricot sauce along with the rest of the traditional holiday fixin's. She also made sure I cleaned, dried and put away all my pots and cooking utensils BEFORE dinner (something I usually leave to clean up the next day). Then she made sure the kitchen was spic and span before we took her home. Needless to say, I'm exhausted but still so very thankful for my grandmother. 

    Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Girls' Weekend— The St. Petersburg Women's Half Marathon

    A First— Today my sister Melissa and our friend Kimber completed their first running race ever— a Half Marathon! Woohooo! And they picked a good one too! The St. Pete Women's Half ranks high in my book of races! The weather was perfect, in the 60's. The route was gorgeous and FLAT. Great medal and love the necklace charm that's attached. It was sponsored by Publix so we got all kinds of yummy goodies at the finish this morning and the pre-race Expo was great too! Cool goodie bag and lots of expo vendors— including 13.1 Pandora bracelet charms (which Melissa purchased)! We loved everything!

    The Holiday Inn Sunspree we stayed at? Not so much. But no bed bugs (that we could see anyway). Note to self: scout our hotel out a little more thoroughly next time.

    Can't forget to mention my other running buddies: my friend Melissa PR'd. Can I get a Woop! Woop!, Becky probably won another medal for her age group and Susan concluded that she'll never run another race without training for it. That makes two of us.

    Great job everybody! Let's do it again soon!

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Something for over the couch.

    "Florida Fall"
    acrylic on 40" x 40" stretch canvas

    A belated birthday gift for my friend, Shona. I promised I would paint her a picture for over her couch because I couldn't stand the thought of her ordering one from a catalog. I painted this with various palette knives and my hands. No brushes necessary.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Halloween Costumes to die for...

    My sister, Melissa and her husband went to a costume party last night. She just wanted to tease-up her blond hair and wear a black dress. But I would not allow that. I mean, if you're gonna dress up, do it right!

    • Wig 8 bucks
    • Glasses 2 bucks
    • The reaction of her kids when they saw her all dressed up— Priceless

    Oh yeah, and here's her other half, Brad. I glued his screw nubby things to his neck the first time with Household Goop and he claimed his neck was burning. Wimp. So we took them off and he ended up Super-glueing them to his neck. Go figure. He'll be wearing those for the next few days, at least!

    They make quite the creepy couple, don't you think?
    Happy Halloween!

    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    The Neighborhood Boo— think outside the pumpkin!

    These are a few Boo ideas I've made over the last couple of years. 
    Details and contents are below as well as where you can get/make the goods.
    My kids are really into Harry Potter and making potions, so I made this package full of creepy potion ingredients. I found some great labels online here and I changed them up a little adding my own potion names and descriptions. For some of the labels I used the name "C.W. Van Kowenhoven and Sons" as a homage to my husband's ancestors. That was their name back in the 1600's. It got shortened over the years to "Crownover". [Interesting tid-bit: Wolphert G. Van Kouwenhoven was one of the founders of New Amsterdam (New York)]. The Eyes of Newt box is a Martha Stewart craft. Love Potion #9 and Medusa's Sovereign Female Wisdom were my own creations. I could use some a dat Medusa stuff!
    I made an economy size version of the Scare Package as well. 
    For a FREE download of the Economy Size Boo Kit test tube potion labels and "Scare Package" tag CLICK HERE!

    I used Martha Stewart's "Witch's Broom Favors" idea and super-sized it to make this Witch's Broom Boo. It was super easy. I used paper bags and a stick from the yard. I downloaded the Broom Parking sign here from The Diary of Dave's Wife blog. Thanks Dave's Wife!
      And finally, the Eyeballs Boo is just a plastic paint can (from the craft store), a light-up skull, eyeball bouncy balls (from Target) and eyeball chocolate candies. These are pictures from the 3rd Grade classroom door. The kids loved it!
    Would love to hear some of your Boo ideas!


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