Custom Keepsake Ornament

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With the loss of my little Cocoa this past summer and being stuck in bed this entire holiday season, my thoughts were on her a lot. She was quite a character and loved to rip our presents open. You can see her ears flying madly as she shredded the paper on this gift. This was serious business for Cocoa, she made us all laugh 😂

So to keep a reminder of Cocoa at Christmas, I made this ornament. It’s a beautiful way to remember those we’ve lost whether our furry kids or family and friends. It’s also a great way to create a custom keepsake for special moments. This started as a simple paper mache circle ornament, but wood would work just as well.

Round Paper Mache Ornament - Christmas Ornaments ...
Paper Mache Ornament

Supplies

  • 3.75″ Paper Mache Circle Ornament or Wood Ornament
  • Gesso
  • Acrylic paint in coordinating color to match photos
  • 3.5″ circle photograph of your loved one
  • 3.25″ x 2.5″ rectangular/freeform photograph of your love one
  • Golden Matte Medium
  • Posca Paint Marker .7mm
  • Sakura Pen .005 or other Waterproof Fine Tip Marker
  • 14″ Trim of your choice
  • Stickles – Star Dust
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue

Instructions

  1. Paint your paper mache ornament with gesso and let dry.
  2. Paint your entire ornament, including the edges with the acrylic paint using a 3/4″ flat brush. Let dry. Give it a second coat if needed.
  3. Print and cut your photographs to fit the ornament. The approximate sizes are listed above.
  4. Using the matte medium, adhere your photograph to one side of the ornament. Apply a coat of matte medium over your photograph to seal and protect it. Let dry. {Note: depending on the ink you use to print your photo, you may want to test the matte medium on a sample photo to make sure the ink doesn’t bleed.}
  5. Follow step 4 with the 2nd photo on the other side. Let dry.
  6. Add any names, dates or sentiments with your Sakura pen.
  7. Using the your Posca pen, add little stars and doodles. Let dry.
  8. Accent one side of your ornament with Stickles and let dry. Then repeat on the other side if desired. Let dry.
  9. Last, using Aleene’s Tacky Glue, adhere your trim to the edge of the ornament and cut off any excess. Now you have a beautiful keepsake of your loved one or that special moment.

I hope you enjoy creating your custom keepsake. Keep in mind, these would also make great gifts too 😊

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Thoughtful Thursday History of the Christmas Tree

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For those of you celebrating Christmas, hopefully you’ve set up your tree by now. The tradition of Christmas trees began in Germany in the early 1600’s. When German and other European settlers immigrated to America in the early 19th century, they brought this beautiful tradition with them. Although Americans found this tradition a bit odd at first, it became popular.

The first trees were decorated with apples, candy canes, cookies and pastries in assorted shapes of flowers, hearts and stars. Dyed popcorn also became popular as pieces were strung together with nuts and berries into large strands and hung on the tree.

The trees were originally lighted with with candles but this presented problems like keeping the candles on the branches for starters, not to mention accidental fires. But in 1878, Frederick Artz invented a clip on candle holder. This worked well, but you still couldn’t leave the tree unattended or lit for a long time. Luckily with the introduction of electricity into homes, the candles were replaced with electric lights that could keep the trees glowing for days.

The first Christmas tree farm in America was opened in 1851 by a woodsman named Mark Carr. He cut down trees in the Catskill Mountains and sold them in New York City’s Washington Market.

This tradition of displaying and decorating a Christmas tree has grown in popularity over the years and has become a cherished tradition by many. I hope you enjoyed this little snippet of history. Wishing you all the best this holiday season!

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“Christmas is doing a little something extra for everyone.” ~ Charles Schulz

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Thoughtful Thursday Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again. The weather has gotten a little cooler, thank goodness and the leaves are changing. But this is a time of warm gatherings and welcoming family and friends into our homes with lots of love. It’s a time to reflect back on the year and give thanks for all that we have.

More importantly it’s a time for you. This is the time to slow down and take in the beauty around you. Catch your breath and nestle in for the winter with warm soups and hot cocoa. Take time for yourself this season to recharge your energy. Find happiness in the simple, small everyday moments. Allow your soul to linger in the joy and peace of the season.

I want to extend a sincere heartfelt “Thank You” to all of you for your love and support. It’s greatly appreciated!

Wishing you a Very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

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“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John F Kennedy

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Thoughtful Thursday Halloween Decor

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I wanted to share with you some fun Halloween decorations that you can easily make. I love vintage images and had purchased these at a show I was at, but you can find tons online. Please read the instructions first before beginning so you have an idea of what you will be doing. The supply list is at the bottom of this post.

Instructions

  1. Decide how you want to hang your plaques. Based on the type of plaque you have you may want to attach a picture hook to the back or you can drill 2 small holes in the top corners and sand them if needed.
  2. Apply a good coat of gesso to each plaque, front and back.
  3. Find images online and print them on cardstock. Cut them out and set aside.
  4. Paint each plaque in a coordinating color. Let dry overnight. Sand edges for a worn look and wipe off dust.
  5. Steps 6, 7 and 8 are the instructions for hanging with wire. If you used a picture hook in the back of your plaque, skip steps 6, 7 and 8. Another alternative to the wire is to use a piece of fabric or yarn which you would also skip these 3 next steps.
  6. Cut 11 inches of the jewelry wire. From the back of the plaque, put one end through the hole, coming out of the front of the plaque and coil the end with the pliers to knot it.
  7. Slightly off center at the top of the wire, wrap the wire around a pencil, 3 times and slide the pencil out.
  8. Feed the other end of the wire through the second hole from the back of the plaque, coming out in the front. Cut off any excess wire and coil the end as in step 6.
  9. Glue your images on to the plaque with Aleene’s Tacky Glue.
  10. Add a piece of torn autumn fabric to the top of the wire and that’s it!

Supplies:

  • 3 Vintage Halloween Images
  • 3 Wood Plaques fitting your images
  • Gesso
  • Acrylic Paint: Black, Orange, Red or any of your choice
  • Black Copper Jewelry Wire
  • Drill for hanging
  • Picture hanging hook/bracket (optional)
  • Needle nose jewelry pliers
  • Harvest Fabric scraps
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

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True Love Art Journal Page (Part 2)

Last week I shared Page 1 of my journal with you. I had a lot of fun making these tiles using coffee as the background. This flower tile is slightly bigger than the other one as it’s a full 3″ square.

I loved creating with Shrinky Dinks when I was a kid. So I found this heart that I had made quite some time ago and thought it went well with the page as I made it part of the quote “True Love Always comes back.”

Supplies

  • Watercolor Paper, 140lb, Cold Press
  • Micron Sakura Pen 003
  • Assorted Bright Watercolor Pencils
  • Coordinating Acrylic Paints
  • 1 Cup of Coffee
  • Ephemera/Embellishments of your choice
  • Posca Pens: White and Black
  • Pencil for shading

Instructions

  1. Make a cup of really strong dark coffee.
  2. Cut your watercolor paper to the desired size.
  3. Using the Coffee, paint your watercolor paper. Let dry.
  4. Paint the pages in your journal with acrylic paints, let dry.
  5. Using your watercolor pencils, draw and color in your design. Activate the colors with a little water but try not to over mix the colors. Let dry.
  6. Using the Sakura Micron 003 Pen outline your design on your tile and glue it to your page.
  7. Add doodles, embellishments and ephemera to pages.
  8. Add shading with a pencil and highlights with the Posca pen.

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True Love Art Journal Page (Part 1)

I have a tendency to make little pieces of art, then put them away until I’m ready to use them. I read an article where they made art using coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker but I do love the smell of coffee so I decided to give it a whirl.

I used watercolor paper for my 2.75″ x 3.5″ tile so I could be heavy handed with the coffee and get a nice background color. The trick is to make really strong, dark coffee then paint your paper.

Once the coffee is dry, you can create your art. I used watercolor pencils to make my drawing and activated the colors with water. After the paint dried, I went back over my drawing with Sakura Micron Pen 03. As always, I couldn’t resist adding that little bit of sparkly magic with glitter to the tile. (Note: When painting your tile, don’t be afraid to go bold and bright with the watercolor paints because they become muted and toned down when the colors mix with the coffee.)

For this journal page I used my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8″ Mixed Media Journal. I started by putting a good coat of gesso on my page and let it dry. Next, I used assorted acrylic paints that blended with the tile but at the same time made it stand out. After I was happy with the page, I glued my tile in place, added a few doodles and that was it.

I’ll post the second page of this layout next week so stay tuned as the adventure continues!

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Thoughtful Thursday – Father’s Day

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Father’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, June 20th. It’s a day to remember and celebrate those great dads who are here with us today and also to honor those who may have passed.

It’s been said being a mother is one of the toughest jobs and it is, but it’s not exactly a walk in the park for Dads either. They work hard to protect their families and pass down to their kids the knowledge and skills they acquired throughout their lives. Dad’s also pass on their life long passions and hope that one day, their little ones will follow in their footsteps. So how will you honor that great man in your life?

If you’re stuck on what to do for dad this Father’s Day, here are a few ideas:

  • Make a handmade card with a personal photo.
  • Make a photo collage of memorable moments.
  • Have an outdoor celebration in the park, beach or your own backyard.
  • Take dad out on a sporting adventure of his choice.
  • Go camping for a night.
  • Cook his favorite dinner.
  • Build something fun together.
  • Spend a nice day together talking about fun memories.

“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” ~Uknown

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Easter Family Traditions

Growing up, Easter was a fairly big day of celebration. I remember how excited I was to color Easter eggs with mom the night before. Easter morning we started our day with breakfast and then off to church we went. For us kids, the highlight was getting back home to the Easter baskets filled with all kinds of goodies.

Mom would always get us something new to wear. Whether it was a new shirt or swimsuit, it was always exciting. Then it was time for the infamous Easter Egg Hunt in the garden which was a thrilling event! I held on to these wonderful family traditions with my kids and we all have a lot of fond memories and more in the making!

My kids are grown now but I still make them some type of basket. I’ve switched it up and gotten pretty creative over the years. This year I was going to try making these cute wafer decorations which can be found at SmartSchoolHouse.com. My Pinterest Easter Board is full of inspiring ideas on celebrating this Easter holiday.

What are your Easter Traditions?

I wish you and your family a Joyous Easter!

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“Easter is the only time of the year when it’s safe to put all your eggs in one basket..” ~Unknown

Thoughtful Thursday

Photo by Maria Vidaurre – Mockingbird hatchlings

Welcome Little Ones

Last week I wrote about the coming of Spring and the Mockingbirds that made a nest in our topiary just outside of our front door. I still find it odd that they did this with all of the foot traffic in and out of our home, but I guess they felt safe enough.

We’ve been watching Momma coming in and out from the nest a lot from our window. One time we saw her come back with a worm so we investigated once we knew she left. When we walked outside you could hear tiny little peeps. Lo and behold, we had 3 new babies in the nest and I was able to get a quick photo before Momma came back.

Life is beautiful, precious and just amazes me at times. We were blessed to see the birds build the nest, lay their eggs and now welcome the new babies. I’m still in awe with these precious little ones.

Mockingbirds are the Florida State Bird and are here all year round. They are about ten inches in length, sing beautiful songs and are excellent mimics. We’re keeping everyone away from the nest area so the babies and parents don’t stress. We can see that Momma keeps an ever watchful eye over her babies as Mockingbirds are known for fiercely defending their nests.

Take the time to slow down and breathe in the beauty and new life all around you during this very special season.

Have a lovely weekend!

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“Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with life itself.” ~L.W. Gilbert

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Soap Nuts

Soap nuts, also known as Sapindus mukorossi are native to India and Nepal. They are not nuts, but actually a fruit, a berry to be specific. However, when you dry them, it forms a hard outer shell that looks like a nut. The shell contains saponin, a natural detergent. Saponin gets released when the shell absorbs water, it also softens your clothes. Soap nuts are a great alternative for people with allergies who need a chemical free detergent.

To use soap nuts you would need to put about 4-6 of them in a muslin bag and then toss it in your washing machine with your laundry. If you prefer a scent just add essential oils to the muslin bag before tossing them in. Soap nuts don’t create a lot of bubbles and can be used several times before they break down. They are very eco friendly and cost effective!

You can also use soap nuts to make facial washes, shampoos and natural soaps. I found quite a few site online that sell soap nuts. So I’m going to buy some and see how it goes.

 

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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