Valentines 2012

Last year the theme was Love Letters, and this year I decided to expand on that theme. Introducing, Love Letters 2.

I made a list of sentiments, trying to come up with four fun puns. After they were all finished, I lined the kids’ Valentines in a row to take a picture and noticed a happy accident….

I hope your Valentines Day is full of fun surprises!

Valentines 2011

Every year I make home-made valentines for my family. When the kids were smaller, they each had something to do with their lives that year as a memento of who they are.

This year I tried a joint theme that linked all four valentines. I was wracking my brain for ideas, when a simple thought struck: Love. Letters.

I used a paper pack  I already had, making it really easy to keep continuity. Add chalks, white acrylic, and pop dots.  I prefer a small paint brush to apply the chalk… I have better control that way, and it blends real well with the fine bristles.
I also make the envelopes to match. Craziness, I know.

Resistance is the Enemy

I’ve been working on some storyboards. I couldn’t draw a stick man. There were wads of paper all over the floor. I wasn’t sure what I was battling, but I was sure I was losing miserably.
Now that the storyboards are complete I can laugh about it, but still wonder why it had to be so. hard.
There’s a powerful little book that gives the answer –  “The War of Art”, by Steven Pressfield.  With straight-up clarity Pressfield exposes Resistance and its tactics to thwart our dreams, goals and growth. The challenge is applying what you read, but the truth contained in this volume has the potential for being the kick in the pants you’ve been looking for, regardless the goal. It applies to everything from weight-loss to writer’s block.
Resistance is the enemy.
Creating is a birthing process. Pulling something new out of ourselves hurts!!! But WOW the excitement when we look at what we’ve accomplished, right?
 I love when I muscle my way through something that stretches every limit I thought I had, only to discover there is more to me than I knew. I need to be willing to voluntarily muscle my way through more in order to create more.

Making an Art Quilt

I finally finished the quilt commissioned by a friend.  She had seen several art quilts and fell in love, then completely trusted me to just come up with something. I said yes, having no earthly idea what I was going to do. I broke through a lot of different fears during the process, and the quilt evolved and changed – just like I was evolving and changing artistically. I am amazed at the final product and humbled at the way God works through my hands and pops ideas into my head from nowhere.

It’s titled “Foundations”. The words at the roots represent a firm family foundation: faith, honor, integrity, trust, hope, passion, purpose. The flowers (children) springing up are the result of those roots, their ancestors (in the leaves) serving as a protective covering in the branches above.

Words stamped into the “ground.
Children grow under a cover of love.
Ancestors watch from among the leaves.

Happy Valentines Day 2009

I love Valentines, which is pretty surprising considering how much anxiety they caused me as a kid.  Several years ago a magazine article inspired me to make my own valentines, and every year I invite my girlfriends over to “play”.  It’s a lot of fun, with snacks, a big mess, and the occasional dance party.

This is me working with what I have – my own hand as a model. I got a bit of razzing for this – from people who can’t even draw, mind you – which gave us a good laugh as we each merrily created our own brand of perfect.

As the kids grow, it becomes harder to come up with Valentine ideas. When they were little I’d make them according to their favorite tastes from that year. Now I walk through a land mine of “not cool” and “oh brother”.  I keep at it because one day they’ll have all those pieces of paper that say “I love you” straight from their mama’s hand.
This year’s effort felt lackluster, due to to lots of school work and little free time.

I only have one daughter, so she’s kind of special to my mama heart. We enjoy laughing at the wildlife and especially enjoy feeding the birds together.

Son #2 is very into Guitar Hero at the moment.  It’s fun to peek around the corner and spy as he lets out his inner rock star!

Son #1 lives out of town for college. This year I went with my heart.

Of course the Hunk gets a Valentine, too. (Hint: That hand should look familiar….)
I’d love to hear about your favorite Valentine tradition.

Cottage Living

The first of the year I moved into a cottage.  A real cottage – 348 square feet and consists of a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom.

Not only was the price right, but it has lots of “extras”.  It’s tucked into the woods and covered by huge trees.  The birds love my feeders. The deer come out to say hello each night.  It’s under the the airport so there is no light pollution and I can see every star. (No airport noise – the big jets use the other side.) From my front door I can watch the horses next door. I have lots of windows and lots of light. The country road to get here is a treat for the eyes.  And I’m right around the corner from just about everything.
Living in such a small space has its challenges.  The kids laugh when I have to move something to get to something else, but that’s what makes it fun.
The microwave is on my kitchen table.
My rotary mat is under the loveseat – which is the largest couch that would fit and opens to a twin bed for guests.
The toilet stops the bathroom door.
I have one closet – it’s in the kitchen.
It’s home.

Quilted Postcards

I’ve been experimenting with quilted postcards.

I wanted to try Misty Fuse, and words printed on cotton sheets and ExtravOrganza, and a small postcard wasn’t as intimidating as a bigger project would be.
So, I accomplished several things in one go.

I used double-sided Pelltex by Pellon.  My postcard kept its shape and I like the feel of it – not flopsy.

Postcard #2 is a healthy reminder for myself.  You wouldn’t believe the acrobatics it took to get that shot – standing on one leg while trying to hold the camera steady at the right angle.  I tried the heavier needle with the Pelltex, but I didn’t like the way it perforated it. I zig-zagged around the words, and din’t like that either, but I think the holes add pizzazz.

I have now mailed several of these with those stick-on stamps, and all have arrives safely at their destinations. I made sure embellishments were fairly flat and sewn on well so nothing snags. The top postcard even did well with that pom pom in the flower center.

Photos On Fabric

I think I finally achieved the desired results with my pictures.  I just went ahead and printed them straight onto the fabric. I’ve done it before for labels, and when a couple of my online pals recommended trying it I looked into the permanency of the printer ink and tried it. These two came out particularly well. My biggest challenge is getting the images positioned in a light spot on the fabric. I want them to be subtle, but I don’t want to have to search the quilt for them, either.  (UPDATE: The quilt is now 9 years old, and the photos are as clear as ever.)