Tuesday, July 25, 2017

#newkitchencomingin2017- Week One

My "before" Island 

Empty and Ready...

This could be an intro to an HGTV show...."After 17 years, 3 kids, 16 Thanksgivings, 16 Christmases, Holidays and countless birthday parties and even more gatherings around the table....it's time to refresh, renovate, remodel and renew!!! As my youngest discovered...after we dream of college, marriage, children....the next big dream....a new Kitchen!!!  There are actually a lot of dreams in between and beyond the kitchen.  But for me, my kitchen is where we share not only our food, we share in our thoughts; our days- the good ones and the not so good; we do homework, we learn of new worlds, and new words; the prayers that are said are sweet and the aroma of family and friends fill my kitchen, my home and my heart.  Nourish- is what comes to mind as I think of my kitchen, my home.  We nourish not only the body, but the soul, the spirit and the heart.

We have planned and dreamed on how to make our kitchen even better than before.  I had a beautiful kitchen but it was in need of more than a facelift..we needed to replace the time worn and well loved floors, cabinets; we needed a flow to the wonderful traffic that enters our home on a regular basis (20 or so teenage girls, art classes and friends gathering), a place where Home Ec students can be taught the way to feed our families without a trip to the nearest fast food restaurant, a place to learn the art of celebrating and to gather once again around the island and get our hands a little messy as we knead the dough and sift through life's journey.

This is week one in the journey.  This is a new process for me, seeing how the insides of the walls work, quietly and now more efficient; to see the beams that hold up my walls; the talent of men who have learned the art of plumbing, electricity, construction- it is truly an art and the men who have walked in my kitchen truly know their craft.  It has been a week of living with dust, but dusting each night (it is like shoveling snow while it is still snowing); a week of cooking creatively with the grill, crockpot and pressure cooker; a week of learning and letting go; making way for the new by removing  the old.  I feel life lessons are coming from this process- I will let those simmer just a while.

Here are a few pictures of before and during....

packing the last of the boxes...I had
 a baby shower two days before Demo Day!



Notice the arch and the wall.....
During....Demo day and Week One

Hammering ...wish I could have saved the granite pieces..
but oooh, so sharp and heavy!!

Presleigh - ready for demo day!

Savannah chipping away at the granite!

Cabinet and countertops gone!

Down to the cement

Getting ready for the gas line and new water lines.

Scaffolding up, wall down - a little mess before the beauty!

Thank you for joining me on this journey...Life lessons, learning curves and creating a new gathering place, where we can feed our family, friends and find comfort not only in food but in one another.

Until next time, add a little love in your next dinner as you gather around the table!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mark My Words --Creating a 6 Strand Tassel Bookmark featuring SRM Devotional Stamps

Beautiful Words to hold the special places in the Word

Welcome to the DCC blog hop!  I am so glad you stopped by today for some inspiration. Be sure to check out all the other blogs in the hop for great ideas and inspiration as  we feature SRM and a few of their fantastic lines for scrapbooking and Bible journaling.  I had the pleasure of receiving a set of clear stamps entitled Daily Devotions from SRM. (Thank you SRM!!!)  It is filled with words of encouragement, affirmation, study and thought.  The words immediately brought to mind so many scriptures and beautiful hymns...His Grace is sufficient…You are a chosen people,... Seek and you shall find.. Abide with me…The steadfast Love of the Lord never ceases...Come let us adore him… and so much more.  So, I knew I had to use as many as I could!!!  They are so tiny, well-made and perfect for oh so many areas in our journaling and paper art life!!  

cutest little word with a big impact

Gathering words is a joy of mine as I have words throughout my home, my art and my jewelry... These words from the stamp collection truly speak to me. Whatever I created I wanted to be visual and that I could see not just on one page of my Bible but perhaps throughout. I remembered a bookmark that I had purchased for my daughter with different color ribbons almost like a tassel…this sparked my creativity and I set out to gather all the supplies, stamps and ribbon.  This bookmark can hold, not just one place but 6 different places. For me, I thought that it could hold verses that hold special meaning of the words I have chosen. To me, however, the most important ones will be dangling outside my Bible, with the words Choose Jesus.  Let’s get started creating our bookmark…

A close-up of the words

Let’s Gather…

-Muslin strips*- I found these as a beauty supply store. They are for brow waxing, so they come precut and very inexpensive-absolutely perfect!!!
-Small scraps of fabric
-Fabri-Tac by Beacon Adhesive or you could use your sewing machine
-Thin ribbon, in desired lengths
-StaZon Ink, Black
-Faith Stamp collection by SRM
-Acrylic Block for stamps
-Silver head pins (2)
-Glass beads (6)
-Silver Charm, Bird
-Round nose pliers

Let’s Create…

The words

           Place muslin strips on a paper pad.  Select words and place on an acrylic block (1 at a time).  Ink and practice on the paper pad, then stamp onto fabric.  Stamp the word 2 times leaving a space for the fold between each word.  Set aside

Stamped muslin strips

Trim word and using Fabri-Tac, adhere the words to the fabric scraps.  Set aside to dry.

Using small charm squares, its easy to fit two word strips
and then cut to size.

               Once dry, trim the fabric around, leaving a small border to show. 

Measuring to cut the fabric strips

Marked and ready to trim

The tassel

The bookmark on top of the Bible 

      Measure your Bible or the book that this bookmark will reside.  Add the desired length for the part that will dangle from the bottom and top of the book. 

In this photo, I have already attached the beads and the charm

       For a six stranded Bible, double the measurement from step 1. Cut 3 strips and fold in half; Cut one strip for “Choose Jesus” and cut one 8-12” piece of ribbon to secure the tassel.

      Lay the 3 strands on a flat surface and using the 4th strip, place that at the middle, wrapping under the 3 strands.  Grab all 6 strands, leaving the 4th to be the topper.  With the small piece of ribbon, wrap several times around the top of the 6 strands and tie with a knot. *Do not trim as this is where you bead dangles will go.  Set aside.

The Bead Dangles

The bird charm is slipped onto the shorter piece of ribbon, tied and then
the bead dangles are placed and knotted.

       On the silver head pin, thread 3 small glass beads.  Using round nose pliers, create a loop at the top and bring the wire around the head pin to secure.  Repeat with other head pin and beads.
      String the beaded head pins onto the smaller ribbon that tied the top of the tassel.

Putting it all together

1  Take one completed fabric strip and fold in half;

   Lay one strand of ribbon inside the center of the fold, with Fabri-Tac glue edges together.

Using Fabric-Tac to secure.

Folding in half; press to spread the glue.

All 6 words completed

      Set aside.  Repeat with all fabric word strips. 
·    **If using a sewing machine, use a pin to hold placement of the ribbon and sew the 3 edges of the folded fabric strip.  Repeat with all fabric word strips.

Words to live by

Here are a few of my favorite scriptures that hold a special place in my Bible as well as in my heart.

Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

Proverbs 4:13- Hold on to instruction, do not let go; guard it well, for it is your life.  affirm

Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Psalm 100:4 – Enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

Philippians 4:8- Finally, ...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Hebrews 11:1- Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Until next time,   I hope you'll find the words that bring hope and healing, joy and love... and  then write or stamp them on your he{art}...


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Zen- Inspired Necklace featured on the ICE Resin® Blog

Zen-Inspired Necklace

Happy Thursday!!  Today on the ICE Resin Blog is one of my favorite (and easy) jewelry pieces.  Zentangles are a favorite of so many.  The simplicity of  the black and white, the rhythm of the patterns and the serenity that comes as we move pen to paper was my inspiration for this necklace.  With a few simple supplies and a little time, you too can be Zen-inspired!  Hope you will take a few moments and visit the blog to see just how simple and stress-free this can be!!  Here are a few close-up photos ....

The Zen-Square Bezel

Close up of the charm dangles and the Zen Heart

Until next time, I hope you get your "zen" on and try this technique with ICE Resin®.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Joy of Journaling - the Opposites

Recently I shared with y'all the joy of journaling with two word lists.  Each morning, before the world begins and by world, I mean, dogs, hens, children, husband and the to do lists, I sit quietly at the kitchen table.  To my left is  my special bag of pens, my gratitude journal, another study journal and my Bible.  To my right, is coffee...always coffee.  The rest of the house is dark and quiet. the light in the kitchen is all I need to see what is in front of me - the Light of the World and the whisper of the Spirit.  I start with my gratitude journal, even on mornings when I am not feeling particularly grateful...I start the same way, each and everyday.  I am grateful for this day, a good cup of coffee, and then the list begins...Yesterday, I wrote some general things and then my mind began to wonder in two different directions, as it often does...and then so did my list.  Isn't that how life is at times?   Full of faith and full of doubt.  Full of laugher and full of tears. Depending on the season of life or even in  the split second like when children are laughing together and then their laughter turns to tears... I thought about the familiar and the new... One adventourous and unknown; the other, known and safe.

Here's a portion of my list..a good way to view life as not one thing or the other.  It's a blending of both, balancing mind and soul and leaning forward...all the while, being grateful for both.

I am grateful for...

*dreams and to do lists
*the planned and the carefree
*the pursuit and the pause
*the do-ing and the be-ing
*Highs and lows
*the new and the old
*the routine and the spontaneity
*the tried&true and  the risk
*my past and my present

Then my list shifted to this...

*The Lord being in all of my opposites
*Life's stages - May I play my part well
*Life's seasons- May I savor and learn from each of them
*Life's Opposites - May I handle them with Grace and Faith.

They say opposites attract and for relationships perhaps that's true.  But I have found the in all opposites there must be a common thread that connects the two.  For me it is my faith in the Lord who has made everything perfect in his time.  In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote about opposites and that there is truly a time for everything. Life is filled with opposites. Life is also, filled with connections.  Connections, threads, faith - like cable wires in the ground, they are ever present but protected by the soil.  Buried but most definetly not forgotten.  We need these deep rooted connections to weather the changes, the opposites in life.  We don't want our root system to be only a few inches beneath the surface.  We want it to be well- planted, well-watered and well-protected.

Each morning, as I listen for the whisper, this is where my blending of life and it's challenges happen..through time, prayer and leaning in to what the Lord has to share in the opposites in my life, he'll show me in perfect time how these opposites attract and become part of my root system, my growth, my story. It doesn't happen overnight, it takes a life- time of tending, planting and pruning.

So what opposites can you be grateful for? Start a list in your journal and see how your thoughts become ways to see life not just as black or white but a blending, a time of connecting.  Some opposites are fun like our sons and daughters, new and old but some are a little more challenging such as staying and leaving, risk and routine, and some will take all of our faith to find the connection such as gain and loss, joy and sadness...and what I have found to be true, is that in all of this, the grounding of our Faith will be the right balance for the nurturing of our lives.

Until next time, may you find joy in journaling...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Willow Hearts Tea Time In Texas - a mother/daughter tradition

The transformation of my backyard

Willow Hearts is a love of mine.  We started this girls group almost 5 years ago with the idea of creating community, a safe place, an inviting place, an accepting place, a loving place, a fun place where we could  share, learn and grow.  We have met at least twice a month, where art, faith and friendship collide.  We also have special days and traditions such as our Costume Party,  Christmas in Mexico (a service project), Secret Santa and Summer Fun days but one of the most special of all days is our annual Mother/Daughter Tea which also includes Grandmothers.  It's a time to sit and enjoy moms and daughters, teas and scones, love and friendship.  My backyard becomes center stage for our Garden Tea Party where glass plates, teacups and pretty napkins are placed on each of the round tables,  where food is served from tiered plates and laugher is heard from table to table.  It's a moment in time that seems to stand still, no distractions except maybe a bird or two. At the end of the tea, we all participate in a teacup swap.  Each mother/daughter/granddaughter brings a wrapped teacup whether new, old or somewhere in between.  It's an exciting time to see all the teacups- the varying styles from modern and sleek to floral and elegant.
The tables are set

But the most wonderful exchange is not the teacups but of  stories, friendship and love - for which I am forever grateful.   These girls and their moms have shared with me their time and creativity, their friendship and their love.  This year was no exception to the beauty and joy that was shared that afternoon.  My backyard is transformed to an elegant outing, an oasis from the busyness of life- we hide the pool rafts, clean up the flower beds and make sure there is no evidence of the three dogs that grace our yard on a daily basis.  We set rented tables with crisp white linens, fresh flowers and conversation starters.  We pull out the collection of glass party plates, teacups and vintage silver spoons, polished only on this occasion.   We begin to plate the glass tiers with chicken salad tarts, cucumber sandwiches (my mother's infamous tea treasures) and turkey triangles.  On another plate is scones accompanied with clotted cream and jam, and still on another is macaroons, cream puffs and mini Victorian sponge cakes made by Presleigh who loves all things British.

Snapdragons and hibiscus planted and in full bloom

the walkway filled with purple goodness

This year, we shared about the memories made by the exchanging not just of teacups but of time and presence.  I encouraged them to lean in and remember these special times with friends, moms and daughters, to remember the warm feelings of friendship  admist the warm Texas heat, the hands and hearts who selected the teacups.  We know that our teatime tradition only lasts a few hours, but in the moments forward, this teatime afternoon becomes a memory to savor and serve warm with a dollop of love!
Mothers, Daughters, Grandmothers - Friends!!

Until next time, Tea is always served at my home- join me!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Magazine Mosaic Necklace features in the Gallery of Belle Armoire Jewelry Summer Issue 2017

Magazine Mosaic in the spirit of Monet

Recently our ceiling fell (another story for another time but it was due to our A/C).  The only thing that was ruined was.... you guessed it- my magazines that were on the coffee table.  I am so very grateful that no one was hurt. Our furniture was cleaned and restored but…. Oh the sad state of a stack of my treasures (magazines), wet and somewhat crumpled.   What was I to do?  …. Get creating!

With my wet British County Living, I decided to try a paste paper technique to try and save some of the beautiful images..   What I love with this technique is that each pendant, collage or bezel will be different.  With the blending of the papers, the effects can be soft as Monet’s flower fields or vibrant as Georgia O’Keefe.   So if you are willing to part with your magazines, let’s get started and create these works of art…. if you can’t part with your treasured publications, just ask your neighbor for theirs…. Happy Creating!!


A few supplies

Brush the Paper Sealer onto the trimmed paper

Old Magazines
Paper trimmer
Collage glue stick
Metal bezel
ICE Resin®, disposable cup, stir stick 
*ICED Enamels, ICED Enamels Medium, Relique Powder or Acrylic paint (*Optional)
Heat tool
Wire, jewelry pliers wire cutters
Leather Cording or Chain


1.  Using paper trimmer and pages from magazines, cut long strips of varying width

2.  With collage glue stick, glue strips next to and even overlapping each other on the base cardstock

3.  Once a large enough area is covered, lay the template down.

Paper strips glued onto base yardstick
 and the template for the bezel

4.  To cut out the bezel size, with pencil trace and then use scissors to cut out or with a Xacto knife cut around the template through the paper.  Make sure that the paper is on a self-healing cutting mat. Brush on two coats of Paper Sealer and  Set aside.
The paper trimmed heart and 2 other bezels 
5.  Now prepare the bezel with a little bit of ICED Enamel Powder or Acrylic Paint.
Brush on ICED Enamel Medium in the bezel

Sprinkling on the Relique Powder.  Then
heat set with embossing/craft heat tool. 

 6.  Prepare the ICE Resin®  -

*Mix equal amounts of part A and part B in the disposable cup.  

*Using the plastic stir stick and gently fold the two parts stirring for two minutes.

6.  With the stir stick, drip the Resin into the bezel and fill to the edge.  Let dry 8-10 hours
Drying on the Studio Sheet
7.  With annealed wire, thread through the loop on the bezel.  String 3 beads and then create a loop at the top and wire wrap the longer tail.

8.  String the wire and heart bezel onto leather or chain

Sunlight  shinning on my Mosaic Garden

A few fun facts about my Love of Jewelry…

*When I was a little girl, stringing beads was a favorite in our home.  From there the love just grew and the little girl in me, loves to create jewelry pieces for others and myself.

I was inspired to make this piece so I could rescue wet magazines that I couldn’t bear to throw away.

The Best part of Jewelry making for me is the feeling of accomplishment and the absolute freedom to create each piece as unique as the person who will wear it.

 Until next time, Grab a few magazines and enter Monet's Gardens or Georgia O'Keefe's flowers 

A little more abstract bezel, ready for ICE Resin®