Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Post NOEL.

Happy New Year's Eve-Eve! I hope you Champs had an amazing Christmas with your families.  Ours was...interesting.  One of my girls was nursing a horrendous fever and the other, a horrendous heartbreak. 
We managed to survive both last week and are looking forward to ringing in 2015 full of hope and prayerful anticipation of all that God wants teach us.  May he find us to be willing and obedient students this new year.
Here is our version of sleeping in heavenly peace.
Christmas day 2014. 

Cole, Kennedy Cohl and Brecken
I was able to wrap up all custom Christmas orders just in the nick of time (minus a pallet tree request that we never filled-ugh...so sorry Betsy)!
This custom sign I couldn't post last time as the recipient (Amy) does read my blog from time to time and I didn't want to spoil her husband's surprise gift to her.

 Their families' mission statement loud and clear on staggered luon board. I first stained it all dark walnut, then painted it creamy white. Hopefully you found a spot to hang it Amy. :)
 Here's my sisters and parents and me enjoying our annual pre-Christmas get-a-way weekend in Grand Rapids. Shout out to Gma Marge for the festive tee's and regifting opportunities every year! :)
On a serious note, I love this tradition and am so thankful to still be able to celebrate with my healthy parents for another year.  I'm so sad to learn of several of your losses this year and pray 2015 will bring you peace. 
 I try not to define the success of our Christmas by what was opened under the tree.  Each year, I try to scale back with Ken and the girls, but the older they get, the pricier their gifts become. Can you relate??
I don't have buyer's remorse this year about much, (other than an over-priced 8x10 white shag rug for Breck), but I did lay awake most of last night, bothered again by how much we've been spending lately. Ken calls me scrooge, and rightly so. 
I'm just too cheap for this holiday!!

One thing I could control was the amount of Christmas decor I put up.  I opted for minimal wintery decorations as opposed to red/green bling that would be pulled down Christmas night.


 This wasn't a Christmas gift, but probably should've counted as such for me this year. I do love the fact that this room is so much more user-friendly now. It used to be our dining room if you recall and now it's a den for t.v watching and hanging out as a family. I had to use a 'filter' on my phone, so sorry it's grainy. But the sofa was showing up purple and it's really charcoal grey/taupe. 

 I got the ottoman (Merry Christmas to me once again....)at @HOME in Jenison where the old Target used to be. Sectional is "Cozy Life" from Talsma Furniture.

 Here's the old hutch that stored extra plates and wine glasses.  Now, repurposed into an entertainment center. Ken took off the doors, took out a shelf, and added a shelf to make it work.  It used to be stained pine. I painted it a light grey called "Ancient Relic".

I am still enjoying my freshly (?) painted white trim in this room.  Not gonna lie...the animal hair that settles in the cracks on this stairwell, drives me crazy, but it's worth it for how much brighter and newer it made this room feel.

 New clock I treated myself to in the back living room-Hobby Lobby half off.

 New fuse ball and ping pong tables Ken treated us all to.
 Teeny tiny for our little lower level, but great for entertaining teens.
 Here's my real gift. A shark floor mop for washing all the carpe-tless and cat hair filled rooms in my house.  Yeah for me. No, really, I'm seriously thrilled with this gift. :)

Hope your holidays were/are Merry and Bright. 
And may I be one of the first to wish you all a wonderful 2015. 
If you're looking for something to do on New Year's Day, head on over to Not So Shabby for 10% off in most booths, including mine and some yummy munchies! Open that day from 10-3.
See you next year!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Creative Collaboration-signs designed by you and me!

 It's Christmas eve, eve, eve and I am almost finished with custom Christmas orders.  I have a framed magnetic board to stain and finish but then that's a wrap!

 I can share with you only some of these sign orders, as many of them won't be opened until Christmas day and I don't want to give away the surprise as some have names on them but will try to remember to post them soon.  Here's a sampling of some personalized gifts:

These are being hung over beds in master bedrooms. I had this stencil already cut and had used it on some large embroidery rings that I had stenciled for my booth last year, but it's much more fun to personalize them with marriage dates.
This one, my neighbor ordered for her newly repurposed living room. They recently purchased a large sectional and needed/wanted wall art to hang above one section-the main wall as you looked into the room.  Here is the image she texted me:
She wanted it to be as close to that font style as possible.  I couldn't find the exact font, so I decided to enlarge the text using a projector. I traced the lettering on paper and cut the stencil out with an exacto knife. 
I then painted/stenciled it using black paint and a stencil brush.

I distressed it by hand with a sanding pad and Ken built a frame for it which I also painted black and distressed.
 This one was a Christmas order from last year painted on bard wood, but I had this pallet sign already cut in the garage and reused that stencil. This one i brought to my booth. Not sure if it's still there. I haven't stopped in yet this week.
 This 3x5 custom order was placed by my friend Renee for her parents who live in a cottage/home on the lake near the woods.  This sign was to be the identifier to point guests in the direction of their home.  Ken used pine boards that I stained with a dark walnut stain and would later paint over it in an exterior creamy white to give it depth.

 Again, I used the projector to enlarge the font/writing.
Here's the image being projected on the sign:
 Same song, second verse: I traced the lettering and cut a stencil using a large sheet of plywood as my cutting board.
 Being stenciling the wording, I sanded off the corners, edges and joints where they were connected to give it a rustic/cottage vibe.

 Stenciling the wording using a custom brick red color that I mixed using paints I had.

 This is before I finished it off with three coats of exterior polyurethane to keep it from weathering too quickly. 
 Karen ordered this sign from something she saw online.  She found it in a vertical orientation, but needed it horizontal to hang over a leather sofa in her family room.  Again, had to be a bigger, bolder look to make sense in that room.She wanted it really rustic to match a barnwood framed mirror she had found earlier in the week.I first had Ken lay out these pallet boards, but after he put the whole thing together, I determined they were too light to compliment her wall color in that room so I had him build another. Oh how he loves me. :)
Once I had the time consuming design and stencil cut, I was grateful I would be able produce another to sell  to make up for some lost time. ( will be brought to the booth this week).
This style is a little trickier because every word or every few words are a different font style...so you're adjusting size and fonts as you go.
Here's the finished product.  Ken framed it with some cut pine trim which I stained with a walnut stain and distressed.

I had so much fun (?) -yes, I really did with these custom orders and am so thankful for your trust in me as you continue to challenge me to step out of my "accidental artist" comfort zone.
 Looking forward to more creative collaboration with you Champs in 2015! If I don't have time to post before Thursday, I hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas!!  Love and peace to you in the new year! See you back here soon!


Monday, December 8, 2014


It's that time of year again...time for sis and I to collectively coordinate a Christmas dessert table for Central Wesleyan's annual Women's dessert night. 
Over 800 women assemble each year to listen to a fantastic speaker, fellowship with friends and munch on Pinterest perfect goodies. 
The goal of the evening, above all else is to hear the good news of the coming savior, Jesus Christ. 
All else, is just icing on the cake as they say, (pun intended). :)

This year's theme of  'Waiting' hit home for me. 
Lots of us spend time waiting, don't we?  I know I have in my own life. Waiting to graduate from high school and college, waiting to get married, waiting to have kids, waiting for the perfect career, waiting for success, waiting for circumstances to change, waiting for kid's to graduate, waiting for their weddings, waiting for retirement....
and the list goes on.
Instead of  finding myself waiting this year, I want to find myself 'living'.
The only waiting I want to be aware of is the expectant waiting on my Savior. Waiting for His timing, His plan, His peace.
This seems like a more productive and fulfilling type of waiting. 
Wanna join me?

Usually I"m pretty self-deprecating around this time of year, but I'm pretty proud of myself how low-key I'm keeping things. I haven't even started Christmas shopping and I'm not even stressed about it. I almost didn't put up a tree, but my daughter's insisted and did all the decorating themselves! 
For the dessert night event, I knew in hosting a table for the past three years what was expected of us. Cherie would make the dessert and I would pick a theme or color scheme and decorate the table for eight. I didn't want/need to spend a lot and I wanted to keep it simple.
 My weekly trip to Hobby Lobby resulted in the $5 purchase of this paper mache cone.  I had a vision for wrapping it with white fringe to make a Christmas tree.

 But on the advice of the Hobby Lobby cashier who saw this idea on Pinterest, she suggested I cover it with Christmas bulbs. So that's what I set out to do. (Grace wanted to help so badly).

I had this bag of extra plastic silver bulbs laying around, 
 ...and with no plan in place, I started at the bottom to work my way to the top.
 And I ran out about halfway up the tree! Again, proud of myself for not feeling super frustrated and buzzed out to the dollar store to see what I could find. 
I ended up buying three boxes of very similar bulbs! I was only out three more dollars and 10 minutes of my time.
After glueing the bulbs to the top, my lovely design-minded daughter pointed out that she could still see the paper cone in between the bulbs. 
Flying by the seat of my pants, as always, I rifled through one of my holiday totes to find this vintage white garland that I cut into strips, then poked through said holes with the end of a scissors.

Here's the finished product that would become the centerpiece of the table.

 I ended up finding polka dot wrapping paper at TJ Maxx and already had the silver/white polka dot plastic balls from Ikea several years ago. 
I scattered those at the base of the tree and layered a strip of the wrapping paper as a table runner.  I cut white and silver ribbon and laced that throughout and used white plastic tablecloth strips to use as chair slipcovers with bows.

 Cherie and I ran out of time to find a decorative cupcake liner or plate, so I improvised and cut a circle from the wrapping to set the cupcake on.

 Cherie made delicious chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with white chocolate drizzled on top in the shape of a snowflake. Shout out to Pinterest, once again!
Here are some of the other Christmas themed tables from that night. Such a festive way to kick of the holiday season.

 Highlight of my night was our handsome server-none other than my nephew Cole. 
Cousins-Cole & Kennedy
 What a festive, fun night.  I loved the large paper chains draped from the ceiling.  Colors were a fun twist for the season as opposed to the traditional red and green.
 Hope you found some inspiration for your holiday table. I'll be back here soon with some of the custom signs we've been working on. 
 In the meantime, while you're waiting....I pray that this advent season will be a time of hope and peace.
Lots of love to you Champs on this rainy Monday.