Monday, December 23, 2013

Sibling Christmas






We were pleased to host my Sibling Christmas this year. Each of the two couples comes from opposite directions, about two hours away, so our “central” location works great.

We always have a great time together. Serious talks, hilarious stories, lots of laughter, a time of reading the Christmas story with songs, and sharing gifts.

While it’s great having siblings as you grow “up,” it’s even greater to have them close as you grow “older.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

Firsts and Lasts {Emotions of Christmas}

I’m going to churn out some thoughts here, without parsing the words or stewing and studying for a long time. I try to avoid emotionally-charged thoughts these days, as I’m a bit on overload. If I camp out on these thoughts very long, upheavel will result. Emotional. Upheaval.

These days (i.e., at this stage of my life), I sometimes see myself as having a viewpoint that I would describe as birds-eye, or an overview. From that vantage (that comes with age, sorry, it just does), I am observing many references to “firsts” and “lasts” during this holiday season. I just wanted to write down these thoughts somewhere. That’s one reason I have a blog. So here it is.

What I see is more than just observations about the “circle of life,” although that has been on my mind a lot the last year and a half, having experienced the deaths of several older family members. What I am observing is not earth-shattering, nor is it a new or unique viewpoint. But, it’s really hitting me hard these days—and that is, that “life” is a series of firsts and lasts. These milestones are discussed openly during this season, especially in social media.

Most of these apply to me personally, but not all. I have recently seen references to:

Couples’ First Christmas

First Christmas in new house

Baby’s First Christmas (Christmas ornaments to denote the occasion)

First Christmas with new daughter-in-law/son-in-law

Grandbaby’s First Christmas

Newly-married grandchildren’s first Christmas together

Great Grandbaby’s First Christmas

First Christmas without spouse

Last Christmas with Daddy (or first Christmas without Daddy)

Last Christmas with sister (or first Christmas without sister)

Last Christmas with Mother (or first Christmas without Mother)

…and on and on the cycle goes…

There’s a mixture of emotions that comes with each milestone.

The good I see is this: Most every “last” has a “first” close on its heels—for example, this is our first Christmas without my mother, but it’s also the first Christmas that we have other important people who are entering our family for the first time.

I guess what I am seeing is simply more evidence of what we read about in Ecclesiastes:

Ecclesiastes 3 (KJV)

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die…

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

…”beginning to end…”

Firsts and lasts…

“Christmas makes me feel emotional…”

Saturday, December 14, 2013

SMASHing {Pages from my Holiday Smash Journal}

I am finding that working in my Christmas Smash Journal is my “happy place” as far as crafting right now. This Smash journal is a bit of a “documentation” of our pre-holiday activities.

These are pages I finished the last couple of days.

To see more detail, just click on each image.

making sugar cookies page in Smash wm

holiday smash gingerbread cookies wm

fir sure page wm

kristy card page wm

The card on the right-hand page features artwork by my talented daughter-in-law.

opening page with rolled tree wm

sassi elf page wm

I’m enjoying learning to use my newest toy, a Silhouette Cameo. I like the brain challenge of learning new things.

I use Smash Journals as a fun and casual place to “scrapbook” photos and thoughts and memorabilia that will not be in my traditional, chronological scrapbooks. It’s quite “freeing.” Love it, actually.

Winter Wonderful Morning

Our first snow of the season was especially beautiful this morning.

snowy morning 1snowy morning 2snowy morning 4snowy morning 3snowy morning 5snowy morning 6snowy morning 7snowy morning 8 my view(My view-Doggie on lap, coffee mug in hand.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Smash Journal {Better to Give}

smash occ wm

Working in my Holiday Smash Journal, where I am “smashing” pictures and memorabilia of pre-holiday goings-on that will not make their way into my traditional 2013 scrapbooks.

This page in the Holiday Smash with “’tis better to give” down the side, seemed to lend itself well to the pictures I took the day we packed our Operation Christmas Child boxes. I mounted the photos with photo corners, making it possible to tuck a journaling tag behind one of the pictures.

Loving my new Silhouette Cameo, even though I’m at the beginner level so far. I used it to cut the sleigh and the titles.

Christmas Tag {Joyous Christmas}

Tim Tag Dec 2013 wm

This is my take on Tim Holtz’s Tag for December 2013. I used his holly branch steel rule die and cut it from acetate and then inked it with alcohol inks (Pesto, Meadow, Red Pepper and Mushroom—sounds like a pizza order!).

The background was created with Tarnished Brass Distress Stain, overlaid with Vintage Photo Distress Ink sponged through Tim’s star layering stencil.

The Joyous Christmas stamp was stamped with Distress Embossing Ink and heat embossed with fine black embossing powder.

Still adding tags to my Christmas Tag Tree!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Winter Wonderland Block

Meadow Snowman wm

I am realizing that I love snowmen. I say this because many of my wintertime/holiday projects include snowmen. This particular mixed media project is a board that my husband cut for me, approximately 6 x 5.5 x 1.5. I covered all sides with gesso and then placed images that I had cut from chipboard. I painted everything with heavy body white titanium paint (to add even more dimension) before painting with acrylics.

meadow snowman 1 wmmeadow snowman 2 wmmeadow snowman 3 wmmeadow snowman 5 wmmeadow snowman 6 wm

(There’s that song again, with the family tradition behind it (see previous post).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Vintage Christmas Cowboy {Tinting Old Photograph}

cowboy 3 wm

Well now, I could not leave out my only brother, in the vintage holiday photograph tags! At Christmas of 1958, Keith was age 4. This picture was taken at my Mamo and Grandad’s home, THE location for the “big Christmas” for us as we were growing up. Each of the grandchildren (I was the oldest, thank you very much) had a stocking with our name (or an abbreviation of the name—mine said “Barba”). The stockings would have basically the same contents each year: nuts, some candy, and always an orange in the toe.

To my knowledge, many (if not all) of us have continued the “stocking tradition,” and the stockings over my fireplace now have the names of my four grandchildren (ages 20, 20, 18 and 7), the great-great grandchildren of my Mamo and Grandad.

I could write a book about the memories from my grandparents’ Christmases, and many of the memories are traditions carried on today in my own home, like the stockings. Not many feet from where Keith was standing was the baby grand piano, where I first started “banging” on the keys as a child, around which we sang Christmas songs, with my aunt playing (and later, me). Now I have my own baby grand piano, and the same songs are sung now by the three succeeding generations.

This year I put my Tag Tree up early, and it has been fun to take some of the tags I am making right now and put them directly on the tree. I would expect this particular Vintage Christmas Cowboy tag will be on its way to my brother’s tree, after my siblings come to my house for our “family Christmas” this year.

keith christmas 58

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vintage Winter Wonderland {Tinting Old Photograph}

Trying some of the techniques Tim Holtz taught in Creative Chemistry 102, I always love working with vintage photos. I prefer to use my own, since there should be SOME up-side to having real, vintage photos of one’s childhood!

vintage wonderland wm

Here’s the original photo:

bk janene snowman

I do not remember this picture being taken. I would guess our ages as about 4 and 3, maybe. That would make the picture more than 60 years old. I am on the left (in my pre-bangs days, which lasted about 4 years of my life), and my sister Janene, 15 months younger than I, on the right. I believe this picture was taken at my grandparents’ home in Helena, Arkansas. They had a huge back yard. I had never seen this picture until a few years ago when one of my aunts shared some of her family photos during her last months.

I printed the photo on glossy photo paper, tinted some of it with Distress Ink Markers (using colors that we often wore—I never wore red, as I was a redhead, and redheads never wore red—still a rule I follow). I “aged” it with other inks and placed it on a tag with “Winter Wonderland” music. That song was a special one for my sister and me, as it was one of the “numbers” we would perform when we made up acts for our own Talent Show (with ourselves as the audience).

And here’s how it looks on my Tag Tree (yep, already up this year).

vintage wonderland on tree wm

Linking to Frilly and Funkie Christmas Preparations Challenge.