Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas With My Siblings

My brother and his wife, and my sister and her husband (who is my husband’s brother), came for a “gathering time” to celebrate Christmas. We began with “family pictures” by the tree (a tradition begun by our Mamo before we were born). I had fun preparing the hand-made corduroy stockings that were stored in Mother’s things when she passed. They were from our Mamo and Grandad’s Christmases, since at least the mid-1950’s. All of Mamo and Grandad’s grandchildren had stockings that hung over their fireplace. They only had a couple of stains on them, pretty remarkable for their “age,” and they cleaned up nicely.

Russell and Barbara Ford

David and Janene Ford

Keith and Michele Wilson


Ready for Supper


For supper, we enjoyed Mother’s recipe of Lasagna Supreme.


The next morning, after a rather large brunch, Keith read the Christmas Story from Luke 2, and we sang carols throughout the story, closing with prayer. This tradition began in our parents’ home many years ago.


We “opened” our stockings. This year I “stuffed” them with nostalgia—things that were “always” in our stockings, and some toys of the era: orange, English walnuts and pecans, ribbon candy, candy cane, and jacks for the girls and a slinky for the boy! Then we shared gifts with each other (the drawing of names having been our tradition also for many years).

Stocking Contents 2014

stockings for the girls

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (in the lower level), the doggies have their own stockings (NOT from 1950’s).

We ate, drank coffee, ate, visited, shared memories, laughed, ate, and played a family trivia game (“our family sayings”).


Janene has her notebook of  collected “family sayings” for a trivia game. I won. (Keith, it’s my blog. So, I won.)


Maggie and Annie



Sassi loves her new toy from her cousins.

Wonderful time together. It seems so strange to realize that my siblings and I are now orphans, as Daddy passed in 1988 and Mother in 2013. But, we have each other and our spouses, and that’s a wonderful blessing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Passages for a Crisis {Scripture Cards}

Scripture Cards Peace

Yesterday I faced a possibility that was out of my control and frightening. I didn’t know how long the crisis might last. I asked for prayer from some close family members. My daughter-in-law sent me some thoughts she had read in a devotional that morning. It was a reminder that God is ready to supply his peace to His followers, if we only ask. He, in fact, supplies ALL of our needs, all of the time, in every situation.

There were three Scripture passages referenced in the reading she sent to me. I memorized those three and added one of my favorites (Isaiah 26:3) and prayed those verses repeatedly during the 12-hour period until God resolved the crisis.

God did give me a sense of calm and peace. In the end, He answered all my prayers about the entire situation, in such a short matter of time. I was left, once again, in awe of His greatness, His mercy, His grace.

Inspired by Patter Cross at, I have decided to add to my “project areas” with Scripture Cards. These are like little miniature art journal pages. Mine will be done on 3 1/2” x 5 1/4” pieces of mixed media paper and stored in a binder with pocket page protectors. This is my first attempt, and I chose the four verses that have meant so much to me in the last couple of days. I collaged vintage music and vintage book pages on the cards and then stamped and painted.

These cards will always be a reminder of how God takes care of me. All the time. And how I don’t deserve His blessings. But then, that’s grace.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Ornaments & Trees

Ornaments Round 2

I made a second “batch” of ornaments for my Tag Tree. These started as clear glass (the hearts are plastic) ornaments from Michael’s.

Here is the tree (lower level in my home):

tag tree full

tag tree closeup

Tag Tree w teddy bears

Tag Tree closeup 3

Here’s the tree in the upper level Great Room:

great room tree 1

Here’s the tree in the Music Room (it has some little grand piano ornaments):

music room tree 1

This is a nostalgic room for me, because family around the piano is so much a part of my life. Looking forward to Christmas when the “kids” (and their kids) will be here to join me in this room!

christmas music on piano 2

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pray Without Ceasing {Bible Journaling}

Pray continually

Usually I do my own lettering and drawing in my Journaling Bible. This page was done using some stamps created by one of my friends in the Bible Journaling Community, Stephanie Ackerman. These stamps are from two of her sets: Pray Continually and Key to Truth. 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Project Catch Up and Little Primitive Girl {Art Journal}

Since our arrival back in Missouri, my days have been happily filled with holiday preparations (Thanksgiving and Christmas), catching up in scrapbooks and Smash journals, and a few other Christmas crafts. I was excited to learn several days ago that Creative Memories, my go-to company for scrapbook albums, is back in business, and that gave new life to that hobby, for me. I was really in a funk with unsuccessfully trying to find a suitable substitute for their albums. With the news from CM, I ordered new albums and completely revised my two 2014 albums. Yep, that’s how I roll.

I spent many hours on an Advent book (altered children’s board book), but because I was not pleased with what I was getting from that study, I completely repurposed the book using a study that I love (Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift). I’m happy with the outcome and now have an Advent book/art journal that is meaningful for me. I sketched and painted a 2x2 inch tile for each of the 25 days, so that was very time-consuming. Here is my book with yesterday and today’s pages.

Advent 9 and 10

Incredibly, I am caught up with all those things (still have a few Christmas menus to finalize), including the gift buying and wrapping. So, today it was time for some mixed media fun. I was beginning to feel like I might not know what to do with a blank page in an art journal.

The little primitive girls that I learned to draw, in Mindy Lacefield’s Sunday Mornings class, have really grown on me. At first I felt they weren’t “cute” enough, but it really is fun to create one of these little girls, without worrying about “realistic” features. Besides, it really is more fun to work with acrylic than with watercolor (for me), and with the Primitive Girls, I can use lots and lots of layers of acrylic paint and stamps.

Star of Wonder Primitive Girl

I did have Christmas on my mind as I painted this spread, although the colors that popped out of my head were certainly not Christmas colors.

So now I’m all ready for my siblings and then my children to come home for Christmas. The three trees are up and decorated, complete with all the wrapped packages.

I am so blessed.

God must be crazy about me.

He really is.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving with Family


Glad to have our daughter and grandson with us to celebrate Thanksgiving. Enjoying appetizers of Light Lemony Cooler (white grape juice, lemon juice, sugar and club soda) with Cheese and Crackers.


Carving the turkey. I can’t keep from making copious amounts of food, whether there are 10 of us or 4!


IMG_5643Russell’s new Honda Side by Side was delivered in time to take some fun rides with Dawson (and the rest of us).



My baby and her baby!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Art on a Christmas Tag

Glitter Snowman Tag


Back of Glitter Snowman Tag


A few years ago I started making Christmas tags (inspired by Tim Holtz). I started the tradition of hanging them on the tree as ornaments. We have three trees in our house, and the one on the lower level is the sort of “fun” one. Under that tree is my husband’s electric train (2012). It is that tree that is decorated with tags and handmade ornaments.

When I first started making tags (2011), I had never drawn or painted anything. Since that time, I play around with sketching and painting, so some of the more recent tags actually have some of my “art” work on them.

I’d Rather Be Creative

…than to hit the stores for Black Friday sales. In fact, this is the one day of the year I am least likely to even get out of the house!

Here is a tag I made for my Tag Christmas Tree, as well as an art journal page snowman that I sketched and watercolored (inspired by an artist friend who does hundreds of snowmen)!

O Christmas Tag 2014

O Christmas Tag 2014 Back

November Snowman

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Trust in the Lord {Bible Journaling}

Prov 3 Bible Journaling

Sometimes I just need to get something “artistic” accomplished. Sometimes I am in “simple mode.” Today, I combined both and put together a quick and simple Bible Journaling entry in my ESV Journaling Bible. I used a stamp, pencil and Pan Pastels.

This is one of my favorite verses, and I wish I could live it more fully. It seems to me to be a promise: if I trust in Him rather than myself, HE will make the way straight for me.

Wonderful promise. My responsibility is the IF part—the first three words: TRUST IN THE LORD.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Preparing for the Holidays {Favorite Books}

fave books

A few books that I have recently added to my personal library are just so awesome that I want to share about them.

A couple of years ago, my daughter-in-law gave me Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts for Christmas. I love that book, and it is teaching me the importance of thanksgiving—not the holiday, but the practice.

I recently purchased Ann’s devotional book based on her best-selling One Thousand Gifts. It is awesome, and I am challenged to fill in the one thousand blanks in the back, with things that are blessings to me, and worthy of thanksgiving. That book is One Thousand Gifts Devotional.

As I prepare for keeping my focus on Christ during this Christmas season, I am enjoying Ann’s two books for the Advent season, The Greatest Gift and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. Both books are beautifully inspiring.

When our children were still at home, we loved to read books aloud together as a family, during the Christmas season. The book Unwrapping the Greatest Gift is designed for such a purpose, and is really for all ages.

Just wanted to share what is on my coffee table today!

Be sure to check out Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience, one of the top Christian blogs.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mixed Media Advent Journal

I altered a children’s board book to use for my Advent Journal. I am using a devotional planned by Diane Marra and Bernice Hopper in the Facebook group Pause, Ponder & Prepare. They provided the devotional studies for each day and the Scripture verses to go along with the thought for the day.

Each day as I read the devotional, I will journal on the back of each Scripture tag (which I left blank for that purpose).

Altered Board Book for Advent Journal

Pages covered with gesso and a few layers of paint; letters for cover painted and embossed

Pockets and Tags for Advent Journal

Kraft pockets and tags that I had in my stash (edges inked with Vintage Photo Distress Ink; seam binding stained with Tarnished Brass Distress Stain)

Cover of Advent Journal 2

Finished cover

advent journal open page

Days 7 and 8

Advent Journal open

Days 15 and 16

open journal

advent journal back

Back of Journal

This is my first time ever to do a special project for the Advent season. I have another Advent project I am working on as well (I am such an extremist). More about it later (hint: Ann Voskamp).

Monday, November 17, 2014

Handmade Christmas Ornaments

Homemade Ornaments

One of my Christmas trees is decorated with some of my “art” projects. I came across an idea (inspired by Stephanie Ackerman) for making ornaments, and it fit “my style,” so I went for it. They were a little more involved than I anticipated (always the case), but I do like how they turned out. We won’t put the tree up quite yet, so they are waiting in a basket.

Meanwhile, I am over-involved (as I always am at this time of year) with art projects, Bible studies, and holiday preparations. Now that I have the ornaments finished, I’ll focus more on the Advent Journal I am making, using a children’s board book. It has been quite a project,  just to “prep” the journal. I know the time I spend on the devotional studies for the journal will help me focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

Good to be back in Missouri and readying for family to be with us for the holidays!