Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adam and Gabe....

A couple of months ago, in a large United Methodist church in sunny Venice, Florida, the church’s annual missions conference was being held.  One day, during the conference, a ten-year-old boy named Adam sat in his children’s class listening to a story about Daniel in the lions’ den.  While trapped in a pit, facing down a pack of hungry lions, Daniel exhibited an extraordinary amount of courage in the face of great danger, all the while believing that his God was bigger than the lions’ appetites.  For his faithfulness, God spared Daniel’s life.

When the story was finished, Adam and his classmates went off to craft time.  To coincide with the story of Daniel, the children were asked to make pillows in the shape of a lion’s head.  Adam set to work on his pillow, tying off the fleece strips to create a mane, meticulously cutting out and pasting on felt eyes and a nose, and carefully drawing on a mouth and whiskers with fabric paint.

The completed pillows were then collected and placed in a big pile on a table.  Adam and the other children were told that people would come by the table, take one or two of the pillows, and give them to children who were struggling with a difficult situation in life.  The teachers asked Adam’s class to pray for each child receiving a pillow.  The children prayed that the pillows would remind the young recipients to be brave and remember that God was always with them – especially in scary situations.  Adam and the others didn’t know who would be receiving their pillows.  They only knew those children needed prayers.

As Adam watched, a pastor from Pennsylvania who was visiting the missions conference, picked up Adam’s pillow.  Proudly, Adam informed Pastor Mark that it was his pillow the pastor was holding and he was happy that Pastor Mark had chosen it.  Pastor Mark said, “I will find someone special to give it to – I promise.”

Twelve hundred miles away from Adam’s home in Venice lives a little boy named Gabe.  Gabe is two years old.  He was born into the most horrific surroundings one can imagine – the stuff of nightmares.  But God had plans for Gabe from the day he was born.  He was rescued from that awful situation, cared for by loving foster parents, and finally adopted in November of 2011.  Gabe now lives in a bright, sunny world full of possibilities.  Not only does he have a mother and a grandmother who love him absolutely, Gabe also has an entire village of devoted friends, “aunts”, and “uncles” who consistently surround him with love.  Wherever he turns, someone is there to offer him a hug, to hold him, to tickle him, to give him “knuckles” – his term for a fist bump.   He is a sunny, self-confident child who has earned every bit of the devotion poured out on him.

Happily, Gabe is too young to understand that there are some cloudy days ahead.  In January, Gabe was diagnosed with metopic craniosynostosis or trigonocephaly.   I can say them.  I can almost spell them.  I wish I didn’t know what they meant.  Even more, I wish they did not apply to Gabe.

In common speak, this means that the frontal bones in Gabe’s skull have fused much earlier than is ideal.  For now, the fusion of these bones isn’t presenting much of a problem.  But, if Gabe is not treated, his brain will continue to grow and push against his skull, causing pressure to build up.  This pressure could stunt his mental development or cause him to go blind – or both.  Treatment for this diagnosis is surgery.  It will involve separating the bones in his skull again, giving his brain the room it needs to develop.  Surgery is scheduled for the end of July.

I was blessed with the job of making sure Gabe received his pillow - as Pastor Mark is my husband.  :)  I made a card and enclosed a brief synopsis of how the pillow came to be.

I didn't sign it because the pillow was really a gift from Adam and I really thought Gabe's mom, Jeanette, would be be able to figure out who left it. I wish now that I would've signed it and spared her the hassle.  She spent a few days trying to piece the mystery together and then gave up, posting this on her facebook page:

As I write this today, over 125 people have "liked" this status update - a testament to the surrounding community's love for Jeanette and Gabe and the wonderful story surrounding these two boys.

Thank you, Adam.  As Gabe, his family, and his village prepares for this surgery, we will be reminded again that somewhere in Florida, a young boy named Adam made a pillow, filled it with prayers for courage, and sent it on its way to Gabe.  It will remind all of us that in the darkest of times, God is there – always loving, always faithful.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Seeing Stars....

Time to fill you all in on what I've been up to lately in the crafting world.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine handed me a brown, paper mache box similar to this one:

She asked me to do something with it.  The guidelines were that it was for her son and was going to go into his room.  She wanted the muted country red, white, and blue colors on it.  So.....off I went.  And this was what I came up with:

The lid reads, "Four wheelin', tractor lovin', overall wearin', all American country boy.  This kid is all about tractors, four wheelers, construction vehicles, trucks, motorcyles - anything that makes the "vroom" noise gets his undivided attention.

The lid on the box was actually in two pieces - a rim and an insert.  I covered the insert in an embossable metal.  I found a picture of a barn on the internet and engraved it into the metal.  To highlight the engraving, I wiped in a little black alcohol ink.

The "rivets" on the corner are brads that I picked up at Michaels.  I beat them up a bit before putting them through the lid to give them a more rugged look.

This is a little bit better picture of the embossed barn.  :)

The bottom of the box has hand painted stripes on it and the box is lined with dark red felt.

This was a fun project - it wasn't too difficult and I was able to try something new with the metal embossing.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My buddy, Gabe

 Hi all:

I'm back with two of my favorite subjects - My Mind's Eye and Gabe.

My Mind's Eye posted a sketch challenge for January.  Using their layout idea and materials, they asked us to scrap our own pages and submit them.  Here is a link to their January sketch challenge so you can check it out yourself.

And here is my take on the sketch:

Gabe is my very favorite little guy.  He's a bundle of smiles, sunshine, and sweetness all rolled together with two-year-old sass.  He belongs to my friend, Jeanette, and the two of them have brought many blessings and wonderful memories to my life.  

This year, Gabe and Jeanette took a trip to Andrew and Pat's farm to cut down their Christmas trees.  Gabe picked out his very own little tree and, with the help of some grown up friends, hauled it around on the roof of his little car.  This picture was the one they used for their Christmas card this year and I was delighted to see it.  It was propped on my desk when the January sketch challenge came along.

I also loved, loved, loved the All is Bright collection from My Mind's Eye this year.  I bought tons of the stuff and had great fun playing with it.  

I had a great time playing with this sketch.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winter Projects

Hey all!

I've been pretty busy for the last month.  In mid-December, I held an ornament class.  Six ladies attended and we had a wonderful afternoon getting creative with printed tissue paper, inks, stickles, glitter (Oh, my.  The glitter...) ribbon, and Copic markers.  I took pictures.  Unfortunately, I didn't get them off my old phone before it went on to phone purgatory - where it belongs.  :/  You'll just have to believe me when I say that some absolutely splendid ornaments - and even better memories - were created.

The big project this December was creating seventeen little cardboard houses, reminiscent of the villages people placed under their trees in the 40's and 50's.  We used them to decorate our tables for the Warren Players' production of "It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play".  I was making little houses almost right up to the last minute.  Each one contained an LED tealight so that they softly glowed on the tables during the production.  Each one was a little different.  They were well received and I sold almost all of them.  I guess that's a good sign.  :)

We also made snowflakes for The Snowflake Project sponsored by the Sandy Hook and Connecticut PTAs.  There were about fourteen of us that came together on January 5 to create a beautiful "snowfall" from Warren County, PA.  My little friend, Dakkota, and her mom also stopped by.  They donated another spectacular snowfall from The First Church of God folks.

Here are some photos, taken by my wonderfully talented friend, Jeanette:

Simply gorgeous and "snow" much fun!  The deadline for submitting these to Sandy Hook was 1/12/13.  I boxed them up on January 6 and went to the Snowflake Project site to retrieve their address.  Sadly, the address was gone.  They had been bowled over by an absolute blizzard of snowflakes, distributed them all over town, and simply couldn't take anymore.  They suggested that we hang them in our town and send them pictures.  We will do exactly that, so that they know Warren County, PA is thinking of and praying for them.

And finally, my church has thrown down the gauntlet.  They have created a snowman contest for the month of January.  The goal is to populate the church with snowmen of different sizes, materials, and designs.  Well, you know, I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to create a little guy of my own.

With the exception of the bird, he is made entirely from scratch.  He has a paper mache body, covered with a soft, powdered glitter.  His nose is from Martha Stewart's crafting clay and colored with Copic markers.  The eyes are painted on and the hat and scarf crocheted just for him.  The arms are the stems from hosta blooms.  They're not as sturdy as I would have liked them to be, but I didn't have time to go foraging too far from the house.  I had so much fun making him that I'm considering making one or two more...

Stay warm out there, folks!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas cheer

Hi all:

Yesterday was our Coffee Girl get-together.  I dearly love to hang out with these four friends.  I believe that it's because they have my best interests at heart.  They listen to me whine, forgive my faults, bolster my spirits, and encourage me when I feel inadequate. We have our favorite places to eat (Moe's, Ruby Tuesday's, Wegmans, Olive Garden) and our favorite places to go (the beach, Sara's, craft stores) and our favorite things to do (shop, craft, eat, bake, and gab).  We've created many memories together over the past few years and I, for one, hope it is just the beginning.

Most years, they are the ones creating fabulous Christmas cards and this year was no exception.  Rita's was a stunning pattern of embossed white snowflakes on a dark blue background - one of my favorite combinations. Susan's was a thermal coffee cup - the Starbucks take-out kind - and the lid pulled out to reveal the sentiment.  Extremely clever!  I don't usually do handmade cards, but this year I gave it a whirl.  Because I'm into the subway art, I decided to create a piece that highlighted who we are and what we do and like.  I had also found the All Is Bright line from My Mind's Eye when three of us went on an excursion to Archiver's in November.  So pretty and I was so anxious to play with it.  So, the subway art and All Is Bright came together to form this:

It's one of my favorite pieces ever and I had fun putting it together.  The girls seemed to enjoy getting them, which made all of the hard work worthwhile.  Here's a close up...

Tons of fun and good times wrapped up in this little card.

Have a warm, wonderful, merry Christmas season!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Learning something new

Hi there!

I saw a card recently that I loved.  It had a piece of subway art on it.  Since I love the look of subway art, I decided to track down the stamp, scrapbook paper, or whatever the card's creator had used to make the subway art.  I had no luck.

While talking to a friend, she mentioned that she planned to make her own with her Photoshop program.  I didn't want to purchase Photoshop because I wasn't sure if I'd like it our how much I would use it.  In the end, I downloaded GIMP.  It works almost the same as Photoshop, but it's free.

There is a learning curve involved with this kind of a photo editing program.  My family can attest to the fact that I spent hours trying to figure out how to do this.  Finally, it was finished.  Looking back, there are some things I wish I'd done differently, but it turned out pretty well, I think.  My brain is full of ideas about how to take this newly acquired skill and run with it.

Anyway,  here is the completed card.

Came out pretty well, I thought.  Black and white isn't a typical color combination for Christmas, but in this case, it works.  I think the touches of red Stickles really added something to it - makes it a bit more Christmas-y.  :)

I've already created another piece of subway art, using the words from a famous Christmas carol.  I hope to post it soon.

Talk to you later!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Country Christmas basket

Hi all:

This week, I've been working on a Christmas project.

On November 10, the youth group at my church is sponsoring a harvest dinner and gift basket auction.  They ask for the gift baskets to be donated every year.  What do you think about a Country Christmas gift basket?  I'm creating a set of six cards, three ornaments, and a write on/wipe off board, all done in a vintage country theme.  So far, I have completed five cards.  I got a little carried away on Wednesday night and stayed up all night working on cards.  You girls know what I mean when I say "I was in the zone", right?  Yeah - that's where I was.  I got three cards completed that night and then I slept from 7 AM until noon!

Sooooo...here they are.  Which one is your favorite?

Okay, off to spend time with the family for the day!  Enjoy all!