Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...Pink!

Well, friends, Christmas is almost here. My pink retro tree is once again loaded down with all the beautiful ornaments from my art sisters in Adorn. I have enjoyed sharing our 12 Days of Christmas exchange with you all. Let's take another look at the ornaments, shall we?

For many of us in this group, it's been a year of struggles. Some are still facing many hard days to come. But I believe that it's in these times that we grow in faith and learn to appreciate what is most important in life.  

God, faith, family, friends, and loving each other is all that really matters. The love that went into these ornaments is so special. The challenges that we all face in life can be hard. But God will see us through the valleys of life and grow us to be more like him. He will sustain us if we just seek Him.

May each of you feel God's peace and merciful blessings this Christmas season. Remember, Christ Is Love, and HE is the reason for this season.

Thank you, Adorn sisters, for your precious ornaments and for sharing a piece of your heart again this Christmas. I will cherish them! XOXO

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 12 - Jackie Allison

It's hard to believe that our ornament exchange is already drawing to a close. Yes, it's day 12 and that means we are opening the final gift - this one from Jackie Allison, of The Woodlands, TX. 

Jackie sent her ornaments through the US Mail in this festive Christmas tin!  I know that postal clerks probably thought it contained the usual Christmas goodies such as fruit cake, cookies, or Christmas candy...but... they don't know our Jackie!

Inside the Christmas tin is a beautiful satin drawstring pouch... I wonder what Jackie created for us this year? Her ornaments are always so unique, always vintage-y, and always have interesting elements!

Oh, ah, this is just darling!  Jackie can find the most unique things on ebay, usually vintage, and always very very cool. Jackie has taken a tiny vintage glass salt shaker and filled it with very small glass beads...then wire wrapped a tiny frozen charlotte doll to it...

There - I think you can see it better on the white background.  These tiny porcelain dolls are called frozen charlottes. This one is about an inch and a half tall. They are precious and few, very expensive, and can be very hard to come by. 

Jackie created a tassel for her ornament out of a tightly twisted length of memory wire. She strung glass beads, metal beads, vintage buttons, and lovely charms as the final touch.

Jackie fashioned a hanger with the same rustic wire she used to attach the frozen charlotte. It's perfect in every way and I love it!

Thank you, Jackie, she is priceless and has already found a home on my tree, right beside her sisters that you have created for us in the past. I love my collection of your doll ornaments - thank you for sharing them with us, dear friend!  Praying for you for peace, goodwill and a blessed Christmas!  XOXO

Day 11 - Maija Lepore

Day 11 of our 12 days of Christmas exchange belongs to a sweetheart of a gal, Maija Lepore, who recently moved to Littleton, CO. 

I think I've already mentioned what a tough year it's been for so many of our friends in this group. Maija has had a tremendously difficult year. My heart goes out to you, Maija, and I pray that better days are ahead for you and your family. 

Maija is such a trooper. She realized that she could not possibly deal with making ornaments herself this year, so she paid an artist friend to make ornaments on her behalf. Maija, we love you unconditionally and we appreciate your generosity and diligence to carry on with this exchange in spite of everything you are dealing with.

True to Maija's sparkling and fun personality, she commissioned these super precious, sparkly, vintage style paper ornaments to be made for us this year. They are beautiful and fun, just like she is. Mine glistens and shimmers in the lights of my tree...and makes me think of the glistening snow that is falling on your doorstep up there in Littleton, CO. Colorado is my absolute favorite place to visit, especially in the winter!

Jenny Holiday, Maija's friend, is the artist who made these darling ornaments. I love her style and the beautiful touches she added to this charming snow-kissed house.

Thank you, Maija, and Jenny, for this precious and sweet ornament. Take care of yourself, sweet Maija girl, and remember that you are in my prayers. May God bless you ever so graciously this Christmas!

Day 10 - Diane Cook

Can you believe we're already on day 10 of the 12 days of Christmas exchange?  The days go by so fast at this time of year, don't they?  I remember when I was a kid, Christmas could not get here fast enough. But now, it's a different story...

So here we are on day #10, and this lovely package is from Diane Cook who lives in Katy, TX.  Diane is new to our little swap group this year, but I hope that she can continue in our group for years to come. Diane's beautiful blue gift box is hand stamped and embossed, and tied up with a gorgeous strip of Sari ribbon (fabrics used to make Sari's in India). She included one of her business cards as well as a full size postcard...I love the vintage photo Diane used of 2 women holding hands. It depicts the essence of our little swap group...sisters...friends...

Diane's ornament is actually a beautiful and romantic handmade tassel...comprised of a vintage thimble, chains, buttons, charms, laces, and long flowing strips of sari fabric. It is simply spectacular, and it's almost 2 feet long!

Diane added a strip of text to the thimble, denoting Christmas 2011

Here is a better view of some of the vintage buttons, laces, and charms that are in this tassel.

And the piece de la resistance is a tiny etched metal book, which Diane personalized with my name. The tiny book has text papers inside...and is tied with a sari ribbon closure. Diane has the metal etching technique perfected, as you can see for yourself!

Diane teaches classes on etching metal and she also teaches classes on making these romantic vintage tassels. You can see more of Diane's work and find out when and where she is teaching by visiting her wonderful blog.

I love the warm and rustic color scheme and the variety of textures Diane used in this tassel - these are definitely my colors did you know?

And it looks beautiful hanging on my tree. However, when Christmas is over, you can be sure this little beauty will be out on permanent display - maybe even around my neck. It's stunning, Diane. Thank you so much! I am so glad you were part of our exchange this year. Have a blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 9 - Danita Salcido

Day 9 of our 12 days of Christmas exchange comes from Danita Salcido of Mexico, better known as Danita Art.

Danita's wrapping is of simple elegance - a brown paper wrapper - with a hand stamped tag.

Danita creates the cutest original drawings of little girls who resemble Danita herself -- and these darling images have rapidly become her trademark. Danita included this tiny card in her package, which bears the image of one of her little ladies...

And here's another one. Aren't they precious?

Danita's ornament is a wonder to behold. It's heart shaped and covered in waxy goodness. I have no idea how she made this, but I am intrigued!  Is it paper clay? Possibly so. It is painted, antiqued and covered with sweet smelling beeswax.  And embedded into the wax is one of Danita's original drawings.

Look close at the details.  This little girl appears to be tucked away in her bed and fast asleep, which reminds me of The Night Before Christmas story.
"The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads,"
This precious one is waiting for Santa Claus to arrive!

Thank goodness she won't have to wait too much longer. And I hope we don't have to wait too much longer to find out how Danita made these little wonders.  Let's keep checking her blog to see if she will give us more details...

Thanks, Danita, for the lovely ornament. It is beautiful!

Day 8 - Lou McCulloch

Day 8 of our 12 days of Christmas exchange comes from Lou McCulloch, who lives in Medina, OH.  Lou's ornament arrived in a tiny paper envelope made from a page of German text. She added a sweet hand made gift tag.

 The envelope wrapper is open on one end, so Lou's ornie came tumbling out when I opened the mailing envelope. I tried not to look as I stuffed the tiny ornament back in it's sheath like a hot potato (we mustn't peak before the allotted date)!

 When the appointed opening date for Lou's gift finally arrived, I found that Lou had another little coin-sized envelope tucked inside.

Ooo, la la!  It's a beautiful domino! Lou put a teeny tiny image on the front of the domino, along with a border of the same german text that she used for wrapping.

Just look at all the sparkles!

And what a clever idea to use a tiny bulldog clip as a hanger! Lou added a few select beads for a festive touch.

It's true...beautiful things really do come in small packages -- and this ornament is no exception!  Thanks, Lou! Have a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The 7th day of Christmas - Sally Turlington

Day 7 of our 12 Days of Christmas exchange is from mixed media artist extraordinaire, Sally Turlington, of Huntsville, TX. 

Sally's ornament is boxed up so pretty with a sparkling and glittery gift tag.

Inside is this very cool textured and waxy snowflake! Sally spent oodles of time making her ornaments this year. Apparently it was quite a process to make them.

Sally started with a purchased metal snowflake ornament. Hopefully you can see in this photo that it is a 3 dimensional snowflake.  She applied a layer of paper clay to the front and back of the metal ornament to give it dimension. Then she painted the paper clay in beautiful shades of pink.

Next, she applied a layer of sweet smelling beeswax over the entire surface, embedding papers, tiny beadz, and glitter in the wax...I love the texture of this ornament!

Sally added a charming embellishment to her snowflake -  a jingle bell, a religious medallion, and chain.

Sally's snowflake happens to be the exact same shade as my pink retro Christmas tree, so I photographed it on my green tree so it would show up better.  I wish my photos did Sally's ornament is gorgeous Sally and I dearly love it!  Thank you so much!

Yall go check out Sally's blog where she explains in detail the process for making these unique snowflakes!

Day 6 - Crystal Neubauer

Day 6 of our 12 days of Christmas exchange is from Crystal Neubauer of Grayslake, IL. 

Crystal mailed her swap in an envelope made of piano sheet music. This also served as her wrapping paper. How clever!

Crystal's ornament is this very dainty 5 pointed paper star.

Crystal painted the front and back of the star. The middle layer is made of book text that she trimmed with scalloped scissors.

If you look closely you can see that she painted the paper with tiny brush strokes...

 ...and topped off the star with a tiny bow and vintage button.

 Thanks Crystal! It looks great on my tree...
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The 5th Day of Christmas - My day

Today is the day my ornaments will be opened.  I was supposed to be Day 7, but we changed our days around again to give the last three artists a few more days to finish their work.

The story behind my ornaments is very special to me and I hope you don't mind me sharing how they came about. The concept is based on my personal journey, so I have named them "My Refuge: God's Feathers".

My Refuge: God's feathers

While contemplating a design for my ornament, I was inspired to try and convey the refuge God gave me through my recent surgery and recovery.  As the nurses prepared me for surgery, I was laying quiet and silently reciting Psalms 57 and Psalms 91 in my mind...

"I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings." Psalms 57:1b

...and while doing so, I visualized God’s ginormous wings reaching down from Heaven to protect me. I could literally see the vanes in the plumage of His milky white feathers. He felt so close - it was as if I could reach out and touch His welcoming embrace. The last image I remember was nestling my head into the shelter of His mighty wings. 

"He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge..."

My surgery was more involved than the doctor had anticipated, and there were complications afterward. I spent 12 days in the hospital, 4 days in the ICU. I received 2 units of blood due to internal bleeding and for several days my kidneys weren't behaving.

"...His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." Psalms 91:4

It was God who brought me through it and I thank Him for his faithfulness.  I hope that in some small way, my feathered book ornament captures the essence of God's wings and feathers... but more importantly, I pray it conveys His message of refuge to all of you.

No matter our circumstances, trials will come our way – illness, grief over the loss of someone special, heartache when a child has lost their way in life, loneliness, hurt… but we can find shelter in the arms of God.   

His arms are open wide and big enough to hold us. He loves us more than anyone ever could. His mercy catches us in our fall and He rescues us and draws us closer to Him. He gives us strength in our weakness. He comforts us when we are hurting or full of despair. He protects us when we are in danger.

For reassurance, peace, hope and rest … seek shelter in the arms of God.  Surrender to His mighty protection. He will rescue you. You will be safe in His arms. You are never alone.    

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”  Psalms 91:4  

Thank you for letting me share my personal experience with you. May you all have a blessed Christmas!