Wednesday, January 18, 2012


As 2011 was winding down, I found myself reflecting on the year.  2011 was a good year for our family.  I feel like we accomplished a lot, started some great traditions, and had a lot of fun.  So when it came time to think about goals for next year, I realized that there wasn't much that I wanted to change, or add to my plate.  I just wanted more of what we had done this year.

Then, as I was zipping through my Google reader one morning, I saw that Layla at The Lettered Cottage was choosing a word for this year, instead of setting specific goals or resolutions.  Since I'd had the word "more" bouncing around my brain for a few weeks, I realized that choosing a word was a great idea for me, too.  So here it is, my word for 2012:
(Of course I made something pretty to remind me of my word.  More on that later...)
So what does more mean to me?  Well, I want our family life, my personal life, my creative expression, and my faith to be richer this year.  I want to focus more on the good things I've got going on in my life.  For example:
  • I want more Family Fun time.  We started a list in the fall of some of the fun things we wanted to do as a family.  As a result, we actually did many of those items.  I think being intentional about what we wanted to do made us more focused on making that time a priority.  I want to do that each season for 2012, so that we continue to have MORE fun as a family.
  • I want to have more face to face time with Claire.  I am so blessed to be home with my baby girl.  I have a blast with her, and it's amazing how quickly the time passes.  However, because that time passes, I am realizing I don't put the priority I should on playing with her face to face.  Sure, I read with her, and I do things with her, but often, she is doing things with me.  I am not a born housewife, and in learning to keep house well, I think the balance has shifted a bit too far toward getting housework done.  Yes, I can do most of my work with Claire, but I've missed the playtime we used to have.  I just know there's a delicate balance between having lots of fun (but a messy house) and having an immaculate house (and not much fun).  I am going to put my priority on MORE time playing with Claire.
  • I want to spend more time with our friends.  Since Claire came along, it's become ridiculously easy to be insular within our little family.  She's a riot, and a handful, so I found we spent more and more time with just the three of us, and less and less with our friends.  I'm a big fan of our friends and I miss our time with them.  This year, I am going to focus on spending MORE time with our friends.
  • I want to do more crafting.  My 25 Days of Christmas Crafting was a blast, and it reminded me just how much I like to create and craft things.  However, I also was reminded that I do not have time to craft every day.  It was exhausting and by day 23, I had pretty much run out of steam (which is why Day 25's craft is on hold for a while).  I LOVED making things for my house and my family to enjoy, but trying to do it daily is too much.  That being said, I didn't craft nearly enough the other 11 months of 2011, so this year, I want to craft MORE consistently.
  • I'd like to blog more consistently, too.  I learned that I don't have it in me to be a daily blogger, and I'm ok with that.  However, I do enjoy it, and I find it prompts me to get more crafting and home improvement type stuff done, so I definitely want to blog MORE this year, too.
  • Finally, and probably most importantly, I want to focus more on my faith this year.  I have a deep and abiding faith in God, but in a lot of ways, I'm still a baby in my faith.  There is so much I don't know, and so much of my bible I haven't read.  I started a weekly bible study last year, and that has greatly increased my knowledge of, and my hunger for God's word.  This year I want to continue with my bible study, but also carve out a consistent time each day to focus on my faith for prayer and study.  I've always been one to send up a quick prayer throughout the day, but never have I set aside a daily time for strengthening my relationship with God.  That is important to me, and I want to spend MORE time learning and praying.
I know that all the goal setting gurus say you must set specific goals to make them achievable, and I know that what I've written above wouldn't qualify as specific goals.  But that's ok with me.  I think the point of choosing a word is to set your focus on something.  I'm not intending for it to be something measurable, simply something to guide me through this coming year.  Anybody else choosing a word to guide them through 2012?  If you are interested in seeing some other words for 2012, I'm linking to:
The Lettered Cottage

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 25 of Christmas Crafting, Part 1

Hmmm.  It seems my nifty idea for my first Silhouette craft is not working out as well as expected.  In fact, I'm on the third try.  Here's hoping it's the charm.  As I mentioned in Day 24's post, I want to make a piece of wall art featuring a Christmas scripture.  I had no trouble whipping up a pleasing design to cut, but sadly, it did not cut quite as well as I had hoped (Rookie mistake: Small intricate cuts on heavy cardstock are not a good idea, I guess.)  First try = fail.

I was not easily deterred, however, and decided that I could use the cuts as negative space.  I bought a 16x20 canvas, and my paper was 12x12, so I figured I would paint the paper and canvas the same color and go from there.  By leaving the space behind the paper unpainted, I would end up with white lettering on my navy background.  However, a 12x12 piece of cardstock glued in the corner of a 16x20 canvas is glaringly obvious and so sadly, second try = fail, too.

Still hopeful, I decided to try a different tactic.  I thought that perhaps I could use the cut cardstock as a stencil.  I laid it out on the canvas and started daubing white acrylic paint on the stencil.
 But when I pulled back the stencil to check it out, sigh...
the paint bled under the stencil, and that was not the look I was going for.  Rats! Foiled again!  Apparently the third time was not the charm this go 'round.

Ever the optimist, I know I can still make this work.  My new plan is to beef up the font and try cutting it out in white this time.  I'm also going to see if I can find some adhesive cardstock to speed the application process.  Wish me luck!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 24 of Christmas Crafting: the Star of the East

After 2 days off with my family, it's time to finish the 25 Days of Christmas Crafting!  We had a wonderful Christmas, and I loved spending the two days with Patrick and Claire. We spent a lot of quality time with my family and playing at home, with our new toys.  Speaking of which, apparently I was very good this year, because Santa brought me a big present!

I've been dreaming of the Silhouette Cameo for a few months now.  It seems that every time I turn around in the crafting blogosphere someone is making something amazing with one.  I figured I'd have to save my pennies for quite some time before I could get one.  Then, surprise, surprise, Santa left me one under the tree!  I was beyond excited.  I have big plans for this thing, and I knew I wanted to finish off my Christmas Crafting series using it.  So I scraped my original plans for Day 24 and 25, and started designing.

I have wanted to make a piece of wall art featuring a Christmas scripture for awhile now.  I saw a couple of great examples here and here online.  I knew it would be much easier to make one once I had a Cameo, because I don't trust myself to be able make the text straight otherwise.  I also knew that I wanted to combine the text with the technique I used on Day 11 (my Star ornament) to make a 3D piece of art.  That's what I worked on today.

The scripture I am using is Matthew 2:9-10 which tells the story of the wise men seeing the star in the east, so I planned to make a 3D star to really make the piece pop.

Here's what I used:
  • 1 piece of bright yellow card stock
  • Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive
Here's what I did:

1. I cut several thin strips from the cardstock.  Specifically:
  • 1 0.5x12 inch strip
  • 3 0.5x6 inch strips
  • 4 0.5x3 inch strips
2. I then took each strip and overlapped the edges to make a circle.
 3. I put a thin line of adhesive on one edge and held it tight for about 30 seconds to seal the circle's edges.  I did this with each of the strips.  (Note: I accidentally cut an extra 6 inch strip, so please disregard the extra medium sized circle below.)
 4. Then I flattened each circle and pressed firmly at the top and bottom to form a good crease.
 5. Next I laid out my pieces to make sure I would end up with the shape I wanted.
6. The I began gluing the pieces together.  I put a thin line of adhesive at the top of one piece and then attached the adjoining piece.  I held each seam for about 30 seconds to allow the adhesive to set.
 7. Next I continued gluing around the star, paying close attention to the order of the pieces and the placement.  It is important that the pieces line up at the top and the sides as I want this to be able to lay flat on a canvas once I am done.
 And there you have it.  I have one beautiful star that will represent the star in the East!
Tomorrow I'll share my plans for this guy and the end result.  Happy Boxing Day!