How to Make Leaf Mason Jars and a Fall Foliage Place Mat

IMG-9568So before I get started on the above fall crafts I just want to mention its Wednesday. I try to post on Monday. Why the delay? Well have you ever noticed when your trying to do something big that you feel God has given you to do trouble happens? Delay, sickness, broken down cars, so much so that it feels like an uphill battle. Well your not alone, The Bible says we will have trials of many kinds and well this week has been full of trials to get to this computer. My kids are on fall break so I have to get up extra early to write and all three of them have strep throat. You’d think that would encourage sleeping in but instead I’ve been up early two days in a row taking care of a feverish four year old. So this is my third attempt. Prayer and a not giving up yet attitude will get you thru it. God’s grace will get you there.

So a few weeks ago I was at a friends house and loved all her fall decorations. I came home and realized I have none! I don’t decorate a lot but I did want something pretty fallish to look at so I decorated my dining room table. Now I had seen on Pintrest these pretty fall mason jars but no tutorial that I could pull up to tell me how to make them. They were easy, and cheap to make! Here is what you need. Mason Jar (I like the smaller size but any size will do). Modge Podge, A Popsicle stick, paint brush, fabric fall leaves ( I found mine at the Dollar Tree) electric votives (also at the Dollar Tree) and ribbon.

Make sure your Mason Jar is clean and dry. Paint Modge Podge on the leaf you want to place into the jar, paint on the side you want facing out of the jar and then put the leaf on the inside of the jar. IMG-9562You can use the Popsicle stick to smooth the leaf against the jar if your fingers don’t fit, mine didn’t. Just keep repeating this until the inside of the jar is covered with leaves as you like.IMG-9563 Let the Jar dry overnight. Its going to look like a white mess when your done but that all goes away, I promise. The next day drop your votive in and tie your ribbon around the mouth of the jar and your done. So easy!

Then I went to work on making a place mat with the remainder leaves from the Dollar Tree. For this project all you need is fabric leaves, A piece of felt, I used white because that’s what I had, but brown,orange or yellow would work too and your glue gun. Now I have to confess that I got the idea of this at my friends house. She had some of these on her table and I turned one over to see how it was made. On hers the leaves were sewn on and I believe you could do it that way too, I just thought hot glue would be easier.  IMG-9566To start I took a plate that was about the size I wanted and traced a circle on the white felt. I  then cut out the circle and began gluing leaves along the outside edge of the circle. Working inward I glued the next circle of leaves so that they were overlapping the first and in between the first set of leaves. Kind of like when you lay bricks. I did this with each layer until I got the the middle.IMG-9567 Where I just overlapped two leaves to create the center. I placed my treasured grandma’s bowl with the pine cones my girl scouts painted for me inside on it and I was done. I officially have decorated for fall. Let me know if you try either of these crafts in the comments below. Happy Autumn.

Our annual trip to the Martinsville Chili Cook off and Chalk Art Contest

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One of The Winner’s Pictures of the Chalk Art Contest

Every year in this little town called Martinsville, Indiana they have a fun artistic event that my kids plan all summer  long to do. A Chili-cook off and chalk art contest. My girls and I love the chalk art contest. We collect chalk all year and we have a big tub of it along with a bag of charcoal (for black). The Martinsville Chamber of Commerce puts on the event to raise money for their youth scholarships. There are many artistic people in Martinsville and I always am in awe of what they draw at the festival. Its taken seriously as many will show up early to have time to finish their creations.

We arrived a little before 11 a.m. this year which gave us about an hour and a half to draw. Chalk drawing takes a long time, especially when you have a big space. This year my eldest daughter barely finished her drawing in time.  She loves horses and has drawn a horse for the past three years. This year she wanted to try to draw in black and white.IMG-9525

We have a wonderful day. After drawing our pictures we try the different chili’s and vote for our favorite. The farmers market is always close by too. My daughter took a friend this year and they bought some apples to munch on instead of the snacks I packed.

We’ve been coming to this event for about 5 or 6 years and we’ve learned a few tricks on how to draw chalk well. We always plan our drawings out first in the space with white or light colored chalk. Other colors cover this up easy and you can get your mistakes out of the way. Chalk is very forgiving when you make mistakes usually you can just smear or blow the chalk away and go over the mistake. Smearing is an art. We used to use our hands, sleeves whatever we could until I took a chalk art class with Jennifer James who taught us the secret of pool noodles. I usually by a few from the dollar store and tear them up. They are perfect for smearing the chalk around and blending. You don’t tear up your hands and you don’t waste as much chalk. Unfortunately they are very light and can blow away very easily which is what happened to us this year halfway thru drawing.  The other secret we’ve learned is the importance of charcoal. Most chalk boxes don’t include a black and if they do it doesn’t last long. Charcoal, like what you use in your grill, works really well and lasts longer. I’ve had the same bag of charcoal for 4 years. It is really easy to outline your work with charcoal when your done to make it stand out and keep your picture easy to see.

This year’s festival was a welcome beginning to fall for us I hope you enjoy our pictures below. Mine is the sunflowers and pumpkins, My daughter is the horse and her friend made the anime of Totoro.

DIY Faun Horns, A Unique Costume for this Halloween

In my last post I was working on minion horns for my daughters play, Narnia the Musical. This past two weeks I was also working on head ware for the fauns in the play. Above are three of the faun headbands I made and will give you step by step instructions on how to make these in case your little one wants to be a faun Halloween. What you will need is newspaper, masking tape, tin foil, wire or I used pipe cleaners, plastic headbands, tissue paper or crepe paper, Elmer glue, flour and water to make a paste and hot glue gun. If you want to make the ears too then you need white felt and a brown furry material.

To make the branchy horns I first attached pipe cleaners to the headbands by wraping them around a few times and then shaped the pipe cleaners in the shape I wanted. Using scraps of newspaper and masking tape I shaped the newspaper around the pipe cleaners till I got the thickness I wanted. IMG-9466 Then covered the entire horn with masking tape to hold the shape. I applied extra masking tape at the bottom of the horn to help adhere the horn to the headband. By doing this I did not need to hot glue any of the horn down in the end. The small pointy “Tomas” horns I made of tin foil wrapped around newspaper. And then covered the tinfoil with masking tape. Once both horns were taped up I made a paper mache paste. To make the paste I mixed 4 tablespoons of flour with two table spoons of Elmers glue and 6 tablespoons of water. I then covered the horns with tissue paper. This was to make the horns smoother and so the paint would stick easier. On the horns in the above picture I used crepe paper. It made a nice bony texture that really showed up once painted. I let the horns dry overnight before painting. IMG-9464  The small pointy horns I attached to   the headband after they were painted with a hot glue gun. I used cream, dark brown and a light  brown acrylic paint to paint the horns. I first covered them with a layer of the cream paint and let that dry. Then using a fairly dry brush I added the dark brown along the bottom of the horns and then a layer of the lighter brown over it. I carried the lighter brown lightly overt the rest of the horn. On the horns with the crepe paper this was a very cool effect. IMG-9474 (1)

To make the ears I made a teardrop pattern out of cardboard with a flat place at one end and cut out the material to match. Taking a piece of white felt and a piece of fur I pinned them like sides inward and then whip stitched the material together except for the flat end. Once done I turned the ear inside out and pinched the flat end in half and sewed shut. This made the crease in the ear.  I then hot glued them below the horns onto the headband.    You can make these look even more whimsical by adding flowers along the headband around the horns, a brown top and furry pants and you have a perfect faun costume for trick-or- treating.

DIY Maleficent Horns, how to Attach to a Headband

We have this really cool theater group here in Greenwood, Indiana call Center Grove Fine Arts Academy. It is a christian theater group for children ages 8 to 18 and they put on about 3 to 4 big, big productions a year. I mean big.  My middle daughter is my actress and this is the second performance she has done with the group and we currently have around 92 children performing. The current production is Narnia the Musical and this is so much fun. I am a big lover of C. S. Lewis and I have to say if you are in the area please come see it, It runs October 25 through the 28th At Thomas Carr Howe Community High School. Tickets are available at http://www.cgfinearts.org.

I have the privileged of serving on the costume committee which was so much fun and such a learning experience with the last show my daughter did, Beauty and the Beast. This show has been just as much fun as we get to make the mythical creatures of Narnia come to life.  I am very excited about this weeks projects as I get to make horns for Tomas and the fauns of Narnia, I might blog about that next week but this week I’m going to talk about the project I just finished which was making some scary horns for the cruelies or minions of Narnia under the White Witch’s reign. This was so much fun once I figured out the best way to make them. I ended up making four of different sizes. There is a DIY pin by Olivia Simms on Pintrest showing pictures of the different steps to make the horns that I followed but it doesn’t give a step by step explanation or tell how to attach the horns to the headband, the part I found the trickiest so just in case you need a pair of Maleficent horns for Halloween, I thought I’d clarify the process.

I didn’t take pictures of actually constructing the horns since her pin showed that pretty well. You start with a plastic cup, about medium size and run a wire or I used a pipe cleaner through the middle. Shape your pipe cleaner/ wire to the shape of the horn you want and then using newspaper and tin foil and masking tape build your shape of the horn. I wrapped my horns in masking tape after I had the shape I wanted so that the paint would stick better. I ran out of masking tape about half way through my third horn and used painters tape. It didn’t stick as well so on my medium and small horn I ended up using a layer of Modge Podge before spray painting. Once I had the shape of the horns done and they looked pretty identical, (that’s also tricky) It was time to attach the horns to the headband.

On my first set of horns this took many tries. The plastic cup does not hot glue to the headband I initially had well. I went to the dollar store and bought these headbands. Because they are plastic the hot glue adhered a lot easier, and their pretty cheap 3 for a dollar.IMG-9417

Next I took black felt and cut out 4 circles, two for each horn. Once circle was just about 1/8th to 1/4th of an inch bigger than the bottom of my horn, the other circle about the same size as the horn.IMG-9416

I glued the bigger circle to the horn, before painting (i first tried it after painting and ended up repainting, you’ll see why when I’m finished). I then applied hot glue to the headband about where I wanted the horn and stuck the horn on. Taking the second felt circle I glued it on the bottom of the horn under the headband. I used lots of glue to seal the headband between the pieces of felt.

Next it glued the excess felt up to the horn. This created more stabilization to the headband. Finally I took a long piece of masking tape and taped over where I just hot glued the extra felt to cover up the felt and make the horn look smooth again.

I spray painted both horns a shiny black. Here is a picture of my daughter modeling one of the biggest pair of horns. To make small and medium horns I followed the same process but used a Dixie cup as my base. The horns ended up being very stable and lightweight. I can’t wait to see them with their costumes!IMG-9407

 

Do You Struggle with Rest?

Its funny to have a fear about rest but I’m one who has a history of having  a hard time sitting still. As a child I was incorrectly labeled ADD due to my impulsiveness and inability to sit down, turns out it was more anxiety and a learning disability to blame. But even now when the best thing for me to do is rest, I still struggle to be still.

Unfortunately it is a commandment of Gods we all know the verse, Psalms 46:10 “Be Still and Know that I am God, ” but when your heart is going fast and your in crisis being still is the hardest thing to be. I think being a woman, a mother of multiple children, and a wife we have so many demands that we feel need to be done. I was raised you rest after your work is done. Its a good principle but what if the work is always in perpetual motion and you never seem to get to that stopping point,  how then do you justify rest?

I think trying to justify rest was the first mistake I learned. Rest doesn’t require justification.  Rest is just like being still, a need and a command of Gods. God commands rest on the Sabbath, Jesus offers rest to those who follow him. God  knew our bodies and our minds required a break. He knew fasting from our chores was necessary to refresh us. God never commanded, you can rest when your chores are done. He commanded its the Sabbath, a day for you to rest and yet even on a “Sabbath” we still don’t rest until our chores are done.

So deserving rest, justifying rest shouldn’t be in our vocabulary but it often is. Prior to my ruptured back I was in a season where I was getting no rest. I was working full time, raising three kids and helping costume a play. I was up all hours sewing and straining my back. After my initial fall, which we found out later compounded the disc leading to the rupture, caused me to seek medical help I had spent a few days in bed unable to walk. I wonder had I taken more breaks and allowed myself to be still would my physical outcome been different. Once I was recovering from surgery I was in a great season of rest but it was not at all easy. It was frustrating, impatient waiting and hoping I would go back together the same. I don’t think this is the kind of rest that God asks of us either.

Spiritual rest is something that is still a mystery for me but I believe its the key to true rest and refreshment. Its not comfortable for me to sit still and listen during my quiet times. I often have so much to say I struggle just listening. I am thankful again for Abide which does allow me to just listen to a prayer and be still. I also believe there is truth in resting in God’s promises. That panic button in our hearts that goes off in crisis with all it’s “what If’s” If we can just continue to turn it off with reinstating God’s promises that gives us a type of rest. If I can just keep telling that voice, God’s with you he promised he’d never leave you, He has good plans for today… It eventually will be still.

I think the definition of rest that God requests, commands from us is different than the rest we identify with. I tend to think of taking a nap or sitting on the beach with nothing to do. God’s rest can be physical but I believe it is more like quieting the demands of a child. One of my favorite psalms, because it reminds me of my kids sitting in my lap. is Psalms 131:2 “But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child I am content.” I picture my babies at age 2 or 3 sitting on my lap watching cartoons or reading a book. Imagine sitting on Jesus’s lap that way. Your not worried about food or what’s going to happen next or doing the laundry, your  just sitting, calmly, snuggling. I think that is the picture of rest God asks for us. Its a trusting rest. Its the kind of rest that does refresh us, nurture us and calm our hearts.

 

What is Karitos Worship and Arts Conference

IMG-9367Many of my friends on facebook begin to see posts for Karitos and Karitos Indy for about a month before both events. My close friends know that they are Christian Art and worship conferences that I donate my time too in different ways. My closest friends hear me talk about how wonderful my experiences are and why I go and why I try to convince others to go, but I know they are also often left wondering, What is she doing again?

Well, I just came home from the 24th Karitos Worship and Arts Conference and I hope my blog will help answer better what exactly it is and why for me it is so important. To start Karitos was founded by Bob Hay  and his late daughter Courtney Hay  and a few others as a conference that celebrated christian artists of all kinds. The conference offers classes for three days in visual art, theater, film, music, literary, dance and worship. These classes are practical and spiritual designed to equip and further the education of artists interested in these fields with the hopes those artists will go out into their communities to share their talent.  In addition to the workshops at night there are worship times where many of the faculty and attendees share their personal gifts on stage with praise, prayer and worship. From this conference a community has formed of christian artists who share and encourage each other.

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Pasto David Mngodo Acrylic Class 

This year was the first year the conference was not held in Chicago, instead it was at Park Lawn Assembly of God Church in Milwaukee Wisconsin and ran from August 23 to 25. This year me and my two daughters attended. It was my youngest daughter’s first time. The experience of Karitos is the hardest to explain because it is as close to heaven as I can imagine. Imagine being surrounded by artistic, right brained people who are not afraid to share their talents  and are encouraging you to try new ways of expressing yourself. There is no set path for anyone,  someone who loves theater can walk into a painting class no matter their level of talent and try it. There is no judgement or discouragement when you think you fall short. You meet people who are not afraid to cry during a worship song ( It is okay to cry in church), or people who are not afraid to do what they feel God or the Holy Spirit might ask them to do. That’s what Karitos is for me it is truly an experience of spiritual freedom.

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Youth learning about flag worship

Artistic people often struggle with feeling accepted and understood, Karitos offers a community of people who understand that struggle and purposely accept and try to understand and be welcoming. Its the people involved, that is more meaningful for me then the event in the end. But the event is beautiful in itself.

This year There were so many new things. Musical Artist Bob Bennet was there and played during the worship time as well as Leon Timbo with Northern Lights United. Both brought a new sound to the stage. Randall Flinn and the Adeum dance Company also aided in the nightly worship times. Other artists in attendance lended their talents with moving dance numbers like “Grace” performed by Emmanuel Williams and then also by Debra Moore. Both moving tellings of the same song. Acting Scenes performed by Howi Tiller and Terry Vik told the story of Paul in prison. And visual artists Linda Harris-Iorio, Joey Kikki, Rosie Martindale and Milton Coronado painted  on stage during the worship celebrations.

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Artists painting during worship

The three of us had a wonderful time this year soaking in all the new things we experienced. If you are someone who has a talent, a crafty talent an artistic talent and are wanting to know more how your gift can be used this is a fabulous way to find answers to just that, I encourage you to look and see if there is a Karitos happening near you.

Live Out Loud Charity Creates Brave Hearts

IMG-9265 I just came home from Live Out Loud Charity’s Indianapolis fashion show event and I will say my heart hurts. It was one of the most raw, moving experiences I have ever had. This charity is full, jammed packed, with brave men and women, some as young as 12, who have battled suicide, bulling and other abuses. Many of them told their stories and some were survivors of multiple attempts at suicide. These models told stories of how this charity has brought them hope and given them a family of support and love. LOLC said in their press release that over 75 models of all sizes, heights ages and ethnic  backgrounds took the stage last night at the Indianapolis Arts Garden,  to stand against suicide and bullying. “Out models are real people affected by suicide, depression, bullying and low self-esteem. Each person that walks our runway is empowered by our training and their incredible experiences they gain at LOLC events.”  One of the most moving moments of the night was when Sherrie Gearheart, founder of Live Out Loud Charity,   awarded a number of models for their work in the organization and each model said how many lives they had saved from suicide. Some of these women had only been involved in the organization a total of 4 months and had already saved 1 to 3 people. IMG-9199

Over 9 models told their individual stories of what led them to depression, suicidal thoughts and then to the saving grace of the Live Out Loud Charity. These women and men did not all look like runway models and that was what made this event so wonderful. It was truly a celebration of life, of these men and women overcoming and gaining hope.

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Sherrie Gearheart

The Live Out Loud Charity was founded in 2010 with the goal to serve “those at risk of committing suicide and to help stop this preventable cause of death from continually happening across the world,” according to their website. The charity offers suicide prevention training, anti bullying and core character development seminars. They also have trained members who can conduct suicide interventions. If you know of someone who may need their help anyone can call their hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

During the runway show there were dancers who performed beautiful pieces about hope and strength as well as musical artists one of which gave her own testimony of how Live Out Loud Charity has helped her with her own battles of depression.

The vendors at the event were also very much in touch with the charity and their mission. My friend and mentor Angel Simmon’s had a table for her Loves Great Design T-Shirts. Carla DeBois was kind enough to show of one of her T’s for me.IMG-9153

 

 

I met artist Cora Magere who painted during the event. Her piece she said d is a picture of a woman breaking down the wall and escaping suicide. I thought it was beautifully prophetic. Cora also featured a painting of Kaelief Browder, an Indianapolis man who committed suicide in 2015 after being incarcerated for minor felonies.

Another vendor was Andre Joachim Jr. and his beautiful clothing to raise awareness of vitiligo and stop bulling and rejection of children and adults with it. Andre began developing vitiligo when he was in his 20’s he told me although most people with the skin condition develop it in later years. I thought it was wonderful that a model in the show also had viteligo and she was beautiful. His clothing can be found online at Viti-wear-viti-nation.com.

 

The desginers for the show include Wonderfuly Made Designs out of Indiana, Immanuel Clothing, Emily Artware, Designs by Don Marie, Stone Stylz, Kim’s Bridal Boutique, Wonderfulee Marlee, Danaya Designs 4U and the Pokadotted Pineapple Boutique from Kentucky. Here were some of my favorites!