DIY Memorable Sea Shell Ornaments You Can Make With Your Kids

I like to collect things when we go on vacation. The two things I like to collect are spoons and Christmas ornaments. I love thinking about all the fun trips we’ve been on when putting up the tree. This past year we had our first real beach vacation at North Myrtle Beach. I decided that instead of hunting for a Christmas ornament among all the souvenir stores I would use the seashells we collected on the beach to make our own. I came up with these three simple ways to display them on our Christmas tree.

When your working with shells the first thing you want to do after their cleaned is spray them with a clear coat. This makes them have a shiny wet look and allows the colors of the shells to stand out more.

The first was very simple and easy to do, especially if you have kids who want to help. I purchased some sand and plastic craft bulb ornaments that split in half from Michael’s. You also need a small piece of ribbon that will fit through the hole of the ornament and a paint marker or dark sharpie. First I wrote on one half of the ornament Myrtle Beach 2018 wit a red sharpie and let that dry. Then I filled one half of the ornament with sand and set 5 pretty small and medium sized shells in the sand. I popped the other half on and tied a ribbon through the hole. That simple and a great craft to make with your kids.

IMG-0040Next I had some really pretty long shells that looked like they used to be tiny conch shaped shells, most were broken. For this you will need jewelry wire, jewelry loop pliers and wire cutters. I took about 10 inches of jewelry wire and wrapped the wire around the conch shaped shell leaving a tail about 2 to 3 inches at the top. When the wire was wrapped from top to bottom around the shell I made a loop at the bottom of the shell with the wide part of the jewelry loop pliers and then another loop at the top of the shell. I secured both loops with a twist. Next I took a medium shell and wrapped about 5 inches of wire around that making another loop at the top but i did not close the loop. I attached the top of the second shell’s loop to the conch’s bottom loop and then secured both loops closed. I made three of these total and  in one of them I wrote the year 2018 on the inside of the lower shell. I think they look very pretty hanging on the tree.

IMG-0032The third set of ornaments I made were the most fun. What you need to make these is a a white wooden or white ceramic ornament, they have them at Michaels. Some pre-set thin mixed Mortar which you can find at any hardware store. A Popsicle stick or plastic knife and an assortment of small seashells. I love making crafts with pre-set thin mixed mortar they come out so beautiful. You can check out another craft I made with it in my blog How To Make Memories Out of Seashells.

This craft is so much fun to make, First you get a good amount of mortar on your Popsicle stick or plastic knife and just like your spreading peanut butter spread the mortar on your white ornament in sections. Once you’ve spread a section simply press the small seashells into the mortar and let dry. The mortar usually dries in about 2 hours. You can lay your seashells out ahead of time or randomly place them. Make sure you do this project in a well ventilated area as the mortar does smell. Kids love to make these kind of crafts just make sure you protect clothing and wash hands afterwards.

Want to see a step by step tutorial of these crafts? Check out my YouTube video. Part 2 Christmas Traditions at 2BecomeBrave.

My Christmas Craft Traditions

I look forward to one day every year with my kids. Its the day we make our stockings. I started this tradition when my first child was about 2. I could’t find a set of stockings I liked. So I decided why not let her make her own. So with a little glue and pompoms our tradition was born. She is 13 now and last year was the first year she did not make her own stocking. Instead I purchased a pretty sea themed one for her. My 10 and 4-year-old still make their stockings. We made them last night. My 4-year-old son was so excited to use glitter he poured out two containers of it. It was quickly cleaned up both times and I was amazed how not upset I was by it. Its true your third one doesn’t get you as riled up as the first.IMG_0004

The other tradition we do is we add hands to my tree skirt. This tradition started in 2008 my middle child’s first Christmas. I saw an article in Parents magazine that had it listed as a fun craft for kids and fell in love with it. They recommended buying a plain felt tree skirt but I made my own.

Here is how you do it. Since I made this in 2008 I don’t have step by step pictures but to make your own no-sew tree skirt its fairly simple so I will give you step by step instructions. First I purchased two yards of fleece in a candy cane stripe and two yards of fleece in plain white. You can use any Christmas pattern and just make sure what your going to use as your bottom is a plain color.

Next take the two pieces of fleece and lay them wrong sides together. Cut a circle out of both pieces (you need sharp scissors) approximately 58 inches in diameter. Once the circle is complete cut a line straight into the middle of the circle and then cut a smaller circle. This is where it will slide on and around the tree. Once that is done cut strips about 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches apart around the entire circle.  Try to make sure they are even and uniformed. Do not cut strips in the area where you made the slit to fit around the tree. Then go around the circle and tie the bottom strip to the top strip in a knot, just like you would a no-sew blanket. You not have a plain tree skirt for your project.IMG_0010

Next is the fun part. You can use any color or kind of felt you wish. They even have felt with a sticky side that makes this part even easier. Get your child or grandchild and trace their hands on a piece of felt. Cut the hands out and with a marker, puffy paint or I’ve even used iron on letters put their name, age and year on the hands. I’ve even let my children color and decorate their hands. Then hot glue the hands to your tree skirt. If you want to maximize your room and have a lot of little ones don’t start in the middle like I did. Start on one end and work your way around. I started in the middle and not only am I running out of room now  my years are all mixed up. I wish I could have put them in order. I love seeing their tiny hands and how much they have grown and yes my 13 year-old daughter has agreed to continue doing the hand prints which makes me happy.

Do you have a crafty tradition? Why don’t you share it with me in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Glass Bulb Holiday Wreaths Card Holders

 

 

I love this time of year when Thanksgiving is over and you can start getting out the Christmas decorations. Many of mine are homemade and I can’t wait to share them with you.  Last year I realized I have finally hit that point where there is no room on my tree for colored bulb ornaments. We’ve been collecting Disney ornaments since we were married 19 years ago and I finally could do a whole tree of just them. Since I wanted to condense and conserve room last year I decided to do something creative with the left over bulbs I had. I wanted to to make a wreath for the front door out of them but soon realized I really didn’t have enough to do anything large. After researching a number of ways to make the wreaths out of bulb ornaments I decided to add clips to my wreath and make a place to display Christmas cards. The project was pretty fun and easy to make.

The supplies you will need are, a paper plate, gold spray paint, cardboard, 12 clothes pins, at least 20 colored glass bulb ornaments, green garland, other Christmas flower picks and sprigs and your hot glue gun. This project takes a lot of hot glue so make sure you have plenty to start with.

First cut out the center of your paper plate. I used the paper plate to give me a template and idea of how big the wreath would be. Next trace the paper plate onto a piece of cardboard and cut it to be exactly the same of as the paper plate. This will be the back of your wreath. Hot glue the two pieces together.

 

Next I took 12 clothespins and spray painted them gold. You can make them whatever color you like or even leave them plain. I hot glued the clothespins, open side facing out, around the paper plate in a clockwise fashion.

IMG_7077Next I took green garland, you can use any color you like depending on the bulbs you have… silver looks really pretty, and wrapped it around the circle gluing the garland in place at the back of the wreath. I made sure to wrap around the clothes pins so that they looked hidden into the garland.IMG_7090

Then I took all my colored ornament baubles arranged them around the wreath and hot glued them to the garland. You can also hot glue them to each other. Once that was dry I took my other Christmas flower picks and sprigs and added it around the wreath with hot glue. Once it was dry I hung it on my door with a door hanger, but It would be easy to hot glue a hanger to the back of the wreath and hang it on a wall. I made two of these, one for me and one for a friend. They are fragile but do look pretty and I hope now that its hung back up this year I’ll be motivated to write my Christmas cards. Let me know in the comments below if you try this project or if you have other ways of displaying your Holiday cards this year.

 

 

I Am Thankful Because…

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Last Tuesday was an amazing and hard day. I was scheduled to receive a number of epidurals in my lumbar and right scapula areas. Its a little difficult to write about. If you’ve read my first two blogs you will see there was a battle to even get the procedure done.  My prayer was that I would be brave and have peace about the epidurals I was about to undergo. I woke up kind of waiting for a shoe to drop that never did. I did feel brave and peaceful although many times anxiety grew inside my stomach. The kids got off to school without a hitch. My husband and I dropped off my son with my parents and drove to the orthopedic hospital campus in plenty of time.

I didn’t get the same nurse I had had the two other times but despite my small rolling veins she was able to get the IV into the thick underside of my elbow, where its supposed to go, not in my hand or wrist where it usually ends up after a few tries. That was such an answer to prayer and I am so thankful. I walked myself into the OR room, mostly because of nerves.  I let the nurses know I was nervous and they encouraged me to breathe. Before I knew it I was out and only remember bits and pieces of the actual injections.

I’ve had a week of soreness and tiredness but by God’s grace only a few of the headaches that plagued me last time. I am so thankful for all the people I knew who were and are praying for me. I know prayer works. God’s constant hand on me though this very scary thing is proof. I am so thankful to God that he brought me through such a hard thing so easily.

The hard part now is waiting. Waiting to see if the epidurals will relieve the nerve pressure and pain in my right leg and foot. My back and arm are already feeling better. I do have moments of soreness and stiffness but I do notice improvement. Something else I’m thankful for.

I swam in high school. It’s something I love to do. I often have swimming dreams. Last night I had a dream I was getting ready to swim laps in the pool. I had the idea that if I just kept kicking my feet the pain in my right foot would just go away. I took the kick board and began kicking down the lane. In my dream I could see my feet kicking and I could see the pain falling off my foot

till I had no more pain.

I do believe that sometimes God gives us dreams, its in the Bible that he often talked to people that way. I’d like to believe that this one is from Him. That he’s telling me to just keep on swimming, like Dory in “Finding Nemo, ” and I’ll get there. I am so thankful that we have a God who wants a relationship with us, who holds us close and loves us regardless of our limits. I hope you all have a thankful week as you prepare for Thanksgiving.

God Answers Prayers in Extraordinary Ways

Well last week I was a day away from a medical procedure that hopefully going to relieve the pain in my back and right foot. About 8:30 a.m., less than an hour after I posted I got a phone call. It was the doctors office canceling the procedure. My insurance had dropped my doctor, the facility was still in network but for some reason my doctor was not. I have worked in the medical field prior to my accident for 10 years. I am well aware that when your insurance no longer has your doctor in network, mistake or not, it could take weeks to months to fix. After a long discussion on the phone with my insurance and the doctors office I was told that this was an error on my insurance’s part and I just needed to wait. The office would reschedule the procedure as soon as it all was fixed.

Well, I said I wanted a testimony, here it is. I sat down and prayed, I was unsure why this was happening and I really didn’t know how to pray so I prayed that God’s will be done. Then I prayed that the Holy Spirit would pray for me. Then I messaged all my prayer warrior friends and asked them to pray. Then I felt it on my heart to ask my church to pray, that’s something I had only done one other time when I was having horrible migraines, but I really felt prompted by the Spirit so I did. Then I decided as an act of faith I would try to do what I was supposed to do for the procedure, I drank a lot of water, got the house chores done I usually do on Tuesday and prayed a lot . When I took my son to school I had KLOVE radio station on in the car and cried because it was like every song was speaking to my situation. The song by Mercy Me “Even IF” came on and I almost cried so hard I couldn’t drive. It was followed by Tauren Wells “Hills and Valleys” One of my theme songs since the accident occurred. If you’ve ever experienced a ministering of your spirit through the radio station you know how amazing it is that God uses these songs to speak to your situation.

By 4 p.m. The web portal to my insurance still showed my doctor not in network. So at that point I was sure it the procedure wasn’t happening. I was still reeling, do I need to find a new doctor, how long do I wait to find a new doctor, is God trying to protect me from something? I didn’t know really why it was happening. In the situation we found some good, it would allow my husband to go to work and have the meetings he needed, my mom had recently fallen and needed to recover, her and my dad would be watching my son during the procedure. So I was trying to be thankful for these reasons.

Tuesday morning came and my husband wanted me to call the doctor again before he headed to work. There had been no change and the procedure was canceled. I went about my day and at 1:30 received another phone call from the doctor’s office. Everything was fixed my doctor was back and network and they needed to reschedule the procedure. Prayers were answered. I rescheduled for tomorrow. So far I have not received any more phone calls so I believe were really going thru with it tomorrow. I don’t know why all this happened and it has left me with lots of questions but I don’t think I’m as anxious as I was last week. I’m still praying God’s will be done and I’m still praying for healing.

The delay also allowed me another day at physical therapy where my therapist had me call the doctor due to the fact that my hips won’t stay in alignment and when she tries to correct them its really painful. That earned me a follow up appointment with the doctor which I am thankful for. I don’t think that would happen without the delay. So I am determined to believe that all these weird plans God has ordained for my good. Hopefully next week I’ll have another praise to post and more healing.

..And Then the Fear Comes…

This blog is about journaling about fear and anxiety and battling it with God’s word and God’s gifts of creativity. I started this blog because of the journey I have been on since May of 2017 when I ruptured my S5 disk in my back. I am still on that journey of recovery and tomorrow I stop at another destination.

I am scheduled to receive a number of epidural injections in my lumbar area and left scapula area, or mid back and left shoulder. The lumbar injections will hopefully if successful calm down the swelling in that area and release my sciatic nerve that causes constant numbness and pain to my right foot. The left shoulder is inflamed from clenching the steering wheel when I drive, because my right foot is in so much pain from driving and over compensating.

I underwent a similar procedure about 6 weeks ago in August where they put the epidurals in my S5 joint at that point and the results were not what was hoped for. The numbness in my foot did decrease but it also moved into my arch making it even harder for me to drive. The back pain did also decrease. Needless to say the lack of success from the first set of epidurals along with the week long headaches I had which is a common side effect of the procedure leave me very anxious about tomorrow.

I know its okay to be fearful and anxious about tomorrow. These are normal reactions to a hard thing. I’d like to discredit tomorrow and say its not a hard thing but it is. Its all been hard.  I know there are people, maybe even reading this who have it harder, who live their lives in a wheel chair, whose handicap sign doesn’t have an expatriation on it like mine.  I feel like this experience has given me more compassion and humility towards them. To think about being free from this pain, being healed of it seems wonderful and doubtful all at the same time. I fear the doubt I feel. God calls us to believe without doubt but when the best outcome hasn’t happened for so long, doubt is very real.

So how do we let go of doubt? How do we like Elijah’s servant go to the edge of the cliff and look for a rain cloud 7 times? I think around time 3 and 4 doubt had to enter his mind, how did Elijah steal his thoughts from it. (See 1 Kings Chapter 18) The truth is God has healed me many, many times through medicine and miraculously. I believe he has the ability, I’ve asked for the healing but going thru the test he asks of me is very hard. I heard Joyce Meyers say that you have to go through the test and have the moans to have a testimony. That if you stop at the moans you won’t get at testimony. If I have to go through this, I want a testimony at the end of it. I want to testify to God’s Glory and love so that others know how much He loves them too. Thank you for letting the blog be part of that testimony, I hope you’ll pray with me and for me tomorrow, If you are also facing something hard and want prayer please let  me know in the comments below.

CGFAA Presented Narnia the Musical, How God Provides

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The CGFAA Cast of Narnia the Musical

My middle daughter, Lucy, just completed a weekend of 7 shows with Center Grove Fine Arts Academy. They performed Narnia the Musical with a cast of over 90 students ages 8 to 18. This is Lucy’s second show with the program. The program itself is a wonderful way to let students learn about theater and fellowship in Christ together. As I said in previous blogs I served on the costume committee, which I find very fun and challenging.

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Tec week / show week are equally fun. All the preparations are done and us costume moms hang out back stage to make quick fixes and help with quick changes. We get to know the cast a little bit, see how much hard work went into everything and get to know each other. I truly enjoy the team comradeship that forms and the friendships you have going into to the next show.

Like any other God-serving task I’ve ever experienced this one seemed to have its own sets of challenges and battles along the way, especially the week of tec. What surprised me is this time I didn’t get quite as despaired by them as usual, except for a challenge that came on towards the beginning of tec week. Physically I wasn’t up to the task of driving to and from T.C. Howe High School which is about a 35 minute drive from my house on the expressway. Getting to the school I did fairly well, but driving me and my daughter home from practice at 11:30 at night my right foot, which has nerve damage from my back in it, couldn’t keep the petal down at the 65 miles and hour I needed to stay at on the expressway.  After one night of driving home in unbearable pain I woke praying to God to provide another way for us to get there. I messaged the moms I knew lived near me and hoped for an answer.

God had already figured it out. Nicki, who was one of the leaders of the costume committee and someone I didn’t even think to ask, messaged me and offered to give me the night off and take Lucy. She does not know what a God send she was. That night I truly needed rest. The next few days my daughter and I were able to catch rides with two other girl scout moms that I am so thankful too and over the weekend my husband drove, allowing us some needed catching up. Next to the way God provided through this battle the other stresses of the show, costumes misplaced, tails torn,  all seemed small. I knew that somehow these things would be resolved too by God’s grace.

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“Deep Magic” one of my favorite scenes in the play

The wonderful thing about serving in a community of believers I think is that when the trouble does arrive you can openly remind each other to pray and pray for each other.  You can give God the glory in unison when the victory, big and small do occur and all this can be done without hesitation the real world brings on. I love the diverseness this group has in our individual christian beliefs and yet we come together and work together without those differences being a hindrance.  I believe the acceptance the children have of each other is what bubbles over into the adults. I am so thankful for this program exists in our community and can’t wait to see what great things it will bring. For more information on CGFAA please check out their website at cgfinearts.org. 

Did you get to see Narnia or do you have a similar program in your area? Please comment about it below.