Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas gift - Photo transfer onto wood

Now that Christmas is over and everyone is enjoying their gifts, I can share some of the gifts that I made for Christmas.

I made a photo transfer onto to wood for my parents.  I used the following video as a guide and I really enjoyed my first time using gesso.

I did not have any pictures of myself so I took my camera into the bathroom, used a shelf to put my camera on, and the shower curtain as the backdrop.  It made me laugh, but since I was doing black and white, I figured that it would not matter :-)

I started with this:

After a few minor adjustments, I wound up printing off this:

And then there was my sister's photo.  I emailed her and asked her to send me some pictures.  The following is what she sent me:

Are you laughing?  
Because I am :-)  
While these photos are completely representative of my sister, they were not exactly what I was looking for to make a Christmas gift for my parents.  
PS - isn't it funny what complete opposites my sister and I are :-)  I love her so much!!!!!!

So, with not much to select from, I knew that I had to take matters into my own hands :-) and luckily Facebook saved the day.  I just looked through the pics of my sis that others had posted and found this nice one from my mom:

After some cropping and minor tweaks, I had this:

Much more like what I was asking for :-)  
I love you Demi ;-)

I followed the video and came up with this:

Not so bad for my first time doing a photo transfer - and my parents LOVED it.  Yeah!  Merry Christmas Mom and Dad.

Goodbye hair - an update

If you will allow me liberties, it is about to get a little heartfelt up in here :-)

I cut off all my hair to donate to Locks of Love - an organization that makes wigs for children losing their hair to cancer treatments.  If you want the truth of how I feel about this drastic cut of mine, here it comes.  If you don't want the truth, you might want to stop reading now :-)

Truth be told, I am not a fan of this new haircut and really trying to not have regrets :-(  My hair has never been this short.  I don't even want to post a picture (but I will ... at the end).  A little "whoops" moment, led to having to go a little bit shorter than anticipated and in the end I was a little shocked.  Throughout the whole haircutting experience, I just kept saying (with a smile on my face), "Just do what you need to fix it."  "It's ok."  Laugh, laugh, smile, smile.  I did not want the girl cutting my hair to feel bad.

But the honest truth is that I am struggling with the reflection in the mirror.  It's shocking and I just keep telling myself that it will grow in to some normality in a month.

I try to reflect on the reason I decided to cut off all my hair - to help someone else.  I don't have a lot to give, so it really does feel good to give what I have.  A small gesture of taking scissors to my hair will help a child battling cancer and also bless a parent who just wants their child to feel special and normal.

As I don't like what I see in the mirror, I can't imagine what it must feel like to look in a mirror and have an absence of hair remind me of an illness that ravishes the body and takes away life.

It's amazing how much something as simple as a hairstyle can really effect self esteem.  It is vicious lies that don't give an accurate representation of what is reflected in the mirror.  As one who has always struggled with how she looks (and I know I am not alone there), this little hair incident gives me a greater opportunity to seek the truth of what looks back at me in the mirror.

What is the truth?
- I am created by a Master Artist and He has made me beautiful.  I am a reflection of His glory, His love, and His beauty.

Song of Songs 7:6 - "How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights!"
Psalm 45:11 - "The king is enthralled with your beauty.  Honor him for he is your lord."

In the past I have raved about my favorite book (which I will be re-reading in this season).  I even gave one away.  The book is called "God Loves Ugly" by Christa Black.  It's actually out of print right now (but coming back in September 2012), so I am so grateful for my parents sending me another copy for Christmas :-)

Here is a video of Jordin Sparks singing the song from the book and sharing what it means to her:

Here is another song that I anticipate I will be listening to alot :-)

I know that I am not the only one that has these moments of struggling with what is in the mirror, so I write in this state of vulnerability knowing that there might be someone else who needs it too.  I am not fishing for compliments, just sharing my heart and struggles - grateful for the journey because I know that in the end there is a precious gift of worth and value that God bestows on me :-)

Oh right, I promised a picture didn't I - well, here ya go:

At least my smile has not changed :-)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye hair

Today is the day that I chop all my hair off.  Eek!!!

So, goodbye long hair:

It will be over a year before we see this length again.

Makes me just a little bit nervous.

There are great plans for you, hair.

You get to put a big smile on a child's face ... and that makes me very happy too :-)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I feel a drastic change coming :-)

I decided to cut off all my hair to donate to Lock of Love.

This will be my 3rd time donating my hair and Locks of Love have upped the required length for donation since the last time I did it.  10 inches when I am used to cutting off 8.  Eek!!!

Here are some styles that I am looking at.  Feel free to comment :-)

Another view

Feeling like my hair might not be thick enough for this one :-(

Will have to go a little bit shorter on this one.  My hair will need to be cut up to my lower lip.  Eek!

So nervous about this cut.  But I just keep telling myself.  I will not have to use as much shampoo and conditioner :-)  It will grow back.  It will help someone else.  And it will be good to feel the hurt of the drastic change just a little bit.  I really just want to do something completely selfless and look forward to blessing a little girl or boy fighting cancer.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone.  I hope that you have a wonderful day celebrating the birth of the Savior.

Here's a little laughter to start your day.  Reminds me of my sister because we always dance around like this on Christmas morning :-)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mary Nells legacy

When I was a little girl, my grandparents had a next door neighbor named Mary Nell.  I don't remember many things about Mary Nell, but I remember her cookies.  Mary Nell's Christmas cookies were always a highlight of Christmas.  She would take a plate of cookies to my grandparents house every year.  They were the most beautiful cookies you can imagine.  My favorites were the snowmen.  They were covered with white icing with red hots for buttons, silver candies for eyes, and a black icing hat.  I can literally taste them as I reflect back on them.  That is how wonderful they were - unforgettable.  I can remember eating them every Christmas Eve.  It always brought such great delight to the blond haired and blue eyed little me :-)

My grandparents no longer live in that house and Mary Nell has now passed away, but her cookie legacy lives on through me :-)  I have the recipe for those wonderful cookies.  It became a tradition for my family to make them every year.  When I moved to DC a few years ago I began making them myself.  The first batch that I made myself was a few years ago for a bible study Christmas party.  My friend Ebony raved about them.  The next year I was sure to make a batch and reserve some just for Ebony.  And this year she asked me when I was going to be making them.  I did know think that I would be able to get them made before Christmas, so I told her that she might be getting New Years cookies.  Then I became consumed with the determination to get a double batch made.  I did it all in one late night / early morning :-)  Then, I set some aside for a few Christmas parties and made up a few Christmas gift boxes.

I delivered Ebony her box of cookies at church and she told me that the security guard at her building had been asking about the girl with the cookies.  I love it!!!  I absolutely adore the fact that something which brought me so much joy as a little girl, is bringing joy to others.  I want to continue to spread that Christmas cookie joy.  I love the thought of being known as the girl with the beautiful, delicious cookies.  I want people to look forward to receiving cookies just like I did growing up.  I look forward to being able to pass the love of making Christmas cookies down to my own children someday.

I don't remember anything about Mary Nells family.  I don't know if she had children that carry on her love for making cookies.  So, I write this post in honor of Mary Nell.  I am grateful for the memories that I have of her cookies and hope to be able to be a memory creator for others :-)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Some thoughts on worship

I have been thinking about worship a lot lately and God is in the process of challenging me to go deeper and step into more.  I am the kind of person that feels most comfortable standing in a corner in the back of the room singing to my Lord.  I don't think that I am alone in that.  It can be difficult to be in church around a bunch of people and engage in deep levels of intimate worship.  "Can people hear me singing?  Will others think I am crazy because I just can't stand still?"  My ideal setting to worship the Lord is in a room all by myself, with lots of space and art supplies - a place where I can sing, dance, and make art unhindered.

To me worship is a moment of intimacy and sometimes I get to concerned with others seeing my intimate moments.  But the thing is - it really really does not even matter what other people might think.  My worship is my moment with the Lord.  It's not about anyone but myself and my Savior.  Sometimes we are afforded the opportunity to be completely alone in unhindered worship to God.  And sometimes our worship is in a corporate setting - this is where our worship becomes a public display of affection.  When you see a couple that is in love, there are moments that you can see it through their own public displays of affection.  They are so lost in love that the world disappears around them.  Think about a wedding.  It's an event to mark a couple who are so deep in love that they are pledging their life to one another.  I love watching a bride and groom dance their first dance as husband and wife.  They always seem to be absolutely lost in the moment.  It's like you look at them and you just know that everything else has disappeared.  That's what I want my corporate worship to be like - to absolutely get lost in a moment and have the world disappear around me.  I want my worship to be a public display of affection to my Lord.  When you love someone, you don't really care who knows it.  I love my Lord so very much - and I want my life to reflect that in every way.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Light my path

Psalm 119:105 - "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A little bit addicting

I have found my new favorite blog.  It's written by a gal named Alisa Burke.  She is a creative genius!!!  If you follow me on Pinterest, it is highly likely that you have heard of her because I pin just about every post that she writes :-)  And when I found the tutorial link on her blog, my Pinterest pins exploded with all things Alisa Burke.  Here are just a few examples:

About that last one, I have been inspired to try free motion sewing on my machine.  I have actually done two projects so far.  I still need lots of practice and a special foot for my machine (so I won't sew through my finger), but I am loving the possibilities.

I have also discovered another new addiction through perusing the Alisa Burke blog.  I was inspired to try watercolors - and guess what?  I love watercolors!!!  It is officially my favorite medium.  I actually have a set that I now carry in my purse all the time.  I think about painting all the time.  I never even knew all the things that you can do with watercolor.  Right now I pretty much just make background pages in my journal and have done one (not so wonderful) painting.  Hopefully someday I will be able to  take this class:

And I really really really want this artisan kit:

The bag alone has me sold!!!  I was going to get it for myself for Christmas, but then realized that it would probably not arrive in time, so now I seem to be putting it off ... but maybe (just maybe) stopping by the site to look at it every day - just maybe :-)

So, yeah - Alisa Burke - check out her site and prepare to be amazed - and inspired - and check out this video:
find your inspiration from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

And speaking of videos - and addictions :-)  I am addicted to the following song.  It's got bango.  It's got dududu singing.  It's about Christmas!!!  It's ... WONDERFUL!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tune in Tuesday

I have 5 minutes left of Tuesday and I wanted to post something musical because I did not do so yesterday.  And Tune in Tuesday works just as well as Musical Monday.  It's all rhymey and stuff :-)

Christmas is upon us and there some great free Christmas music happening this week.  Check out itunes for the Single of the Week.  One of my favorite bands, The Civil Wars, has a free download for "O Come O Come Emanuel".  And if you go to Starbucks their Pick of the Week card is another favorite of mine, She and Him, singing "I'll Be Home For Christmas".

Yeah for free music!!!

And here is a little playlist of some of my favorites:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

If you are looking for an album, my suggestions are:
Wintersong by Sarah MacLaucghlin
Lifetime of Romance Christmas - it's got some classic artists like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald
Starbucks Santa Baby compilation (but you would have to buy it used)
Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey - it's my opinion that this will be a future classic
A Christmas Album by Barbara Streisand - I find it slightly odd that she made a Christmas album (being that she is Jewish).  But hey, the woman can sing and I love her Christmas album.  And it reminds me of driving around looking at Christmas lights with my parents - nostalgia :-)


Monday, December 5, 2011

One thing I am certain of in my life's direction...

Ever have that moment of looking around you at a tiny room filled with  stuff you are trying to pack up to move (eh, somewhere) and then find yourself longing to just have a home where all your stuff is located in one space, where you can actually put your books on a shelf?  Longing for a time when you can walk through Pier 1 Imports without crying because you don't have a home to decorate?  Surely someone out there can relate ... anyone?

That's where I am right now.  And today I was thinking back over my life.  I was remembering the Christmases that I had decorating my apartment.  It seems so very long ago.  It WAS so very long ago.  I found myself reflecting on when it all changed - when all my stuff got scattered all over the place.  I would move literally every single year.  I went from my parents house to my own apartment, to a duplex with Kylie, to a room in Angie's house, to a room in Reagan's house, to a few months with my parents, to one year in Ozark, to a few months in LA, then a few months back in my parents house, then back to LA for a year on campus, then on to an apartment with Karisse, Amy, and Kat, and then here to DC (sheesh).  In fact, I have currently been living at the same address (with a family member near DC) for more than 2 years.  That is the record over the last 10 years of my life.

Tonight I was thinking about my nomadic life and what has made it so nomadic.  In March of 1999 my purpose and calling was made known to me.  I went to a missions conference at my church and my life literally changed.  I sat in a room listening to a man name Dan Hitzhusen.  I could go into further detail, but it's such a looong story.  I will stop for the moment and let my journal do a little bit of the talking:

"March 20, 1999 ... Last night the Lord led me to Dan's room and he was talking about a mission trip he had taken to India.  [When] he was finished talking he said something that caught my attention.  He said, 'The harvest in plentiful but the laborers  are few.'  I WANT TO BE A LABORER.  I want to get a passport and have stamps - each one being a trip for the Lord ... I am willing to give everything to follow the Lord and I am excited about the places He will take me."

And oh, He has.  He has so faithfully fulfilled that desire.  My passport (though now expired) contains stamps from the Philippines, India, Uganda, Thailand, Southeast Asia, and North Africa.  Each trip being one where I walked forward in serving the people of another country with the love of the Lord.  I have lived a very exciting life ... and it's not yet done.

I'm not kidding when I wrote about crying in Pier 1.  I walked through that store tonight with tears in my eyes.  I thought about my place mats, napkins, glasses, plates, candle holders ... all packed away in plastic containers in grandmas attic.  I drove home, wondering - "What if I had taken a different path?"  And then I realized - I would not trade things for the world.  The experiences that I have had, the people I have met, the cultures I have grown to love, the places I have lived ... it's worth more than a million dollars.  I would not change one single moment.  You can read some more about my million dollar moments here.

My life is filled with so much uncertainty right now.  I am doing a Bible study that presented the question "When it comes to your life, what exactly are you perfectly clear on these days?"  As I reflected on that question, I realized that there is so much up in the air for me.  I don't 100% know what job and housing is going to look like in the months ahead.  But while I don't really know anything about the direction of my life right now, I do know one thing.  I know what happened on March 19, 1999.  I know what God called me into.  I know that my life is set aside to serve Him and that the plan ahead is so much bigger than I can even comprehend.  Things are falling into place, even if I can't see them.  12 years ago I wrote, "I am willing to give everything to follow the Lord".  What are place mats, napkins, glasses, plates, and candle holders anyway?  It's all stuff.  Pretty stuff - and it's not bad to have that stuff - but it's not what really counts and definitely not worth crying over :-)

Well, this has been a very unexpected distraction from my packing.  Now I suppose I should get back to it.  With this current mindset, perhaps my thrift store pile will grow bigger :-)
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