Catching up on my posting my pages from the end of 2014...
November, as usual, was quite busy. Thomas's science class had a field trip to the Hidden Pond Nature Center to learn about watersheds. It was amazing. I was astounded that Lake Braddock is the only school that takes advantage of the Nature Center this way. The kids got to take samples, determine water quality, look for invertebrates, and much more.
In addtion, the AAP kids participated in NaNoWrMo - with a 5,000 word minimum. Thomas wrote over 6,000 -- quite an achievement for a boy who doesn't like writing. Rachel was inspired to start writing her own novel, about dragons, complete with illustrations.
Here's the Design H page that opens the month (front and back):
My Girl Scout troop did another round of archery. This year they got to use the foam targets as well and had a mini-competition at the end. The Design A page has another archery pic, plus a shot from them at a local gem & mineral show.
I also included a shot from my first watercolor class - when we finally moved on to painting a still life, as well as some packaging from the Lucky store (our new favorite shop), and of course, the changing leaves - my favorite part of fall.
The backside of the page has more Thanksgiving-related cards. We ended up hosting this year at the last minute when our friends had a burst water pipe. In between gettting their college son's clothes washed, cooking and hosting I completely forgot to pics. Instead, I included a shot of the first snow of the year and the kids volunteering at our church packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
And finally getting around to photographing last fall's pages.
I'm still working on my December pages along with my December Daily -- and I keep moving things back and forth between the two. But I am ready to finally call the rest of the year finished. I'm sharing two pages per month with you as this post is already quite picture-heavy. Most of the supplies in these came from either Studio Calico or Cocoa Daisy's monthly kits.
September -- Did I really not post September? First up, my front and back Design H page. I still get shudders when I think about buying all those school supplies. I included our weekly schedule on a pocket card - all the afterschool activities, scouts, sports...
And important shots, like the first day of school. The color's a bit wonky - which is what I get for not photographing these outside when the weather was still way above freezing. I'm not going to even mention the snow we're supposed to get this afternoon...
onto October's Design H page to start the month...
and I'll share one of the Design A pages. Scouts, more scouts, Girl Scout cookie training and Halloween.
... and one of my resolutions for 2015 is to catch up.
December really got away from me this year and it seems the older the kids get the busier we are. We just eeked by on the Amazon ordering deadlines, the tree was bought on the 16th and we got our cards in the mail right before we left to drive down to my parents' house in Florida. Throw in volunteering for Girl Scouts and a few fencing competitions and that was our month.
We started January tired, cold, and unprepared for a week of snow delays and cancelations ... finishing with me coming down with the nasty stomach bug making it's rounds. So it's fair to say crafting took a back seat.
I do have the first section of my December Daily / Journal Your Christmas book complete. This year I'm using a binder by Simple Stories. When I saw it this past summer I immediately grabbed it. And then once December rolled around I went back and forth on using this vs. making an album using wooden Michael's frames. Since I had already bought the album and page protectors, this won out.
I used a Tim Holtz Bigz die to cut the labed shape and painted it black. I used cut files from Wilna Furstenberg behind a felt snowflake topped with bling from Pretty Little Studios. All that was left to add were my two favorite Maya Road stick pins.
I used a page protector to hold one of Wilna's wreaths. These are from her heartfelt Christmas class, and honestly, I signed up for it just to get all the files. I'm using them liberally throughout this album and have been cutting most of my accents in white cardstock.
The December is from Kerri Bradford and I cut that from red vinyl and applied it to the outside of the protector. I've been toying with the idea of adding confetti, sequins or chunky glitter inside the protector.
The first page is a 4x3 pocket from October Afternoon. I had fun filling the pockets!
On the next page is a pocket card calendar for the month, Hero Art's tree, and photo of our lights. I used another Kerri Bradford png as a brush directly on the photo.
The flip side holds a calendar - what we did all month and room for a bit more journaling or an accent on top.
The last page I'll share today holds our Christmas card. I placed it inside of a pocket protector and sewed all around the card. On the back of the protector I sewed the return envelope and added a copy of our family newsletter.
Advent calendars are fabulous things. We've had all sorts at our house - chocolate, felt Nativity scene, and Lego ones. This year I came across a wonderful printable on Pinterest - a scripture Advent calendar thanks to One Dog Woof. Every day up through Christmas is a different scripture verse telling the story of Jesus's birth. You just print the pdfs onto your own paper and cut out.
This Advent calendar is a wonderful addtion to the chocolate ones the kids have, helping to reinforce what Christmas is all about. Each day we pull down that day's tag and read the Scripture verse at dinner, then clip it back up with the verse-side showing.
To make mine, I first printed out the pdfs onto kraft paper. They end up just a bit larger than a 3x4 card. If you feel like clipping and resizing, you could easily make these 3x4 to fit into a pocket page -- or use your WRM punch.
I decided to decorate the backs of the cards using all sorts of Christmas papera and embellishments I had in my stash. I've got a mix of pape from Crate Paper, Octorber Afternoon, Simple Stories, My Mind's Eye, Lily Bee, Making Memories, and more. I then strung up some twine across a window and hung them with clips. It was a great way to use up leftover stickers from the 12x12 sheets that come with the paper collections. I threw in a few felt snowflake ornaments, some Tim Holtz wreaths and some tiny "presents" I had leftover from a configuration box class I taught.
Where on earth has November gone? I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week with December just around the corner. I've been keeping busy with art classes and Girl Scouts, after volunteering to be the service unit cookie manager this year. Now in addition to my two portfolios and three bags of art supplies I've added six large boxes from Little Brownie Bakers.
And to top things off we have our first planning meeting with Sun Design on Monday. After ten years in this house we're taking the plunge and doing a much needed renovation. I've stripped wallpaper, ripped off panelling, painted, and decorated and we've had two bathrooms redone. But this house is way overdue for a major overhaul. It was built in 1968 and most everything is still original. Not to mention the seal on our freezer is going and we're keeping it closed with duct tape. Sigh... we're going to limp along for a couple of months so we can pick out the right fridge to go with our new kitchen.
My fall classes are finished. Once again I took Lynn Goldstein's pastel class. My last project was this landscape from Hidden Pond, using a watercolor underpainting on UArt paper. It's really close to being finished, but there's still a few areas that I want to work on.
To try something new (and help with my underpaintings), I took watercolor class from Rachel Collins at the Art League. It was a beginner & intermediate class combined, and she was really wonderful to us beginners. She really started us on basics - brush strokes, techniques, hard vs. soft edges, and color mixing. I feel I really have a good understanding of mixing color now.
This was a fun learning exercise in edges, washes, and building up color -
We haven't done a lot of finished paintings, but we did do a number of still lifes towards the end of the session. Here's a couple of pears I did, first on their own and then in the still life.
After taking this class I have a new appreciation for watercolor artists! Speaking of which, if you live in the DC area, the Andrew Wyeth exhibit has about one week left at the National Gallery. I went yesterday to finally see it. I could have easily spent hours looking at his work. And his brush strokes are so very small and detailed - I'd love to know what he used.
This past week I've been enjoying all the beautiful leaves. I even drove down a few streets near Occoquan to take photos with my phone. This is really the best time of year to be living in the northeast. Just driving around you get a multicolored smorgasbord of trees everytime you come to a hill.
This tree is from Fountainhead Regional Park, where we took our Girl Scout troop to do archery this afternoon.
Keeping with our insane love for all things Doctor Who, my daughter wanted to dress like Rose Tyler again for Halloween. This time, however, it was the Moment from the 50th Anniversary special. However, she's (1) ten years old and (2) you can't find Doctor Who costumes.
So I've spent many a shopping trip looking around for suitable items to replicate this costume - cheaply if possible. I ended up in the junior department of Nordstrom and grabbed three white/ivory lacy camisole tops for her to try. Rachel can fit into an extra small, although the lengths are quite long. I used this to our advantage and found a long top that could double as the dress for the costume since it hit her mid-thigh.
She wore a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath the top (really, a must). We used some scrap fabric to make a tied skirt and found this jacket at Target - luckily becuase I was planning to cut off the sleeves and bleach a green jacket we found. The black leggings are Target as well with holes we added quickly with a seam ripper. Rachel wrapped a studded belt around her writst for the bracelet and topped off the whole outfit with a blond wig. Luckily, the messier the wig gets the better.
Here's another view from our night at her school's costume Bingo.
Thomas still fit into his outfit from last Halloween, after letting the hem out of the pants. He's worn it quite a few times now so at least we got our money's worth out of it. You can get all the details here.
Now tomorrow's Halloween, and naturally, they now want a different costume....
You can find all sorts of fun things to decorate for the season, including this pumpkin I picked up at Michael's. It was kraft-colored - just like this paper mache one - when I bought it, but it only took about an hour's worth of effort decorate.
Well, actually an hour and about 10 minutes. I'd picked up a package of Martha Stewart spiderweb tissue paper last year and wanted to use that on the pumpkin. However, I couldn't decide which paper to use. So I made a small sample board from a scrap of cardboard to test out my options.
You can see I tried out both the light ivory and black craft paint and all three colors of tissue paper. In the end I went with a cream basecoat, mostly because the white of the tissue paper didn't disappear when it was adhered to the cardboard. Disappointing, but you gotta work with what ya got sometimes.
Here's what I used. The craft pumpkins aren't showing online, but I found something close here. Full disclosure: these are affiliate links, and I would recieve a small commission if you decide to purchase through them. Any money I receive just helps me offset the cost of this blog
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Please note that all content - that includes photos & art - unless otherwise credited is copyrighted by Deborah Mahnken and is for personal inspiration only and may not be copied for publication.