Friday, August 26, 2016

Get a Jump Start with Whimsical Christmas Art!

Today I wanted to share with you a few easy, homemade Christmas gifts.  After all, Christmas is only 121 days away!  I adore homemade gifts.  I am always grateful for homemade gifts whether it be jam, salt scrubs, or a tin of cookies.  One of my all time favorite gifts has been a piece of wood used to pull open hot oven racks.  A student chiseled and sanded the wood until it was completely smooth.  He fashioned a hook on one end of the paddle. This student proudly explained that the hook was "so you can pull out a hot rack without burning your hands".  I cherish that sweet gift and still use it today.

There are many reasons for giving homemade gifts, but here are my top 5:
1.  Homemade gifts are usually less expensive than store bought gifts.
2.  A homemade gift is incredibly thoughtful.
3.  What do you give the person who has everything...a homemade gift!
4.  Or what about the person who wants nothing...a homemade gift!
5.  A homemade gift is unique and can be individualized.

I painted a few very simple whimsical Christmas scenes for my family one year.  The first one I did was a set of whimsical trees for my mom and dad.  It reminds me of the trees you might see in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  I selected a couple of colors and went to work.
This is a simple Christmas tree on a winter's night.  A few drops of snow adds to the whimsical nature of this painting.
The last painting I'll share with you is a whimsical monogrammed Christmas stocking I did for my sister.  It's hard to see in the photo, but there is glitter on the red and purple balls.
Whimsical art is the best because you don't have to be perfect!  I used acrylic paints for each of the paintings due to their quick drying ability.  I also sprayed the final project with a light coat of acrylic varnish to seal and give the canvas a shine. Hope I have inspired you to create your own thoughtful gift to give this Christmas. There is plenty of time to get creative before the big day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Inspiration from Daily Visitors

Our home is nestled in the middle of  the woods.  When we first made this our home, we named the woods and our home Still Woods.  The inspiration came from Psalm 46:10. "Be still and know I am God". A meandering creek borders our property to the east.  A spry, red fox lives in the woods to the west.  Every now and then, we see his sleek body racing across the road and disappearing into the thick forests. Lately, a pair of deer have visited our home.  It is amazing to look up from our breakfast or dinner and see these beautiful creatures in the clearing near our home.
I imagine they enjoy sipping cool water from the creek and resting in the shade of Still Woods. Our two labs, Lucky and Lucy, have decided to accept these graceful visitors.  The deer stand quietly in the woods and watch our two dogs as they lay on the front porch.  Ever wary, the deer appear to be ready to bolt. We knew that deer were in this area, but they have never emerged from the trails so close to our home.  Seeing them is a gift.  They quietly munch on the grass while we watch in awe.  When they are finished, they turn and walk gracefully back through the sunlit trail.
I am reminded of the verse from Psalm 42:1, "As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God".  A beautiful worship song written by Martin J. Nystrom begins to play in my head.

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after thee
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship thee

You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship thee

You're my friend and you are my brother
Even though you are a king
I love you more than any other
So much more than anything

You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship thee

I love you more than gold or silver,
only you can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy giver
and the apple of my eye.

You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship you.

contemplate my own relationship with the Lord. Am I more consumed with desire for my next project than I am for spending time with my heavenly Father?  He is my heart's strength and shield, but do I always show that to the Lord by my daily relationship with Him?  

I am amazed how the Lord uses the gentle creatures of the forest, whether it be the sparrow or deer, to draw us nearer to Him! Will you join me today and reflect on your own relationship with the Lord?

Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

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