Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Christmas Craft Party 2012 (in which I boast a little about my talented friends)

I have some very special friends.

We’re all in very different places in life, but there are a few common denominators that tie us together:

1. I’ll just get this one out of the way first: we are all drop-dead gorgeous (just stating the obvious, here).

2. We are all have impeccable taste and incredible talent, as you will soon come to find out.

3. We all have VERY VERY fond memories of one special place called Camp Geneva. Somehow we don’t really remember the exhaustion, bodily fluids, and homesick campers much any more. Although we do have some pretty great stories on those topics.


We began a tradition a few years ago of having a Christmas craft party, done secret Santa style.

We give ourselves a limit of $10 and craft our hearts out for our assigned person and then bring our wrapped creations to one wonderful get-together.

Sidenote: Do you SEE that hexagon art on the wall in this picture? Yes. My friend Beth made it. Told you I have talented friends.


Before we dive into the crafty goodness, though, there is much catching up and eating to be done.

This year we went “healthy” with a baked-potato bar and salad. Oh, and French bread and chocolate chip cookies and mini caramel/chocolate cheesecakes with pretzel crusts, so I guess we can’t quite get the hang of healthy yet. Nor do we really want to. The craft party is a time for much food, fun, and fellowship.


And crafts, of course.

After about 3 hours of eating and talking, we got down to the business of opening the gifts.

This year we recorded the whole gifting part of the party for our missionary friend Emily. She is one of the moms right now to a whole bunch of abandoned/orphaned babies in South Africa and was very missed. She really loved seeing us do this via video and it is a pretty great memory for the rest of us to have forever.

Here you can see a smidgen of the crafting genius of this group of girls. Please allow me to break it down for you: on the left, there is a super cute last-name sign for hanging on the wall. That’s my wrist in the picture, along with some homemade honeysuckle orange laundry detergent, a knitted (crocheted?) headband (I am ashamed that I cannot tell the difference), and a corner of a photo-transferred canvas (of a picture taken at our wedding, incidentally! Recognize that lighting?).

fruits of our crafty labor

Other gifts included infinity scarves (a popular craft this year!), granola, dryer balls, a candle holder, a wreath, one of those frame earring holder things (I desperately need one), and more that I’m probably forgetting.

I’m intentionally remaining a bit silent on the gift I created, because I may have created its identical twin that still remains to be gifted. More details on that to come, however. Don’t despair.

I know I say this all the time, but I really am so blessed. I could probably not function without this group of girls and would probably decide to never emerge from my bed if they did not exist. Kenny can back me up on this–this group is my therapy for getting through life.



House Drawing (in which I realize I have the hand stability of an 80-year-old)

Since I’ve already had one Christmas celebration, I can share this gift that I gave my parents. It cost (close your ears, mom) a whole $1.50 for me to make, so it didn’t break the bank. And, in my opinion, the sentimental value of something like this is through the roof.

It all started when I was bored one evening and was browsing Pinterest.

I came across this little house portrait and was smitten by the little dog.

Picture from here. Someday I would like to have a little painting of my house like this–and I love the paintings of this artist, Rebekka Seale. Ignore the fact that I don’t yet have a house…our garden-level apartment is not something I’d like to memorialize in this way.

Anyway, this little drawing sparked some inspiration that I’d buried deep inside myself and I got to drawing.

I sketched things out very lightly with pencil that I traced with ink, and then I free handed the details like the shingles, brick, and siding.

I found out very quickly that my hand shakes like nobody’s business…let’s just call the crooked lines whimsical, shall we?

It turned out well enough in my mind to be deemed “gift-worthy.” Oh, and this is my parents’ house, the home I grew up in. Lotsa memories here.

My mother will be thrilled that I revealed our home on the internet for all the burglars and robbers and thieves to see, but since I know my readers are awfully nice, I know none of you will break in.

The next (big) task was finding a frame with the right proportions. I  thought it would be a difficult feat, but I found this gem at the first thrift store I tried.

I obviously wanted to keep it as-is and put in some pics of Kenny and I (arms entertwined), but I sacrificed for the sake of the gift and began its transformation.

I wanted some sort of mat, so I cut this one to work. Don’t look too closely… remember the hand-stability issue?

By some miraculous happenstance, the proportions of the frame were JUST RIGHT. Fwew.

I covered the wood frame in chalkboard paint and first painted the mat navy. But it wasn’t quite right.

So I tried again, and a red mat seemed to do the trick.

I gave this to my parents by way of Christmas BINGO on Thanksgiving Day, and I think they liked it. But they sort of have to, don’t they? I’m pretty sure parents are obligated to be proud of their children’s creations. 🙂

I’m sharing this at the Dare to DIY party hosted by Decor and the DogMaybe MatildaNewly Woodwards, and Two Twenty One, and I’m also linking up to Censational Girl‘s linky party!