Easy Christmas Light Canvas

To my friends who wanted step by step directions on making this super simple Christmas canvas…

Here are the supplies you will need.

16×20 in. white canvas

(available at Michael’s and other craft stores)

string of Christmas lights

( I used a 50 mini light string. you could try 100 count but it may be ALOT of lights! 🙂

Xacto pen, utility knife, skewer, or sharp knife

(to poke a small hole)

Silver Sharpie

Hot glue gun and glue


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The first step is to decide on a word you love. You can put it anywhere on the canvas. Center, off center, top, bottom, left, right..you get the idea 🙂

I have seen this done by using a lovely scripted word sticker. If you don’t feel steady in the hand today or have a lovely word on a sticker, you can always pop it on.

If you are free handing your letters, it may work best to start in the middle of the canvas with the middle letter(s) so it is spaced evenly. Be sure to use a pencil for the first script so you can make adjustments.

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Finish out the word until you have it like you like it.

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Now comes the fun with your silver sharpie.

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be creative and add your own personal flair. There are so many fonts you can choose from!

Now flip the canvas around, hold it up to the light, and do a light, rough trace of the letters so you know where NOT to place your lights.

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Now you are ready for your light placement. Try to stay away from ruining the script.

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This part is a bit awkward so do it how you like, but this is the best way I found. Start up in the corner with your string of lights. Make sure your ‘plug in’ end will be at the bottom of the canvas. (Unless you want it elsewhere:) Make a small dot with your pencil in the upper corner where you will place your first light. Take your next light and place it a comfy distance from your first. Do not stretch the string of lights, or it will not fit nicely in the canvas. Jot a number at each hole so you can easily place your lights in the same hole later without trying to remember which order they fit best in.

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Stagger the lights instead of going in straight rows to get a more creative look. I put some of mine in the middle of the lettering and also as close to the edge as possible to give it more ‘light coverage’.

After you have worked your way to the bottom,, take your SHARP and poke a little hole in each pencil dot.

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You should have 50 holes. Now flip the canvas around  and draw a snowflake over each hole with your silver Sharpie.

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No two snow flakes are alike, you know 🙂

Now you are ready to poke a light through each hole. If you numbered your dots this part will go much faster 🙂 Push each light through it’s hole. It should look something like this when you are done.

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I like to use my hot glue gun and glue each light into place so it doesn’t pull on the canvas, and it STAYS where it should. I had no problem with my glue melting later when I turned the lights on, just in case you wondered…like me 🙂

And here you’ve got the front…

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and lit up…

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and up close 🙂

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Happy crafting!

This was one of my favorite projects. EVER!!! 🙂

I’d love to see a photo of yours!


Our Indoor Hammock

Need some entertainment for your children these winter days?


Kobe is so thrilled with his new swing! 🙂 The best part is that it is also a hammock…a toy sling and any other imaginable thing a two year old makes of it.

Kierra uses it for her rock a bye comfort. I add a folded blanket for her head so she is more comfy. She didn’t just totally fall in love yet, with all her bellyaching, but it’s still a fun thing to do with her.

It’s as simple as knotting two bed sheets together (or maybe a king size knotted by himself) and there you got it…a wonderful indoor swing to beat this January freeze. Oh, and did I mention that it’s portable? 🙂
Kierra had one wonderful day this past week. She was relaxed and comfy and all into sitting in her Kid Cart with the new tray and the pummel for between her knees. We are loving the tray, since it brings things right to her level. The pummel works wonderful in helping her not do her ‘scootchy’ down thing anymore!
Kobe got up on her level too and they played with playdough for a long time.

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Isn’t that just such a typical boy! 🙂 And look at her ‘yuck’ face. I LOVE this picture! It’s so rare to catch her expressions like this…they are so fleeting and brief. When they pop out, I just smile to see the little girl breaking through!

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She’s still struggling with lots of gas pains and air bubbles in her tummy, which still causes bouts of reflux. Thankfully, it’s not as constant as it was, but we are still praying for more relief for her. Any suggestions?

Kobe and I went to church yesterday for the first time in weeks. Steve stayed home and kept Kierra comfy. I was so refreshed in going! One of the verses from Habakkuk the speaker read stuck with me…

…”Look and be amazed!

I am doing something in your own day.

Something you wouldn’t believe

even if someone told you about it.”

Isn’t that just wonderful and amazing! (and scary if we wouldn’t have God) God’s got some big plans for your life, no matter how small you feel, or how many things in your life don’t make sense right now.

‘It’s so good to know the Maker of our hearts!’


Terra Cotta Christmas Crafting

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The Christmas countdown has begun.

I am having a very hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. This makes me sad. Maybe all these weird confusing swirling emotions that I can’t really place my finger on  will gradually settle to rest like the ending of the blizzard winds.  If I keep hoping and looking for cheer and gladness; if I keep believing;  the gift of our Saviour’s  love WILL grace my life.

I want to enjoy the moment and live with happiness in my heart and a clear view of God’s blessing in our  life.

We don’t have a nativity scene and I really wanted one to tell my kids the Christmas Story. Lucky for me, Pintrest was just a few clicks away. Easier then a bundle up and shopping trip. I bet it’s quite a bit cheaper too 🙂

I had chanced upon a whole box of terra cotta pots one summer in MT at a yard sale and bought them with happy thoughts of painting them into adorable creations. Now I had the perfect plan for them!

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A cardboard box, (one of many of Kierra’s empty formula boxes:) scraps of fabric, crafter’s paint, extra Christmas ornaments, and of course the glue and bits of string and ribbon.

My glue gave me awful issues. I ran out of hot glue immediately. So I used a bit of crazy glue (and still have remains on my finger 🙂 then I switched to elmer’s glue.  I  painted it in a thin layer with a paint brush since I really, really wanted this thing to hold together! lol

Joseph got a blue coat, Mary a yellow coat, and baby Jesus a kingly purple coat.

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I used a cotton ball for the baby’s head 🙂 We bundled them up warmly, and added white angels with musical fabric and ribbons for halos. Then we made them a little camo cave, and added dry beans for a walkway and a ‘fireplace’ 🙂 We’ll see how long it goes until Kobe has all of them picked off. I painted a path of glue on the fabric to make the beans stick. They are just a bit too tempting for him to peel off and feed to the ‘horsh’ and the ‘baa baa’ 🙂

So here’s our little table top nativity scene.

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Perfect for little fingers to play with.

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I found one more cute use for the terra pots .

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They add some wonderful color to our house! I used a long wooden skewer to stack the ornaments on. The skewers had a pine cone on one end from a previous life,  which actually made it easier for me. I have seen this done with knitting needles as well, but since I don’t have the slightest clue how to knit, there was none floating around my stash of hoarded odd things.

I think I need to go mix up a batch of Christmas Sugar cookies since our ‘all -day- waited -for -snow’ has began to fall.

Yesterday, I had Kierra to the doctor with a few minor concerns. He thought she may have a pneumonia type infection beginning and also noticed she had  considerably more  fluid retention then a few weeks ago, so we plan to stay snug and warm at  home and hope the medication and our loving Father brings relief for her. Thankfully, she doesn’t feel bad today.

Stay warm and blessed this weekend!

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The Festive Scarecrow

We needed some autumn colors in our house. Some country mood. Some crafty project. So we broke out the crate of scrap paper from behind the bed. (it’s no wonder it kinda collects dust bunnies since it’s a stand on your head, stretch your ribs, blood rush to your face kind of  dive to haul it out!)

I had seen an idea to create your own scarecrows with old Pringles cans on a web sight recently. Since I didn’t have the patience to go find it again, I gathered supplies we had in our house and relied on my memory and imagination. We spread out on the living room floor under the furiously whirling ceiling fan and picked out bright sheets of paper. I love doing crafts with my kids, but their attention span seems a nanosecond. Maybe that’s a slight stretch since a nanosecond is actually only 1 billionth of a second, but you get the idea… sometimes it feels that way!


Out of the tearing paper and ‘It’s OK, Kierra, just relax.’ and the ‘Kobe! Do not play with glue’…

These little guys emerged. I was slapping them together at the end, so I’m sure if you have creative kids and more time and concentration, yours could evolve quite a bit more handsomely 🙂

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1. Use an empty Pringles can for the body. (we used an empty powered drink tube)

2. Cut paper (or fabric) into strips and glue around the can to create the body.

3. Use burlap fabric scraps or torn paper scraps to patch the clothes.

4. Add a mouth, nose, and eyes.

5. Add suspenders or buttons or both.

6. Crumple a wad of paper and tape it to the lid of the can.

7. Cut a big round circle of paper (or felt or burlap) for the hat.

8. Cover the lid (including the paper wad 🙂 with the round paper and secure it with a piece of string. Trim off any excess hat paper and turn up the edges a bit to create a brim.

9. Use long strips of paper for the arms. Fold a small tab over on one end of the strip. Glue it to the side of the body. Then let the ‘arm’ hang down over the tab. I put a few folds in one guy’s arm to add some wiggle.

Enjoy your festive scarecrows! 🙂

Hint: (I’d love to see what your kids create 🙂



Burlap Placemats

Golden Miss Summer is slipping away and rustic Autumn is ushered in with pumpkins and sheaves of drying corn dotting the countryside.

It seems the perfect time to break out the burlap and do a little crafting for the local benefit auction to support the Clinic For Special Children. They have done so much for us and Kierra. It was the tiniest way I could show my appreciation.

I know..burlap has been around for ‘forever’ but I seriously hadn’t gotten into the wonders of it until I tried this. Now I’m hooked 🙂



This is the finished project. It’s one of the most fun simple projects I have ever done. 

I made my place mats about 16×19 in. There’s the coolest little trick to getting a nice straight edge without having your eyes go batty.

Measure your desired size of burlap. make a small snip at all four corners. Then pick a strand of burlap and pull gently and firmly. The fabric will gather as you pull. As long as the opposite end of your string of burlap is free from the large piece of fabric, it should pull all the way out.



Now you will have this….A nice straight gap down the burlap to cut through.






Cut down the middle, and remove extra burlap threads to create a nice rustic fringe. If you remove the same amount on all sides you will keep your symmetrical shape.



I used fabric paint for the letters, but I’m guessing acrylic paint would work as well. I was planning to sell these, so I wanted something that would not wash or smudge off. I picked up a big bag of foam letters at a yardsale this summer and have been dying to try to make my own stamps with them. It worked great! Especially after I realized you have to create them all backwards so your wording comes out frontwards on your project 🙂




And before I forget I need to show you how my little guy was driving me happily crazy while I did this project (i’ll mark  the low quality photography up to him too since I had to hurry. LOL!!!)



Thankfully his paints were very washable 🙂 He painted his high chair, his ear, and his hair. I let him to his own creations 🙂 until he informed me that he was “DONE paint” Love him so much 🙂

I zig zagged the edges of the burlap with my sewing machine since I planned to sell them and didn’t want them to fray uncontrollably for folks. I think it would be fine to leave them raw for myself 🙂

Then I pressed them with a dry hot iron with parchment paper covering the lettering and burlap. That helped set the lettering, and smoothed out the wrinkles.



Just for fun i made coffee mug coasters to go with them.



I get all excited just thinking of all the fun things to do with this cool stuff:) 

*monogrammed burlap

*foody words

*Christmas joy lettering

*kids drawings turned into stamps or

* kids hand painting pictures or

*kids hand prints 

*personalized place settings

*party memories (with sharpie markers)
talk bout wide open possibilities!
Happy Autumn to you! 
And just to give you an idea of the vastness and wonderfulness of the auction…
There were 7 auctioneers going at one time in the afternoon. Everything was donated. Including minibarn sheds, rabbit hutches, 70 quilts, wall hangings, tons of crafts and household items, farm and outdoor items, flowers, lawn furniture, park benches, swingsets, and food beyond imagination 🙂 salad bar, bbq chicken, pizza, soft pretzels, icecream, chili fries, bbq sandwiches, pies galore, doughnuts, vegetable trays and dip, fresh fruit cups, smoothies, coffee drinks, root beer floats,whoopie pies, and I’m not sure what all else i missed. Oh yes!  breakfast. Scrambled eggs and pancakes, sausage links, fried potatoes, omelets, and toast.
   It was totally amazing and overwhelming at the support and vast amounts of money and people that came out to make this day happen. These auctions are what help keep the Clinic running. They sold a special wooden bowl for $27,000 with all proceeds going to starting a new clinic in Big Valley. Also, a model tractor that actually runs and is the one in America that they know of. It brought around $20,000, I think. 
this was only part of the crowd 🙂
We are so thankful for the support that makes it possible for the kind, knowledgeable and compassionate care Kierra has received! I think the thing that really makes a difference is how Dr. Strauss and Dr. Mortan care about each individual patient as a real person! You can’t beat that:)

The Marvelous Diaper

Today was Kobe’s 18 month appointment with the Dr. I was in a big rush as I grabbed him, his drink, my bag, a huge pillow for the laundromat, soap for the pillow, water for me. I headed out the door with a quick goodbye to my husband who was so kindly watching Kierra for me.

It wasn’t until we were in the waiting room, looking at Dr. Suess and waiting for the nurse’s call that I smelled that suspicious scent.  I heard the little grunt and watched the face scrunch up and I reached for my bag and Kobe’s hand to head off for a diaper change. We entered the small cold floored bathroom with  portable handicap rails around the toilet and glanced around. There was no changing station. And at the same time, I realized there was no pamper in my bag. I had my small bag today since it was just Kobe and I, but even then, I searched it nearly four times, before I convinced myself that I could not make a diaper appear.

So we cheerfully headed out to the van. I remembered putting a stash under the seat just the other week. Just our luck! Under the seat was empty. There was no pamper in the glove compartment or under the other seat or in Kierra’s chair or floating around among the stuff behind the passenger seat.

So we hopefully headed back to the office, and I tried to act charming and OK as I asked the nurse if they would by any possibility have a pamper on hand.

This is a Family Doctor’s office and I have personally only seen 3 people under 50 yr. there as patients I believe.

She searched here and there and I heard the word ‘nappy’ and tried to recall if they actually used to call pampers by that name.

No luck.

We had waited nearly half an hour now, and no way was I about to lose my slot in line by running to the grocery store for a PAMPER!!

So we headed back to the bathroom, and I began undressing Kobe without a very good idea of what to do next.(besides getting rid of that awful odor!)  The only usable items I could find in the bathroom were white stiff prefolded paper towels and plastic trash bags. So I grabbed a stack of towels, folded them around him like a diaper, and quickly pulled his shorts up for rubber pants. Only they weren’t rubber. So We took a big black trashbag and returned to the waiting room and he sat nicely on my lap and browsed my Kindle as we waited some more. This might just work! I thought. (Thank God for Kindles!)

Eventially, we made it back to the room, and the nurse chuckled abit and began taking down general information as Kobe peed  through the stack of paper towels, through his shorts, down his legs, and off of the trash bag.

She suggested that I use one of those blue water proof disposable pads that you find on scales and changing tables in Doctor’s offices. So I gratefully accepted one and was stuck with the problem of HOW to keep it ON!!!???

Maybe growing up on a farm and watching my Dad improvise was in my favor. If i pulled hard enough and Kobe held still long enough, I could tie the two ends together on each side into a sort of knot.

It was actually kinda cute…minus the fact that it wasn’t very tight or leak proof! But it sure beat holding my breath at every turn and standing ready with a trash bag!

An hour and a half later, we exited the building. leaving behind 3 or 4? wetted pads, a peed on carpet (shhh! don’t tell! i seriously TRIED to clean it up with hand sanitizer and paper towels! i promise!). We took some souvenirs with us-  my peed on skirt, and Kobe’s peed shorts, (safely tucked in my now empty wipe container) .

I was THRILLED to get home!!! And Kobe was so worn out, he was off in LaLa Land and didn’t even mind when I put a proper diaper on him!


Amazing how you improvise! And to think that thousands of children have no ‘nappy’ ..

Tonight I am thankful for diapers!


Modern Art and Fingerpaints

We had so much fun the other day! I found a simple recipe for water color paint that Kobe quickly turned into finger paint. We simply mixed these ingredients together, and spread out the layers of newspaper and nice heavy acrylic painting paper…


3 tsp. corn syrup

6 T. cornstarch

6 T. baking soda

6 T. white vinegar

food coloring.

I mixed all the ingredients together, then divided it into muffin tins before adding the foods coloring. I was afraid the food coloring would stain the kids, but it washed off very well. This makes quite a bit of paint. I think I will stick with half batch next time!

ImageKobe was totally thrilled to be shirtless and artsy. Before i knew it, he was diggin in with his hands, watching the drips…

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ImageI helped Kierra paint her masterpiece. She loved it..for a bit:)

ImageThen Kobe got to slinging paint and sampling it..and spitting 🙂


ImageSo we wrapped up our fun little time, dumped the muddied paint colors down the drain, and headed for the shower.

Super simple. Super fun.

(they  made their own Mother’s Day gift without even realizing it:)