Simple (and cheap) Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

It’s a chocolate themed birthday party! Super inexpensive, simple and fun. The kids loved it and so did my mom (the birthday girl).

Mole Chicken - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

So, a couple weeks ago we celebrated my mom’s birthday with a chocolate theme. We often go out for dinner on her birthday, but there is chocolate in Mole sauce and she LOVES her Mole. No question… I would be cooking. (We got our all-you-can-eat sushi a few days later!)

I kept the decorations pretty simple. I spent August trying to recover and catch up from the unexpected 10 days we spent in the hospital with my daughter in July. Only now am I starting to feel we’re back to normal.

Mole Chicken - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

I made the Hershey Kisses by wrapping foil over upside down bowls of various sizes. The paper is just printer paper I cut into strips and put messages on. Are they perfect? No. But they were well received and did their job. The little ones in the next picture (on my shelves) can also use the top of a water bottle instead of a little bowl, but I forgot to keep the ones we had. If you do that, you can fill them with candy and give them as party favors too. Since it’s always just us at these parties, we didn’t need the candy or the favors. πŸ™‚

Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

The Chocolate Tuffles and Cupcake cards could have been framed, but I didn’t get to the store for the frames, so they were cute on their own. My mom has since framed them and hung them in her chocolate themed bathroom. They doubled as gifts.

The chalkboard frame is just a cheap white frame (my go to frame for all my artwork because of it’s simplicity) from Walmart with a black sheet of paper in it. I used a white water based paint pen to do the illustration of a mug and hand lettered “just add chocolate and cream please” on the side. I love that frame! Silly that it took me so long to pull it together!

Chalkboard - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

As you know if you’ve been around for a while, I decorate my large (husband made) chalkboard for birthdays and events too. Everyone has come to look forward to it and uses it to help determine the theme for the day when I keep it a secret. This one says “birthday wishes and chocolate kisses.”

Brownie Cake - Chocolate Theme Birthday Party

This brownie cake on the back of a Ghirardelli Brownie box mix was the inspiration for the theme. This past spring, my mom saw the picture of that Ombre Brownie Cake on the box and declared that she wanted to try that. I decided that day that we would do it for her birthday.

I’ve never made ganache before and as you can see, my cake doesn’t look exactly like the picture. It was a good first run though, and I hope to do it again because it was yummy!

Note: Not all (or any) of your plans have to work out just right. The person or people you are celebrating will still feel loved that you tried to make their day a big deal! Don’t let fear of failure (or failure itself in my case so often) keep you from going all out!

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Cheap and Easy Chocolate Birthday Party

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Ladybug Birthday Party
A Jolly Holiday – A Mary Poppins Birthday
Ice Cream Parlor Birthday Party

When Thank You Just Isn’t Enough – Watercolor Thank You Notes

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Sometimes thank you just doesn’t seem like enough. Like when you end up at the children’s hospital with your 11 year old daughter and God pours out blessing upon blessing, mercy upon mercy through the whole thing.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Or when you arrive to the Intermediate Care Unit and walk off the elevator with the paramedic to see your pastor and his family sitting in the waiting room, waiting for you.

And when they grab McDonalds for you at 9 at night because you haven’t eaten since lunch.

Or when that same pastor leaves church right after preaching to be with you while your little girl is in surgery a couple days later.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Or when a dozen or more people come together throughout the week to provide child care for the littles at home.

Or for friends who came at a moment’s notice to care for your other children so that you can go be with your girl in the ER asking for her mama. And to get you there so you don’t have to drive.

Other friends who drop everything to drive 2 hours and stay with those 5 children all weekend.

A mama of 5 of her own increases that brood to 10 to bring your children into her home for a couple nights.

Or another who gives up Hershey Park tickets to be with them the night after that.

Grandparents who come from far away to take the rest of the week.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Or when cards and money are collected at the office to help encourage and provide for gas and meals during your stay.

Or when someone from work brings his wife and a Chic-fil-a dinner to the hospital to visit and encourage you, while your daughter sleeps strait through it.

Or when the gifts start piling in for your girl to make her smile and distract her from pain and sickness. And a gift for her is like a gift for you.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Or when the Child Life staff at the hospital brings clay to distract her while they change the dressing on her chest tube, or brings a new game to play while they put in a new IV.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Or when new friends stop in to feed the chickens each morning on their way to work when there isn’t anyone at home.

Or when old friends take baskets of laundry home to wash and return.

Or when lady after wonderful lady bring meals for the kids and their caretakers.

Or when someone at church videos your son in the VBS drama everyday because you can’t be there to see it yourself.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

And when hundreds of people pray earnestly for you and your family, keeping up to date and spreading the word!

After 4 very sick days at home, an urgent care visit, diagnosis of pneumonia, antibiotics, dehydration, and a visit to the ER for fluids, my 11 year old daughter was admitted to the children’s hospital not too far from home. A day and a half later she was continuing to worsen, though they had already changed her antibiotics. A chest tube released a lot of fluid that was building up around her lung (6 cups by weeks end). Finally the antibiotics could do their work.

We spent 9 days in the Acute Care Unit (after 1 in the Intermediate Care Unit) before we were able to take her home to finish her healing. It was a long 10 days away from the rest of the children and our home, but God cared for us and our children every step of the way. We maintained a peace that only comes from God in these circumstances (Philippians 4:6-7) and, though she was very sick and everything going on was super crazy, we never felt like it was out of control. Of course it was in God’s control the whole time.

Watercolor Thank You Cards

Certainly thank you just isn’t enough, but I wanted to paint some special cards for some of the people who were extra blessings during this time (in addition to one that went out to the whole church and others that we sent out various other ways.

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Watercolor Scripture Cards
Easy Watercolor Cards YOU Can Paint
The Perfect Verse for Newlyweds

Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint

I painted these cards for a party we attended this weekend for a graduate in our church. I sat down Friday night with no inspiration of what I wanted to make. What I ended up with an hour later was easy watercolor flowers YOU can paint. I didn’t start out to make a tutorial (the party was the next day), so I don’t have pictures to share of the process, but I want to talk you through what I did, because these really are Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint!

I painted this whole thing without a pencil drawing. This makes it easier for me because I don’t have to worry about getting the petals just right when the time comes.

Getting Started

The first thing I did was to paint yellow dots where I wanted my flowers. If you are making a greeting or verse card, give some thought to where you want your flowers, if you are practicing, just put them anywhere. They would be cute in a semi-strait line across the middle of your work space. Remember to leave space between the centers for the petals for each flower.

Let the yellow paint dry.

Adding Petals

When the centers are dry, you can begin to paint the petals. I chose a color palate ahead of time and thought through where I wanted them. I begin by painting the outline of the petals where I want them, sometimes 4 petals, sometimes 5. You can do what you like.

If the petals aren’t exactly the right size or shape, just add more paint and change them a bit (this is why I like painting with pencilwork first.) When I am filling in the color on the petals, I try to leave white spaces for a little textural interest.

Stems

While allowing the petals to dry I worked on the stems and leaves of this card. I am careful to leave a little gap between the still trying flower and the green of the stem, otherwise the colors will bleed together. I simply used the very tip of one of my size 7,8, or 9 brushes (though you could use a smaller one if you are more comfortable with it.)

I dragged the tip downward from the flower to the bottom of the card. Be careful to draw an imaginary line from the center of your flower through the petals so your stem placement is realistic. Go back and add paint to make it darker, or more water for thicker stems as needed.

Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint -- My Creative Process at mamasbrush.wordpress.com

Leaves

I first added leaves to the stemmed flowers because they are further removed from the wet paint of the petals. I chose a very traditional leaf shape and deliberately left them running off the edge of the paper and behind a nearby flower (though you need to make sure the flower it touches is dry first).

Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint -- My Creative Process at mamasbrush.wordpress.com

For the leaves on this card, I waited for the petals to dry and added leaves coming from behind the petals. Do you see the faint leaf behind the others on the purple flower on the left? That was the original leaf for that flower and it was way too big. I added a bunch of water and tried lifting the already dry paint with a paper towel, but it didn’t lift all of it. I was a little disappointed that I’d ruined the card, but I moved ahead and added the smaller leaves instead, just for practice.

Fixing “Mistakes”

I set it aside to dry while I worked on other details, and while was working I had an idea. I decided to paint very faint large leaves all over the background of the card. I painted with a lot of water, let it sit a moment or two, then dabbed it up with paper towel. Not only was the card not ruined, it was the one I decided to use for the graduation party. When you find that you’ve made a mistake of your own, set it aside for a bit and see if you can brainstorm a way to make it part of your design. You may just like it better than your intended design! πŸ™‚

Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint -- My Creative Process at mamasbrush.wordpress.com

Another layer of color

When everything was dry, I went back in and added another layer of color to each of the elements. For some of the flowers I went around the edges with a darker color (see the purple flower on the bottom card). For others I made streaks of darker color coming out from the middle (the purple flower on the top card. For others still, I gave an extra layer of color on half of each petal. For the leaves, I added another layer (or two) of green on one half of the leaf. There are so many ways to do this, just experiment and see what you like!

Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint -- My Creative Process at mamasbrush.wordpress.com

Finishing Touches

This is when I add my pen work. I usually do this the next day, since I do most of my painting late at night. The trick is to make sure your painting is completely dry! For the leaves I think a pointed version of a spiral is fun. For the petals, I trace each one twice, sometimes staying right on top of the first line, other times leaving a gap all around or even just on the end. I think this makes it look like the petals are curved around on the ends. I add some squiggly lines at the base of each petal and a spiral at the center.

My goal for these finishing touches was to make the painting cute and whimsical. If I wanted them to look a little closer to realistic, I may have used dots in the centers and simple vein like lines on the leaves. Go with what you like and have fun! Shayda Campbell once said, if I want it to look exactly right, take a picture. Painting is about giving it your own creative interpretation.

When all was said and done I added the verses I had in mind and the border. Since I was short on time, I just did a simple lettering and added the verse reference into the border as I like to do. I think it worked though. The flowers dressed it up enough and the lettering style didn’t distract from the painting or the message.

So will you try it??

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My Creative Process: Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17

Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

The other night, I had what I thought was just 15 minutes available to paint while my husband stayed back to get the kids to sleep. Usually with that much time available, I wouldn’t bother to take everything out, but I really wanted to paint! It had been a couple days since I’d had time, so I decided to see how much I could get done in 15 minutes. Could I create something worth while in that much time?

Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

As it turns out, I had more like 30 minutes, so it was definitely worth it. I was able to get all the paint laid down for this daffodil! I started it without a sketch. When all you have is 15-30 minutes and no projects in the works, there isn’t time to sketch (okay, there could be, but I didn’t take the time).

It was fun! I started by laying down a light yellow in a daffodil shape. I messed it up, so I made it bigger. πŸ™‚ Problem solved. Now the top petal was cut off, so in the end, when trimming it to size, I decided to trim the side petal too. I like the way it turned out.

Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

Next I dabbed some orange on to the wet paint (that is called a wet on wet technique) and it crawled around wherever it wanted to go. I picked up the paper and tilted it here and there to encourage it to go where I wanted, but it doesn’t have to play by my rules.

Once it was dry I added the green stem and leaves (so the color wouldn’t bleed where they touch).

The next day, I added all the pen work and lettering.

Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

My favorite part is the lettering. From the beginning I pictured the words of the verse following the shape of the flower and I really like the way it turned out.

I choose 2 Corinthians 5:17 from my list of memorized verses on Bible Memory (our family’s favorite way to memorize and meditate on Scripture! Free for the first 50 verses and well worth the trial. It makes learning and practicing Bible verses easy and fun!) (That was not a paid plug… we just really love them!)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

I thought it was a beautiful verse for spring, with all the new life around us. Truly, the old of the world died back over winter, and now the new creation is springing up all around us! And just the same way, when we choose to repent of our sins and follow Jesus, we are new creations in Him, our old selves dead and left behind us! Thank you Father for making me new!

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Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

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Empty Tomb Watercolor Card for Easter – Hand Lettered Matthew 28:6

Update March 2022: An updated version of this artwork is available on my Etsy Shop for instant download.

Empty Tomb Watercolor Card for Easter - Hand Lettered Matthew 28:6

Last year I shared an empty tomb illustration from my art journal, but I was wanting to do something like it again. This time, I selected Matthew 28:6, “He is not here, for he is risen!”

Empty Tomb Watercolor Card for Easter - Hand Lettered Matthew 28:6

I wanted to add some color this time, so you’ve got grass and a flower. When the bunny idea hopped (see what I did there?) into my head, I just couldn’t help myself. I love that it looks like he’s bending his head over to see inside. It’s exactly what I envisioned. That doesn’t happen very often. πŸ™‚

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Empty Tomb Watercolor Card for Easter - Hand Lettered Matthew 28:6

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Cute Bunny Rabbit Popping Up Card in Watercolor

Cute Bunny Rabbit Popping Up Card in Watercolor

The other night when I was putting my kids to bed, I asked them what I should paint. “Bunnies” was the overwhelming answer. This cute little guy is one of the pieces I created that night. (The other one’s still to come.)

It all started with a 4×6 inch scrap of watercolor paper. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with it, so I put the frame on first. I don’t usually do this. It’s usually the last thing I do. So there I was with an empty frame.

Cute Bunny Rabbit Popping Up Card in Watercolor

I did some sketching on my graph paper (my big “secret” for starting most projects), until I knew what I wanted to do. When I found my idea, I lightly sketched it freehand onto the watercolor paper and traced it over with my black artist pen. I gave it a few minute to dry completely before erasing the pencil marks and then started with the watercolor paint. (Make sure your pen is waterproof before you add watercolor!) I picked only two colors for a simple look. Pink for the ears and nose. Blue for the background “sky”.

Super happy with the way it turned out. Give it a try. The shape of the head doesn’t matter. It can be an oval, circle, triangle with rounded corners… I’ve done all kinds. Give it a try. The ears make rabbits iconic. Make up your own version and give it your own style. Then leave me a link so I can see yours! Or head over to link up your pic on my pin so we can see that you “tried it”.

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Cute Bunny Rabbit Popping Up Card in Watercolor

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Jesus, Our Kinsman Redeemer and Firm Foundation – Art Print

This week is the women’s retreat I am helping plan for our church ladies. This year it is focusing on the book of Ruth, with a general theme of a “Cozy Mountain Lodge”. I decided I wanted to illustrate a cabin (like one of the crafts that came with the Retreat Package) with some of the lesson themes woven in. This is what I came up with.

Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer Cabin Illustration

It is such a great word picture. Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer, sheltering and protecting us like the roof. And as our Firm Foundation, someone we can trust and stand on.

Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer Cabin Illustration

And, you may have noticed, I just love to make my smoke and steam the same way most of the time. It has a fun, whimsical feel I think.

This will be framed, like the other art pieces I designed for the retreat, and set around for decorations. Then I’ll give them away as part of our door prize drawing.

Updated 9/2023: This print is available β€œremastered” , customizable for your favorite Bible versions, in my shop! Come on over and have a look!

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Save the Date Coffee Cups

Last year I shared this cute prototype for a save the date card we used for our cafe themed women’s retreat. Well, I just wanted to let you know that I have updated that post with all the templates I created and used to make it. I also included some tips to make your project even easier!

These would be great for save the date or invitations for cafe themed parties, retreats or weddings. You could also use this for thank you notes or even just a note of encouragement if you change the tag.

Click over to read the post and download the template files for your own.

If you use it, I’d love to see a pic. Just leave me a link so I can see!

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Conversation Hearts with Bible Truth for Valentine’s Day

It’s a message that everyone needs to hear! That God is love, that Jesus loves you, and that we are to love one another.

Christian Conversation Hearts with Scripture | mamasbrush designs

Valentine’s Day is either looked forward to or dreaded by most. Good relationship with lots of romantic feelings? Good day. Not in a relationship, hurt by someone, alone? Worst day ever.

But it occurred to me a a number of years ago, when I was trying to decide what I wanted to teach my children about this day, that it can be one more opportunity to point them to Jesus.

Christian Conversation Hearts with Scripture | mamasbrush designs

And so when I started painting a couple years ago, I created these sweet (lol… see what I did there?) little cards, a set of six, that I have framed to display in my home. I don’t know yet where I’ll put them this year (our home is ever being renovated, so each year my set up is different), but that’s not really the question you need to ask yourself. The question you need to ask is where will YOU put them?

I made them smaller for giving out too! The kids at school or church? Perfect! A way to encourage others or tell them about Jesus! I love to put a little Valentine on the breakfast plate for each of my kids on Valentine’s Day. It’s a great start to our homeschool day!

Christian Conversation Hearts with Scripture | mamasbrush designs

UPDATE: As of 2022, I’ve started an Etsy shop. I’ve updated these cards a bit and cleaned them up. They are available now! Click over for clipart, prints, and cards!

***Also: More Valentine Printables here and here!

Speaking of spreading the message, will you help me? I haven’t found much of this sort of Valentine decor and cards around and I’d like as many people as possible to have access to them. Would you please share this post on social media? Pin it, tweet it, post it somewhere. Do it yourself or click on the share it buttons at the bottom of the post. I’d really appreciate it!

And if you print anything for yourself? Please leave me a comment! I’d love to know what you plan to do with them! πŸ™‚

Christian Conversation Hearts with Scripture | mamasbrush designs
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Go forth and share the message of God’s love with those around you!

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Snowman Valentines

With February upon us at last, I’d like to share some of my fun Valentine-y goodness. Last year I shared these little cuties with you. I still just love them!

That cute cuddling couple! Something about cold, icy, snow people cuddling makes me smile still.

And that snow-mama with her little snow-baby. Melts my heart! (pun intended!)

I hope you like them as much as I do… and (Updated 12/2023), just in case you do, I’m making them available in my shop! You can find the “snow mama” card and a new snow mama design now.

And, surprise!!! They are now customizable with Canva! Click through to find out how that works, but you can change the text to suit you and your family!

I’m hoping to have the “Snow Couple” cards done before the end of the year! I’ll update this post when they are done, but if you want to keep an eye out, click over to my shop and hit the “follow shop” button at the top. You’ll see in your “updates” section when they are listed!

If you aren’t ready for it now, pin it for later… and while you are at it, follow me on Pinterest to find all sorts of great inspiration!

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