Garden Theme Women’s Retreat Decor

My part is to make the weekend special. To make it beautiful. To make each lady feel like they’ve truly stepped into a retreat space!

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This past weekend was our church’s annual women’s retreat (thus less posting last week as we were getting things ready and this week because I’m catching up around here.)

Our theme was “Come to the Garden”… basically, a garden theme women’s retreat! I came up with the idea last year as we were setting up for that retreat. The weather was gloomy and I really wanted to be putting flowers everywhere. Poof, the garden theme women’s retreat was born!

Garden Theme Women's Retreat Decor | mamasbrush #Christianretreat #womensretreat #eventdecor #gardenthemedecor #gardentheme #cometothegarden #springdecor #farmhousespringdecor #flowerdecor #decoratingwithflowers #springcoffeebar

This actually turned into a budget friendly theme for us, decoration wise anyway. I expected to have to buy a lot of flowers to get the feel I was looking for, and that was going to be expensive. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Then I visited the decorations closet at the church (if you’re church doesn’t have one of these, it really should! I use ours all the time for party planning, retreats and other events at the church.) If you don’t have one of these rooms, ask around for ladies in the church who may have flowers or other details they don’t use anymore or are willing to share.

Garden Theme Women's Retreat Decor | mamasbrush #Christianretreat #womensretreat #eventdecor #gardenthemedecor #gardentheme #cometothegarden #springdecor #farmhousespringdecor #flowerdecor #decoratingwithflowers #springcoffeebar

Many of the flowers in these pictures are from the decoration storage closet, others are mine from home. I made some signs, like the “let us grow” sign here. The wood beads are also mine, but so easy to make in any color.

This is the downstairs space that we used mostly for gathering in the evenings. I asked a wonderful group of helpers to just sort through the totes and make it all pretty! They did a great job. I literally couldn’t have done it without them. I had just under 2 hours from the time we could get into the facility to when our program started.

I picked up some free pillows someone was getting rid of and my mom made cases for them out of the green check print. Then we covered my couch pillows with a yard or so of fabric each from my stash, and tied them on so they would be temporary.

In the middle picture you can kind of see two other signs I made. One says “herbs” and the other says “prune and grow”. I also snagged my daughter’s summer hat to add to the mix.

The bunting is something I helped my oldest daughter make several years ago for her Little House birthday. I’ve used them so many time. I think they are made from some Figtree and Co. fabric. I use them all the time for baby showers, bridal showers, etc. This year I am going to hang them in the kitchen for spring.

Garden Theme Women's Retreat Decor | mamasbrush #Christianretreat #womensretreat #eventdecor #gardenthemedecor #gardentheme #cometothegarden #springdecor #farmhousespringdecor #flowerdecor #decoratingwithflowers #springcoffeebar

There is a kitchenette downstairs in the lodge we used for the retreat this year. I love to turn it into a pretty coffee/tea/cocoa bar with pretty cups and plates and such. I always stow the coffee organizers they have out on the counter and bring my own pretty ones. This space is simple, but effective!

Behind it is this little cafe like seating area. It was so easy to place cute cloth napkins out with a bouquet of flowers on each. Again, super simple, but super effective!

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We decided this year to set up a second drink station in the upstairs room where most of our sessions were taking place. The tea collection both upstairs and down belong the head of the retreat planning committee. She loves to share and this year has all matching jars. It made me so happy! 🙂 We brought the white carafes from church to keep things pretty and light. That is a white paper table cloth with plastic backing I have on top of the pink cloth. It prevented the spilled coffee and tea from staining the pink.

That is another sign I made for the weekend too… the “but first COFFEE”. I love how it fit in with the whole look. All the signs were made using my Cricut to make vinyl stencils.

The lace looking bunting was from last year’s tea party retreat. My sweet mama made all those for me last year using this tutorial. I was thrilled to use them again. She couldn’t be with us this year but was super excited to use them used again when I sent pics.

Garden Theme Women's Retreat Decor | mamasbrush #Christianretreat #womensretreat #eventdecor #gardenthemedecor #gardentheme #cometothegarden #springdecor #farmhousespringdecor #flowerdecor #decoratingwithflowers #springcoffeebar

I tried to keep the tables simple this year. Once 8 ladies are squeezed around a 6 foot table with all their stuff, there isn’t much room in the middle. 🙂 I bought 7 of those cute flowers and garden tins from Dollar Tree and painted them white. They scratch easy (be warned) but they were super cute with the flowers in them. I decided to put these together ahead of time and bring them pre-made so that we could just put them on the tables. We used a bunch of the flowers at the church and poked them into some of the green flower foam (also in our decor closet). I use the word “we” lightly. One of the teens at church helped me out by doing all the arranging. She did a much better job than I would have in a fraction of the time. 🙂 I was thrilled she was there to help. I then scattered left over blooms and greens along the tables and placed a couple mini garden tools we had with them. Super easy!

The event turned out beautiful and had it’s intended affect. The ladies were loving the feel of the surroundings and were blessed by both the fellowship and the teaching throughout the weekend. I always say, my part of the events are far from the most important, but I enjoy showing love to the ladies who come by making their surroundings special!

If you enjoyed this garden theme women’s retreat, please pin the following image or share it on other social media!

Garden Theme Women's Retreat Decor | mamasbrush #Christianretreat #womensretreat #eventdecor #gardenthemedecor #gardentheme #cometothegarden #springdecor #farmhousespringdecor #flowerdecor #decoratingwithflowers #springcoffeebar

You can find me gathering here.

Flower Pot Note Pad

Flower Pot Note Pad | mamasbrush #notepad #flowerpot illustration #wateringcan #springnotepad #gardeningnotepad #Luke1:37

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I would be using my flower pots design for the upcoming women’s retreat. (That retreat is this weekend, by the way and the main reason I haven’t posted this week.) At the time, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and in reality, I expected to do more, but other projects took over.

In the end, I decided to make this Flower Pot Note Pad with them. It wasn’t practical to make a note pad for each of the 50-something ladies who are planning to join us, but I could include one in each of the gift baskets (pots, really) I’m putting together for the door prize. So that’s what I did.

I basically followed these direction for making the notepad, though, if I’d done it exactly this way (I did last time), it would have worked even better. One difference… I couldn’t find my padding compound. We looked everywhere I can think of. Nothing. I read somewhere that Modge Podge works too, so I tried it. (We always have lots of that around.) And it worked!

If you like my Flower Pot Note Pad, would you please pin the image below or share it on other social media!

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Extra Special Baby Shower Gift

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I’ve mentioned before here and here that I believe every baby needs a party! When a family already has children, instead of a full blown party, we set up a gift table at church and invite the church family to bring gifts to celebrate with and bless the family over a few Sundays.

This past July a sweet little baby was born, so with sunflowers as my theme, I sent out invitations and set up the table. This time I decided to try one of my inspiration pins. A cute little idea I’d seen over at one of my favorite illustrator’s. I think it turned out sweet.

Custom Baby Stats Print | mamasbrush #easybabygift #beginningwatercolor #babyshowergift #sunflowerdecor #babystats #yellow

I started by sketching everything out, added watercolor and finished it with my black art pens. Then I added the date and time, weight and length of the baby. 🙂 It makes me smile. We have a new member of our family, so I’m going to try this next one with my digital tablet soon!

If you like my sunflower baby stat print, would you mind pinning the image below or sharing it with other social media? I really appreciate your support!

Custom Baby Stats Print | mamasbrush #easybabygift #beginningwatercolor #babyshowergift #sunflowerdecor #babystats #yellow

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Floral Sketches on Periwinkle

This past week I participated, again, in the Spoonflower Design Challenge. I love these challenges because they put my art in front of a lot of people, push me to try new things artistically, and they force me to learn more about Adobe Illustrator.

This design is part of a larger project I’ve been working on, my first collection. (It is mostly done and I hope to share it in the near future.)

In the mean time, I changed the color palette to match the theme for this past week’s challenge: Very Peri.

You can find my design on Spoonflower here. And see it on products here.

Do you like my design? Please take a moment to pin this image and/or share it on social media! (Thanks!)

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Flower Pots Repeating Pattern

Flower Pots Repeating Patternn | mamasbrush #repeating pattern #gardendesign #florals #flowersketchs #wateringcans

This fall, I jumped back into designing repeating patterns, but I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought, I dabbled, I deleted. Then I decided to set it aside and work on something for the upcoming women’s retreat. The theme for it is Come to the Garden. Pots… they seemed like they would be fun to sketch on my new digital tablet. I was still (am still) learning to use my digital tablet and Adobe Illustrator, so it was a good project for me.

Flower Pots Repeating Patternn | mamasbrush #repeating pattern #gardendesign #florals #flowersketchs #wateringcans

After a couple days of dabbling, this is what I came up with. I must say, they made me happy… still do. Please understand that I get excited any time that I try to make something and it actually looks like it might be the thing I’m trying to illustrate. And if someone else can tell what I was going for… even better. 🙂 I am still an aspiring artist in my own mind.

Then I started thinking about what I could do with them. To be honest, the retreat was no longer in my mind. Instead I started visualizing a repeating pattern. (I’ll be using them to do something for the retreat in the next couple weeks.)

I added flowers and color. I moved them around a dozen ways. Before long, I had a design. After a week of voting, not only was it in my top 10 designs, it moved into the number 2 position! That was pretty exciting! You can find my design on Spoonflower here. And see it on “real” products here. (I must say, seeing this pattern on a sheet set makes my heart smile!)

If you like my design, please consider pinning the image below or sharing it on other social media!

Flower Pots Repeating Patternn | mamasbrush #repeating pattern #gardendesign #florals #flowersketchs #wateringcans

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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! 🙂

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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How to Style Patriotic Shelves for Cheap!

Today I’d like to share the patriotic shelf decor in my kitchen. Last fall my sweet husband made me these great shelves out of beams he removed from our old farmhouse fixer upper. I really LOVE them! They are American Chestnut… just beautiful! And it has been such a joy to play at decorating them for the seasons. (Check out how I styled them for Valentine’s Day.)

I styled them easily for fall and Christmas because I have a lot of decorations for those (though apparently I didn’t blog them. Sorry! I’ll try to do better this year.) But I’ve found that I don’t have much in the way of decor for the patriotic part of summer. While I’d love to go out and get everything I “need” for an amazingly decorated patriotic house, it’s just not practical. In reality, most of my house isn’t far beyond demolition and begs more for tidiness than for decoration. These shelves are a cute little space where I can bring in some seasonal fun. And I try to do it for as little money as possible.

My picks

Starting from left to right, I found that medal, lacy looking bucket at Joann Fabrics in the spring collection 50+% off during a big Easter sale this spring. I’ve had something similar on my list for a while, so I spent the last of a gift card on it. I picked white over the mint green or pink so that I can use it throughout the year and not worry about storing it. It will probably travel around the house for various seasons and holidays.

Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

The artwork in the middle is one I created this year. (Head over here to grab up your own free copy!) I’m really happy with how it brings a summery feel to the kitchen.

The little jar with flowers in it I “stole” from my mom’s stash of little jars she keeps “just ’cause they are cute and we may want them for something.” And the flowers my 11 year old grows in our garden. Whenever they get tired looking, we just pick some new ones and bring them in. The colors are perfect! Forgive the pollen around them on the shelf… we can’t see it from where we stand. Apparently the shelves need a dusting. 🙂

And that cute star is another new purchase ($3ish). Our favorite grocery store, Wegmans, is selling them this spring for the summer season. It’s melamine, which I don’t usually use, but I just bought the one for putting on my shelf. (One or two little new things each year isn’t too bad on the budget.)

Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

Negative Space is okay

I’ll admit, I was starting to fret over not having “enough” to put on my shelves. Once I brought out everything I had for the Memorial Day/ Independence Day season, I was left with a sparse feel. What I wanted was a little layering. Instead of just laying everything out in a line to fill the space, I put some things behind and others in front. And wala, I didn’t have anything on the bottom shelf. So I did one more look around my kitchen.

Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

There was that single red check napkin and a couple of little dessert bowls from my new “fancy” dish set. I put them by themselves on the bottom shelf and the negative space beside it has really grown on me. I think it gives it a clean de-cluttered feel without feeling naked or bare.

The take away

When I begin styling, I start by gathering anything I have (however little or much) that may fit the theme. For the patriotic theme, I pulled together anything in red, white and blue. Different textures, heights, and thicknesses help. You don’t have to use it all, but just seeing things together may inspire you. If something doesn’t fit, put it away again.

Begin by putting the biggest items up first, then the middle sized things, and finish out with the smaller ones. Keep moving them around until it makes you smile. Sometimes this may take a couple days of playing with it. That’s okay too.

How do you style your favorite seasonal space for summer?

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Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

Gathering here.

Ladybug Birthday Party Theme

Chalkboard Art - Ladybug Birthday Party Theme
I try to use my chalkboard for each event I do (my sweet husband built it for me!)… It’s something I am still working on, but it’s a fun touch for our birthdays. 🙂

My youngest daughter loves ladybugs (she’s 7). I am glad for her sake that they always seem to be in the house. She get so excited, carries them around, and then, begrudgingly, lets them go free when it is time.

It wasn’t hard to pick a theme for her birthday. A ladybug birthday for my little ladybug!

Tea Party Lunch - Ladybug Birthday Party Theme

She wanted a tea party like her sister (and her brother for that matter), so we made lunch into a tea party complete with flower shaped pb&j. We had pink juice int he tea cups.

The children loved getting to make the paper flower and ladybugs on the table. (pinspiration here) It may not be as cute to us moms as the pin, but the kids had so much fun and the birthday girl loved that they made them for her.

Other foods were ladybug apples, ladybug bruschetta, and ladybug cheese and crackers.

I made the cake with red “dots” inside as a surprise. There are several ways to do them. I just made mini-muffin cupcakes and shaped them with a knife. They also make sphere pans for making them, but we couldn’t find one last minute.

Ladybug Cake - Ladybug Birthday Party Theme

I followed this tutorial for making the little frosting ladybugs. I did it all with frosting instead of edible pen, but it worked too.

Ladybugs on grass Hand lettered Psalm 150:6

And I made this for her also. (I told you in that post that I’d share this party, but never did. Sorry you had to wait so long! (UPDATED: a revised version of this painting is available in my Etsy shop!)

I try to illustrate and or paint something for the kids birthdays when I have the time and inspiration. She loves this one and put it in her school binder to see everyday. Makes my mama heart smile.

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Ladybug Birthday Party Theme

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Tulip Showers Design for Fabric, Wallpaper, and Gift Wrap

Tulip Showers Fabric Design from mamasbrush

One of the reasons I enjoy participating in the Spoonflower Design Challenges, is that it pushes me to try something new. Something I might not have thought to do on my own. They give me a theme for each week. Sometimes I decide I don’t like the theme or don’t have time to participate, but when I can (and want to), I enjoy rising to the challenge.

Tulip Showers Fabric Design from mamasbrush

This week the theme is April Showers. I was already working on this concept for an up and coming bridal shower I’m working on, so it was easy to turn it into a repeating pattern for fabric, wall paper and gift wrap. It was inspired by this pin. I saw those tulips in the umbrella and I really wanted to paint them!

From there, I imagined the look of tulips “showering” down from above and the concept was born.

Voting for this design is from Thursday, April 11 – Tuesday, April 16.

Stay tuned for a bridal shower invitation along the same theme, coming up!

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Tulip Showers Fabric Design from mamasbrush

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