Sweet Life Cafe Women’s Retreat Unveiling

Women's Retreat Table Decor

Our church’s women’s retreat has come and gone and it was a great time of womanly fellowship and encouragement.  As I’ve mentioned (here and here), I invited myself onto the committee as their decorator and, thankfully, they were thrilled.  I love to add the details to things and that’s just what I did.  It was me, our three pastor’s wives, and the church administrative assistant.  Each lady was so well suited in a different area and it worked out perfectly.  (Isn’t that just how God’s family works out?)

Unfortunately, I didn’t actually get a picture of the overall room, but that’s okay, because we couldn’t do much on a grand scale.  We focused on the table center pieces primarily.  Here are some of them:

Do you see that pedestal candy dish?  I made that using this tutorial I found on Pinterest!  I loved these glasses though (also from the dollar store).  So fun, easier to get your hand into, and a place for the jute to be tied on.

The coffee beans in the jar with the tea light (at the top of the post) were super fun and easy too.  I worried they would smell too strongly with 11 of them around the room, but it was only subtle.  I didn’t even notice, which is good because I don’t like the smell of coffee. 🙂  They were a Pinterest find too.

I also made these little cuties.  A pendant necklace was gifted to each of the ladies during one of the sessions, but I couldn’t let them just be tossed out on the table.  I wanted to wrap them up cute, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time or money on it.  So I just cut strips out to the right width from 8 inch scrapbook paper.  I folded them around the necklace card and tied strings from burlap (it’s nice and skinny) around them to hold them shut.  Then I made these fun stickers.  I hand wrote each of them on labels my mom found at the dollar store forever ago and colored in the coffee beans with brown Crayola marker.  I came up with 6 different “bean” phrases for them:

Just “bean” with Jesus
God has “bean” good
He’s “bean” good to me
I have “bean” redeemed

Sorry, I don’t remember the 6th one. 🙁


My last “little” touch is actually the biggest one. 🙂  I asked my husband to make me a chalkboard sign based on this inspiration pic on Pinterest.  You can’t see it great in this picture, but it turned out wonderfully and I created my first chalk sign on a large scale.  I’ll be using this more often and hopefully will get better at it with practice. ;)You can find the rest of my retreat ideas, the ones I used and the ones I didn’t, over on my Women’s Retreat Pinterest Board

I was a bit discouraged last week that I didn’t get to a lot of my ideas, but then I remembered that, this way, I can use them at future retreats and events and they will still be new.

Gathering here.

An Attempt at Chalkboards

This weekend is the long awaited and prepared for Women’s Retreat for my church.  All my coffee themed work to date was created for this retreat, as were a number of other things.  Among them are these chalkboards.

This my first attempt at lettering and doodling on a chalkboard and I got plenty of practice on them.  I wouldn’t call any of them perfect, but since they are just for the weekend, I’m not too worried about it.  They are cute just the same.

As I said, this was my first real experience with chalkboard art.  As such, I made a few rookie mistakes.  The biggest was to use chalk markers on chalkboard paint without sealing them first.  Yep, I’m pretty sure the first 5 I did are permanent.  I’ll either sand and repaint after the retreat is over or find something to do with them.  If people think they are any good, maybe they could make their way into my up and coming Etsy shop or a first ever giveaway here at my little space.

This weekend, though, these little guys will be part of the centerpieces.  I have a few others that weren’t done yet when I took these picture that will be around the room.  I’ll try to get some picture during set up tonight, but the light won’t be as nice at the hotel.

So many things left to do and we’re leaving in less than 2 hours.  Since the little ones won’t nap unless I sit with them for a bit, though, I thought I’d post these for you to wet your appetite for the rest.

Gathering here.

Watercolor Dolphin Illustration

I already mentioned that I’ve started painting something for each of my children on their birthdays.  They love it!

I did this one for my second son last summer when he turned 7.  We did a dolphin theme birthday.  They all put their paintings in the front pocket of their school binders.  It makes me smile. 🙂

I couldn’t find a picture before and the binder was missing.  Happily, the binder has been found (we can now file all his school papers from the last month plus instead of stacking them around the house), so I was able to take a couple quick pics for you. 🙂

IMG_1932And just for fun, this was his dolphin cake. 🙂  The dolphins are sugar cookies.

The Best Conversation… Hearts ~ In Watercolor


Real life has kicked in and what I said at the beginning of this whole journey is really happening.  I do this in my spare time, and these days I don’t have much.  January was great for posting because I had a lot of content from the past year plus to share.  In addition to that I had a project with a deadline I was working on and my husband was working evenings helping a friend on a house project for 10 days so I was alone at night a lot (I paint a lot more when he’s not around).

In the last 4-5 days I’ve painted hardly at all… surely not conducive to finishing projects. 🙂  That said, this project isn’t finished either, but I wanted to show you the finished part.

I love the look of conversation hearts and, in fact, have this jar of candy more as a decoration than for the kids to eat (I’ll let them start having some after Valentine’s Day… though they each had one while I had them scattered on the table for these pics).  They are just so… iconic Valentine’s.  At least from my childhood.

I’ve wanted to decorate with them for years, but I didn’t want the standard messages hanging on my wall or from a garland or on my corner table.  “BFF” and “Be mine” and “Call me” weren’t going to do.  So I came up with my own messages.

Instead I’ve god “Put on love”, “Love one another” and “Be His” among others.  I included the Scripture reference in the border and framed them in these inexpensive white Walmart frames.  (I love these!)

I had big dreams of having these finished by now and having a printable version for you to use either as wall art or handing out Valentine’s, but the other three have little problems that still need to be fixed and I just can’t justify painting when other things are going undone.  Hopefully I’ll at least have them to show you soon! 🙂 Maybe even before Valentine’s Day!

***Update 2/2/19: Click here to find printable files of these conversation hearts for framing and Valentines.

This post may be linked up at one of these gatherings!

Cupcakes – Watercolor Illustration

Cupcakes Watercolor Illustration

This illustration is more on the “sweet” side than the cafe side.  But who doesn’t like something sweet with their coffee?

Cupcakes Watercolor Illustration

It’s not the color scheme of the first set I tried to make.  I am pretty happy with the way these turned out, but I do like other colors better.  I’m sure that means I’ll be attempting cupcakes again in the future, but, for now, I am tied to a certain color scheme by the fabric (the one in these images and one other) that will be part of the centerpieces at the retreat.

Cupcakes Watercolor Illustration

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Let’s Meet Over Coffee ~God

Let's meet over coffee - Hand lettered Watercolor Illustration - invitation from God card

As I plan out the theme and decorations for the women’s retreat at our church next month, I could go way simpler!  No one would notice if there were no illustrations or if I grabbed some printables online, printed and framed them.  (In fact, the whole thing could end up looking better in the end if I did.)  But I love to do this.  Painting, that is.  And illustrating.  And frankly, sometimes I sit down to paint or draw and I come up blank (note: I was going to say “draw a blank” because I love me some puns, but I didn’t for your sake.  Your welcome!) 

(Shameless Plug: I have these over at my shop if you want one!)

So… I’ve made this my project with “Sweet Life Cafe” as my theme.  I’m going to see how many I can come up with (there are 8 tables that need center pieces).  It’s pushing me for creativity.

Let's meet over coffee - Hand lettered Watercolor Illustration - invitation from God card

This is my second creation (or my third, I guess I’m posting out of order).  It’s a 5×7 original watercolor illustration on 140 lb. cold pressed paper.  I won’t say it’s perfect, but perfect isn’t my goal.  As Shayda says, (she’s my teacher you know), if I wanted to capture this perfectly, I could snap a picture; “illustration is about representing [an] object in your own unique way.”

Let's meet over coffee - Hand lettered Watercolor Illustration - invitation from God card

This hand lettered illustration came about as I was thinking though all the “but first, coffee” signs on Pinterest.  I get that coffee is first for so many people, but I want to encourage a “Jesus first” mindset instead.  This illustration was born out of that desire and I blended the two.  If we are walking through the house blurry eyed early in the morning thinking, “but first, coffee”, then this is God’s little invitation… “Let’s meet over coffee!”

As you are savoring your morning coffee and letting it breath new energy into your morning, open God’s Word and let it breath new life into your whole day.  It can do that!

I’m trying my hand at taking more beautiful pictures of my artwork.  The quilt in the background is an unfinished one I’m making for my almost 6 year old girl. 

Awesome Life Friday
The Mom Gene

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The Scriptures are not like cake. A Bread analogy.

The Scriptures are not like cake

At the end of February, the ladies from our church will be having our Women’s Retreat.  I mentioned already that I shamelessly invited myself onto the committee and the other ladies have graciously allowed me to take on the decorations.  We’re using a box retreat from Group called Sweet Life Cafe, so I’m trying to keep my decorations with that theme, but making it all as special as possible.

One of the things I like to do when planning a party, is to put as much as possible into the little details.  I painted this little guy for one of those details.  We’ll use it with the session that talks about bread.  I saw the quote on Pinterest and knew at once I wanted to use it.  I’ll scan it into my computer and resize it for printing.  I’ll be printing one for each of the 60ish ladies attending.


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The Mom Gene

Watercolor Pecan Pie – A Birthday Gift for Dad

Chocolate Pecan Pie Illustration

My dad loves Pecan Pie with chocolate chips in it.  I painted this as a 5×7 for his birthday in October 2016.

Original illustration and hand lettering done in watercolor and ink.

Pumpkin Pie – An Illustrated Recipe

Pumpkin Pie Illustrated Recipe

Just about the time I got my “adult art supplies” (my own brushes, paints, and actual watercolor paper), Shayda Campbell taught us about illustrating recipes.  This one had me excited.

Again, it was the end of September and I had Fall on my mind.  I designed 3-4 versions before deciding on one.  Then after it was done I did another one so I could switch things up a bit.  I like different things about both of my final copies and don’t like parts of each as well, but overall, I was pleased with the project.  Still learning. 🙂

The illustration above was the second I made.  The first one didn’t scan right and was gifted to my sister before I realized it.  This one graces my mother’s house each fall, so it was easier to access.