Simple Wine or Vinyard Theme Birthday Party or Event

Chalkboard art - Wine Theme Birthday Party for Daddy

We plan parties in our family. Events. Each of the children gets a detailed theme for their birthday each year and each year is special, though some are simpler than others. Even my mom and my sister get a full theme for their days. Daddy, however, rarely gets a full thematic party. Frankly, he doesn’t care, so often I let the busyness of the impending Women’s Retreat (check out our Cozy Mountain Lodge and Sweet Life Cafe Retreats) and two approaching kid birthdays take my energy away from him. This year, however, we had a Wine Theme Birthday for Daddy.

It was simple. Super simple! But the important thing was that the kids and I set aside some time to honor Daddy by making him a party.

I decorated the chalkboard. Note the spelling of “Whinery”. A detail not lost on Daddy, I assure you. We should probably rename our property from Claystone Family Farm to “Whiney Vinyards” or something. But I digress.

I served one of his favorite dinners and the kids drank juice out of stemmed glasses.

The touches were so simple and took very little extra time, but it was fun to dress up Daddy’s birthday a little.

Gathering here.

Mountain Lodge Theme Hand Lettered Artwork

Updated 9/2023: I created these Mountain Lodge prints several years ago for our church’s “Cozy Mountain Lodge” women’s retreat. I used them in the centerpieces and gave them away at the end of the event via raffle. This last week I’ve had the opportunity to update them. I’ve learned much over the years about how to digitize my artwork and have some fancier software as well. It was time to “remaster” the original prints and, while I was at it, I made it possible to customize the verses to use your preferred version.

I’m so excited to be able to do this. Version differences, not to mention copyright limitations, have made it difficult to make and share artwork with Bible verses on them. I’m excited to see where this will lead, but for now these Mountain Lodge Prints are available in my shop! Use them at home, as a gift or for church events and activities. I used them as event decor; another lady is using them as a retreat craft. How will you use them?

Gathering here.

Cozy Mountain Lodge Art

God's Got This - Hand Lettered Artwork - Joshua 1:9

Last year I invited myself onto the women’s retreat planning committee and appointed myself the decorating coordinator. (Then I appointed my mom as my helper, but that is another story for another day.) Last year our theme was “Sweet Life Cafe” with all it’s sweets and coffee loveliness. I had fun painting and hand lettering all sorts of fun cafe themed artwork.

This year, the leadership for the retreat changed and it was even easier for me to force my way into the best committee role there is. I’m so glad that all the other ladies have adverse reactions the idea of decorating such an event. It works out in my favor!

God's Got This - Hand Lettered Artwork - Joshua 1:9

This year’s theme is Cozy Mountain Lodge from Group. Now that Christmas is over, I’ve officially begun working on it. This is the first of the artwork I have planned. I love taking something mainstream and tweaking it.

I’m picturing this on a food table or as part of the centerpiece. We’ll see when we get there.

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

Gathering here.

Seek Him – Watercolor on Wood

Seek Him - Matthew 2:2 - Watercolor Illustration on Wood

Here is a bit of Christmas I haven’t shared here yet.

I love this piece.  I love the way it turned out.  I love the message.  I love the fact that it is wood and stands alone… aka doesn’t need a frame.  I made it for last year’s Christmas Market (2017) and it sold, so one of these days I’m going to make myself another one.  Because I love it!  But it sold to dear friends, so I’m glad they have it.  They attached some ribbon and hung it on their door.  That makes me smile. 🙂

Gathering here.

Custom Wedding Invitation – Sunflower Theme

I don’t think I’ve anticipated the arrival of a wedding invitation as much as I did this one.

Friends of ours got engaged this spring and I was quick to offer any help I could give.  It was so much fun to use my mad Pinterest skills and party experience to help her plan her wedding.  But it was even more fun when they wanted me to design their invitation.  The folder work is all hers, but the hand lettering and painting is all mine. 🙂

It was great fun.  As was the wedding this past weekend!  Now that it is behind us, I feel free to share this with you all!

Complete with RSVP and direction cards.  That RSVP card was after one the bride saw online and the invitation was inspired by this one on Pinterest.


The learning curve on digitalizing of my art and hand lettering was steep, but I learned a lot in the process!  Hopefully it will keep getting easier.

Hand Lettered Verse — Watercolor Rose Wreath

God looks on the heart hand lettered quote with rose wreath frame

My baby girl is turning 10 today.

It is hard to believe!

God looks on the heart hand lettered quote with rose wreath frame

We chose a rose garden theme because she is loving flowers lately, and especially roses.  I told her she can have some space in our garden for flower beds and she is so excited.  We found bulbs and seeds as presents and the promise of a Knock-out Rose bush of her very own as soon as they are in stores around here.

God looks on the heart hand lettered quote with rose wreath frame

I’ve started painting something for each of my children for their birthdays, so this is what I painted for her.  I chose 1 Samuel 16:7 because I want her to remember this important truth about beauty.

Happy birthday sweet girl!


Gathering here.

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.

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!

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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Abide in Me Hand Lettered Quote – with Illustrated Watercolor Strawberry Border

Early last year I began planning to decorate for our church’s second annual Ladies Croquet Tournament in May.  I decided on a Strawberries theme and started gathering ideas.  Then I started sketching out a few illustrations to frame as part of the centerpieces and to give as prizes to the winners.

Sadly, the event had to be canceled before I got too far into it, but I did get one of my sketches  through to completion!  (Maybe this spring I can get the others painted up.)


So when my sister had surgery in May and my mom headed down to care for her, I put together a little care basket with some of our home grown strawberry jam and syrup, some fresh strawberries and other treats and this 5×7 original.

I think it just screams spring!  It may be a snowy January day, but these strawberries make me feel the warmth of impending summer!

Do strawberries make you smile too?


Original artwork and lettering done on 140 lb. cold pressed paper with watercolor and ink.