Sunday, January 31, 2016

Valentine Fun and Free Printables

St.Valentine's Day is almost here and I have been having fun making little valentines for my husband and leaving them around the house to surprise him. This is the first time I have done this and it has been fun.  Some are just simple little valentines from the Avery website that I customized and printed on 2"x 2" Avery labels or on postcards. Others have been a little more involved.
One of his early valentines started with this little snowman that I painted on sketch paper a few years ago. I came across it while cleaning my office before Christmas and cut it out and glued it to a piece of mat board and added some snow and a few other details and stuck it in a little frame.  

Anyway, I wanted to leave it out for winter because I usually leave all of my snowman decorations out for winter since they are not really Christmas decorations. But, I noticed that I put "Merry Christmas" on the little sign this little snowman was holding. I didn't really care. I left him out anyway. But, I wondered how easy it would be to alter the little sign and I photographed him, uploaded him to Photoshop to change his sign to "Let it Snow" and realized he was really pretty messy up close, Don't get me wrong. I love him, as is, in the frame, but I was thinking about turning him into a valentine snowman and he wouldn't quite do for that.

So I started changing him up a bit. "Merry Christmas" was the first thing to go. Then I improved the color and refined his overall shape a bit, made the sign into a "chalkboard",  took out some of the black where I had outlined the original snowman when I glued him to the mat board and smoothed out the snow a bit.  Much better. But...

not quite there, I continued to change things up. I added the "Let it Snow" and started experimenting with color. He was still looking very much like Christmas, so I was trying different things. I liked the plaid but there was really no way to change the colors and keep the plaid because there were so many shades of red and green and no definitive lines, The color replacement feature in Photoshop would have taken a few years to match and change each color. The plaid had to go. 

I decided to use a dark pink because I liked the pink and brownish gray background together. I had to extend the canvas because I didn't like that his hat was being cut off at the top. So, I did that and blended it all together nicely and I thought I was through but...

 I wanted some little something else. So, I added a little snow covered shrub and decided it was finished. So this is Snowman #1 and you can download or print him here.

Then, since it was fun and I had some time, I took an earlier version and added a tree instead of a shrub and some falling snow and some piled up snow and an icicle or two to his hat and other parts. It is a little bit busier than the other one but still fun.  So, if you like this one, Snowman #2 can  be downloaded and/or printed  here

The next thing was to make a valentine out of it. I used the a snowy version without the tree for that and simply added a valentine greeting to it.  I printed it on a little scalloped edge card (apparently no longer available from Staples) and propped it up against the ice maker in the freezer. When my husband went to fill his glass with ice, he was surprised to find another little note of love. I think he is getting a kick out of all these little surprises I am leaving him.  I am too.  The valentine version, Snowman #3 can be downloaded and/or printed here.  

Hope you have enjoyed seeing all of the iterations this little snowman went through. Let me know if you decide to try my little pre-Valentine's Day surprises on your spouse or kids.  


These free printables are provided to you as a gift. They are for your personal use only. They may not be reproduced in any medium for the purpose of profit, commercial use or sale. All images are the copyrighted work of  Vicki Elish  and all rights are reserved. If you would like to inquire about license for commercial use, please contact me by email. Thank you.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter Randomness

Just a bit of January, snowy, cold random bits of this and that....
Will it ever be warm again?
I do not like snow. It is too cold and too wet!

Our neighborhood chicken. We have no idea where it came from but it
wanders around the neighborhood. I feed her occasionally when she shows up 
and makes herself known.

Across the street. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Finally! A Look Back at our Christmas 2015

It seems I am always running a bit behind these days. So, it is appropriate that I would finally manage to post some of our Christmas photos on this, the 12th and last day of Christmas or in the Christian church calendar, the Feast of the Epiphany,

I've never done a "Christmas Tour" but thought it would be fun to do one this year. 

I will begin with Frankie the Frog, who always hangs out on my straw hats on top of my Grandmother's sewing basket in our bedroom. Frankie decided to help me with decorating and wrapping and got a bit tangled up in ribbon; tossed some red berries on his friend, Samantha the Snail; did a few push-ups; and then passed out on the bed, fittingly under the "Silent Night Pillow" (from Dear Lillie.) Yes, Christmas often brings out the kid in even the most mature of us!

Not too much Christmas in the master bedroom. Just a bright red pick stitch quilt and shams and the Dear Lillie Silent Night pillow and the Frankie the Frog and Samantha the Snail adornments.

My little snowman painting that was later moved to the hearth.

Our 9ft. real tree. We wanted a bigger one but were afraid we wouldn't be able to get it in the house. We barely made it with this one. It was quite heavy and we have steps. Ugh!  Our angel refused to stand up straight and leaned the entire season. We finally did get get her straight but the next morning found her on the floor beside the tree. She is obviously an angel who prefers to be a little bit off balance! She spent the rest of Christmas on the table by the tree which you may notice in some of the later photos. This is the first picture I took of the tree. Notice the lovely cords under the tree and the lighting was terrible.  Oh well. 

My stocking, knitted for me  circa 1965 by my Grandmother Effie. My paternal grandmother was very talented and her fine knitting skills are evidenced by the good condition of this now 60 year old stocking. Only one small hole where a moth must have had a meal at some point. 

My  grandmother's corner cabinet with silver chalices adorned with berries and fresh Douglas Fir branches. The china is Noritake circa 1945 from my other grandmother and we do use it often.

Ellie reluctantly posing for her Christmas photo! She did not want to be still!

 My somewhat messy gingerbread house. Royal icing and my piping bags did not cooperate fully on the day I made this. It was messy but fun and tasty too!

 Love this ribbon that I found at Hobby Lobby. I was going to use it on the big tree but changed my mind since we went with a real tree this year.

Instead, I used it on a little tree for the dining room.

You might remember the rustic box I made from this post. For Christmas it was filled with pine cones, cinnamon sticks, fresh fir snippets, candles, faux red berries and candy canes. I used the four tapers as our Advent candles and the pillar candle for Christmas Eve. You can see the Bible beside the box. A portion of the Christmas story, from Luke, was read with the lighting of each of the Advent candles and on Christmas Eve.

This beautiful arrangement from Laura Jane's Flowers and Gifts, was changed up a bit for Christmas. You can see it here as it was originally, with lovely little persimmons for Autumn. I gingerly removed the persimmons and replaced them with red rose hips for Christmas and winter use.

I had been looking for a new nativity set for a while and found this one a couple of years ago at Hobby Lobby. I was drawn to it because of the scripture included on the larger pieces. 

 Chalkboard print from Dear Lillie, frame made by me, pillow from ElliotHeathDesigns. Angel tree topper on table.

This would have been a much cozier photo with a fire roaring in the fireplace but since it was around 75 degrees outside when this was taken and the AC was on, there was no fire. 
I attached the JOY glitter letters I used on our tree last year,  to a canvas to make a piece for the mantel. 

A few photos in red frames tucked into the book shelves. This is a favorite of my mom and John.

Here's one of my oldest grandsons. The ornament beside the angel is a "talking" ornament. I purchased four of these about five years before my mother died and sat with her while she recorded a message on each one for me and each of my three sisters for Christmas. These became our most treasured possessions when we lost her in 2006. My ornament says, "Merry Christmas, Vicki. I love you. This is your Mom, I will always love you."  Those words each year make my Christmas complete. 

 A little tree for the kitchen.

  There are many more photos but this post is already too long. I am tired and the 12th day of Christmas is almost at an end. So I will leave it here. May you and yours have a wonderful New Year!