Most of you know I’m working full time for a “higher cause” this year and haven’t been doing much designing at all but was asked to put together some possibilities for a stake logo for church. Oklahoma City had designed one for their stake — story has it from a reliable source that the stake executive secretary just did it one day and it was quickly adopted — and it’s a great logo. The Bartlesville Oklahoma Stake, however, doesn’t lend itself to easily using an acronym for a logo. Pitfalls include derogatory connotations of letters similar to BOS, etc. ad nauseum. At any rate, one hasn’t been chosen so maybe they’ll pursue other options but here’s the contenders and a flyer that was created for a stake conference around the same time. Skills are rusty – it’s amazing what a year off from designing can do for that to happen! It took me twice as long as it should have to come up with these passable designs…
These invitations use some lovely artwork of a young woman in armor originally created by Judy Cooley. She graciously gave us permission to use them for our stake events (auxiliary conference and women’s conference) this year. I love the ENLISTED adaptation of her work. You can find more of her work if you search for Judy Cooley Deseret Book and Altus Fine Art.
I designed this stake conference invitation for the first semiannual conference of the Bartlesville, Oklahoma Stake! So nice of the stake presidency to put out an official invitation like this. I hope it helps boost attendance and clarifies meeting times, attendance and info for all involved. I tried to make it match the ward mission plan and the stake mission plan that I had created earlier. I’d better watch out or the stake will have inadvertently created its own press kit and style guide soon! Kidding…
I used the floral artwork from lenlis at BigStock for the flowers and then added the “Put on the Armor of God” text and made a few changes to use for a themed presentation at auxiliary training. It was so cute, I left it up at home for a week after the event! I’m including pics of the wonderful cookies with labels and chocolate covered strawberries served. I don’t know if anybody else liked it but the strawberries alone were worth it for me!
The 2015 Ward Mission Plan was such a success, I got roped into creating a Stake Mission Plan. The text wasn’t as conducive to a great layout but I think it’s nice enough, anyway.
One of my most popular posts is a Jesus is the Living Water Bottle Labels here. I’m not sure I quite understand the craze of custom water bottle labels but they are kind of fun! Here’s an Armor of God water bottle label quoting parts of Ephesians 6:11-17. Just print, trim, wrap on the bottle and tape. Enjoy!
Ben’s baptism was a rushed one. We had a small crowd for our last baptism but it was beautiful. He is such a one-of-a-kind kid. He chose the 4th Article of Faith for his favorite “scripture” and so I quickly typed it up a little bit prettier than average for the program. I am offering it here as a FREE download for your personal and church use, should anyone be so inclined.
I have projects to design pretty much every day. Unless something family, church or kid-related has taken over. But usually one or two projects is hanging over my head just waiting to be done. Right now, I’m procrastinating a cute little custom drawing for a local festival that works with kids. I have time to get to that yet today (that’s what I’m telling myself, anyway!) but I wanted to share this 2015 Ward Mission Plan that I drew up for our local church congregation. It was so easy — mostly because they provided me with perfect text. I mean absolutely-perfectly-clean-never-happened-before-especially-in-church-wonderful text. Hallelujah! Seriously, people, knowing exactly what you want to say before you send it to a designer is a gift. One design rule to follow: the more concise the text, the better. If only I could follow that for a blog post, right?! I know, I know, but this blog is my therapy therefore I can ramble and nobody has to read it. It’s a win-win.
Anyway, 2015 is the year where I will catch up on some online posts of what I’ve designed but, realistically, it will probably NOT be something I did just that day but in weeks, months and years past.
I didn’t want to throw a “real” party. It’s Christmastime and who, really, has time for all that extra cooking, cleaning and prep? Not me. So I decided that I wanted to start a new tradition: caroling around the neighborhood and then serving hot cocoa afterward. It was so simple and so much fun! I’m not sure which was more fun: watching the kids have a blast or singing the carols (which I love!). I think watching the kids has the edge, though. They were so excited but tired easily.
Next year we’ll limit it to one chosen street instead of trying to go around the block. We were able to sing 10 to 12 times. I used the collection of sheet music that good ‘ol Martha Stewart put together. It was a nice mix of Christian and more secular Christmas music (e.g. Up on the Housetop and Jingle Bells in amidst The First Noel and Silent Night). I was smiling about it for days afterward and hope that those who went with us had as much fun as we did.
Afterward, I made Crockpot Hot Cocoa (this filled my 7 qt crock pot!):
- 2 c. heavy whipping cream (not whipped!)
- 2 – 14 oz cans of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 gallon of milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla powder (or regular vanilla, I used Thrive’s vanilla powder)
- 4 c. chocolate chips (I used Hershey’s dark chocolate chips)
- 1 c. powdered sugar
I also made White Hot Chocolate:
- 4 c. heavy whipping cream (not whipped!)
- 4 c. milk
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground cardamom (removed from pods)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 T. vanilla powder (or regular vanilla, I used Thrive’s vanilla powder)
- 16 oz white chocolate (I used the melting wafers from Hobby Lobby)
The White Hot Chocolate was the bomb. Seriously. I did not know it would be so good or I would have doubled the recipe. Three or four people asked for the recipe!
Here’s the selection of marshmallows and additions including maraschino cherry skewers, spray cream cinnamon and chips of almost every kind:
Before everyone showed up (we had two more families come after this shot!).
The teenage girls who participated just INSISTED that “Let it Go!” was a Christmas song. Ahem. I disagree but they sang it with gusto (along with a few parents!).
The best part? Everyone seemed genuinely welcoming and happy to see us! It’s definitely a new tradition. Next year, I’ll make the boys bring their drums and bells from percussion.
It’s been a busy year and a particularly busy month — but not as busy as the month Cole graduated and getting him off on his mission to Manchester, England! That was insane! But one of the highlights of August 2014 has been the Tulsa, Oklahoma Stake Relief Society Women’s Conference where we, with our fearless leader, held a preparedness conference which I will post about later with downloadable graphics, etc. As part of this conference, though, we held a diaper drive for a Tulsa non-profit called Emergency Infant Services. We collected diapers and packaged them up in bags of 20 or so according to size and will be delivering them this week. Hooray for clean bums! It was an easy, effective, and necessary service project and one that everyone seemed to wholeheartedly support. I love getting out in the community with service projects outside of our own little homes, wards, and stakes. So fulfilling!
It’s been a long time since I blogged. Almost a year, in fact. I’ve missed it! In my time away, I’ve done many things and learned quite a bit. Let’s see how much of that I can get documented down the road but, for now, here’s some recent work I completed for Theater Bartlesville — even though I’m no longer serving on their board this year. Last year was so much fun, not to mention meeting some pretty amazing people, but I simply don’t have time to do it again. I won’t be doing most of their items but as a huge Josi Kilpack fan, this poster design I just couldn’t resist. Can’t wait to meet her at the fundraiser. And, for all you font nerds out there like me, the font is My Aunt Celia and you can buy it at MyFonts.
The world’s best designer was out of commission this year so I was asked to help decorate the refreshment room for our church’s community nativity display. I am by no means a professional but I am pleased with the results. You’d have to know what I had to start with to accurately judge, but since my goal was to PURCHASE next to nothing for this project (I like to throw money at problems when I don’t have time to deal with them!), I can honestly say I achieved my goal. The only two things I purchased: the whole bolt of chocolate brown burlap — and the two 96″ tablecloths used nearly all of that –and secondly, the teeny tiny nativity shown in the glass. It’s still too big but I was amazed at the lack of miniature creches available at Hobby Lobby in my small hometown. Rest assured I’ll be on the hunt for tiny nativities online! All in all, though, few purchases and yet a decent success. My favorite thing: the burlap camels from TJMaxx. They are adorable with or without the gold bells I put around their necks. I hope we get lots of visitors to the nativity display at the church this weekend and that all who come eat cookies and think of the true meaning of Christmas!
Two facets of the same subject: First, I love this quote by Benjamin Franklin. “Human felicity is produc’d not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.” Secondly, it made me think of one of my all-time favorite scriptures. Alma 37:6 “Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” When we study that concept in seminary, I always try to warn my students that the reverse is also true: small and simple things can lead you down the path of spiritual destruction as well — those flaxen cords! But, mostly, I love this scripture for its acknowledgment in the great power of simple choices made repeatedly over time. Strength truly is consistency over time — whether it’s food, exercise, spirituality, or another choice. I love when quotes from unrelated parts of the world combine to affirm a universal truth!
So I had a brilliant idea to take an open frame from Hobby Lobby and a perfectly sized fitting cork board (also thank you to Hobby Lobby) and made this custom framed cork bulletin board as a thank you to a fellow seminary teacher. I am really loving Hobby Lobby’s collection of glossy black ornate frames at the moment! At least I think it turned out really cute! This teacher had taught all four years so everyone knew her and she wasn’t going to be teaching another year. I had each student put a favorite memory on a doily and pinned them around a card that said “You deserve a bouquet of thanks!” I hope she liked it, but I think she did.