Dressing Up Your Gifts with a Little Something Extra

Like last year, we gifted home infused olive oils to most of our friends and family for Christmas this year. Let me tell you, they were so popular and so fun to do the first time that our list is growing. I think we are already planning to gift them to a few more people next year.

While you can use his post to plan for Christmas next year, I hope it will also be an inspiration for mid-year gifting. The principles are the same whenever (and whatever) you are gifting.We decided to push ourselves to do new flavors this year and are growing in our comfort with the whole process, but, for us, it’s not enough to simply gift infused oils. We wanted them to look amazing and we really think they did!

Dressing Up Your Gifts with a Little Something Extra | mamasbrush  #oliveoil #gifts #homemade #diylabels #gifting #woozybottles #infusedoliveoil

The Gift

Our gift was infused oils. We ordered 5 ounce woozy bottles from a new place this year (not going to say as we weren’t as happy with them). We’ll probably go back to Amazon for that next year even though they were a little more. We also ordered the labels and the heat shrink tops (though these are the ones for wine in a larger size… oops. There is one for the 5 ounce bottle somewhere.) Since they were a little bigger than our bottles, we trimmed them down and they worked fine.

I did the illustrations and the hand lettering for the labels again too. Then I combined all that in Photoshop with another font there and we printed them out.

Your gift could be anything. Something hand crafted in the workshop or baked in your kitchen. Something purchased in a store or ordered online. It can be something you give in mass to everyone on your list or something personally selected for each friend and family member.

Dressing Up Your Gifts with a Little Something Extra | mamasbrush #giftwrapping #presentation #packaging #gifting #makeitspecial #tags #gifttags #diygifttags #watercolorpainting

The Packaging

Then came the hardest part… finding a box that would fit them all just right. Hopefully this next year we won’t procrastinate this again. But in the end, we found something at the Dollar Tree that worked well. We added some spacers between the bottles to make them fit better.

Our boxes weren’t expensive. That isn’t the point. And they don’t have to be fancy. They could be simple brown or white bags if that fits your style or the style of your gift. It could be brown kraft paper wrapping it all up. Or shimmery shiny wrapping paper. Or custom printed wrapping paper for that matter. It doesn’t matter what it is, but consider it. Consider your presentation.

Finishing touches

Dressing Up Your Gifts with a Little Something Extra | mamasbrush #giftwrapping #presentation #packaging #gifting #makeitspecial #tags #gifttags #diygifttags #watercolorpainting

That could have been the end of the packaging. It looked real pretty with all that curling ribbon, but the next part really set it apart. A couple different friends said it really took the whole thing over the top. The hand painted tags. The watercolor illustrations add a sense of whimsy to the whole thing.

If you don’t feel as though you could paint or draw something yourself, there are plenty of fun tags on Pinterest that you could print on nice paper to add whimsy to your gift.

Why the Packaging Matters

Again, you can apply these same principles to any hand made gift, or any gift for that matter. Taking an extra minute to personalize the packaging can make a huge impact. But why? Do we do it so that everyone sees how crafty and creative we are? Is it so that they will talk about our gift longer than everyone elses? If the answer to those questions is yes, then don’t do it. It’s not worth it.

So why do it? They are just going to rip it open and throw it all away anyway. Isn’t it just a waste of time? Honestly, sometimes. Again, this depends on your motives. It has only been in the last few years that I’ve even begun to think about caring what a gift looks like. I’m a throw-it-in-a-gift-bag-with-a-couple-pieces-of-tissue-paper kind of girl. Seriously. It’s how we wrap almost everything for kids etc. around here. It’s faster. I have 6 kids, and when I still had multiple babies and toddlers around, it was the best way. Sometimes it’s still the best way. Really!

But when I can, and when it’s right, spending extra time on the presentation of a gift is just one more way to show love to that friend, family member or {even} stranger you are gifting to. The gift is great. That thought is great. But the extra time to make it special passes that special-ness onto the one who gets the gift.

So what now?

Maybe you aren’t ready for this yet. Maybe you have as much crazy in your life as I do and it’s just not practical. Gifts? What gifts? There were years we didn’t do much in the way of gifts at all. That’s okay. Be where you are. Do what you can. But every once in a while, or when you are ready, step outside your comfort zone and make that one gift special. It’s worth the look on their face when they find out that it is for them!

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Dressing Up Your Gifts with a Little Something Extra | mamasbrush #giftwrapping #presentation #packaging #gifting #makeitspecial #tags #gifttags #diygifttags #watercolorpainting

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Apples – Pick Your Own Fall Sign | Hand Lettered and Painted Free Printable

I love love love these printable signs I found over at Clean and Scentsible! I pinned my favorites here. (And that towel… you’ll have to go look. It’s too cute!)

Pick Your Own Fall Apples | Free Printable with hand lettered Colossians 3:23

I tend to steer toward the farmhouse style decor… at least on Pinterest, and these cute signs planted a seed in me to make my own version of them. I just couldn’t let many days go by before I just had to try it with an apple theme. I generally decorate with apples in September. It’s not quite fall, but I’m itching for it to be… apples seem to be a happy medium before my leaves and pumpkins come out at the end of the month.

Pick Your Own Fall Apples | Free Printable with hand lettered Colossians 3:23

I started by sketching this one out. It’s not a “no-sketch” by any means. There were too many elements to get just right. I suppose if you wanted to “no-sketch” it, you could always scan each element in individually and put it together in Photoshop… but I didn’t do that this time. πŸ™‚

I love the look of all the farmhouse signs I see, but when it comes time to buy or make one for myself, I can’t make myself do it. Something always seems to be missing. First of all, I wanted to add a verse to it somehow, but I also wanted to make it more personal. I felt like putting “family farm” at the top fit us better since that’s what we pretend to be. Then I loved how “pick your own” fit the attitude of encouraging the children to help out and take initiative.

Pick Your Own Fall Apples | Free Printable with hand lettered Colossians 3:23

I tried a new watercolor paper this time around. Hot pressed. It’s much smoother and [hopefully] easier to scan and clean up in Photoshop for you all. Shayda recently did a video that talks about the differences in watercolor paper, so I was ready for it to be different. It definitely was different, and it will take some practice, but I think it worked out nicely. Nothing you should be afraid to try for sure. The main reason I decided to try it is that Eileen at My Creative Resolution mentioned in a post (no idea which one… sorry!) that the texture of watercolor paper is hard on artist pens. It was at that moment I understood why my pens never seem to last long! πŸ™‚ An ah-ha moment to be sure! The smooth finish of the hot pressed paper should help them to last longer. And it does scan much nicer!

Pick Your Own Fall Apples | Free Printable with hand lettered Colossians 3:23

I know there are already so many fall printables out there, but I don’t often see these seasonal printables with Bible verses on them, so I want to share them with you in the off chance that any of you are still in the market for a cute apple themed fall printable or have been holding out for one with a verse. Click here to download it and visit my slowly growing printables page for more!

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Pick Your Own Fall Free Printable

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Recommended Reading:

Get Away to the Mountains – Printable
Keep Calm and Get Cozy – Printable
God’s Got This… Let the Adventure Begin – Printable

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.

My Creative Process: Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17

Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

The other night, I had what I thought was just 15 minutes available to paint while my husband stayed back to get the kids to sleep. Usually with that much time available, I wouldn’t bother to take everything out, but I really wanted to paint! It had been a couple days since I’d had time, so I decided to see how much I could get done in 15 minutes. Could I create something worth while in that much time?

Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

As it turns out, I had more like 30 minutes, so it was definitely worth it. I was able to get all the paint laid down for this daffodil! I started it without a sketch. When all you have is 15-30 minutes and no projects in the works, there isn’t time to sketch (okay, there could be, but I didn’t take the time).

It was fun! I started by laying down a light yellow in a daffodil shape. I messed it up, so I made it bigger. πŸ™‚ Problem solved. Now the top petal was cut off, so in the end, when trimming it to size, I decided to trim the side petal too. I like the way it turned out.

Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

Next I dabbed some orange on to the wet paint (that is called a wet on wet technique) and it crawled around wherever it wanted to go. I picked up the paper and tilted it here and there to encourage it to go where I wanted, but it doesn’t have to play by my rules.

Once it was dry I added the green stem and leaves (so the color wouldn’t bleed where they touch).

The next day, I added all the pen work and lettering.

Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

My favorite part is the lettering. From the beginning I pictured the words of the verse following the shape of the flower and I really like the way it turned out.

I choose 2 Corinthians 5:17 from my list of memorized verses on Bible Memory (our family’s favorite way to memorize and meditate on Scripture! Free for the first 50 verses and well worth the trial. It makes learning and practicing Bible verses easy and fun!) (That was not a paid plug… we just really love them!)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

I thought it was a beautiful verse for spring, with all the new life around us. Truly, the old of the world died back over winter, and now the new creation is springing up all around us! And just the same way, when we choose to repent of our sins and follow Jesus, we are new creations in Him, our old selves dead and left behind us! Thank you Father for making me new!

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Hand Lettered Daffodil with 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

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Mountain Lodge Theme Hand Lettered Artwork – Free Printables

Free Printable Watercolor Hand Lettered Art Prints

I have created a new page link at the top of the blog (email readers click here to see!) for printables available on this blog. I’ll be slowly adding the ones scattered around in blog posts, but for now, you can find the new Mountain Theme Hand Lettered Artwork created for the Cozy Mountain Lodge Women’s retreat I helped plan earlier this month.

Head on over there to download your own copies as 5×7 art prints or 5×7 note cards. Let me know what you think. πŸ™‚

Gathering here.


Jesus, Our Kinsman Redeemer and Firm Foundation – Art Print

This week is the women’s retreat I am helping plan for our church ladies. This year it is focusing on the book of Ruth, with a general theme of a “Cozy Mountain Lodge”. I decided I wanted to illustrate a cabin (like one of the crafts that came with the Retreat Package) with some of the lesson themes woven in. This is what I came up with.

Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer Cabin Illustration

It is such a great word picture. Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer, sheltering and protecting us like the roof. And as our Firm Foundation, someone we can trust and stand on.

Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer Cabin Illustration

And, you may have noticed, I just love to make my smoke and steam the same way most of the time. It has a fun, whimsical feel I think.

This will be framed, like the other art pieces I designed for the retreat, and set around for decorations. Then I’ll give them away as part of our door prize drawing.

Updated 3/20/2019: You can now print this for yourself on my Printables Page. Leave a comment to let me know how you use it. πŸ™‚

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February Art Journal Prompts – Week 3

February Art Journal Prompts Week 3

I had a lot of fun with week three of the February Prompts from Awesome Alice. Let’s get to them…

Chocolate Chip Cookie in Watercolor
Prompt: Cookie
Watercolor Flowers - Journal Prompt
Prompt: Flowers

I did these flowers without a sketch. I just jumped in with the watercolors and added the lines later. I don’t do a lot of these, so they were outside my comfort zone a little. I could have done a simple flower (what I would normally do), but I wanted to use this opportunity to push myself. That is what this exercise is all about for me after all. πŸ™‚

Forever and Ever - Hand lettered
Prompt: Forever and Ever
Oh My Darlin' Clemintine Hand lettered - Prompt: Darling
Prompt: Darling

My children keep asking if this is a peach. I’ll admit, it does have a bit of a peach look to it, but it’s totally a clementine. πŸ™‚ The clementines we buy each winter are “Oh my Darlin'” Clementines, so I had to try this. Plus, it pushed me again. πŸ™‚

Art Journal Prompt: Sweet Hearts
Prompt: Sweet hearts
Art Journal Prompt: you make me happy (hand lettered)
Prompt: You make me happy
Art Journal Prompt: My heart is yours
Prompt: My heart is yours

I actually really love this one, but I don’t love the way it turned out. I did some more working with it on paper after this was done and have come up with something I’m excited to debut in next Valentine’s printables., so if you like my stuff, you may want to subscribe so you don’t miss it. πŸ™‚ (shameless plug)

Have you seen week one and week two?

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