Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas Banner

My friend Patti and I saw the cutest vintage felt Christmas banner at an occasional sale.  We decided right then and there that we would make banners for our homes this Christmas!  Here’s what we needed to get started…

felt in 2 different colors (the stiff kind with a sticky back is nice, but the traditional felt will also work)
tacky and fabric glue
fine black sharpie
regular scissors and pinking shears
1” wide grosgrain ribbon (about 7 feet)

We started by making templates for the letters. We freehanded (with a little help from a ruler) the letters onto the cardstock, and cut them all out. If you don’t feel comfortable free handing, you could use stencils or print them in a font from your computer. Our letters were about 5" high, and 4" wide, but you could make them any size.  Remember, you only need to make one template for the multiple letters (M, R, and S).
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Next, you put the cardstock letters on one color of felt (we used white felt) and trace around them with the sharpie.  Some of the letters (E, R, C, and S) need to be flipped over before marking so that the ink marks are on the back side of the letter – the other letters can go either way. 

Now, cut the letters out with a pinking shears.  When you’re done, lay them all out to make sure you have all of your letters. 

Place these felt letters one at a time onto the other color of felt.  Take the Sharpie and mark around these letters with about a half inch border all around the letter. 

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Now cut these out with the pinking shears.

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Glue the letters together using fabric glue.  Make sure none of the Sharpie marks show on the front side.  At this point we realized that some of the letters were kind of floppy, and wouldn’t hang right.  We decided to “reinforce” each letter with some card stock on the back side.  In hindsight, I would have used that stiff type of felt to avoid this step.  You can even get the stiff type with a peal-off sticky back to use for your top letter so you wouldn’t have to glue them.

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Now it’s time to glitter!  I used some very old glitter that was multicolored, and Patti mixed gold and green together for her banner.  Just write on the felt letter with the tacky glue, and generously sprinkle in on.  Give it a little tap to get the excess glitter off.  Don’t worry about the glitter lines being perfect – this is what gives it that charming homemade look.

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The last step is to glue the letters to the ribbon.  Use fabric glue for this also.  Make sure you leave about 12” of ribbon on both sides of the letters for hanging.  Let it dry, and it’s ready to hang!

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With Love at Christmastime,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”  Luke 2:14

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pretty Packages

I decided to do something a little different this year for my Christmas wrapping.  I started by using only red and white gift wrap.  What a surprising time-saver this was!   Cutting down on the choices made for a much simpler, less messy time of it.  It also cost less money, since I used a 40% off coupon for a roll of white drawing paper from Michaels (the kind that goes in a children’s easel).  

Instead of gift tags, I used black and white prints of the person who is receiving that gift. I used baby or older pictures of them, so they will have a little challenge when finding their gifts under the tree.  My grandkids were here last weekend, and they loved the photo tags!

I wanted to keep the wrapping plain so that I could focus more on the embellishments (the fun part).  I had many d├ęcor items already, but I did buy a few fun things at Michaels too.  

Here are some of my gift wrapping creations…

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This was hands down my favorite year for decorating gifts!  I plan on going to Michaels after Christmas when the holiday ribbon and other items go on sale for next to nothing – then I will be all set for next year!  Oh, and here’s another tip…in the isles of Michaels where they have the garland, picks, and artificial greenery, there are lots of pieces on the floor that have fallen off.  I picked them up, and asked the girl at the check-out if I could have them, and she said “sure” - make sure you ask first before just taking them.  Anyway, they worked great for this project!

I hope this inspires you to get creative with your gift wrapping!

Christmas Blessings,
Jane <><

Friday, November 16, 2012

North Shore Retreat

Last week Gregg and I rented a cabin on the shore of Lake Superior (about an hour north of Duluth).  We love to take the scenic route up the shore, and stay at different places.  It’s beautiful any time of the year.  November is one of our favorite times, because there is a good chance that the lake will have huge waves that crash onto the rocky shore (remember the Edmund Fitzgerald? Sad smile).

This year was a little bit different.  First of all, the waves weren’t so big.  Second of all, I’ve been recovering from a surgery, and I have doctor’s orders to pretty much do nothing.  Gregg and I usually stop at a few antique shops on the way up.  Once we are there, we like to spend our time hiking, climbing the rocks, walking the beaches, exploring, and taking pictures.  This year was spent taking it easy (for me anyway).  Gregg pretty much took care of me by doing everything from packing, loading the car, cooking, cleaning up, and waiting on me.  In general, Gregg was just being the best husband ever.  He actually seemed to enjoy being my caretaker.

The cabin had a comfy reclining chair by the fireplace with a view out of a huge window that looked out over the lake.  Ahhh…
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Down time for me means more time to spend drawing and painting.  Here are some of my creations…
little watercolors
ink drawing on birch bark
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love notes on leaves
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North Shore scenes on nature
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doodle on stone
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Some doodle corners
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birds in ink (I might add some watercolor to these)
Gregg went on a hike, gathered some nature items, and brought them back to the cabin.  I did art on them, and he did some still life photos.  This is one of my favorites that he took using a map of the area we were staying…

Down on the rocks…
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Pretty clouds…
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My photographer husband…
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In the evening we planned on watching movies on our laptop (no TV).  We weren’t able to connect to Netflix, so we spent time reading, talking, playing Yatzee, and eating yummy food.  The first couple of nights of this were great.  However, after a few nights, I have to admit that we missed our connection to the outside world (and our dogs).  Gregg said “being unplugged on the North Shore in November is overrated”.  Big waves or a local Red Box would have helped Smile Despite the technology withdrawal, God blessed us with a wonderful time.  Or maybe it was because of the unplugged status that we had a wonderful time.  Either way, we look forward to our next North Shore excursion.

Until next time,
Have a blessed day!


Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea – the Lord on high is mighty.    Psalm 93:4

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I’m back.  I took a little (or not so little) break from blogging.  I go through some different phases in my life as most of us do.  Some are good, and some aren’t so good.  Some last a short while, and other times they linger on, and on, and on…

This phase lingered.  Emotional and medical stuff kind of consumed me.  The wonderful part of all of this is that my heart and body are healing.  God pulled me through once again.  I am in awe of His incredible gift of healing…to Him be all the glory!  He has also blessed me with the most understanding and supportive husband ever.

Moving forward…
I’m very excited to start blogging again!  I thought I would start out by sharing a few of my paintings that reflect the Autumn season…my favorite time of year.

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"The Pathless Woods"  watercolor

Walk in Woods for blog
"A Walk In The Woods"  watercolor print (available in my Etsy Shop)

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"Autumn"  watercolor print - available in my Etsy Shop...the other 3 seasons are also available.

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"Apples and Daisies"  watercolor

cattails for blog
"Cattails" watercolor

Fall adirondack chairs for blog
"Quiet Waters" watercolor

Fall Treasures for blog
"Fall Treasures"  photograph
That’s all for now.  Here is one of my favorite quotes from one of my “hero's of the faith”…Corrie ten Boom.

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Blessings to all…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Memorable Memorial Day

 My Dad (Ed Zins) who is 90 years old, is a retired Lieutenant Colonel who served in WWII as a navigator/bombardier in the South Pacific.  He also served in the Air Force Reserves for over twenty years. 
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A few weeks ago my Dad was given the honor of raising the American Flag at the Minnesota Twins baseball game on Memorial Day.  I can’t put into words what a proud moment it was as I, my family, and thousands of others watched him raise the flag as the Star Spangled Banner was sung.  It was the perfect tribute to all of our brave soldiers, past and present, who have served our country in the military.

Here are some pictures of this special event…


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My Mom stood by him as he raised the flag.  This is a picture of my Mom and Dad…they’ve been married for 63 years!
…and to top off the day, Mom and Dad were on the “Kiss Cam” !  This picture shows them before the actual kiss …

I am so proud of both of them, and incredibly blessed that they are my parents!!!

Soli Deo Gloria!
Jane  <><

Blessed is the nation who’s God is the Lord...   Psalm 33:12

Monday, June 11, 2012

Our New Little Girl

On Friday we adopted a little girl into our family.  Her name is Penny, and she is 6 months old.  She is half Papillion and half Pug.  Penny weighs about 8 pounds, but will probably reach about 15 pounds at full growth.  We are totally in love with her…she is such a soft, cuddly, sweet little girl!

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This is Penny's big sister, Selena.  Selena is 12 years old, and likes having a new buddy to cuddle with.
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Gregg with his little girl...

We are so happy with our furry little blessing!

Jane  <><

“Whoever said you can’t buy love forgot about puppies.”