Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. ~ 1 Peter 4:10

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas

We had a quiet, cozy Christmas at home this year with just our little family.  It was a sweet time, but we were all pretty tired!! :) 

It started with being up late the night before.  I had most of the Christmas gifts wrapped and ready to go, but our 7 year old was so excited about Santa, she wouldn't go to sleep.  Finally we had everything ready and crawled into bed.  We awoke a short time later, 1:30am, to an even more excited 7 year old who realized Santa had indeed visited!  She continued to wake me up in intervals throughout the night.  I'm not sure she ever went back to sleep!  We finally opened our gifts and all chaos, excitement and fun ensued! 

We then had a Christmas brunch with egg casserole and fruit salad.  The kids played while we tried to pick up the leftover "wrappings".  Later, after an afternoon nap for my youngest, we all snuggled up under a cozy blanket and watched "A Christmas Story" while munching on popcorn.  Dinner was leftovers from our Christmas Eve meal and then everyone to bed early after a wonderful day of sweet memories! 

I just love Christmas and I'm always sad to see it come and go so quickly.  I do enjoy looking forward to the new year though, and the fresh start that it always brings.  I've been thinking about my "One Word" for 2011 and I'm excited to share it soon!

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all the best in the coming new year!

Happy Creating,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I'm so enjoying this special time of the year and all of the fun holiday traditions that come along with it! We have several favorites that we continue each Christmas season!

One thing the kids look forward to is our Christmas Elf, Alfie, coming back to our home from the North Pole (Elf on the Shelf)! Each night he reports back to Santa how the behavior has been around here and then returns to a new "spot" each day. The kids race around to see where he's hiding each morning! They've even enjoyed talking to him and sending notes back to Santa with him. So cute!

The kids also look forward to rediscovering our Little People Nativity Set.  It comes out once a year with the holiday decor and it is like a brand new toy!   They have so much fun playing with it!  Its wonderful because it is a set that is kid friendly and can be handled and enjoyed without the worry of it getting broken.

Another special tradition is our basket of Christmas books! Much like our Nativity Set, we keep these packed up with the holiday decorations so they only come out once a year. The kids love looking through them again and remembering their favorites! We have several including The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M. Scarry, Merry Creature Christmas by Dandi Daley Mackall, and God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa T. Bergren. We love to cozy up under a warm blanket and read together!

Each night at dinner we try to read an Advent Devotion from this sweet little book, Getting Ready for Christmas.  It is perfect for the kids, short but gives us a verse to discuss and an activity to do as a family.

Our family also enjoys a fun family holiday movie night! We break out the popcorn, cuddle up next to the twinkling lights and watch favorites like Elf or the Polar Express. This year we plan to check out The Search for Santa Paws and Disney's A Christmas Carol.

At least one evening during the season we love to grab some hot chocolate and drive around to see all of the Christmas lights and other decorations in our neighborhood and those surrounding us. We listen to holiday music on the radio or a CD and enjoy the view!  Each year I treat myself to a new Christmas CD.  This year my favorites are Glee: the Christmas Album and Chris Tomlin's Glory In the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship.

Another thing I try to do every year is put a new picture ornament on the tree for both of the kids.  It is so neat to pull out the collection of ornaments each Christmas and see how the kids have changed!  This will also be a great gift for the kids to have for their own Christmas trees someday!

These are a few of the things we do to celebrate this season.  I'd love to hear all about your favorite Christmas traditions! :)  I hope you are enjoying the holidays and treasuring the memories!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December Daily Foundation

The holiday season is in full swing and I hope yours is off to a great start! We've been busy here with decorating, shopping and planning. I've also been trying my best to keep up with my Dec. Daily album!

Here is a look at the foundation pages...
For the front and back covers I used two pieces of cardboard inserts I had saved from photo frames I bought a while ago. I covered them with Christmas scrapbooking papers and used some embellishments from my stash.

Front cover

Back cover

Close up of embellishments on front cover

For the inside pages I used scrapbooking papers, cut them to 6" x 8" and glued two sheets together to make them stronger.  This gave me the front and back of each page in the book.

The patterned paper on the right page is stapled to create a pocket.

I bound it all together with book rings and really like how it turned out, especially since I spent nothing and used just what I had on hand! I've been keeping up with my journaling each day, and I'm working on page construction as I have time. I'll share some of my finished pages soon!

Hope your December is off to a great start!
Happy Creating,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Daily

I’m so excited it is December 1st!!! For the past 3 Christmas Seasons I’ve followed Ali Edwards and her December Daily Project. The basic idea is to create a mini album/journal to document the season quickly and easily. At the end of the month (I end mine on Christmas Day) I have a special keepsake album that chronicles all of our fun and festive holiday happenings as well as meaningful traditions, thoughts about the season and any other special moments I want to remember and document. This album really gets to the heart of what the season means to me and my family.

The key is to keep it simple!!! I actually created the foundation of my album (bare bones so to speak) over the past few weeks. Now I am all ready to begin adding content starting today, Dec. 1st, but you can also create you album as you go. Each day I take a picture and write a short note documenting a special moment, tradition, event, memory, etc. to add to my album/journal. Keeping it short, sweet and simple makes it doable in the chaos of the busy season. I have to say it is such a treat to look back on the years past and see what has changed (or stayed the same) and revisit those special moments with my loved ones!

Here are a few pages from my December Daily Album 2009:


Dec. 3rd
Chloe the cat knocking down my Nutcracker display!

Dec. 4th
I also like to document the everyday moments.
Photo idea:  take pictures of your Christmas shopping receipts and/or bags of gifts.

Use an envelope for a page.

Inside the envelope you can hold extra pictures and journaling. 
This page is part of our Dec. 9th visit to Santa

Dec. 9th

Dec. 10th

Extra pictures for Dec.10th.
I glued them back to back and inserted them into the book rings as their own page.
See other side below:

I’d love for you to play along this year!! It isn’t too late… Join me today and begin creating an album or journal to remember the season! Don’t make it too difficult!! I just used Christmas papers and embellishments from my scrapbooking stash and haven’t bought anything new to include this year. If you aren’t a scrapbooker, you can find lots of Christmas themed paper, stickers, etc. at your local craft stores (Michaels, Hobby Lobby) and places like Target and Wal-Mart. Another idea is to use found/recycled items like cardboard, holiday wrapping paper, old Christmas cards, tags, etc. and put together you album with book rings. I’ve used several of these items as well and will show you my foundation pages in the next few days! :) Looking forward to some holiday creative fun!!

Be sure to let me know if you are joining in!! :)

Happy Creating!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!

Christmas Traditions
Mixed Media painting by Jennifer Snellings

I'm so excited; the holidays are here!!  I just love the Christmas Season!  I enjoy the anticipation of what is to come and try to fill the days with fun traditions, sweet memories and special moments all leading up to Christmas Day!  Each Christmas, using a shoestring budget, I try my best to make the holidays special and memorable for my family.  This season is especially streamlined due to my husband being between jobs.  I'm encouraged though because I know this holiday isn't about what I spend, but instead about family, special memories and traditions, and most importantly the birth of our Savior!! 

I hope to share throughout the season fun ideas and projects, simple and inexpensive, to cherish the season and the time we have with loved ones!  I hope you'll join me and share some of your great Christmas traditions and ideas as well!!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

So Thankful...

Scooby Doo (Turkey in disguise)
by Savannah

Hope you had a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving holiday! We had a special visit with family from far away and it was a great time to reflect on all we have to be thankful for…
  • family and loved ones together from near and far
  • fun family traditions…parades, turkey and football
  • a warm cozy home on a blustery, cold and rainy day
  • hot chocolate and apple cider
  • pumpkin pie and chocolate chip cookies
  • sweetly scented candles
  • dear friends
  • good books to read
  • dedicated troops serving our country and keeping us safe
  • an amazing God who loves me and continues to always provide
“…that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!” ~ Psalm 30:12

Very thankful for you as well!
Happy creating,

Friday, November 12, 2010

In the Studio...

Paint Brushes

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” — Henry Ward Beecher

The past few months I’ve had the wonderful privilege of taking another amazing class with one of my favorite artists, Wyanne Thompson. I’ve taken several classes with Wyanne over the past few years and each time I’ve learned so much from her! She has an amazingly unique gift of teaching, guiding, encouraging and challenging her students to take their work to new horizons. In her Paint Free class she has gently guided and pushed me to explore myself more deeply as an artist and helped me to dive through the multi-layers of who I am to further develop my own unique artistic style. It has been eye-opening, challenging, healing, inspiring and so revealing! I’ve loved it!! Here are a few of the pieces I’ve created through this class.

Loosely Free
by Jennifer Snellings

by Jennifer Snellings

Purple Kitty
by Jennifer Snellings

These pieces are quite different for me.  I've been working to paint very intuitively, allowing the pieces to develop organically rather than forcing things.  I have a tendency to over think my process and I'm working to "let go" and just let my heart guide me! 

I’m still working on the two final projects, but hope to share them with you soon! :)

Happy creating,

Friday, October 22, 2010


Fall Leaves

"Fiery colors begin their yearly conquest of the hills, propelled by the autumn winds. Fall is the artist."
~Takayuki Ikkaku

This has always been my favorite time of the year. There is something about the changes that come with fall that are so wonderful! The weather has been so lovely lately, in the low to mid 80s; we’ve finally had some relief from the 100+ temps of a Texas August. It takes a little longer here before the cool weather really hits and the leaves start to change, but at least we can enjoy being outside again. I’m looking forward to it cooling off even more so I can start making my favorite homemade soup and chili recipes.

I love all the wonderful things that come with fall …pumpkins, colorful trees, crisp leaves, hay rides, sweet smelling cider, football games, Halloween costumes, yummy apples, and cute scarecrows! I always feel like nesting for some reason and find myself cleaning things out, organizing more and of course decorating. Here are a few fun things I have in our front yard…

Our Scarecrows and pumpkin

Fall wreath on the door

Blooming flowers

We've been spending as much time outside as we can, playing in the backyard, swinging, taking walks, going to the park and I've even done some planting.  I'm not much of a gardener, but I'm learning!!  We are actually hoping for some rain this weekend which will be wonderful as we haven't had any in a while!  So, what is your favorite thing about this time of the year?

By the way, I've been working hard in the studio lately and will have some new paintings to share soon! :)

Enjoy your colorful, autumn days!
Happy creating,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Little Projects

I always seem to have little projects going on. They can be home projects, art projects, or projects related to my kids. I just finished the huge project of clearing out our attic of my daughter’s clothes from the first several years of her life. I saved most of them in case we had another little girl, but we were blessed with a little boy instead so it is time to let them go! I worked hard to tag everything and get it ready to sell at a great local consignment sale. I’m so glad I did it, but I thought I’d never get finished. The sale was this past weekend and went so well! A portion of the profits benefit two local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) chapters, a ministry very close to my heart! MOPS can be found all over the country and I would encourage all Moms of young kids to get involved in one! For me, MOPS has been such a wonderful time of making friends in the same life stage, sharing the struggles and joys of motherhood, and a sweet time for my children to play and learn with others their age!

As far as other projects on my way too long list….

• catch up on my kids’ scrapbooks

• go through and clean out several closets

• tackle a huge pile of papers that need to be filed or shredded

• create a book of my daughter’s artwork from Kindergarten

• go through a large bookshelf overflowing with books

• set up a “First Grade Information” notebook to hold all of the communication, newsletters, calendars, etc. that come home from school each week

• I could keep going, but maybe I’ll start with these! :)

So, I love being organized, I even enjoy reading about it! A few books I’ve found super helpful are Coach Mom, by Brenna Stull and Simplify Your Life, by Marcia Ramsland. I found many helpful ideas in both of these. Everything from organizing your kitchen and setting up a work center (for maintaining incoming/outgoing mail, scheduling, etc.) to decluttering and storage ideas for all your kids' “stuff”!  If I was only as organized as I have “learned” about being!! :)  Again, a work in progress!!

Another project I recently finished was creating an art center for my kids. We had art supplies scattered all over our home and I wanted to consolidate them to one place so they would be easier to use (and easier to clean up)!  I just used some sterilite plastic drawers and organized like supplies together inside a cabinet under my kitchen island. Here is a peak:

Two drawer units, large and small.

Inside drawer with smaller containers for crayons, colored pencils, markers, and watercolors.

Small plastic shoe boxes to hold play-doh and supplies.

I really like this set up!  My daughter has been using the art supplies even more often than she did before, now that they are all in one spot and easier to access.  Here is one of her most recent, beautiful creations:

Created by Savannah
Mixed media: collage materials, watercolor, and marker

What about you?  Do you have a list of unfinished projects?  I'd also love to hear about your ideas for getting organized or ways you've made your home run a little more smoothly!!

Happy creating,

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What I've been up to...

Here is a peak at what I've been up to lately. I've been feeling like I'm in a bit of a creative rut. I've had a tough time moving forward with this one; have several ideas, just can't make them come to life the way I'm seeing them in my head. That can get so frustrating!

This background was created using acrylic paint, scrap paper, a page from a book, and stamps on a canvas board.

Here I added the tree using torn pieces of magazine pages. I love the rough look it gives to the tree bark.   Before it is finished, I will go back over it in places with some paint to tie it into the background a bit more.

I'm also feeling like I need to make time to just "play"; get out my art supplies and just see what happens. I've felt drawn back to my roots lately...throughout high school and college my focus was on watercolor and I haven't done anything in that medium in a long time. I'm wanting to get those out again and see what happens! What do you do when you feel you're in a creative rut or you are just having a hard time getting motivated?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School


It is so hard to believe it is that time of the year; summer is winding down and school is starting up again! I have always loved this time of the year. I enjoy the feeling of new beginnings in the air, the search for new school supplies, finding that perfect 1st day outfit, football games to attend, and the wonderful excitement of a new school year and all the possibilities it brings.
Before I had my kids, I taught art in a public school for a few years. I remember the fun I had setting up my room and anticipating seeing my students again after the summer break. (I will admit going back was hard after some much needed time off, but it was fun to start a new year as well!) I always tried to do something special for my students at the beginning of the year. New bulletin boards, welcome signs, table markers, etc. One year I had them make time capsules to be opened up at the end of the year; they so loved that!

Now that I'm a mom I want to make going back to school special for my own kids, so I went on a search for fun "back to school" traditions and wanted to share what we have done to celebrate this special time of the year!
  • "The 12 Days Before _____ grade" or "The 12 Days of ____ grade": A take off on the 12 days of Christmas. Each night I put a surprise in my daughter's backpack. I've used books about starting school, fun school supplies, cute socks, hair accessories, stickers, etc.
  • Our annual back to school shopping trip for school supplies. It is always so fun to pick out the new items needed for school. This year my daughter picked out a fun globe shaped pencil sharpener among other goodies!
  • New backpack and lunch box! No surprise, this year we went with a Scooby Doo theme (her favorite!). We found a cute scooby book bag and the mystery machine lunch box!

  • First day outfit! I always let my daughter pick out a special outfit for the first day of school (mom approved, of course!) This gets her excited and makes her feel included in all the preparation and decision making!
  • Purchase a small gift for her new teacher and include a short note wishing her a great first day!
  • I journal my thoughts for my child on their first day, hopes about her year, my feelings, etc.
  • Have chocolate chip cookies for a special after school snack and talk about how her first day went.
  • Have a school themed dinner with ABC pasta noodles.
These are just a few ideas for getting my kids excited about going back to school and making this time special for our family! Do you do anything fun and creative to celebrate back to school?


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Vertu Art Experience

The Vertu art exhibit was such a wonderful, amazing experience!  Just taking the leap and seeing what would happen if I submitted my work was a big step for me.  To be blessed with having two of my pieces accepted to the show was more than I could have hoped for!  I'm so glad I gathered up the courage to do it!  I've felt God gently nudging me and can't deny the doors He is opening!  I'm truly grateful to have been given this opportunity!

Here are the two paintings that were in the show:

Mixed Media by Jennifer Snellings

Mixed Media by Jennifer Snellings

So, the day of the reception was a whirlwind.  We were having some work done on our home and everything was a wreck.  My entire family joined me that evening at the gallery.  I decided to bring my kids so they could experience the show with me; a decision that proved to have it challenges, but overall went well.  I'm so glad my daughter especially was able to see my work in a gallery show (my son is still to young to know what was going on).  She is very artistic and I want to expose her to all that I can!  And my amazingly supportive husband of course wouldn't have missed it!!!  We finally got ourselves dressed and ready to go.  Then on the way there the skies opened with a huge thunderstorm.  At least we needed the rain!! :)

When we arrived at the Artist's Showplace Gallery, it was already full of people.  I couldn't believe how well the show was attended, especially with the yucky weather!  I had several dear friends come to support me which meant the world to me!  It was a wonderfully festive atmosphere with an amazing saxophonist, wine, and great company! 

We browsed the show and of course found my artwork!! 

The night was a huge success and an unbelievable experience!  I'm so thankful to have been a part of it all and will definitely remember it always!  :)