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Posts Tagged: "art"

Create Photo Art Using American Sign Language

- - Birthday, Christmas

My paternal and maternal grandparents and my mother were deaf so my first language was American Sign Language.

create-photo-art-using-american-sign-language-thoughtful-gift-ideaSeveral years ago, my mother became ill and I took her to the emergency room. It was the beginning of dementia even though we were not aware of it yet.

The wait in the ER was F-O-R-E-V-E-R! and she became extremely restless.

To help keep her calm, I suggested we take pictures of her hand creating individual letters of the ABCs in American Sign Language (ASL). 

She loved it and thankfully doing that passed the time.

We later printed out photos of the individual letters to spell out the names of my brothers, my mother’s cousins and her friends. We mailed them in “thinking of you cards.”

My mother enjoyed hearing from each one that they loved her special surprise gift. Sign language is beautiful and you do not have to be deaf to enjoy seeing your name spelled in ASL.

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Paint Your Own Pottery Experience

When I visit my sister’s family, I always like to give my three nieces the gift of a new experience.

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Now that my oldest niece is 16 and I have a four-year old son, I needed to come up with an experience that teenagers AND young children would enjoy. That’s a little tough, but I came up with the perfect idea! Adults will enjoy it too!

I took everyone to a paint your own pottery studio where each of us picked out an unfinished ceramic pottery to paint.

The studio had a TON of choices and to inspire customers it displayed examples of what the final painted products could look like.

Ceramic Pottery

I picked out a Christmas sweater platter, and my son picked out a dinosaur. My sister picked out a Christmas mug, while her 16-year old niece picked out a jar. My 13-year old niece picked out a turtle shaped container, and my nine-year old niece picked out a Hello Kitty figurine. See! Something for everyone!

The pottery studio provided all of the painting supplies, glazing and firing. All we needed to do was unleash our creativity!

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Stuffed Animals Displayed as Art

Most of us have grown up with teddy bears or other beloved stuffed animals. Many of us still have them.

teddy-bear-framed-thoughtful-gift-ideaThey are tucked away forgotten until we come across them stored away in the attic or closet. Oh… that warm fuzzy feeling of seeing your childhood companion!

I have a beautiful gift idea to display the lovable teddy bear and other favorite huggable animals.

Place the stuffed animal in a picture frame to look like art!

You can purchase frames, use frames you have around the house or look for frames at garage and estate sales at bargain prices. If you don’t like the color of the frame, simply paint over it.

I love DIY projects only if they are simple!

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Unique & Awesome Museum Gifts

Ever wonder where you can go to find unique and awesome gifts? Try a museum gift shop.

museum-gift-emboridered-peacock-feather-velet-purse-thoughtful-gift-ideaDon’t have a local museum? No worries! Shop online from many of the world’s most famous museums like The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York or The Louvre in Paris.

Discover hundreds of unique gifts and art reproductions, including jewelry, sculpture, apparel, wall art, stationery, toys and more.

You’ll find plenty of gifts to choose from available in any price range.

One of my favorite gift shops is The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  The gifts are unlike anything else I’ve ever seen and more affordable than you might think.

I recently purchased a beautiful $25 velvet bag for my sister-in-law to use as a small purse or make-up bag. The embroidered design motif of a peacock feather is based on a color stencil print by Maurice Pillard Verneuil (French, 1869 to 1942). I was certain she didn’t have anything like it. Continue Reading

Retirement Gifts with a Twist

- - Retirement

Retirement is the next frontier for Baby Boomers! Did you know the Baby Boomer generation will be turning 65 at a rate of 8,000 per day? That’s a lot of retirement gifts to think about!

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Create a joyful card for Retirement!

Rocking chair gifts are out. Let’s get more creative than that.

Many Baby Boomers retire only to become bored and return to work part-time. Others start new businesses while some take trips and enjoy their hobbies of art, golf, fishing, or penning a novel.

HOBBY GIFTS

A retirement gift related to their hobby is perfect.

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Pair a flashlight with this card for a Play on Words gift idea.

If they like to paint, purchase several different size canvases with the message to “Paint Your Art Out.”

Golf balls are certainly prized gifts. Personalize them with the word “RETIRED!” Continue Reading

Painting of Childhood Home Brings to Life Cherished Memories

I bet you can remember in great detail your childhood home.

canvas painting of a two story houseFor me, I still remember the wallpaper design in each room. The texture of our brown couch where I spent hours reading my Nancy Drew novels. The large crack that ran across the width of my bedroom door for which I have my younger brother and a very sturdy chair to thank for creating.

Every time one of my siblings visits our hometown of Enid, Oklahoma, we always drive by our childhood home. It’s a magnet that draws us.

With one look at that two-story beige house with its wide front porch, the flood gates open to our childhood memories. We see the windows but what we’re really seeing are the many family events that took place behind those windows.

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“Mighty Fine” | Remembering Gramps’ Personal Saying

My father-in-law, Gene Drew, was a very kind and quiet man who would sometimes surprise us with his humorous wit. I always thought my husband got his wit from his mother but he also got it from his dad. Randy even laughs like his dad. There’s no denying it. We are our parents!

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When Gene spoke, the message was plain, simple and always thought through. There was never misunderstanding what he said.

He was a WWII Veteran and like so many of his time, they did not talk about the war. Instead, they got busy workin’, raisin’ families and livin’!

Gene could fix anything. Cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers – you name it, he repaired it! He could make anything out of left over stuff. He made a work table on wheels once out of an old air conditioning unit. In his later years, he helped his grandchildren make science fair projects. He was amazing!

Gramps, as we all fondly called him, passed away in July of 2011 just shy of his 90th birthday. At his funeral, his youngest son Kyle gave the eulogy. He spoke about all of the wonderful things he instilled in his children not by doing so much talking but by his actions.

When he did talk, Gramps had a personal saying he always used for anything good – “Mighty Fine.” Kyle reminded us that when he learned to ride his bike or came home with news of getting on the baseball team, Gramps would always say that’s “Mighty Fine.”

When as a kid he asked, “Dad, what do you think about Jesus returning?” Gramps slowly took his pipe out of his mouth and said, “I think it would be mighty fine!”

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Love Connection | Personalized Etched Glass Wedding Gift

Our dear friends’ daughter is getting married. We met Stuart and Karen when we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We became family and when Kelsey was born we were thrilled. It was fun to buy girly things as she was the only girl among our four boys.

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She is all grown up now and Cinderella has found her Prince Charming. I received the wedding announcement and cannot believe our baby girl is getting married. Since we moved back to Oklahoma, time flew by especially when we did not get to see her on a regular basis.

Even though I enjoy art, I was rarely exposed to it in Oklahoma unless I went to museums or the art festival once a year. “Art” is everywhere in New Mexico. There are mini-art festivals all year long. “Old Town” in Albuquerque and “The Governors Square” in Santa Fe explodes with art all around you with beautiful paintings, unique jewelry, and colorful pottery that can be used as a decorative piece or for everyday ware. Truly amazing artists.

So true to her culture, I wanted to create something that would be considered art. Since I cannot draw, paint, make jewelry or mold clay, I had to think outside the artist’s pallete. I’m always looking for a “thoughtful twist” and came up with the idea of etched glass.

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Hand Prints on Canvas Best Friends Gift Idea

I am blessed to have life long friends. It’s a trait I copied from my mom. She attended the Oklahoma School for the Deaf and stayed in contact with many of her friends throughout her lifetime. While growing up, I watched her write and receive mail from her friends from all across America.

Hand Prints on Canvas Best Friends Gift IdeaI moved to Oklahoma from Texas on my 12th birthday. Mother enrolled us in school and instructed us to “go and make lots of best friends.” We did and she encouraged us to stay in contact with our old friends in Texas. I am forever grateful for her wisdom in keeping and making new friends. You can never have too many!

Nancy is my Oldest BFF (Best Friend Forever)! We met in second grade and have known each other for 54 years. WOW! That’s a long time. We have been exchanging birthday gifts for most of those years.

This year, I came up with the idea to have our hand prints together on a canvas. One problem – I live in Oklahoma and she lives in Texas. Continue Reading

Art That Imitates Life

My friend Janet and I enjoy visiting museums. One of our favorites is the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. There are literally thousands of paintings by artists of various time periods.

Art That Imitates Life GiftsThere we were walking from gallery to gallery when we came upon a painting that took up an entire wall. Although painted in 1879, the colors were still amazingly vibrant.

We both stared at the massive painting in awe when I said, “That’s you and me!”

It was a painting of two women – one with red hair and the other a brunette – living in a palace overlooking the sea. It was named The Favorite of the Emir by Jean Joseph Benjamin Constant. We laughed and joked of being pampered as royalty then moved on to the next gallery.

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