Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Project From The Heart

Disclaimer: This post contains the sensitive topic of miscarriage and loss. It is not a topic I usually include on this blog, but I want to tell my story and explain the beauty behind this project.  I do not sensor much of the story in this post, though I have decided to only include pictures of the project and not pictures of my baby.  Thank you for reading.

We had just finished celebrating Christmas with loved ones. Our son opened plenty of presents, I enjoyed as much food as my pregnant belly could handle.  Little did we know that not all was well with the baby. A few days later, we went to a regular doctors appointment only to be told she couldn't find the heartbeat. An ultrasound confirmed that our baby had indeed passed.  I was 16 weeks along and decided to deliver our baby, hold him, and bury him in our home town. At 11 pm on December 31st, we were admitted to the labor and delivery floor at the hospital. At midnight, when everyone was celebrating, we were waiting. We watched the ball drop on tv from our hospital bed. We watched fireworks out our room's window. Being torn between the joy of a new year and the despair of such a loss. Thinking of all the newness the new year would bring and all the memories we would never create. At 11:11 the following morning we said hello and goodbye to a 1.1 ounce baby boy. We named him Gabriel Russell in honor of my great great grandpa Russell G.  This is truly one of the hardest things my husband and I have ever done. 

For the last three years, we have only decorated his grave site with wreaths, flowers and other lawn decorations with the intention of putting a permanent marker out there at some point. Nothing ever seemed good enough. A stone is so cold and lonely. A wreath is so bare. I decided I wanted a bench out there. A little bench. One fit for a little boy to sit on.  I dreamt up the design, my husband made it a reality.  I stained it, created stencils, and sealed it. An unfortunate reason to have to team up with my husband to create something, but this is the most beautiful thing we have ever created (except of course our two other children).

I wanted to write this blog to tell my story. To let others know that they are not alone. This subject can be so taboo and unspoken. Even though I knew I was not alone, the topic of Gabriel is always so awkward and I felt I couldn't talk about him openly. I've changed my outlook on that. Gabriel is my son and I talk about him as if I've spent the last three years with him, not a mere 3 hours. I also wanted to share the story behind the symbols on our bench and show off the beautiful work my husband did.

 Snowflake flourish (on both ends of the bench): Gabriel was our winter baby. Also, you know the glittery snow? The snow that catches the light in such a way that it looks like silver glitter is falling from the sky? I call that Gabriel snow. I always seem to see it when I've been thinking about him a lot. It's like he's saying hello, I'm still here and I love you.

We will see you again (on back of bench): We do believe we will see Gabriel again. Carrie Underwood's song hit me hard one day. Since then, I can't listen to the song without thinking of our baby. 

 A moment in our arms. A lifetime in our hearts (front of bench): I think this one's pretty self explanatory. We only held Gabriel for a few hours, but he will be forever a part of us.
Top of Bench

These images are on the legs of the bench. I'm not sure why I chose birds to represent Gabriel. But I always do. Sometimes I choose Christmas cards and other things we are sending as a family, that have birds on them so I can sign Gabriel's name without really signing his name. Now you know family :) The little boy and his dog represent Gabriel and my husband's dog. We've always said that the DreamWorks logo (boy fishing on the moon) reminds us of my grandpa and Gabriel.  I thought the DreamWorks logo would be kind of cheesy and thought this one was just perfect. And the boy on the tractor represents our family's love of tractors.
The story is not all sad. I have one beautiful little boy who is almost 5 (Brock) and a 2 year old girl (Emma Eve, named for my great great grandma Evelyn G. Wife of Russell). Emma was due January 2nd, 2012 (Gabriel 1.1.11, Emma 1.2.12) which was a sign to me that everything was going to be okay. Of course Emma was fashionably late and came on January 8th. I see a lot of signs in things. Signs that things are okay. Signs from Gabriel and God that they're there for us. Emma being born on January 8th was no different. Because the year before, January 8th, 2011, was the day we buried our sweet Gabriel.

"Every little thing is going to be alright"


Monday, April 14, 2014

Sketching Just Got Easier!

So there are a lot of bumps and glitches in the new program update, but one thing I love is, sketching just got so much easier!  Before V3, you had to select what you wanted to sketch and unselect what you didn't want to sketch and if you're doing a lot of colors or a lot of copies of one thing, that gets pretty tedious. I even did a video on how to break up the colors so all you had to do was switch colors and tabs in Silhouette Studio. It's pretty much a breeze now.  So while Silhouette America works through the glitches in other areas, I will rejoice in the fact that I can sketch a whole lot easier!

I'm going to work through this tutorial with the assumption that you have no idea how to use the new version of studio. I might not even be doing it right, but it's what works for me and it really allows me to zip through my projects quickly.

You are going to start with sizing your paper. I'm using a letter size sheet of cardstock, so I set my page up like so.

Next, I will be making my card 6x4, so I resize a rectangle to reflect that. I work with just the front of the card first.  I'll make the rest of the card later.

I found these cute files in the SIL store. Crazy, but I have never sketched something I purchased in the store. I was very excited to try it out!

Then I designed by card front. I changed the line colors to the color I planned to use. So here you see I have the circle pink and the bunny brown.

Then I duplicate my rectangle, overlap them a bit and draw a line down the center.

Weld the rectangles together and then change the center line color to a different color. I do this because I'll be perforating the green line. Now I will say this is one thing that I didn't like. I want to be able to set my cut lines for this at the same time. I want the red and green lines to cut at the same time, but for the green to perforate and I couldn't figure out a way to do that at this time. Oh well, the process was already way quicker!
Now it's time to sketch! Here you see all my different line colors as layers.  So first I'm going to sketch the black lines, so I check the black box.

Change to sketch pen option. Use a Silhouette Sketch Pen or use your pen holder to draw it out.

Click send to silhouette and ta-da just the black sketched. I'm so excited to not have to select and unselect all the different pieces!
Then just work through your different layers. Uncheck the colors you don't want to sketch and select the ones you do. Trust me, this is so much easier than it was before!

In minutes, I had two super cute cards for Easter! I was even motivated to make a couple more because it was so easy and fast!
I hope this was helpful as you start to learn V3 when it comes to sketching.  I'll try to do a video soon.
Now let me show you something I've just started selling that you might need to add to your supplies wish list.  A pen roll up! My pens are constantly all over the place. This keeps them all in one place and has a pocket for me to store my extra blades and pen holders.  Much more organized!  Right now I'm doing them as custom orders. Contact me on etsy so I can use fabrics that fit your personality!
It's a Spring theme for my blogger friends and me! Check out all these great Spring Projects to get you in the mood for Spring (not that that will be hard to do).

Spring Cleaning - Custom Canisters

I Love Paris In the Springtime

Etching for Sping - Mug Personalization for the April Silhouette Challenge

WHEELY excited about spring

No-Sew Fabric & Burlap Peter Cottontail Banner

Narwhals, plus friends

Gold Fern Easter Eggs

Mr and Mrs Easter Egg Head

Easter Bunny Plate

Welcome Spring - A Sign From Tile

Paper Flowers Wall Art

DIY: Bunny-Stamped Goodie Bags for Easter

Inspirational Window

Now We Have Everything Nursery Art

Spring' and Flowers Paper Banner

Glitter Jars with a Happy, Hoppy Bunny Made with the Silhouette + Free Cut File!

Mother's Day Wreath

Decorate A Watering Can With Vinyl!

April Showers Sketch Pen Printable

Spring Wreath

Burlap Garden Flag with Heat Transfer Vinyl

Pretty Little Herb Pots

Peter Cottontail Door Hanger

Spring Has Sprung

Spring Has Sprung - Subway Art

Bloom And Grow Sunflower Bouquet for Teacher Appreciation

Sharpie Easter Eggs

Tear Open Easter Egg Cards

Look what's Blooming! ~ Silhouette Challenge

Everblooming Paper Bouquet

Silhouette Challenge: Spring Polish Swap Card

[B] is for Bloom: Scrap Lumber Flower Vases

Tulip Time - Fridge Magnets

Neon Paper Pinwheels {tutorial}

A Happy Spring Card

Sketching Just Got Easier!

Spring Bunny Baskets

Bird Nerd Easter Eggs

Easter Peeps Treats with {FREE} Printables and Cut File

Garden Bench Update

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