Saturday, December 24, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Merry Christmas from the Velvet Lime Girls!

Here's Marybeth and family...
And here's the photo that didn't make the card, but is our favorite :-)

Here's Rebecca and family:
And here's Laura and family (she's the one in the back, behind all the children & grandchildren!)

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas!



Monday, December 19, 2011

A Tranquil Spot


We discovered a creative company with a kindred spirit. It’s called pure gratitude and carries this tagline, “because everyone has something to be thankful for”. We love expressions of gratitude and we were moved by the way this artist expressed gratitude, love, peace, hope and encouragement through her hand-stamped silver jewelry. Each handcrafted piece, embellished at times with pearl, gemstones, leather or natural elements, seems to tell a story. The website alone is a tranquil spot to visit. Lovely quotes float around the site such as, “i would maintain that thanks is the greatest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
gk chesterton

And with descriptions of selected pieces sounding more like an excerpt from a favorite book, you’ll find yourself reading about each delicate creation.
Here’s a favorite description that accompanies the piece in the photo above:

“He calls you His beloved. He laid down everything, His very life because He loved you first. this Christmas be assured of His unending, deep affection for you. through the ages this has never changed, you are still cherished, treasured and greatly loved by a God that is so much larger than life.”
Zephaniah 3:17“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

We think we like the description as much as the necklace.

Thoughtful shoppers have discovered the site and buzzed in like bees finding a patch of unknown clover in a meadow, so a delivery before Christmas may be slim. The site is, however, a resource filled with ideas for year-round gift giving. So, we wanted to share, even if it was just for the pure pleasure of reading the sentiments.

The Velvet Lime Girls

P.S. The artist at pure gratitude is Michelle Harpur, a dear friend of Laura's. www.puregratitude.net

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas has come.


Yesterday afternoon we all received this message from Marybeth. “Well, Katie & I have accomplished one thing for Christmas!” Attached was this photo of their Nativity scene. It was, as if, regardless of whether anything else was accomplished, the most important thing about Christmas in their family had been done. The manger scene that tells the story of Christmas was up. Christmas had arrived in their home. And in the hearts of us who received her message.

Earlier in the day, as we had all worked in the studio on our new collection for 2012 we had laughed at how none of us had really prepared our homes for Christmas yet. Well, Rebecca, had decorated a bit, but Christmas cards were not done. Marybeth & I (Laura) had mailed Christmas cards, but there wasn’t even a speck of tinsel or sprig of greenery in either of our homes yet. These comments came from girls who normally have everything up the day after Thanksgiving J.

In the absolute joy of creating a new collection of artwork for Velvet Lime Girls ((it debuts in January at the Atlanta Mart) and working at our regular jobs, we’ve all looked up in pleasant surprise and realized… it’s almost Christmas.

And yet, when we all received this text and photo from Marybeth, we realized how simple it is to allow Christmas to arrive in our homes. A single nativity set, placed on a mantle, brought a pause and stillness to our hearts. Each piece gently placed on the ledge now retold the story of Christmas and calmed our hearts.

The Christmas trees will be put up, the lights hung, the presents wrapped … eventually. But, after the nativity photo came, a new sense of calm came. It caused us to reflect and remember the real story of Christmas … to remind ourselves what this wonderful celebration is really all about. The birth of Jesus Christ.

So, for all of you, like us, who have yet to complete your lists for Christmas, we hope you will pause and enjoy the simple scene in the photo above that tells the real story of Christmas. And let Christmas arrive in your heart.

The Velvet Lime Girls

P.S. The stocking in the photo with the “B” is for Biscuit, the guinea pig. Marybeth's daughter, Katie, was afraid no one would get him anything for Christmas and she asked for a stocking. Slightly lower, but not pictured, is Maggie Waggie Wydock's stocking, which belongs to their dog. And there may be more! A stocking request from Madison, her other daughter, has recently been presented ... for her fish "Spa".






Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lord of lords



Lord of Lords. It’s a term that may bring to mind tales of medieval times, regal lifestyles and rulers of grand estates. Not mangers, humble beginnings and living life with a servant heart.

And yet, that is the life lived by the bearer of this name.

This title contains an unexpected contrast … a juxtaposition of sorts. Juxtapositions are often seen in the design world when a mix of two opposites creates something never before seen and never before expected. Rough burlap paired with soft velvet, or smooth silk layered on textured wool. The combinations are unusual, unexpected, unimagined. The results however explode the lid off of traditional patterns and conventional thinking and open the way for new realms of thought and creativity.

Lord of lords, is a crowning display of juxtaposition. This Lord, the Lord of lords, humbled himself, took on mortal flesh and came and lived among us. His arrival was announced by a host of angels and yet occurred in a manger. Respected intellectuals with lavish gifts welcomed Him as well as hard-working ordinary people. And although He was of royal descent, history records that one of his last acts was washing the feet of his disciples.

He was a servant Lord. A Lord who cared enough to come down and live among us. A Lord who “came down and moved into the neighborhood.” John 1:14

The Velvet Lime Girls

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Prince of Peace


Prince of Peace. It’s the second piece in our descriptive name & crown series we created and one of our favorites. Most people understand the concept of a Prince, but the definition of peace is quite inspiring when you go back and look at the original Hebrew word. The word is shalom. It’s meaning encompasses much more than calm peace. Like a mother gathering up all her children in her arms and carrying them away to a safer place, when shalom is spoken, it extends an embrace of complete wholeness to the recipient. It gathers up meanings of good welfare, health, safety, soundness, tranquility, harmony, absence of discord, favor, prosperity, rest, and well being and carries them into the life of the receiver. The expression of shalom brings them to a place where things are made whole … nothing missing, nothing broken, a place of restoration.

That’s the kind of peace that comes when the Prince of Peace arrives in your life. Regardless of your situations and surroundings, His presence, the very meaning of His name, brings a change. Brings wholeness. Brings Shalom.

“He will be called, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6

The Velvet Lime Girls

Friday, December 9, 2011

King of kings


This artwork came out of our hearts a couple years ago and we thought it was fitting to share it again as we prepare to celebrate Christmas.

Names say a lot about a person. Parents often spend months selecting a name that will convey the essence of all their hopes and dreams for that child. They know names are important. It’s the manner in which a child will be addressed and referred to for life and often serves as a remembrance long after they are gone.

Sometimes a person can have a descriptive name that kind of sums up what their life is all about. Thoughtful Thomas, Caring Cathy, Insightful Ian, Wise William … you can easily add to the list.

But a descriptive name like the King of kings is an entirely different category. You’ll notice the dictionary even points out that when using this phrase in reference to Christ, that the first King is to be capitalized. It denotes an authority that is higher than any king in history. The KING of kings.

We wanted to weave the historical record of this King’s birth in the background of our artwork, wash it in a symbolic red glaze and crown it with a reference to His royal lineage. We love the way Marybeth took all these ideas and distilled them into this creative birth announcement/name declaration that creates a powerful remembrance.

We have a few more descriptive names we captured in artwork and we will share them over the next few days. Come back and be inspired this week, as you see just how powerful a name can be.

The Velvet Lime Girls

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Dog


This is Dakota. He’s a very secure and content dog. He knows his purpose in life.

The “son” of Laura’s brother, Bud, he lives a life of luxury. This photo was taken by Laura’s sister-in-law, Laura Belle Skinner, and we’re impressed that she also did the photo styling for this shoot, and even more impressed that Dakota cooperated.

One might think, looking at this photo that all Dakota does is calmly lie around on softly padded L. L. Bean dog beds, occasionally eating healthy dog treats, and enjoying a daily jaunt around the neighborhood. He does do this, (remember, he lives a life of luxury J), but the REAL Dakota is hidden inside and it’s a sight to behold when it emerges.

If you take Dakota out early in the morning, when the temperature has dipped overnight into the ‘30’s, with frost still on the ground and let him loose in a field, another power within him takes over. The laid back, calm dog you see in the picture becomes a tornado of amazing power and strength. The reason he was born becomes clearly evident. His purpose presents itself loud and clear. He was born to hunt. He was bred to hunt. He was trained to hunt. And that purpose, that passion, totally takes over and he slips out of his Clark Kent demeanor and becomes a Superman of sorts in the wide, open field.

Tilling the ground and frosty turf below him, he becomes a streak of fur, soaring at electric, breakneck speed, working the field and seeming to leave the world behind as he relishes living life doing what he was created to do… HUNT!

It’s great when you know your purpose in life, the reason you were born. An energy beyond you often grips you and carries you, especially if you stay connected to your source. We like the way the Message explains it, “ Those who wait for God, get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles… they run and don’t get tired.” Isaiah 40:31

“That transforming power that overtakes Dakota is a slim streak compared to the swath of power just waiting to infuse each of us. You may have forgotten about it, living your everyday life, relying on your own strength. But the reality is, it’s available. You just have to make the connection to activate it. Your purpose, your passion and your reason for being born flow out of that connection too.

So if you’re feeling a little tired, worn-out or weary, there’s a source of strength just waiting to fill you with a fresh vigor that would make Dakota look like he’s just doing a warm-up.

Simply soaring,

The Velvet Lime Girls

P.S. We're pushing for a cover shot of Dakota on the cover of Garden & Gun magazine...don't you think he's ready? Here's a photo of his softer side:


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yum!



Inspiration is everywhere! That’s one of our favorite sayings and last night the inspiration came from the soft opening of Bua, a Thai and Sushi restaurant in the Brookhaven area just outside of Atlanta. We hope you are not hungry when you look at these photos ☺
The colors, the flavors, the atmosphere was simply a plunge into creative waters for us. The photos above of the large “flowers” are actually carved watermelons and the “leaves” are the carved underside of the watermelon rinds. Even the food presentation was a work of art! Fabulous Thai spring rolls came out wrapped in a palm leaf presentation that had us scrambling for our cameras and the entrĂ©es were framed in floral displays of orchids. Photography, furnishings and art from Thailand simply swept us away from the South for a few hours … and I think we started humming in delight with a soft Thai twang before the evening was over.
It’s great to have a little of the “eat, drink and be merry” life once in awhile. It refreshes us and reminds us that “Every one should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor…it is the gift of God” Ecclesiastes 3:12

The Velvet Lime Girls
P.S. We focus on inspiration for the soul here, but for more food inspiration visit http://www.Buaatlanta.com and a little more design inspiration visit http://www.rhodesdesigngroup.com

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Real Comfort


Yesterday Rebecca was driving in the car with Alexa, her 22 month old daughter. Alexa is the tiniest little fan of the Velvet Lime Girls. She often provides her artistic opinion on our upcoming artwork (see Sept. 30th blog). As their short trip progressed, Alexa became restless and a bit fussy. A series of questions began, to help comfort her.

Did she want juice? “No”.

Did she want gummy bears? “No”.

Did she want her paci? (pacifier)? Again the answer was surprisingly, “No.

Finally Rebecca asked, “Alexa, tell me what you want.” A long pause occurred in the car… and then, her tiny little voice replied from the carseat … “hand”.

She wanted her mother’s hand. She just wanted to have her mom hold her hand. Nothing else could bring the comfort, the solace, the calm like her mother’s hand …not even the revered “paci”.

A hand. Sometimes it’s all that’s really needed. A hand to comfort, to calm, to care.

As soothing to the soul as a hand extended may be, it’s a mere glimpse of the powerful hand continually extended to help us. A hand that actually has us engraved on it, or, in other words, “indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) us on the palms of each of His hands.”

Now, that’s real comfort. Talk about a tight hold … why, you’re tattooed on God hands! J

The Velvet Lime Girls

I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands.” Isaiah 49:16

Photo of Alexa's hand in the palm of her grandmother Laura's hand taken days after her birth.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rhythms of Grace


“Live in the unhurried rhythms of grace” … we loved this phrase the first time we read it in The Message years ago. Last year we began creating artwork to convey this thought and a lovely blue heron came to mind. The blue heron is recognized as a solitary feeder. Her nourishment comes in moments of solitude, as she silently seeks her food ... a quiet reminder for us to also receive nourishment in moments of solitude with God. Our heron, with her graceful long neck and calm stance, was washed in watercolor shades of coastal colors. We wanted her to convey the calm, deliberate, simple life that is available to us. The life not weighed down with cares and unnecessary obligations. The life lived in the unhurried rhythms of grace.

Imagine our delight at discovering an entire book about living in the rhythms of grace! (We found a book review of this treasure in life:beautiful magazine.) The book is Abundant Simplicity - Discovering the unhurried rhythms of grace. The author, Jan Johnson, has drawn a picture with her writing pen of the stillness, the calm, and the peace that comes as we begin to live simply and in connection with God. Here’s one of our favorite quotes from the book ... “To live deliberately means to move slowly, to look people in the eyes when they speak to us and to follow up on the ideas that the Spirit has possibly nudged us with.”

We can’t tell you how this inspired us and we hope it inspires you! So, since we’ve been nudged to follow up on the ideas the Spirit has given us…we are dusting off our blue heron and finishing her! When she’s finished, she’ll have a lot to say, dressed in her simple stance and calm colors. And we hope her sentiment will “look you in the eyes when they speak” and remind you to “live in the unhurried rhythms of grace”. She’ll make an unhurried debut in our 2012 coastal collection. (We think she must somehow be related to the elegant swan above.)

Living simply,
The Velvet Lime Girls

P.S. More inspiration from the book and Jan Johnson @ http://janjohnson.org/book_table.html

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Get-Away


Have you ever anticipated a gift before it arrived? Counted the days until you could open and enjoy it? That’s how we feel every three months as we wait for our subscription to life:beautiful magazine.

It’s more than a magazine… it’s a little vacation packaged in print.

Gorgeous photography, uplifting articles, yummy recipes, fresh ideas for the home and float-away moments of connecting with God, in the most elegant environment, lie within each issue. We absolutely lose ourselves for long periods of time wrapped within its pages. Relaxing, refreshing and restoring ourselves with the messages on each page that come straight from the heart of God. It’s a little bit of heaven on earth for over an hour.

How can a publication make you feel like you’ve spent the day at a luxurious spa or refreshing retreat? We think it’s because it feeds your spirit and celebrates the abundant life that God desires for each of us.

The current holiday issue is so full of treasures that you’ll keep it filed away like a precious resource guide … referring back to it for lovely ways to nurture your home, your family and yourself. And you just can’t imagine what a wonderful gift it is to receive … inspiration all year long!

So find yourself a copy and slowly fix a cup of tea. Believe us, you will just want to do this once you open the first page. Then, take a little vacation during this Christmas season to refresh, restore and revive yourself in spirit, mind and body.

Sipping cups of tea with life:beautiful, The Velvet Lime Girls

Find an issue at Barnes & Noble, Jo-Ann’s or @ www.lifebeautifulmagazine.com

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Birds Knew


We wonder if the birds knew? Did they anticipate the arrival of the Savior? The stars knew He was coming. The Wise Men knew. The animals gathered at his birth knew. And his mother knew He had arrived within her. Surely the birds knew.

Creatures often seem to know ahead of time when a change is coming. Reports abound of animals taking actions prior to a change in climate or environment. Why wouldn't the greatest change, the greatest shift that ever occurred in history not alert little birds?

We think they knew.

Perhaps they looked a bit like this little bird. He's looking out over the bleak, harsh, cold environment surrounding him, to the spring. New life is coming! A new beginning is coming, a better way. He knows it and waits for it. And the calm assurance in his little face reflects this.

We think his ancestors may have looked like this just before Christmas Day. They had to know He was coming and they must have waited and watched with calm assurance, just like this little bird.

We hope the quiet expectation that the world and little birds held years ago on the starry nights before Christmas will envelope you and your family this season, as we wait to remember the greatest birthday ever.

The Velvet Lime Girls
The watercolor study of the Christmas cardinal is by Marybeth Wydock.

Friday, December 2, 2011

All is Calm


Intercessory Hands … that’s what the artist who created this piece of artwork calls her creation. We were fortunate to have a glimpse of this moving piece two years ago and it totally captured our hearts. The artist is Sarah Beth Cowart, the daughter of a dear friend of Laura’s, and she currently holds a degree in Studio Art.

The word “intercessory” may not be a word you hear often, but it means “the act of offering prayer to God on behalf of others.” It’s such a humble and noble act … whether you’re on the receiving end or the praying end.

We were especially drawn to the position of the hands in this artwork. Many artists portray hands in prayer from an outside view, tightly folded, in earnest effort. But this artist went straight to the heart of the matter …. the hands, wrinkled with worry and concern, have opened up, let go and released all their ability and faith to God.

You can almost feel the calm that has come.

As we begin this busy and wonderful season of Christmas, we wanted to bring a sense of calm into the lives of all who visit our site… and these hands do it so beautifully. We hope the artwork inspires you to open up, let go and release your ability and faith to God. And we hope you feel the calm that will come.

The Velvet Lime Girls

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Seed Story


Christmas Seed Story

This slender seedpod graced our lives this past month. Gathered on a walk with a granddaughter, it found a home among a collection of natural fall decorations. The slim, tight green husk sat silently, in obscurity, among the collection.

Early one morning a silent explosion occurred and the green husk was split from top to bottom, bursting and birthing light, airy seeds too numerous to count. Fine cotton candy puffs, holding rainbows of light in each lash exploded from the gathered grip of each tiny seed. They could no longer be contained inside the tight green husk. Their time had come. Their season had arrived. They were ready to multiply, replenish, and take dominion over their new dwelling places.

It seemed fitting to have this seedpod arrive so close to Christmas. Like the child born in a manger years ago, who carried a unique seed potential within … son of God and son of man, this “seed” also produced a harvest too numerous to count. When he left this earth, history records that like the seedpod, a veil was torn from top to bottom. A new season, a new arrangement, began and endless numbers of seeds like him were born.

We’ll look at seedpods differently now. They echo an eternal love story. God giving his only Son for us … opening the door for us all to join His family … a family of little seeds too numerous to count.

The Velvet Lime Girls

The Word (Christ) became flesh and blood; and moved into the neighborhood.” John 1:14