Monday, December 24, 2012

Nativity


This slightly crooked and fragile nativity scene is a quiet reminder that the birth of the Son of God was not quite perfect looking at first glance. A long trip, instead of the comforts of home, a manger instead of room at the inn …this was probably not the way they had it planned.

God had a plan though and it was perfect. Nestled within this humble beginning was the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace … our Emmanuel.

This little nativity whispers to each of us that the bent places in our lives, the weathered journeys and the fragile moments of life may not always be perfect looking from the outside … but our God always has a good plan and tenderly reminds us:                        
“...I have come that you might have life and life more abundant.”                      John 10:10
  
Thanking God for each of you this Christmas and for all the shared moments of crooked times, fragile times and good times.  The best is yet to come!

The Velvet Lime Girls
Christmas 2012




Monday, December 3, 2012

Season of The King


December is here.

Ornaments are coming out of hibernation, Christmas trees are slipping into festive attire and lights are filling the nights with brilliant expressions of joy.  The celebrations of Christmas are unfolding everywhere.

Here in our studio, in the midst of all the anticipation and excitement, we’ve paused a moment to reflect on the heart of Christmas.  We’re remembering that it’s the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, the King of Kings.  This is the moment we wait for all year. Celebrating the One who loved us enough to come to earth and “move into the neighborhood” (The Message- John 1:14)

What a love story Christmas is to all of us. The King of Kings humbling himself and being born as a child in the little town of Bethlehem.  Just for us.

We captured these thoughts and reflections into some artwork a few years ago.  We filled a background with ancient manuscripts telling the story of the birth of Jesus,
 added washes of symbolic red and gold
and then finally sealed the layers with a crown, signifying the royal lineage of the King of Kings.

We like to pull this artwork out each December, just to remember what it’s all about, and we hope it brings a moment of peaceful pause to your day today.

In the spirit of Christmas, we are giving away one archival print of this artwork to one of our facebook “friends” in a random drawing on December 10th.  To be eligible, simply tell us what word or words capture the heart and the essence of Christmas for you on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/VelvetLImeDesigns

We’ll be looking for your facebook comments whether they are funny, pensive, insightful, silly, thoughtful or brief. Just a word or phrase will do!

Anticipating Christmas,
The Velvet Lime Girls
 Print also available @ http://www.etsy.com/shop/velvetlimedesigns?ref=pr_shop_more




Thursday, November 29, 2012

Banana Bread


Small packages deliver the most heartfelt messages.

When this loaf of homemade banana bread arrived in our studio recently, we just couldn’t resist capturing a photo of the warm, nurturing feeling it seemed to bring to our little world.  Wrapped up in a buttery gold satin ribbon, it seemed to hold the very essence of love beneath its simple transparent wrap.  Someone had cared enough to bake a simple loaf of love and embellish it in the grandest style and we were blessed by this gracious act of giving.

With the approaching season of gift-giving, this humble loaf was a silent reminder of the beauty of simplicity. This little package would overshadow the showiest, most glittery gift or ornament of the season.  It was a recipe made with love, care and time and the absolute splendor of it just took our breath away for a few moments.

You can only imagine how divine it was when we took our first bite! Yum.  It was so good we just had to share the recipe with you.  This is a special recipe and we hope it is a reminder that "YOU are a special recipe made by God."  Like this simple loaf of banana bread, you've been tenderly created with love and wrapped in ribbons of grace. And "oh, what a flavor you are!" (© Ann Embry-1999)




Celebrating the simple things,
The Velvet Lime Girls


Rose’s Banana Bread
3 or 4 very ripe bananas
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 ½ cup of flour
¼ cup of melted butter
1 tsp. baking soda
I tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Mash bananas with fork or potato masher. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into a buttered loaf pan.  Bake 1 hour at 325.

P.S. Thank-you to Laura's mother, Rose Skinner, for the recipe and to Laura Belle Skinner, Laura's sister-in-law, who baked this lovely loaf of banana bread.
  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fresh Starts


A droopy looking shrub hung out in our studio garden all summer long, looking like it was barely getting by.  We tried to perk it up with fresh drinks of water and fertilizer smoothies, but it just stood with its head down and slumped shoulders most of the summer.

Deep inside that dreary exterior, though, there was a great work going on.  The Creator knew what He was doing with this one and although things looked pretty despondent on the outside, inside, a magnificent work was being done.


We’ll never forget the day we caught a glimpse of just how extensive the hidden work had been. It all began with a little tender bud. 
A soft pink envelope, barely containing the strong, vibrant life beneath its veined petals.  This bush was coming alive again! It had been renewed!  It had exchanged its former life with a new life … an abundant life … an exuberant life!  This new life filled it up so much, it just began to explode with joy, and flowers burst out in every direction. Wow, what a sight to behold. Flowers everywhere with their hands lifted up in praise!
All of this was inside that old bush all the time!

It made us think of the transformation, the actual exchange, that can happen in our lives and re-create us into the person God made us to be.

It’s conveyed in The Message beautifully:

We don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look … now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new.  The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! (grows, rapidly expands, flourishes) Look at it!

So, we hope you will “look at it!” 
Look at this bush that is now alive and flourishing with flowers!  Let it remind you of the fresh start, the new beginning, the absolute-total-recharge of your life that's just waiting for you.

 
Celebrating fresh starts,
The Velvet Lime Girls

P.S. A special thank-you to Travis D. Rhodes, Laura’s father-in-love, who gave the small cutting that became the magnificent star in our garden. Like the Confederate Rose, his life overflows with reflections of God's abundance, extravagant love and transforming power.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Heaven Streamers


Heaven streamers came down today. You’ve seen them before. Those soul lifting light shafts that streak through the clouds and lift your eyes and spirit to Heaven.

We often wonder if Heaven just can’t contain itself and has to let a little of its wonder slip through the skies, down to us.

Or, perhaps the joy of loved ones up there is so great that their piñata praises of heavenly celebration burst through the clouds in multi-colored light shafts.

It’s always a invitation to connect with God.

These heavenly streamers followed Marybeth on her morning bike ride a few days ago … really followed her. It was as if God and dear loved ones were looking down and smiling on her.  Moments like that lift your soul and speak to your heart. Hoping to capture the moment forever, Marybeth snapped a photo and thought of this verse:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a crowd of witnesses, let us strip off every weight that slows us down…and run with endurance the race God has set before us.”  Hebrews 12:1

 
We hope you’ll be on the look out for heavenly streamers ... those soaring light messages filled with the confetti and color of an eternal celebration.

Looking up,
The Velvet Lime Girls

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Beautiful Blue Timing




Timing is everything.  And God’s timing is perfect.

We had a brilliant blue shock of color ambush us today in our studio garden.  The garden is a bit subdued now, pulling up its autumn blanket of amber, terra-cotta and subdued browns.  There’s a slumbering beauty here that you have to look for carefully.  Imagine our splash -you -in -the -face -morning surprise at finding this perky little sprite.  A solitary, bright blue cornflower saying “hello!”  Where was this little blossom in the springtime?  And why on earth did she decide to bloom now?

She bloomed now because THIS  was her time.  If she had come a little earlier, she would have simply been lost in hundreds of other blooms.  In a sea of blazing blue, she would never have been appreciated like she is now. God wanted her to shine and He picked this time for her to bloom.  It’s the perfect time for her to bloom and she’s celebrated just about every moment of each day!  How can you miss her???

This brilliant blue cornflower has made us think about how perfect God’s timing is in our lives.  We sometimes wonder why things haven’t happened in the time frame we imagined, why things seem delayed in coming and when the answers to our hopes, dreams  and silent whispered prayers will ever come.  When these thoughts surface, we press in and trust this promise of God’s timing:

“For the vision (dream, future event, revelation) is for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.  Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.”                                              Habakkuk 2:3

So, for all you fellow believers, dreamers and trusting-in-God’s-timers, we hope our little blue flower blazes a message of hope and inspiration into your hearts. God’s timing is always perfect. 


Brilliant blue smiles,
The Velvet Lime Girls





Friday, October 5, 2012

Custom Decor


“Our mouths are filled with laughter… our tongues with songs of joy… the Lord has done great things for us.”                                  Psalms 126:2

We’re absolutely giddy with joy over our new licensing contract with Custom Décor, Inc.  For those of you who have not met them before, they are the # 1 producer of garden flags, mailbox covers and mats in the USA .  They’ve been a joy to work with and here’s a little peek at what we’ve created for them.


Visit their site to find a store that carries these products @http://www.customdecornet.com/
For those of you who own a retail store, visit their wholesale website at @ https://www.customdecornet.com/customer/account/login/

Thank-you to our amazing licensing agent, Painted Planet Licensing Group and Custom Décor!

The best is yet to come!!!                                  

Celebrating,    
The Velvet Lime Girls 
Laura, Marybeth and Rebecca.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

God IS in the Details.


God really IS in the details.  Just look at shimmering blue petals...


                                   










           fragrant petite thyme







nasturtium color cups and fuzzy late blooming Brazilian Flame flowers.



All tiny reflections of God’s attention to detail, right down to the last little joyful bloom.


As September begins, our studio garden is still showing off  her “details” with  a grateful applause.

It’s an applause that reminds us to appreciate ourselves.

We are each an amazing creation too.  Intricately fashioned and cared for by God. He says he takes great delight in you.  And if he cares enough to lightly dust a flower with shimmers of love in hues of lapis, he certainly will take care of everything that concerns you.

“… He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Savoring September,
The Velvet Lime Girls

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Passionflower Power




The passionflowers have arrived.  Just as the garden takes a deep sigh and exhales its last breath of summer, these tiny green tendrils emerge, twirling  over the most desolate places and creating a bright new landscape dotted with a glorious sight …  passionflowers!

You just have to get up close and personal to appreciate one of these flowers. 


Out of the most barren patches of dry ground, these magnificent flowers bloom. And it’s not just an ordinary blooming.  It’s a royal entrance. From utter wastelands they lift their regal crowns and extend a scepter of beauty all over the garden.  It’s a total transformation.

They're a reminder of the total transformation that waits for us, regardless of how rough and rocky the landscape of our lives have been.
It’s a covering of love from God that overshadows the entire terrain of our lives and turns ashes to beauty.


So, let our little passionflower, with her head lifted up, encourage you to lift your head up today.  Listen to these words of promise that can turn your wastelands into gardens of beauty...and just brace yourself for the total trans formation that will come.

God will give you  “a crown of beauty instead of ashes” and “crown you with love and tender mercies.”  Isaiah 61:3 and Psalms 103:4

Wearing our crowns,
The Velvet Lime Girls

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Louisiana Lagniappe

Down in Louisiana there’s a unique word that describes the feeling of having more than enough, extra, or an unexpected gift. It’s called lagniappe (lan-yap).




 Like an extra helping of deep rich, roux gravy on mashed potatoes, extra shrimp in your gumbo, or a little more cream in your coffee, this word just seems to capture the joy of occasionally going overboard with something good. That’s exactly how we felt when we saw these photos from Laura’s recent Louisiana trip. It’s a design lagniappe of sorts, filled with more than enough inspiration to keep us creating for a while!

We’ll be using some of these fabulous design inspirations in upcoming artwork.  In the meantime, we’ll just have to dream of these steamy cups of café au lait and mounds of beignets topped with snowy caps of powered sugar. 

                                     


So, fix yourself the strongest cup of coffee you can make and enjoy a little visual lagniappe with us today as we take a trip down south, just outside of New Orleans, through Laura’s travel notes and photos...

        Up at sunrise to go “birding” in the Bluebonnet Swamp with James and my brother-in-law, Robert McLaughlin III.  Robert is an avid birder, historian and storyteller of Louisiana history and culture and his invitation to this swamp was one of the highlights of our trip! The swamp is part of the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, a 103 acre paradise right in the heart of the busy city of Baton Rouge.



The birds were shy, but the wildflowers put on a show.





                                       Found this weathered bee box near the swamp,
                             


                                          these mushrooms having a party on a log


                                                and two precious cardinal bird eggs. 
                                         Could have stayed all day in the swamp ...

 but, a little tour of homes and sites was waiting.


    Love the whimsical color combinations on this  home.                                 
                                                                              
the magnificent boughs of this ancient oak tree

                                             and soft Spanish moss swaying in the breeze,

                                                          draping everything in sight.


                                           We had two little finales on this lagniappe day... 

                                                    trees with storybook pages of bark



and pink breezy flowers.

 

" For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, ... this our grateful hymn of praise." 
                                                 Folliott Piermont ( 1835-1917)


 Savoring southern sites,
                           The Velvet Lime Girls













Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cherry Inspiration

The Rainier cherries brought a little sweet inspiration into our studio this week.  



These delicious cherries are in season  and when a beautiful bowl of them sat on our studio table we couldn’t resist photographing them. One in particular just seemed to be smiling a shiny smile that begged to be snapped up in a photo.

The photo led to further inspiration. Marybeth took one look at this bright faced fellow and broke out her dusty paints. He just had to be captured on canvas!  Here’s a peek at her first rough study that we’ll use as inspiration for upcoming artwork.  It’s a nice reminder that inspiration really is everywhere!





This simple photo has started a new movement in our studios.  We’ve been pulling out our sketchpads, watercolors, pastels and paints.  All because of a little cherry!




These delicate, soft blushing cherries are sweet reminders of how one creative idea often generates another creative idea.  A photograph initiated this little painting, but the original inspiration came from the Creator himself.  And a bowl of His freshly picked cherries is a sweet reminder of just how creative God really is.


  Right down to the last freckle faced cherry.


“…the whole earth is full of His shining-greatness.”  Isaiah 6:3



Nibbling on cherries,
                    The Velvet Lime Girls