Crafting a Smile

Talia and Betty
Wearing Hats Christina Painted for us.
Thank you, Christina!

I enjoy being creative. Most of the time, I am creative by myself – without others around. But on my recent visit to see my daughter, we scheduled some time to do some creative projects together.

I don’t usually think about doing something creative with others. I have often been in groups working on a project together – which is one thing. But this time, we were together, but in general, working on separate projects – which is another kind of thing. I like it! There’s lots of discussion going on, questions, comments, and inspiration from others that happens. Plus, it’s really fun!

So, on a Sunday afternoon, three of us gathered to do some crafting and creating. Talia’s friend, Christina, came over bringing along a set of 48 paints. Christina had some other items, too, like paint brushes, some pearl paints, gesso and her knowledge about painting. Christina is always good company, and she happily shared her paints and supplies with us.

Our first project was painting small pumpkins which Talia had bought for us the day before, at Eastern Market. Talia chose to turn her pumpkin into a raccoon which turned out to be the cutest raccoon I have ever seen.

Talia holding the raccoon pumpkin she painted.

Christina chose to make Cookie Monster dressed up as a bat for Halloween. Of course, Cookie Monster was eating cookies as Cookie Monster always does. The idea sounded crazy to me, but in the end, somehow it worked. Christina has vision!

Christina holding her Cookie Monster pumpkin and eating a cookie.

I chose to make my pumpkin a camper. It works, too, but only if you notice the wheel which is a bit hidden and off to the side. Next time, I think I need to make a wheel out of paper and attach it, so it is more noticeable. Kind of like how Christina made paper bat wings. See, we all learn from each other.

Betty's camper pumpkin
It’s a camper. Trust me.

You would think painting a tiny pumpkin would be a fast, easy project. But you’d be wrong. By the time we finished our Halloween masterpieces, it was time to think about dinner.

Talia popped over to the nearby Whole Foods and got the ingredients for a recipe she wanted to make. With Christina’s guidance, I began on project #2 for me.

I wanted to paint a picture of white birch bark trees. We always see these trees in Michigan, and the farther north we go, the more of them we see. White birch bark trees reminds me of the beauty we see in Michigan. I’ve been wanting a painting of them for some time.

But I didn’t want to just buy a painting. For one, I am too cheap. But also, because making my own is so much more satisfying. And fun. So, I bought a canvas from the Dollar Tree, and Christina let me use her paints.

Christina suggested we search YouTube for an abstract representation, and this was good advice. While Talia made our dinner, Christina guided my efforts, and I painted.

Click here to see the YouTube video we chose for the white birch bark tree painting project.

Here is the final result. I am absolutely thrilled with how it turned out.

Betty's painting of white birch bark trees

Next on the agenda was enjoying the delicious dinner Talia made for us. It was “Roasted Chicken with Fish Sauce Butter.” The chicken dish had a torn up loaf of bread baked in with it, so we paired it with a salad for a well rounded meal. I had never heard of fish sauce. I am always cautious trying something new, but this was absolutely delicious. Talia found the recipe on the New York Times cooking app.

Perfect Roasted Chicken with Croutons and Fish Sauce Butter

Click here for the YouTube video of the recipe.

Soon enough, our day was winding down. The day had gone by so quickly! We had done so much – first seeing The Lincoln Cottage and then having a fun craft time followed by a delectable dinner and ice cream. I had a wonderful time, but I would be leaving early the next morning.

However, I wanted to leave one more smile for Talia.

On a recent camping trip in Greenville, Missouri, I found a charming treasure in a resale shop. I smiled when I saw it, and I smiled again when the man at the checkout register said, “We get in junk, and we sell antiques.”

So, when I made my bed on Monday morning, I tucked away this little apple lady underneath the covers and with her head resting on the pillow. My hope was that at the end of the day, when I was back home and hundreds of miles away, it would surprise Talia and give her a great, big smile.

Just like the one on my heart.

Little apple lady knick knack.  It looks like an apple with a face, arms and legs wearing red high heals.


  1. My daughter and I scrapbooked together from her childhood all the way up into her college years so yes, I know how fun crafting together can be. It looks like you three had a fun time. I’m awed with your talent on the birch tree painting. It’s beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much! How wonderful you had such a long time hobby with your daughter! I am sure you made wonderful memories both on and off the pages. Have a great day!


  2. The painting is very beautiful! I love these trees every time I see some–which has been a few years now. You crafted a smile for me this morning, too! Talia’s raccoon is much cuter than the ones who live in the woods next to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great day ya’ll had and wow what a great painting! You obviously have some talent when it comes to painting. That will be more special than any painting you could have bought.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So much fun! I love that you got to spend this quality time with your daughter and her friend. You, my friend, are quite the artist. I am very impressed with your painting of the white birch trees! I am going to check out the chicken recipe too. Thanks for sharing your fun trip with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so welcome. I appreciate your generous words about my painting. But really, it’s thanks to YouTube and Christina for her guidance. I had a great visit with my daughter. Thank you for your kind comment, and I hope you have a great week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think my talent is following directions. 🙂 But I appreciate the compliment. About 9:30 pm, I got a text message which said, “Aaahhhh!!!!! Mom, you are so funny.”


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