Saturday, November 22, 2014

Checking In

It's been awhile since my last check in post and in some ways it feels like nothing has happened and at the same time, so much. Let's see how this goes.

  • The biggest and most notable thing going on is that my dad is sick. I haven't said anything directly about it online as my dad has serious opinions about social media, but my mom has released my sister and I to share. In part so that we can ask for prayer and support. My dad doesn't realize the extent that social media is a part of our lives and just how much prayer and support we receive through our loving friends and family. I probably still won't bare it all here, but I would appreciate your prayers mostly for my Dad's spiritual health, but of course, also his physical health. If you're reading this and you know my dad, send him a note, please. He could use the encouragement. Thank you.
  • In happy news, I have a beautiful new niece. Lucy Ellen Woodward was born on Wednesday, November 19, 2014. I've seen a couple of pictures and she is so adorable with a very full head of hair. I can't wait to hold her and smother her with kisses!! Congratulations, Crystal and Matt and welcome, Lucy!
  • Bethlehem LIVE! 2014 begins soon. David and I are scheduled to be tour guides together, I just need to work out childcare. All our babysitters participate in BL. I'm a little nervous this year. It's kinda funny, but sometimes I feel more introverted than ever. If you're in the Winnipeg area you need to check it out because it's amazing!
BL 2010 (baby Malachi played the role of Jesus)

  • Bible Journaling... who knew?! I am loving this so much and I am excited to possibly fill several Bibles to give to each of my children or maybe grandchildren, someday. I am connecting with God's Word in a new way and I love it. For more details check out Shanna's blog. If you're interested in seeing what's going on in my Bible you can follow me on Instagram.

  • I've signed up to join a Documented Faith 2015. Bible Journaling has inspired me to try my hand at incorporating art into more of my daily life. I've never considered myself and artist just thought I was creative. After trying new forms of art in my Bible and for my pen pals, I might be changing my mind. I feel like a whole new creative world has just opened up to me and it's exciting. I've even begun crafting along side my littles and letting them explore more mediums and surprisingly, I'm enjoying it. That's definitely new.
  • In October I signed up for a snail mail project swap and the dear lady who got my name sent me the most amazing letter/package and we've agreed to continue to write. The details she puts into my mail  are stunning and I'm so blessed by her creativity and willingness to take the time. I'm also writing a friend who moved up north. It's fun seeing her creative side, I knew it was there but didn't get to see a lot of it outside of her amazing cakes. Donna is a great cook and makes stunning cakes. It's been great fun writing and receiving letters again. 
My first package from Anne Marie (from Netherlands)

Pretty mail from Donna (from the Pas

  • I've recently been commissioned for a little sewing job. The results are pretty satisfying.
Disclaimer: there are legal issues with  re-covering a car seat - please do your research.

  • I have a long list of sewing projects to do, not to mention some crochet. I am never at a loss as to what to do!
  • I know, I've shared this everywhere, but it's sweet. Someone had a birthday (he now shares it with cousin Lucy). Malachi has an announcement.
  • I posted this on Facebook, but it's too funny not to share here... it's so true of me.

  • Lastly, I picked up a cheap set of 6 watercolour pencils from the dollar store and I'm having so much fun experimenting. I don't know any rules and so I'm just playing around, but eeps! I love it.
watercolour pencil with marker doodles

We are entering a busy season full of great tradition, I'll try to check in again, soon. For more frequent updates, check out my Instagram. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Owl Carry It

Recently I was faced with the dilemma of transporting my journaling Bible while keeping the pages from getting crunched inside a backpack. I ended up using paper for a makeshift cover with an elastic. It did the job, but it got me thinking about a carry case. I wanted to make something that I could carry my Bible in but not necessarily keep in all the time like a slip cover. I researched on Pinterest and decided that I'd prefer a messenger style bag. I thought the flap cover would work well to protect the tabs on the page tops, but I didn't want a plain one. I toyed with the idea of different shapes and then I found a cute owl purse and a few Pinterest pictures to inspire me and I went for it.

I used this tutorial to calculate the fabric I would need for boxed corners. It worked great. I kind of made up the rest as I went, re~creating features from the pictures I found on Pinterest. It's really fun creating free~style. I'm especially happy with the fact that it came out like I pictured it.

The Bible fits perfectly and my journal fits, too. I didn't plan for that, but it's a happy surprise. 

I put a zipper pocket on the back to hold pens etc. and tail feathers...I had to do it.

I had this strap that I salvaged from a thrift store wallet. It is the perfect length!

Now my Bible is snug as a bug, protected enough that I can "toss" it into the diaper  bag and go. It's a bit juvenile, Abby has already asked me to make her one and Malachi had to bring me his Winston to match, but I'm okay with that. I'll grow up... someday.

P.S. I have owls on the brain and I think I have another little project that I may have to try.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When Tragedy Comes

I've heard people say that when tragedy comes you can either turn against God or turn toward Him. I'm happy to say that I'm pressing toward God right now. My family is in the midst of tragedy. I don't have permission to share the details here. I am incredibly sad, but I'm not afraid. I cling to the hope that I've found in Jesus. What great timing for my journaling Bible to arrive. I find myself hiding His word in my heart while expressing myself creatively and it's been a great comfort and stress reliever. I am so grateful, because I know myself and my tendency is to harden my heart rather than be sad. I've always said that it's easier for me to be angry than sad. I am honestly weary of sadness, but at least I'm soft to the Lord and His mercies have indeed been new every morning. I experience His faithfulness even in the midst of sad times.
ESV Journaling Bible

If you follow me on Instagram, I'm sorry for the duplicates, but here's what I've journaled so far.

Psalm 34 (He delivers me! - such a comfort!)

Lamentations 3:23

Isaiah 55:11 and Matthew 15

Job 12:10

James 5:11

2 Chronicles 20
I'm thankful for your prayers and support, whether you know details or not. I'm so blessed to say that I am NOT alone!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bible Journaling

Have you heard of Bible Journaling? #journalingbible #illustratedfaith (hashtags for you to check out) I hadn't until a week ago. I was on Pinterest, again (don't judge ;) ) looking for snail mail and/or art journal ideas and stumbled across an art piece drawn directly on a page in a Bible. I wasn't too sure how I felt about it at first. Wasn't that a little disrespectful, drawing in a Bible?  I mean, the artist drew right over the text. I decided to click through to the link and found myself on a blog entry about Bible journaling. What?! I can tell you, it took me all of five minutes to change my mind and fall in love with this idea. The blog included a link to another blog link ~ "Create by Shanna Noel. The post was honest and engaging and spoke to my heart. Why not use the creativity that God put in me to enhance my study times and frankly make the Word 'stick'. I watched her webinar on Bible Journaling basics and knew I wanted to try it.

In some small ways I had already begun to recognize that when I wrote out scripture and embellished it with word art, it made a deeper impression on me. Even if I could only focus on one verse at a time, I was soaking in the Word.

Journal entries from my quiet times

In other ways I had already begun the Bible journaling process by highlighting texts that I wanted to remember or focus on and writing in the empty spaces. It was never fancy, just 'functional'.  Seriously though, I like fancy! If I can choose between something plain and something decorated, you don't have to try to hard to guess which one I would choose.

I don't have a wide margin Bible or a journaling Bible, yet. I do plan on getting one, but I also wanted to be sure that it wasn't just a crafting fad or my craft "ADD" kicking in. I decided that I would try a few pages in my regular Bible. They were simple and certainly nothing to "write home about", but I got a taste for what I could do.

Then I decided to try my hand at fancier lettering in my journal and worked on a text from Isaiah. I am not great at it, but again, I was getting the words from the page into my mind and heart.

I then went to paper. I wanted to scribble and practise without abandon. I came across a Youtube video that showed how to do the name Jacob really cool and I thought I could use similar techniques to do the name of Jesus. I thought I should try to make it small so that it would fit in the Bible margin as most of what I had worked on hadn't required boundaries. I estimated a size and went for it. This verse is my favourite piece of art to date. I worked on it with pencil and eraser first. I was typically too impatient to do that before. I realized after I was done that I still have to edit down to a smaller size if I want to keep my art to the margins. I think I do, but there are many options for adding larger art without covering the text too much (my personal preference).

I cut this out and will either do a turn out page or use it as a bookmark or something. 

My final two pieces (up to date) are scaled down. I don't know if I will re-do them when I get my Journaling Bible or if I will just insert them in, but it's already been such a great and refreshing experience.

I still snail mail, I still crochet (did you see my new wool?)...

Details on my Instagram feed (user name: mrsgingras)

...I still sew - when I can, I still love throwing a good party (two birthday boys are having a good one, soon) and I still enjoy trying many other crafts. I think, though, that my daily devotional time has become a new favourite. Hiding His Word in my heart!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On my Writing Desk

Well, not literally. I don't actually have a desk, but I have been getting into the swing of letter writing again. In truth, more like letter doodling. I am having fun working on the art side of snail mail. It all began a few weeks ago when a friend from church and Instagram suggested a little swap. I jumped at the opportunity, who doesn't love receiving something fun in the mail?! I kept it fairly simple, but it kinda prompted in me happy memories of past pen pals and the fun letters we swapped. I would spend my allowance on stamps, stickers and stationary. I would ask for special stamps at the post office so that they'd be pretty on the envelope. It might seem a little silly now with technology making things quicker and cheaper, but I wrote a letter this week that made me slow down and think through what I was going to say. I carefully chose what I wanted to represent and how I wanted to introduce myself. It was fun. I think I took a whole week to put together a letter. I took my time with the art and heart of it. I recently signed up for The Snail Mail Project over at the Snail Mail Ideas website. It's a one time sign-up to write to someone somewhere and you receive a letter from someone else from somewhere else. I got a lady's address in Mexico. How fun!

I saw online that Moleskin has put out a mailable notebook and knew I could make one and it wouldn't cost me $9. I grabbed an envelope and used it to make myself a template. I sewed in the paper as my stapler isn't quite long enough. I then treated it kind of like an art journal. I included a paperclip banner and a couple paper embellishments, but mostly it's pen work. This keeps the postage costs down. At least in theory.

paper feather template found here

I had a package of permanent stamps and figured it would take three stamps to cover the cost to Mexico. I'm glad I decided to go into the post office and double check though because I learned some new things  about postage. Internationally, the permanent stamps are not recognized. They must have the cost printed on the stamps to be valid. The lady at the post office helped me to save my stamps and replace them. She helped me to pick out pretty stamps and made sure that everything was the right size etc. Sadly, my letter size board must have a tiny bit of give to it as my letter squeezed through the standard size slot on my board, but not the acrylic one at the post office. After working hard to keep it small, I ended up having to pay for an oversize letter in the end. I guess I could've taken it home and removed the tea bag or paperclip banner and it would've been fine, but I wanted to send it all. I need to be more careful in the future or I won't afford to send many letters at $5.90 a piece. The lady at the post office gave me one other helpful hint, don't use tape over top of your stamps (she was referring to the ones we saved and were now less sticky) or they will be rejected. Use a good sticky glue. Good to know. I like knowing the rules ~ I'm a bit of a risk management geek.

I've dusted off my doodling hobby. It helps to have great fine tip markers. I do lack original inspiration and for that I go to Pinterest. No need to re-invent the wheel. The other day Abby and I sat down at the table and doodled owls. The owl I sent in the letter was my third attempt. I don't really consider myself an artist in the tradition sense, but more of a crafter. I thoroughly enjoyed my side-by-side time with Abby, though.

Thank you for those of you  that signed up for my creative pen pal swap. I hope you have fun with it. Vive la Snail Mail!

bookmark inspired by this picture

free camera printable found here
I have a few people who have agreed to continue to write, so I am looking forward to more snail mail art. Yay! BTW, Canada Post, I'm for door-to-door!