Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Decluttering Inspiration

I'm often reading several books at the same time; typically they are all different genres and topics. However, I recently read two similar books at the same time, alternating between books over the course of a few days. Both books offer advice for decluttering and organizing, and both authors agree that when it comes to organization, lack of space is not the problem; too much stuff is the issue, so decluttering must come before organization.

I chose Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul from Booklook Bloggers (free in exchange for an honest review) because I was familiar with the author, Ruth Soukup, from her blog, Living Well Spending Less. (I actually received this as an eBook, which meant that items that were in sidebars in the printed copy often appeared to be out of place because they showed up in the middle of sections or even paragraphs on my Kindle screen. This occasionally made the reading seem a little disjointed, so I would recommend the printed version.)



Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul was an easy read with relate-able (to me) examples. The author used the acronym FREE to discuss how to become clutter free: Fight to stop the flow; Reduce by purging; Establish strict limits; Emphasize Quality over Quantity. She recommends working on  one or two small projects a week to effect big change over time. I especially liked that after she addresses decluttering in the home, she goes on to share ideas for decluttering our minds (creating a schedule, processing paperwork) and relates how Jesus has already done the work of decluttering our souls.

It was interesting to read her thoughts on scrapbooking and how many individuals quit the hobby because they got behind and became overwhelmed until easier solutions (digital photos, photobooks) came along. She made a great distinction between memories and stuff and how we don't need to feel guilty when we get rid of stuff because the memories remain.

There were some good quotes scattered throughout the book.

Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.
~Christina Scalise

Hospitality is not inviting people to our perfect homes; it is inviting them to our imperfect hearts.
~Edie Wadsworth

The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don't.
~Marie Kondo

I found that last quote interesting because the other book I was (re)reading for the April Simple Scrapper Online Book Club was Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.


Rather than tackling small projects, this book recommends tidying all at once, although the author admits that "quickly" typically means about half a year to work through each category of items (clothes, books, papers, miscellany, mementos). As I mentioned in my review last year, some portions of this book do not seem as applicable due to cultural differences and the collector side of my nature. However, the author does admit that "order is dependent on the extremely personal values of what a person wants to live with."

One idea that stuck out to me this time was her discussion of seminars and the materials that one client had amassed from numerous seminars. The client kept the material to review at a later date. Marie Kondo's statement that "a seminar's value begins the moment we start attending, and the key to extracting the full value is putting what we learn there into practice the moment the course ends" has me thinking about how/if I want to continue my goal of reviewing class materials from older online classes.

In the Simple Scrapper Online Book Club discussion, Jennifer Wilson shared this quote: “Do not even think of putting your things away until you have finished the process of discarding." Applying this to scrapbooking, Jennifer stated that "the lesson here is that we tend to start with containers when it's most important to start with purging, then contain what is left." I haven't done a lot of purging of scrapbook supplies lately, but I do agree that it's best to see what you have before deciding what containers you'll need.

And finally, I have quite a few reservations about using the KonMarie method on books, but rather agree with this blog post about getting rid of books that states: "It’s a useful exercise to clear the cobwebs from one’s bookshelves once in a while, but don’t let anyone talk you into getting rid of your books if you don’t want to, read or unread."

Have you read any good books on decluttering lately? Or completed any decluttering projects?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pinterest Gone Viral?

Several months ago I mentioned that I'm creating Bible journaling boards on Pinterest, curating a separate board for each book of the Bible. As a relatively new pinner, I was excited to acquire some followers, almost 30 of them! That number has remained pretty much the same until two weeks ago.

And then, overnight, I had 150 new followers! I'd like to send a huge thank you to whoever or whatever prompted this phenomenon . . . but I have no idea how or why it happened. It's just a fascinating mystery that makes me smile every time I log in to my Pinterest account. In fact, I'm still collecting a few new followers every day and my total is now up to 250. Maybe that number isn't really enough to say my board have "gone viral" . . . but it did feel like it for a little while when my inbox was full of messages saying "you have a new follower."

https://www.pinterest.com/melissagrossDL/

I currently have boards for 31 (out of 66) books of the Bible and continue to slowly curate pins that will provide INSPIRATION for illustrated Bible journalers.

I am enjoying the process of adding pins to these boards, however I've discovered that some images have been pinned without the link back to the original source. This is disappointing, and I have chosen not to add those pins to my boards. I often hear someone say that she got a recipe or craft idea from Pinterest, when in reality the idea came from someone who posted on a blog or uploaded a photo to a gallery or Instagram account. I think Pinterest is a wonderful resource! It's like having a basketful of fabulous magazines to flip through for INSPIRATION and ideas, but let's be sure to give the "author" credit when we use them!

If you're posting illustrated Bible journaling pages online, please share a link in the comments as I'd love to pin your examples.

Monday, May 16, 2016

All The Light We Cannot See - book review

The 2015 Fiction Pulitzer Prize winner was written by Anthony Doerr over a period of ten years.


All the Light We Cannot See primarily follows two characters during World War II. The story begins in 1944, then travels back to 1934 where each of the characters' story begins.

Marie-Laure is a blind French girl whose father works as a key master at the Paris Museum of Natural History. When Marie-Laure lost her sight at the age of six, he built a miniature version of the city so that she could learn her way around. In the midst of the war, Marie-Laure and her father leave Paris to live with her great-uncle in the city of Saint-Malo.

Werner is a German orphan who finds an old radio and listens to late night broadcasts with his sister Jutta. He becomes a soldier to avoid working in the coal mines where his father lost his life. He has a natural talent for building and repairing radios and transmitters.

There's so much more in this novel (a German soldier determined to find jewels for Hitler's [unrealized] museum, a huge gemstone called the "Sea of Flames", the story of those late night broadcasts, resistance workers, how Marie-Laure and Werner's paths cross, etc), but I don't want to spoil any of it!

All the Light We Cannot See is beautifully written, with no extraneous words, yet with exquisite detail. I really wanted a nice fairy tale ending, but this is a war time novel after all - there are quite a few characters and some are killed or simply disappear. However, there are several chapters at the end of the book that let the reader see what happens to some of the characters after the war. I highly recommend this book.

Have you read this book? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Using the Leftovers

A couple of months ago, I purchased a set of the new Illustrated Faith Books of the Bible tab stickers (this sheet and this sheet). Last week I finally took time to add them to my Bible.


When I finished, I noticed that the leftover sticker sheets looked like little frames where I'd removed the tabs.


I was inspired to use them in my Bible to illustrate the seven days of creation. I lined up seven "frames" and drew and colored a picture for each day.


I really like the way this graphic coordinates with my illustration for Genesis Chapter 1 and reminds me once again of how God created everything!


Have you used any leftovers lately?

Repeating Shapes

I've had several pieces of 12x12 cardstock with 1 inch square punch-outs in my stash for several years. (Some of you may remember that I used a red one for a layout a couple of years ago.) This week I punched all the squares out of a blue sheet, then removed some of the dividing strips to create frames for six photographs.


The squares (and the star embellishments) qualify this layout for Shimelle's challenge to repeat a shape on your page. I created a companion page with a title and journaling, which also repeats the star shapes.


Another very different layout that repeats a shape showcases a small photo of me surrounded by hot air balloons. Several of the images were pre-printed on the background paper, and I fussy cut others from the sticker sheet that went with this Bo Bunny Beautiful Dreamer Collection.


I've linked up several of my layouts with Shimelle's challenges and have some others to share soon. Overall for (inter)National Scrapbook Day and the week following I completed 16 layouts and have 3 that are in-progress. Did you join in any challenges this year? How many layouts did you complete?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Shimelle's (i)NSD Challenges

I have to admit that I had not really read through all of Shimelle's posts before completing some of these layouts while visiting my friend LeAnne this week. However, when we went through the (inter)National Scrapbook Day challenges, I was happy to discover that I had something to submit for quite a few of the them.

First, my layout showcasing photos from our ride on the Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry works for the challenge to create a page using red and blue.


Next, it was a totally happy coincidence that I had pulled a shaped paperclip to use as an embellishment . . .


on this layout with photos from several years ago.


Luckily LeAnne had some red paint, so I was able to create a background that matched the tablecloth in my photos and that qualifies this layout for the challenge to create a "messy" background.


And finally, since I used a card from the Pebbles Harvest collection as a title block and a Project Life card for my journaling, this next layout fits the challenge to use 3x4 cards on a 12x12 layout.


Did you join in with any of Shimelle's challenges this week? There are still a couple of days to link up!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Scrapbook With Square Photos

It's been a while since I've joined in any scrapbooking challenges, however, after a FUN day of crafting with Mama and my friend Thayer on (inter)National Scrapbook Day and three days at my friend LeAnne's home this week, I have quite a few completed layouts! Several of them fit nicely into Shimelle's weekend and Monday challenges, so watch for several posts over the next few days.

The challenge Shimelle posted on Monday this week was to scrapbook with square photos. The INSPIRATION for my layout was a journaling square from the Bo Bunny Beach Therapy collection.


I added two square photos and another square block with embellishments to create a companion page for this layout from a couple of months ago.


I actually created two layouts using square photos on (inter)National Scrapbook Day, too. (I'm putting together layout kits based on both of these 2-page spreads that will be for sale at Personal Scrapbook soon!) This first one has four square photos on the left page.


This next layout also has four square photos, one across from the focal photo and three across the bottom of the two-page layout.


Have you scrapped with square photos lately?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Creative Play

This month I'm using the Creative Play challenge prompts (from the Creative Simplicity Facebook group) as INSPIRATION for my illustrated Bible journaling pages. Each prompt is an object and the challenge is to use them to inspire a new creation. My goal is to challenge myself (and my knowledge of scripture) to find a way to relate the prompt to scripture and enjoy time in the Word.

Flower - I have a lovely rose stamp that I don't remember ever using, so I used a concordance to look up where I can find the word "rose" in the Bible. I chose Isaiah 35 for my reading and illustrating. This passage is about the desert blooming, a wilderness turned into a good land, where the desert will "blossom as a rose."


I stamped the image with Powder Puff chalking ink, then colored it in with Crayola colored pencils. For each of my entries in this Bible, I am also adding the date with a date stamp.

Notions - This prompt also brought to mind a stamp I have in my stash - one with a pincushion and thimbles. Once again I used a concordance and looked up several words (sew, stitch, bind, mend) and settled on Psalm 147. This psalm is a praise to the Lord and reminds us that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Just as a seamstress can mend garments, the Lord can mend our hearts.


This stamp actually has little mice peeping out of the thimbles, so I covered those spaces on the stamp with washi tape before inking. I removed the tape, stamped the image, then drew in the missing areas and colored the image with colored pencils. I used my Glaze pens for the pin heads, which adds a little shine & dimension (that's not easy to see in the photo).

Yarn - I'm not sure if there are any mentions of yarn in the Bible, but I immediately thought of the story of Rahab and the scarlet cord. When Joshua sent spies into Jericho, Rahab the harlot hid them and helped them escape. They promised when the Israelites took Jericho that she and her family would be saved only if she had the scarlet cord in her window.


I searched Pinterest and found a couple of pages for INSPIRATION, unfortunately the pinned images did not link back to the original sources so I'm unable to give credit. I sketched this image in pencil (yes, I actually drew something freehand!), then went back over the lines with pen before adding in some highlighting and color with colored pencils. On all of my pages, I am also underling the relevant scriptures using Micron pens.

Tissue Paper - The most common use for tissue paper around here is gift wrapping, which brought to mind the greatest gift of all (Jesus Christ) and how He was wrapped in swaddling cloths.


This illustration is cut from an old Christmas card and adhered directly to the Bible margin. My journaling reads: The greatest gift of all did not come wrapped in pretty paper and bows, but it held more love and grace than we'd ever known before.

Paper Punch - I like to use arrows in my illustrated journaling, so I used paper pieces from an arrow border punch to highlight part of a quote I heard in a sermon a few weeks ago: The Bible is not a rule book, it's a way of life.


I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge of using these prompts in my Bible journaling. What are you using for creative INSPIRATION this month?