Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday's Mail Memo - April Book Swap

This is the fourth month in the book swap my sister Brenda and I are doing this year. So far, we've both been keeping up with the reading, however we're taking the month of May off as neither of us has finished our April books.

April Books from Brenda Paige & Laurie

This month I didn't receive a package for our monthly book swap. My twin 12-year-old nieces wanted to get in on the swap, so they each shared one of their books with me when we stopped by at the end of our vacation earlier this month. I've just finished The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop, a FUN and magical book that Paige really likes, and I'll be starting Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company from Laurie very soon!

April Book to Brenda

When I reviewed The Sleepwalker HERE, Brenda commented that it sounded especially interesting, so I sent that for her to read this month. Of course, I made a bookmark to go along with it.

I added several others items to the her package: two of the books she'd sent to me previously; some leftover candy canes I thought the girls would enjoy; my worn Play t-shirt (just in case she gets inspired to turn it into a wall hanging); a coloring page, and...

a 12x12 vision board for her word BALANCE.

Waving hello to all the Mondayers joining in with Sian this year as we share memos and mail on Monday!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Illustrated Faith Retreat

The theme of the 4-day Illustrated Faith retreat I attended earlier this month was DWELL, taking time to dwell in the presence of the Lord.

The first day was basically a time to get settled, and I arrived early enough to create an illustration using a One & Done Line Art Transfer sheet. I really like this product that allows me to trace awesome images as I meditate on scriptures. (The DWELL theme wasn't really introduced until the first session the next day, so I chose to work on something from my idea file.) I placed this image beside Isaiah 49:2, which says In His quiver He has hidden me.

Our "assignment" that evening was to create a "meet the artist" page in whatever format we wanted. I ended up just painting and adding texture to my page, then stamping or writing in words and information about myself.

Our "meet the artist" pages were hung up in the kitchenette over the weekend as we all got to know each other. Can you spot mine there? :)

Each of the following three days began with a DWELL session that included a devotional led by Tonya Hamilton of Messy Bible and a time of worship led by a beautiful young lady named Tiffani Watkins. Then there were Bible journaling sessions led by Shanna Noel of Illustrated Faith introducing a new technique, product or prompt, followed by time to work in our Bibles. I must admit that I did not complete as many pages as most of the other retreat participants, however I did try each of the techniques and prompts in a traveler's journal, adding in notes and ideas along the way. I also used it for practice stamping and even cut apart & adhered the words to the worship songs.

I arrived late to the session where Shanna shared how to create our own stamps using foam because I'd been out riding around the ranch and snapping photos, enjoying being out in the sunshine and fresh air. Luckily, she gave me a "private lesson" when I returned and one of my table-mates, Karen, had a template that was perfect for what I wanted to journal. I made an impression on my foam, traced it with a pen to form the indentations, and cut it out for my very own custom barn & cow stamp. I chose to place this image beside Psalm 150, which is a praise to the Lord and a reminder to let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

One of the prompts was to add a hand in our Bible as we contemplated where God's hand was in our life. Many of the ladies rolled painted onto their hand and created a hand print in their Bibles. Honestly, I didn't have an idea for the prompt, so I simply traced one of the hand templates into my notebook and wrote a prayer inside it.

However, the next day after one of the DWELL sessions, I was inspired by the scripture in Isaiah (30:21) that says: Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left. I ended up tracing my hands and adding arrows and letter stickers to this page as reminder that the Lord will show me the way when I listen for His direction.

The retreat included a session led by Tracy Pounds, owner of The Little Blue House. We created a mixed media canvas using modge podge, old sewing patterns (for texture), paint, gelatos, plastic wrap, a hymnal page, flowers, and stickers. (And, yes, those are my flowers from Robbie there in the corner.)

There were quite a few steps to this project, and I'm thrilled with how mine turned out. It looks great in my craft room.

In addition to all these sessions and riding around the Whitworth Ranch Retreat, I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious meals and snacks provided by Stacy Seely and her mom throughout the weekend. I didn't snap any photos of the fantastic mealtime spreads or the desserts (Texas sheet cake, banana cream cake, peach cobbler rollups, cookies), but I did capture the sunrise along with the spot where I enjoyed all my meals outside.

I also took time to visit with each lady at the retreat and ask how I could pray for them. Then I took Emily (another retreat attendee) up on her offer to borrow her hammock for a while and spent quiet time with the Lord. This, to me, was truly the essence of DWELLing in His presence. It was such a lovely, peaceful day, and I felt honored to be able to pray for each of the beautiful ladies (ranging in age from 22 to 60+) that enjoy this FUN way of diving into the Word and drawing closer to the Lord!

And, finally, I included a few bits & pieces from the weekend in the front of my Bible to remember the retreat. I added it beneath a stamped image I added in last year.

Several of the ladies at the retreat created tags and other elements for each of the participants. I'm enjoying adding those to my Bible and will share them in a future post.

Have you attended any retreats lately? Do you enjoy following along and creating during each session or, like me, spend more time taking it all in and enjoying the time away without worrying about getting it all done?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday #13

I'm busy preparing to share the Word and illustrated Bible journaling at a mini-retreat this Saturday, so I have lots of journaling bits & pieces on my desk today. I snapped this photo after completing a sample page. My next step is to straighten everything up, but that will have to wait for the morning!

I'll be sharing about serving the Lord in our everyday lives and being salt & light in the world, so I spent time meditating on Matthew 5:14-16 as I created this illustration.

I used a One & Done Line Art Trasfer Sheet and graphite paper to get the world illustration on my page first, then outlined the image with Micron pens. I added the blue and green with Gelatos. I cut the Texas outline from a piece of Texas-themed patterned paper and adhered it in North America - yes, I realize it's a little out of proportion, but y'all know everything's bigger in Texas! The yellow light beams were created with Gelatos, also, with a very pale yellow colored pencil in between (although the background still looks a little white in the photo).

I added journaling and the stamped sentiment to complete this page and am looking forward to sharing ideas for letting our light shine at the upcoming retreat.

Joining in very late today with Julia at Stamping Ground for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. What's on your workdesk this week? 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Harvest of Thorns - book review

I have to admit that I don't often think about where are how my clothes are made, but A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison has my curiosity peaked!
This fiction story that begins with a fire in a clothing factory in Bangladesh and follows a large American company's (Presto) reaction is quite an eye-opener as it exposes the garment industry for using underpaid (and sometimes) enslaved workers in other countries to produce products at minimal cost. This story addresses the issues of sweatshops, labor rights, and the ethics of globalization in a well-written, easy-to-read (despite the issues addressed) book.

The chapters alternate between the investigations of Cameron Alexander, general counsel for Presto, and Josh Griswold, a disgraced journalist with a heart for the poor and gullible, as they uncover the truth about working conditions in factories in several developing countries. In one interesting chapter, Josh interviews people waiting to shop at Presto on Black Friday, asking how the fire and working conditions in other countries affect their buying decisions. In most cases, the consumers aren't concerned with those issues.

The book is based on similar real-life events and has reminded me of how little we sometimes know and understand what goes in to bring us the vast array of products in the stores in our cities! I definitely recommend this thought-provoking book (which I received free from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review).

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday's Mail Memo - Magazines, Catalogs & Happy Mail

There wasn't much in the mail last week, however we've picked up quite a few magazines over the past couple of weeks. I snapped a photo of them earlier today - as you can see, along with living a happy, beautiful, simple life, we're getting ready for a kitchen remodel and dreaming of our next road trip!

Today's mail arrived with an array of catalogs. I'm not in the market to purchase anything, but these definitely have potential as crafting materials.

And there was some genuine Happy Mail!

That envelope with the wonderful lettering came from my new friend Jana of Sweet to the Soul Ministries.  I met Jana at the Illustrated Faith retreat and she sent me one of her Bible studies and the companion Bible journaling kit, which I'll share more about as I work through it! The 7 Steps postcards tied with ribbon came from Shanna Noel of Illustrated Faith - she sent those for me to share with participants at the mini-retreat I'll be leading this Saturday.

It was definitely a good mail day around here to start the week! Waving hello to all the Mondayers joining in with Sian this year as we share memos and mail on Monday!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter Y'all

I created these blocks & cute tags last month at a class at our local scrapbook store. This year I am being ACTIVE about taking classes and trying new things. In this class, I used a text stamp on kraft paper, then tore the paper into pieces that I decoupaged onto wooden blocks. This process took a good bit of time, and I had to leave the blocks at the store to dry overnight. (The largest block was pre-stained to match the others.)

All the bits & pieces for the tags were pre-cut, so they went together quickly . . . although I reversed the papers as the sample had lots more solid colors. The letters were then covered with glitter glue, which also took a while to dry.

The tags are hanging on tacks, so they can easily be removed and replaced for different seasons and holidays. Classes are offered with new tags each month, however my plan is to create my own as INSPIRATION strikes!


Friday, April 14, 2017

April 5 in 5 - Hereford & Angus

The Illustrated Faith retreat I attended last week was held at Whitworth Ranch here in Texas. One afternoon, the owner offered to show a few of us around the ranch where they raise Hereford and Angus cattle. Riding through the fields in a Kawasaki Mule (utility vehicle) was the perfect opportunity to snap photos for this month's 5 in 5 photography meme hosted by Sandi.

And I can't help but add one extra photo this month, although I didn't snap this one!

Oh, yes, I did some Bible journaling at the retreat, too - I'll be sharing more about that soon!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday's Mail Memo - Untouched Uppercase

When all the vacation mail was delivered last week, it yielded quite a few bills, lots of junk mail, a few treasures for Robbie and the latest issue of Uppercase for me!

That was last Monday afternoon, however the magazine is still sitting by my chair, untouched after opening, because I headed out again on Wednesday to attend the Illustrated Faith Retreat with Shanna Noel at Whitworth Ranch in Scurry, Texas. It was a whirlwind four days of illustrated Bible journaling, meeting new friends, eating al fresco, touring the ranch, and drawing closer to the Lord through devotionals and worship!

So, once again I'm home and tackling the laundry and mail and an overflowing inbox!

Waving hello to all the Mondayers joining in with Sian this year as we share memos and mail on Monday!

Friday, April 7, 2017

51 Years

I only snapped one photo when we went out to visit and celebrate my parent's 51st anniversary in February. When I saw the Athentique April Sketch Challenge, I pulled the 5x7 print of that photo and set to work creating a layout using the sketch. I rearranged some of the elements so that my embellishments covered up distracting items in the photo.

This layout uses papers from two of Authentique's collections. The black and white papers are from the Everlasting collection, which I've had in my stash for a couple of years. The papers with fall colors are from the Harvest collection, which I picked up at Personal Scrapbook this past December.

The letter stickers, flowers, and bling all came from my stash and add lots of dimension to this page.

This was a great challenge to help me with my goal to be ACTIVE in using my stash this year!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

CCT07 - Musical Notation Theme Challenge

The current Christmas Card Throwdown challenge is a theme - musical notation.

After returning from our FUN vacation last weekend, I was ready for some crafty time. However, I only had three days at home before I headed out for the retreat I'm currently enjoying, so I created some quick and simple cards.

I ended up creating four cards using papers from the BoBunny Candy Cane Lane and Photo Play Luke 2 collections, along with card bases and scraps from my stash.

I'm so happy to add these four cards to my growing collection of Christmas cards - Fa la la la la la la la la!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday #12

Before we left for our spring break road trip last month, I snapped photos of the spaces I'm using as I continue to work on the custom scrapbook-for-hire album I began in February. We returned home a few days ago, however I'm headed out again today for a Bible journaling retreat. Since I didn't get a chance to share last week, here's a look at what's waiting for me when I return home.

My craft table is ready to begin another layout. On the right side of the table, you can see the stamp and inks I'm using on most of the pages in this project.

I have all the papers for this project spread out on the window seat in my craft room. I'm using a variety of cardstock in blues, reds and browns, along with the Authentique Seafarer Collection and The World Awaits paper pad from Hobby Lobby.

The rest of the items for this project are spread out on the front room table. On one end of the table is a box holding printed photos and the binder my client used to keep the memorabilia from the trip sorted by date and location. There's also a lovely wooden scrapbook she purchased on the trip - we're thinking about choosing the best photos, cropping them square, and creating a separate keepsake with this album.

The center of the table holds piles of photos and memorabilia by day. The items you see scattered at the front of the table are from one day - photos, memorabilia, and a post-it with the notes I took as I went through these items with my client. At the top of the table, you can see piles for the next five days of the trip.

The other end of the table holds a variety of page protectors and the album with completed layouts. I also have a legal pad where I keep track of the time I spend on this project.

As I'm working through the photos and memorabilia from this 14-day Mediterranean cruise trip, I am learning quite a bit about the areas my client visited. I'm having a lot of FUN . . . and now, of course, I want to visit all these places myself!! Here's a look at the pages showing the Barcelona Cathedral and the Vieux Port.

Joining in today with Julia at Stamping Ground for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. What's on your workdesk this week? 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Love Language

It's been many years since I read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, however I still remember how important the concept of knowing and understanding how we each give and receive love is integral to our relationships. When I received my March blog topic from my sister Brenda, I clicked over to the 5 Love Languages website to refresh my memory and take the quiz to determine my love language.

The love languages are (1) words of affirmation, (2) acts of service, (3) receiving gifts, (4) quality time, and (5) physical touch. My quiz results show that acts of service is my primary love language, indicating that I feel most loved when someone does something for me. For example, it makes my heart happy when Robbie empties the dishwasher or cooks supper or buys groceries. Lucky for me, he does many acts of service every week! [And, of course, he is always a good sport when I ask him to do something like jump online and take the 5 Love Languages Quiz - his two top love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation.]

I have to admit that I was a little surprised by my result as I remember that the results from years ago showed my primary love language to be words of affirmation (which is now third on my list after quality time). So, it seems our love language can change over time.

Obviously we receive and give love in all five of the languages, but knowing and understanding your own primary language and that of your spouse can have a huge positive impact on your relationship as you choose to show love in the language that most speaks to each other. Thanks, Brenda, for challenging me to write on this topic and remember the importance of showing love to others in the way they need it most!

Have you read this book? What is your love language?