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Thursday, January 26, 2017

bible journaling {a beginner's guide}

That's my vibe. 

A creative avenue makes everything better in my little corner of the world. Give me that option, and anything I do immediately becomes more enjoyable and applicable to my life. I'm the sign-maker of the pep rally, the prop designer of the play, and the arranger of the style items on the book case. So when I first saw the concept of Bible journaling, all I could think was "YES!!" A creative way to learn and imprint God's Word? Sign. me. up. 

Odds are, if you're following along on this creative, DIY space of the internet, you appreciate a lot of the same things that I do. But I guess there is also the possibility that you are currently yelling "WHAT HAS SHE DONE TO HER BIBLE?!" into your screen. Hang with me here! Before I tell you how I do Bible journaling, let me share with you why I do Bible journaling. After mulling it over, I think it all boils down to three things...

 - Scripture memorization. This is something I've always struggled with. It's easy to read a passage, nod in agreement and then move on with your day. I find myself defaulting to the familiarity of Scriptures rather than actually knowing the Bible verbatim. I'm thinking "Oh yes, I've heard that verse" or "I could quote the general idea of that Scripture." or "Hmm, isn't that in such and such book?" Truthfully, God wants us to deeply know and apply His Word. It's supposed to be hidden in our hearts, not just an app on our smart phones. Gosh, it's one of the ways God communicates with us! But truly studying and meditating on Scripture takes work and discipline that's not often a part of our busy days.
Through Bible journaling, I'm praying over and selecting a Scripture at least once a week. I'm pouring into each word as I create a design and apply it to my Bible. For a few hours, that verse is my sole focus and when I'm done, I have a visual image of it through the design. I can truly say that every single page I've journaled is now a Scripture I can easily recite!

 - Creative fun. Guys, three words... adult coloring books. They are all the rage. I think its because they allow a busy, stressed out adult to sit down and just focus on a pretty design. They're relaxing to work on and fulfilling to complete. I know y'all aren't shocked in the least to hear that crafting, creating, and designing do this for me. Making something beautiful is a beautiful thing in and of itself! 

 - Worship. I think any time you're actively giving God glory, you're worshiping. This comes in a lot of shapes and sizes, but I'm pretty sure God is happy to have them all. Spending time in His Word, reflecting on what He wants me to know and learn, usually listening to some awesome music in the background, what a great way to worship God!

Are you convinced? Have you whipped out your debit card, pulled up your Amazon Prime account, or already jumped into the card to head to Lifeway? Drive safe and keep reading!

Here are a few recommendations to get you started.

 a journaling Bible. This is your only must-have for Bible journaling. I have this Bible and give it two thumbs up. I selected it based on the translation and the make up of the outside cover (it's an NIV with a soft brown, flexible leather cover). Amazon seems to have the most affordable options, but you can find journaling Bibles (or sometimes they're called notetaking Bibles) most anywhere Bibles are sold. They also come in both lined and unlined margins varieties, so keep that in mind if its a deal breaker for you.

a journaling bible mat. This is a hard plastic mat to place behind the page you are working on. Whether you purchase one of these or just use a piece of cardboard or heavy card stock, I'd definitely recommend using something. If there's no buffer between the pages, your artwork will be imprinted on the following pages and potentially even bleed thru the super thin paper. I learned this the hard way with my very first page (got the sads) and immediately ordered the Illustrated Faith mat pictured above.

pens. Pick your poison here! I feel like pen choice is such a personal decision so feel free to use a few different options and see what you like. Be on the look out for pens that bleed through the page and for pens that are not waterproof if you're using mixed media. I found this blog post to be a great resource on different types of journaling pens and what might work best for each person. Having said that, I agree with it's author that this variety pack of pens are my favorite. Just make sure to hide them from the rest of your family! I'm looking at you, J.B.!

twistable colored pencils. These are a popular tool for most Bible journal folks. The Twistable colored pencils are inexpensive and simple to use. Lazy? Come sit by me. And get excited because these bad boys don't ever need to be sharpened! Huzzah!! The tips are also super soft on the thin pages and the colors blend together wonderfully.

gelatos. Currently these are my favorite way to color my designs (and the one I used on the design below)! Gelatos are sort of a half crayon, half watercolor option. They draw on like a crayon, and then you can used a sponge or a damp cloth to smooth out the color. If you aren't paying attention, they can be a bit pricey online, but I've found them to be super affordable at Michael's. Plus you can use up to a 50% off coupon with their app!

watercolor paints. Y'all know I'm a watercolor girl. And I enjoy using them in my Bible journaling too! The only downside for watercolor paints is that they do color thru the page. Where as a gelato color isn't going to show thru on the backside of a page, a watercolor paint definitely will. That might not be a big deal to you, but its something I weigh when I'm considering a design. Can't beat the price though. A watercolor paint set can be found almost anywhere for just a couple bucks!

washi tape. While I own an entire basket of various patterns of washi tape, (True story. Support group is imminent) I actually have not used a bit of it inside my Bible. But my day is coming. I can feel it. And you can find washi tape anywhere! Craft stores, Target, online. Go nuts! The great thing about washi tape is that it's lightweight and both permanent and non-permanent. Meaning, you can stick it down wherever you like and it's not moving, but if you did decide to readjust it or remove it, washi tape peels up easily without leaving any damage in its wake. What more could you ask for out of decorative tape?!

A great resource for Bible journaling ideas is simply to do a Pinterest search! There are so many beautiful designs to take in! There are even traceable designs for free or to purchase if you're apprehensive about beginning. 

These are a few of my favorites.

via  /   via  /  via

You can also see the great variety in styles. Some folks go all out with the stickers, washi tape and paint. They'll use a page in their Bible as a canvas for a specific scripture and exclusively use their journaling Bible as a work of art. While these are beautiful tributes to God's word, I'm a bit more subtle with my own style. I prefer not to cover up any scripture text and stay within the confines of the margins. That allows me to continue to use this Bible as a study reference if I choose to.

For a more concise idea, I'll give you a peek into what I'm working on this week.
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about  these things."
 - Philippians 4:8 

The madness of today's political climate has been seeping into my heart and God knew what I needed to focus on this week. So I've been churning this verse around day after day. 

I started my journaling design on the computer. This is probably where I differ from most folks. While I think the majority of people like to grab a pencil and work on a free hand design, I love my graphic design work via Illustrator. So I usually carefully create my design on a computer before bring it over to my Bible to trace with a pencil. 

From there I added ink and then color. In my mind's eye, I was planning a metallic gold ombre look for underneath this pretty script. Key words there are "I was planning". Bless my heart. 
This design is the perfect example of design plans gone wrong. As I started to apply my metallic gold gelato color, I realized that the pen I used for the script was not waterproof! GASP. Smears incoming! Since both the ink and the gelato had already been applied to the page at this point, I was stuck.
So the gelato work was done really tediously and didn't come out with quite the application its supposed to. Never the less, I think this design is still along the path of what I was originally imagining. The metallic gold shimmers beautifully in person! These are the golden things to rest our mind on!

I hope you'll consider Bible journaling! It's been such a fun venture for me and I love the real life application that these Scripture are making on my heart.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

currently {january}

If we were to grab coffee together, this post is basically what I'd be bringing to the table. Outside of teething babies, planning what to do with my almost kindergartner next year, and the ongoing talk of our family searching for the perfect accessible home, these are the other tidbit you'd hear. 

So pull up a chair and warm mocha latte!

I've been on an audiobook kick lately. I've been so busy and there is exactly zero time to sit down and read a book. But if I have an audiobook on my phone, I can play it while I'm doing my three thousand errands or whatnot around the house. And surprisingly, I can fly thru books this way! Not so great for my wallet, but fantastic for my book list! 

Lately I've finished... 

All The Light We Cannot See - So wonderful! WWII historical fiction.
Secrets of a Charmed Life - Loved this one! Another WWII historical fiction novel.
Truly Madly Guilty - A typical Liane Moriarty novel with a twist. Not my favorite of hers but I saw it thru.
The Last Days of Night - A totally random choice on my end, but this book was great! More historical about the lightbulb patent lawsuit between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse (yes, I realize that makes it sound like the dullest book in history, but I promise, its great!)

Bible journaling! 

Is this something any of y'all are into? I got a journaling Bible for Christmas and had had a great time with it so far! I love spending the creative time designing a page and committing that verse to memory. 

There is so much wonderful inspiration out there!

via  /  via  /  via  /  via

Interested in hearing more? I plan to do a post on this soon!

Y'all might have seen on FB or IG that my girl got her new wheelchair this week! 
So exciting that she has the opportunity to get around anywhere and everywhere!

I feel like I'm so late to this party, but...

Yes, I'm a total cliche stay-at-home-wear-my-leggings mom, but a Lularoe consultant friend of mine sent me the best ever box of clothes! It had several gift items for Eliza to grown into and some great leggings and tops for me! Since then, the introduction has blossomed into a slight LLR obsession. 
I'm a big big fan of their leggings, Irma shirts, and Cassie skirts. I just can't get past how comfortable the always are! Even to a really nice company dinner, I was able to pull off a knotted top and skirt and feel like I was in my sweats (well, minus the heels...).

 I seem to snag either the ultra plain, classic items or the crazy fun prints. Not a lot of middle ground here. Three pairs of black leggings sit in my drawer right next to UFO's, sunglasses, sandcastles and rocket ships.

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, of course. And y'all know this mama loves her some sweet little Valentine's Day goodie bags! 

Because of the overload of candy, I seem to aim for a not so sweet treat to bring a little balance to the Valentine pile. Here are a few of Jake's Valentine's from years past...

{circa 2016 - original post HERE}

{circa 2015 - original post HERE}

{circa 2014 - original post HERE}

So our fourth year of school Valentines us upon us and I'm excited to come up with a fun little goodie for all of Jake's buddies!

I hope there are books to read, new obsessions to follow and fun things on the horizon for you to plan this January as well!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

farmhouse canvas sign {diy tutorial}

A few weeks ago, I posted my new W piece on Instagram. I adored it and couldn't wait to show off how perfectly it fit into that space. I also may or may not have confessed how many W letter pieces I had in my house.
The answer is 39 for those interested in how far gone my sanity is... 

Since then, I've had several requests for a how-to. Of course! Because is there anything better than the clean, simple farmhouse look? Are there people left in the world that don't love Fixer Upper's Chip and Joanna Gaines? I think not. 

So today's project is for a fun, custom piece that you can create yourself, without dropping a huge amount of cash at Waco's Magnolia Market. 

This tiny W today is no comparison to the oversized letter I created originally, but that's the beauty of this project. Create whatever size and print design you want! Big, small, simple, complex - do your thing! Or snag a tiny canvas like this to get your feet wet before you dive into a tougher design. 


- canvas
- wood trim*
- black acrylic paint for text
- light brown acrylic paint for glaze 
- brown acrylic paint for frame
- a couple small paintbrushes
- power sander or sandpaper
 - a couple finishing nails or wood glue

*I snagged my trim wood from the lumber department at Lowe's. Look for smaller cuts section and you'll find some 2' and 4' length, 2" by 1/2". Just snag however much you need to cover all four sides. You might even consider asking them to cut it down to the right size for you! If you're cutting the wood at home, just lay the wood around your canvas and trim down the pieces to outline it. 

I keep basic paint supplies and colors in my craft stash. And since my hubby has a sander/sandpaper in the garage, all I had to nab for this one was a canvas and the wood trim. I'm doing an 8x10 this go-around (2 canvases for $6 at Hobby Lobby). That puts me at around $7 for this project! 

You'll start by deciding on your design! The simpler the design, the quicker and easier to execute. This W (and my larger one) were both fast projects. My next piece (a longer Bible verse) will take a little more time because of the detail and number of small letters. 

Design your artwork on the computer and make sure it's completely scaled to size. This is pretty simple for an 8x10 - draw an 8x10 rectangle and put my W inside. For larger pieces, I set my art board at the exact size of my canvas and created my design, but printing was a bit different since it was larger than a standard sheet of paper. I printed sections of my design out at a time and taped them together. This does not need to be pretty! So feel free to conserve ink (see how I printed only the outline in a pale grey below) and patch things together! The design simply serves as a pattern to trace!

Once you have your design ready to go, flip over the sheet and rub over the outline of your design with a pencil. This is the same old tracing trick I've used in projects time and time again. 

When the back is done, place your design down on the canvas, right side up. Secure it with a couple of pieces of tape to keep it from sliding. Then trace over the outline of your design with a pen - directly onto your pattern sheet. 

The pressure of the pen onto the canvas will transfer that lead on the backside right to your canvas! The end result should be the perfect outline on your canvas! 

When the outline is complete, you're ready to fill it in with paint! I like to think of this step as a subpar job. Remember that a farmhouse look is a little aged and shabby. I don't want my paint to be perfectly drawn or completely filled it. So don't stress over getting it just right. 
While you've got the paintbrushes out, go ahead and give your trim pieces a coat of the brown. Again, it doesn't have to be perfect and filled in.


Painting completed? Now let's rough it up! Grab your sander (or sandpaper) and take to the canvas. Some sanding onto the design should dull down the painted area. Tackling the corners and edges should even pull up a bit of the canvas to reveal the wood underneath.

Work here until you're happy with the end result. Then give a little elbow grease to the trim pieces so they look aged as well. It might sound intimidating, but with a power sander, this step takes me less than five minutes and makes a world of difference. 

The last step for your design is to glaze the canvas. For me, the clean white canvas looks a little too bright, nice and new. So I mixed a dab of cream colored paint with water for a glaze.

Brush this super runny paint horizontally onto your canvas. Wait 20 seconds or so and then gently wipe it off with a paper towel. The glaze paint should show well on the distressed portions of your canvas and give some aged texture to the rest of it. You can apply and wipe off until you get the look you want.
Its tricky to show this slight difference in photos but you'll definitely notice it in person. Use your own judgement!

Last, we'll add the frame! To be completely honest, I handed this off to J.B.
Isn't he a gem??

But he applied a little bit of wood glue and then used a few small finishing nails to hammer the sides directly into the canvas on each side.

I like for my canvas to sit at the front of the frame and leave the lip on the backside.
But I know some folks prefer it the other way around. Do your own thing here.

Happy with my finished product! This design was a simple one. Now I'm ready to move on to a big bad design with oh so many letters!

 I like to think Joanna would be proud!