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Archive for the ‘reflections’ Category

This is the second in a short series of posts in which I am sharing some “artful devotions” from this summer: hand-lettered verses.  You can find the first post HERE.

I found that hand-lettering verses this summer really made me meditate on the exact and specific words used.  As I planned the way the words would look and fit on my page, I had to decide their importance and weight– and how that would impact how a viewer saw the verse.  I think the emphasis that I’ve placed on some of the words also says a bit about how God was working in my heart and what He was teaching me as I studied.

I am hoping that the time I spent meditating on these Scriptures will help to implant them firmly in my heart and mind–similar to the way God’s attributes impacted me and I am remembering them better for having made illustrations in my Bible last summer.

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P.S. All the verses are from the ESV

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I love memory-keeping.

This is not a surprise to anyone who knows me even a little bit.  I like to say that photos are my love-language!  I take so many photos, and I have a detailed system in place to make sure that all of my photos have some sort of caption attached to them.

The form of memory-keeping I like best is paper scrapbooking.  “Traditional” scrapbook pages are at the top of that list: I love adding pretty paper and embellishments to my photos and stories to enhance them and turn them into creative works.  I love the layers, the colors, the feel of the paper and chipboard and veneer and…and…

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Recently, though, I have had to prioritize other things, and so I have been doing very little actual scrapbooking with paper.  Add to that the fact that my craft room had to be involved in some plumbing replacement during our bathroom renovation, and you find a girl who is desperate for a creative outlet without a place to make stuff.

And so, I decided to take advantage of the forced time away from my physical supplies to do some digital work.  I had photos to catch up with, and I also had some photo books that I’ve wanted to make.

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monorail and Dry Gulch Railroad, 2013

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Ladybugs and Sack Slide, 2013

 

I have mixed feelings about photo books.  Anyone else?  Sometimes I feel like it’s cheating.  It feels like instead of actually making a scrapbook, I’m just throwing some photos onto pages and printing them into a book, and calling it good.  I choose and edit my photos, I upload them to Shutterfly and make the books right in their software.  For these most recent photo books, I just used the standard styles (not even the premium ones) to construct my books.  I didn’t even use my own digital supplies in PSE to make my own pages!  Cheating?

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Starship and Ladybugs, 2016

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Flying Falcons, 2016

When I really stop to think about it though, I realize that it’s not cheating.  Yes, I used the website’s software and basic templates and supplies.  But I spent hours on them– adding embellishments in just the right places, tweaking the photo placements so that they were just right, and adding text to tell the stories of our annual trips to Hersheypark.  These are scrapbooks, too.  They might not have the tactile end result of layers of paper and embellishments, shadows and textures, but they are lovingly made– and they are completely personalized to our family’s story.  And best of all: they are done!  They are available on our bookshelf — the kids browse through these photo books, reminiscing from the photos, and asking their Daddy and me to read the words to them.  I am so glad that I have taken the time to write so much about each photo.  The metadata in the photo files helped me to construct the narrative that runs through each book.  It’s not cheating: it’s another form of memory-keeping.

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Cocoa Cruiser and Livery Stables, 2017

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Trailblazer and Convoy, 2017

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Ladybugs and Swing Thing, 2017

I still love paper scrapbooks, and I hope that I am always able to keep making them.  But I will also be making more photo books, too.  Sometimes those books will be done on the Shutterfly website, and sometimes I will completely design them myself in PSE.  I’m making my peace with photo books, and I’m glad.

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photo with Mr. Hershey, 2013

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photo with Mr. Hershey, 2016

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photo with Mr. Hershey, 2017

In this post, I’ve shared photos of the three most recent photo books I made in June and July of this year.  I am trying to keep a series of photo books of our annual day trips to Hersheypark.  We went for the first time in 2013, and we’ve gone every year since– I’d like to have a book for each year.  I have not yet made my book for 2015 (there are so many photos from that year!), but I have made all of the others so far!  (I made the book for 2014 way back in that same year, so I’m not showing it in this blog post.)  It’s so fun to see our kids grow up– which rides are new for them each year, and which ones are perennial favorites.  

 

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Last year over the summer, I did some illustrations in my Bible as I studied God’s attributes and names.  It was a really satisfying way to add some artistic creativity into my devotional time.  More than that, the attributes and names that I illustrated have really remained in my heart and mind because of the time that I spent meditating upon them as I worked.

This summer, I decided to do more “artful devotions,” and in the late spring, I came across Krystal Whitten’s “Letter the Gospel” challenge.  I bought myself a blank sketchbook and worked on a verses throughout the summer.

I’d like to share some of what I made here on the blog.  I studied each verse for a bit before I started working on the lettering.  During my studying, usually I would have an idea of how I wanted to present the verse on my page, and I penciled in lines with a ruler and added my lettering in pencil, too.  I used my three thicknesses of black Becky Higgins Project Life pens to ink the words.  (I’d really like to try a brush pen, but I haven’t purchased one yet!)

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P.S. All the verses are from the ESV

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Embarking upon 2017

Happy new year!

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already embarked upon 2017, and I (you won’t be surprised here) have many ideas about the projects I’d like to work on, start, and of course, complete!

I’m hoping to share at least twice per week on the blog, maybe sometimes three times per week.  November and December 2016 were a whirlwind of completing ornaments and then finally having some time to make some of the gifts I’d planned for my own family.  Oh, and a very special birthday party for my (can you believe it?!) five-year-old daughter!  In the next weeks, I’ll be mostly sharing those November and December (and earlier!) projects as I get started on my new projects for the new year.  Who knows, maybe I’ll slip in some current ones, too! 😉

Like I wrote above, I have a huge list of things I’d like to accomplish this year.  I’ve made a big master list (read:brain dump) on sticky notes in the front cover of my planner.  I’ll be setting my monthly goals from that big list…and of course, any other projects that come up in the meantime, because there are always more!  Rather than sharing my goals on the blog at the beginning of each month, I will just keep track of them in my planner (it has great monthly and weekly goal planning pages, I just love it!).  I’ll just share projects here.

Even as I dream and plan about my sewing, papercrafting, home, and other projects, I have been contemplating how these hobbies of mine can be more intentional, with the focus on glorifying God in the things I do with my hands.   I want to have in mind the concerns of God, not merely human (especially selfish!!) concerns (Matthew 16:33).  “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent [Jesus]”  (John 9:4).  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23).  God has given me the desire– really it is almost a compulsion– to create… and He gives the brilliant flashes of idea or insight that are clearly not my own.  Any gifts that I have are from Him, and I think that it glorifies God to do what we do with excellence.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.  Psalm 90:17

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Happy Thanksgiving

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Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100 (NIV)

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

~ ~ ~

P.S. Due to commitments to my Etsy shop customers and taking time to celebrate God’s myriad blessings with my family, I will be taking a break from posting on my blog for a couple of weeks.  

~ ~ ~

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I definitely bit off more than I could chew in July… Somehow I forgot about all of the other stuff we had going on!  Craft time was at a minimum.  Here’s a recap of my goals, and my assessment:

  • Finish my dress.  I’d like to have a couple new dresses for a trip.  I would love for more than one of them to be sewn by me, but I’m not ruling out just buying one or two😉  I finished my dress!  I will publish a post about it soon! (I also bought one for my trip…and some fabric to make a couple more summery garments.)
  • Make at least 1 traditional scrapbook layout for my albums.  NOPE.  BUT, I did help V make a layout for her own scrapbook, so maybe that counts??
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  • Make a travel notebook.  Yes! (post coming soon)
  • Work on finishing B’s 365 album.  The album is “finished” in the sense that almost all of the daily cards and photos are in place.  What is left are all the extra inserts for momentous occasions and events.  I’m going to set a goal to have at least three of those inserts planned, at the minimum.  NOPE.  
  • Make at least one photo book.  Yes! (post coming soon)
  • Exercise at least 3 times per week and continue my daily arms/abs/legs toning exercises.  Yes.  
  • Prioritize Bible study and prayer.  Yes.  

I did get to finish up a few “bonus projects” during July:

 

So what about August?  Oh, I have grand plans again, of course.  I have some sewing projects in my brain, and as always, I want to scrapbook!  Here are my top project goals:

  • Sew a lap desk for B.
  • Sew a back-of-seat organizer for our car
  • Sew treasure-collecting bags for the kids.  This is a vague idea and might get ditched!
  • Put together travel activity books for the kids.
  • Do some scrapbooking.  Any scrapbooking!  (options: regular 12×12 pages for my albums or Disney project, special inserts for B’s album, photo book(s), etc.)
  • Exercise at least 3 times per week and continue my daily arms/abs/legs toning exercises.
  • Prioritize Bible study and prayer.

August is a busy month!  Summer is wrapping up and we have adventures planned, so we’ll see what actually gets finished!

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Here’s how I did in June!

  • Finish my quilt.  Done!  There will be a blog post in the future, as soon as I take some photos!
  • Sew a summer bag for myself.  Done!  And I love it!!
  • Start planning some summer garment sewing.  I definitely have some patterns picked out to try.  I purchased fabric for a dress, and I’ve started cutting it out.  See my July goals for more.
  • Make that darn Disney mini-album for B!  Yes!!  I did!!  It’s amazing; I have no idea why it took me so long to make it.  It is so simple in the end, and I also realized that I had all the pictures I needed already printed.  The paper was a real sticking point for me, but once I finally forced myself to pick paper and just start, I managed to complete it in a pretty short amount of time.   I’m excited to share it here on the blog.
  • Start working on finishing B’s 365 album.  This did not happen.
  • Make at least one traditional layout for my own scrapbook albums.  Sadly, this also did not happen.  I have some layouts taking shape in my head, though… 😉
  • Photos. Captioned, edited, shared with family and friends.  I would like to have May’s  done by June 7 at the latest.  I did completely finish May by my deadline, and I’m partway through June– including a big, fun day at Hersheypark (which was a LOT of photos).  You can bet that I’ll be furiously working on the rest of June’s photos this weekend!
  • Exercise at least 3 times per week. Also complete an arms/legs/abs toning exercise set every day.  Done.  I did miss a few abs/arms/legs days, but no more than once per week on average.  I also began an adult ballet class that I love (but is extremely challenging).  I’m taking it with a dear friend, and it is so fun!  The last time we took ballet together was probably in first grade…and the last time I was in a ballet class was over 10 years ago!
  • And last but absolutely not least: prioritize Bible study and prayer.  I have been studying the names and attributes of God, and have been enjoying meditating on the Scriptures that describe those attributes by creating more “artful devotions.”

July!  Isn’t it amazing that we’re already halfway through the year!  I have a lot of projects in mind, and I have to admit, I’m having a hard time prioritizing them (not that my monthly goal lists are in any kind of priority order).  My problem is that I know I can’t do them all (especially in July), and so I’m having trouble choosing which ones I should focus upon.

  • Finish my dress.  I’d like to have a couple new dresses for a trip I’m taking this summer.  I would love for more than one of them to be sewn by me, but I’m not ruling out just buying one or two 😉
  • Make at least 1 traditional scrapbook layout for my albums.
  • Make a travel notebook.
  • Work on finishing B’s 365 album.  The album is “finished” in the sense that almost all of the daily cards and photos are in place.  What is left are all the extra inserts for momentous occasions and events.  I’m going to set a goal to have at least three of those inserts planned, at the minimum.
  • Make at least one photo book.  I have about three photo books that are on my want-to-make list; I’d love to finish (and print) at least one of them.
  • Exercise at least 3 times per week and continue my daily arms/abs/legs toning exercises.
  • Prioritize Bible study and prayer.

Can I do it all (or more)?  We shall see!! 😉

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