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May 7, 2015

New Ventures - {Make it Meaningful}

I'm excited to finally be able to share a peek of my newest venture!  I love making - whether it's with paper & glue, fabric, or paint.  Being creative energizes my soul.  My brother, unlike me, is a whiz with wood.  We decided to join efforts & set up shop.
 I'm hoping to have shipping options soon, but for now - if you're in Indiana, we'd love to have you check out our shop!  We also like making custom projects.
 One of my favorite things is the Milk & Cream sign.  I salvaged some antique glass & white paint-chipped wood from an old barn & designed the lettering. 
 I also made some cute little dolls & dachshunds for the shop.  We have some unique antique pieces too!
If you're a fan of HGTV's Fixer Upper show, you might recognize the sign that inspired this design.  It was a labor of love, & now I'm tempted to keep it for my own kitchen. ;)
We're busy coming up with new designs & I'm loving this new path our lives are taking.  Thanks for checking it out!

Mar 26, 2015

Getting Started With Illustrated Faith

There are things in life that are great on their own, but when paired together, something magical happens.

peanut butter & jelly
coffee & donuts
Nutella & pretty much anything

(I just realized that I skipped breakfast.)

faith & creativity

And that pairing is what Illustrated Faith is all about.  My friend Shanna Noel started this movement that has merged the love of art with the love of God.

(Here's a pic of Shanna & me from the Illustrated Faith workshop I attended this past weekend. I think I was in need of a little siesta at this point.)
 You can read more about Illustrated Faith here... but here it is in its simplest form: Add art (paint, drawings, stamps, stickers, etc.) to the pages of a journaling Bible as a form of worship.  There are no rules & you don't have to be an artist.  Everyone's take on it is unique.  It's just expressing your faith & journey through color & words & images.

I just joined in recently, but I've followed Shanna's posts about Illustrated Faith from the very beginning.  I thought it was a unique idea, but honestly, I wasn't quite sure if it was for me.  I was reluctant to try it out for myself because many of the pages I saw posted were done by seasoned art journalers, full of paint techniques and things a little out of my comfort zone.  I thought it was great for them, but I wasn't sure if I would get the same fulfillment out of it.

But... I'm always game for trying out something new & I knew I needed something to help me feel more inspired to read my Bible.  I don't know how many times I've chastised myself for not reading the word more often.

I bought a journaling bible & it arrived all crisp & pristine... and stark black.  It just screamed, "don't mess me up!"  It was kind of intimidating.  So the first thing I did was cover the front.  I printed out text that was meaningful to me onto some scrapbooking paper (a vintage Studio Calico print that I've hoarded) and immediately, a piece of my fear crumbled away.
 I moved on to the second page & tried out an idea & it completely smeared all over the place.  And yes, I know that my journaling Bible is between me & God & I shouldn't care if it's a mess, but I also know me & I knew that it would bother me and become a stumbling block later down the road.

So, I went with plan B & covered the whole thing with patterned paper and it turned into something even better than my original plan.  Instantly I thought - what a metaphor for my life!  We come to God all imperfect and messy & he covers us and makes something beautiful.
I also designed some tabs for the side of my Bible & cut them out with my Silhouette.  (I used clear printable sticker sheets.)  I like being able to find what I'm looking for quickly & these were just the trick!

P.S. if you have the Silhouette, the PixScan is amazing & made this project so much easier!
 So then it was time to really dive in.  This was my first entry and the page that opened my eyes to what Illustrated Faith was really about.
I understood the idea behind Illustrated Faith in my mind & I understood the love of creativity in my heart... but when these two things blended together, something magical happened in my spirit.  And that, my friends, is why I am so excited about this movement.  I want everyone to experience what I experienced!

It's hard to explain, but when you read God's word & ponder it in your heart & then let your hands create, something big happens.
I can't tell you why something clicked in my spirit for sure.  Maybe it's because I'm spending more time being quiet & thinking about what I just read?  Or maybe it's because I'm a visual learner?  But then again, maybe it's because I'm finally being allowed to express my worship in a way that I was designed.
I just read the first entry in the Illustrated Faith "You Are Enough" devotional & it's all about understanding that there are so many parts to the body of Christ.  One person might be the head & another the hands.  We all have different strengths & weaknesses & we just need to be what we were designed to be.  We are enough.  And not only enough - we are beautiful & perfect in Him!

If you've thought about trying out a journaling bible, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so.  You don't have to be an artist.  You just have to be willing to give God what you have.  Use whatever "voice" that you have & make a joyful noise.  I truly believe that this can be an amazing & meaningful journey for you as you document your faith.

Mar 14, 2015

Love Your Lettering

Happy Saturday! I woke up this morning to take a peek at the newest class release from Studio Calico and couldn't be more excited.  Jasmine Jones is such a talented artist & I immediately signed up for her Love Your Lettering online workshop.

I've always wanted to know how to create beautiful hand lettering (I practiced all the time in my Lisa Frank notebook back in the day) and I think this class is going to be so much fun.
 You can also purchase a class kit which ships free to anywhere in the world.  The kit includes:



  • (2) paper mate flair pens
  • prismacolor white eraser
  • bienfang tracing pad
  • zero center ruler
  • tomboy brush pen
  • lettering guide

  • You can find out more about this class & get registered here.  This workshop is only $19 (even less for Studio Calico kit subscribers & Rewards Members!) so it's a fantastic opportunity to learn a new skill.  Class starts on April 6th & I hope you'll join me!

    Mar 2, 2015

    I'm a teacher with Big Picture Classes!

    I'm so excited to be able to share a little secret that I've been keeping! I'm one of the newest teachers at Big Picture Classes!
    Have you seen the new Big Picture Classes website yet?  It just launched this weekend and it's amazing!  If you're not familiar with BPC, it's an online learning platform for all things crafty.  You'll find classes on scrapbooking, cardmaking, DIY crafts & much more!

    With the new platform, you can sign up to become a member for only $9.99 a month & you'll have unlimited access to all of the classes on the site.  New classes will be added to the site all throughout the year, so it's a really great resource.  You can even try out a free trial risk free.
    I'm teaching a series called Postmarked.  It's a card making class with a focus on getting your cards in the mail.  Each month, I'll be sharing new cardmaking techniques, challenges, and ideas to help keep us inspired. In the first class, we’ll even be making a card organizer to hold everything we need to take our cards from idea to postmarked!
    In this first class, you'll find 4 video tutorials, PDFs, and free downloads to help you complete your card organizer.  I'll also show you some fun & simple watercolor techniques that anyone can do so that you can start sending out happy mail!
    At BPC, you'll also find a community page where you can connect with other students.  There's a group called Postmarked Pals where you can share ideas on creating handmade cards, stationery, and happy mail of all kinds. You might even find a new pen-pal!  I hope you check it out.

    If you'd like to start making handmade cards of your own to send to your family & friends, I'd love for you to join me in this class series.  You can find out more about Postmarked here.  Hope to see you in class!

    Feb 26, 2015

    Make Plush Toys Using Digital Stamps

     Ever since I made these plush wiener dogs, I've been wanting to create a dog that looks like our Boston Terrier.  I just needed to make a pattern.  I was looking at the new digital stamps that Studio Calico released today & a light bulb went on!
    This adorable little doggie image reminded me so much of our Boston & it just needed a few modifications to make my plan work.  I opened the image in Photoshop and enlarged it to fit on a 12x12 background.

     I don't have a large format printer, so I just printed off sections of it onto letter sized paper and pieced the pages together.  (It helps to use the borderless printing option.)
     I cut the image out, leaving a 1/4" border along the edges to allow for the seam allowance.

    Once my pattern was ready, I pinned it onto a piece of felt.  The higher the quality of felt you can use, the better.  This is 100% Holland wool felt & I love it!
     I cut out the outline of the dog & then cut out several other pieces using additional felt.  (I used the digital image as a reference.)
     I used a tight zig-zag stitch in color coordinating thread to secure each piece of felt in place.
     Once my felt pieces were secure, I hand embroidered some freckles/whiskers to my Boston's face.
     I decided that I wanted my dog to have a contrasting fabric back, so I cut a second piece (using the pattern above) out of chambray.  I placed the wool & chambray pieces facing together (front to front) and machine stitched around the edges, using a 1/4" seam allowance & left a 2-3" opening so that I could turn the pieces right side out.

    I like to use my pinking shears to go along the edges.  It makes the fabric seam edges much less bulky.
     After I turned my dog right side out, I created a collar for him using ribbon, a jump ring, & a piece of gold felt.  Once stuffed, the collar can not slip over the dogs head & stays nicely in place.
     I stuffed the dog with polyfill.  I like to use small bits at a time and use a non-sharpened pencil to help push the fiber into tight places (like the ears, legs & tail.)
     I hand-stitched the dog's backside closed & he was all finished!
     I may be a little partial, but I LOVE the way my dog turned out!  He looks so much like our own Boston Terrier.  Both of my boys took one look and their faces split into a huge grin.
     This digital stamp coordinates with the new Calypso kit that's available right now at Studio Calico.  How cute would one of these plush dogs be if given as a gift & packaged with a hand stamped tag & gift wrap?!?  I'm very tempted. :)

    Dec 3, 2014

    Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking Magazine Blog Hop

    Hello & welcome to the Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking magazine farewell blog hop!  This is a HUGE amazing collaboration between over 200 paper crafters around the globe to celebrate & share memories of one of the biggest crafting publications in the industry.

    You can find the full list of participants at the end of this post.  Just to keep you on track, you should have come from Lydia Fiedler's blog.  Your next stop will be Lea Lawson's blog.

    Here is a card I made for all of the people who made up PC&S:

    You might be wondering why so many people have come together to say goodbye to a magazine.  The truth is, it was never just a magazine.  Paper Crafts has meant SO much to so many.  This magazine changed the course of my life.  It inspired a hobby that lead to a profession.  It pushed me, inspired me, and encouraged me along the way.  I have made so many lasting relationships - true friendships - because of this publication.  Doors have been opened over the years & it's been a true blessing to have been a part of it.

    For me, it all started in 2007 when I received an email saying that I would be published for the very first time.  You can read my original blog post here.

    A few years later, this happened:
    Over the years, I got the opportunity to travel across the country & meet people like this:
     
    There are just so many memories & I'm just so thankful for the time we had.  Love you PC&S!!!


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