Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Lessons from a Very Special Creative Cafe Church by Jane Butcher

I’m certain many of you have seen the pictures I have posted from time to time of our lovely friends from Creative Cafe Church.

We have met together on the second Sunday of every month for the last six years and as our name suggests we are a very creative group!

Each of our special friends comes along with their family a friend or a carer as it is important to us that Cafe Church is a time of family worship and fellowship, a time when we can just relax, be ourselves, as God intended, without worrying about others!

As you can no doubt imagine our worship, prayer times and teaching times can be noisy, exuberant, funny and sometimes amazingly quiet and spirit filled. We share news, worries, hopes and achievements, and we spend time in the Word together. We  use a variety of approaches, picture boards, puppets, musical instruments, drama and powerpoint presentations.

A very important part of worship time is our craft time, we have young (and slightly older) people with profound and multiple disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, Autism, general learning disabilities and cerebral palsy. Many of them need a multi sensory approach to consolidate their understanding and learning and the craft time offers a very visual reminder of the theme for the day.

Very often we produce a piece of art to share with someone else, particularly when we have been thinking of God’s love for us, being kind, making good choices. At the beginning the craft was very much for our special friends but over the years I have had to make sure that I prepare enough materials for everyone to take part, friends, family members and carers!

The art we produce is, of necessity, fairly simple but as in Bible journaling sometimes profound truth can be revealed in very simple imagery.  Cafe Church journaling is always a time of fun and chatter. We use paints, collage, Bible verses, photographs, model making and have made little books to share with friends. Tori, our first member has saved every craft/art piece since the very beginning; they go all around the walls of her bedroom and have overflowed into the spare bedroom!

I just love this picture!  It sums up the whole ethos behind Creative Cafe Church so very beautifully.
It is also so  relevant to us as Bible Journalers; how many of us still measure our efforts against those of others?

One thing that I have learned from my Cafe Church friends, when they bring me their finished pictures they are so proud, they know it’s just perfect, they don’t compare their work to that of anyone else, they celebrate and praise each other.

Art doesn’t have to be “perfect”, art doesn’t have to be a “masterpiece”, colouring doesn’t have to stay in the lines. When a child or a loved one offers you the gift of their efforts you love it, you are blessed by it, you are touched by it, you accept it joyfully and delightedly. Does this make you think of someone else?

Our Bible Journaling endeavours are an act of worship and a love offering to our God, I can’t wait to see the fridge door in Heaven!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Stamping in your Bible - by Sarah Anderson

There is a bewildering array of both stamps and inkpads out there so I'm going to try and shed a little light on the whole thing.  Be warned, this is a long, photo heavy post - I didn't want to leave you 'hanging' with a two part blog post on stamping!

When I first started stamping, many, many years ago, all stamps were wood mounted.  Now these are few and far between and most stamps come 'unmounted.  This means that, to get a clear impression, you need to mount them temporarily on an acrylic block.

Acrylic blocks come in various sizes, and various thicknesses.  They are available in Hobbycraft, and in shops that sell stamps as well as online.

Clear, polymer stamps will cling to the acrylic block ..

... as do these cling stamps from Prima.

With unmounted rubber stamps, like this one from MakiStamps. you can use a Pritt stick to temporarily stick it to an acrylic block, or

add a repositionable cushioning such as Kling On or EZ Mount.  The stamp will then cling to the acrylic block.

Ok, now onto inkpads ...

..another bewildering array!  There are two main types of inkpad - pigment ink and
dye ink.  Pigment ink is slow drying and is great if you want to emboss your stamped image with an embossing powder.  That is definitely another post but here's an example -

The gold flowers have been embossed with a fine detail gold powder.  There are some fast drying pigment inkpads, like Versafine, which are fine for general stamping (and waterproof),  but generally I use dye inkpads which dry quickly.  However, they are often not waterproof so if you want to colour your images with a wet medium such as watercolour paints then you need to be careful about which ones you buy.

Now I'm not a prep your page girl.  I tried it once!  I like to be able to just journal immediately rather than having to put gesso (pronounced 'jesso') down and wait for it to dry; I also like the paper to feel like the paper, I know how that reacts!  But that's just me.  This means that my stamping is often evident on the other side of the page ..

...and thanks ok with me.  If you'd like to have less of a 'bleed through', Art Basics clear gesso is highly recommended by those in the know, as is Dina Wakely's.


It's a good idea to try out new products in the back of your bible.  I've run out of space there so tried out my different inkpads in some of the pages at the beginning.  There was actually very little difference in the amount of bleed through between all the different dye inkpads, and fast drying pigment inkpads.  Remember, I've NOT prepped my pages.  Personally I choose inkpads by colour range, and ease of availability.  All of the inkpad types I've trialled above - versafine, versamagic, archival (by Ranger), adirondack (also by Ranger but now discontinued; still currently available in stores though), staz-on, and memento are waterproof.  Distress inkpads are designed to be messed about with with water so aren't best for colouring in with watercolour paints etc but you can get some cool effects with them - that IS another post!


My go-to black inkpad is a Versafine Onyx Black pad.  It is great for picking out small detail and is waterproof.

So now I've confused you over inkpads, here's how to stamp!

If you're using a little inkpad, like my Memento Dew Drop (available in Hobbycraft, as well as online and in other shops), tap the stamp as show above to cover with ink.

Then apply even pressure to the block.  If you're new to stamping, or have a new set of stamps, it's always worth practising your stamping and getting used to the pressure needed, on scrap paper before stamping in your bible.

 This word stamp is one of the words from Clarity stamps word chains.  It's not just Christian stamp companies that have great, relevant words and images for stamping in your bible.

 You need a firm, flat surface to stamp on.  My bible has lots in it now so I use a wadge of copier paper or an exercise book underneath the page to provide a firm surface.

The first stamped image is darker, but if you stamp a second image, without re-inking you get a paler image.  I love using the two degrees of  'inkiness' in my bible,

and it also makes it easier to clean your stamp afterwards!  I use baby wipes to do this.

 You don't have to stamp directly into your bible.  Here I've stamped on painted deli paper  (a thin paper great to glue into the pages of your bible)

and here I've stamped on copier paper and cut out the images before adding them to my bible pages

I recently picked up a stamp of Jerusalem from makistamps.  I love hunting down a theme in my bible (stars are a particular favourite!)

I used my Versafine Onyx Black inkpad to stamp the image in my bible.  I went over some of the text and would have preferred not to have done.

I then added some of the text from Psalm 122 with my favourite pen -  a fine Bic!  I love the texture it adds to the page, a lovely bit of crinkle ;)  I like to repeat stamp a key word on the page but didn't have one that said 'peace'.  What I do have is sticky backed foam and a die cutting machine so I got out one of my alphabet dies ..

...trimmed a piece of sticky backed foam..

...and ran it through my die cutting machine (I have a Big Shot).


I picked out the letters I needed and added them to some thick card.

..and trimmed it down to form my own stamp!

I then used my Adirondack inkpad, in Pool (because that's the colour I wanted)..

..to stamp the word around my page

To finish off, I added some more colour to some of the words with a coloured pencil, and coloured the walls on the stamped image.  I also wrote the word 'peace' within the walls of Jerusalem.

I find stamping allows me to add images to my bible that I wouldn't be able to draw.  Stamping words repeatedly also means I spend longer with a verse and focus on key words within it.  If you're new to stamping, it's worth practicing on scrap paper.  As adults we often expect to be able to do things well straight away, but as with all new skills, they take practice, and that's ok!

Happy Stamping!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Micro-Journaling by Judith Rollins

I have been Bible Journaling for many years. I guess I never really gave it a name because it was just something that I enjoyed doing. From time to time I would draw illustrations in pencil and try to make my bible reading experience more visual. When you see something that you like, your eyes linger. I loved looking through the pages of all my dad’s biochemistry books when I was younger, not because I understood them, but because I liked to see his notes and mini drawings in the thin margins. When I owned my own books in later years, I started to do the same. Textbooks were okay, but it took me a while before I felt comfortable writing in my Bible. It’s the Word of God and I didn’t want to mess it up. I wasn’t even sure if I was allowed! So, I started off with notes and little bits of scrawl until in more recent times when I have expanded to bigger illustrations. I still do these but I have become very fond of something that I came to call Micro-Journaling.

Micro-Journaling is a way of capturing key points of what the Word is speaking to you about without spending lots of time trying to create a masterpiece. It highlights the scripture without covering it over or taking away from it in any way. At times we can become so focused on the artistic side of bible journaling that we forget the whole point is to document what we learn, what we see and feel, and what we come to know about ourselves and God through scripture. Simple phrases, small illustrations and a little bit of colour can at times be a more than enough to help us keep things in mind. And what’s more, it’s really easy! I discovered a lady on Instagram who uses her bible in this way and it inspired me. When I began to do it myself, I simply gave it the name Micro-Journaling.

I don’t actually use a journaling Bible even though I own one; I use an ordinary study bible to journal in. I haven’t made the transition because the best bible to me is the one that I read the most, regardless of translation, size or journaling space(!) Also, not everyone is able to afford a journaling bible, so Micro-Journaling helps you to make the most of what space you have no matter how big or small. If however I do require more room, I paint over study notes with white gesso to create a fresh canvas on the page. (But because I love the study notes, I have two copies of the same bible so I can still read them when I want to).

A bible is a very personal thing and it is up to the individual how they choose to document or illustrate their faith. But remember, your bible is primarily for you and God, it isn’t for impressing people or showing off your skills. If it becomes about that, it may be hard when you don’t feel that your pages measure up to those that you see on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest…(there are so many, and I’m sure it’s not just me who spends hours looking through them). Micro-Journaling is a great way to incorporate all the things that you love about bible journaling into a simple entry. It doesn’t have to look the best, it only needs to mean something to you!

God is constantly speaking to me about using what I have, sometimes that is just my pen, and a couple of colouring pencils. I won’t lie, I have a lot of art equipment, but that is because I studied art and my business is art based, so I have acquired a lot of materials over time. However, Micro-Journaling takes away the need for tons of equipment and brings you back to that simple place of you and God. The focus is not the art, but the revelation. You don’t need to have a degree or qualification, you just need to be willing to dig deeper into scripture.

To get started with Micro-Journaling, let me give you a few pointers. All you will need is a fine liner pen and your bible.
  1. Read a passage of scripture or listen to a great sermon.
  1. Pray that God will reveal a deeper meaning to you personally.
  1. Try and condense what He shows you into a short phrase that is memorable.
  1. Write the phrase next to the scripture and use small images, lines and swirls to make it stand out. (I like to use flowers as they always catch my attention).

I would encourage you to use whatever means something to you, that could be leaves, flowers, literal images from the passage…anything at all! The idea is that it does not need to be elaborate; it is simply whatever you can do. Just use what you’ve got!

Judith Rollins
OpenBook Print Shop
Facebook: Judith Rollins – OpenBook Print Shop
Instagram: @rollinwithj


Note from Bible Art Journaling UK Admin team - thank you so much Judith for this inspirational blog post! We love your beautiful Bible tabs and journaling goodies on your Etsy shop!!!  :-)


Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Prayer Journaling by Jane Butcher

I haven’t contributed anything for quite a while and have really enjoyed seeing some of the amazing blogs shared by some lovely ladies.

Today I’m going to be thinking about prayer journaling, same techniques, same skills, just coming from a slightly different point of inspiration.

Prayer is our opportunity to spend time in direct, one to one
conversation with our Lord.Time to share, time to listen, time to be quiet.

I love to pray and I love to hear those people who just have such a special way of expressing themselves in prayer. My friend Jean Craven is one of the most beautiful pray-ers I know, I could listen to her for hours, her heart just pours forth love, faith and hope. I am no longer unnerved by the request to pray out loud, or even more scary,  to pray in a group without previous warning but personally I find I express myself better when I write my prayers down.

Prayer cannot be measured against anyone else.
We can all pray, we just need to find our own voice!
As I pray I like to draw, create a picture, find little phrases which support or enlarge my thoughts. I may write a poem or a letter to God or I may simply write down whatever God has laid on my heart.

Prayer is an act of worship.
It is beautiful.
It is love.
I can so easily fall into the shopping list trap, my prayer time becoming nothing more than a recitation of needs, personal or otherwise, sprinkled with an occasional thank you. When I journal my prayers although I still share my hopes, fears and requests with my Lord I also find myself becoming more focused on Him, more focused on worship, praise, thankfulness and hope in abundance.

As with Bible Journaling, Prayer Journaling is a way of engaging with and relating to our Heavenly Father in a manner which allows us to be entirely ourselves, expressing ourselves according to His divine and perfect plan for us. There is no right or wrong, there is no good or bad, there is only faith, love, hope and joy.