Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Mothers....and others

So Mothering Sunday has passed. The chocolates are eaten, the wine drunk and the flowers are reminding us of the love our families have for us. The cards - some hand-made, sticky and glittery - others carefully selected in a quiet moment, a memento of the special day.

In modern times the verb "to Mother" has become a noun "Mother's Day" - a "label" perhaps that can isolate and be painful to those for whom it doesn't quite fit.

As one of those people, I shy away from the spotlight that Mothering Sunday shines onto my relationships: both past and present, those that never quite blossomed as they should, and those that only existed in dashed hopes and broken dreams.

Rather than hide away from the issues that cause me discomfort, I try to tackle them openly in my Bible Journaling and prayer.

The scriptures are so richly filled with descriptions of parenting, and particularly mothering - its joy, nurturing, purpose...and pain.

My Bible Art Journey started (as for many of you journalers) with my favourite verse - the verse that has anchored me during storms, held me together in challenges, pushed me into happy times, and that I have thrown back at God in anger and frustration.....


The Bible has lots to say about families and relationships. Focussing on these has helped me to understand God's plan for my family, and has guided me in my role as a wife and parent....

Ephesians 5
Colossians 3

And I've also been able to reflect on and capture the happiest times. This one makes me smile every time I see it.....As it happens, the entry above this one in my Bible is "with God all things are possible" - something God proved to me with those smiling faces in the picture.

Mark 10 v 14

And yet our earthly families are not perfect - there is tension, pain, stress, worry - and sometimes unforgiveness and hatred. But we have a perfect Father who understands the things that we don't. We have a big brother who protects us, guides us and loves us so much he is willing to die for us.

And despite the jumble of emotions that are forced into the open at this time of year, we have a hope, and the ultimate comfort in the Love of our Almighty God.

Psalm 131
 by Lindsey Campbell

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Mistakes and Treasures! by Claire Graham

I remember a dear friend of mine saying to me that she could never get a Journaling Bible because she'd be so scared of getting a page wrong and then she'd want to rip it out... you can't do that in a Bible  (but you can in a sketch book!). 

That comment stuck with me, I know there's pages in my Bible that I like a lot less than some of the others and would possibly have ripped out if I could! This page was one of them... it was done in a rush, as part of a challenge I was following and as soon as I'd finished it I knew I didn't like it!! 

So a few days ago I gave it a makeover! 

I started by covering the margin in  white acrylic... it took several layers as the paint picked up the colour from the felt pen I'd used originally and went a beautiful shade of pink!! 

Then I drew some pots... I wanted to change the focus verse to "we have this treasure in jars of clay" and reference it to the Japanese tradition of kintsugi where broken pots are repaired with gold... adding to their strength and beauty. 
I painted those with acrylic too and outlined with black pen, I used gel pens to add the sparkle.
I also added a tip in flap explaining kintsugi...
... so sometimes mistakes can be covered over and a fear of making mistakes is no reason not to try!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Watercolours in my Journaling Bible - Part 2! by Deborah Gregg

I do love using watercolour paints in my NIV Journaling Bible (I have the lovely mint polka-dot one), so I thought I'd share another page with you all. For this one I used drips and deliberately ran colours together across the page to create a vibrant background for the words.
The passage is from 1 Samuel chapter 3, where one night, the young boy Samuel kept hearing God calling his name. I love this story, and was thinking about how God can speak to us in so many ways - but are we really available, paying attention and listening? I love how God constantly shows us something new from His Word, and even from very familiar passages, when we simply ask Him - 'Speak Lord, for your servant is listening' is something we can pray every time we pick up our Bibles!

To create this page I first prepped the page with a coat of clear gesso (see my previous post Part 1!). Once dry, I outlined the lettering very lightly with pencil. Pencil does usually show through watercolours, so I try to go very lightly....
Next I placed a piece of scrap paper behind the page, ready for the fun to begin! I used a fat brush and painted fairly wet watercolour paint splodges on the edge of the page margin, with the colours overlapping slightly. I used just the primary colours red, yellow and blue and where each colour met the next one you can see they blended to make the secondary colours of green and orange. I didn't scrub the colours onto the page, just added plenty of paint very gently.
Next I lifted the page up, and let the colours run down the page towards a rolled up piece of kitchen towel in the centre. If the colours were slow to run, I either added a little more coloured paint at the top, or spritzed with my water spritzer just to help them flow. It was tricky and I didn't quite have enough hands - yet still managed this photo with one hand....
And this is where I dropped the edge of the paper and it folded over onto itself - I'm not entirely sure how or why I managed to get a photo of this before I panicked ;-) but here you go: 
Thankfully no harm done, I very gently peeled the page back and it was mostly fine. Phew! The page is really delicate when wet, even with gesso prep, so I was quite relieved! There was a small rip in the bottom corner - more on that later....
Then I dabbed the excess paint with the kitchen paper, and dried the page with my heat tool. 
One of the best things about using watercolours in my Bible is that my Micron pens work really well over the top, with no risk of damaging the pen nibs. I simply outlined the lettering in a Pigma Micron 05 black pen. 
 I decided to leave the lettering quite simple for this page. You can see the rip in the bottom corner....which I decided to repair with washi tape!

Ages ago I bought a very cheap set of rainbow coloured washi tapes online (from Amazon cost less than £2 I think!). They have lasted for ages, and the narrow tapes have proved to be really useful for Bible Art Journaling - there's always a colour to match what I need!
So I used a small section of washi tape to repair the corner, and trimmed the corner into a curve with a sharp pair of scissors.
 Lastly I wanted to create a page tab for the top of the page. I liked the look of a watercolour smudge on my scrap paper that was under the page earlier on. So I added my key word, ripped it out, and stuck it to the top of the page so that the word 'Listen' was sticking up as a tab. That will help me easily find the page when I next need to look for it.
So the finished page to me contains a colourful, visual reminder to me, that God is wanting to call us, and speak to us, and he will keep on calling until we get the message and respond - here I am Lord, I'm ready, I'm listening....
I wonder what God may be trying to say to you today? Why not ask Him?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Distress Oxide Inks in my Bible - by Sarah Anderson

Oh my!  I've been converted to prepping my pages!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And yes, that statement does merit that many exclamation marks!  I am not a prepper; I am a dive in and see what happens kind of girl.

So how did this happen?

Well, I adore inky splodginess.  It makes my insides all happy!  And I recently got my hands on some of the new Distress Oxide inks from Ranger.  These are a combination of pigment and dye ink so when you add water, they react in a different way to any other inks, and they dry with a wonderful chalky finish.

I have played and played with them in my journals but they are made up of watercolour paper, which is happy with lots of water being splooshed around.

Bible pages, on the other hand, are rather on the thin side, to say the least!!

I trialled the inks in the first pages of my bible, by using a cosmetic sponge to add the ink to the page, then spritzing them with water to create the unique oxide effects. [The top splodge is normal distress ink, with the distress oxide below it.]  I then pressed the distress oxide ink pad onto an acrylic block, spritzed with water and printed with it on top of the inked area.
                                                             reverse side - some bleedthrough

I think it was Claire who said recently that she prepped her page with Matt Medium, something I use as a glue, so I had a go with this in my bible

                                                                                and look, no bleedthrough where the Matt Medium was!!

Then I thought I really ought to use some Clear Gesso as someone would want to know if it worked with that too

                                    and yes it did!!

So I duly prepped my page with Dina Wakley Clear Gesso 

and let it dry whilst I gathered an inkpad, spray bottle and acrylic block.

I smooshed the inkpad onto the block

spritzed it with water

then pressed it down onto my bible page.  I manage to get the page quite wet and a bit of the colour went on the other side of the page, but I'm ok with that!

I spritzed it with water as I dried it with a heat gun, then repeated the printing with the acrylic block, again spritzing with water as I heat dried it.  Just look at those gorgeous inky marks ...

..and that's just with one colour of inkpad!

I stamped the word 'Jesus', from the Illustrated Faith Names of God set, using Faded Jeans Distress Oxide, then sprayed it with water as I heat dried it to see what happened.  What happened was the ink drifted so much you can't tell I stamped a word at all!  But it still looks pretty and makes me happy inside.

 I love this effect so much I think I'll add it to pages and leave them like that!  Today though I added a verse that really spoke to me as I was looking up a different verse from the same chapter from Sunday's talk in church.

It's a verse you'll be familiar with as

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self-discipline"
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV UK

but I read it in The Mirror, a paraphrase by Francois du Toit and it really spoke to me.  I know first hand how debilitating it is to have a mind that is full of anxious thoughts, bound in fear.  It is a conscious choice to change that thinking and choose to fill my head with the truths from God's word (something I've been really focusing on these past couple of weeks as I go through a really tricky time) but it makes a huge, huge difference!!  And it's so easy once you start.

His truths liberate my mind, setting it free from fear.  Sometimes I've had to sing those truths very loudly in my car, and sometimes I wake up with those songs going through my head (look up Godfrey Birtill's songs, they are full of fabulous truth!)  Amazing peace follows and it's possible to keep going through what is a tough time.

And for those who are keen to know...

 this is the other side of the page!  I accidentally printed some of the green on here which is why it looks like it has more bleedthrough than it does.  And I think the blue is because I didn't quite cover the whole area with gesso!

And the little heart?  They were made by pressing the Worn Lipstick Distress Oxide pad down on a sheet of deli paper, spritzing it with water as I dried it with a heat gun

..then punching out a heart shape etc