Tuesday, 25 April 2017

For the wings of a dove! by Claire Graham

Life's quite stressful at the moment, juggling my children having different Easter holidays, stress at work, new responsibilities at Church, a poorly child, not enough sleep and a whole lot of negative self talk has honestly left me feeling like I want to run away... and don't even get me started on politics and the scary state of the world.  My best friend and I often joke about wanting to run away and join the circus, but frankly it's quite an appealing option at the moment!

I came across this verse earlier, whilst wallowing in my self pity. "Oh that I had the wings of a dove! That I would fly away and be at rest" (Psalm 55:6) and it was perfect! I loved the idea that I'm not the only one who's ever wanted to run away from it all. King David, super important, amazingly spiritual King David wanted to run away from it all too!!

So... first I used my trusty liquitex matt gel medium and a foam brush to prep the page (the yellow and red are bleed through from the next page.) And blasted it with my heat gun - it only takes a few minutes and for me is well worth it! 
Then I watered down some acrylic paint with liquitex matte medium, it makes it more translucent, but as I added more and more layers with a makeup sponge the text became harder to read anyway. I don't mind too much if I can't read the text, I have lots of other Bibles and phone apps that I can read an obscured passage in! I added some patterns through a stencil as well. 

Then I drew a little bird - i used my pigma graphic pen as it draws well on top of acrylic- and painted that in contrasting colours... the dots were added using the wrong end of a paintbrush! 

and lastly I added the text of the passage...
I found it amazingly comforting to dwell on the fact that I'm not alone with how I'm feeling, that it's OK to want to run away but also that like God walked with King David in his stressful times with him he's walking with me (and you) too.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Good Friday - Calvary Stamps and Pebbles Chalks by Deborah Gregg

In this Easter week, I'm just sharing this reflection on Calvary with you. At this time of year on Good Friday we especially remember all that Jesus suffered and did for us, to take our place, to bear our sins and burdens, and to bring us salvation and freedom through His precious blood that was shed as He died for us on the cross.

I wanted to create a page in my Bible using the stunning 'Calvary' stamps designed by Hannah at Creative Bea, based here in the UK. www.creativebea.co.uk
I have been reading the Gospel of Mark recently, but as I had already journaled this passage in Mark (see at the end of this blog post), and given that there are another three gospels that all describe the events of Jesus' death, I decided to read and journal this passage in Matthew Chapter 27 instead.

To create this page I first prepped the page with Art Basics Clear Gesso - I added two coats applied with an old store gift card (worked perfectly!) drying each layer with a craft heat gun. I prepped the page because I didn't want the stamped images to bleed through the thin Bible pages.

Then I chose the relevant stamps from my lovely Creative Bea 'Calvary' set, and planned a rough layout in my head!
I decided to use my set of Pebbles Chalks for the background. They are a set of different coloured chalks, in a pretty palette, with a crocodile clip 'pen' that you use to pinch a tiny pom pom which you use to apply the chalks and blend them. It's a lot of fun, a bit like applying eyeshadow or something! They are a bit fiddly to use, but not very messy, and are brilliant for adding a splash of colour, lovely to smudge and blend, and as they are dry there is no bleed-through in a Journaling Bible. I've found you can write over them or under them with a black Micron pen without any problems. 

If I'm honest, the Pebbles tray is a little bit of a gimmick, and probably not very good value compared to just buying a set of artist chalks, but they have lasted me for ages and I'm sure I've used them much more than I would have used a regular set of artist chalks. Because they are fun (did I mention that?)!
(One top tip - not a good idea to drop them on the floor - been there, done that.....they can crack and come out of their little palettes, and it's then very messy!)
Anyway here's a few photos of me applying the chalks:

So although I have all the lovely Pebbles colours that I would usually use, this time I wanted to use the greys and blacks to create a smudgy dark background to set the scene. I like to still be able to read all the printed words in my Bible if possible. Using black paint would have been very risky for this page, I definitely needed something lighter and more smudgy.
When the background was done, I added the stamps using a Versafine Onyx Black inkpad.

And as I had the stamps all inky, I decided to make a few tags too while I was at it!
I have found that if I prep the page with clear gesso, the Versafine Ink can take over 24 hours to dry fully! I think the ink just sits on the surface of the coated page, instead of sinking into the paper. However, once dry, it doesn't then bleed through the page. For me, it's totally worth the time involved in prepping and waiting. But if you're short of time or are more relaxed about bleed-through, just go for it! Let me know if you have any other tips or advice about this! I'm always learning....

When using chalks you need to fix them to the page otherwise they will smudge and the chalk may rub off on the opposite page. To do this, I sprayed a coating of 'Fixative spray' (which costs around £5 or so and is easy to buy from online or an art supplies shop). However I have heard that you can use hairspray - I've not tried this but intend to try it out at some point. 

The process of creating this page was fun, but most important to me was the time spent in God's Word, reading, thinking about it, and dwelling on all that Jesus has done for us. Praise Him! 

And as promised, here's the other page I created a couple of years ago, in Mark chapter 15:
Created using 'Forgiven' stamp by Time to Sow, white embossing powder, and scarlet Brusho. I had used white Gesso to prep the page, this was in the days before I discovered the wonders of clear gesso - you can see how the white gesso was starting to cover the words. 
This weekend, may you make time to reflect on the salvation of Jesus. And may your walk with Him draw you ever closer into His love, joy and grace. Happy Easter! 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

What's in a word? - by Sarah Anderson

 It's been a long while since I've done any journaling in my bible although I rectified that at the weekend with this verse, which is one of a few that have really spoken to me over the last few weeks.

"May the Lord cause you to flourish,
both you and your children"
Psalm 115:14

I was going through a really tough time at work, really tough,  and so I got on my phone and set up a private messaging group of close Christian friends and shared what was happening.  They supported me through that time with encouraging words, bible verses, prayers, declarations and pictures.  I couldn't manage any journaling at the time, but I could read through the messages and listen to songs.

It sounds easy doesn't it?  But at the time it was really hard.  My head was filled with 'what ifs' and worries and it felt like hard work to turn my thoughts to promises.  God is soooo good though and I was surrounded by good friends and colleagues who kept me going, words and song lyrics at church that were spot on for me and my circumstances, and even words through the post!  The above card came from Joyce Meyer's ministry.  'Flourish' was a word that kept getting repeated during this time so when I saw that Rebecca at Grace and Salt Ink was personalising accessory pouches I got one.

God's plans are plans to prosper us, not to harm us (jeremiah 29:11).  He is the one who "is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us" (ephesians 3:20).  He wants our lives to flourish.  I now have a pencil case that reminds me of that promise!