Monday, December 15, 2014

Come Visit Me on Shanna Noel's Blog: Illustrated Faith

I had so much fun writing a guest blog post for Shanna Noel's Blog today! She asked me to share whatever I felt led to do and perhaps share a couple of my current Journaling  Bible pages!

You know me....she didn't have to ask twice, did she?!?! LOL

If you have not met Shanna yet - you will LOVE her for sure...so be sure and scroll down past my post and meet her and some of her previous guests!



I also created a printable page of tabs based on some of my artwork - and for those of you that use a Silhouette, you will find a cut file there for download too!

I will be back with some fun new things to share very soon...but didn't want you to miss the goodies over on Shanna's blog!

Hope you are enjoying the Advent and Christmas Season!

Blessings,

Jann

Monday, November 24, 2014

On Being, "The New Girl In The Harem"

I would like to share a page from my Journaling Bible and I want to tell you a little bit of the "backstory" to this journaling page - based on Esther 2:17.

I was a missionary for almost 27 years. I have been blessed beyond anything I could have ever imagined - because I have seen God use me in ways beyond my abilities. So you would probably think that I walk into any situation feeling absolutely confident - but reality is, I sometimes find myself in a place where I feel like a duck out of water. And even at my age, I have to fight the urge to "duck and run!" (who knew I could use the word duck as both a NOUN and a VERB in a story about Queen Esther!?!?!)

Esther has always inspired me to try and "step up to the plate" and allow God to use me in every situation I find myself in...but it is this little jewel I found in chapter 2 that has helped my "feelings" to get in line with my desire to be obedient.
Esther felt like a "duck out of water too!" She was hanging out with a lot of girls that probably felt much better about their chances with the King than Esther did. She didn't even want to be there. She would have been content to remain in the Jewish Community, marry a nice Jewish boy and never step into the Throne Room, much less the King's Harem. I imagine her heart beating faster when she turned to get her last glimpse of her Uncle Mordecai as the door closed - and that sound probably made it hard for her to breath. I also imagine her saying "Jehovah - what possible good can I do here? In all likelihood I will embarrass both myself and YOU by trying to pretend that I am something that I am not!" I think she said those words because I have whispered them to my Heavenly Father so many times - hoping He will say "Yeah...I was just kidding, you don't have to do this!" Ummmm...He hasn't EVER said that! LOL
So - when I find myself in what I like to call a "New Girl in the Harem" situation, I go back to the first two chapters of Esther - and try and model my behavior accordingly. Esther knew she wasn't like the other girls...and she didn't try to be...and she sought wisdom from people who knew more than she did...and then she was faithful to act upon what she KNEW was right in that situation. I don't think that she lost that "duck out of water" feeling - but I see the results of her choice to be true to who God had created her to be, open to being available to what He had called her to do and to be COMMITTED to trusting that those whom He calls, He equips.
Verse 17 says that the King loved her best of all the virgins and that she won grace and favor in his eyes. I may feel inadequate to walk into the presence of a King...but if I am obedient to God, He will bring me into favor - not based on MY abilities but because "the heart of the king are like channels of water in the hands of God."

If you would like to learn more about Art Journaling in your Bible, I would love for you to send me an email. I am going to put a couple of links down here so you can see the products that I use...and I am working on some videos to cover the basics of techniques and methodologies.  I am also working on a Bible Journaling class for the YouCan! Classroom. I would love to know if you would be interested in taking this kind of class - and what aspect of Bible Journaling you would like me to build the classes around...I am so excited about helping you to get started - but want to make sure that I will be providing the most helpful information possible.



This is the Bible I am using.  It is the ESV Double Column Journaling Bible




Friday, November 07, 2014

"What? You Are Drawing and Painting In Your Bible?!?!?!"

This question was followed by the whispered question, "Don't you think that makes God mad? It's HIS WORD!"

 Yes...let me introduce myself. Hi, I'm Jann and I am a Bible Journal-er!

Since you have seen me draw on just about anything...you are probably not as surprised as my friend with whom I had this conversation. And just to be clear, I'm not poking fun at her - I think that I have had that exact same conversation with myself over the years of my personal study...because even though I have recently started painting in my Bible - I have written my heart out in the margins of many Bibles as I have dug into God's Word to learn everything that He has wanted to teach me. And I have often drawn small images to remind myself of a principle -- like the one I drew here at the end of the book of Genesis!

Rabbit Trail: I felt that it ends rather abruptly - after we have studied all the things that happened to Joseph over the course of his life the final sentence of Genesis is - "So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. After they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt." That's it!?!?!?! No - and now, here's the rest of the story?!?!? Seriously - when Joseph died he had been in a place of honor, helping Pharaoh rule Egypt...and when we next see the Israelites they are slaves! How did that happen?!?!? I don't like unfinished stories! I always am asking..."and then what happened?" *sigh* And here is what happened to me as I pondered and talked to the Lord about the fact that it was particularly unsatisfying to not know what happened with Joseph's family after his death....it stopped being about the years between Joseph's death and the huge changes that took place - and the conversation turned to my "need to know" stuff  - my desire for God to tie everything up in a bow for me...not just the story of Joseph but most things in my life. And over the course of several days of meditating on this thought - I began to see that God is much more likely to not tie things UP in a BOW - but to continue to tie things INTO the on-going story....more like a braid. That imagery was key to my new understanding - so I drew those two images side by side.

So back to our regular path...me painting in my Bible. I think it has a little bit to do with the difference between a braid and a bow...and the new insights I gain when I apply all aspects of my heart, mind and soul to my relationship with God. If I just approach my study to the things that are easily "tied up with a bow," I may miss some really big things...and I don't want to miss anything...not one little thing. And that is how I got from a couple of little drawings at the end of a chapter to painting, drawing and writing in the margins and sometimes all over a page in my Bible.

 

I have kept several art journals going all the time...some are just about recording thoughts, ideas and dreams. Some are about working through life's difficulties...and many of them have been journals that were created as visual expressions of my prayers, songs of praise and worship of God during my Bible study and personal devotions.

I honestly don't know why I didn't make the leap to journaling IN my Bible before now...it seems like a natural progression....just makes sense.  But it may have had something to do with the question that my friend asked me, "Don't you think that makes God mad? It's HIS WORD!" Because, as I said - I think I have had that same conversation with myself several times - and, in the past, I have answered that question without asking God what He thought...and perhaps the answer would have been different if I had.

A few weeks ago, I met Shanna Noel - a talented artist, scrapbooker and Bible Journaler (and just a beautiful person all around!). After reading through her blog, watching a few of her videos, and participating in the Journaling Bible Facebook Group (this is a closed group, but just ask and I will get you an invitation to become a member), I was ready to step into Bible Journaling for myself.

Let me be clear. I LOVE the Word of God! I approach it with reverence and awe! I do not want to treat it lightly nor with ANY disrespect. What I feel is ok for me, may not be right for you and I do not think that I am holding the "enlightened" position here. I have come to a few basic "rules" for my Bible Journaling...and again - these are just what I feel are good for me to follow as I begin adding art into my Bible - but I have had several of you ask if I have any guiding principles that I would be willing to share. So here they are:

1. I have chosen a specific Bible to do all of my art journaling in - in fact, it is called a Journaling Bible. I am pretty sure that when Crossway published it, they were thinking more about giving people a larger margin to write in...but I say, I'll take all the space they will give me!

I use this Bible as part of my daily quiet time and devotions...but it is IN ADDITION to my main study Bible. This helps me keep things a little clearer. Just like I have Bibles and study aids that I use to help me gain understanding to scripture - this Bible is a designated aid in my devotional process.

2. I don't draw/paint in it every day - but if I did, that would be ok too! I have found that I rarely have two days that are the same when it comes to my quiet time and personal Bible study. Some days, I am so overcome with the need to listen, that I don't do much talking, drawing or writing at all. Other days, I am on a deep word study - with three Bibles, a concordance, a dictionary and a commentary or two laid out over my desk and I am scribbling notes as fast as I can write. But there are definitely days where I gain a bit of insight - or my feelings are stronger than my words can express - and it just feels right to use art to try and capture what I have learned - or want to remember - or want to make as a visual offering back to God...it is on those days that my Journaling Bible comes out and I begin to work in it.

3. I've adjusted a few of my techniques to minimize the "destruction" of the words on the page. One of my "boundaries" when choosing color mediums is that they allow me to still read through the color to the words...at least for the most part...some opacity is just going to happen and I'm ok with that. I think everyone will have to determine what they are comfortable with. For me, I'm coming down on the side that says, "I'm not trying to keep this Bible pristine." My primary focus is what I have learned about Him and His love, plans, desires, commands and promises for me and for His church. Those things are never neat, tidy or pristine when I am working them out when no art is involved...so I'm expecting there to be a bit of a mess when I add ink, paint, chalk and pencil into the mix.

4. I do not add art into my Journaling Bible just for the sake of "art." I have other journals for that. If I add it to my Bible it has had to pass the "is this where it belongs" test for me. I'm not saying that every thing I add has to be earth shattering or eternally profound...but I only want to put things in there that further my understanding and relationship with God. Simple question to ask - and so far, the choices have been pretty clear. I am glad that I have other journals where I can put things that are not right for my Journaling Bible. The fact that it doesn't need to live on the pages of my Bible doesn't mean that it doesn't have value...and I am just trying to find my way along the path.

So - that is the short list of "boundaries/rules/principles" that I am working with right now. Hope they make sense to you - but if they don't...please send me an email or leave me a comment - I would love to continuing talking with you about it!

I have to say that it has added a new richness to my personal walk with the Lord. I'm sure I will have more to share...but that is for another day. Here are a few of my recent entries. I will repost them with a bit more explanation as to the techniques I used - or what my inspiration was, in another post.

 

If you are interested in trying this for yourself, here is the Bible I am using. I have to say that it has added a new richness to my personal walk with the Lord. I'm sure I will have more to share...but that is for another day. Here are a few of my recent entries. I will repost them with a bit more explanation as to the techniques I used - or what my inspiration was, in another post.

Joshua 4:6,7
Proverbs 16:31
Psalm 91
Charles Spurgeon


Psalm 90:2



Close up: John 1:36

John 1:36

Hope you have a great week! And be sure and take some time for "creative play!"

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Faux Birch Bark...And I can FINALLY reveal...








I brought this birch bark box back (say that three times fast!) with me from Russia several years ago. I loved it's embossed top and the lashing that holds it all together. I have loved birch trees since I was a young girl. Our family would spend time up in the Boundary Water area in Northern Minnesota...and the white papery bark of the Birch trees always caught my attention. 




My sister and I would find pieces that had "flaked off" and use them for all sorts of creative projects. While we were in Minnesota, she and I would use the papery bark as roofs for the little stone houses we built from stones we gathered from the edge of the lake. Sometimes our Barbies got to live in them...and sometimes we dreamed that little elves and fairies would find the homes we had built for them and would think we were the "best-est" home builders ever. *smile*

We also would use pieces of it to write postcards to our grandparents...I still have a couple of those that my Jammy Jane saved for me...real treasures, they are. We always brought a few pieces home with us so we could use it on some arts and crafts project we thought up to pass the time on a rainy day! I wish I had access to some NOW - as I can think of a dozen things I want to use it on...a birch bark Christmas Village, a love note to my honey, as the spine on a vacation mini album...and I could go on! *smile*

So when I saw this birch box, I knew I had to have it..no matter what I used it for - it already held some great childhood memories and that was enough.

I don't really know why it didn't occur to me earlier - but as I was dusting it earlier this week, my hand rested on the embossed pattern on the top and I saw it in a different way...and I just had to pick it up and take it into my studio and use it as my inspiration for this week's Christmas in August project. I think it may be one of my favorite cards I have made lately...I love the texture and it's rustic charm...but I am guessing I am particularly fond of it because of all the wonderful memories it evokes in my heart. Precious time with my sister in the midst of some of the most beautiful trees in the world.


I couldn't resist adding the Mama Deer and her lil baby on the inside of the card. Yep...it is one of my favorites for sure!

I also am loving the "lashing" detail.  I made extra because I have several more ideas for other Christmas projects...and maybe some masculine note cards...so I'm sure you will see me revisit this basic design again. Here are a couple of close ups of the wreath on the front. I took the time to add some "birch" detail to the tree...super easy - but it makes me smile none the less! Also...you know I am happy because I had the excuse of a winter scene to pull out the LIQUID APPLIQUÉ! Woo Hoo! It was a happy day INDEED! *smile*
And now....I am super excited to let you know that I have been working on redesigning my website - and for a very special reason... www.janngray.com! I will be doing another post to tell you more about it...but - if you watch this tutorial, you will get a little "advance information!" *smile*






Hope you all enjoy! And be sure and save some time for creative play!

Supplies:

Monday, June 23, 2014

You Are Gonna LOVE: Little Blue Button Stamps

I am honored to get to be a June Release Guest Designer for Olga from Little Blue Button Stamps.

 Isn't this the cutest coffee themed set of stamps? You know me and my love of coffee...getting to work with these was just a melding of two of my favorite things...stamping and sipping coffee!

The set is called Coffee Love...and in addition to the cute and sassy girl holding a hot cup of coffee, we get coffee and tea  elements that work well together to create all kinds of cards and tags.

Two of my favorite sentiments, "Life Begins with Coffee" and "My Blood Type is Coffee"  - and truer words were never spoken...I am such a nicer person in the morning....AFTER I've had my first cup of coffee...ahem...ok .... second!

I know you will love Olga's designs too! If you are interested in her rubber stamps you can find them here: on CC Designs website. Her digi stamps are available for download here: on the Little Blue Button Stamps website.



I ended up creating three different projects (actually more because I duplicated a couple of these designs...they were so fun and easy to put together)....the first was a bottle hang tag to go on a little giftie for a coffee loving friend. It made "wrapping" a cinch...and probably a lot cuter than the crumpled mess I usually make when I try to "wrap" odd shaped gifts!



I colored her up with Copic markers...I loved the green in her skirt so much - I just had to make her have green eyes that matched! Actually - I must have subconsciously determined that green was her favorite color - because in each outfit, I have her wearing a bit of lime green!


To spruce up the tag, I added a doily die cut behind the tag - so that the "to/from" disc would have a substantial place to rest even though it was taking up more than half of the hang tag. I think it also reinforced my "green" streak that I seem to be on!



On this second project, in addition to coloring Miss Sassy in Teal and Lime Green (her eyes match her jacket) - I also used the coffee cup to create a little tone on tone background for the right hand side of the card. I stamped the repeated pattern with white pigment ink (it shows up the best on dark card stock) and then heat set it. I wanted to add a little punch to this background because I had made her jacket glitzy with my Wink of Stella clear glitter pen - and had the row of blue rhinestones on top of the blue shimmer card stock. I couldn't find my clear gel pen - so I just reached for my two way glue pen...and colored in the "cup cozie" part of the image. I let it dry and then went back and colored over it again. The gel pen would probably have accomplished it more quickly - but in a pinch you have to use what you can put your hands on, right?!?!?




 My final project is the one I had the MOST fun with...why you ask? Because I made it SMELL like coffee! I say the more senses you can involve on a card - the better it will be! Seriously - making your own scratch and sniff embossing powder is super easy. I've created a YouTube video for you to see how I did it...and how you can make almost any scent you want. I've seen some of the scratch and sniff embossing powders in stores - and they are SUPER expensive...and really how much "cherry scented embossing powder" do you really need? With my little method, you can make up just what you need...and you get the same intense scent - without the intense price tag!



I also enjoyed coloring Miss Coffee Mate with my Prisma Colored Pencils - on kraft card stock. This was the first time I had colored a whole image with my Prismas (I usually just use them to add depth to my Copic colored images) - and I learned a LOT in the process. I will practice a bit more - and then will come back and share some tips and tricks in case you want to try it as well. It really was pretty easy - I just think the challenge for me was learning how to blend layers of colored pencil...over card stock that was not crisp and white. I love the look of kraft card stock-but it does dramatically change the way your colors blend together...so I will work on it a bit more then share.

I hope you will check out Olga's other designs...they are just as fresh and fun as this set...and her digi stamps are available IMMEDIATELY in case you just need something new to color...TONIGHT!

Thanks for stopping by...I hope you have fun with the scented embossing powder - and that you are taking time for some Creative PLAY!  See you soon!