Sunday, July 15, 2018

Journaling Hymnal Covered

After journaling and illustrating on several pages in an old hymnal I was gifted a few months ago, I decided it was time to decorate the cover. I chose several patterned papers from the Illustrated Faith Bright & Brave collection and love the way this turned out.

For the cover, I used the "B" side of the Jesus is My Jam paper and cut a cassette tape from the "A" side. I added a die cut treble clef  and titled the cassette Melissa's Soundtrack.

For the spine, I used yellow glitter washi tape, which I covered with clear scotch tape to give it more durability.

I used a yellow patterned paper inside the front cover and added more of the cassette tapes and a die cut music note for a title page. I also added pink Criss Cross washi tape along the inside binding for additional color.

The inside back cover has yet another patterned paper from the Bright & Brave line, more washi tape, and a cassette embellishment.

I'm excited to have this hymnal covered and am enjoying using it as a worship journal where I can illustrate and journal lessons I learn in the Word and in my quiet time with the Lord. (You can see a couple of my illustrated pages HERE and HERE.)

I have to admit my favorite bits from this paper collection are those cassette tapes!  (This is the same line I used for my Make A Joyful Noise Mixed Media Scripture Frame last year.) I still remember when my Grandma sent me my very own tape player/recorder when I was in elementary school. I spent hours recording and listening to cassette tapes. I had a tape player in all my cars until I purchased my current vehicle five years ago! I still have a few of my old cassette tapes, and, yes, we have a player here at home, although we don't listen to them much anymore. Did you grow up listening to cassette tapes? Do you still own any?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Five on Friday - Podcasts

A (sometimes) weekly feature here on my blog sharing five FRESH random photos (or thoughts or interesting tidbits).

When I'm driving long distances or out for an exercise walk alone, I enjoy listening to podcasts. It's amazing the number of podcasts available these days, so I thought I'd share five of my favorites today.

1. What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs Darcy. Each week Anne interviews readers about the books they love, the books they hate, and the books they are reading now. Then Anne does a little "literary matchmaking" and recommends three books they should read next. The problem with this podcast is that it has the potential to greatly increase the length of my books-I-want-to-read list!

2. Live Happy Now from the editors of Live Happy magazine shares ideas and research on how to live a happy life. I enjoy listening to the interviews with a variety of people about living a positive and healthy life, practices that increase happiness, and ideas for thriving and creating a meaningful life.

3. Getting Things Done provides tips and real-life stories from individuals using the GTD method outlined in David Allen's book, Getting Things Done (which I reviewed HERE).

4. Elise Gets Crafty is a weekly podcast that talks "mostly about creative small business." Elise Blaha Cripe shares her own creative small business adventures and interviews other business owners about their journey and tips for starting and running a creative business.

5. Do It Scared is a new podcast that Ruth Soukup (of Living Well Spending Less) began on April 1 of this year. Each episode is designed to help you "face your fears, overcome adversity, and create a life you love."

Do you listen to podcasts? Please share your favorites in the comments and let me know if you're adding any of these to your playlist.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Miscellaneous Crafting

The new deviled egg salad recipe I tried in March was so yummy, I knew it had to go in our favorite recipes album, so I grabbed a few papers from my scrap bin to create a quick 8x8 card. I like the way the striped paper mimics the salad!

An 8x10 canvas was perfect for a favorite Atticus Finch quote. After covering the background with a variety of pages from old books, I painted the edges and some limbs with acrylic paint. The bird (which I realize isn't a mockingbird) is from a decorative napkin and adhered with clear gesso.

At a recent DIY class at our local library, we framed dried flowers in these white Ikea frames.  There are two clear plastic pieces that slide out, so it was easy to assemble a flower collage. A drop of clear adhesive could be used to hold the flowers in place, but I simply pressed mine between the two pieces of plastic and slipped them back in the frame. So far everything is staying in place without any problem.

What miscellaneous items have you created lately?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Getting Things Done

After reading Getting Things Done by David Allen a couple of years ago, I ordered a copy of the Revised Edition to read as I set up my own "command central." This is an easy-to-read step-by-step approach to getting organized and setting up a system that keeps your mind free (rather than trying to hold all the things you need to remember), thus reducing stress and increasing productivity.

The thing I appreciated most about the book was the fact that I was already doing some of the things that were recommended; however, I've now incorporated more of the process so that I have a better system for tracking projects and ideas and things I might want to do someday.

Two of my favorite aspects of the GTD (Getting Things Done) System are the Two Minute Rule and the Weekly Review. The Two Minute Rule basically says that if something can be done in two minutes or less, do it now rather than putting it off or scheduling it for later. This is such a simple rule and seems pretty intuitive; however, I've caught myself several time putting off something that can just be done and over with in less than two minutes.

The Weekly Review is designed as a time set aside each week to review and update our calendar, next action lists, project files, etc. I've been doing something similar for many years - updating my calendar and preparing the next week's calendar and to-do lists, but I've incorporated some additional things after reading this book. I now process the texts and notes and messages on my cell phone as well as my email pending items during this time. I have a checklist to be sure I've reviewed everything and am all ready for the week to come.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to have a system for getting things done in a productive way and creating a stress-free (as much as possible) life!

Have you read this book? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Five on Friday - Display Cases

A (sometimes) weekly feature here on my blog sharing five FRESH random photos (or thoughts or interesting tidbits).

Yesterday I decided to go on an INSPIRATION outing to a local antique mall, just to stroll through and check out the eclectic offerings. I always enjoy seeing the different display styles in the various booths, particularly when they involve unique shelves or old display cases.

1. My favorite from yesterday's trip was this old metal locker shelf with some of the original wire baskets. I think this would be great in a garage or in a craft room filled with vintage paraphernalia.

2. This old Tom's Toasted Peanuts case was in pretty good shape, but I wondered why it had a lock loop - were the peanuts that popular?

3. This metal shelf wasn't all that special, but it holds a nice variety of sewing machine drawers filled with handmade jewelry.

4. This piece was labeled as a "French Vitrine." I have to admit that I had to look up the word "vitrine" to discover that it means "a glass display case." I don't believe I've ever heard that word used, although surely I've run across in it my reading at some point. Did you know what it meant?

5. A bunch of old black & white photos were displayed on this next case that may have originally been used to showcase old marble tiles. I wonder what stories these photos would tell if there had been journaling to go along with them!

Which of these display cases do you like the best? What would you display on it?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

February Scrapped

Along with the divided page protector of bits & pieces, I created three layouts with photos from February of this year.

After numerous Microsoft updates that continued to slow down my old laptop and the fact that there were no updated drivers for our last printer, I purchased a new printer and a laptop (that I am thoroughly enjoying!). As technology changes so quickly, I decided to include a photo of the new laptop as well as the features and pricing on a layout. I think it will be FUN to look back several years from now and see what has changed!

I needed two pages to record the story of the Adventure Book Boxes I sent for my twin nieces' 13th birthday. The first page showcases the photos my sister took while they were opening the gifts.

The second page has journaling, photos of the gift items, a list of the items that were in each box, and the cards the girls sent after reading the books. (The last "gift" in each box was a card and envelope so they could each write and let us know what they most enjoyed about the gift.)

I slit the page protector so the front of the cards are outside the page protector and can be opened to read the sweet notes the girls wrote.

The final layout showcases photos from the February Bible Journaling Workshops I hosted here at our home. During those classes, we used doilies to add illustrations in our Bibles about the love scriptures we discussed, so I used a couple of layered doilies as embellishments on this page.

I've purged, edited and printed some photos from March and am hoping to get those scrapped over the next week. How are you coming along with your 2018 scrapbooking?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Alamo, The White House & The Planet Delonese

The setting, whether real or imagined, of a book often plays an integral part of the story. Sometimes the setting provides the backdrop while other times it's almost like another character. 

A Line in the Sand: The Alamo Diary of Lucinda Lawrence is part of the Dear America series of historical fiction for older girls. These books are written in diary form from the perspective of young girls living in various periods of history. Line in the Sand tells one girl's story of living in Gonzales when Texas was still a part of Mexico. When Santa Anna's troops arrived in Gonzales to retrieve a cannon, it effectively started the war for Texas independence as the Texians told them to "come and get it (the cannon)!" The story covers the battle of the Alamo and continues through the retreat and the final victory at San Jacinto. The setting of this story is integral to the story as it puts Lucinda in the main areas of conflict as Texas colonists fought for independence from Mexico.

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow is a young adult science-fiction book (which I received free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review). This story is set in a future world where a new planet with Delonese, an alien race, has moved in and helped save the Earth after the 4th World War. The Planet Delonese can be seen from earth, but few humans have been invited to travel there. The plot centers around Sofi and her brother who participates in the FanFight, a combination real and virtual sport. Sofi's brother disappears when there's an explosion in the FanFight arena, and she begins a search for him that uncovers secrets and puts her in danger as she hitches a ride to the Planet Delonese with Miguel (an ambassador and seemingly all around ladies man). The mysterious planet and the skycams that record everything happening on earth has a huge influence on the characters. I enjoyed the book; unfortunately, the story doesn't really end, it just seems to stop when Sofi learns another secret. (Apparently there is a sequel!)

The non-fiction book The Residence: Inside the Private World of The White House is filled with information the author obtained from interviews with former ushers, butlers, maids, chefs, florists, doormen and other staffers who worked in The White House. She also interviewed former First Ladies Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, and Rosalyn Carter, along with several children of former Presidents Nixon, Johnson, Ford and Reagan. This was a really good read that was well-written, although quite a few anecdotes were repeated. The chapters are grouped by categories: "controlled chaos, discretion, devotion, extraordinary demands, dark days, sacrifice, race & the residence, gossip, heartbreak, etc." The book paints these workers in a beautiful light, very dedicated to serving the First Family (whoever that happened to be at the time). Many of the workers were in the White House through several administrations. Obviously the house itself, with its history and heirlooms and public tours and security and importance plays a huge part in their stories.

There were interesting stories and tidbits about the First Families - President George H. W. & Barbara Bush were among the favorites of many of the workers. There were some difficulties during the Reagan years as Nancy Reagan had the occasional tirade, was a perfectionist, and was very protective of her husband, President Ronald Reagan. There were apparently lots of arguments between President Bill and Hillary Clinton, along with lots of stress during the Monica Lewinsky affair. On Inauguration Day, the staff is responsible for moving the outgoing family's possessions out of the White House and the new family's possessions in during the few hours of the ceremony and festivities. Several staffers shared that the easiest move was when President George W. & Laura Bush moved in as they didn't bring much of their own furniture and they were already familiar with the residence. The book was written during the time President Obama was in office. This was an enjoyable read with interesting peeks into life inside the White House, some of which I'd glimpsed previously in Laura and Barbara Bush's memoires of their years as first ladies.

What settings have been important in the books you've read lately?