Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Sneak peeks

There are moments in the midst of ordinary life where we seem to find sneak peeks of heaven - the miraculous breaks through, like looking through a keyhole and seeing something wonderful.

What little peek of heaven have you seen recently?

And in other news, I have just gone live with a website (address in the sidebar). There you will find photos of journal pages, hand-bound books, articles that are on the same lines as the blog entries but longer, creative things to do that link in with Bible study. Go have a look and let me know what you think :)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Through a lens

We all have a lens - a filter if you like - that we look at the world through.

Part of it will be our culture. It is very different being a Brit in Australia. Although we talk the same language, there are times when the way that language is used makes it feel very alien. I'll be following the conversation and all of a sudden a word is used completely out of the context I'm used to and I'm lost. (Manchester, anyone? Me - city in the north of England. Australians - bed linen)

Part of it will be personal experience. If you've been routinely rejected, it's hard to trust people. If you've been constantly criticised, any innocent comment may be taken the wrong way.

Knowing what your lens is like is the first step to giving it a good clean and seeing things as they really are.

Monday, 22 April 2013


There was a piece of blank film on my desk. I stuck it down and set off on a journey.

I thought about how a single snapshot can be misleading. A single meeting with someone only gives a little taste of what they're like. You can gather a lot of information about someone when you first meet them, but how much of it is a mask that they wear?

But no-one can keep a mask on forever. Eventually, with enough time spent together, you get a feel for who someone really is - their hopes and dreams, what makes them cry, what brings them joy.

We make a lot of snap judgements - and quite often they are very close to the mark - but knowing someone takes time and energy. Are you happy with snapshots or do you want the full movie?

Friday, 19 April 2013

Journal in faith - week one

Sharon over at Standing on Faith has started a new link-up today - Journal in Faith. The first prompt is Renewal.

Looking up the word in the dictionary I found a couple of definitions that spoke to me:
1. to restore to its original state
2. to restore with a fresh supply

Both of these seemed apt for a life of faith. We are constantly aiming to shed the worldly as a tree sheds its leaves in winter, and to be restored with a new supply of leaves, growth worthy of the new life we've been given.

Each day, in prayer, I am able to confess and be forgiven by grace. Each day I can aim, with God's fresh supply of help and empowerment, to grow a little closer to being 'restored to factory settings'; to become more the person I was made to be in the beginning.

In the end I will be completely renewed. I look forward to that day.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The little things

This is a subject I keep returning to. It's so important to be thankful and find joy in simple pleasures.

This page was something that put itself together. This is the journal that I stick pictures into at random, use for leftover paint from other things and suchlike. The brown paper on the left and the magazine pic were already on the page. I had a Carolyn Dube moment - the tree is the backing paper from a transfer I used on another page. It was lying around on my desk so I grabbed it and stuck it down, not really having any idea where the page was going. I carved a leaf stamp and used it to add foliage to the bare branches.

Then out came the washi tape (finally tracked some down although there were only four packs to choose from...). A little more colour was needed so the middle section was painted with acrylic in a very slapdash fashion. A little stamping down the right-hand edge and it felt ready for some journalling.

But what was the page saying to me? It had come together in a way that wasn't my usual style so I had to step back and think about it. I looked at the lovely smile and it came to me - joy.

So what are the little things that bring you joy?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Meet me where I am

This is an example of where the elements on the page didn't talk to me about anything. I liked them well enough - they're circles after all :) - but they didn't spark any particular thoughts. So I wrote about what was on my mind.

First of all, I would like to say 'Sorry' to all those of you out there who have been hurt by Christians who have wanted you to be perfect before you even begin to go to church. It happens. We are all guilty of judging, and I'm truly sorry. We are all of us flawed, but we have a huge capacity for comparing our flaws against others' and finding ourselves 'better' than them. That's just plain wrong. We all look the same at the foot of the cross.

My husband leads a church that is not your run-of-the-mill, middle-class church full of professional and retired people. We have a high percentage of people with mental health problems, addictions, tattoos and piercings.  In other words, the people who haven't been made to feel welcome in many places including other churches. We have learned to meet people where they are. Some of them have what would be classed as obvious sins in some circles, but we have come to an understanding that you have to meet people where they are and look at how far they have come and in what direction they're moving. For example, there is a high percentage of smokers in this church. I know that some Christians would class that as sinful, an addiction, enslavement, and of course it's not ideal. However, when you see that they have come through alcoholism and are now sober; they have kicked a drug habit; they have moved from homelessness to holding down a job; they have been healed from the hurts of the past that had led to destructive behaviours; they no longer hear voices; and sometimes more than one of these; then you cannot help but see that God is at work. So who are we to judge? God is merciful and works on one thing at a time. For some people their smoking habit is the least of their troubles.

So meet people where they are, love them, and help them to continue to move in the right direction.

Meet people where they are, recognise and rejoice with them about how far they have already come, and allow them to live in the expansive healing hand of God rather than in the constraints of your judgement.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Art Journal Journey

Another exploration of the Art Journal Journey theme for this month - landscape within me. As winter approaches in the southern hemisphere I start to enter a sort of winter within. It's a time of contemplation; a time for shedding those things that are no longer necessary; a time for gathering resources for new growth.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Falling apart?

When everything you know seems to be flying apart...

When you're having trouble holding it all together...

Perhaps you're being rearranged.

Reorganised for something new.

It's uncomfortable but necessary.

Don't fight it.

Perhaps everything is really falling into place.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

WOYWW - books, shirts, and patchwork

Hi there desk-snoopers. And if you haven't yet learned the thrill of snooping around other  people's desks, go straight to http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com and join in the fun. 

I know for a lot of you it's still Tuesday, but here in sunny Australia it is already almost lunchtime on Wednesday, so here is my Wednesday morning desk. I'll link up when everyone else catches up :)

As you can see, I've been busy making books. The book on the left is in progress. It's being bound in leather and I'm working out how best to attach the book block. If I get it finished today I'll add another photo. The one on the right is covered in 'croc-skin' paper and made of all sorts of different papers. I've seen these referred to elsewhere as junque journals. Below are a couple of photos of the insides. 

And the sewing continues. I finished the tenth and last clerical shirt yesterday - the red one on the right. 

And finally, a king-size patchwork duvet cover that needs the border sewing on and a back attaching.

So, what's on your workdesk?

Update: Here is the finished leather notebook. I'm quite pleased with it :)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Colour this quote

Artists in Blogland has recently started a challenge called 'Colour This Quote' and this month one I suggested was pulled out of the hat.
Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.     Judy Garland
This is great advice. Why would you want to be a pale imitation of someone else rather than your own beautiful self? If you try to be like someone else you are depriving the world of the unique blend of skill, talent, temperament and passion that is YOU.

So stop hiding behind a mask and bless the world by blossoming into the true, authentic person you were made to be.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Art Journal Journey

Over on Art Journal Journey the subject for the month is 'Landscape Within Me' so here is my first go at it. 

I thought about what it would look like if there was a garden in my head. What does my interior landscape look like?

I came to the conclusion that it would be a bit of a mix. There are some parts that would be like mature trees - those parts that have been developing since childhood (my temperament), skills that I've been using for a long time such as knitting. There would be lots of different types of plants because I enjoy lots of different things. I would like to think that there would be fruit. A life that doesn't produce fruit is surely wasted. And seedlings as new things start to grow and develop, just pushing up through the soil of my imagination.

So what's it like inside your head? Pop on over to Art Journal Journey to see some other interior landscapes. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

When life gets busy

When life gets busy...
When everything seems to be closing in...
When my head's too full...

... I'm grateful for the still, calm centre of faith.