Spiritual journalling as an antidote to a cultural problem!

It’s been a while, and predictably crazy busy.

winningApparently this is now the badge of honour in our culture. If you want to WIN at life,you can’t answer the “How’s it going?” question without answering “BUSY” for full points!

BOW DOWN BEFORE MY PACKED SCHEDULE! I WIN!

 

Haaaa, and I’m so guilty of that! My bad!

But basically chronic busyness is a real cultural problem, and it creeps everywhere, and maximum usage of our time and resources are prized.It can creep into our spiritual lives and we start squeezing out prayer time, and Bible time. Feeling vaguely guilty and a our brains a whole lot more wired and freakish, we tell ourselves, I’m just so busy, and stressed, I’ll find time tomorrow,tomorrow, tomorrow. (Though if you do repeat words three times in a row, your brain could be short-circuiting, and a quick slap in the face should do the trick. Or a glass of water to the face if you want to go for the soap opera vibe)

Actually, missing out vital soul time with our Creator, is so detrimental to us. In so many arenas of our psyche. And by focusing upwards, on Him, his beauty and love and grace, takes our minds out of ourselves and our often petty quibbles and stresses that become bigger when they are all we look at.

Lately I’ve been running spiritual journalling workshops, and also doing a lot more private spiritual journalling.For me, with a creative kink to my brain, this is a way of meditating on God’s truth, and taking time out to let the words wash over me as I let my fidgeting hands create.

I love doodling in church, here’s one from the other weekend2016-02-07 15.33.00

Sometimes I doodle quietly with a Bible open in front of me, with music on

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and just think on the words and let them sink in and enjoy my brain just being still and concentrating on the task. It’s so freeing to find a moment to be creative rather than endlessly checking mail, re-checking Facebook, re-checking twitter, being so busy, often doing stuff for God, but not actually checking in with Him at any point to get my soul happy and content with him.

I did a journalling workshop in the creative space I occupy on Wednesdays at a wonderful place called The Lighthouse and will be doing one next week.

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Here I put on some soulful, awesome music for the background (I LOVE the newest Josh Garrels album), provide some Bible text printed out, encourage the participants to read through, ask God to bring to the forefront things which He is saying in the passage, annotate, scribble, look at what is being said.Or think on a verse that has been in your recent readings. Then using the art stuff, watercolours, stamps, a big old font book, inks, calligraphy pens, distress inks, collage, just CREATE2016-02-03 14.36.45. Use it to express what your are seeing, use it to meditate on those verse. Let your brain rest in the creative juices and God’s Word. Dudes, its a holy combination I’m telling you!

Don’t aim for perfection, just aim for expression. And get some rest.

 

 

 

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Hobbitses

Hey everyone!

This post is late (so what’s new?) and its showing a cool Lord of the Rings style sign. (LOTR for the uninitiated)

I have a sweet friend who is both a Pastor’s wife, a special needs Mum and also an English Teacher! As both a fan of Tolkien, and also to have a fun and inspiring class room she asked me to make her a wood sign, which appeared on Bilbo Baggin’s gate in the first instalment of Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy.

no admittance

Love this! As Bilbo plans furiously for his upcoming birthday bash, he wants absolutely no interruptions, except for those pertaining to his PAR-TAY.

I chopped up some old hideous orangey pine shelving units which had been abandoned outside our house.

I nailed together three plank sections, and as they were pine and filled with knots, I used a knotting solution as a first coat to prevent seepage of sap through into the paintwork I was going to be doing.

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Knotting Solution covering all yuky orange pine!

The, as I wanted the text to be old parchment style brown, I painted the sign in an “Old Oak” using some garden furniture samples I had bought. When dry,I used my trusty Silhouette Cameo to cut out the text in a special ‘hobbiton’ font I had downloaded.

Using all the fiddly techniques to apply the vinyl which are tedious, it then looked like this!

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Which looked pretty cool! But to be faithful in colour to the film, I then carefully applied a coat of white garden furniture paint, and then carefully pulled off the vinyl stickers with the tools needed to reveal the correct coloured text underneath.

When it was dry,it looked to ‘stark’and ‘clean’so I used a mixture of Annie Sloane dark and clear waxes to create an aged parchment style look, and distressed it with sandpaper.

Here’s where we landed as a finished product:

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Ta-Dahhhh!!

I was really pleased with this, as I really wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pull this one off as the text was so fiddly.

My friend was super pleased and I hope her students give her the cool points she deserves!

Next blog post should include a huge amount of Christmas style craft I have been doing creating signage for my church and a mini-art installation in a local disused phone box!

Until then, keep it real!

XX

Mixed media, mixed circumstances

Hey!

So, what’s new with you?

Lots has happened over the last few months.

Some dreadful, some joyful, some complicated, as such is life!

I’ve been crafting away at various different projects this summer and start of autumn!

I had the delightful time making a sign for my friends who got married in August, and amalgamated their surnames to make a double-barrelled delight! They own and run the fabulous Nantwen a beautiful get away in the middle of nowhere, where they do eco-friendly weddings, one of which was their own!

I provided some evening entertainment with friends on that occasion, doing some interpretative dance to Kate Bush, playing in a Mendolssohn octet and listening to an accoustic renditions of AC/DC among other fabulous contributions of show tunes and magic tricks.

Here’s the sign I made, nice and rustic and eco-friendly vibe! (made with reclaimed wood innit!)

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I also, made a series of hand-painted cards for a friend who was seeking some unique designs for a dear friend who had just been given the news that she had relapsed with her breast cancer. So sad, and difficult but I made the cards to her specifications, including this one;


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And so many beautiful friends of mine are suffering with one things and another, much heartbreak and heartache.

There are no particular words to offer, nothing to do but acknowledge and sit in the sadness with them all. And also pray they might know the peace and nearness of our Saviour in the middle of it.

I was in a proper old skool Bible study in a visit to my homeland in the summer and heard a lovely quote by Puritan Thomas Brookes which I doodled and think has a lot to say. So often my own trivial problems and then the large crisis style problems lead me to endless worry, revealing my heart. I don’t trust God, I don’t hold fast to Him, I don’t know the I am saved and valued in Christ. This quote is true:2015-09-08 16.41.02-1

How much more steadied and blessed I would be to live in ‘dem burbs! Trusting and being held, sure in what God tells me. Dudes, we need that!

Next time, I will hope to show a special Hobbit style commission wood sign that I made for an English teacher friend and some work I did for my church with some sweet truth and paint spattered canvas.

In other news, I just had a birthday and will be visiting Pineapple Dance studios with my sister to learn the routine to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Just an average day in the life…;)

It’s been a while…(don’t judge me) (srsly)

Howdy howdy howdy!!

Oooof it’s been a while hasn’t it!!

I moved again! Hubs, two kiddos and me, moved down the road to a church owned property! We are so blessed, it’s a fabulous quirky house, needing LOTS of tlc, but soooo much scope for the imagination!

So, what with moving twice in 7 months, settling into the business of being a PW (that’S Pastor’s Wife, not Prisoner of War, and no, they’re not remotely similar!) and settling our kids in the area!

But, although the doodling has been intermittent, I have been sign making again!

I LOVE me some Vintage signs, and have a couple of things to blog about!

A sweet old friend of mine from those heady days when I was flaky newly-wed living above a wig store in London,(Seriously, WIGS WIGS WIGS, Juliet’s Afro Superstore) and her family are moving overseas to be part of a church in Switzerland! And wanted a sign made for her husband with the verse that is a special one for their family!

So that forced me to hunt down my materials out of storage boxes, start hacking away at old planks of wood and get creating!

This time it was nice working to a specification! She knew what she wanted, from the verse, to the orientation of the picture (landscape) and the possible colour scheme, of muted greys and white (mmmmmmm, classy!)

So I created this sign for her!

Tulips and vintage signs make good friends

Tulips and vintage signs make good friends

I used a cool font which I downloaded from font website called “Da font” using a font called “Thirsty Script Extra Bold Demo” I love its large script type, sans-serif for a readable, informal but striking look.As this sign was for personal use only, as it was a gift, I didn’t have to worry about commercial licensing time.

I sanded some of the edges for a slightly worn look, but didn’t go too crazy, as it still wanted to look a bit more chic than shabby.

Cool verse, as her and her husband will be uprooting their family to go abroad to do what God has for them, but they are committed to serving God, as he has blessed and saved them, changing them from within, to create a desire to love and serve him!

For all those who love Jesus, that will look different! You don’t have to be in full-time Christian ministry to ask God to enable you and your fam to serve him.

We all have areas which if we are honest, we need his help and direction with in order to serve God wholeheartedly!!

I know I need God to quiet my often restless heart, and help me to find contentment in Him.

i.e. its a daily battle in the morning with this

PRAYER OR FACEBOOK…..FACEBOOK OR PRAYER…..MMMMMMMMMMM PRACEBOOK.

prayer meme

Nothing wrong with Facebook, but when it’s squeezing out my time for actual communion and refreshing from my Creator God who only wants good for me, then it’s a problem, and I think I’m not alone!

So let’s please ask God for help in whatever it is ruling our hearts and stopping us serve God in the ways we want to and He wants us to!

What’s stopping you right now?

Peace out dudettes.

Next blog:- What happened when THIS lady asked me to do a craft night at her church??

Pastor's Wife rebels innit

Pastor’s Wife rebels innit

Unfolding and understanding

Hello beauties!

I’ve been busy with some vintage wooden sign making as some bespoke gifts for a school mum friend this past few weeks!

Will share the results soon and possibly a tutorial too!

So life is getting busier and more EMOSH! Me and my fam will be packing up sticks in a few short weeks and moving further afield into Middle Earth England!

This next month is one of goodbyes and aching hearts and new beginnings and new pathways.

It’s hard to not feel as if you are weightless with all these events swirling around, threatening to knock you over and out, tumbling into confusion. The mazes of the mind become complex labyrinths replete with monsters of leaving, meeting, hugging, smiling, crying publicly and privately. How is one to be anchored in this midst?

Well one way would be to lock myself away and play Minion Rush on the iPad, distracting my mind endlessly and preventing and eventually stopping coherent emotional thought. Mmmmm Minion Rush…..

But one verse I’ve been a’doodlin lately is probs more beneficial for me in more than one way!

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TBH, and you know I’m going to say this (c’mon, I am a Pastors wife…megalolz) but remembering what our life’s goal is  (Westminster shorter catechism anyone??) and anchoring yourself in the unchanging nature of God’s Word is the only way to understand and thus live our lives. Let God’s word unfold before us, (by this I mean actually reading it!) and see the unchanging truth of who God is, and who we are. It’s pretty epic cosmic stuff, and greatly reassuring to us poor confused mortal souls! But it’s ultimate reality, and vital for our spiritual well-being. It’s something I’ve been trying to do more of. (What?! Pastors wife in struggling to read the Bible regularly shock??) Yes. It’s hard. I am distracted. I am often too shallowly preoccupied with other things. But find whatever works and do it! For me at the moment its leaving my Bible and notes on the kitchen table so when I eat my breakfast (alone after the school rush craziness) I am more likely to read it than just scroll down Facebook one more time! (though this has its problems, having just ripped out a small section of Philippians due to some stickage of Oat-So-Simple Golden Syrup flavour….eeep. I’ll sellotape it back in I promise!!)

So have a read, let God’s word ruminate and stick in your head. And let that weigh in on the WAAAAAAA-ness of life.

 

 

 

Fun Art Tutorial!

I thought I’d do a kind of fun tutorial! It was a piece of art work that I’ve been mulling over in my brain for a few months, and something I wanted to do with the kids too!

Most of all I need some time and a sunny afternoon, both of which I got this afternoon! Yayness!

2014-09-07 15.55.02-1Here’s what we came up with!

I wanted to do some thing that the kids could go crazy with just sloshing paint and throwing glitter around and not worry about mess or “keeping in the lines” but just squidge and flick and enjoy!

I wanted to do the quote I came up with, which has multiple meanings really!

Some of which I will explore briefly!

1) I believe our God is a God of creativity and artistry, he made the world! And he thought it was good. And he was right about that! (check out Genesis 1!) So as a person who is made in the image of God, my attempting to create something too, is an act of faith that as God is creative and so I am made in his image, I can make something cool and great too! (Maybe not quite like THE WHOLE WORLD great, but ya’ know, just normal-great!)

2) As I can create too, I want to try make something fun and colourful. But sometimes I am stopped by my own sense of perfectionism. “It will suck” “It will be embarrassingly rubbish” “It’s childish” “it might go wrong” “it’s a waste of time” “you suck at trying to be all arty, give it a rest” are all monologues twirling round my head. And are all pretty rubbish and unhelpful, even if those things are true, and even if end result isn’t that great, the creative process will be good for me, and sometimes we need to stop letting fear rule us, and take a step of faith and just “do”. Being a creative person shouldn’t revolve around me thinking up fun projects and then never doing them for any of the above reasons, as that’s actually not being creative! Being creative is in the ‘doing’!

3) This is also a reason why this art was an act of faith. I wanted to involve the kids! And typically when kids are involved in art/craft/baking whatever, chaos ensues, many lovely instagram shots maybe taken, but adults are emotionally harmed (me!!) and children get tired and annoyed with each other and mess ensues. And this was true today! Paint was on toes, legs, shoulders and some clothes. Children fought over which colour glitter they wanted etc! But then….that’s kids for you! I got annoyed with them, they got bored and ran off! But….my eldest was thrilled with the end result and my son’s look of pure joy as he squidged sparkly paint straight from the bottle onto a giant canvas was worth all the annoyance and mess really!

 

Anyway, there are many more reasons behind the quote, which obvs isn’t my usual straight from the Bible stuff, but I hope we can see a bit of truth in it anyways! And thank God for his creativity!

Soooo tutorial!

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Screenshot goodness

I started with my trusty Silhouette Cameo and just wrote the text up on the screen!

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“Art is an act of faith”

And I had my machine cut it out onto some

coloured vinyl I had lying around (as you do)

I then took my vinyl and “weeded” it

(which is removing any of the bits in

the middle of an ‘O’ or an A’ etc.)

And cut it out and laid it across my canvas

I had been given!

 

 

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Once I was happy with the lay-out, I used the special transfer stuff and stuck down the vinyl words, and using a credit card, rubbed it all down to get rid of any pesky air-bubbles, so that when we painted over it, no paint would seep through!

Then I got my volunteers and a shed load of paint and glitter! All cheap Wilko’s stuff accrylic and pots of gliiter, nothing fancy! And a array of different sized brushes to have fun with!

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We got going with various techniques, including the avant guarde approach favoured by my son of squeezing with serious concentration a large amount of goopy sparkle paint straight onto canvas.

When the canvas was covered and all the words totally obscured. I took a pair of pointed tweezers and carefully while the paint was still a bit wet, pulled the vinyl stickers away, leaving the white canvas to come through! TA-DA!

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When we move, we hope to hang this up in our new place!

So I hope this encourages you to embrace being creative, as little skill is needed and it doesn’t even matter whether the end result is perfect! Be creative and have fun!

Peace Out!

 

 

 

Waiting….

Hey all!

Oh I know your days have been long and lonely as you’ve waited for my next enthralling blog post 😉
I’ve been kind of busy and many projects on the go, as well as many things like an autism diagnosis for one child, minor surgery for another child, and a new move/church/community on the horizon in the near future!

But recently I’ve been just doodling again, and so even though they are quite imperfect and make me cringe in their stubborn trait of being quite different on paper to what I have in my head….I thought I would share anyway! It’s all words of truth!

Lately I have done a lot of waiting. Waiting for surgeons, waiting for appointments, waiting for important job related phone calls, waiting for news, and much of this can be a time of anxiety and worry. It’s something I really find hard to do in honesty!. I’m SHAMAZING at worrying and fidgeting and generally working myself up. Sitting still before God, asking him for help, and then leaving it in his hands? Yah, not so much!
So I found myself doodling this verse from Psalm 37! God is amazingly patient with us, so we know he has all the resources to enable us to try and patient as we wait on him.

Enjoy!

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Psalm 37:7 doodle!

Sheepy Sheep Sheeps. And other stories…

Hello my lovely but limited readership!

(limited only in number obvs as you’re totes all pretty amazing! Great haircut btw, I love how it frames your face!!)

So, yet again, long time no blog! Bad Trainee Pastors Wife/Mum/Lady person.

It’s been pretty busy as of late as DH searches for a pastorate to live and serve in.

Anyway, last time I hinted at project I was doing for a friend which I couldn’t post about yet, but it’s been finished and given!

She was thrilled, so I’m very happy!

Being a Welsh girl, she’s a fan of sheep, so I painted a copy of a fave picture of hers.

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It was a massive canvas 100cm x 100cm box stretched canvas!

I learnt a lot about accrylic painting on the way as it was my first ever painting! 🙂

I got an accrylic medium to help with the flow of the paint, to make it spread better and be less thick and sludgy. Yes, this is real art terminology. Can’t you tell?

It took several coats to get decent coverage. Much like when I put liquid  foundation on my blotchy face. True story.

I was pretty chuffed with the shading on the sheep I have to tell you!

I varnished it with a Matt Varnish. I think next time I will use a gloss, and do a final coat of Matt as it will probably not dry so cloudy as this one did slightly.

So I gave this to my friend and it hangs with pride in her kitchen. And my reward is a slap-up dinner date for the two of us round her house in a week! 🙂 Happy times!

And as you may have noticed my fondness for Bible verses, I took a picture and used an app to add an appropriate verse for funsies!

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It’s been good for me to remember this, especially lately with so many things of a difficult nature arising. I need to remember, that God is not only Sovereign, but also GOOD. I sometimes struggle to remember this. And it’s so crucial not to have a distorted view as this will only impact our mental state and behaviour negatively.

God describes himself as a Shepherd! Leading us, guiding us, giving us rest and peace.

And in the inner turmoil that most of us go through if we are honest. We are totes desperate for some peace inside! 🙂

 

Also, check out the vinyl quote on a mug I made for my friend, and I am desirous of one tooooooo!!

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WAAAAA! That’s meeeeee!! And that’s OK!

Love you All! 🙂