Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When Tragedy Comes

I've heard people say that when tragedy comes you can either turn against God or turn toward Him. I'm happy to say that I'm pressing toward God right now. My family is in the midst of tragedy. I don't have permission to share the details here. I am incredibly sad, but I'm not afraid. I cling to the hope that I've found in Jesus. What great timing for my journaling Bible to arrive. I find myself hiding His word in my heart while expressing myself creatively and it's been a great comfort and stress reliever. I am so grateful, because I know myself and my tendency is to harden my heart rather than be sad. I've always said that it's easier for me to be angry than sad. I am honestly weary of sadness, but at least I'm soft to the Lord and His mercies have indeed been new every morning. I experience His faithfulness even in the midst of sad times.
ESV Journaling Bible

If you follow me on Instagram, I'm sorry for the duplicates, but here's what I've journaled so far.

Psalm 34 (He delivers me! - such a comfort!)

Lamentations 3:23

Isaiah 55:11 and Matthew 15

Job 12:10

James 5:11

2 Chronicles 20
I'm thankful for your prayers and support, whether you know details or not. I'm so blessed to say that I am NOT alone!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bible Journaling

Have you heard of Bible Journaling? #journalingbible #illustratedfaith (hashtags for you to check out) I hadn't until a week ago. I was on Pinterest, again (don't judge ;) ) looking for snail mail and/or art journal ideas and stumbled across an art piece drawn directly on a page in a Bible. I wasn't too sure how I felt about it at first. Wasn't that a little disrespectful, drawing in a Bible?  I mean, the artist drew right over the text. I decided to click through to the link and found myself on a blog entry about Bible journaling. What?! I can tell you, it took me all of five minutes to change my mind and fall in love with this idea. The blog included a link to another blog link ~ "Create by Shanna Noel. The post was honest and engaging and spoke to my heart. Why not use the creativity that God put in me to enhance my study times and frankly make the Word 'stick'. I watched her webinar on Bible Journaling basics and knew I wanted to try it.

In some small ways I had already begun to recognize that when I wrote out scripture and embellished it with word art, it made a deeper impression on me. Even if I could only focus on one verse at a time, I was soaking in the Word.

Journal entries from my quiet times

In other ways I had already begun the Bible journaling process by highlighting texts that I wanted to remember or focus on and writing in the empty spaces. It was never fancy, just 'functional'.  Seriously though, I like fancy! If I can choose between something plain and something decorated, you don't have to try to hard to guess which one I would choose.

I don't have a wide margin Bible or a journaling Bible, yet. I do plan on getting one, but I also wanted to be sure that it wasn't just a crafting fad or my craft "ADD" kicking in. I decided that I would try a few pages in my regular Bible. They were simple and certainly nothing to "write home about", but I got a taste for what I could do.

Then I decided to try my hand at fancier lettering in my journal and worked on a text from Isaiah. I am not great at it, but again, I was getting the words from the page into my mind and heart.

I then went to paper. I wanted to scribble and practise without abandon. I came across a Youtube video that showed how to do the name Jacob really cool and I thought I could use similar techniques to do the name of Jesus. I thought I should try to make it small so that it would fit in the Bible margin as most of what I had worked on hadn't required boundaries. I estimated a size and went for it. This verse is my favourite piece of art to date. I worked on it with pencil and eraser first. I was typically too impatient to do that before. I realized after I was done that I still have to edit down to a smaller size if I want to keep my art to the margins. I think I do, but there are many options for adding larger art without covering the text too much (my personal preference).

I cut this out and will either do a turn out page or use it as a bookmark or something. 

My final two pieces (up to date) are scaled down. I don't know if I will re-do them when I get my Journaling Bible or if I will just insert them in, but it's already been such a great and refreshing experience.

I still snail mail, I still crochet (did you see my new wool?)...

Details on my Instagram feed (user name: mrsgingras)

...I still sew - when I can, I still love throwing a good party (two birthday boys are having a good one, soon) and I still enjoy trying many other crafts. I think, though, that my daily devotional time has become a new favourite. Hiding His Word in my heart!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On my Writing Desk

Well, not literally. I don't actually have a desk, but I have been getting into the swing of letter writing again. In truth, more like letter doodling. I am having fun working on the art side of snail mail. It all began a few weeks ago when a friend from church and Instagram suggested a little swap. I jumped at the opportunity, who doesn't love receiving something fun in the mail?! I kept it fairly simple, but it kinda prompted in me happy memories of past pen pals and the fun letters we swapped. I would spend my allowance on stamps, stickers and stationary. I would ask for special stamps at the post office so that they'd be pretty on the envelope. It might seem a little silly now with technology making things quicker and cheaper, but I wrote a letter this week that made me slow down and think through what I was going to say. I carefully chose what I wanted to represent and how I wanted to introduce myself. It was fun. I think I took a whole week to put together a letter. I took my time with the art and heart of it. I recently signed up for The Snail Mail Project over at the Snail Mail Ideas website. It's a one time sign-up to write to someone somewhere and you receive a letter from someone else from somewhere else. I got a lady's address in Mexico. How fun!

I saw online that Moleskin has put out a mailable notebook and knew I could make one and it wouldn't cost me $9. I grabbed an envelope and used it to make myself a template. I sewed in the paper as my stapler isn't quite long enough. I then treated it kind of like an art journal. I included a paperclip banner and a couple paper embellishments, but mostly it's pen work. This keeps the postage costs down. At least in theory.

paper feather template found here

I had a package of permanent stamps and figured it would take three stamps to cover the cost to Mexico. I'm glad I decided to go into the post office and double check though because I learned some new things  about postage. Internationally, the permanent stamps are not recognized. They must have the cost printed on the stamps to be valid. The lady at the post office helped me to save my stamps and replace them. She helped me to pick out pretty stamps and made sure that everything was the right size etc. Sadly, my letter size board must have a tiny bit of give to it as my letter squeezed through the standard size slot on my board, but not the acrylic one at the post office. After working hard to keep it small, I ended up having to pay for an oversize letter in the end. I guess I could've taken it home and removed the tea bag or paperclip banner and it would've been fine, but I wanted to send it all. I need to be more careful in the future or I won't afford to send many letters at $5.90 a piece. The lady at the post office gave me one other helpful hint, don't use tape over top of your stamps (she was referring to the ones we saved and were now less sticky) or they will be rejected. Use a good sticky glue. Good to know. I like knowing the rules ~ I'm a bit of a risk management geek.

I've dusted off my doodling hobby. It helps to have great fine tip markers. I do lack original inspiration and for that I go to Pinterest. No need to re-invent the wheel. The other day Abby and I sat down at the table and doodled owls. The owl I sent in the letter was my third attempt. I don't really consider myself an artist in the tradition sense, but more of a crafter. I thoroughly enjoyed my side-by-side time with Abby, though.

Thank you for those of you  that signed up for my creative pen pal swap. I hope you have fun with it. Vive la Snail Mail!

bookmark inspired by this picture

free camera printable found here
I have a few people who have agreed to continue to write, so I am looking forward to more snail mail art. Yay! BTW, Canada Post, I'm for door-to-door!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Snail Mail ~ Creative Pen Pal Swap *CLOSED*

Here's a random fact for you, I used to be a pen pal. I had three friends that I faithfully wrote to for years. I got married and had children and the art of snail mail had fallen to the wayside. Sad. I LOVE mail. Have you seen that movie Paul Blart Mall Cop? There's this scene that I like:
  • "Give me your cell phone". -"I don't have one"
  •  "What are you talking about? Every kid has a cell phone."
  • I prefer handwritten sentiments."
although somewhat unrealistic these days, it's a nice thought. There is nothing quite like getting actual mail delivered to your mailbox.

So, what I propose is this: join me in a Creative Pen Pal Swap. Think mail art! If you scrapbook, dress it up with stickers and embellishments. If you draw, go nuts! Be as creative as you want. Here's how it'll go down. Email me at mrsgingras (at) gmail (dot) com with

  1. Your name and full postal address (I'll only share this with your partner)
  2. Your preference for domestic or foreign match ups (I can't promise, but I'll try)

When you receive an email back from me you will then send your pen pal a letter which should include
  1. A bit about yourself and/or your family
  2. what hobbies you enjoy
  3. a small gift* (nothing elaborate and handmade is great though not required)
  4. and perhaps a picture of yourself
* Here's the challenge and a little rule: In order to keep the costs to a minimum, please keep your letters to the size established by your postal delivery company as Lettermail and not parcel mail.

In Canada those requirements can be found here. When you go to the post office they have an acrylic board that they slide your letter through to make sure it's not too thick. If you are a Venture One member (small business owner) then you can purchase one, but I looked up a picture of one online and with a ruler and some markers, made my own. I printed off the current postal rates and attached it onto the board, I like a quick reference guide. I don't have a weigh scale yet, but it's on my wish list. You could use a digital kitchen scale if you have one (I don't). 

If you need some creative ideas for making your letters creative or for small mail-able gifts, check out my Pinterest board for inspiration.

One more thing, please commit to writing your pen pal at least once a month for six months. At the end of the six months you can decide together if you'd like to continue or not. Let's have some fun!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Our 10th Anniversary Party ~ The Rest

So, let's talk about our venue for a minute. We were graciously hosted by Rob & Lois Friesen at their family farm and it was so amazing! Rob & Lois are no strangers to hosting events and ours was a small one in comparison to events like Farm Fest and their daughter's weddings. The outdoor stage was such a picturesque backdrop for our ceremony and the barn provided a shady getaway. The landscaping is gorgeous and so lovely, it suited us and our needs beautifully! Thank you, Rob & Lois!

After the official ceremony, we had time for people to just play, visit and explore. We had music playing in the background and the children took the opportunity to turn the stage into a dance floor. David had fun putting together a playlist and I thought I'd share it in case you were interested.

click image to enlarge

Supper was simply a hotdog bar with potluck salads and desserts. My friend makes the most amazing London Fog Cupcakes, you should definitely order some!!! We considered a traditional cake, but decided that cotton candy was a bit more our style. David spun the sugary goodness and let me tell you, fresh cotton candy has me spoiled for anything less.

Instead of a guest book, we decided to have a wine bottle time capsule that people could leave messages for us to open in one and five years. Our Abby spent a long time at the table, so it will be fun to see what treasures she's put in there for us.

THE DRESS! Thanks to your support, I was able to find a dress that I LOVE. Thank you!

We didn't actually pose for any pictures, so I have an action shot here for you.

Finally, the Gingras family tradition quiz and First In Bed ~ Official Rules. We wanted to end our party with laughter and fun. David and I love quirky traditions and we thought it would be a good time to share some. I made a little quiz and we shared the details. If you'd like to play along, feel free to answer the quiz in the comments and I'll share the answers later.

click on image to enlarge

The final tradition we shared was a game that David and I have been playing almost every night for 10 years. It's ridiculous and funny and we love it.

click on image to enlarge
And just because, here's a few more great pictures....

Oh my! He's so handsome!!!

My favourite picture of the two of us