Monday, February 1, 2016


At the end of last year I tried something that I hadn't tried before. I drew (half of) a face. I spent a loooong time on that little sketch and put her into my Documented Faith journal. It began something in me that surprised me. It filled me with a desire to learn how to do faces and incorporate them into my art. My goal is for the faces to be whimsical more than realistic, but not so technically off that another artist cringes to look at them. I am hard on myself, but I also have really learned to love the work of my hands and appreciate the talents that God gave to me to use and to improve. Here's a run-down of the faces I've practiced so far...

My first (partial) face in my Documented Faith journal - December 2015

painstakingly coloured with watercolour pencils

An attempt at a whimsical self-portrait in my journal - December 2015
Now that's a BIG head!

I can hardly believe that growing up I preferred wax crayons to pencil crayons - I love pencil crayons, now!
a fun little sketch I did after I decided that I was going for fun and not realism - December 2015
January 2016 - Faces

1/2016 my first rough sketch before the colour.

My first attempt to paint a face. I wrote on Facebook and Instagram "Someday I'll look at her and either laugh at how far I've (hopefully) come or look at her with pride because I took a chance and began." 1/2016

2/2016 Usually I leave the watercolour pencils dry, but I experimented with water and had fun with it. She looks kind of sad, I'm working on that.

3/2016 One of my favourites so far! I usually prefer my raw sketches and other than a little bit of white chalk marker for highlights, I left her with the background showing through.

4/2016 My first face in my Bible journaling. Hebrews 2:1 I did a quick colour, but mostly kept it in it's raw sketch form. 

5/2016 My least favourite so far. Her proportions are odd and I think I was rushing too much. I never attempt to show a specific age, but they end up younger or older as I go and I don't fight it.

6/2016 I was determined to try another face in my Bible and spent a good long time on this one. I couldn't figure out how to do her hair under her crown, so I went with more of a medieval queen's attire instead. Cheated a bit, but I still think she's beautiful.

7/2016 I practiced some basics in my art journal - just pencil and pen (no pictures to share - sorry)

8/2016 My first canvas attempt. I am much better with pencils and markers than I am a paintbrush. Though she is flawed in many ways, I am overall happy with her and am not discouraged from trying again. Practicing for progress not perfection.

9/2016 In my art journal. In an attempt to find a faster medium than pencils, but not as much mess/effort as paint, I tried oil pastel in her hair. In the end, it's still pretty messy and took a decent effort. I'm not unhappy with it, but probably won't be too quick to go that route again.

10/2016 a did a pencil sketch of a face in a letter to my sister. Again, no picture to share.

10 faces in the month of January. I'm pretty happy with that.  Oh, and on a side note, I am trying to get them to look happier and would definitely benefit from some proper training. I have gleaned a lot from Youtube videos by Dina Wakley and Jane Davenport. I have several art books in my amazon wish list, but for now, PRACTICING!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

15 Favourites from 2015

I watched the cutest video blog this morning and was inspired to share my 15 favourite things from 2015. I'll spare you a video though as I have a cold and sound frog-ish and my computer microphone isn't working. Maybe someday. Let's get started (in no particular order):

  1. My journaling Bible! I am so glad I stumbled across this two years ago. Abigail is getting her first journaling Bible for her birthday this month and I'm excited for her. It was on her Christmas list, but I was waiting for the NIV release (that's the version she does all her memory work from in school).
    one of my favourite pages
  2. My Documented Faith journal. This is the most consistant I've EVER been in keeping a journal of any sorts and I think it's because of the art and faith components. I smile looking through it and my littles ask me regularly if they can look through it, too. 
  3. Instagram. I signed up for IG several years back when we bought an iPad, but never really explored it until we got smart phones. I love the community, the inspiration... all of it! Username: mrsgingras
  4. Microfibre dishcloths. I am not typically the kind of person that recommends recipes and cleaning products etc., but I really like the microfibre dishcloths with the mesh back. I bought mine at Sobeys and it's their house brand, but they're available pretty much anywhere now. I have all dark grey ones and that's great because they don't stain as easily.
  5. Young Living essential oils. Everyone gets sick - that's life. Our quality of living while being sick greatly improved with the help of EOs. I would also say that we've chased away many colds that didn't have the chance to take hold thanks to EO use. My mom and my sister gave us the premium starter kit for Christmas in 2014 and even blended some little friendly oils. Those ones, the blends, are my all time favourites and I use them all the time.
  6. I'm exploring art more and more and my favourite go-to supplies are: Staedtler Pigment Liner pen 0.1 in black, pencil and eraser, Martha Stewart multi-surface craft paint, watercolour pencils and my Heidi Swapp date stamp.
  7. Mysterious Benedict Society books by Trenton Lee Stewart. David read to me the whole series this year and it was a great diversion from the everyday. It's a very imaginative series written for middle aged children, but they're so fun that we enjoyed them immensely. 
  8. Rocky Mountain Soap. Not limited to 2015, they have been my only soap supplier for years. Completely chemical free and I can use them without flaring up any eczema spots. Just tried Vanilla Mint and hmmmm, it's so refreshing.
  9. Pajama Van. This continues to be my favourite family outing. (Almost) weekly, after supper, we bathe the littles and put them into pjs and load everyone up into the van. We put on a movie using our portable DVD player, stop at Tim Hortons for tea and timbits and drive for as long as the movie is. David and I get to have a "date" in the front seat and we all love pj van! As a result of driving for a couple hours every week, our littles are seasoned and great travelers, which comes in handy when we drive to Alberta to see the family.
  10. My kitchen table! David, with some help from one of his students, built me a GREAT kitchen table. It's huge and solid and will be a central gathering place for our family for many many years to come. He got the plans here and adapted them to suit our family needs. He has plans to build me some mission style furniture for my living room next. I love getting to receive his handiwork.
  11. Sushi. Specifically the avocado and cucumber rice rolls (I don't know what they're really called other than "yummy") from Sobeys. Yes, grocery store sushi. I love it! David and I dip in caesar dressing.
  12. Rend Collective. My favourite music discovery of last year was definitely these guys. I love how fun and catchy and well written their songs are. 

  13. Serena Wilson Stubson. So, we met because our children are in the same school/class, but seriously, have you seen her art?! It's awesome. Serena gave my David one of her wood block mounted art pieces as a thank you Christmas gift (David is the parking lot patrol guy and the parents like him keeping everyone safe), anyway, I've stolen it. It's gorgeous.
  14. Favourite movies of the year go to Jurassic World and Star Wars. Both nostalgic and both really well done. Plus, David I got to see both together in the theatre (a rare occurrence).
  15. My favourite outing involves a body of water. I discovered just how much I LOVE to be by the water. We are fortunate to live in a city with rivers running through it and several lakes within driving distance. Beach combing for sea glass with the wind and the crisp air - LOVE!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Glance Back Through 2015

I used to write newsletters at Christmas time. I liked the opportunity to look back at the year. I blog instead. Let's see if I can do this in a reasonable sized post.

January: I chose the word FIGHT for the year. Fight for what is right, fight towards the Lord, fight for Abigail. We settled into routines of a new year. I began Documented Faith! We started to ride a roller coaster of highs and lows with our Abigail. I began a year long string of unsolicited commissioned sewing work (so honored and blessed by your support!).

February: Our church went through "Forty Days of Faith" - I really enjoyed the daily devotionals that went along with that! We decided that we couldn't help Abigail on our own and began seeing a family psychologist. Our faith in God's provision was tested heavily as many of our physical things were breaking down. Of course, He proved Himself to be faithful and generous! We had a fun family Valentines with a dance party and little treats. We trudged through cold and flu season, but with the addition of essential oils (thanks to my mom and sister) our quality of life during sickness was much improved.

March: For the first time since moving to Winnipeg, we walked on the frozen river and explored the Forks in the winter. I remember thinking "this is by far the coolest thing about our city!". We are looking forward to more river exploration this winter! We attended our second family retreat weekend at which David and I hosted couple's game night. It was such a great weekend but slightly touched with frustration and sadness with Abigail and her anger our family.

April: I love April. It was a busy month and not without it's challenges! David and I worked most evenings creating for a craft sale fundraiser in May. Abigail's behavior issues caused every outing to feel like a gamble. I witnessed a domestic violent act and wept and struggled for quite some time over it. We started Theraplay with Abigail at the psychologist appointments and honestly, David and I both struggled with the method of "help" we were getting. I had a great birthday with a family date and a date with my David and a party with my girlfriends! Spoiled!

May: Things escalated with Abigail and we called upon our pastors for help. Something was terribly wrong and we were battle weary and scared for our baby. Our pastor and an elder came over and prayed for and with us. We were so encouraged and relieved because that was a turning point for us all. Abigail was tormented and we prayed for her release. We are still learning and growing, but that was a game changer in our family. The results of which we wouldn't fully recognize until the summer.

June: We began what I call "Happy Abby Days". I took Abigail on a mother daughter weekend along with friends of ours. We went on many mini adventures and started to savor family times together.

July: Summer vacation kicked off with Canada Day (my favourite holiday) and our VANiversary. We went on several outings and began our summer long goal of dating each of our littles.  We got lots of use out of our backyard pool. Abigail got baptized!

August: we went camping with the use of a friend's trailer. We went on day trips and chased storms. David and I celebrated our 11th anniversary. Our church began to focus on how to hear God. I loved this focus and learned a lot. THE BEST summer since moving to Winnipeg!!! David finished building my gorgeous kitchen table.

September: a new school year feels fresh and with two in school on some days we all fell into a nice rhythm. My Dad got to go home from the hospital after almost 11 months time. I celebrated in my heart from afar. My goal for the month was survive the adjustment and it was so much easier than I had anticipated. I ended the month with a doozy of a cold, but we made it!

October: I was struggling with the mundane and repetitive life of domesticity. I cried out to the Lord for an attitude adjustment and a sense of purpose. My moms' group began a study on GRACE. Much needed and difficult to receive. I hosted an art gathering for local artists participating in Documented Faith and Illustrated Faith. Spent a lot of time choosing to TRUST in God and studying what that meant. We had a federal election, the results of which caused a lot of stir. Again, trusting God and His plan.

November: We saw a lot of cloudy days and I struggled with some depression - nothing went wrong, really. Just couldn't shake the heaviness. The world was rocked by terrorist attacks, though my own struggle was the imbalance of reaction based on where the attacks occurred. Terrorism, regardless of location, is tragic. We celebrated Christmas early with our friends and I worked through my large list of projects for Christmas and ministry.

December: We had several events to keep us busy early in the month and with my depression lifted, I began to really enjoy the preparation for Christmas. Our church proceeded with our 10th year of Bethlehem LIVE! and I participated on behalf of our family as a woman at the town well. David was sick through the entire weekend (plus before and after) and sadly missed participating. We carried out several mini traditions as a family that we love. We were intentional to make plans with friends throughout the holidays so as to not feel so lonely away from family. I think we found a nice balance (though, of course, we still missed our families). We were blessed by God's generosity to us through many friends and family and even anonymous givers. We spent New Year's Eve at a prayer meeting and I think that is my favourite way to end the old year and enter into a new one.

It sounds, in some ways, that it was a bad year. I don't remember it that way. We had challenges and triumphs and growth. To me, that's a good year. I'm looking forward to what 2016 holds and pray for the grace to handle each situation as it comes.  Happy New Year, everyone!