April Monthly Challenges

It's the 1st and you know what that means!  New challenges.

1. The Cut Challenge - as always, we want to encourage ourselves to get the most out of our amazing Cameo Silhouette machines.  They are capable of doing such cool things but if we don't make a purposeful decision to use them, they quickly start to gather dust.  So every month in 2016 we will strive to use our machines to create at least one cool project. 

2. The OTHER Challenge - Create 3 cards and give them away.  Now I don't know about you, but I love to collect pins on pinterest of beautiful cards that others have made and that I want to make "Someday".  Well guess what, someday is this month.  And since the theme for this month is Give, after we make the cards, we are going to give them away.  Heck yeah, we are. 

Please join us for these challenges.  And if you do decide to join us, let me know so we can enjoy your work and share it here on the blog as well.  Tag me on facebook, instagram or send me an email at shelliemg@gmail.com.  Also comment below with a link to your work.

Shellie: Faith Journaling - my first attemps

I know that not everyone is into faith journaling and that's cool.  If you are not interested in these types of posts, feel free to skip over them.  Gina and I both have expressed interest in growing our faith and expressing that faith though bible journaling and art journaling, so you'll see these types of posts on the blog regularly.

Ever since I first saw images of bible journaling via Illustrated Faith I've been intrigued.  I've wanted to read my bible and enjoy it for a while but always feel awkward when I sit down to do it.  I just don't know where to start.  Do I start at the beginning?  Just randomly open a page and start reading?  I've tried a few of the series on my bible app but they were so brief. 

I knew I wanted to try faith journaling and began to watch for those posts on Instagram and facebook.  And I will say that I know some of the people who do it, I think do it because they jumped on the bandwagon because it's pretty popular now.  But so what?  If it helps people spend time reading and studying their bible and witnessing to others by sharing those projects online then bring it on, right?  Maybe it'll stick.

Anyway, I looked at journaling Bibles at my local Christian book store but couldn't decide what one to choose so I decided to take that decision out of my hands and asked for a journaling Bible for Christmas.  My brother is an associate pastor so I knew this gift would be right up his alley and I wasn't wrong.  He and his family bought me a journaling bible for Christmas and it is absolutely the most beautiful Bible I've ever owned.  It was that one I didn't even look at while at the store because it was too nice and I knew I couldn't have it. 

Since then I've opened it and held it and caressed it's leather cover lovingly but I've been nervous about taking the plunge and actually creating in it.  I don't feel bad about painting in my Bible because it's specifically made for that purpose and I don't think God will mind if it gets me to spend more time in His word.  But it was so pretty

I also signed up for a daily devotional via email.  I haven't read them every day as I should but I've been saving them in a folder so when I wanted something they'd be there.  Randomly last week I opened one and read it.  It was timely because it dealt with the fact that God is in every day.  The good ones AND the bad ones.  In the devo (by Max Lucado) they used a verse familiar to me as I've sung it in church my entire life as a worship song and it just stuck in my head the entire day.  And I could SEE what it looked like and knew that it would be my first illustrated faith project.  That night I went home, pulled out my Bible and just went for it.  No hesitation.

The verse is Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles.  They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

It didn't come out perfectly but that's not the point.  The point is that I spent more than 2 hours singing that worship song as I painted that eagle in my bible and I consider 2 hours spent worshiping in song and in creativity time well spent.  A gift. 

I know the illustration it's a bit literal and kind of obvious but I don't care.  There are no rules here and this is what I saw and so this is what I wanted to create.  I actually saw the same eagle painted on the same page by another person on the bible journaling facebook group! 

I'm looking forward to my next project.


February Monthly Challenges

It's the 1st and you know what that means!  New challenges.

1. The Cut Challenge - as always, we want to encourage ourselves to get the most out of our amazing Cameo Silhouette machines.  They are capable of doing such cool things but if we don't make a purposeful decision to use them, they quickly start to gather dust.  So every month in 2016 we will strive to use our machines to create at least one cool project. 

2. The OTHER Challenge - Use a technique you have NEVER used before - I don't mean something you don't do often.  I mean NEVER.  This is the perfect chance to be adventurous and do something you've always wanted to try.  Maybe a project from that online class you bought a year ago but never took.  Why not now?

Please join us for these challenges.  And if you do decide to join us, let me know so we can enjoy your work and share it here on the blog as well.  Tag me on facebook, instagram or send me an email at shelliemg@gmail.com.  Also comment below with a link to your work.

Shellie: Big Picture Classes - Doodled 1.0 & 2.0

I want to start out by saying that I am in no way affiliated with Big Picture Classes.  I'm just a customer.  But since I sign up for way too many online classes, I thought that I could actually participate in some of them and if I liked them, share them here.

Recently I took the Doodled 1.0 and Doodled 2.0 with Brandi Kincaid.  I love doodles but I never feel like I do a good job so I thought hey, it can't hurt.  I absolutely adored 1.0.  I love the way she breaks down the doodles and reminds you that it's not complicated.  I found that I could duplicate her doodles pretty well when practicing. 

As the lessons continued, I kept doodling as I watched and listened and doodled other things that were pictured on screen as her examples.  I'm as pleased as I can be with this class.

2.0 takes it a little further into the digital realm and shows several ways on how to get your doodles off the page and into your computer so you can use them in multiple ways.

The doodles I'm showing throughout this post are the doodles I did while taking the 1.0 class.  I do recommend this class if you are a BPC member.

If you are not, they do offer a 30 day free trial and during that time, you can take as many classes as you like so why not give it a try?

See you real soon!


Encourage Project 2016: Nurture Self Pinspiration

Please click the links carefully.  I have no researched them all. 

Please click the links carefully.  I have no researched them all. 

I've been a little slow at adding these Encouragement posts because I want to keep a balance between them and our creative posts.  It is not my goal for this to turn into a self help blog or anything of that sort.  I just have felt so strongly lately that I want to learn how to take care of myself better and grow and I want to do what I can to encourage others along those same lines.

Nurture Self is our January theme but also a kind of over arching theme for the entire year so I haven't felt pressured to toss everything in during the first few weeks of the year.  I do want to include more information and encouragement and inspiration and plan to do so as the weeks and months progress.

Inspiration is the basis behind his post.  Actually PINspiration.  I've started a Nurture Self pinterest board where I've been posting quotes and images that inspire me in this area.  Now I havent gone crazy on the pins because I don't click all of the links and see where they're leading.  I don't want to suggest that where they lead is something I necessarily support or something you should buy or sign up for.  The pin itself I found interested and so I've included it on the board.

Feel free to take a look and let me know if any of these particularly inspire you.

Take care of yourselves.



Encourage Project 2016: The Rules

(Disclaimer: These are my personal rules.  And while I think they are pretty good rules to live by, they may not be your personal rules.  )

Part of nurturing oneself, I think, is by intentionally avoiding situations that cause you stress and unrest.  I realize that I live a different life than a lot of you, as I have no spouse and no children filling up much of my days, but I think that this topic can apply to each of us in a very individual way.  

Over the past several months (years)(entire life) I've struggled on and off with getting things done.  I'm a planner.  I can plan my butt off.  But I'm not very good with the follow through. I have good days where my mood and productivity are high and I have bad days when I'm basically a waste and spend all day wondering what's wrong with me and accomplishing nothing except clicking off too many episodes in my latest netflix series - or making more plans (THE plans.  You know, the ones that are going to fix me for good!).

 I've figured out recently that there are 3 specific things that push me majorly in the wrong direction.  I call them my rules and when I break the rules, things don't go well.  

Rule Number One - My environment has to be neat.  For me personally the idea that your entire life is better when your house is clean is a very real thing.  It applies to my craft studio (I love calling it that) and my work office as well.  Clean and pretty equals zen like feelings and productivity.  Messy and cluttered equals disappointment, depression and zombie-like non productivity.  

This is hard for me  because while I love to clean (I don't know, it's just a thing) I am AWFUL at maintaining it.  I am a messy person.  I work messy.  I can trash my desk - at home or at work - in 20 minutes flat.  I don't know what's wrong with me but that's the ugly truth. This makes it easy for me to get distracted by the mess and spend time I could be working on something creative, doing something else like organizing stickers or sorting sequins by color or some dumb thing.

My plan for 2016 is to be constantly putting things away.  Like a game.  Put it away, put it away.  I read once that the key to being a neat person was to be constantly tidying.  I also plan to get rid of a bunch of stuff I don't really need and that should help.  This will be a big part of one of our later monthly topics "Less".

Rule Number Two - I must get enough sleep - I have to get up really early in the morning.  It may not be early for you but 5:20am is SUPER DUPER GOD AWFUL early to me.  I am a night person through and through and have been my entire life.  But my job is a good hour drive from my home and since I have to be there at 7, it means that I have to get up and go early.  

My problem is that I suck at going to bed early.  In order to get enough sleep, I really need to go to bed at 9pm.  This is so impossible for me.  Like... I can't even.  But, the fact is that when I'm living off 4 or 5 hours sleep, I'm sucking at life.  Remember the zombie-like non productivity?  Yeah, that's back. Depression and disappointment.  I get home and sit down and I'm done.  I don't go to bed, I just sit in my favorite chair and guess what - back at the netflix.  (Yes, I know that not watching netflix should be my rule number 4.)

My plan for 2016 is to get in bed and turn out my light (and my phone) at 9:30pm.  I'm hoping that the exercise that I'm supposed to do daily for the #fitgirl challenge will help me fall asleep faster because going to bed at 9:30 and then laying there awake or playing Soda Crush on your phone until 11:30 doesn't help.  :/

Rule Number Three - I need to eat healthier.  Holy smokes has this become a big one.  I'm getting a tiny bit older (I'm 39) and lately what I eat, especially at dinner, has been having a HUGE impact on my life.  I have a poor diet.  It's a bad fact in my life.  I eat lots of rice (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese bring it on) and bread and carb city.  And when I do - guess what? ZOMBIE-LIKE NON PRODUCTIVITY. Disappointment and depression.  Do you see the pattern here?

How I plan to combat this in 2016 is by really making an effort to get healthy.  Gina and I are starting our first FitGirl challenge on January 4th and it has a very specific diet and exercise program.  I'm really motivated to get this part of my life under control this year.  "Reach Goal Weight" has been number 1 on my yearly goals list for far too many years and I'm over it. Something new and fun needs to take over that slot.

So part of nurturing myself this year is going to be to stop setting myself up for failure.  I mean if I KNOW what's going to make me have a crap day, why would I do these things?  It's easier said than done.  But I'm going to try very hard to follow the 3 rules and see if it works in my favor.

Do you have triggers?  Do you know what your personal rules are that cause you to have a bad day?  What are your plans to avoid these things this year and take care of yourself?

Thank you for sharing.


Encourage Project 2016: January Monthly Focus - Nurture Self (something new for 2016)

This year we really want to focus on taking care of ourselves, building great new habits and encouraging others.  We see so many of our peers (ourselves included) struggle on a day to day basis with discouragement and depression and feelings of disappointment.  It's something that Gina and discuss on a near daily basis. 

So this year we really want to do what we can to build ourselves and others up.  To show encouragement and support for others - bring people up instead of down.

One of the ways we plan to do this for ourselves (and others) is by focusing on a specific topic each month and using it to enrich our lives.  Each month we will have a new focus and throughout the month, it is our goal to include things that support this focus - ideas and suggestions, inspiration and our own trials and successes.

For January our focus is "Nurture Self".  January is often viewed as the biggest opportunity for a FRESH START of the year (although I'm a strong advocate of making a fresh start whenever you feel you need one).  For this month we want to focus on taking care of ourselves, building new positive and nurturing habits and thought patterns.

We want to focus on nurturing ourselves, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally and we look forward to sharing this growth experience with you.  Keep an eye on the blog for more about how we are nurturing ourselves this month.

Let's be amazing this year,


November Challenges - Oops. I'm late

So obviously it's November 15th and I didn't put up the November challenges on the first like I should have.

I've been sick and lazy and confused and that, my friends, is a lethal combination.  But I've doing a lot of soul searching about the blog and my creative projects and where I want them to to and what I want them to grow into.  I sometimes get caught up in things I think are neat, or in the idea that because I can make something myself that I have to. 

But I think we have a clear direction for what we want this creative space to become moving forward and I for one am excited.

That being said, here are the November Challenges.

Silhouette Challenge - use the amazing silhouette (or Cricut) to create any project.  This is our monthly recurring challenge.

Creative Challenge - food.  Yep.  easy as pie.  (ha)

If you decide to join in, let us know so we can share your challenge results at well.

Happy November!

Shellie: Fall Color Inspiration

This weekend I was working on some things for November for the web site and wanted some fall color inspiration and turned to our trusted friend and enabler of all things, Pinterest.

As I'm sure you know, fall in Florida isn't the same as it is for many of you.  Fall here is basically like summer lite.  A few trees will change, the highs are in the mid 80s instead of the mid 90s.  When you open the door and it's cool in the mornings we get all excited. LOL

The weather doesn't really get "cooler" here until about the 3rd week of October and still... cooler for US is not the same as for everyone else.  I've worn my capri pants on Thanksgiving day on many an occasion.

So unless we're on vacation, fall foliage thing isn't a wonder that we get to experience first hand.  Sadly.  Maybe next year I will plan a trip so I can see some of the beautiful leaves.

But Pinterest was full of inspiration so I thought I'd share the pretty.  I have made a new board if you are looking for fall color inspiration.  Enjoy.