We Will Never Forget – 09/11/01 Remembered…still…in 2013

I can’t believe it’s been twelve years since that dreadful September day…09/11/01…so much has changed…our youngest son is still in the military…our second youngest son, the one that was injured and medically discharged from the military, is still suffering from his injury that has now affected his foot, hips, and back, and  is still trying to get the appropriate treatment for his injury, but I’m afraid the VA doesn’t have the funds.   Our president says that we’re going to be pulling troops home.  I hope it’s soon…twelve years is a long time…and quite honestly, I don’t think that our country will ever be finished fighting the war on terror…our president is now trying to gain support for an attack on Syria…and unlike that time in 2001, our country is greatly divided, and since this administration, our constitutional rights, the very rights so many before us fought and died for, are being trampled on for “the greater good.”  This year, I don’t have the same optimism I had twelve years ago.  I’m genuinely concerned about the direction our country is headed.  Our military is demoralized.   I can’t add much to how I feel as I remember that horrible day twelve years ago, so once again, I’m just re-posting the same thing I wrote several years ago…

This is my post from last year (2009), but I wanted to do a little update as well…when our two youngest sons were still at home, they were members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the civilian branch of the Air Force.  I had the privilege of serving as the Moral Leadership Officer in our local wing.  It was a great organization for them to belong, and while cadets they learned to fly (free of charge) as well as learning to do SARs (search and rescues)…they also got their first taste of the military through the hands on training they received.  Jacob even earned the Mitchell Award, the equivalent of a Boy Scout’s Eagle award.  That gave him the privilege of entering the military a grade higher.  He was injured as he was completing his final testing in basic training and was in convalescence for about three months before being medically discharged from the Navy.  He now sufferers from the knee injury which has affected his back, hips, and foot.  He is in constant pain, but has a good attitude in spite of not being able to realize his dreams of becoming a pilot.

Our youngest son is still serving in the Navy, and four of the other cadets are in the military as well…two in the Air Force after completing ROTC, and two brothers who joined the Marines and are currently serving together in Afghanistan.  I’m so proud of their accomplishments, and their service.  Also, a young woman who has been a friend of our sons’ since childhood is in the Navy and about to be deployed to Afghanistan.  I know they have not chosen an easy path.

When I was a child growing up in the sixties and seventies, it was during the Vietnam conflict (as it was known back then)…I remember thinking that I hoped I would not grow up and have sons that would have to go off to war.  Now having three sons that have all served in the military, I am proud of their service, and yet feel sorrow for all those who have paid the highest price for the many freedoms we enjoy in our great country.  I dedicate this day to all our sons and daughters who continue to dedicate themselves for our safety, and continue to remember all those who lost their lives that fateful day nine years ago.  I’m hoping that one year from today our sons and daughters will once again be out of harm’s way.

And here is my post from one year ago (2009)…

Our two youngest sons were still at home…seniors…I was home schooling…we were in the middle of our class day when our daughter called from work…in tears, crying…saying that planes were crashing into buildings…told us to turn on the television…we tuned in just in time to see the first World Trade tower collapse…we watched in horror…in disbelief…it looked like a Hollywood movie…we sat glued to the television…heard about the other hijacked planes…listened to the news as it was announced that all flights were ordered to be grounded…heard the local news about our area power plants and the Garrison dam being put on the highest security levels…got the call that our oldest son, who had recently completed his tour of duty with the US Army and had enlisted in the Army National Guard, was put on high alert and had his equipment stowed in the trunk of his car in case he was suddenly called up…wondering if the madness would stop…being comforted by the many prayer meetings that sprung up all over the country…feeling tremendous sorrow for all the families who lost loved ones in the attacks…feeling proud of the way our country pulled together…of the outpouring of patriotism, of the increase in the displays of the American flag…feeling sadness and loss from watching the memorial services…and then watching as so many of our local young people entered the military, including our two youngest sons…many of them serving in Iraq and Afghanistan…

…feeling proud yet possessing a certain sadness that our youngest son just re-enlisted for six more years in the US Navy…

We remember the horror, the heroism, the tremendous cost of our freedom…and we honor those who paid the ultimate price with our memories and our unending gratitude…we will never forget you…and may we never forget that freedom isn’t free…


Thanks for stopping by today…and remember…freedom isn’t free…


Butterfly Journal by Liz Muddle

I just have to share an art journal that one of my customers, Liz Muddle, created using some of my digital art journal papers!

butterfly a

butterfly b

butterfly c

butterfly d

butterfly e

butterfly f

Liz used papers from the Grungy Letterpress Butterflies Collection 3 from my Etsy shop.  The papers are 8.5 x 11 inches, and are available as an instant download and ready-to-print as both JPEGs and a PDF

1392 - Embossed Butterflies 3_Preview

Thank you Liz, for sharing your beautiful art journal with us!

And, thanks to all my readers for stopping by!

Hugs and Toodles!


Success Is Not Final

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Created by Carolyn Phillips

Created by Carolyn Phillips

The title for this blog post is inspired by a quote that Just Be Yourself design team member, Carolyn Phillips, used for one of her digital pieces.  I find the quote by Winston Churchill to be so true.

When I began to design digitally a couple of years ago, I did not know much about the software.  In fact, for about five years all I used Photoshop Elements for was to edit (as in just crop) photos of my projects for my blog,  and to create a watermark.  That was it.  And I might add, that watermark took me a very long time to make. I had no clue how to go about it, so finally I found a video tutorial online, and watched it over and over and over.  I didn’t know what the tools did.  I didn’t know anything.  And I didn’t push myself to learn the software either.

Created by Carolyn Phillips

About three years ago I became intrigued by the use of digital software.  I wasn’t just seeing it being used for digital scrapbooking (I don’t scrapbook…I think you actually have to take photos to scrapbook and taking photos is not a passion of mine), but for creating altered art.  How do they do that, I pondered…and that turned into a new passion…designing digitally.  That led to enrolling in art school to learn graphic design, and a couple years later, creating digitally has become my passion…but that doesn’t mean I’ve achieved eternal, everlasting success.

I define success as meaning victory in steady, small steps.  I’ve never been able to achieve that BIG dream without first accomplishing small, steady goals.  And you don’t accomplish your goals if you don’t work at it.  And you don’t always accomplish those small goals without a few failures along the way!

My first designs were mediocre at best…and they took me forever to create!  I’d spend hours on just a few art journal backgrounds…but I determined that the only way to learn the software, to become more proficient at using it, was to actually use it…regularly!  About a year and a half ago I set a creative goal…to spend part of each day for at least five days a week creating.  It didn’t matter if I was inspired by something, or had a project in mind.  It still doesn’t.  But, I have to sit at my computer and at least try.  For every set of papers I create, there are usually some duds.  There are some that no matter how hard I work at it, no matter how much time I spend at it, they just don’t turn out!  The great thing about creating digitally, at least for me, is that the only thing I’m out is time…I’m not using any materials, so I’m not afraid to hit the delete button.  Sometimes you just need a fresh blank canvas to get started again.

Created by Carolyn Phillips

And, once I’ve learned how to do one technique, I press on to learn another…and I discovered an amazing thing…success builds upon success but success also builds upon failures…the important thing for me is not to give up and to continue to learn by doing.  In a little over a year and a half I have created several thousand digital art journal papers…some I’ve really loved…and some…not so much…but most of the time I work at my craft at least five days a week.  Sometimes I feel like working, sometimes I don’t…sometimes ideas flow freely, sometimes they don’t…but I work anyway.

What happens when we’ve achieved success in any of our endeavors?  

Do we quit?  

Or do we move on to achieve yet another success?  

What do we do when we fail?  

Do we quit trying?  

Do we just give up?

OR do we have the courage to press on?

Carolyn used this set of printable papers for her digital scrapbook pages:  1445 – Beach Hues 2

1445 - Beach Hues 2

1445 – Beach Hues 2

Please check out the rest of the Carolyn’s creative process on her blog, Mess, Muddle, and Fun; and leave her a comment for a chance to win this set!

Freebie Digital Art Journal Papers

I’ve finally finished designing my newsletter templates and I’m ready for new subscribers!  My email newsletters will consist of creative news and tutorials – digital design tips and tricks (with links to online tutorials), special promotions, new product and mixed media art, freebies just for subscribers and more!  I’m giving away a specially designed art journal paper pack for all new subscribers! Sign up is in the upper right sidebar! You will receive a link by email when your subscription has been completed!

Free Art Journal Papers for new JBY subscribers!

Free Art Journal Papers for new JBY subscribers!

As always, thank you SO much for stopping by!

Hugs and Toodles!



Gesso Grunge & Messy Fiesta Gesso Digital Art Papers

I am so thankful to have an extremely talented creative team!  Today I’m featuring a layout by team member Sandra Collins.  She used two new collections, Gesso Grunge and Messy Fiesta Gesso.  I’ve always loved the shabby, distressed, grungy look, and had a great time using those techniques for my new Fiesta collections which feature blue, yellow, green, yellow, orange, red and pink plus layers of gesso.

One of the secrets to creating great digital art journal pages is layering. Sandra does a great job layering various elements and playing with the opacity.  I LOVE this page! For details about how she created this layout, check out her blog: Dynamo


She used papers from these two collections:

1334 - Messy Fiesta Gesso_Preview

Gesso Grunge

1332 - Gesso Grunge_Preview

Messy Fiesta Gesso

Be sure to leave a comment on her blog for the chance to win one of these collections!

Both collections are also available in my Etsy shop, Just Be Yourself at Praierie Papier Cottage!  All my digital products are available as instant downloads!

As always, thank you so much for stopping by!

Hugs and Toodles!


Fruit of the Spirit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

(The New International Version. 2011)

As listed here, this fruit is the evidence one may expect from a life in which the Spirit of God is living and reigning. The fruit of the Spirit, as listed in Galatians 5:22-23, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Depending on the Bible version used, some of the “fruit” may use a different word, such as the use of temperance in the King James Version instead of self-control (New International Version). Nonetheless, fruit of the Spirit of God is not something we produce ourselves; it is not a work of the flesh, something WE works towards, but rather evidence that the Spirit of God is working in and through us.

These verses were the inspiration behind one of my newest collection of digital art journal papers, Fruit of the Spirit.

1333 - Fruit_of_the_Spirit_Preview

Creative team member, Carolyn Phillips, used the digital art journal paper pack to create some journal pages. I love how she printed out the papers and incorporated the images into her own journal pages using Dylusions spray ink and stencils!

Meekness and Gentleness

Fruit of the Spirit unfinished

Check out her complete blog post here:  Mess, Muddle, and Fun

She makes it look so easy to create beautiful, meaningful art journal entries!!!  For the opportunity to win this digital art journal collection, visit her blog and leave a comment!

Digital art papers do make it easy to get that blank page started! And because the papers are digital, you can re-size them to fit your own journal and you print out only what you want to use! PLUS you never run out of your favorite papers either! These particular images would make great greeting card fronts as well.

You can find this collection here in my Etsy Shop: Praierie Papier Cottage  For your convenience, all my products are digital, ready-to-print instant downloads!

As always, thank you SO much for stopping by!

Hugs and Toodles!


It’s Amazing What You Can Do with Digital Papers

It’s amazing what you can do with digital papers!  That’s what Praierie Papier Cottage Creative Team member, Carolyn Phillips says!  I have to agree!  One thing I love is that you can use the same design over and over again and not worry about running out!  Need more?  Print more!

This is an art journal page Carolyn created using “daffodil” freebies I donated for the new art journal challenges created by fellow mixed media artist and art journal extraordinaire, Bernice Hopper.  Check out Bernice’s year-long monthly challenges here:

From ipad 048

Ah, but I’m getting off track a bit.  Carolyn is an amazing mixed media artist!  She works not only with digital art but is a very talented fiber artist as well.  She has fallen in love with art journaling, and has created a great post featuring my digital designs.  She is also giving away a free digital art kit, so be sure to check out her blog post here: Mess, Muddle, and Fun.   This is an art journal page she created with one of my designs:

Refuse to be average

She created this art journal page using this image…



available in my Etsy shop here:

BUT first visit Carolyn’s blog and leave a comment for a chance to win this set (includes both full-size, greeting card size and ATC size images)!

As always, thank you so much for stopping by!

Hugs and Toodles!


Presidents’ Day SALE! 50% off all digital product!

Tomorrow, February 18th, is a United States national holiday, Presidents’ Day.  Originally the holiday was to celebrate the birthday of George Washington, our country’s first president.  It was later changed to a national holiday to be celebrated on the third Monday of February to honor all US presidents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidents%27_Day_(United_States).

This is part of a digital art journal collection I created last summer, and is appropriate for all national holidays, including not only the 4th of July but Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and Presidents’ Day!

Patriotic Journal Collection

Patriotic Journal Collection

Marjolaine, one of the dear ladies on my design team, created a project using this kit here: http://anitavanhal.com/freedom-by-design-team-member-marjolaine/ (there is a link in this post to her blog, Twelve Stones Scrapbooking for more details, check it out)!  Most of my digital product is printable, meaning that all you have to do is print it out on your home computer and you’re ready to create!  Each page is 8.5 x 11 inches.

President's Day Sale!

President’s Day Sale!

In honor of Presidents’ Day, I’m offering 50% off all digital product in my Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/JustBYourself) through Monday, February 18th.  Please use coupon code “PRES50″ in the shopping cart before checking out.  No refunds can be given after the transaction is complete.  All digital product is available as instant downloads!  This means that as soon as your transaction is complete, you’ll receive an email with the download link for your order!  No more waiting!  If you do not receive the email immediately, please check your spam folder!

  • What is your favorite patriotic holiday?
  • Do you do anything to celebrate?
  • Do you have any traditions (displaying your national flag, etc.)?

Leave a comment for a chance to win this set of digital art papers!

And, as always, thank you for stopping by!

Hugs and toodles!



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New E-course Soar Higher 2013 Open for Registration

This past year, over 100 women participated in my e-course, Soar-Discover Your Wings and Fly.  It was an amazing journey and I’m so grateful for each and every person that participated.  For the past few months, I’ve been working and planning the new Soar, Soar Higher, and I’m finally ready to open it up for registration.  This new adventure begins January 1, 2013!

If you enjoyed participating in Soar, you’ll love Soar Higher!  This e-course will run for 12 months (52 weeks).  Materials will be provided monthly around the first of the month.  Bonus materials for special occasions, holidays, birthdays, etc., will be available for purchase at a 50% discount off retail price.

Each month you will receive:

  • Visual journal art kit – this will include all materials provided in PDF and JPGs and/or PNGs, which will allow you to customize your own art kits if you so desire!
  • The art kits will include at least 20 different layouts and enough materials to last you an entire month…use all the materials provided or just those that you want!
  • Journal background pages
  • Monthly and weekly calendars, journaling cards, templates for making envelopes and fun inclusions!
  • Clip art
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Journal prompts that will encourage and challenge you
  • Suggestions for goal-making
  • Fun lists for you to fill out!
  • Fun facts
  • “Get to” lists (instead of “to do” lists)!
  • Perpetual calendars to keep track of important dates, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.
  • The materials will allow you to use your visual journal as a day planner as well as providing a unique way of capturing your daily life!
  • Bonus projects (banners, pennants, and other fun projects!)

Also provided will be instructions and video tutorials from my computer screen to yours, demonstrating how you can use digital product as is (PDF) or edit in MS Word, Photoshop Elements, and Photoshop! This is hybrid visual journaling at it’s best!  You won’t want to miss this fun and engaging workshop!

Some of the video tutorials will include:

  • How to use PNGs, JPGs, and other clip art in Microsoft Word if you don’t use or don’t have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
  • How to use some of the “tools” in Photoshop Elements and Photoshop
  • How to create your own digital stamps (and brushes) using my images or you can use your own (including photographs)
  • How to create your own digital styles
  • How to digitally paint backgrounds that will coordinate with your monthly art kits
  • How to add a border to make clip art or digitally stamped images look like stickers
  • How to use the art kit to create hybrid visual journal (combination of printing out digital images and adding your own personal touches)
  • How to customize the covers of your journal

This e-course is for all skill levels!  No experience with art journaling (or anything else!) is necessary!  If you can read and write, you can do this!  Think of this as a combination art journal, diary, day planner, project life and smash/stash book!

Supplies:  the only supplies “required” are a composition notebook and pen, but you can use any type of journal you desire.  You will need a printer or access to a printing service to print out the monthly kits.  You will also need a scissors and/or paper trimmer and adhesive (double-sided tape and/or glue stick).  Other fun things to use are washi tape, inks, markers, color pencils, stamps, acrylic paint, chalks, etc.  Try to utilize the supplies you already own.  If you have any questions, please ask (email me at anitavanhal@gmail.com.

I’ll be demonstrating some techniques with various supplies such as those listed.

 There are several different payment plans available.  

Soar Higher is $120 for the entire year ($10 per month).  This includes the monthly art kits and all tutorials and videos plus bonus projects.  

20% discount if you pay for the entire year by January 1st!  

One time payment of $96.00

10% discount if you pay in 2 monthly installments of $54.00

(1st installment now and 2nd installment one month from date of enrollment)

Total $108

5% discount if you pay in 3 monthly installments of $38.00

(1st payment due at enrollment)

Total $114

Also available in 4 monthly installments of $30.00 with no discount

(1st payment due at enrollment)

Total $120

***If you choose one of the payment plans, you will receive invoice(s) from PayPal each month until total installments have been paid.  Please understand that once you enroll there are NO cancellations and NO refunds.

Soar Higher 2013 will be held in a private class group on my Ning site, Just Be Yourself 

Select your payment choice:

Soar Higher 2013 – 20% discount
Number of payments 1
Start payments
Due* Amount
At checkout $96.00 USD
Total $96.00 USD
Soar Higher 2013 – 10% discount
Number of payments 2
Start payments
Due* Amount
At checkout $54.00 USD
Every 1 month (x 1) $54.00 USD
Total $108.00 USD
Soar Higher 2013 – 5% discount
Number of payments 3
Start payments
Due* Amount
At checkout $38.00 USD
Every 1 month (x 2) $38.00 USD
Total $114.00 USD
Soar Higher 2013 – no discount
Number of payments 4
Start payments
Due* Amount
At checkout $30.00 USD
Every 1 month (x 3) $30.00 USD
Total $120.00 USD
* We calculate payments from the date of checkout.
Sign up for
I hope to see you there!
As always, thank you so much for stopping by!
Hugs and Toodles!


Digi Playtime with Carolyn Phillips

Today I wanted to share a piece one of my design team members, Carolyn Phillips, created this past summer.

Prov2v2-4 copy

Carolyn created this digital page using the art journal collection I created for Independence Day.  I think it's highly creative because she lives in Great Britain and well…you know the story…anyway, I LOVE this piece!  She used a vintage image of Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and one of my favorite Bible verses in her creation.  You can see her entire blog post here.  Carolyn is definitely a mixed media artist as she is so talented and works in so many different mediums!  I admire her courage in just diving in and trying something new; she does beautiful fiber art including felting, and recently has been doing a lot of encaustic work which is just lovely!

The art journal collection she used can be purchased here in my Etsy shop.  All my pieces are printer-friendly, which means they're all designed for 8.5 x 11 inch paper.  My digital art journals can be used as is, or as backgrounds for your own creations!


As always, thank you SO much for stopping by!

Hugs and Toodles!


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