His Kingdom Come Blog Hop

Welcome to a very exciting blog hop. 

Today we are celebrating the launch of a brand new online Christian Creative Community: His Kingdom Come.

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This is an online Community where fellow Christians can encourage, share and learn about Christianity and explore the God-given creativity that He has put in us all.  It will be a safe place to share your faith, be inspired, and explore creativity across many art mediums – journaling, mixed media, painting, bible journaling, textiles, watercolor and more.  His Kingdom Come will offer free tutorials, technique classes, devotionals, crafts to celebrate the holidays, opportunities to go deeper in your faith and in your knowledge of God and the Bible.   The website will also offer Christian artists a platform to host classes (free or fee-based) which you will be able to sign up for.

BlogHopPrize Bernice

A team of talented Christian artists have come together to launch this exciting new community.  This blog hop is your chance to get to know them.

It doesn’t matter where you start within the blog hop.   Or you can start at the beginning with Diane.  Each blog has the complete list of participants.

Diane Marra

Bernice Hopper

Mary Brack

Marjolaine Walker

Merri Dennis

Justine Dandrea

Libbi Byrd Corson

Anita Van Hal (that’s me!)

Shonna Bucaroff

BlogHopPrize Marjolaine

As you visit each blog you will be given a letter eg. D.   When you have collected all the letters they will make a word.  When you have worked out the word, email Bernice (hkcbloghop@gmail.com) with the word.  We will randomly choose 3 people who have the correct answer to win a prize.   All entries must arrive by Noon (Pacific Time) on Monday 3rd November.

blog hop prize Mary

The letter to collect from my blog is U.

Who am I?  I’m a wife, mother and grandmother.  I am blessed to be married to my husband and best friend, and we have four grown children, one daughter-in-law (one daughter and three sons) and two beautiful granddaughters.  I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in June, 1983.  Prior to becoming a believer, I had struggled my entire life with depression and zero self-esteem, believing that I was stupid, fat, and ugly; and in high school I developed a drinking problem.  By the time I was 25 years old I was living a life of despair and I was an alcoholic.  Since coming to faith in Jesus Christ in June 1983, my life finally “makes sense,” and I no longer worry about being a people pleaser, and my faith has helped me to remain sober for over 33 years.  Although I may from time to time become depressed, depression is no longer a way of life for me…I have discovered through my faith that there is a reason for me being here in this world, and that my life does have value…that even if I grew up in a very abusive and dysfunctional home, that doesn’t have to remain a way of life.  I could let go of my past.  I could become the person that I was created to be.  My faith gives my life meaning.   While some may think the Christian faith is a crutch, for me and millions of other believers, it gives us purpose and a strength incomparable to anything else this world has to offer; including money, power and “things.”

I have been creative most of my life, but it wasn’t until I developed a chronic headache, as well as other chronic pain issues such as fibromyalgia, degenerative disk disease, etc., that I turned to art as a way of coping with the pain…it helps to engage my mind.  I get bored easily, and being creative gives me a plethora of options, opportunities, and new goals to achieve…while initially being creative was “my” thing, it became clear that it also became a way of using the gifts God has given me, not just for my own pleasure, but as a way of worship and glorifying Him.  I’ve now had the headache for ten years straight, and while it has affected my way of life, I’m very sensitive to light, loud noise, and heat, it has given me not only a creative outlet, but a means to engage with other creative people as well as an income and the opportunity to teach, both online mixed media art, art quilt, and art doll classes and Bible-based life coaching studies…but most of all, I have met many amazing people that I otherwise would not have had the pleasure to get to know.  I love living the creative life I’ve been given.

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I’m primarily a mixed media/doll artist, but about five years ago I began to dabble with digital art.  I became enthralled with the possibilities this medium provided, and after being laid off from my job four years ago, I enrolled in art school as a graphic design major.  I found I really did not enjoy creating logos, etc., and preferred to “do my own thing” and began doing hybrid art journaling.  This involved painting digital backgrounds or elements, and using them in my own art journaling.

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That evolved into designing digital backgrounds and wall art full-time, and I opened my first Etsy shop a little over two years ago…I opened my second Etsy shop this past summer.  I still enjoy working with acrylic paints and inks, and color pencils are about my favorite medium for “coloring”, but creating digitally has ultimately become my favorite medium.

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I will be a co-moderator for the digital design group at His Kingdom Come.  Next year I’ll likely begin offering workshops of my own which I’m hoping will not just be art classes but Bible studies as well.  Art may be my vocation but studying God’s Word is my avocation.  I’m also a a seminary student, and studying theology, biblical Greek and biblical Hebrew as well as other subjects is my life’s work.

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I have great dreams for this community.  I want to stress that one does NOT have to be a follower of Jesus Christ to join, although everything we do will be from a Christian worldview.  There will be a huge variety of options available for both free and fee based classes, including art journaling, Bible journaling, fiber arts, digital art, etc…there is no fee to join the community!  I believe His Kingdom Come will provide an active, safe, caring and sharing community where one can experience love and acceptance no matter what your background!  A place where you can find encouragement, share your heart (and art), your problems, and find help from a fabulous group of very caring and loving women!

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To join our community, please visit His Kingdom Come!

You can find me here:

Just Be Yourself Etsy shop

Just Be Yourself Too Etsy shop

Pinterest

Flickr

Facebook

Twitter

The letter to collect from my blog is U.

I hope you are as excited as I am at being part of this online venture.  Our vision is to build an online community not just be a project-led site.  A place where you can find encouragement, share your heart and your problems and find help.

To join our community please visit His Kingdom Come.

Thank you SO much for stopping by today!

Love and hugs!

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Digital Scrapbooking Day Special (DSD)!

In celebration of Digital Scrapbooking Day, I am pleased to be able to offer my customers, old and new, 40% off all product in Just Be Yourself AND Just Be Yourself Too, now through Sunday, November 2nd.  Just use the code DSD14 in the shopping cart before checking out.  I offer both direct checkout and PayPal options for paying.

USE COUPON CODE: DSD14 for 40% off all products in both Etsy shops!

On July 1st, 2014 I opened my second Etsy shop.  Initially my first Etsy shop featured just printable art journal papers and collage sheets, and then I expanded into 12 x 12 inch scrapbook papers.  After a while, I felt my shop was losing it’s cohesive “look” and after two years, I had a lot of items listed, so I decided to split my shop into two…

My first shop, Just Be Yourself, still features digitally painted printable (8.5 x 11 inches) art journal papers and collage sheets, but the 12 x 12 inch papers are also digitally painted.

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My second shop, Just Be Yourself Too, features personal use items, and at this time, I offer 12 x 12 inch patterned papers.  I wanted to give my customers flexibility and an easier shopping experience, and also I wanted to continue to offer basic patterns in a wide range of colors.  At this time, Just Be Yourself Too has close to 500 collections of papers and Just Be Yourself has almost 700…the papers in Just Be Yourself are for personal and limited commercial use.

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Enjoy shopping!

Love and hugs!

Anita

You Are Invited to a Blog Hop!

To celebrate the launch of a new online Christian community you are invited to hop around the world on Saturday, November 1st.

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You can visit the founding members of His Kingdom Come and on their blogs you will find details about how you can enter to win one of these three fabulous prizes.

blog hop prize Mary

BlogHopPrize Marjolaine

BlogHopPrize Bernice

I’m SO excited to be a part of this amazing group of women, and I’ll be helping to moderate the digital designers group as well as “hopefully” be offering online courses, both free and fee-based next year.

Please join us on Saturday at 8 am GMT, 4 am EST, 3 am MST, 2 am CST and 1 am PST.

The blog hop starts at AdoreHimCreations.

I hope to “see” you here!

Love and hugs!

Anita

 

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…

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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!

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butterfly b

butterfly c

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butterfly e

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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

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

And, thanks to all my readers for stopping by!

Hugs and Toodles!

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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!

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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

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She used papers from these two collections:

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Gesso Grunge

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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!

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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.

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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

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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!

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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:

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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…

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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!

Anita

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