Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Adventures in Bible art & journaling :: Getting Started

If you are like me, you may have recently heard the buzz about Bible journaling (or Bible art journaling)...or maybe you haven't even heard of it yet. As the new year is almost here and many people are deciding on their New Year's resolutions, I thought I would share about this concept - I think it would be a fantastic resolution (for those who are inclined to make resolutions). 

I was introduced to the concept about 3 months ago via the Journaling Bible Community group (on Facebook), but looking back, I can see that I had been drawn to the concept (pun intended) for awhile. 
The above picture is from over 15 years ago, drawn in the margin of my Bible (Psalm 68). I have written in the margins, underlined, and created drawings/notes that were prompted by a lesson in church. I am sure many of you have done the same. 

For me, I see a journaling Bible as a way to draw and respond or reflect on what I am reading or thinking about and keep it all in one place. (Before this, I had lots of random pieces of paper that I had drawn on or written on, but with no real order to them...and most of which have been lost in the shuffle.)

I know that there are a variety of responses to the concept of writing in your Bible, drawing in your Bible, covering the words of the Bible, etc. I don't plan to get into all that here, but I will say that I have chosen (for now) to have one particular Bible just for drawing and word art. I still have a large variety of Bibles on my bookshelf for reading and study. 

Choosing a journaling Bible:
There are many journaling Bibles available, all with different options (and different translations). I am using the NASB Note-taker's Bible. (You can see my full review of this particular Bible here.)
Bible: Zondervan (NASB Note-taker's Bible)

When choosing a journaling Bible, I would suggest making a list of your priorities first.

What is most important to you in a journaling Bible? 

Do you want the most room for words/art? (If so, I would suggest choosing a single column Bible that is either classified as a journaling Bible or as one with wide margins.)

Do you have a very strong preference for a particular translation? (If so, your options will immediately be narrowed down quite a bit, depending on your translation preference.)

Are you most concerned with finding something affordable? (There are all sorts of price ranges in journaling Bibles, ranging from $10-15 up to $80 and more.)

Bible journaling supplies:
For myself, although I have a large variety of craft supplies, I am choosing (for now) to keep my supply list simple - which is helpful in making my Bible art and journaling a very portable process. Portability is important for me, but I also wanted to keep it simple so that I do not get overwhelmed in gathering and hoarding supplies for this, but rather keep the process focused on what I am learning/hearing/thinking about.

The first thing I did in my Bible was to work on a test page (an almost blank page at the back of my Bible to test a variety of pens, pencils, and inks). I did this because I wanted to see what tools I could use on my pages with the best result (good visibility but least amount of show-through). Bible pages are very thin, so what you may be able to use to write or draw on other books may or may not work well with Bible pages.

For my test page, I used a black (or the darkest color if there was no black) in that style of pen/pencil/ink that I owned. I figured the dark colors would show through the most, so they were best for testing.
From the variety of pens, pencils, and inks that I tested, I narrowed the options down to what I felt worked best. These are the pen styles that I ended up choosing to use (because they did not bleed through the page):
From top to bottom: Sharpie (Pen. - fine point); Sharpie (Pen. - medium point); Sakura (Pigma Micron 01 - fine point); Sakura (Pigma Micron 05 - medium point); ZIG (Millennium 05 - medium point); 

And if you are curious how these look as far as line style/thickness, I have shown them on a piece of lined paper here: 
From top to bottom: Sharpie (Pen. - fine point); Sharpie (Pen. - medium point); Sakura (Pigma Micron 01 - fine point); Sakura (Pigma Micron 05 - medium point); ZIG (Millennium 05 - medium point); 

In addition to the pens, I decided to use colored pencils to color in my images:
Colored Pencils: Prang
I also use, but they are not pictured: Pentel Metallic 1.3mm Colored Pencils

If you don't want to worry about having a pencil sharpener nearby, you may want to opt for the Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils

When I am using colored pencils, I also like to keep a Pentel Clic Retractable Eraser handy - for those times when I color outside the lines. :o)

Bible journaling entries:
As of right now, I do not have one specific method for choosing what I draw or write. I may be inspired by something I see, hear, study, or a random thought that pops into my head. From the variety of prompts, I find the page in my journaling Bible that corresponds and I draw or write accordingly. I don't intend to create art masterpieces for each entry, that is not the point for me. Some entries are just written words that stand out to me, some are pictures that are immediately brought to mind, and some may be influenced by other art/images that I have seen. 

Finally, I have decided to date each drawing/entry in my journaling Bible, and keep a running master list of each on the front (and, eventually, back) thick cover pages of my Bible.

I hope to share my Bible journaling here on my blog regularly (both to hopefully inspire others and to keep myself accountable). You will be able to find all my posts pertaining to Bible art or journaling here

Thanks for stopping by!

If you are sharing your Bible art & journaling on your blog, please leave your blog address in the comments. I would love to stop by and take a look!
Bible: Zondervan (NASB Note-taker's Bible);
Colored Pencils: Prang (various colors); 

Pens: ZIG (Millennium); Sakura (Pigma Micron); Sharpie (Pen.);

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Book Review :: InScribed Collection - Inseparable by Ashley Linne, Barren Among the Fruitful by Amanda Hope Haley, and Just RISE UP! by Sarah Francis Martin

The InScribed Collection is currently a collection of 7 studies (by women and for women). The 3 newest books in the collection are: Inseparable by Ashley Linne, Barren Among the Fruitful by Amanda Hope Haley, and Just RISE UP! by Sarah Francis Martin. The 4 previously released books in the collection are: Leaving Ordinary by Donna GainesLiving "So That" by Wendy BlightAmazed and Confused by Heather Zempel, and Dive Deeper by Jenifer Jernigan.

Each of the books in this collection are just beautiful books (judging by the cover, here) - they each have a textured textured cover (almost like watercolor paper) and the pages have deckle edges (aka - uncut or featheredged). Both the front and back covers have attached flaps (not a book jacket or dust cover) - the front flaps have Proverbs 3:3 and a note from the author (in their handwriting) and the back flaps have information about the author (including a picture). This collection uses The Voice as the primary source for Scripture quotations. (This may be why there are unexplained italicized words in some of the quotations - I do not have The Voice so I do not know for sure.)

Inseparable by Ashley Linne is a book comprised of 3 parts (a total of 11 chapters) based on a study of the book of Romans. This is not a verse-by-verse or chapter-by-chapter study. Romans chapters 8, 3, 5, 10, 7, 13, 15, 11 (portions), 12, and 4 are covered - in that order.

Each chapter is approximately 15-20 pages long (including the printed entirety of the chapter of Romans from The Voice that is being covered). Each chapter of Inseparable focuses on one "In Christ, I am... ___") statement. At the end of each chapter, you will find "Step into the Story" where a chapter (or portions of a chapter) from Romans are printed (from The Voice). There are study hints/things to notice pointed out along-side the selection from Romans, with an unlined prompt page after for notes/findings/prayers/reflections. (The prompts for each chapter are: "Prayer", "Big Picture", "Context", "Original Audience", and "Stand Out Moments".) Following this is "Come Together", that offers questions to think about/discuss. (These could be used for personal reflection or even group discussion.) Then, at the very end of each chapter is a lined "Notes" page. Inseparable is obviously formatted to be written in. (Not every book in the InScribed Collection is this way.)

Barren Among the Fruitful by Amanda Hope Haley is a book comprised of 10 chapters based on comments that may be heard by those who are dealing with infertility. (The author is still dealing with issues of infertility, and she was also conceived with the help of a fertility drug.) Each chapter features a portion of the author's personal story along with stories from other people (including the author's husband) who have dealt with/are dealing with infertility. There are Bible stories and Bible references throughout Barren Among the Fruitful. There are questions to think about at the end of each chapter. (These could be used for personal reflection or even group discussion.)

Barren Among the Fruitful is not just a book of personal experience, though. Along with the stories are facts and statistics about various aspects of infertility. It even includes information regarding infertility and ObamaCare (ACA - Affordable Care Act). There is a chapter dealing specifically with adoption, as well. 

What I particularly appreciated about Barren Among the Fruitful is that this is not a book that is offering a "cure" for infertitlity (although it does offer a lot of help and support), but the author offers reminders throughout that our focus should be on drawing closer to God - not just the end result of having a baby. I enjoyed this quote (from page 130):

"Having a baby isn't a happy ending; at most it's a stop along the path. Finding wholeness by accepting God's plan is a happy ending."

Just RISE UP! by Sarah Francis Martin is a book based on Psalm 145 that is comprised of 5 chapters (approximately 30-40 pages each) and one "Conversation Starter" (small group guide). Each chapter is divided into 5 sections, each section offering journaling prompts and prayer prompts. Each of the chapter sections are only a few pages long. This format would lend itself easily for use as a devotional - reading one section per weekday over a period of 5 weeks, which would take just around a month to complete the book. The 5th section in each chapter is titled "Do Life Differently", which will focus more on the practical aspects of how to apply the discussion from the rest of the chapter. At the end of each section, there are journaling prompts (and not a lot of space to write in the book), so you will most likely want to sit down with a separate journal/paper when you sit down with his book. At the very end of each chapter (not section) is a lined "Notes" page.

Although Just RISE UP! is based on Psalm 145 and does reference portions from it (eventually in it's entirety), I would not call this a verse-by-verse study as is claimed on the back cover of the book. Also, the Psalm is not printed in it's entirety anywhere in the book, so I would suggest using one of the blank pages at the back of the book to write it out for easy reference. (It is only 21 verses long.)

The "Conversation Starter" chapter at the end of Just RISE UP! is a small group guide offering general hints for leading a small group study and a few specific prompts/questions for each of the 5 chapters to help you in leading a study of Just RISE UP!.

In my opinion, the RISE UP! references throughout the book seemed overdone, but the content overall was good.

FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Book Reviews :: The Berenstain Bears: Thanksgiving Blessings, God Made You Special, and The Biggest Brag by Mike Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears books are instant classics, as far as I am concerned. These are books that I grew up reading and the new books in the collection (even though they are written by Mike Berenstain rather than Stan and Jan Berenstain), keep in line with the Berenstain legacy. My 5 year old loves for me to read "the bear books" with him. The Berenstain Bears books are books that exemplify moral character, and I appreciate that. 

Today I will be reviewing three of the newest Berenstain Bears booksThanksgiving Blessings, God Made You Special, and The Biggest Brag.
Thanksgiving Blessings is a Berenstain Bears book about the Thanksgiving holiday. In Thanksgiving Blessings, Brother and Sister Bear learn that Thanksgiving is not just about food. The Bears learn about how "faith and freedom", "peace and plenty", "work and play", and "family and friends" are all a part of Thanksgiving. 

As a bonus, Thanksgiving Blessings includes a sheet of sixteen 1 1/2" round stickers, each showing a scene (or piece of a scene) from the book. (The stickers are stapled into the middle of the book, and the sticker sheet can easily be removed without messing up the staples/binding of the book.)
God Made You Special is a Berenstain Bears book about God's love and loving people that are different than you. In God Made You Special, the Bear family is visited by the Bruin family for a backyard cookout. The Bruin family brings along their nephew/cousin, Tommy. Tommy is the same age as Brother Bear, but acts "more like Honey Bear". The book does not speak of a condition/diagnosis that is specific to Tommy, but rather mentions characteristics and his actions to show how he is "just a little different". Sister Bear ends up in a conversation with Mama Bear about how Tommy is "special in his own way", and how Tommy can teach the other bears with his "special joy...special kind of happiness". I appreciated that Sister Bear was not afraid to ask about Tommy (and was not reprimanded for asking).

I felt like God Made You Special handled the topic in a gentle, loving way. I think it is a good thing that Tommy was not given a specific label in this book, because Tommy's characteristics and differences can be shared by many people (with and without labels/diagnoses).

What I especially appreciated about God Made You Special is how Sister Bear (and the other bears) treat Tommy with love and see that they can learn from Tommy and have fun playing the way Tommy enjoys playing. It also shows that each of us are special in certain ways, but others can learn from us and know that God loves each of us, too. 
The Biggest Brag is a Berenstain Bears book about bragging. In The Biggest Brag, Brother and Sister Bear learn that bragging is not a loving thing to do. I appreciate the moral of this book, but wish it had been handled in a different way. Throughout most of the book, Brother and Sister Bear are bragging, rather than learning their lesson. I wish they had learned their lesson sooner and maybe even learned some alternatives to bragging (like building each other up). I also didn't care for how Grizzly Gramps talks to Brother and Sister Bear about their bragging - he calls them "two of the biggest, bragging-est fools". In the end, however, Brother and Sister Bear start to get the idea and apologize for their bragging.

With a retail price around $4, I think The Berenstain Bears books in general are always a great choice for a gift or as an addition to your family bookshelf. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Thursday, December 25, 2014


Merry Christmas!

Cardstock: Canson (140# Cold Press Watercolor Paper);
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (Greatest Gift is Baby Jesus);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer);

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

GIVEAWAY :: Plush Bible (NIV) in Purple Zebra {Zondervan}

Zondervan/Zonderkidz has graciously allowed me to give away a copy of the Plush Bible (NIV) in Purple Zebra! I am so excited to share this giveaway with my blog followers!

Here's what you can win:
The Details:
To enter:
  • Leave a comment on this blog post. That's it!
If you would like additional chances to win you can do so in one (or all) of the following ways:
  • Follow this blog. {Please let me know you are a follower by leaving an additional comment.} 
  • "Like" InkBlotsbyTRD on Facebook. {Please let me know you are a follower by leaving an additional comment.}
  • Comment on any of my giveaway posts (associated with this particular giveaway) on Facebook
  • Share about this giveaway on your own blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, or anywhere else. {Please let me know where you've shared by leaving one additional comment.}
Blog comments for the giveaway will close Friday, January 2nd @ 11:59pm (Eastern) and the winner will be announced Tuesday, January 6th here on my blog.
Please remember to check back to see if you've won.

Note: Zondervan will ship the giveaway book directly to the winner. Winner(s) can expect to receive their prize within 10 to 14 business days from when they submit their address information to me.

Zonderkidz/Zondervan's rules for giveaways:
Winner must be a US resident.
Winner must be able to provide a street mailing address (no PO Box, please) for UPS delivery.
Zondervan does not store, use, or sell the winners’ contact information or address(es).

Good luck!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Book Review :: It Will Be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change (Little Seed & Little Fox) by Lysa TerKeurst, illustrated by Natalia Moore

It Will Be Okay is a new children's book by Lysa TerKeurstLysa TerKeurst is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and author of books (for adults) such as: The Best YesMade to Crave, and Unglued

It Will Be Okay is illustrated by Natalia Moore. The illustrations are very cute and are full page and full color throughout the book. 
It Will Be Okay is a story that is meant to show how we can trust God, even when we are afraid and unsure, because God loves us and He is kind. The story is allegorical, and follows two characters (Little Seed and Little Fox) as they learn to trust that things will be okay, even though they don't know why certain events are happening. I love the idea of having a story that is enjoyable to read, but also has a point/moral to it. I especially appreciate that the moral (and relation to God) is clearly stated at the end of the book. 

It Will Be Okay would be a particularly great gift for anyone who is going through a time of transition in their life (such as moving), and think it is a great addition to any bookshelf in general. We can all use a reminder to trust God more and know that He loves us and He is kind.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review :: Pillars of Fire (An Ether Novel) by Laurice E. Molinari

Pillars of Fire is the second novel in the Ether Novel Series by Laurice E. Molinari. The Ether novels are Laurice E. Molinari's first novels. (Prior to these, she was most known for her script writing for movies such as My Girl, The Brady Bunch Movie, and more.)  

If you have not yet read the first novel, The Ether: Vero Rising, I would recommend reading it before reading Pillars of Fire. Although there is enough back story in Pillars of Fire to get you up to date, you will still be missing out on a lot. 

I am writing this review assuming that you have read The Ether: Vero Rising. (If you haven't...enter at your own risk as there may or may not be some first novel spoilers in this review.)

In Pillars of Fire, we meet back with Vero Leland (teenage boy on earth/guardian angel in the Ether), his fellow "fledgling" guardian angels (Kane, X, Pax, Greer, and Ada), his sister (Clover), and his best friend (Tack). The story in Pillars of Fire really hits the ground running - from the first chapter a new adventure is unrolling...and it keeps it up throughout the novel.

We soon find out that the Angel Trials will be taking place (a sort of angel Olympic games), consisting of three tasks. The competition for the Angel Trials is tough - other angels from the "second sphere" who have a different range of abilities enter the picture.

Throughout Pillars of Fire, Vero is taken between earth and the Ether - facing challenges in both places. Pillars of Fire seems to be a bit "darker" overall than The Ether: Vero Rising, in my opinion. The challenges for Vero are definitely tougher and he comes in contact with new enemies. 

Many of the hints from the first novel come back and are further revealed in Pillars of Fire, yet at the end we still find more hints...possibly showing another novel to come?

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed these books, being Juvenile Fiction. They were well written and kept a steady pace throughout. My almost 9 year old son really enjoys these books (he had been waiting eagerly for months since he read The Ether: Vero Rising for Pillars of Fire to be released) and my 11 year old daughter enjoyed them, too (although probably not as much as my son). 

These books do tie in some Bible references, but with the vastly unknown subject matter of angels or unexplained creatures that are mentioned just a time or two, there is a lot of extra information here - and it is not clear in the novels where the information comes from (Bible, outside sources, or the author's imagination). Still, I found these interesting to read and some of the ideas in the novels have inspired me to think about things in ways I may not have thought about before.

When compared with some of today's fantastical novels that are so popular (such as the Harry Potter books), I would much prefer my kids be reading something like The Ether: Vero Rising and Pillars of Fire, where the topic always comes back to following God and doing His will. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with an advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review :: Let There Be Light by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, illustrated by Nancy Tillman

Let There Be Light is a new book by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (illustrated by Nancy Tillman). Let There Be Light is available as a hardcover, a board book, and is also available for Kindle. (I received the board book edition to review.)

Author Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Illustrator Nancy Tillman has illustrated books such as On The Night You Were Born and Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You
Let There Be Light is a beautifully written biblical story of creation (written in story form, not quoted from the Bible). It is written in a way that maintains the awe and wonder of the creation week. 

The illustrations in Let There Be Light are interesting. The illustrations seem to be a mixture of paintings and photographs that have been retouched for a "painted" feel. Many of the illustrations contain a hint of a human (Jesus?) form, which is often portrayed with a glow. I thought this was an interesting addition to the pages. 

All in all, I think Let There Be Light is a beautifully done story of creation to share with children. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Review :: NASB Note-taker's Bible by Zondervan

The Note-taker's Bible is now available in many versions: KJVNKJVNIVNASB, and Amplified. I received the hardcover edition of the NASB version of the Note-taker's Bible to review, but it is also available in imitation leather

The cover image you see shows the dust cover image for the NASB Note-taker's Bible. Underneath the dustcover, the hardcover is a full-coverage black/dark grey (with a linen texture look) - it simply says "Holy Bible" on the front cover and spine (with additional NASB and Zondervan logos on the spine). The NASB Note-taker's Bible is approximately 1 1/4" thick (as opposed to the 3/4" thick NASB Thinline Bible). 

Inside, the NASB Note-taker's Bible basically looks like a Bible that was trimmed incorrectly, which is where the note-taking space comes in. The text is all toward the top and spine of the Bible, with unlined margin space on the sides and bottom of the text. 
As you can see from the pictures, the side margins are 1 3/8" wide (space on the left-hand side for left pages and on the right-hand side for right pages) and the bottom margin is 1 5/8". I wish the margins were a bit bigger (2" would be great), but these will definitely give me space to write and draw. 

Here you can see the NASB Note-taker's Bible compared to the NASB Thinline Bible:
(This is the particular NASB Thinline Bible shown in the picture - after being used for a few years.)

As you can see, the NASB Note-taker's Bible has the same size text and the same page layout as the NASB Thinline Bible, just with the addition of side and bottom margins.

The NASB Note-taker's Bible has black text (including headings) with the words of Christ in red, laid out in two columns. This is the NASB version of the Bible. The text is standard size - not large, but not extra small. There are no study notes in the NASB Note-taker's Bible, but it does contain some basic footnotes. There are no maps like you might find in many Bibles. 

At the back of the NASB Note-taker's Bible is a concordance (45+ pages), a list of abbreviations for the books of the Bible, and a few variety of suggestions for reading. The suggestions for reading include: "Promises from the Bible", "Perspectives from the Bible", "Ministry of Jesus", "Teachings of Jesus", "Miracles of Jesus", and "Parables of Jesus". The margins for the sections at the back of the Bible are not the same as the margins in the Scripture portion of the Bible - the text of the pages are centered (in all directions), leaving some room at the top, both sides, and bottom of each page.

If you are looking for an NASB with wide margins, but prefer a single column format, you may want to check out the NASB Wide Margin Bible (which I believe is out of print, but still available if you search for it). 

The pages of the NASB Note-taker's Bible are not the very thin rice paper type pages of many Bibles, but they are not as thick as a regular piece of printer paper, either. The recommendation from Zondervan (given on the last page of this Bible) is that you should use a ball-point pen or a pencil to avoid bleed-through with your notes/artwork. (If you are planning to use this Bible for Bible journaling, art journaling, or like to use a variety of writing instruments in your Bibles, this page at the back of the Bible would be a great "tester" page.)

I am excited to start using the NASB Note-taker's Bible for some Bible journaling

FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Review :: DIY Type: 50+ Typographic Stencils for Decorating, Crafting, and Gifting by Dana Tanamachi

DIY Type by Dana Tanamachi is not so much a book, but rather a collection of two sets of stencils behind a beautiful cover. 

For the  actual book portion of DIY Type, there are a total of 13 pages. The 13 pages include: a page showing 8 sample letter/fill treatments (shown on both a white background and a black background), a 2-page introduction, a 2-page spread photograph showing some useful supplies, and 8 pages describing and showing sample photos of how stencils can be used to decorate notebooks, parties, clothing, and your home. The rest of the "book" is 20 stencil pages (each separated from the next by a piece of black paper).

The cover of DIY Type mentions that there are 50+ stencils included. 
Let me break that down for you:
  • 26 large (approx. 6" tall) alphabet stencils (capital letters A-Z)
  • 26 small (approx. 2" tall) alphabet stencils (capital letters A-Z)
  • 6 bonus/decorative stencils:
    • one exclamation mark (!) sized to work with the small alphabet stencils (approx. 2" tall)
    • two decorative corners (approx. 2" x 2")
    • two decorative border pieces (approx. 1/2" tall x 3 1/4" long)
    • one accent (slightly less than 2" x 2")
(Note: If you get creative, I think the cover of this book could also be used for stenciling. Most of the flourishes shown on the cover are actually cut-outs.)

The small alphabet stencils are the font style of the "DIY" on the cover of DIY Type, but as they are stencils, they do have a portion as needed to hold the stencil together on letters such as the "D" (which is not shown on the cover font).

The large alphabet stencils are the font style of the "TYPE" on the cover of DIY Type, but (again) as they are stencils, they do have a portion as needed to hold the stencil together on letters such as the "P" (which is not shown on the cover font).

Bonus/accent stencils shown here:

The large alphabet stencils come 2 to a page (with a dotted line to guide you in cutting them apart) and the small alphabet stencils come 4 to a page (with dotted lines to guide you in cutting them apart). The bonus (non-alphabet) stencils are included on the small alphabet Y and Z page, with two sections (each containing 3 stencils per quarter-page piece).

The stencils in DIY Type seem to be made from a thick, coated cardstock. (I held a stencil next to some 130# uncoated cardstock that I have for making card bases and the stencil was slightly thicker.) The coating gives a sheen to the surface that should be helpful when using the stencils with something like paint or spray mists that you may want to wipe off. Since the stencils are made of paper, I wouldn't expect them to stand up to frequent use of paints/liquids like you would expect from plastic stencils.

Personally, I enjoy the font used for the small alphabet stencils, but I don't care quite so much for the font used for the large alphabet stencils. With a retail price of $22.95, I wouldn't say that DIY Type is worth it unless you really love both fonts and plan to do a lot of at 6" tall and 2" tall  stencil lettering. 

FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the Blogging for Books book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, December 12, 2014

JOY to the {whole wide} world (& FREE mason jar topper printable!)

Today's project is a recipe, craft, and gift...all wrapped up in one. I wanted to create something to give to our church family and neighbors for Christmas gifts, but also knew the time was ticking to be able to get everything made and passed out before people start their holiday traveling. I decided on making a salted caramel sauce in a decorated canning jar.

I started with the basic recipe for salted caramel sauce that I heard about from my crafty friend, Joscelyne, found here. I did make a few slight adjustments in the ingredients: I used 1 tbsp. molasses as a substitute for the 1 tbsp. Karo syrup and I used ½ tsp. vanilla extract in place of the ½ tsp. vanilla bean paste.

So, the ingredients I used were:
1 ½ c. pure cane sugar
⅓ c. water
1 tbsp. molasses
1 ¼ c. heavy whipping cream
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. sea salt
The sauce-making process was very easy and probably took less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

I made a quadruple batch (to have plenty to give away as gifts) was a total of about 3 ½ quarts of salted caramel sauce - yum! I filled twenty 4 oz. jelly jars (for gifts) and two 16 oz. pint jars (to keep at home), but if you are wanting to divide it evenly you can make a quadruple batch to fill: 7 pint jars -or- 14 half-pint jars -or- 28 4 oz. jelly jars.

Once I had cooled the sauce, it was time to decorate the mason jars. I created these "JOY to the {whole wide} world" jar toppers (which I am sharing with you) and wrapped the lids with some of The Twinery's twines. (I designed the printable toppers to coordinate with The Twinery's CaribbeanSolid CaribbeanHoneydewSolid Honeydew, and Ocean twines.)
Get the FREE canning jar topper printables here:
{Note: Make sure you do not choose the printing option "fit to page" - the sizing will be off.}
Printables are for personal use only.

There are two printable choices which are sized to fit regular mouth canning jars and wide mouth canning jars, respectively. Simply print, cut around each design, and insert into the metal rim. Then, add the metal lid beneath the topper, screw onto your jar, tie with twine...and you are done!
For twenty handmade gifts - these came together rather quickly. 
Quick, homemade, and's a win/win/win!

Thank you for stopping by today!

Printable: Tifany DeGough / (Joy to the {whole wide} world);
Cardstock: Discount Cardstock (Brilliant White 110#);
Twine: The Twinery (Caribbean, Solid Caribbean, Honeydew, Solid Honeydew, Ocean);

Tools: Fiskars (Scissors);
Other: Ball (Mason Jars);