Posts Tagged ‘christmas’


Dove

When I’m crafting, I’m really enjoying the creative process, and thinking about the person who is going to be getting the gift, and sometimes, I’m even watching a movie or a television show I know by heart.  It makes the whole process for me, very peaceful. This year, I had to be quick as well as crafty and thinking back on the first journal I made, I believe you’ll see its influence in the others here. The third journal (one and two are in Making Merry) I made was for my sister-in-law Beth, who is also a writer. I found the C.R. Gibson journals at Tuesday Morning(TM) the week before Christmas and hers is more of a ledger size than the one I made for my friend at work. I like the smaller ones myself, because the band holds them shut and they’re perfect for tossing into a backpack or purse, meaning people get more use out of them.  But beggers can’t  be choosers at Tuesday Morning (TM)  and hers only cost me $5.99 and is made from bonded leather. Not bad, considering the regular price for on that size is $17.99. Because this year has been hard for everyone in my family, including Beth, I thought a whimsical theme with a bright play on words would suite just perfectly.  I decided to use gears and birds to give it a ‘clockwork fantasy’ feel and I think it came out rather well. She certainly was delighted on Christmas day. Take a peek.

Beth Best
The mixed up letter types looked so good on the first, I figured they’d work here too, and they do. Writers are always cobbling together bits and pieces of things to make books, and with them being all different kinds it was all right if the letters were slightly wonky. Adds to the over all feel of whimsy.  Next time one of your crafting projects suffers a misalignment just tell the recipient that you were going for a ‘touch of whimsy’ which hides a multitude of mistakes.

Now this last one, I didn’t  buy, I sort of kidnapped it, and altered it the Saturday before Christmas.  Mom got this journal from Pastors Annette and Robert Stagmer as a Christmas present, and while she loved it, I thought it looked a little plain. It was the same dimensions as the blue one above, only pink. Pink, a blank. The funny thing about it was what I selected to put on the cover, she’d been studying all week. I’d say that’s confirmation that was where she needed to be, wouldn’t you?  It’s a paraphrase from part of  Revelation 12:11.  I was afraid at first that letters being as they were looked a little less formal and a little more ransom-note but Mom really likes it, and that’s all that matters.

Mom Best
Tada. And that’s all the journal altering I did this year for Christmas. But four  was enough, most definitely. Now, time to restock ideas, and my altered gear and see what else I can make and pass along.

What projects do you have planned craft wise for the new year? Any resolutions to try something new or expand on your own skills? Let me know in the comments below!

Coriam Deo Scribes

Christmas 2012 020

I’ve been blessed this Christmas, but I’ve also been blessed throughout the year by some pretty amazing friends. Friends that have encouraged me without saying a word, friends who have inundated me with kindness and laughter,  and friends that are so special I know I could search the world over and not find their like in ten thousand years. They are the kinds of people who are difficult to shop for and so this year I decided to “make merry” instead of buying them something for Christmas.  First up, my friends from work.

There, I’ve a friend who has inspired me to both search harder for the grace-moments even when everything goes wrong (it seems) and to respond quickly with gratitude to Christ and to others when I receive it.

She’s had  many amazing things happen this year, and she’s also weathered some devastating events. She makes me want to be not more like her, but more like Jesus.

I’m reminded of a story I read recently of a homeless man who recently got saved and prayed each day that the Lord would make him more like Mike, the man who worked in the mission and helped the others who had no place to go. Someone asked him ‘Hey, why don’t you pray that the Lord make you more like Jesus’ and the man piped back “Oh, is Jesus like Mike?”

Replace Mike with her name, and you’ve got the idea of how she lives. Is she perfect? Nope, but she makes me hungry to ‘be like Jesus’ with the same kind of transparency and grace she possesses.

I wanted to give her a really special Christmas present. She’s a journal keeper  so I knew right away I wanted to give her a journal. But not just any journal would do. I scoured Tuesday Morning(TM) for a C.R. Gibson(C) blank book (picked it up for just $3.99 shh don’t tell her) and found a black bonded leather one that was just perfect.  Then I started thinking about what I was going to do with it to alter it, just for her. My friend’s life is a mosaic of places and people, nations and neighbors, family and friends and  she  really likes word games like Words With Friends(TM) and Scrabble(TM).  I decided to  incorporate the gypsy/bohemian feel of her life with her love of word games and that pulled the theme together.

I ransacked my altered letter stash and slowly started putting the words I wanted on the cover using superglue. It’s perfect for this kind of project where I’m bonding all kinds of materials to each other and I want them to stay put.

After the words were in place, I  wanted to add some flash and fire to the layout, a look of gems scattered here and there against a dark background because she’s always finding precious things in the middle of a trial.

Oh, to have her sight when I go though my own hard times.

Finally, I wanted to put on a wing  on the journal because she waits on the Lord and mounts up over the hard places with wing of eagles, and also because I have often prayed that she find rest in the shadow of His wings.

100_2473

All the planning and cogitating paid off, I gave her the journal for Christmas,  and she loved it.

*Yay*

That was the first journal I altered to give as a Christmas present, and it kinda opened the flood gates.

So for my second friend from work, I went with a Mead College Ruled Composition Book.  She’s a writer, and a gamer, and just all together way cool. We’ve hung out once for coffee and to ‘talk writer talk’ and intend in the new year to do that way more often.  She got me a fantastic Loki necklace since he’s my favorite hero.

Wait, what do you mean he isn’t a hero? Yes he is! He’s a tragic hero! His dad betrays him, his brother doesn’t understand him, he’s manipulated and played and.. .oh fine go ahead and believe the Avengers propaganda.

Anyway, I wanted to give her something just as cool as what she gave me and that meant, making something.  She’s currently playing through the Mass Effect games (she started with Mass Effect, and then Mass Effect 2, and then Mass Effect 3 but had trouble importing her Shepherd so she’s toggling between playing a new Shepherd and working through ME2  as well as Knights of the Old Republic and other games)

Since I had little understanding of the mythos of the game, I was delighted to find there was a Mass Effect Wiki. That helped me pick the color red, and the metal plating as the game relies heavily on heroic sacrifices  and there is a philosophical pondering throughout the universe about what does it mean to be sentient. Can inorganic be sentient? Can a hive-mentality created artificial life possess a soul?  The game is much deeper than a simple ‘run through the universe and destroy enemies’ and it has solidified some thoughts  I’ve had  about story-telling in video game format. That is definitely another post.

For now, back to the journal.

After I laid down the kick-plate silver paper, I ‘ripped’ the red against itself and set that on top using UHU sticks. If anyone wants to cover notebooks like I do, invest in UHU glue sticks. They’re readily available at any craft store in the glue isle and come in two sizes. They come either colored (to help you see where you’re putting the glue and will dry clear) and clear. I used the colored.   They work so much better than mod podge, they are not nearly as wet, and they bond BETTER to cardboard with less paper warping that any mod podge I’ve used. I learned this trick from a lady who makes books for a living, when I took a class on book making. (Yeah I can do that too but it requires WAY more prep time).

After I glued down the papers front and back it was time to put my wood cutting blade to improper use in cutting out  the characters for her book. They’re  from Mass Effect 3 Playing Cards I found at  Think Geek  and worked perfectly because they’re all ready printed and laminated. The only difficulty was their somewhat odd and incomplete poses. But I think they work. I had to pick who to put on the front (there are more on the back too) but I picked the ones that I liked the best, as well as some of the ones that I’d heard her mention at work. The gears are held on with superglue (really the altered book go-to adhesive) as is the game spinner, and the firey swarovski sequin.

The characters are stuck in place by UHU glue and they are bonded to that paper, really bonded. I always test their adhesion by using the element as a handle to open the book. If nothing moves, then I know it’s good for travels and adventures. The words are the only bit I wish I had done differently. I just stuck them down using their own adhesive and am all ready regretting it–several lifted and I had to ‘reglue’ with the  UHU stick. Hopefully, the others will behave. I can repair for her, however, if they come off. The phase ties in both to writing and the game, as anyone who has played Mass Effect 3 will know, the Crucible is a device/ship/element that Shepherd has to decide to use, or not use. It’s also a “ceramic container where metals or other materials may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures”  which makes the play on words that much more fun.

Here’s the front:

Cati 1
And here’s the back (sorry it’s a bit blurry)

Cati 2
It reads “Friends walk beside you into the flames” continuing the thought on the front, and showing off several of the most endearing companions you can have in the game. The little metal disk says “journey”
I gave it to her for Christmas and, she loves it!

*YAY*

I know she’ll fill it up with some amazing words of her own, and hopefully get lots of compliments on it.

Whew, this is turning into a long-winded post, and I’ve two more to show you. I think I’ll stop here, and then post again.

So, watch for the second part and tell me in the comments below, what do you make and give away? Or what “made” gift did you get this year the blew YOU away?

Coriam Deo, Scribes

Rea

I’m sitting here, typing this post on my  BRAND NEW LAP TOP. That’s right. Let those words sink in and then maybe you can convince me I’m not dreaming.  BRAND NEW LAP TOP. He’s so knew, the keys make a really loud clicking sound was I type!  He’s so new, I keep having to peel off protective plastic from bits of him!  He’s running Windows 8 and while I’m adjusting to the new look and interface, it’s not as horrible as I was thinking it was going to be. Yes, there’s the ‘start’ screen with its apps but once you get used to navigating to the desk top, there’s not a lot of visual changes (other than where the power off command is located) to adjust to. Today, I’m spending most of the time moving files from Davin TO Rea JaHani.

Yup, I name my laptops after my protagonists. Davin is a Regent, and Rea’s his more sardonic world-wise uncle who spends the majority of Davin’s story raising and protecting him working as  his personal guard. Davin doesn’t know that Rea’s his uncle, and there’s a long and rather complicated reason as to why he doesn’t know that.  Rea’s always been a favorite, though until recently I didn’t know much about him simply because I didn’t need to know a whole lot about him. That’s changing. With all the other changes this year that have happened, I thought that it would be a good idea to switch names and start new with this  BRAND NEW LAPTOP. So yes, best present ever.  He is the best Christmas present, but not the ONLY amazing thing I’ve received this year. Check out the very close runners up for BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER, below.

From my brother, Dave, I received this  fantasticness which can not be contained! Lookit! Lookit!

Dave Game

It would be one thing if he somehow had connections to get it signed like this but the truth of the matter is he has worked on X-COM Enemy Unknown for years. I have a SIGNED COPY OF MY BROTHER’S GAME, Y’ALL.  And he didn’t sign it, he got his WHOLE team to sign it for me.  Better yet, he’s going to bring over his PS3 sometime, and I’m going to have some characters die in horrible ways as we play it together! I’m all ready aware of some of the worst deaths an X-COM can experience and am psyching myself up to be happy when they’re zombified or converted or impaled. *Sigh* It’s not going to work, I’m such a softie I’ll be really upset and want to reset every chance I get, I know.  But! I will be able to play the game he worked on making with him and that is going to be worth the price of all of those pixel people’s horrible deaths.

From Megan, I received fantasticness that’s hard to contain.  Lookit!

PosterIt’s the entire story of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea which is the dark text you see there, and the silhouettes are of course the Nautilus and the great sea squid. There are not words for the fantasticness of this poster. Just____________. I love it so much!  If you want the fantasticness you CAN get one yourself or check out the other amazing works of art at postertext.com.

Lest you think that all I did this year at Christmas was get, get, get (though I won’t deny that did happen) I did give some too. Check back tomorrow for a look at some of the things I made, and gave away.

Until then,
Coriam Deo.

I know that Christmas is four weeks away, and that sounds like oceans of time, but it isn’t really. Because I work in a bookstore, and because books make amazing Christmas presents, I want to take a minute and give you some of my top-recommended books that you won’t find faced out on shelves or “pushed” by marketing machines.  They are fantastic, however, and you won’t want to miss them. Ready? Here we go.

Scarlet Inkwell’s Top Five Non-Fiction Books for Christians 2012:

Number One:

John Ortberg has long been a favorite of mine, and this book is the best he has ever written. It is a negative space look at Christ, focusing not so much on His life and ministry on Earth but how He literally transformed the arts,  sciences, literature, history, and cultures like no other person in the history of the world.  Ortberg builds powerfully towards his conclusion, making the claim that Jesus is no Man, but Someone much, much greater and supports the claim by pointing to  shape that He has left behind as proof.  This is one of the books I categorize in the thin stack of books that have both changed me, and the way that I look at the world.  It will encourage you, exhort you, surprise you, challenge you, and most of all make you catch your breath in wonder as Ortberg unveils this Man.

Number Two:

J. Lee Grady  is an ordained minister, a contributing editor to Charisma Magazine, and an award-winning journalist. In Fearless Daughters of the Bible he highlights the unusual, whimsical, dynamic, and daring women that the Lord uses to write His grand love story.

From daughters who boldly petitioned Moses for their own land as they had no brothers and they would receive no inheritance in the promised land because of this, to  Deborah who judged Israel, to Jael who seized an opportunity to dispatch an enemy who had claimed sanctuary in her husband’s tent, the women highlighted here are the ones that listened to Yahweh and not man. It’s a challenging read and if you allow it,  it will be an exhorting read as well.

Number Three:

Ever been pinned in a conversation by “If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world?”, if you have then this book needs to fly to the top of your “must read” stack.  If you haven’t been caught in that kind of conversation, odds are you will soon. Trust me, it’s much more pleasant to have some ideas to offer back  when this come up then to just stammer and turn red in the face.

Geisler is a master of the art of explaining, taking huge theological concepts and breaking them down part by part to help you not only understand them yourself, but then explain them to others who have questions about good and evil.  The book isn’t long, and each chapter is self-contained so you don’t have to read the book cover to cover, though you might find yourself doing just that.

Number Four: 

If you listen to the CD The Story when it came out last year, you were probably floored by the amazing amount of talent on the CD. What you might not have known, is that most if not all the lyrics were written by one person, Nichole Nordeman

In her book Love Story, she does with printed words the same thing she did with the CD. Each Biblical person she highlights has their story woven  (both the dark and the light) into the grand and glorious tapestry of His story.  She does more than that though in these pages. Nichole shares from her own life, the dark and ugly as well as the flashes of brilliance, in an eloquent plea for every reader to see just how much they matter and just how much they are loved. After all this is His story, but He’s writing it because He loves us.  It really is a Love Story.

Number Five:


Robert Morgan has written several devotionals, but this is his finest. You can start the devotional any time, as the pages are simply labeled  Day One, Day Two,Day Three  etc.  Each takes a verse from the Bible using the word “all” in it. From this starting place Robert shares his own anecdotes, or amazing stories of the saints that have gone on before like Fanny Crosby, Charles Spurgeon,  and Dr. Livingston. Each story or idea ties into the scripture for that day and centers around that ‘all’ in the scripture.

There are prayers and psalms in it too, and thoughts from contemporary Christians as well as those that are now in the great cloud of witnesses. It is a deep devotional, but the readings for each day are short. I find myself reading two or three at a time, they’re so wonderfully meaty.

So, those are my top five non-fiction Christian titles for 2012. What books should I definitely NOT MISS this year? I’ve still got space on my Christmas list! C’mon, which titles have slipped by me? Let me know in the comments.

Top 5 Christmas Songs.

I started hearing them in the car on the way to work, and gave a mental groan. I like Christmas songs,  but I also work in retail so I hear them all day long from the middle of November to the end of December.  There are some tunes  I won’t get tired of hearing,  no matter how long they are on the radio or playing over head in the store.  My top 5  are :

Hark The Herald Angels Sing:   I love this one because when it’s sung correctly, the singer’s voices sound as a trumpet with their reverberations. The  story it tells Hark the Herald Angels Sing/ Glory To the Newborn King/  Peace on Earth/ and Mercy Mild/God and Sinners Reconciled/ Joyful all Ye Nations Rise/ Join the Triumph of the Skies/ With Angelic Host Proclaim/ Christ is Born in Bethlehem is also one of my favorites. My heart never fails to leap when I hear that.  There’s such a breathless expectation, and such wonderful news to share contained in this  carol.

We Three Kings or Quest of the MagiThis is a favorite because of the music. The slow, deliberate pace makes me think always of the ships of the desert sliding from side to side over a sea of white sand, with a silver star overhead to light the way.  Each Magi sings too, sharing in the lyrics  of the song,  what they’re bringing and  telling why they are bringing that to the little One.  It’s a somber song laden with word pictures, and referencing another part of the  Nativity story, the Star.

Birthday of the King:  I love this one, because it was introduced to me by my Dad’s mother, MomMom.  She recorded it onto a cassette tape for me, in the 1980’s from  a record she had from her girlhood.  Her father would play it for her Christmas morning as she came down the stairs. When I found out, I used to crouch at the foot of the stairs in our house  with my trusty Fisher Price (TM) tape recorder on Christmas Morning,  and play it for her again as she walked down the stairs.  It always made her laugh through her tears, all those triggered memories. And I’d get a big hug and a “Merry Christmas” from her. It was our special tradition.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: This is a favorite because of the military sound of the music and the rhythm of the words. I love the bold stepping sound of the song. While the meaning of the first line of  it has been debated back and forth for years,  the clearest  understanding in my mind is “God make you merry, Gentlemen”  (merry meaning not mighty rather  to gladden the heart and be boisterous). What could make a heart gladder than remembering the truth contained in the rest of the song?

For Jesus Christ our Savior
Was born upon this Day.
To save poor souls from Satan’s power,
Which long time had gone astray.
Which brings tidings of comfort and joy.

Silent Night:   I love this carol because of its ethereal, lullaby quality.  It’s one of the last songs that we would sing at the Christmas Eve candlelight service when I was growing up. It always started at 11:00 and went until just after Midnight so that when we sang this song, it really was very early Christmas Morning.

I remember bundling up in the narthex of the church, shivering into my coat, and walking over the cold pavement in church shoes that pinched the sides of my feet slightly (they always did that)  to the van. I was so tired, and as I watched my breath make dragon-curls in the dark morning I would continue to sing  the song. Everyone and everything seemed to be asleep. Snow or frost would glitter brittle bright under the church parking lot lights, and there would be a wonderful flipping in my stomach as I realized it wasn’t quite time for presents yet. That sleepy giddiness is forever linked in my memory with Silent Night, and is one of my fondest childhood memories.

What five Christmas Carols top your list?  Why?  Tell me in the comments below, or reblog this post.