Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Trusting Through Patience

Psalm 40:1

 “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my

I don’t know about you, but patience is not that easy for me. We all have seasons where we are required to wait on the Lord. Wait for an anticipated pregnancy, wait for a job, wait for a raise, wait for healing, wait for a way out.

During our season of waiting, we cry out to the Lord and feel as though He is not hearing us because it seems His response is taking longer than WE planned for it to take. However, God is always faithful. He will provide and hear our cry. He will answer our prayer one way or another. And when that time comes, it will be at “just the right time.”

To wait patiently requires trust. Trusting God’s word and His promise that He will provide an answer. Trusting that which is asked for in prayer, believing; it will be given. (Matthew 21:22)

And when God does answer prayer, in whatever way He sees fit, it will bring with it more blessing than we could have ever imagined. So while waiting; trust His word and have patience, knowing in the end His outcome will supersede our plans.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Getting Creative for Christmas

We are weeks away from Christmas. If most of you, like me, didn't get any shopping done over Thanksgiving Break or if your budget is limited, fear not. Whether you are extremely creative or a slight bit creative I have the perfect idea!

Over the past few years, I have come up with one gift in particular which always brings a smile and it is always displayed proudly. It is thoughtful and budget friendly!

In order to make this gift work, you really must know the recipient. Do they have a hobby? A beloved 4-paw best friend? A favorite sports team? Could they use more pictures of family and friends or would they tear up at an old photo from their childhood that they haven't seen in a while?
Why not transfer a photo of any of the above onto canvas? This is one of the easiest gifts to make and it doesn't matter if you are artistic or not. If you are, it allows the chance to take it one step further. I will give you both options.

Option One: Less Than Artistic Gifter
What you will need: Blank canvas, Mod Podge matte finish, Photo of your choice the same size as your canvas, 1 small & 1 large foam paint brush or 1 regular small & 1 large paint brush of your choice, an old rag or wash cloth, black acrylic paint and wood glue.

First, purchase a blank canvas. I have purchased 4x7’s and 8x10’s. These are the easiest to work with. Of course, you can always purchase a larger canvas. However, the smaller canvas works well when you are on a budget.

Now choose an image that you would like to transfer to the canvas. Look through old photo boxes, grab your mobile device and browse through past vacations, or research the internet for his favorite sports team’s logo. Once your image is selected, utilize your local pharmacies 1-hour photo shop to purchase your print. (Make sure it is the same size as your canvas)
If you have decided on an older image from his past, take the photo with you to the local pharmacy’s photo department and ask them if they can increase the size without too much distortion.

Next, lay all of your items out and grab the wood glue. Make sure you have purchased wood glue that turns white when it dries just in case you make a mistake. Flip your photo over and cover the back with the wood glue using your small brush to completely cover every area. Gently lay your photo onto the canvas. It is okay if the photo is a little bigger than the canvas. If it sticks out on the sides you can either trim the excess with scissors or leave it alone. I leave it alone.

Once your photo is applied to the canvas, pour a small amount of Matte Mod Podge onto a paper plate or bowl (doesn't have to be paper, as it rinses off clean with soap and water, but I like less clean up). Dip your larger brush into the Mod Podge and using vertical strokes, coat the entire photo. Once it dries, it will give your photo a canvas appearance. It will also remove the gloss from the photo. That is why it is important to purchase the Matte Mod Podge and not the Glossy.

After the Mod Podge has dried, pour your black acrylic paint onto a paper plate or bowl.  Ball your rag up slightly and lightly dip the ball into the paint. Then gently press and release your rag in quick strokes around the picture to give it a vignette appearance. Make sure to create thin straight lines on the outer edges and thicker round lines around the 4 corners. Once you have applied the paint to your image, using the same technique, cover all four corners of your canvas with the paint.

Let dry overnight. 

(This is an old photo from Christmas a few years back. You can see the Vintage Atlanta Falcons photo above has been applied to the canvas in the picture below)

Option Two: The Artistic Gifter
You will need the items as listed above. The only difference is you will be using your creativity to create the image you want to transfer onto canvas. In the image above, I used an app called "Paper by FiftyThree" to draw the image I knew my recipient would love. The basic colors and pens are free. If you need more brush or color options, it is very inexpensive to purchase more and allows you more creativity.

You can choose to draw the image yourself or let the kids draw something for dad that he can proudly display in his home, office, or man cave.

Once you have completed your drawing, you have an option to save it as an image. Once your image has been saved, you can upload it online to your local photo shop; Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, etc...

Most of the images above were edited on a photo software app prior to printing. Editing your picture allows for more creativity. It smooths out any imperfections and allows you to brighten or darken your colors.
Once you save your image from your drawing app to your device, simply select any photo editing software to edit. Again, re-save the image and you are ready for printing.

Unedited vintage Atlanta Falcons Team Logo created with "Paper by FiftyThree" 

Edited vintage Atlanta Falcons Team Logo using a photo editing software app

I hope this has inspired you to be a little more creative this year for Christmas. If you have any questions or comments, please use the comment section below and I will be happy to help in any way I can.