Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Carmel Indiana Ice Festival

This past February I went to visit my children and grandchildren who live in the Carmel Indiana area.  I was fortunate to be there the weekend of "Carmel's Festival of Ice".  Carmel, IN – Eight of the top ice carvers from around the Midwest bring their tools and talents to Carmel for a weekend of ice carving competition and demonstrations (source)

It was really fun getting outside and seeing these great works of art.

The city was beautifully lit up with lights of their own to celebrate the event and winter.

Each sculpture was protected by the sun with a tent, and roped off to keep people from getting too close.

The grandkids sure had fun looking at the sculptures.  

This was one of my personal favorites.  The detail in that mane is incredible.

I loved this angel fish too.

The name of each artist and where they came from was by each sculpture.  Carmel residents were able to vote and pick their favorites.  You can see who won HERE.

This little plumbing dude was so cute and fun!

The red lights in the ground changed colors.  The kids really enjoyed watching them.

This seahorse was the grandkids favorite.  I can definitely see why.

 Have A Great Day!  Amy

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

March Bible Journaling Pages

Once a month I like to share my Bible Journaling Pages and what God has been teaching me.  In the month of March I finished the books of Ezekiel, and started the book of Daniel.   Sometimes I just color in the preprinted images of the "Inspire Bible" (available on Amazon) and I also create my own pages.
Unless otherwise stated, all the images are colored in with either gel pens or colored pencils.  I tend to color larger areas with pencils then get the more intricate spots with pens.  I high light my Bible with gel highlighters, and I usually use gelatos or  craft paint for my backgrounds.

I have been doing so much Bible study the past few months that I have way too many Bible Journaling pages to show you.  I thought about posting Bible Journaling pages once a week, but I know the gardening season coming up will soon be slowing me down.  With everything that has been going in the world, I feel more and more compelled to stay in the word, search the word for answers, and pray.  I feel so many Christians are being deceived right now;   did you know that in the last days a great deception would take place and many will fall away?  I don't want to fall into that category, so I am constantly praying for God to search my heart and reveal any wrong thinking in me;  to show me the truth!  Truth is so hard to come by today.  We can't trust the media, we can't trust doctors, scientists, and especially not politicians.  Dissenting voices and opinions are always immediately shut down or "cancelled" so that we can't even hear the other side to determine what the truth is.  This then only leads me to one place, my Bible and my Lord.

In the month of March I began and finished the book of Ezekiel.  What an amazing book!  And what a great book to read for such a time as this.  Ezekiel is another prophetic book describing both near and far prophecies.  Below is the chapter cover of the book of Ezekiel.  The beautiful verse is in essence the meaning of the book of Ezekiel.  It is God's promise that the people of Israel will maintain their covenant with God when they are purified and receive a "new heart"  which will enable them to observe God's commandments and live in the land in a proper relationship with Yahweh (Wickipedia).  But it is also a promise to every believer today, that when we repent of our sins and accept Him as our personal savior, He will give us a new heart and put His spirit inside of us.

What an interesting and beautiful verse this is, how can paper taste as "sweet as honey"?  I think what it is really saying is that "God's word is as sweet as honey".  It guides us, leads us, changes our lives, and we must devour God's word daily to have it be an impact in our lives.   Ezekiel must receive and internalize and digest the word of God before he could be a messenger of that word to the house of Israel (Enduring Word Commentary).

This page symbolizes what the book of Ezekiel is all about:  Hope.  In the midst of their suffering, God promises not only to regather them, but to REVIVE the Israelites. 

This page was colored using the "stained glass effect".  Every little "bubble" was colored in using a gel pen in many different colors.

Here is a page I created myself.  It's mostly just notes in the margin.  I used some floral stickers and washi tape to make it pretty.  As I read Chapter 13 I was struck by how many times God was referred to as "Sovereign".  I underlined every time "sovereign" was mentioned, then wrote the definition in the margins.

The page below was made with a digital image from "Keys of the Kingdom".  I loved the verse and the image of God's children being His bride and that He has made a covenant with Israel (and all believers).  We are His, and someday soon He will be returning for us.

I added little adhesive hearts to emphasize how much God loves us.  Then I hand wrote some words to myself on the bottom of the page to explain what this verse means to me.

When I was a new believer, one night I spent a long time in anguished prayer.  I was begging, crying out to God to prove something to me.  Then I heard a voice that just silenced all my thoughts and struck me to my core leaving me in utter shock.  He said "My Word shall be enough!"  His answer was in His Word, yet I wanted Him to show me in yet another way too.  But He obviously did not want to at that time.  This verse reminds me of that time.  If God speaks, that's it.  What He says will happen.

Apparently it wasn't just me to notice that "Sovereignty" was a theme in the book of Elijah, because several pages after I created my own page on "Sovereignty" the Inspire Bible had a page on this theme too.  

"There will be showers of blessings" is such a beautiful verse and every time I hear this verse I can't help but hear the old chorus in my head.  Do any of you old timers remember it?  Here it is on YouTube if you need a refresh:

I was so inspired by this verse, that I had to create my own page as well using digis from "Keys of the Kingdom" again.  I hand wrote some of the key take aways I got from these chapters too.

Now I know some of you will think these next two pages are weird, but hey, it's an illustration in the Bible, and well, the Bible is a really weird supernatural book!  Once again using digis from "Keys of the Kingdom" I simply illustrated the "Dry Bones" vision in chapter 37.  I love how these pages turned out.  The flowers around the skeletons symbolize new life.  Just as the story is a picture of restoration for the Israelites, it is also a promise to us that we can too can be spiritually restored whenever we feel dry.  We can have new life in our tired, dry bones when we accept Christ into our lives.

This digital kit came with the full scripture so I printed and cut it out and I added it to my page.

God told Ezekiel to speak to the dry bones and say "Listen to the word of the Lord!"  He says the same thing to us today.  Whenever we feel spiritual dry, pick up the Holy Bible, spend time in prayer, and you too will be revived!

The Inspire Bible ended the book of Ezekiel with this verse "The Lord is There".  So beautiful and so appropriate. The Israelites and all believers have the hope, the promise, that one day God will reside among us.

Now, onto the book of Daniel.  Who doesn't love to read the book of Daniel?  What an amazing man Daniel was.  Daniel was one of the few heroes in the Bible with no mention of sin (that doesn't mean he was sinless, no man is, it just means we aren't told of any of his sins).  Daniel was wise, obedient, and he had the ability to interpret visions and dreams.

This is the cover page to the book of Daniel.  I think the Inspire Bible chose the right verse for this book as the wisdom of Daniel and his friends certainly comes to play in this book.

Here I once again created my own page using images from "Keys of the Kingdom" and some stickers.  I loved how once Daniel received the meaning to the kings dream, he didn't run to the king immediately but took the time to first worship and thank the Lord.

What a beautiful verse, and such a revelation of Daniel's.  Here Daniel is acknowledging that it wasn't him that figured out the king's dream, rather it was God who revealed it to Daniel.

I really love the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace, I mean who doesn't?  The faith and courage of the three men is incredible, and how God rescues them is even more incredible.  And as amazing as this verse is, what is even more amazing is the second half of it:  "But even if he doesn't".  The three men, by faith, trusted God to save them because they knew He was able to do so.  But they also trusted God enough not to save them, knowing that dying in the furnace might be God's will for them.  When we are afraid, when we pray and seek God for answers to our problems, are we prepared for Him to answer in a different way, perhaps a way we might not initially want?

This is a verse by Nebuchadnezzar who is praising God after being punished and then having everything restored to him.  It is a great story and it made me wonder  about myself  that if I were disciplined by God, would I  react this way or would I be bitter?

This page was created based on the story of "Daniel in the Lions Den".  What struck me the most while reading this story was not God keeping the mouths of the lions shut, but the verse "Just as he had always done."  The king issued a decree that no one could pray to "anyone, divine or human" except the king.  Daniel remained calm, and simply went into his room and prayed "Just as he had always done".  This verse struck a chord with me because this past year we have had our government apply some pretty crazy, tyrannical rules to the church.  Every believer and every church has had to ask themselves at what point do we obey and when do we disobey the government and obey God's word?  For myself, as much as I was able to do (our church was locked down for three months) I did "just as I had always done".  I went back to church as soon as the lockdowns were lifted.  I never wore a mask inside a church for I do not believe they work and that they are simply instruments used to keep the fear of Covid alive and visible and also to dehumanize people.  I continued to live as normal of a life as possible.  I traveled, I saw my children and grandchildren regularly.  I never missed celebrating a single holiday.  I trusted God to keep me safe and healthy, but I also trusted in His sovereignty:  that if it was His will for me to get sick, I was going to sick whether I locked myself in the basement and hid from the world for a year, or I went on enjoying my life.  I simply lived "just as I had always done".

Once the  king  found out that Daniel was still alive, he praised Daniel's God!  He realized how powerful He was and said He is the living, enduring God.  Beautiful!

And finally, here is another page I created myself.  This page was created on the prophetic vision Daniel had of seeing the return of Jesus.  I am so anxiously awaiting the return of Christ, especially as this world gets crazier and crazier.  Are you anxiously awaiting His return?

Since I'm not an artist, whenever I want an illustration for a page I usually have to buy a digital image.  But recently I've discovered that you can just google black and white coloring book pages of Bible stories off the Internet for nothing!  That makes me so happy!  So I googled this image, printed, colored, and cut it out.  The background was created with craft paint, and I used my own handwriting and stickers for the verses.

Sorry if this was a long post.  I think next month's Bible Journaling Pages will be long as well, but after that it will be gardening season and I won't have as much time to illustrate in my Bible...but you can bet I'll still be reading it!  And I hope you are reading your Bibles too.  I really do believe we are living in the last days, and we really have to be aware that "the enemy is out there like a roaring lion seeking who he might devour".  Please stay in His word and prayer.  Do not trust main stream media, social media, or even your own politicians.  Seek after God.  Ask for the truth from Him, and He shall reveal it to you.

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

A Bathroom Refresh and How To Remove Crackle Paint

Every winter I like to do an indoor home remodeling project.  We've lived in our house for almost twenty five years now, and let's just say, it was starting to look pretty dated and needed a "refresh".

 The past five years or so I've been pretty busy turning my son's old bedroom into a Beauty Room, transforming my daughter's old room into a Guest Room, giving a fresh look to our Master Bedroom, and even adding a Bedroom to My Living Room. This winter I really outdid myself, as I not only finished painting my entire sunroom and craft room white (more on that in a later blog post) but also giving a very dated bathroom a fresh look.

This year, I had only planned on painting the sun room and the craft room white to match the family room that I had painted the previous year.  All the rooms are open and connected to each other, so I really wanted just one cohesive color.  Well, even though that was a big project as the rooms are quite large with high ceilings, I ended up finishing it a lot sooner that I thought I would;   SO, I decided to scratch another room off my "To Do" list, not realizing how long this small room would take to finish.

Before I show the "Before" picture, here is the remodeled version:

BEFORE                                                    AFTER

Now you're probably wondering why this little room took me so long.  It's because when we bought the house I "Cracked" the walls with Crackle Paint.  Ugh!  It was one of the biggest mistakes of life.  At the time everyone did special painting effects on their walls and the "Tuscan" look was really in style.  I thought it would be really cool to have walls that looked like they were cracked with age.  

But the crackling effect was a disaster as the room always felt and looked dirty.  And worse yet, every time someone showered the hot steam would cause the paint to peel off the wall.  If you look on the left side of the picture where I handwrite the wore "Before", you can see the peeling paint.  The middle and right of the picture is what the walls looked like as I was painfully stripping layer, after layer of paint.

To remove the crackle paint, I first googled "How to remove crackle paint".  The advice was, "Just scrape the old paint off and prime over it.".  I tried it, and the second I primed over it, the paint cracked again.  In the picture below, you can see what the wall looked like when I first just used a putty knife to scrap away the old, flaky paint.

Well, scraping and priming didn't work, so onto Plan B.  I did more research and was told to use paint stripper on one post but other posts said "Don't use paint stripper, it will destroy your walls!".  I felt I had no choice, it was either paint stripper,  or cover the walls with wallpaper.  So I bought the gentlest stripper there is,  Citris Strip.  I had to paint the stripper on THREE TIMES, and use a heavy duty paint scraper after each coat.  In the picture below you can see where the brown paint is that's after two layers of stripper, and the green/yellow color is after three layers of stripper.  

Once the walls were stripped of paint as much as possible (even after three attempts, I still couldn't get all the paint off), I then used a paint thinner to remove the goo left behind by the stripper, and then I had to sand.  It was a very long, tedious process and I wanted to burst into tears and cry multiple times.  The only way I got through it all was I kept picturing in my mind how beautiful the room would look when I was done.

The picture below shows the wall after the process was finished, and waiting to be primed.  Notice, how after all the stripping and sanding I STILL could not get all the brown paint off the wall, but I crossed my fingers, and went ahead and primed the walls anyway.

When I was done priming the walls, only a few spots continued to crackle, so I took some Spackling and applied it over the crackling paint, and that seemed to do the trick.  No more cracked paint!

After priming, I painted two coats of semi-gloss "China White" on the walls, and did a high-gloss white on all the trim and the interior of the closet.  Even though I never changed the flooring, the sink, cabinet, or fixtures, it felt like a brand new room!  The room now feels so clean and fresh.  The tired, dated, dirty old look was gone!

Now let's take a tour of my new bathroom shall we!  This is the room if you were just entering it from the hallway.  I did not buy any new decorations for this room, I used old decorations I already had.

The room faces west and has two large windows that bring in a lot of light, so I hung a plant in the window.  The chair was always in the bathroom, but it used to be white, and I painted it with black chalk paint to match the picture on the wall and the lighting fixture.

I kept the same bath rugs as I did not think they were ready to be replaced yet, plus, my cat loves them and I knew he would not be happy if I got rid of them 😀.  But, I did get new window curtains, a new shower curtain, and new towels.

I love the look of hotel bathrooms, they always look so fresh with all white linens, and I wanted my home bathroom to have that same "clean, fresh feeling".  I found this white shower curtain at Home Goods.

The lace panels inside the windows have always been there, and I kept them for privacy reasons,  but the white curtains are new and are from TJMaxx.

The round table was also always in the bathroom, I just added some new decorative pieces like a mirrored tray, a trinket box, and an African violet.  All these items were actually in other parts of the house, and I just relocated them.

I did pick up a new ivy plant from Walmart.  The macrame hanger I already owned, but I purchased it from Amazon.

The beautiful light this room gets, plus the steam from the shower, make the plants very happy.  

The pretty little pot the African violet sits in is new this year from Michaels.

The only new fixture to the bathroom is this wall mount lighted magnify mirror.  Every time we stay in a hotel room, I would fall in love with these mirrors and wished I had one of my own.  So I looked on Amazon and found this one!  

I cannot recommend this mirror enough!  It lays flat against the wall when not in use.  When you want to use it, just pull it out away from the wall.  It has two sides:  one is magnified and the other is not.  Both sides light up.  

The shelf and all the decorations were already in the bathroom, I just moved the decor around a little and gave the shelf a fresh coat of white paint.

I basically use the shelf to store Q-tips and cotton balls in antique containers.  Also on the shelf are decorative soaps and air freshener along with a couple of decorations.

On the wall to the left of the toilet is an old picture that has been hanging in this same spot ever since we bought the house.  I've always loved this picture, and I saw no point in replacing it.

I think this Bathroom Refresh is a great example of how you don't need to do a big remodeling project to update a room.  The bathroom has the same flooring, cabinet, counter top, mirror, and light fixture it always had...but simply painting the room a modern white and adding fresh window treatments and a new shower curtain, brought the room out of the 90's and into 2021!

I couldn't be happier with my new bathroom.  I love how bright, clean, and fresh it looks.  I love how the sun streams through the windows, and how happy my plants look in the space.  It was really worth all the effort and time to transform it.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

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