As we celebrate Memorial Day weekend, let’s not get so caught up in the every day that we forget those who’ve given their lives for us—the American soldier and Jesus Christ.
On the author front...We are on the final countdown to the launch of Not a Corpse Was Stirring July 11th, and I’m so excited! I’m celebrating with a week-long Christmas in July Launch Party! I’m gathering ideas, and I would love to hear yours! What author/book swag do you love to receive?
From the barn...Ned says hi! We are in search of a Ned companion. It’s a challenge to find another little ball of fire within driving distance, but we’re not giving up! He really needs a friend to occupy that little mind of his.
What’s on your To-Do list that brings you joy?
It's that time of year—time for spring cleaning. You know that I am by no means a minimalist. I like my vintage finds (aka someone else's junk), and I like my spaces cozy. BUT, there's something amazing about clearing out and turning loose of the things that are cluttering your life. You know how to clean closets and cabinets, but do you do the same for your creative space? Do you take the time to make it a place you want to be?
Spring Cleaning Tips for your Create Space:
Now that we've got that cleaned up, what about your spiritual life? Could you use some spring cleaning there?
We’ve been surviving rolling blackouts, zero degree temperatures, and snow for days. West Texas definitely isn’t built for this! We’re thankful we have a fireplace and jugs of water.
It’s the perfect weather for a good mystery and some art supplies this evening. I looked at my Instagram stats, and no surprise, these were the two most popular posts of 2020.
Not only do I love art journaling about books I’m reading, so do my characters in my Cedar Wells Mysteries series! You should join us in the fun...that might even keep me from talking to imaginary characters. Probably not.
I’m reading The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams (which is free right now on Kindle). It makes me want to bake scones...and I don’t think I’ve ever even eaten one. I went so far as to find a recipe. We’ll see how that pans out.
Want to be part of the Book & Brush Club? Grab a pen, some markers, paint—whatever supplies you have on hand— and show us what you’re reading! #bookandbrushclub
We are already a month into 2021, and I’ve had a question that's been on my mind for awhile.
Are you living life as an adventure, or are you just getting by day to day?
I have to admit I do both. But my hope and my heart is to live a daily life of adventure with Jesus. There's a podcast I listen to called Adventures with Jesus, and it reminds me that every single day is a gift and an opportunity to spend it with our Lord. So let me ask you again, are you just getting by, or are you taking every opportunity to be adventurous?
Sometimes I have people tell me, “I wish I had your talent for art,” or “That's so awesome you're writing books… I could never do that.”
To be honest, God has given me gifts, but I have no secret, amazing talents. Instead, I am willing to take on the adventure--the adventure of trying different art mediums and putting my work out there for others to see…the adventure of trying to write cozy mysteries…the adventure of telling people about Jesus.
Did you know it only takes about 20 seconds of crazy boldness to do something you never thought you could? I'm not talking about the hours and hours it takes to create a masterpiece or to learn a new skill. That's not where the adventure is. You can do that behind closed doors. I'm talking about pushing “Publish” or “Share” or saying, “Hey friend, do you know Jesus?”
I'm guilty of missing opportunities—many of them, in fact. I’m aiming to have more 20 second crazy boldness and less Just making it by ‘til Jesus comes.
Will 2021 be your year? Will you allow yourself 20 seconds of boldness every day? What is it that you wish you could do or want to do, but you just don't think you have the skill or the courage? It's time for a radical adventure!
I would love to hear what your adventure will be.
Share with us in the comments, so we can encourage each other and hold each other accountable!
Sunflowers have always been my favorite flower. I can't help but smile when I look at one. I'm not even a big fan of the color yellow, unless it's on a sunflower! I’ve been working digitally on my art for quite a while trying to hone my skills for picture book illustration. Besides that, my iPad and Apple Pencil are portable! But here in the last few weeks, digital art and paint brushes just haven't excited me.
It was time to break out the wet media! Sometimes you just have to get messy. Do you ever get ideas stuck in your head? Well, I had a sunflower stuck in mine. I decided to watch some great painting tutorials on Skillshare to get my mind wrapped around this idea floating around in my skull. Bonnie Lecat had a great quick acrylic painting class, so I pulled out some old canvases from the cabinet and went to work.
Not only do I love sunflowers, I love quirky animals! Animals with attitudes… animals in glasses… there was this Polish chicken with crazy hair just screaming to get out of my brain… I'm not the only one with crazy ideas rolling around in her head, right?
Anyway, as I was painting, I lost all concern and focus on the outside world. I enjoyed painting the sunflower so much I decided I needed more of them. In fact, I set a little 100 Sunflower Challenge for myself and the fun continued. We will see where this takes me!
Oh, how I love how God connects the dots! I do a kids message at church each Sunday, and my mind kept coming back to the sunflowers as I was talking to God about what my next message should be. I found a great article by name here on sunflowers. Each morning sunflowers face the east awaiting the sunrise. Throughout the day they will turn and follow the sun; however, they never fully turn and face the west. Instead, they turn themselves back to the east to position themselves for the rising of the sun the next morning. In Matthew there is a scripture that talks about the return of Jesus and how like the lightning He will come from the east. Wouldn't it be great if we were more like sunflowers...if we would position ourselves each morning to follow the sun that is, the S-O-N? Follow Him throughout the day, and position ourselves again each night two await Him and follow Him? I don't know about you, but of all the flowers in the world, I want to be a sunflower!
Faith, mystery, and art commingle here at the Cabin. I love a good mystery where the good guys and gals always win! I just finished reading a cozy set in a tea shop where the owner serves lemon tea cakes. I was contemplating how my own characters might take on the project of art journaling the story in one of their B&B (Book and Brush) Mystery Club meetings, so I asked them! Sarah Stone, owner of the Brush and Plume and lead artist of the group, said she'd be delighted to share their project with us.
One of the hardest things for emerging artists is facing the blank page! When we meet for B&B meetings, it's always a struggle to get Trudy to break loose and start adding some background. Elizabeth, on the other hand, paints like she dresses--bold colors that dare you to tell them don't go together!
There is no right way to start a journal page. Maddie always likes to begin a new journal page with a wash of light watercolor as the first layer. We've been reading a Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery--Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes--so I thought I'd demo a few techniques we used to get started. The Tea Garden definitely suggested a vintage, light and airy feel, but, of course, with any scene of a murder, there will be ominous shades mixed into the color scheme! With Lemon Tea Cakes center stage, yellow was Maddie's color of choice for the background, but you can choose anything that calls your name.
I, on the other hand, always like to start with a sketch. I like to paint with bright, mismatched colors, but I also wanted to capture the cozy feel of the Tea Garden, and I definitely wanted a teapot on the page. Wondering what you should add to your page? Think about parts of the book that affected your senses. In the book, Daisy smelled the mustiness of fall. Fall leaves immediately came to mind when I read this. Anytime there are recipes in the book, Trudy adds them to her page. One of these days she will have the most beautiful recipe book ever done!
You can see I started with by adding a light pink watercolor to my teapot sketch.
Once a layer dries, add another. Don't worry if this doesn't come naturally. Adding layers takes a certain relinquish of control because it's likely to get ugly before it gets better. Daisy, her mom, aunt, and daughters are all named after flowers. Can you guess their names from the journal page? Oh, and a mysterious unicorn. Hmmm...
I always love to add text to my journal pages, too, but I just couldn't settle on anything. I'll call it done for now.
If you'd like updates on my debut novel and to hear more from Sarah and the ladies of the Mystery B&B Club, sign up for my Mailing List HERE!
Have you ever wanted to attend an art or a writer's retreat? What stood in your way? Time? Money? Well, you don't need to leave your own home to enjoy a retreat especially tailored to you.
God doesn't want us to sit around self-absorbed all the time, but He does want us to rest, recuperate, and enjoy the life Jesus died to give us. God definitely does not need one more sour-faced Christian, so treat yourself once in awhile to a retreat!
During the Retreat
After the Retreat
How are you surviving the stay-at-home orders? I have to say complying with the safety regulations doesn't bother my little, introverted self at all. While my work-from-home job providing teacher support is in overdrive, the fact that I actually get to be at home affords me a little cozy mystery art journaling time at lunch and in the evenings when I leave the office and walk six steps to the craft table.
I broke out the paints, and I'm art journaling with the Cedar Wells Book&Brush Club gang again. Those of you whispering over there in the corner....yes, I know Sarah and her friends are fictional characters. However, they’re always having conversations in my head, anyway, so why not join them!
FOMMF? Fear of Missing Mystery Fun? Do you have it?Of course, the stress is real, but not to worry! Grab that cozy mystery you’re reading (you are reading one, aren’t you?) and some art supplies—watercolor or mixed media paper, markers, paints, colored pencils—whatever you have on hand and create an art journal page about the book.
Sarah’s friend Trudy always creates journal pages that include recipes from the books they’re reading. Taking a lesson from Trudy, I created some art for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke. Maybe I’m done with this one...maybe not. :) I think it needs a few more references to the book, although part of me wants to stop with the dairy cow and the recipe for Hannah's Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies. By the way, did I say I love cows?
How many clues and references to the book can you hide in your journal page without giving away the mystery? Think all five senses when you read, and jot down some notes to help you remember until you’re ready to get creative!
I created a Backgrounds 101 video to help you get started with your cozy mystery art journaling page. In the video, I talk about some inexpensive supplies I use and two ways I paint quick backgrounds.
Do you have any favorite journaling techniques? Be sure to share your ideas and mystery art journal pages with us!
And, as always,
May God's Word be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.
What’s on the sunny side of your life these days? Have you stopped long enough to soak in and appreciate God’s blessings? I know we are in the midst of a pandemic. Families have lost loved ones, people have lost jobs, and small businesses have had to close up shop. Can there possibly be a sunny side?
Yes, indeed, my friend. God is still God, and He is still in control. Grocery stores and medical centers are still open. Social media is being used to broadcast His Word world-wide in place of the traditional church services, and Jesus is still saving souls!
The wildflowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and everyday masked heroes have replaced the sports celebrities who thumb their noses at our country. Thank you, Lord, for your blessings! May we take nothing for granted.
Check your smile today! Try it out on someone and see if you get one in return.
Let your light shine, my friends.
It's never a dull moment around Sherry's Cabin! Grab a glass of tea, pull up a chair, and let's share a story.