Monday, September 17, 2018

Red- Letter Words in Nature’s Beauty

Red- Letter Words in Nature’s Beauty 

The little limerick “What is black and white and red all over?”– kept coming to mind as I created these bezels.  A few months earlier I had been drawn to the simplicity and depth of black and white nature photos and thus, the gathering and collecting began-- nature books, photos and even stationary.  As I began to work with the images, I knew they needed a little something but I did not want to take away from the beauty of the trees.  As I thought of what would complement, and not compete with these bezels, words came to my mind- encouraging and simple,  yet words with depth- Words that would stand out amongst nature’s beauty.  Red letter words- often words written in red have a deeper meaning and draw the attention of the reader into the passage. These words seem to lift off the pages and find their place into our hearts.  

Creating the appearance of lifting/floating words is a 2-step process.  First, I created a word document with words such as love, life, joy, grace, peace and more.   Then I printed these words onto tissue paper (see note in the technique instructions). The second step is using ICE Resin® in the bezels after placing the tissue paper word inside.  With this resin®, the white background disappears – so all that remains are the red-letter words! 

In keeping with the color and simplicity, one red glass bead was added as a drop to each bezel.  This bead emphasized not only the color but also the word while maintaining the simplicity of the black and white images. Finishing these pieces with antique gold and silver chains, kept the cohesiveness of the bezels, images and colors. While the answer to the limerick might be the newspaper – for us the answer is clear.  What is black and white and red all over---a nature inspired, red letter word bezel that can be read (and worn) daily!

Let’s Gather

Black and white nature images
Bezels of choice
ICE Resin®, disposable cups/stir sticks
Non- stick craft mat
Scissors, pencil 
Tissue paper 
A tape runner or repositionable tape
Glossy Accents™
Stamps-sentiment of choice 
*a stamp was used on the heart bezel 
Stazon™ ink in cherry red
Red glass beads – 1 per bezel
Wire- 18 gage
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers
Wire cutters
Chain necklace – 1 per bezel
Jump ring – 1 for each bezel that has a top loop

Let’s make

1.     Cut the image to fit inside the bezel.  Either trace the outer edge of bezel onto the image or Ink the top edges of bezel and “stamp” onto the image. 
2.    Place a little bit of Glossy Accents onto the back of the image and place in bezel. This  will keep the paper in place so it will not float in the resin.
3.    Cut the tissue paper words and set aside.
4.    Mix the ICE Resin® according to package directions
5.    Place a thin layer of resin over the image.
6.    Lay the trimmed word onto the image. 
7.    Fill the Bezel with resin, making sure it is level to the top edge of bezel.  Set aside for 8-10 hours to dry. 

To create the tissue paper words

1.     Create a word document with various words, sizes and fonts.  Be sure to change the color to red.  
2.    Print a test page onto regular paper.  Trim the words to see if they will fit in the bezel. *You are not using this paper. This is only a test page. 
3.    Adjust the words/size/font if necessary.
4.    Cut a piece of white tissue paper to the size of your regular paper (8 ½ by 11)
5.    Using the tape runner, run a line around the 4 edges of the regular paper (not the middle); place tissue paper on top of paper and tape. Being sure to smooth it out as you go. 
6.    Now place the taped tissue paper into your printer and print the words. 

**If using a stamp, stamp image with Cherry Red Stazon™ ink onto white tissue paper.

To create bead dangles
1.     Cut a desired length of wire.  Thread the bead to the middle of the wire and bring both sides up and lay one end of wire over the other and begin to wrap.  
2.    With longer end of wire, create a loop through the lower loop of bezel. Bring wire around and begin to wrap the excess.  Trim and make sure to “tuck the tail” of the wire so all edges will be smooth.

Finishing the piece
1.     Add one jump ring to top loop of bezel.
2.    Thread the chain through the jump ring and fasten the clasp.

*To see a few more photos, the necklace below appears in Stampington's Belle Armoire Jewelry Fall 2018 issue.  I am honored to be included with so many talented jewelry designers and artists.

Until next time, Make it a red letter day!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tuesday's Treasures - A new way to do your To-Do Lists

A little over 6 months ago, I began a new way to do my to-do list. You see I had just recently hosted the Texas Gathering, a weekend full of art and friendship.  I had planned and prepared for this event for months.  I anticipated a great weekend, I planned a great weekend and I prepared a great weekend…My anticipation, preparation and expectations were greatly surpassed by the love, laughter and friendship that we created that weekend, let alone some amazing art!!  However, no amount of planning, anticipating or “to-doing” would have predicted how much of a lull came the morning after everyone was gone…I had forgotten what the end feels like, when all the hard work, the gathering and the sharing are over…So when I began my morning with quiet time, I knew it would end with my “to-do” list which would involve putting away, taking down and cleaning up…ugh!!  So, at the top of my list, I wrote

To Do -Day 1

 And then the page sat blank…the lines were there, the endless tasks were there, but my pen would not write them there… I didn’t want business as usual, diving into chores, swimming upstream through the waters of daily life.   I began to think that my list needed to start differently- to reflect the day in which I was presently in, to honor the gathering of just days earlier, the feelings I wanted to capture… and from those thoughts began a new way to start my list…It went like this

-Breathe          in and out, slow, to catch up
-Be                   Grateful
-Enjoy              the moment
-Reflect           on the memories
-Smile              at the sun
-Hear               the water
-Savor              the coffee
-Let                  my heart be filled.

As I wrote those words, emotions came quite differently than the usual thoughts from my usual to-do list such as… “Oh today’s already taken. I’m already running behind with all the chores, errands, emails, calls,…”.  Instead of frantic, frazzled and finished – my day began with this…” Breathe (just saying it brings calm…try it, say it slowly, breathe in and then out), Be…Enjoy…Reflect…Smile…”. What a difference my day and my list looked and felt like.   Ever since that day in October, I have begun my lists this way and I can see where my heart lives in each day, my focus on first things and to know that there will always be enough time for what truly needs to get done…seeing others and savoring moments, delighting in today and letting go of yesterday, embracing the daily and encouraging the soul.  Lists have a funny way of finding out what is in our hearts and on our minds, what needs to get done and what can be left behind, what is our purpose and what is living life on purpose.  I hope that in sharing a few of my lists (feel free to make them yours), your “to-do’s” will let you catch your breath and begin to breathe with a new-found way to start you day. Here are Days 2-5 of my journal just as I wrote them. And just to let you know after my first things, the list began to look like this…make beds, get ready, empty dishwasher, etc…Just want to keep it real.  The fascinating thing was (and is) each time I went back to my list to cross off a completed task, I read and re-read my firsts list…how it changed my days! I hope it will change yours...

Until next time, let your list light your path to a breathing-easier, loving-deeper, gratefully-living “to-doing” kind of a day.  Let's savor the coffee and begin a new list...

To Do- Day 2

-Breathe          in and out, slowly, deeply, restfully
-Pray                faithfully, honestly
-Enjoy              this moment of renewal
-Embrace        this day
-Focus             on just today, the needs and cares of this day
-Give                Grace to others and to myself

To Do- Day 3

-Breathe          slowly, meditate
-Be                  thankful for all I have
-Live                in the present
-Do                  not worry about the future
-Be                  forgiving to one another
-Let                  go of what I can’t change
-See                 the beauty all around me

To Do- Day 4

-Breathe          take my time
-Remember     it doesn’t all have to get done today
-Find                time to create
-Be                   thankful for all that is around me
-Take               time to listen
-Know              that I am enough

To Do- Day 5

-Breathe          to find calm
-Be                  present to meet the needs of others
-Listen             to the words being spoken and, in the silence, too
-Believe           I am enough
-Pray                for my “to-do” list (the Lord can handle it)
-See                 the blessings in each day.      

© 2018 Chantal Johnson

Monday, January 8, 2018

Word for the 2018: The three C’s

I love words…. words to encourage, to give hope, to bring a smile.  In my home, on my walls and in my art, one can find an apt word.  On my mantel is Believe; In my breakfast room-You are Loved and gather dress the top of two of my windows; A rescued old mirror etched with so thankful, count your blessings and oh so loved hang above the refrigerator.   This is just the hem of the garment when it comes to the affirmations and encouragement in our home.  You can find words like hope, live, love and laugh, joy, quotes from scripture and songs, sayings and truths.  The words find a place in my home and in my heart.

When the calendar turned the page to January 1, Words began popping up everywhere.  Questions such as “what’s your word? Have you chosen a word? How do I choose a word? Can somebody please choose my word? could be seen on Facebook. Artful pictures, calligraphy letters of words already selected were popping up on Instagram.  It seems as if the Word of the year is now a movement, an avenue to help focus our minds and thoughts and ultimately our actions.  With the new year, I knew I needed a new word, a fresh focus.  This year I wanted a word that would speak to me daily.  A word that would easily be on my heart and my mind.  One that would help focus and start my day, give me direction but would also bring my joy.

I began the journey of discovery.  I read lists and lists and lists…so many good words but there wasn’t just one word that could convey what I wanted.  So as with my love for words, I chose three little words that would focus my day…Clean, Create and Calm

Clean – each day, something to clean out and clean up – maybe a drawer, cabinet or closet.  Just one thing to bring a little more clarity.

Create- each day, find a little (or a lot of) time to spend in the studio, the sewing room or wherever I can give a little time to the art that fills my heart with joy, 

Calm- each day find something that brings calm, whether reading for a few minutes outside, sitting with my girls in wonderful conversation, crochet a few rows or spend a few minutes in prayer. 

When I finally decided on these three little words, I wanted to see if I could choose a scripture to add to my word journey.  One that would keep me centered not just on the words but on my heart as well… I think I found it....

Create in me a clean heart, oh God and renew a steadfast {calm} spirit in me.
                                    Psalm 52:10

 Have you found your word(s) for 2018? I would love to know what you chose and why?  Words from our heart can give us hope and healing; promise and purpose; love and light.  I hope your words bring these and so much more in the coming year!!

Until next time, 

Find joy in the journey as you discover the words that stir your soul and make your heart happy