Thursday, January 26, 2012

Altered Notebook Tutorial

I love turning composition notebooks into something special. There is just something so satisfying about creating something pretty and functional from an ugly $1.00 office supply.

Today I’m going to share with you my technique for making these fun journals.  Not only are they inexpensive to make, but once you get the hang of it, you can make them pretty fast.  So, let’s get started! 

The first thing to do is take your decorative scrapbook paper and attach it to the front of the notebook.  Do this by taking strips of double-sided tape and placing it on the outer edge of the four sides of the notebook.  Be sure to get the tape close the the edges.  Carefully put your paper in place by lining it up with the black binding of the notebook.  The paper should be overlapping the other three sides of the notebook. Press firmly.

To trim the excess paper, open the notebook and flip it (as seen in the photo).  Pressing down on the cover, use your craft knife to cut the paper right up to the edges of the notebook.  This can be a little tricky sometimes, so go slowly, be careful, and most importantly, make sure your blade is sharp!  Working on a “self-healing” mat makes the cutting easier, and saves your work space (I found mine in the quilting section at Jo-Ann’s).  Use three straight cuts without cutting around the corners.

With a scissors, trim the paper at both corners.

Flip the notebook over, and repeat the same steps for the back cover
Next, cut about 14 inches of the ribbon for the bookmark.  On the inside back cover, in the upper left corner, squeeze out a thin line of fabric glue about 1 inch long.  Press ribbon into place.

The next step is to attach the ribbon to the front.  Squeeze a thin line of fabric glue out where the binding and paper meet.  Press the ribbon into place.  Trim the ends.

Now take some of the ribbon and tie a little bow.  Keep the bow loose because the next step is to take a 4” piece of embroidery floss (that matches the ribbon), and loop it through the knot of the bow.  With that in place, you can now tighten the bow up.  Next, take the embroidery floss and thread it through your charm. Leaving a little room for the charm to dangle, tie the ends of the floss together with a tight knot.

Trim the ends of the floss.
The last step is to place some fabric glue in the middle of the ribbon on the notebook, and attach the bow and charm.

...and that’s it!
When I make these journals, I also cover the inside front and back cover with white heavyweight scrapbook paper.  To do this, I just use the same method as I did to cover the outside covers (make sure you glue the bookmark ribbon on first).  Covering all sides isn’t necessary, but it gives the journal a more finished look.  However, some people like having the information that comes printed on the notebooks (especially if they are being used for school).

Needless to say, there are countless variations of materials that can be used.  When I make them for gifts or my Etsy shop, I use my own art and photos that I print out on my ink jet printer. 

Here are some of the other embellishments that can be used...

sheet music
vintage jewelry
silk leaves and flowers
scrapbooking items
jewelry charms

Be creative and have fun with it!  You will find so many uses for these.  I use mine for my daily lists, prayers and scripture, notes, and creative thoughts and inspirations.  It's nice to have a special hand-crafted book to write in. They also make a great gift that you can customize for someone special.

Here are some of the journals I have made...

If you have any comments or questions, drop me a line!  Until next time...

Enjoy God’s Blessings!

Jane  <><

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An Evening With “Corrie”

Corrie ten Boom's life here on this earth truly defined the word “hero”.  The inspiration that I have received from this woman can’t be put into words.  If you don’t know who Corrie ten Boom is, I highly recommend getting to know her by reading her book, “The Hiding Place” ( a best-selling autobiography).  If you have already read this book, you may want to read it again.  I promise that you will be deeply moved by the incredible life she led.  She has written over 20 other books as well.

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Last week Gregg and I had the privilege of attending a storytelling of Corrie’s remarkable years during the Nazi occupation of Holland during WW2. The story was told by a wonderful Sister in Christ, Pati Kachel.  Pati is a professional storyteller with The Parable Fund.  This Christian based organization inspires audiences through stories and programs depicting the lives of heroines of the Christian faith.  Pati transforms herself with clothing and a Dutch accent to portray Corrie ten Boom as she is speaking.  She does such a good job, and is so captivating that I had to remind myself that it wasn’t really Corrie!  It was evident that Pati had done extensive research into the life of the ten Boom family.
This is Pati (dressed as Corrie) standing next to a table filled with memorabilia from her travels to the Netherlands.

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This little egg cup belonged to Corrie, and was given to Pati as a gift when interviewing Corrie’s personal secretary and traveling companion in Holland.

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Yummy German sweets were served!

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A few years ago, after reading the book “The Hiding Place”,  I did a painting inspired by the lives of Corrie and her sister, Betsie.  There is a lot of symbolism in the painting.  If you’ve read the book, maybe you can see the meaning behind the many images within the painting.  Maybe you could leave me a comment letting me know which ones you found :)


If you are interested, prints are available of this painting in my Etsy shop.  With the print I include a short biography and an explanation of each of the symbols.

A huge thank you goes out to my dear friend and sister in Christ, Laurieann.  She hosted this wonderful event.  It was an evening I will remember always!

With Love For My Savior,
Jane  <><

“His will is our hiding place.”  Betsie ten Boom
“It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.”  Corrie ten Boom

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Blog Give-Away!

I am so blessed to be a part of another blog give-away!  Lindy at is having her three year blog anniversary...Lindy is sister in Christ, and has an awesome blog that I love!  To say "thank you" to her followers, she is hosting a give-away for a custom made journal and a matching set of cards made by me.

Lindy will give you all of the details about how you can win.  Just click on this link...

Jane  <><

May God give us eyes to see the incredible blessings that He puts before us every day!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Blog Give-a-way!

My daughter (Mary) is hosting a give-a-way for one of my journals and a set of 4 cards.  Check out her blog at

There are a few different ways to enter...all of the details can be found on Mary's blog.  Check it out, and good luck!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Birthdays, Sioux Falls, and Sundogs

Scientific definition of a Sundog:
An atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky.  Sundogs may appear as a colored patch of light to the left or right of the sun.  During very cold weather they are formed by ice crystals called diamond dust drifting in the air at low levels.  These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them.

My definition of a Sundog:
Rarely seen beautiful little rainbows that God creates in the sky to bless us while we endure the frigid temperatures of Minnesota in the winter.

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God blessed us with these sundogs as we drove to Sioux Falls, SD to visit our daughter Mary and her family.

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For Miss Hailey’s birthday, I painted a picture to hang in her bedroom...

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...and for Mary’s birthday, I made her some pillows.

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We had such a nice (long) weekend with Mary, Kyle, and Hailey!  We did some dancing, played some games, ate some wonderful Minestrone soup that Mary made, and watched some TV and home movies (oh, and football too).  Mary crocheted, I doodled, and the hubbies made their usual trip to Menards.  Gregg and I also babysat Miss Hailey while Mary and Kyle went on a date for Mary’s birthday Smile 

It was a weekend filled with blessings!


Oh, and one more thing…when you get to be my age, never try to play a memory game with a three year old Winking smile

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The name of my blog has a special meaning to me that I’m sure is shared by many other Christians.  The home that I refer to in the title is my Heavenly home.  This lifetime and the world that we live in is only a temporary dwelling...we are just passing through.  For those of us that have embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this is an exciting truth.  We long for our eternal destination.  I love to dream about Heaven.  I love the fact that no matter how much I try to visualize this awesome place, my images don’t even come close to the reality of what it will really be like. 
Now here’s the part that will never cease to amaze me...that God’s mercy would allow me to spend even one day with Him in this incredible place, let alone a lifetime!  There is absolutely nothing that I’ve done to deserve this.  The words to the beloved hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ could have been written about me...I am the “wretch” that the song refers to.

I became a believer about 20 years ago (I was about 40 years old).  Without going into the sordid details of my life up until this time, let’s just say that I was immersed in a sinful lifestyle, and it was a lifestyle that I enjoyed very much.  I had no idea of my desperate need of a Savior.  Why the Lord choose to open my eyes to the truth is a mystery. 

To say that I am grateful to God for saving me from dying in my sins is way more than an understatement.  I continue to be blown away by the reality of His amazing grace!

As Christians in this world, we don’t quit sinning.  My lifestyle has changed drastically since I came to Christ, He truly gave me a new heart.  I strive to live a life pleasing to the Lord, but fall sadly short of this goal.  I hate my sin, and long for the time when all of us will give God all the glory He deserves! 

It breaks my heart to know that many people will not know the freedom that comes from surrendering their lives to Him.  In this scary and unpredictable world that we live in,  I can’t even imagine not feeling the security, comfort, joy, and safety of His love.

So on my “Path Leading Home”, I will use the gifts and talents that God has blessed me with while I eagerly await my eternal destination.  I pray that my creative efforts will honor and glorify Him.

If you have been led to this blog post, and if you haven’t yet repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ, please don’t wait any longer.  See websites below.

One last thing...there is an excellent book called ‘Heaven’ written by Randy Alcorn, that is a must read for me, you will love this book!

Blessing To All,
Jane  <><

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hand-Coloring Photos Tutorial

For many years (before digital cameras and Photoshop) I was a portrait photographer.  I shot in B&W film only and I developed and printed the photos in my basement darkroom.  I know this is making me sound reeeealy old, but it was only about 10 years ago that I retired from the portrait business.  The trend in portraits during the time that I did this was black and white (or sepia toned) photos that were color-tinted.  People liked the vintage look of it.

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I hand-colored each of my portraits with Marshall’s Photo Oil Paints.  I printed the photos in the darkroom on a special matte finish paper that took the oil paint well.  It was a rather long process, but one I enjoyed very much - and the price that I was able to charge for the portraits also made it worth the time it took to do them.  I also taught classes in photo-tinting at a local art center.

There are several ways to add color to photographs.  The one I now use most often is on the computer using Photoshop Elements.  Another technique I use is with pastel chalks and pastel pencils - it’s more “hands-on” than doing it digitally.  This is the technique I’m going to share with you.  It’s easy and fun to do!

Here’s what you will need...

1. A black and white photograph printed on matte finish inkjet photo or presentation paper
         (I use Staples brand, but HP, Epson, or Canon will work well). 
                Print the photo a little lighter than you normally would.
2. Pastels and/or pastel pencils
3. Cotton swabs (Q-tips) and tissues
4. Kneaded eraser

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Before you start coloring your photo, it’s a good idea to practice using the chalks on a separate sheet of paper (the same type of paper you used to print your image on).  This will allow you to get the feel for how the chalk goes on the paper, and how the eraser removes the chalk.

For my demonstration I’ll be working on a landscape.  I start by applying color in the bigger areas of the photo such as the sky, grass, water, etc. 

To do this, I take a tissue, fold it over, and put it over my index finger...

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Next, rub the kleenex in the pastel color of your choice, and begin to apply it to the photo.  In the sky, you want to lay down the color with a long horizontal stroke.  The chalk doesn’t always go on smoothly, so start out with a light touch, and build up the color by adding more layers until you get the look that you want. 

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Don’t worry too much about going out of the lines - that is what the eraser is for.  A kneaded eraser works great, because you can bend and squish it to get just the right edge when erasing tiny areas.

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Continue to apply the colors to your photo.  Something to keep in mind - the more colors and color variation that you add to the photo, the more interest and dimension it will have.  For instance, use more than one shade of blue in the sky, and maybe even a little purple or red. This is what will give it that vintage postcard look.  You can choose any colors that you want.  You could turn any sky into a sunset, change Summer trees into Autumn colors, or change clothing colors.  Use your artistic license to be as creative as you want with this! 

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Notice the different shades of green in the leaves, and the mix of colors in the foreground grass area.

Once all of the larger areas are colored, you will start using a cotton swab to get into the more detailed areas of the photo.

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For the very detailed areas like stones, and blades of grass, I use the pastel pencils.  These are also great for bringing a little more intense color to certain areas of the image that you want to stand out.

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At this point it’s a good idea to step back and take a look at the entire photograph.  This is the time to touch it up by blending in some more color, or maybe taking some color away with your eraser.  I like to blend a little sky color in the grass, or maybe some rock color in the sky, etc.  This will tie the painting together for a more artistic look. 

Remember, this isn’t supposed to look like a color photo!  The tinting gives the image a unique, retro look.   Have fun with it, and make sure you sign, frame and display your work of art!

Here are a few before and after photos of some of the pictures that I colored...





I used plain colored pencils for this butterfly.  They work well for precise coloring of small areas.  However, they are not as forgiving as the chalk pastels because an eraser will not work with them).

Hope you enjoy this project!  Let me know if you have any questions.  If you give this a try, I would love to hear from you to see how it went!

Jane  <><