Sketching Through Life

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“If talent exists, my definition of it is this: it is the capacity to spend innumerable hours doing something and believe that somehow it matters. And perhaps if somehow God had a hand in it, it was in planting that tenacity in us.” -Sketch! by France Belleville-Van Stone

I recently signed up for Blogging for Books, which I’m loving! What’s nice about it is that they mail me a book and I read it and review it at my leisure, as long as it’s within three-ish months. Not only that, but I choose the book, which I like because I don’t want to spend my time reading a book I’m uninterested in. 

Sketch! by France Belleville-Van Stone was marketed towards both artists and non-artists alike. I was interested in it because I have a hard time with my sketches. I’m a perfectionist, so if I can’t make it perfect I either don’t sketch or I hide it from all eyes but mine. I don’t want to be this way, though! I hadn’t previously heard of this author/artist, but she also includes several extremely detailed drawings of her’s in the book and I was greatly impressed.

First things first: the experience of this book. When I pulled this book out of the box I had to hug it. This is one of the most comfortable books I’ve ever held. The size is comfortable to hold and the pages stay in place easily when reading, reducing hand pain. The feel of the cover and pages is somehow soft. I don’t know how this works, but I found a couple books at the book store the other day that felt similar, so I guess it’s a new thing. Soft covers is a thing I want to continue. The pages also have a wonderful thickness with a wonderful design. The sketches are places throughout the pages in a way that’s extremely pleasing to the eye and comfortable to read.

Sketch! did a wonderful job explaining that we don’t have to worry about our sketches being perfect. Many of them will be full of flaws and we’ll hate them, but the process of practice and more practice will make your sketches continue to improve. Instead of putting off drawing because you don’t have several hours to do something really detailed just draw a sketch of something that’s around you, and learn to embrace the flaws.

The author knows very little about drawing supplies, however I like the freedom she offers. While I want high quality materials when I’m sitting down for an art project, it’s good to have freedom to sketch whenever I have the opportunity. Not to hold off just because I have a cheap piece of paper and a pen I found in the bottom of my purse. She’s also able to do some quite amazing pieces with these materials, something of which I would like to learn.

While I wished the book could have featured more sketching styles, I realize that shouldn’t of been expected since it’s written by a single artist/author, therefore she could only use her own work as an example. However, she did mention several other artists who I look forward to looking up for inspiration. The end of the book features advice on drawing on tablets and phones and a whole chapter on sketching inspiration, perfect for anyone not sure how to get started. 

I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to seeing if it will help my frequency of sketching, since I often put it off if I’m ill, busy, or don’t have all of my drawing supplies with me.

Do you enjoy sketching? Would you call yourself an artist?

This book was provided to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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Why I Start Celebrating Christmas Before Thanksgiving

 photo 11442043843_122a89f52b_k_zpsbc24eadd.jpg There are several types of people come Christmas time. One of the types being those who go all out celebrating, decorating, and planning as soon as a slight chill hits the air; another are those who just try to bear it until after Thanksgiving and then celebrate once Christmas officially arrives. 

ChristmasWhile I am completely the former, neither is better. Let’s not bash either type of person. However, I would like to shine some light on why I am the former, for your consideration. 

First off, the Christmas season never lasts long enough. One month to celebrate the most wonderful time of year? I say humbug! For me the Christmas season starts hinting right after Sarah’s birthday, September 10th, and officially begins at the start of October. With all there is to do in daily life, plus getting ready for the holiday, there just is not enough time within one month to properly celebrate.

For all those who believe this means skipping Thanksgiving that just is not true! I quite enjoy autumn evenings, waiting for the leaves to turn, pumpkins, and the month of thankfulness. I find that Thanksgiving and Christmas go hand in hand, they’re perfect to celebrate together! Thanksgiving is for giving thanks to our Lord for all our many blessings, especially those often overlooked, and Christmas is about being thankful for the birth of our Savior. It’s a perfect pairing. 

If you’re like me enjoy the bliss of having more time for Christmas movies and music, the holiday spirit, all the pretty sparkly decorations, and delicious baked goods! Don’t worry if others don’t get it. If you’re one of those who prefers to wait I hope this will have given you a small glimpse into why those like me enjoy having a long holiday season.

Happy holidays!

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The Fear of Speaking Up

What Does the Fox Say?

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” – 1 Peter 3:15-16

” Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”-Colossians 3:16

For many introverts, and some extroverts, the fear of speaking up is all too familiar. We worry about saying the wrong thing, coming across the wrong way, or a situation just upsets us so much that the words are unable to come out until after they’re needed. 

This is a problem I’ve had for many years, it’s part of being an introverted feeler (you may still be an introverted feeler or thinker even if you are an extrovert). I also have some rather bad anxiety issues, which exacerbates the problem. This is something I’m working to overcome. I want to think about my words and speak with wisdom, but I don’t want to be hesitant to the point of not speaking up when I should. This is a lesson I’ve been learning through many years and much pain.

There have been times where someone was clearly wrong. They were abusive, ignorant, and pompous, but I was afraid to speak up. I was afraid because I might say the wrong thing; I didn’t know how they would act on my words; I thought someone else would speak up.

Though I’m still disappointed in myself for not speaking up in the past, I’m thankful that I’ve learned through it. It led to me being able to speak up later on when needed. When people were speaking lies and twisting scripture I was able to calmly stand back, listen, contemplate on what the Bible says, and then I was able to speak up for the truth. Not through my own strength, but through courage the Lord gave me.

If you’ve had problems speaking up for what’s right in the past please don’t despair. Instead use it to help you stand back and compose your thoughts with wisdom, and then have courage and speak.

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Low-Carb Cheesecake Snacks

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I love cheesecake. When I was eight or nine and still learning to cook I made it for the first time. I knew my mom loved cheesecake, so I wanted to make her something special for Mother’s Day. I pulled out my huge Taste of Home cookbook, which I organized the whole kitchen in order to earn the money to buy, and found the recipe. After that I loved making cheesecake. 

IMG_6320wm IMG_6321wm IMG_6322wmI recently mentioned that I’m trying to eat healthier. My biggest problem, though, is not planning ahead. I wait until thirty minutes after I get up in the morning to even think about food. Not a good thing, especially since I have a harder time eating some foods when I first wake up. Most mornings I just don’t feel like eggs; which is why I came up with this. I wanted something high in protein and sweet, plus the texture was important as well.

These little cheesecake snacks are just what I needed! I can make them at the beginning of the week and keep them refrigerated, they’re then ready for an easy and quick breakfast in the morning or I can pack them in a lunch bag for a snack to take with me when out running errands. I can also change it up a lot. I can make a sugar-free chocolate sauce, or a sauce with frozen berries, water, Truvia, and a little glucomannan for thickener. It definitely gives me a cheesecake fix, and makes me a little giddy knowing it’s also healthy.

These are extremely easy and delicious. You’ll want to chill them completely before serving, because otherwise the texture from the cottage cheese can be a little off. 

Low-Carb Cheesecake Snacks
Yields 10
A delicious and healthy cheesecake that's great for dessert, snacks, or breakfast!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 oz cream cheese
  2. 2 cups cottage cheese
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/4 cup lemon juice
  5. 1/4 cup Truvia
  6. 1/4 tsp stevia powder
  7. 1 Tablespoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour cheesecake batter into silicone muffin tins or silicone muffin wrappers. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top starts turning golden brown.
  3. Cool completely. Refrigerate and chill completely before serving.
Notes
  1. Should yield about ten cheesecake muffins, and each muffin has about 8.5 grams of protein, depending on the type of cottage cheese used.
Lavender and Honey http://www.lavenderandhoney.net/

 
What’s one of your favorite healthy breakfasts? What’s one of your first memories in the kitchen?

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Creative Inspiration To-Do List

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“I’ll watch the night turn light blue, but it’s not the same without you, because it takes two to whisper quietly.” -Owl City, Vanilla Twilight

“Leave a little sparkle wherever you go.”

It’s Wednesday, meaning it’s time for another inspiration to-do list! I love these to-do lists, because they can hopefully inspire you to try something new which will then spark creativity. I also find they help spark my creativity, something that is always wonderful. 

Watch the “Blank Space” music video. I love that Taylor didn’t take herself too seriously and wrote a song about the way media tries to portray her. The video is hilarious and gorgeous.

Sit in a coffee shop. I went by Starbucks the other night while out shopping and it was such a relaxing atmosphere, even with the employees being in the middle of unboxing Christmas decoration. 

Sketch. Don’t worry about the end result, just sketch for the enjoyment of it. I’m a perfectionist, so I’m reading Sketch! trying to get this into my brain.

Listen to Ocean Eyes by Owl City. Ocean Eyes is the first album I heard of Owl City’s, my absolute favorite singer/songwriter. 

Read Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. I’ve had this on my to-read list for quite some time, and finally read it a week or two ago. Loved it, and it’s a new favorite. I love the way dragons are portrayed in this book. The main character, Seraphina, is interesting, fun, and real. 

What have you done for inspiration as of late?

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