Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"What’s Made by the Hand, Comes From the Heart"

Note: This post is unfinished. A peek into my mind and process...

"This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: "Go down to the potter’s house, and I will announce my words to you." So I went down to the potter's house and there I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping with the clay became marred in his hands, so the potter formed another pot, shaping it as it seemed best to him. " Jeremiah 18:1-4 

When I was about 6 or 7, I got a pottery wheel for Christmas. Not artist grade, but something from Toys 'r' Us I'd seen on TV (before they had "As Seen on TV") and asked for, desperate to make some amazing pottery.  My wonderful parents obliged, always supporting my artistic endeavors, but it became clear very quickly that this wheel could only do *maybe* a revolution or 2 *per second* and had nowhere near the power or speed it would take to transform a lump of clay into a symmetrical and useful something or other. :( It was a bitter pill but lesson well learned about truth in advertising and those shiny, happy commercials ( I mute commercials, put something away or take a bathroom break, to this day, yes, I do)

In our Moms' Together Bible study last week, our leader arranged for Rachel Norris of Joy Pottery to share during our group time, and I think it was truly the first time I've seen a piece go from wedging to lump to a finished piece (before firing) at one time. (And rekindled all those unfulfilled pottery dreams!  Too bad I am a few hours from Bryan, TX or I'd be tempted to take her classes) I've seen other artists do performance pieces over the years to accompany worship music, but this really went to a different place.  I was on the edge of my seat, not just as an interested artist but a hungry believer, feasting on the parallels that were apparent as she first laid out the potter's process (that so clearly mirrored the Christian life.) How fitting that God told Jeremiah to go to the potters house for a visual he could see of what God intended to do with the clay.  It is so much more than I understood before than just "shaping and reshaping", and perhaps people in Bible times had a better understanding of the process than we non- potters do today, who can go buy a set of dinnerware at Walmart.  

Some specific things that I may have had an idea of but not been instructed on the finer points by a master potter, listen closely if you are interested:

First, the clay must be centered on the wheel (in Christ) or it will wobble and can’t be correctly shaped, needs a foundation.

The clay begins as a lump.We can remain a lump (and lumps can go to church, week in and week out) OR we can go through the wedging process: stretching and pressing and kneading to work out all the inconsistencies before shaping. We can’t just smooth over them, or the clay will explode later in the fire. (And we don't want to remain lumps!)

If it’s too stiff, the potter can’t work with it. Too soft, it doesn't have the body to maintain a form. He won't throw either out, but will put it aside. He needs a response from the clay to be worked and changed.

Will it be a pitcher, a mixing or serving bowl, a platter? Whatever the potter sees fit.  Whatever is needed. (We don't need a thousand pitchers.) The potter knows where to expertly apply just the right amount of pressure for as long as needed to form the exact shape that will determine its use.  A deep bowl is good for mixing.  A wide, open bowl is good for tossing.  A bowl with a wide lip is good for serving.

And then, the crucial waiting time to dry, before the fire. We must be ready. And still.

Clay that hasn't been fired will crumple, crack or break.  It must be fired. When (we) are in the fire, He is taking the clay and give it a completely different character. 

What is most important in this process? The pressure, the fire? No. The potter’s vision for the clay. The clay doesn’t know. We often wish to be something we aren't. Or if we were a little more like this or like that...

Pottery shards are the last remnant of a past society, because of the fire.

And a few important takeaways, mixed in (just in case we missed it):

We hear His word out of obedience, He makes an appointment, and if we keep it, God will speak

We are clay in His hands-it’s all about relationship

"Spoiled in his hands, then made something pleasing in his sight"- He is the God of 2nd chances

Surrendering to being clay in His hands, this is freedom, for God’s job to make His vision

Chose us specifically, to bear fruit and fruit that would remain. 

He already has the fire in mind when he's choosing the clay.

He can work with any clay that will respond to his touch. 

We have a perfect father, but we all still rebel, don't want to be shaped.

"What’s Made by the Hand, Comes From the Heart"- We are shaped by His Hand!  We come from His Heart! He does not spend time on clay he doesn't care about.  He gives the clay everything he has, his perfect wisdom and love, to make it perfect and pleasing in his sight. "And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will see it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1: 6 How humbling and wonderful.

Now I can't do justice to her story, partly because her testimony is so very personal, but also because I can't show in a post the clay undergoing the change under her skilled, knowing hands. This blessed event, both testimony and performance, is one she has been sharing with others for 23 years*, but began much much earlier, through the time learning her craft , but also walking with the Lord, times when she was close and far off, and even before she was born, the Lord knew her and had these plans in mind. I will say that out of one lump during the hour and 30 minutes she spoke, she was able to transform in seconds into many different designs:  an artful and perfect pitcher, next a mixing bowl, to a salad bowl, to a wide plate, either pulling it out (and if you've seen a potter at work before, you know a subtle movement changes the entire shape in an instant like magic before your eyes ) or crushing it in a moment in those same hands.  I can speak for many of us that the work was beyond what any of us will ever create, yet she could fold it in on itself without a moment of hesitation knowing she could do it again, just as easily, with the same clay.  Each time she crumpled the piece (which she explained would not travel back to Bryan well with out drying and firing it first and was only for the purposes of demonstration) we all let out a collective and audible gasp (or moan) seeing something so pretty turn back into a lump.  She pointed out how quickly we women could get emotionally attached to something! ("A thing of beauty!",  I added silently) It was a wonderful, concrete example of how we can and must let things (people?), we've invested in, with our time, talent and/or treasure, go, in its time.  I won't go into her personal life because I feel that is one you have to hear from her, but she wove it in as deftly as a master weaver, and we shared many of the same trials (and you probably have also, as many are just part of growing up, or the human condition), but it was inseparable from what she did with the clay, showing God's hand in her life and what he'd done, was doing and will continue to do.  Praise God!

Where is my clay now? Thankfully, not currently a lump, but who knows, tomorrow he may take me down for more wedging.  Many times he has responded to my stubbornness by starting completely over. Thank you, Lord, for not giving up. Some days wedging and shaping may feel the same to clay, apart from the nausea induced spinning (this is why I think I must currently be on the wheel!) Definitely not currently in the fire, although it often gets hot!  But I spend a lot of time in spite of all I've learned through experience and study thinking and feeling and acting like I have to figure out how to be something more than what I am. Knowing this,  and fruitlessness of it, I'm trying to embrace the peace that I also know comes with just surrendering to letting the potter do His work. It's a good place to be.

Recently, someone close to me told me I "could have done so much more with my life" than to make cards, or to illustrate stamps.  That I am "smart enough to have done something important", or earned more. Ouch. Have you been there? But I know in my heart of hearts my gifts and everything in my experience brought me here, that it has come through prayer and patiently (often impatiently) seeking the Lord and His will in my life, and that I *must* have something specific to share with people who have a love for stamping and cardmaking (as well as that God's provision has allowed me to be at home available to my sons and help provide for the family.)  When I work on my sets, I feel like everything falls into place, it is the closest thing I feel to freedom other than worship, and it is a real closeness and collaboration with my Creator.  There is a quote in Chariots of Fire when Eric Lidell says, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." And drawing and putting my sets together is that way for me. I am still wondering and praying how He wishes me to use all these things in my testimony. (I've offered it before but really had no takers. Perhaps he is still working out inconsistencies to make me ready.) I feel like in Rachel's demonstration he has given me a peek into what he might have in mind as I mature in my walk. Maybe nothing with as many parallels or perhaps as demonstrable as the potter and her wheel, but I am certain, according to His promises, it is beyond what I can imagine.

Thank you for reading today. This post began taking shape last week, but I have been sidelined with a few things that prevent me from shaping it to my satisfaction at this time. I could set it aside as I often do when my words are inadequate for getting an important message "right" , but sadly I am already burdened with regret this morning about waiting on communicating something else until it was too late, so I'm just going to post it now and hope it encourages someone. God bless you all.

*I am also reminded to add, she said a friend told her she should share her life story and work at the wheel with their Sunday school class. She laughed it off at first, but later told God, "If that's what you want me doing, Lord, and you provide the opportunities, I will go." And God has provided these opportunities for 23 years!   She travels at least once week, sharing this same story, lugging a cumbersome wheel but reflecting the light of Jesus and his redemption as she shares what she knows is true from the broken parts of her life and how he has put it back together, and wants to do the same for us all. Amen.  Prayer for continued blessings on her  and her ministry and the trials she continues to walk through I hope you can hear her one day.

PS Viewing my blog now, I find it very interesting that although I typed everything in the same font and it all looks consistent in preview mode, the only statement that is coming up in Times Roman and set apart is the one about the pottery shards remaining. Interesting, indeed...

Monday, March 28, 2016

Video: Out of the Box Omission Technique: Tips & Tricks

Hello! Today I'll show you how to do the omission technique with the box image in my Beyond Baskets 2 set to create custom frames for showcasing all your stamp images in a beautiful and interesting way! 

I also demonstrate coloring this clover from my Stately Flowers 7 set, and some tips for how to use your scraps for creating different layouts and other card samples with the box and other Gina K. images.  Please enjoy!

Stamp sets not demonstrated but shown in samples at end of video are Triple Play Holiday and Handmade Botanicals. 

I love omitting part of the box and adding a greeting to the side like I did here.  You could do a single, shorter word on the bottom edge instead if you like.
 You can turn this design either way. :)


Gina K. Designs Beyond Baskets 2 and Stately Flowers 7 stamp sets
Gina K. Pure Luxury Red Hot (4 ¼” x 11”, scored at 5 ½”), Black Onyx (2 1/8” x 4 7/8”)and White (2 3/8” x 4 5/8”) cardstock
Gina K. Watercolor Garden patterned paper scrap
Memento Tuxedo Black ink pad

Spectrum Noir alcohol markers: PP3, DR3, CG2, DG3, GG2 , and Spectrum Aqua Black marker

Monday, March 21, 2016

New Incentive Set: Handmade Botanicals

Good morning! The Cast and Crew for Gina K Designs welcomes you to another fabulous blog hop celebrating a new incentive stamp set by Gina K called “Handmade Botanicals”. We hope to inspire you with some beautiful card projects as you hop along to each of the designer’s blogs!

Please enjoy the gorgeous inspiration samples from the team and then comment on each blog for your chance to win an awesome $20 gift card to Gina K. Designs!!!  To see who won, check the Big News Forum at StampTV a few days after the hop.

The set makes perfect scenes for your sponged skies (sentiment from Scripty Sayings).  Images are stamped and stamped off in GKD Fresh Asparagus and sky is sponged in GKD Ocean Mist and Sweet Corn.

...but it is also wonderful addition to pair with your floral stamps (flowers from A Year of Flowers 3)  I used GKD Grass Green to stamp the bud silhouettes and sponge the masked corner, and Memento Tuxedo Black and Spectrum Noir markers to color my daisies.  I also tapped the marker to add some speckles and texture. Base is GKD Kraft.
Incentive Stamp Set
Ready for more awesome creations?! Just click on the links below for more from the Illustrators and Design Team!!

Don’t forget to pop over to the Gina K Designs Store and check out all of the new products available this month in the “What’s New” section at http://www.ginakdesigns.com.

Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Video: Clean Modern Background with Lots of Letters

Hello! Today I will show you how to use the border or rounded squares in my Lots of Letters set to make beautiful backgrounds for quick cards with gorgeous pops of color. Not just for spelling words,this set contains one of my favorite borders! All one color or a gorgeous gradient like I created here, it’s a very versatile backdrop for any design, including masculine cards. Although the border has such a bold and graphic feel, you can pair this with pretty, classic images. Sentiment and branch are from Theresa Momber’s Elegant Florals set. 

Gina K. Designs Lots of Letters, Elegant Florals stamps sets
Gina K. Kraft, Sweet Corn, Sweet Mango, Tomato Soup, Dark Chocolate ink pads
Gina K. Pure Luxury Sweet Mango (5 ½” X 8 1/2”, scored at 4 ¼”) and White (3 7/8” x 5 ½” and 1” x 5 ½” scrap) cardstock
Scissors, foam squares, adhesive, acrylic blocks

If this card seems familiar to you, you've been following my blog a long time!  I posted this design when Lots of Letters was first released, but realized last week I hadn't done any videos with this set!  And I really like a lot of things about this design, simple to do but has a lot of punch!  hope you like it and wil try it yourself.  Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Video: How to Contemporize a Classic Design with A Year of Flowers 2

Good morning!  Posting another video a little early before Spring Break starts! Today I'll show you how to adapt a card design you love with realistic flowers to a more stylized, contemporary look with my A Year of Flowers 2 set.  I shared the purple card I based today's new design on with A Year of Flowers 3 at our release party.) This all-occasion and seasons assortment of elemental flowers and stems has such a whimsical feel and couldn’t be any simpler to color!

  I also show how to simplify this design if you choose for a cleaner look, or how to step it up and create a gorgeous coordinating background with stamping and sponging. Lots of stamping, coloring and embellishment tip, here, too! Sentiment is from Scripty Sayings, free for a limited time with qualifying purchase. Please enjoy!  

I think I like 'em both equally, don't make me pick!

Gina K. Designs A Year of Flowers 2 (or substitute A Year of Flowers or A Year of Flowers 3), Scripty Sayings stamp sets
Gina K. Pure Luxury Edible Eggplant (4 1/4" x 11", scored at 5 1/2", and 3" x 4 1/4") Lovely Lavender (4" x 5 1/4"), White (2 3/4" x 3 1/2") cardstock
Gina K. Edible Eggplant, Wild Lilac, and Grass Green ink pads
Spectrum Noir markers: HB1, HB2, HB3, LV1, CG2, CG3, GG2
Scissors, sticky notes for scratch paper for masks, adhesive, foam squares, adhesive pearls, sponge daubers

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Video: Framing Long Sentiments with Small Stamps

Hello! Today I will show how to frame a long sentiment like the one from my Holiday Basket set beautifully with small images from my A Year of Flowers 3 set. Elemental stamps like flowers, leaves and baby’s breath can be added in any combination to create beautiful corners, borders, flourishes and more.  This quick card can be made with minimal materials and adapted to any occasion swapping out the colors and blooms.  I also take you on a walk-through of the new flower set showing which flowers go with which leaves (although you are free to change that up, of course!) and which coordinating images they go with in my original A Year of Flowers.  Please enjoy!

Gina K. Designs Holiday Basket, A Year of Flowers 3 stamp sets
Gina K Pure luxury Kraft (or White) 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" , scored at 4 1/4") and 3 7/8' x 5 1/8") , Cherry Red ( Red Hot),  3 7/8' x 5 1/8"
Memento Tuxedo Black and Gina K. Grass Green ink pads
Spectrum Noir DR3, DR6, BG3, CG4
White gel pen, adhesive, adhesive pearls

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Video: Masking Tricks & Coloring Tips for A Year of Flowers 3

Hello! Today I will show you masking tricks and coloring tips to create gorgeous stamped arrangements like this beautiful tub of flowers with my new A Year of Flowers 3 .  This elemental set has all the flowers, stems, leaves and fillers you'll need to keep you equipped and busy all year! Tub image is from my Beyond Baskets set, but you could also use the containers from my Holiday Basket, Stately Flowers 9 or other coordinating sets.  
 If you saw this design in my post the other day, you can compare the coloring on the two cards and see the difference between the GKD Black Onyx in the previous and the memento ink in these photos today.  Moving forward, GKD Black Onyx is perfect for solid bold images or when you want more overage, and Memento for finer details and no bleeding when using alcohol markers.  Gina carries both pads. :)

Gina K. Designs  A Year of Flowers 3, Beyond Baskets, Scripty Sayings stamp sets
Gina K. Pure Luxury Powder Blue (4 ¼” c 8 ½” , scored at 4 ¼”) and White (4 1/8” x 4 1/8”)
Gina K.  Grass Green, Fresh Asparagus, Memento Tuxedo black ink pads
Spectrum Noir markers-GG2, BGR4, CT3, CT4, TB3, TB4, IB3, CR2, CR5, DR1, DR6, DG3
Scissors and copy paper for masking, adhesive, acrylic blocks

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Gina K. Inspiration Hop, Day 2: Genevieve Giraffe and Scripty Sayings

The Cast and Crew for Gina K Designs welcomes you to another fabulous blog hop celebrating the new stamps from the February Release Party. We hope to inspire you with some beautiful card projects as you hop along to each of the designer’s blogs!

Today, we are featuring the new stamp set Genevieve Giraffe by Beth Silaika and the incentive set “Scripty Sayings” by Gina K. Enjoy the gorgeous inspiration samples from the team and then comment on each blog for your chance to win an awesome grab bag of GKD goodies!!!  To see who won, check the Big News Forum at StampTV a few days after the hop.

 First up, Genevieve Giraffe!   Here I stamped the large heart balloon over and over and add strings.  Next, add tiny hearts to surround the balloons, and then after coloring, have fun adding dots around the balloons, for more color and atmosphere, like a big confetti party! I made this card with GKD Pure Luxury Lipstick base and Black Onyx mat, and pardon the balloon pun, but it just "pops"!!  A birthday greeting would have been an obvious and good choice, but I also thought, "What's up?" fit this one nicely. Yep, more puns! (I didn't write down the Spectrum Noir markers I used on this before putting them away, sorry!) Lots of the brights in each shade, though, you know?
Love a simple stamped and colored animal on a white single layer background colored with Spectrum Noir markers. Shadow is BG3.

Genevieve Giraffe- CLEAR

Gotta love beautiful sentiments on a clean white card!  Sentiment is stamped in GKD Red Hot, Sweet Mango, Sweet Corn, Grass green, Fresh Asparagus, Turquoise Sea, Blue Raspberry, Navy, Wild Lilac, Wild Wisteria, and finally Black Onyx!!

Here is another I made using the sentiment as a stem with A Year of Flowers 3

Incentive Stamp Set
Scripty Sayings is free for a limited time with your purchase of $75 or more!)

Ready for more awesome creations? Just click on the links below for more from the Illustrators and Design Team!

Gina K – Illustrator for Scripty Sayings
Beth Silaika – Illustrator for Genevieve Giraffe
Melanie Muenchinger (you are here!)

Don’t forget to pop over to the Gina K Designs Store and check out all of the new products available this month in the “What’s New” section at http://www.ginakdesigns.com.

Thanks for visiting!