Welcome to Lesson 2 of the Journaling by Heart workshop! I had so much fun working in my journal for this lesson, because it's all about fabric and sewing in your art journal!
We're also going to talk about some of my favorite tools to use for art journaling scripture! So let's get started.
Diving Into the Original Meaning of Scripture
To begin I'm going to share with you a couple of my favorite (and free--yay!) online bible study tools and how I use them in my bible journaling.
Comparing Translations with Bible Gateway
The first is Bible Gateway. I absolutely love this tool! What a blessing it is, not only in my bible study and time with the Lord, but also in my bible journaling and even with my blogging!
The way I use it most frequently is to look up a scripture that I'm studying and compare translations. Bible Gateway allows you to compare up to five translations at once, side by side!
Just reading the scripture in several translations causes me to meditate on it more so than reading in only one version and I always get a deeper understanding of the verse from this.
In my faith art journaling I often like to use a more poetic version of a verse than what I may have memorized or studied in the past. The comparison tool in Bible Gateway helps me to find the perfect version for illustrating.
Take the example below from Psalm 86:10:
King James Version
"For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone."
Common English Bible
"...You are awesome and a wonder-worker. You are God. Just You."
I really loved the phrase "wonder-worker", so I chose this translation for my page. This is personal preference of course, you may love the King James English and find it more poetic.
The point is, with Bible Gateway you can quickly check multiple versions to find the one that speaks to you the most.
Here's how to do that:
First, on the homepage, click on "BIBLE" and in the drop down, choose "Passage Lookup" as illustrated below:
Now follow these steps (illustrated below):
1) Type in the passage you want to look up
2) Choose "Lookup passage in multiple versions or one version" (for our example we are using multiple versions).
3) Use the drop down arrow to select the versions you want to compare.
4)Click on "Lookup Passage"
Your results page will look like this:
Doing a Keyword Search
Another fantastic feature of Bible Gateway is the ability to do a keyword search.
Let's say you want to do a study on "mercy" or "grace" or "kindness" or maybe you want to find every scripture that talks about "heart" or "soul" or "birds" for a drawing you have in mind. All of this is possible with the keyword search.
The Keyword search works the same way Passage Lookup works. Click on Bible, then Keyword Search.
On the Keyword Search page follow the steps as illustrated below:
1) Choose the language.
2) Enter your keyword
3) Choose whether to see one version or multiple versions for that keyword. We're choosing multiple versions.
4) Use the drop down to select the versions you'd like to see.
5) Choose whether you want to see the verses + references or just the references. I always choose verses + references
6) Choose how many results to display. I always choose the maximum amount of 500.
7) Choose to search the whole Bible or limit your search to sections of the bible or even specific books.
8) Click on search for keyword or phrase
Your results page will look like this:
All of the scriptures will be listed by bible version, in the order you specified and with your search term highlighted.
If you want to know more you can click on "in context" or "full chapter" or "other translations" highlighted at the bottom of each scripture (see arrow in illustration above).
Looking at the Original Greek and Hebrew with Blue Letter Bible
Have you ever heard your pastor or minister say, "The original Greek for this word is..." and then begin to expound on that verse?
Well, Blue Letter Bible let's you look up those original Greek and Hebrew meanings for yourself! It is without a doubt one of my favorite and most used tools for studying the Word of God and for faith art journaling.
Here's how I use it:
First enter the scripture you're studying and the translation you're using as shown below.
I would like to study some aspects of Eph 3:18-19.
Your results page will look like this:
Each scripture of Ephesians 3 (our chosen scripture) is listed.
Now scroll down and find Eph. 3: 18 and click on the reference as shown below.
Here's what you will see next:
Each word of the verse is broken down word by word and listed with the *Strong's Concordance number as well as the root form of the Greek word.
*The Strong's Concordance is essentially an index to the Bible. It allows you to find a specific word and where it occurs in the Bible among much other useful information.
I want to find out what the Greek root word that is translated "to comprehend" is, and what it means.
So I click on the Strong's concordance number (illustrated above) and this is the information I get:
Above you can see all the interesting information you can find out about the Greek word that is used for "comprehend". I highlighted part of the definition that really spoke to me. It doesn't just mean "understand", but "to lay hold of, to make one's own, to seize, to take eagerly".
As I was studying this verse the Lord gave me an illustration that I hope to make in to a printable soon!
I hope that was helpful for you in your Bible study. I use both those tools almost everyday.
Both Bible Gateway and Blue Letter Bible have apps for your Apple and Android devices and both have extensive help pages and tutorials to assist you in using their sites. You can also let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I will be happy to help.
Look up your favorite scripture in both Bible Gateway and Blue Letter Bible. Compare several translations and find the original Greek or Hebrew meaning of the verse's key words. Journal about what the Lord showed you through this exercise.
Ready to move on to the crafty part of our lesson?
There are so many ways to incorporate fabric into your art journal that I couldn't possibly cover them all here, so we'll be looking at my 3 favorite ways to use fabric to enhance your bible journaling pages.
First let's see what supplies we'll be using:
Before we get started I wanted to give you a few tips that have helped me when using fabric in my art journals.
Where to find Fabric
Just in case you're not a hoarder collector of fabric like some of us (or even if you are!), here are some of my favorite places (besides the fabric store) to find interesting fabric and trim to work with. I especially love vintage fabric of any kind!
* Old clothes - Raid everyone's closet and pull out stained or ill-fitting clothing. There are all kinds of treasures to be found there!
* Thrift Stores, Estate Sales & Garage Sales - I often will buy a shirt or dress at a thrift store, just for the fabric, or even the buttons!
* Tea Towels, Kitchen Linens - The dollar store frequently has cute patterns. I've also found pretty tea towels at Ikea if you have one of those near you.
What kind of thread
When it comes to thread for machine sewing my very favorite thread to work with is variegated rayon or cotton. I really love how bright and beautiful it looks when all the threads are sticking out from my books in rainbows of color.
For sewing on paper you don't have to use any specific thread though. I normally grab my variegated thread or use whatever is already in the machine, ha!
For hand sewing I normally use DMC embroidery floss because I like the colors and the shine, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
Practice Practice Practice
One thing that I find very helpful before I start sewing on a project is to practice my stitches and test the thread I'm using on a piece of paper or even an old sheet, just so there are no surprises when I begin sewing in my journal.
Sewing in a Pre-made Journal
It can be tricky to sew in a journal that has already been bound, but I usually just fold the covers back and go for it.
If you don't want the sewing to show on the back side of the page however, you can sew the piece separately and then glue it on to the page. It will look sewn in without affecting the next page.
My 3 Favorite Ways to use Fabric in Your Faith Art Journal
Creating Fabric Pages
I love to create pages made entirely out of fabric. You can do this in a couple of different ways. The first one I'll show you is to piece together scraps of fabric. I really like the look of this.
In the following example I'm using scraps of old, vintage quilts that have already been cut up for other projects.
I used a piece of chipboard cut to the size of my journal (6x12) as a template and just started laying out the pieces of the different quilts trying to fill in the shape of the page and cutting off pieces here and there as I needed to, to get everything to fit.
Once I was happy with the layout, I pinned two pieces at a time, right sides together and sewed a straight stitch with about a 1/4" seam allowance.
When you're working with older fabric that has been sewn and washed and loved before, there will be puckering and unevenness. Just embrace it. :) I find all the little flaws charming.
(I somehow managed to not get a shot of this page finished! It's dark now as I'm writing this, so I will add the finished shot tomorrow. If it's not here, you know I forgot! And I will probably remember at some point after this has posted. :/ )
Another type of fabric page that I like to do is one with layers.
Here I gathered up some pretty florals and and some lace. Cut them to fit the page and layered them, not worrying about straight edges as I plan to sew them a little crooked.
I made a tab with one of the scraps of my vintage fabric. I *love* that little bird.
You may notice that I don't clip my threads much. I really love the look of lots of threads everywhere. I like the texture and color that it adds, but you can always trim those if they bother you.
Embroidering On Your Pages
I love embroidery. It's like coloring with thread. It's really soothing and it's very forgiving as far as sewing goes.
If you haven't tried it before, don't be intimidated. Just grab a needle and thread and some practice fabric and try this technique. I'll think you'll fall in love just like I have. :)
(This video by Lenna Green of Stitching Cow is a helpful tutorial if you've never embroidered before and need to know the basics)
This is a fun technique to use your stencils as an embroidery pattern.
I'm embroidering on a bible page from a dollar store bible that I purchased to use in my journal.
Before I get started I'm going to wrap the edges of my page in washi tape. This will stabilize the page a little bit for me (and also look pretty!).
Next I'm going to trace the design I've chosen on my page (I'm using this bird stencil by The Crafter's Workshop). Since it's a small, simple design, I'll just hold the stencil with my hand, but if it were a larger, more intricate design I would use washi tape to hold it in place as I traced.
Now I place my book page on a mouse pad or piece of cardboard and use a large needle to poke holes evenly through the page and around the design.
Finally, it's time to sew. I'm using 3 strands of embroidery floss and just doing a simple backstitch.
Once I finish sewing, I begin to embellish, adding text and sewing on ribbon and flowers.
In the photo below, I'm embroidering a phrase on one of my fabric pages. I just sketched it on with pencil, which is how I usually add embroidery.
Using Fabric as an Embellishment to Your Art Journal Pages
My other favorite way to use fabric on my journaling pages is as an embellishment. I create tags, pockets, lettering and more with scraps of fabric. Here are some examples:
In the photo below I used one of my free printables. I printed it on double-sided matte photo paper (this is the kind I use), cut it to the size of my journal (6x12) and then sewed little scraps of fabric over the page.
The scraps of fabric are representative of all the different kinds of grace He supplies us with as noted in the scripture verse.
In this example, I sewed a piece of wonky patchwork to a tag. Next I sewed a felt heart and a hand-typed scripture to the tag with embroidery floss.
I added the tag to a paper bag pocket that is sewn into my journal and then hand-lettered another scripture on the bag.
Below I've used a journaling card as the tag. I wrapped a scrap of fabric over the top and sewed it on, before punching a hole in it and adding ribbon and a key tag. I also sewed a felt heart to the key tag and a bible verse from a calendar to the bottom.
I tucked the tag into a fabric pocket that I made by sewing a scrap from a vintage pillow case to some vintage ledger paper.
Another way I like to use fabric scraps is to sew them to the edges of the pages.
I just wrap it around the page and press it before I sew.
When sewing on paper I use paper clips instead of pins to hold my fabric in place so as not to poke holes in my paper. (Not the metal kind, but the vinyl-coated kind like this.)
The next two photos are from my Disney art journal.
Above I've sewn a die cut word to the top of the page and vintage scrap of a hexagon quilt to the bottom of the page. (see all my variegated thread? Isn't it so pretty??)
In the middle of the page you can see the stitches coming through where I sewed something on the other side. This doesn't bother me at all, I like the texture it creates.
On this page I've sewn silk flowers and ribbon. (the paper on both pages is from the Midway collection by October Afternoon)
The last page I want to show you uses fabric to create lettering. I love this look!
I hand cut the letters using this tutorial, slightly modified. She tells you how to create really giant letters for a bulletin board, and I needed them to be much smaller so I cut the fabric to 1 1/2" x 2" and some of the letters I made even thinner so they would fit.
I tacked the letters down with a tiny dot of glue stick so they didn't move around and then sewed them down with my sewing machine. I didn't use the variegated thread this time, because I didn't want it to compete with the fabrics.
Well that's our lesson on Fabric and Sewing in your art journal! I hope you enjoyed and it and I hope that it sparked some new ideas for you to try!
Next week Erin will be teaching us how to create messy, brush script! Woot!
In the meantime, I would love to see your beautiful, fabric pages - tag me on instagram (@pinkpaperpeppermints) and use hashtag #journalbyheart
If you're just joining us, you can check out our FAQ page here for all the info on the workshop and links to all the past lessons.
Have a wonderful, blessed week!
Grace & Peace,
"But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved" -Ephesians 2:4-5 (NLT)