Sunday, 4 April 2021

What's it got to do with Easter? Part 7: Lambs


What has it got to do with Easter? Part 7: Lambs

What did you eat this Easter Sunday? Roast lamb by any chance? The supermarkets have all their best lamb offers on at this time of year, and it’s a great time to eat what is a slightly more expensive roast dish.
But what has it got to do with Easter?
The tradition of lamb at Easter is probably the oldest of the traditions we have looked at in this series.

The story of the Passover, as described in Exodus, describes how Moses instructed all the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt to slaughter a lamb, and to paint onto their doorways with the blood. They were to then roast the lamb and eat it, along with various other symbolic foods. This sacrifice acted as a sign for God’s judgement to ‘pass over’ their homes, whilst the homes of the Egyptians would lose a firstborn, including the Pharoah.

Moses also instructed the Israelites to follow these same instructions once they entered the promised land, as a lasting ordinance, a reminder of how God had saved his people. This ceremony has been followed throughout the past 3000 years in remembrance of that, and in the Gospels we see Jesus addressing his disciples at the last supper, the Passover meal. Add to this the fact that Jesus himself is referred to as ‘The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ in John 1 and he becomes our own Passover lamb. With a lamb we can remember Gods deliverance of the Israelites in the escape from Egypt, but as those living in the light of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross, we also remember his own blood being poured out as a sacrifice for our sin.

We remember that God’s judgement will ‘pass over’ us, for those who have come to Jesus for forgiveness, and grant us eternal life not because we have earned it, but because of Jesus’ sacrifice. We've eaten some lamb this Easter and have remembered the sacrifice it reminds us of in Jesus.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

What's it got to do with Easter Part 6: Daffodils

 Spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, lilies and tulips have become a symbol of the Resurrection throughout the Christian world.  The daffodil has even been called the Easter Bell, or Lent Lily. Tradition has it that the daffodils open on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and die on Easter Sunday, but this is mainly anecdotal, depending on when Easter falls.

 However, the cheerful yellow and white of the daffodil is a welcome warmth during the Lenten season, the bulbs, having lain dormant for months, springing to life and signifying rebirth. 

So let us proudly display daffodils in our gardens and homes this Easter (A heads up, if you want to plant them in your garden the best time to do it is in the autumn!).

 Let us talk to our friends and family about how cheerful and hopeful they are, and how they represent the time Jesus was in the tomb, dead, and yet waiting for his coming resurrection, when he would demonstrate how he has conquered sin and death, and offers the hope of this resurrection to all who will trust in Him.

Friday, 2 April 2021

What's it got to do with Easter? Part 5: Good Friday


It’s Good Friday. But what exactly is good about it? 

Well if you’re lucky, an extra day off work might make you think it’s pretty good, but when we think about what happened on good Friday, why on earth isn’t it called bad Friday, or black Friday? (and not the shopping type!). 

The Friday before Easter Sunday is the day on which Jesus was crucified. Falsely accused, given a sham trial, and then mocked, whipped and crucified. Not sounding good. 

For 6 hours he hung on the cross, for 3 of those hours the sky went dark, and then Jesus died. The disciples believed this was it. Their leader, their Lord, dead. 

Not a good day.

But, the cross wasn’t a mistake. Jesus hadn’t lost control of the situation, this was the way it had to be. God takes sin seriously, and this was the only way that we could be brought back into relationship with him. 
The sacrifice of animals was only ever a temporary solution, but the sacrifice of Jesus is a permanent one. Once, and for all.
 This is why it’s Good! Without this day, without Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, we could never approach God, as we have all done wrong things, we’ve all sinned. So the best news for us is that Jesus has made it possible for us to have forgiveness, and an eternal relationship with God. That means it’s not just a good day, it’s an amazing day!

Have you thanked Jesus for his sacrifice? Have you come to him and asked for forgiveness? Make this good Friday the best ever by coming to Him today.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

What's it got to do with Easter? Part 4: Hot Cross Buns

My husband loves hot cross buns. Every year at the first sign of them in the supermarket we buy a few packs, ready to be replenished at every opportunity. There is something indulgent about a hot toasted bun with a good helping of butter. But what have they got to do with Easter? There are a variety of explanations for the origin of the hot cross bun.

Some believe they have pagan origins, with the cross signifying the four seasons, or 4 quarters of the moon.
Others believe their origin is distinctly Christian, with the cross literally representing the cross of Christ.
Records from the 14th century describe a monk who distributed them, and by the 1800’s it was almost considered a religious duty to eat them to mark Good Friday!
But in 2021, what meaning can we take from them?
It’s true many people will eat them as they would any other baked food, simply because they’re delicious, and not for any religious or other significance.
As Christians we can take the opportunity they afford us to discuss the symbolism: The white cross symbolising the pure and sinless Christ who went to the cross for our sins. The spice can be said to reflect the spices which were taken on Easter Sunday to the tomb, ready to anoint Jesus’ body, although he had risen and the tomb was now empty.
So the next time you have a hot cross bun, as well and enjoying their deliciousness, think about how they can remind us of the forgiveness we can have through Jesus’ death on the cross, and the hope of eternal life through our resurrected saviour.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

What's it got to do with Easter? Part 3: Chocolate


Which came first, the chocolate or the egg?

 Well in this case definitely the egg! Eggs had been used for hundreds of years as a symbol of Easter, starting out as real eggs, then being a paper mache shell in which you could hide a gift, and finally a confection.

 The first chocolate eggs appeared in France and Germany in the 19th Century, but they were bitter and hard. Cadbury’s first chocolate egg was made in1875 and they very quickly became popular and remain a favourite tradition with chocolate-lovers today. But over the last 50 years we weren’t content with just having chocolate eggs, and so all sorts of chocolate shapes are now given at Easter time. You can get a chocolate bunny, dinosaur, sloth or unicorn, chocolates of every size and design. 10% of the chocolate produced each year is given at Easter. But what has this got to do with Jesus?

For those who choose to fast during Lent chocolate is often one of the rich indulgent dairy items that is off limits, meaning that when Easter Sunday arrives people are excited to once again treat themselves.

For those who don’t fast during Lent, Easter Sunday is still a feast day in celebration of Christ’s resurrection, and the giving of celebratory chocolate is one way of marking this. 

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

What's it got to do with Easter? Part 2 -Eggs


What's it got to do with Easter? Part 2: Eggs

A lot of us may associate eggs with Easter. Chocolate eggs, or decorated eggs, but where does the link between eggs and Easter originally come from?
There are a couple of different theories depending on who you ask. Some will say eggs are the pagan symbol of fertility, and so in spring time, which falls around the same time as Easter, eggs were celebrated. Then others will say that the tradition of eggs at Easter is due to them traditionally being forbidden during lent (along with all meat and dairy). Obviously, hens don’t adhere to lent and will keep laying eggs, so some would be nested and little chicks be born, and then later in lent the eggs would be hard boiled and decorated ready to break the Lenten fast on Easter Sunday. Some were dyed with natural dyes and intricate patterns added, others more simply dyed red to symbolise Jesus’ blood, some with the words ‘Christ is Risen’. Chocolate eggs have only been around for around 150 years, but for hundreds of years eggs (the real kind, not chocolate) were a symbol of easter Sunday.

Wherever this tradition did originate, how can we use it to focus on Jesus?
Well, eggs represent new life, and new life for us is secured in the death of Jesus on Good Friday. The shell is like the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid for 3 days, or even perhaps the egg can represent the stone, which was rolled away to allow Jesus, in his resurrected body to re-emerge into the world. Let’s celebrate this Easter, eat an egg or two (chocolate or otherwise!) and remember all that Jesus has done for us.

Monday, 29 March 2021

What's it got to do with Easter? Part 1: Bunnies

 I haven't posted here for such a long time, but I have thought a number of times I should come over. Not that I think anyone is particularly interested in what I have to say about anything, but on the off chance anyone is, I've decided to try and start posting again. My life has very few card making projects recently. In fact, most of my craft supplies are boxed up and in storage as we had hoped to move house in 2020. Alas, COVID 19 put paid to that idea! 

Baking has also been on a very sporadic basis, but I will try and do some posts on that theme soon!

I'm here today to start a series of posts about Easter!

I am super picky about Christian celebrations, and don't like to have them derailed by insignificant, or incorrect activities. So when I was approached by a lovely presenter at UCB 2 who I have done some previous segments for on the Nativity, I was excited to research the themes that are often highlighted at Easter. Bunnies, eggs, chocolate and the like!

So we start today with bunnies!

The story of the Easter Bunny is thought to have become common in the 19th Century, but writings from the mid 1600’s in Germany describe the tradition of a Hare (not a rabbit) who judged the children’s behaviour, bringing eggs to good children, like an Easter version of Santa. But why did he bring eggs? Rabbits don’t lay eggs after all, so it’s a good question!
It’s unclear if pagan traditions of celebrating fertility in the spring months led to this unlikely duo, or if the tradition of giving eggs linking back to the Lenten fasts overlapped.
Did you know in some parts of Switzerland Easter eggs are delivered by a cuckoo, and in parts of Germany by a fox?

So if the Easter bunny isn’t at all part of the true Easter story should Christians encourage it? With over a quarter of 8-15 year old children surveyed believing the bunny is part of the Easter story, it’s important what we teach our children, and be clear that the Easter bunny isn’t part of the true Easter story. That doesn’t mean we have to shun it completely, but, as with Christmas, we must keep the main thing the main thing. Chocolate, eggs and bunnies are fun, but nothing should take the place of Jesus, and the sacrifice he made.

Do let me know in the comments what your thoughts are about Easter bunnies, or what you choose to do to celebrate Easter!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Bible Journaling Colossians 3v12-14 with Free Traceable Template!

So this week I've been inspired by my quiet times to do an entry for Colossians 3v12-13. 

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselveswith compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 

 If I have a verse that stands out during my quiet time I write in my diary the verse and any images that come to mind.

I've already got an image in my head for the Armour of God like this but on a soldier, so I thought I'd adapt it and make it for me instead. (Yes the character is supposed to look a little bit like me!). To make the character like me I chose hair and clothes that reflect me (I'm rarely seen out of jeans and a hoodie!) and set about creating something.

My first step in the process was to google some images, and I wanted to find some simple faceless characters. Looking down through Google images I spotted one I liked the look of and I saved it for later. -As an aside, looking for images on Google is like looking for something in TKMaxx, you know there is bound to be something there that you're looking for, but it takes a bit of perseverance to find it!

Next I wanted some help in getting the proportions of a person right, so I Googled that too.

Next was how to draw a hoodie and jeans.
Just to be clear, I have no intrinsic ability to see something and then just put it down on paper. If I have an idea I Google it and then copy elements of lots of different things down until I get something I like. I trace things sometimes too. 

Once I'd got the things I needed I started to sketch out onto my grid paper the size of my margin so I knew the size I was working in. A simple HB pencil and a decent rubber are all you need. I fiddled with it until I was happy with it and then went over the design with a fine liner to make it easier to trace in my Bible. At this stage I decided I didn't like the feet and had to google cartoon trainers!

Deciding what to use to colour the image was my next dilemma. Would I use watercolours, or my newly discovered Caran Dache Neoart crayons, or maybe even some Promarkers. Had I been doing this on card I think I would have gone straight for the Promarkers, but I haven't tested my pro markers extensively yet. I've discovered they don't bleed if applied in a single layer over Matt Gel Medium, but to colour properly with them they need layering, and I'm not 100% sure if the Bible Paper can take that yet. The alternative is to trace onto some thin cardstock or paper and stick it in the margin instead. 
I decided to do a test sheet to check which of my fineliners and pens would smudge when I used alcohol markers or water colours and water based markers.
This is what I found

For the alcohol based pens (Promarkers for me) the best choice was the cheapest pen I own (you can get 5 fineliners for 79p at Home Bargains) followed by a sharpie, but for the water colours and water based pens (Mozart brush pens here) the best choice was either Sharpies or Tombow Calligraphy pen. As I'd decided to do watercolour I chose the Tombow to use in my bible.
I used my white Sakura gelly pen to add highlights and some interest to the background.

I decided when I was doing this that it would make a good template to use at my upcoming Bible Journaling event, so did a neat version to scan and print off. I thought you might like the option to use it too, so here's the Free Download!
Download Image

And once I'd done this I tried out my Promarkers too and made a bookmark!

I hope you like it, please leave a comment if you use it and link in a picture :)

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Testing Supplies in My Journaling Bible

As I said in my last post I've been Bible Journaling every Sunday night since January, and wanted to start blogging about it too. I've given up Facebook for Lent, so have found myself with a little bit more time and am hoping to get some of my pages up on here soon, along with the process I used to create them. I'm hoping I can show people that it really isn't that daunting to get started, and point people in the direction of my favourite supplies, youtube channels, and top tips!

I'm also in the process of helping plan an Introduction to Bible Journaling event over at 10ofthose in Leyland, which will give people a chance to look at the journaling bibles in the flesh and also have some work stations for people to give it a go. It's exciting, but a little intimidating too as I've only been doing this a short time myself!

Back to my first steps into Bible Journaling!

I'm a control freak. There, I said it. I am an information junkie too. When I start a new project I like to get AS MUCH information as I possibly can. Whether its planning a holiday and trawling Trip Advisor for ideas on where to stay, and what 'must see' attractions there are, or planning a lesson and googling the life out of the topic, I just like knowing stuff.
So when it came to starting Bible Journaling I wanted to get clued up as much as possible. I read as many Bible Journaling 101s as I could, watched Youtube Bible flip throughs, and decided the first essential thing I wanted to do was test out all my craft supplies. Over the years I've accumulated a wide variety of craft supplies relating to card making and paper crafting, and just general craftiness, so I wanted to see what would be okay to use in my Bible.

Things I wanted to test:




Stamping inks

So I set about systematically testing these at the back of my new journaling bible in the Bible Reading Plan pages. I would be looking for ghosting, or bleeding through the pages.

Now bibles are not your everyday book pages. They are very thin, mainly to reduce the thickness of the bibles we carry around. The paper used in Bibles weighs around 40-50 gsm, compared to photocopier paper which is 80gsm, or lightweight card being 160gsm, so you can see its very thin! This does mean that the bible text, or indeed anything your put on the paper, may show through to the other side. I'll refer to this as ghosting, where you can see a faint image through the page.
This is inevitable when the paper is so thin, and is accepted throughout the world for Bibles. As long as it does not distract from the words being read it is fine.
So we will consider ghosting an acceptable outcome of Bible Journaling.

What I consider to be unacceptable is bleeding. This is when the ink/paint actually soaks through the paper to the other side, and is unsightly and distracting. I wanted to whittle out any of my supplies which would bleed through, as this was a definite no-no for me.

This is what I found.

This is the front of the page I was testing on

And this is what you can see on the back of the same page.

Letraset Promarkers - These bleed straight through the page, do not use unless page prepared
Letraset Aqua Markers - With a single layer they ghost, but a second or third layer will bleed
Mozart Brush Pens - These bleed through
CalliCreative Italic Pens - These bleed through
Sharpies- Fine Line and standard - These bleed through
Calli Metalic Pens - Ghost through
Derwent Graphic Fine Line pens 0.05-0.8 - Finer points ghost through, thicker tips bleed in places
Tombow Brush Pen - Ghost through
White Calli Italic - Not visible
Highlighters - Bleed through on the edges

So does that mean I have to throw out all my lovely pens??? NO! You just need to spend a little time (and money!) preparing your pages if you're going to use them. I've been using Windsor & Newton Acrylic Matt Gel Medium, but a lot of people like to use Clear Gesso (I already had the matt gel medium, so I thought I'd try that first!).
Here's what the back of the page looks like when you prep it first!!

When Acrylic Matt Gel Medium is used all the pens that bled through (including the pro markers!) didn't bleed through at all, although they do still ghost. One thing to consider though is that any ink you place on top of the medium will not soak into the page (which is good!) but that means they sit on the surface and take longer to dry, meaning if you're not careful you might smudge them (which is bad!). The colours are also a little less vibrant too.

Stabilo Chalk Pastel Colouring Pencils - Light ghosting, more obvious if activated with water
Derwent Studio Pencils - Not visible unless activated with water, and then they ghost through
Standard Childrens Pencils - Not visible
What you might notice is the difference in pigmentation between the cheap basic children colouring pencils and the Derwent Studio artists pencils. The Stabile CarbOthello chalk pastel water soluble pencils are even more strongly pigmented. So although you can use any pencils in your bible, you do in some respects get what you pay for.

Watercolour paints - Ghost through
Acrylic Paints - Ghost through

The acrylics go on really well with a credit card or old store card, and if you put it on in this way you can still read through the paint. However, the green and blue colours I have were a bit grainy, and too dark for my liking, as they make it quite hard to read the text, so personally I would definitely limit the use of these colours to the margins. What is brilliant though is how vibrant the colours are, and they don't bleed through, although as you can see they do ghost through. Also if you write or stamp over the acrylic it doesn't show through either!

Memento Inks - Tuxedo black, Lady Bug red, - Bleed through
Tim Holtz Distress inks - Cracked Sapphire, Barn Door, Bundled Sage, Peacock Feathers
If stamped they bleed, if used on a sponge then they are a thin enough layer to just ghost
Archival Ink - Jet Black - Bleeds
Whispers Archival - Starry Night - Bleeds
Adirondack - Denim - Bleeds

This is the back and front of the same page when I was testing out the stamps.

Most of these inks do not bleed if you stamp off excess ink before then doing your second stamp on the page, but ideally prep your page. They also won't bleed through if you use a medium to prepare your page first or stamp over acrylic paint, but they will still ghost.

This is what I've found so far, I'll update when I try new supplies or new techniques!

Next time I want to talk about Faux-ligraphy and fonts!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Long time...

Wow, time really flies. I really can't believe its been almost two years since my last post! Rest assured I've not stopped crafting, but the time and inclination to blog just wasn't there. So what, may you ask, has changed?

Well for Christmas I got my first journalling bible, and I'm trying to do one page a week in it.
Here's the cover of my lovely Crossway journaling bible. Its a double column with 2" ruled margins.

Ultimately its to help encourage me to spend more time studying the bible, as following the birth of #3 I was just finding it really hard to find time. But then again, I managed to find time for Netflix and other stuff, I just wasn't prioritising my bible :( I'd begun to see Journaling bibles at 10ofthose and wondered what it was all about. A couple of friends had them and occasionally posted pictures of what they'd created. I quickly set up a Pinterest for inspiration and decided that this Christmas and Birthday would be all about the bible journaling! I ordered my gorgeous Bible and a few extra crafting bits (you can never have too many pens, right?!).
I'm studying Warren Weirsbe's Pause for Power in my quiet times

 and either choose a verse that has stood out to me, or one from our Sunday service, and since January have been setting aside Sunday evening to journal. I read lots of helpful blogs and youtube videos about getting started (you can see these on my Pinterest board) and the main thing I know I will battle against is not trying to make them perfect or let it be about showing off what I've done. I'm going to try and post a blog every week showing how I've created my pages. Journaling shouldn't be daunting, and don't be put off if you aren't artistic. I want to share some of the things I've learned (and I'm sure some disasters I'll have along the way!) and the way I approach journaling a verse or phrase. I hope you enjoy it and find inspiration. I may even get inspired to post some of the other projects I've done over the past 2 years!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

The day after the week before

So we made it. We lived for £1 each a day for 5 days. James has said he found it much easier this year because he didn't have a caffeine headache all week. We did have some food left over, which will not go to waste.

700g flour - 21p
approx 40 tea bags - 17p
4 packs of crisps - 22p
1 portion of pancake batter - 8p
2 Custard creams - 2p
3 slices of bread - 9p
1/3 of the squash - 14p
1/3 jar of jam - 10p
1 banana (which I missed off the picture) - 10p
2 small portions of special fried rice - 36p

So we had £1.49 worth of food left. That might sounds impressive, but Joey had school dinners this week (I gave him the option of doing LBTL for his lunch, and initially he said he would because that's what poor people would do, but as school dinners in this country are free for KS1 pupils I told him even poor people would get a free lunch in his class, so he said he would keep having school dinners. He is only 5) so, most of this food would have been in Monkeys lunch, and we would have had the fried rice earlier in the week and had the leftovers for lunch one day, freeing up some bread for monkeys jam sandwiches!

So what did we eat the day after living below the line?
Well we didn't splurge and go mad. We had cereal and toast for breakfast (my toast was dripping in butter though, the one thing I've really missed all week!), then we did go to McDonalds for lunch, but that was because Monkey won Star of the Week at school, and I've been promising him a treat when that happened. Dinner was steak and chips, the steak was from the reduced section in Asda though ;)

Living Below the Line does have an effect on the way you shop. When I went to Aldi to do my normal shop I did keep thinking "we couldn't afford this last week", but was struck by how fortunate we are that, although I am careful and watch what we spend, I never have to keep tally as I go round to make sure I can afford what's in the trolley like last week, unlike many.

If you've been inspired by our week Living Below the Line perhaps you could do it next year? Could you go without a coffee or snack this week and donate the money to help those in poverty? We'll be donating the money we saved from our usual shopping, but more than that we've come away from this week with a renewed sense of compassion for those living in poverty, wherever they are in the world.
Donations can be made through the website below.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Live Below the Line 2015 - Day 5!

So as I write this I've just eaten my last bit of food for the day and will shortly be off to bed, and will wake up to many more options and choice in the food department. Today has been a great food day (we tend to keep the best until last in case morale is low!). Monkey started the day with Cocoa rice. He's been getting involved this week and helping weigh out the cereal and milk, which is not only important in keeping tabs on the price per day, but also so we didn't run out of things that we were having every day. Here's a picture of him weighing it out! (I'm teaching him some good maths skills too!)

For me, breakfast was a sausage and egg sandwich. Ideally this would have had butter and a dash of brown sauce, but it still tasted lovely!

Today was the day of the value sausages, here are 9 saver sausages, sizzling in a pan. Me and James had 2 each in our sandwich, and the other 5 were to be chopped into our special fried rice for tea.

Lunch was soup as usual, which I've enjoyed each day, but I think James was pretty bored with it, so didn't have his today.

For tea, as I've mentioned we had special fried rice. This has to be one of my favourite low cost meals, which we do actually have quite regularly even when not living below the line, but with left over chicken.

Special Fried Rice - Serves 4 - 25p a portion
500g rice - cooked and cooled
1 chopped onion
2 mushrooms
2 stock cubes (ours were beef, but any will do)
1 tsp curry powder
250g frozen vegetables
5 cooked sausages, sliced.
2 eggs, whisked

1. Use 1 tsp oil (or I used the sausage fat) and fry the onion for 2-3 minutes, then add the chopped mushroom and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
2. Add the frozen veg and the stock cubes and cook for 4 minutes until everything is warm and sizzling.
3. Push to the side of the pan to make room to cook the eggs in the centre, whisking to make like scrambled eggs.
4. Add the rice and mix all the other ingredients together.
5. Sprinkle the curry powder over the rice mix and then season with salt and pepper.
6. Leave the rice to almost catch on the pan to give it a lovely crunchy texture.
7. When it's almost done add the sausages to warm through.
8. Serve!

So the total for today...drum roll...

Breakfast - Sausage and egg sandwich - 30p
Lunch - Soup and 2 slices toast - 16p
Tea - Fried Rice - 25p
Snacks - 3 custard creams, pack of crisps and banana - 18p

Total - 89p

James and Joey had pancakes for pudding, and I had enough money in my £1 to have them, but I was so full from the fried rice I didn't have any.

I'm going to post again tomorrow with what we had left at the end of the week, and any final thoughts, but for today I'll say good night!