Sunday, August 31, 2014

I'm a Blugold Now

Identities... We all have them, get caught up in them, try to change them, but one thing never changes.  No matter how much you may try, you will always have one. It's impossible to escape and it kind of stinks. What if I do not want to be the quiet one or the outgoing one or the funny one. What if I want to be all three or none of the above? Imagine a world where we all got to choose how everyone perceived us... It would be nice for every to look at me and see someone who enjoys a good competition but also happens to dress nicely. To be looked at as the nice Christian girl that is outgoing, but not labeled, therefore, as a prude. So many times I find myself worrying about how to phrase things so that I do not give away certain facts about myself. Or do you ever catch yourself sort of talking up your own person? "Ya, I work out a lot. Oh I'm a biker, I've ridden in triathlons before. Here's one minute fact about my life that makes me cool and let's leave out the rest..." Why do we do that? It's like an innate need to make ourselves seem cooler.

But here is where it counts. Do you really think God created you to be one thing only? It says in 1 Corinthians 4:7, "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" God created each of us different. I have plenty of personality traits in common with family and friends and even strangers. What makes me and my identity unique is the combination of things that I am. I am a Christian. I am loving. I am artistic. I am outgoing. I am a traveler. And my being will always be transient. For now, I am a college student, a Blugold.  And some things I will never get the chance to be again. The youngest child. A kindergartener. A bible school student. Regardless of where I am in life, my identity will always be changing. There may be parts of it that I do not like or may try to hide, but I can find the basis of my identity in Christ. The rest just makes me, me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Here's to a New Adventure

College... I do not know if it is a dreaded, anticipated, or largely unexciting word but it always seems to come up right about the age of sixteen or seventeen. Then once you hit eighteen and you have researched, toured, and finally chosen a school the follow-up question hits the market. "What are you going to study?" Well I considered Canadian studies, floral management, auctioneering, but ironically landed on decision sciences. Not! I am going to college to study... yeah, I got nothing. The horrific title of "Undecided." Sure, I know I like art and I have narrowed the list to exclude all math and science related degrees, but that still does nothing to ease the panic of having to choose what I want to do for the rest of my life. Let's take a moment to let that phrase sink in... the rest of my life.

Now, I am not writing to give you all a panic attack or make you reconsider your major once you have already chosen, so I will get to the point. If I am human, I have likes and dislikes which I am aware of. Those will eliminate probably two thirds of the majors available. From there my hobbies and interests will eliminate a bunch more. Then I have the fields I find interesting left. But how do I go from a list to just one? I bet there are many ways I could mess up a decision like this. I bet I will mess it up at least a little bit. I bet I will choose then re-choose at least once. But even in this valley, there is hope for tomorrow because I have God lighting my way. No, I do not think God has or will give me a divine sign stating the major He intends me to pursue. In reality, I do not think it really matters to Him as much as I think it might. Do you want to know why? Because I think that all God really wants for me to pursue is Him. If that means making art or planning weddings or running a charity or advertising products, I think it does not really matter as long I am following Him first. The I am Second movement has a solid point. ( It does not matter if I am an athlete, musician, artist, business person, entrepreneur, doctor, or teacher. What matters is what I put first in my life. What a solid reality check. When I am working my summer job, it is not the kids I nanny that come before everything. When they are naughty, I have to remember to be patient and loving like Jesus was. When I am at school, it is not my studies that come first. I cannot have a clear mind to study if I am constantly thinking about things that are bothering me and not bringing them to God. When I am at home, family time does not trump God time. This one is hard, but I cannot be an example of a daughter or sister if I do not have the help of my Saviour. It seems like such a trivial thing to pursue God first because I am a Christian and that should be a given. But I will say it is my daily struggle and it will be until I join Him in eternity.

So, maybe for now I do not know if I will be an artist, event planner, writer, or charity worker. And maybe that does not matter so much. I will still worry about it, but it will all work out for His glory. So here's to a new adventure of pursuing God first and seeing what follows.

DIY Image Transfer

Hello all you crafty people out there! If you are reading this, then you are likely in a similar boat to me. I saw a cool pin on Pinterest advertising the ability to transfer my photos onto canvases and that they would look artsy and distressed. I thought to myself, "Cool! New project with a vintage feel AND the ability to save a few bucks on getting canvases printed for me." So ensued the adventure... I started with the transparency and gel medium method. It was a bust; the image came out streaked and unrecognisable. Next, I looked into a method posted on Instructables which was very time consuming so I decided to try out my own. In the end, this was the best way.

First, you need to gather your materials. You need:

  • acrylic gel medium (I used Liquitex gloss heavy gel)
  • paint brush
  • canvas
  • an image printed on printer paper
  • spoon

Next, apply a thin coat of gel medium onto your canvas. Make sure it is evenly spread by applying in an up and down motion, going back over with side to side and diagonal motions and then returning to the up and down motion. The next step should occur immediately following so the gel medium does not have time to dry.

Now, you will need your image to transfer. I chose three to transfer: a picture of my school in England, the Grand Canal in Venice, and a London bus. I printed them ahead of time on my standard printer from home on printer paper. Lay the paper ink-side down on the gel medium coated canvas. Now, take your spoon and rub (burnish) the paper. Be meticulous. Any area left un-burnished will not transfer. I spent a good 5 minutes burnishing. If you are not sure if it is ready, peel up a corner of the image to check. 

If the image is ready, peel the paper slowly back from the canvas. The result should be a slightly grainy looking image... perfectly vintage. Add embellishments such as sharpie text, fake flowers, lace, etc. after giving the image 24 hours to dry. Hang in groupings or alone for a handmade, one-of-a-kind decoration. 

The far left image was burnished for 3 minutes as opposed to 5. 
You can see the difference it makes in the overall effect.

I hope this was helpful, and if you have any questions or comments or pictures of your finished projects, please comment below. Thanks all and have a perfectly crafty day!