Tickell Expressions

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Advent Day 1

Dear Friends,

Today marks the beginning of the season of Advent - the anticipation of and preparation for the coming of our Messiah. Yes, we celebrate that he already came in the flesh to reconcile us to relationship with the Father and to free us from slavery to sin. But we also wait for his return when every eye will look upon him, the glorious King of all kings. With shouts of joy HE will come in the clouds, just as he ascended into the clouds. (Acts 1:9-11) Then HE will deliver the earth from the very presence of sin and its consequences - pain, disease, war, cruelty, famine, every kind of pestilence and, yes, even death. Oh, what a day that will be!
Mary Brack wrote the devotional for Advent Day One at His Kingdom Come. We will have daily devotionals and artwork, created by HKC members, leading right up to Christmas Day. I hope you will join us.

Diane Marra provided word art (numbers and the words HOPE, JOY, PEACE & LOVE) to participating members. I have used some of those in my journal pages for Advent Day One.
I glued HOPE, PEACE & JOY to the back of my journal cover and doodled with a gold gel pen.
I used old Christmas cards for the pages in my Advent Journal. I affixed the number in the top left corner and the word LOVE over the ornament. The sentiment on the card says, "The Christmas story is a love story".
I traced around the number, word and ornament with my gold gel pen.
This is almost my first year to observe Advent. Let me explain why I say "almost".

When my boys were very little, we went through a time of upheaval, violence and fear. We were even homeless for a month. At only one and three years old, my sons knew what it was to be truly hungry. I can't describe how it felt as a mother to look into the faces of my crying babies and tell them I had nothing to feed them. It ripped me apart.

But by Christmas time we were in my hometown and set up in a very modest furnished apartment. We ate bean soup most days, but we did not go hungry. The source of the violence and fear was gone from our lives and I had a little money. I bought a little 2 1/2 foot tree, a string of lights, some curling ribbon and a wooden ornament kit. I asked my father to save me his match boxes. I wrapped them like gifts and hung them on the tree. I painted the ornaments and tied curling ribbon to the branches. I also bought a small nativity set, which I have to this day.

I had never even heard the word Advent, but we did observe it. We made candles in jars - one for each of us and one for Jesus. Each night we turned on the tree lights and lit the candles. We always lit the Jesus candle first. We sang Christmas songs, including "Oh Christmas Tree". Then we blew out the candles - the Jesus candle last - and I put the boys to bed on the fold-down sofa in their room.

It was a beautiful, magical time and I was filled with gratitude for every blessing I had in my life, especially my darling little boys and the safety that we now knew.

This Advent season my heart goes out to those who have known sorrow and suffering this past year. I invite you into this time of Advent. There is hope for you and there is peace available too. Most of all there is LOVE. Embrace that love whose name is Jesus. And some bright day - oh what a day! - joy will come too.

Blessing hugs,

Sunday's Little Blessing - Eagle

Hello Friends,

This week I drew an eagle for you. I referenced a photo from Pepino (Image Galleries - The Eagle & The Owl) at Paint My Photo.
Last week I made an offer that anyone who coloured up one of my images and let me post it here could choose an image she would like me to draw. I would like to extend that offer to Christmas Day as my special gift to you.

Thanks for dropping in and a very big thank you for those who take the time to comment.

Blessing hugs,

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Advent Journal

Hello Friends,

I have never paid much attention to Advent. I basically thought it was something about a Santa Claus calendar with pop-out chocolates to keep kids from driving you crazy asking, "Is it Christmas yet?"

This year I am looking forward to exploring the true meaning of Advent. I don't know what that is yet, but I think it means drawing close to Jesus in anticipation of.... what remains to be seen. I hope you will join me in this journey, which begins this Sunday, November 29, 2015 and continues to December 25 - Christmas Day. I can't promise to post every day, but I will try. The Advent posts at His Kingdom Come will surely help me along this wonderful journey.

In the meantime, here are some pics of my 2015 Advent journal, my first ever of its kind. I up-cycled a Kellogg's Bran Bar box (I eat a lot of those) for my cover. The picture and gold arch were clipped from used Christmas cards.
The front side of the spine cracked in one spot and I needed something to cover it up. I tried different things and finally decided on tying some jute twine around and into a bow. I really think it completes the design - serendipity for sure.
The most wonderful thing about mixed media is you just keep working it until it works out. I started with a coat of white Gesso to give to smooth box board tooth, then let it dry. Next I plopped on globs of acrylic paint - Liquitex Phthalocyanine Green, Primary Yellow and Artist's Loft Deep Red - and smooshed (technical term - wink) it around with a palette knife. As an afterthought, I tossed on some Spackle and mixed that in too. Then I pressed my Sizzix poinsettia embossing folder into the mess a few times and let it dry. The result was some nice texture, but a bit too dark for my taste. That is when I got out my gel medium mixed with gold mica powder. I dry-brushed it on with a Plaid Scruffy and it sprung to life. Here is the back of the journal, where you can really see all of the colour and texture. I love it.
I used a scrap of Christmas ribbon (on a gift last year) to make a bookmark for my journal.
And wrote Advent 2015 with my gold gel pen.
For the inside of my journal I used old Christmas cards. The front and back of the cover is 4 1/2 " by 5 1/2". I cut my Christmas card pages to 4 1/4" by 5 1/4".
Some of the cards have personal, hand-written messages on them, like one from my sister who passed away in 2009. 
Many of them have beautiful artwork to inspire me as I write about each devotional thought throughout the 27 days of Advent.
One card had a matching envelope. I cut it down and reassembled it to match the page size and then inserted a tag that I had cut from another Christmas card, which was smaller than my standard size.

Thank you for visiting my blog today. I hope you will join me on my Advent journey, starting this Sunday, November 29. Sunday's Art Reflection posts will be on hold until the New Year, but I will continue with my Sunday's Little Blessing posts with free images each week.

Blessing hugs,

Shopping our Stash - no stamping
Word Art Wednesday - ATG (anything goes)
CAS-ual Chic - Precious Metals
Creative Artiste - mixed media
Daring Card makers - anything but a card
Fun with Shapes - Advent
The Outlawz Twisted Thursday - ATG

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sunday's Little Blessing - Requested Image

Hello Friends,

The other day (on my other blog) I posted a beautiful card made by my fellow blogger and friend, NanaConnie, using last week's image. I was so thrilled I told her she could pick an image she would like me to draw. It was a challenging one, but I knew she was cheering me on and I didn't want to let her down. NanaConnie asked me to draw a deer or an elk; something she could use on her masculine cards.

I found a picture of a stag and drew it, but this is not just any stag. This is a reindeer! So NanaConnie, you can even use this on your masculine Christmas cards. Thanks for the challenge, dear one. I hope you like it.
 I just happened to read the book of Habakkuk the day before I drew this. (That sounds impressive, unless you know that Habakkuk has only three little chapters.) I thought this verse went very well with this image.

I might regret this, but I am going to make you an offer. If you make something with one of my images (you have to colour it), I will post your creation and you can ask me to make a specific image for you.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday.

Blessing hugs,

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Sunday's Art Reflection - There is a River

Hello Friends,

Today's art reflection was done in July of 2009 with chalk pastels. I don't remember what I was thinking when I drew this. The scripture I added was Psalm 46:4.

"There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High."
What does it make you think of? Does it inspire you in some way? I would love to hear your thoughts on this piece.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I appreciate your visit and look forward to reading your comments. As always, I wish for you to know that:
Blessing hugs,

Sunday's Little Blessing - Skunk

Hello Friends,

This week we had a cute little free-loader evicted from our property. She was in a trap when I saw her, but I did get a good look at her big pink nose and bright little eyes as she responded to my voice. I wanted to get a photo, but she was whisked away to be released before I made it outside with my camera.

Of course, you know I had to draw a skunk after that. There is already a lot of detail in this drawing, but I hope you can use it anyway. You can certainly colour her pink nose and the log she is leaning on or you could use the B&W as is.

Thanks for visiting my blog. My images are free, but your sweet comments make me feel like I am getting paid.

Blessing hugs,

Monday, 9 November 2015


Hello Friends,

I made a printable, using one of my paintings, of yesterday's word art.


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sunday's Little Blessing - Word Art

Hello Friends,

I hope this little quote of mine will bless you today and perhaps you can even use it in your own art and craft projects.

Blessing hugs,

Sunday's Art Reflection - Pit of Despair?

Hello Friends,

Today's intuitive mixed media piece was done in July of 2008, but I didn't receive the interpretation of it until recently.

This was done at a dark, confusing time of my life that got much worse before it started to get better. I felt that I was being plunged into a deep pit where despair was pummeling my faint and dying hope. A few years ago a friend prophesied to me (a message from God) that I had been in a cocoon, but I was about to break free and spread my wings - the wings of a beautiful butterfly. In the last couple of years I do feel that I have been given new wings in areas of ministry, creativity and a stronger sense of identity than I have ever before known.

My identity used to be in the things I did. If I felt I was good at something I felt good about myself. I had labels - name tags of occupations or skills - to give me a sense of worth. It took having everything stripped away from me, being so weak and debilitated that I could barely even make myself a cup of tea, before I could begin to understand that my value has nothing to do with my skills, talents or appearance. My utmost worth is that I am a child of God, bought by the precious blood of Christ. When I have bad days where I can do nothing but sit on the couch, I am every bit as valuable as when I can teach a class, write a novel or do a good painting. I used to know that in my head, but I know it now to my very bones.
Recently I watched the 2015 Disney movie "Cinderella". I watched it twice. When Ella is first given the cruel name "Cinder-Ella" she is devastated. The narrator says, "They made her into a creature of ash and toil." So it is surprising, when she knows she is finally free from the tyranny of her oppressors, that she proudly introduces herself to the prince as Cinderella. But should it be surprising? The ashes and toil played their part in making Ella into the woman her mother desired she would become - courageous and kind Cinderella.

My dark times, the times I thought I would never rise above, were not a pit of deep despair. Those years were a cocoon and, though I often felt abandoned, I was never alone. I can see that now, as I reflect on those times.

I added a tip-in tag to my page. On the back I printed Psalm 139, verses 7-12 in the New Living Translation:

I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your Presence!
If I go up to Heaven, you are there.
If I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night --
but even in the darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.

And a little verse I wrote myself for the front of the tag:
Twas only a cocoon
I thought a pit of despair
But even in its darkest depths
I know now you were there.

Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I wish with all of my heart that you would know the great depths of Christ's love for you and that when you look in the mirror you would see that you are a marvelous, beautiful creation of that love. Yes, dear one:

You are beautiful and you are loved.

Blessing hugs,

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Week 43: Bible Art Journaling Challenge

Hello Friends,

Last week Rebekah Jones showed a wonderful technique for drawing and painting autumn leaves. The scripture focus of Week 43 was Ecclesiastes 3. "For everything there is a season..."

Rebekah so inspired me I went for a walk, praying and gathering leaves, as well as some other autumnal findings. At home, I put on some instrumental music as I worked on my page, using water colour pencils and Prisma colour pencils.
Then I got out my Sharpie pens and started by writing "To everything there is a season" and "There is a purpose" at the top of my page.
I started writing around the leaves as thoughts occurred to me. When I get thoughts like this I assume they are coming from the Lord. Since I have invited Jesus into my creative worship time, I let them flow unhindered. Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice." (John 10:27) so I am confident that I would know if something didn't sound right.
I sensed Holy Spirit was telling me to discern the time (of life) that I am in now and that it is a time of harvest. As with the beginning of any harvest season, the pickings are small at the start and can be easily overlooked by an inexperienced gardener. I used to have a couple of rhubarb plants in my backyard in Ontario, but I rarely got out early enough to catch the first gleaning. I wonder how many other blessings in my life I may have missed out on simply because I have not been alert.
The funny oblong seeds from our maple tree are called keys. I don't want to miss any of the good things God has for me and I think the key is to be thankful and alert. When the Israelites were freed from their slavery in Egypt (Exodus) they went into a time of divine provision in the wilderness. Instead of being thankful for supernatural provision, they grumbled about their lack. We have been without a vehicle since May, but the Lord has provided rides or borrowed vehicles, mostly through our neighbours, for us to get wherever we need to go. Lately I have been feeling rather angst that I can't just go out for a drive or take a trip to the craft store (45 minutes away) just for fun. But the truth is, the Lord is providing for all of our transportation needs; just maybe not all of our wants. So I keep thanking him and believing that we are only at the beginning of our harvest of the very good things he has in store for us.
What season are you in at this time in your life? There are seasons of mourning, but there are also seasons of joy. Sometimes it takes the Lord's discernment to realize when one season is over and another has begun. It is not always obvious.

If you grew up in the 60s you might remember this song by The Byrds. Did you know it is right out of Ecclesiastes 3? Enjoy!
Blessing hugs,

Art Journal Journey - autumn colours
Word Art Wednesday - anything goes
Simon Says Wednesday challenge - anything goes
Rhedd's Creative Spirit - mixed media
Scrappy Hands - Autumn
That Craft Place - mixed media
Love to Create - mixed media
Dragonfly Dreams - Autumn

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Sunday's Little Blessing - wing

Hello Friends,

Here is today's new image. We have a new printer/fax/scanner and the image did not turn out as detailed as it is IRL. I added more detail (twice) before realizing that I could change the scan settings to pick up fine detail. Unfortunately, I ruined my original drawing, but I will know how to scan my drawings in the future.

I hope you like this wing and can use it in your art.

Blessing hugs,

Sunday's Art Reflection - Reborn

Hello Friends,

I am back with another art reflection from my very first art journal. This drawing was done in February of 2009, in response to my sister's passing. The face was done with Prisma pencils. I got a bit too fussy with the lips and damaged the paper a bit, unfortunately. The face actually does NOT look like my sister, but only a representation of her.
Cathy was reconciled to God through his son, Jesus Christ, just hours before passing on February 24, 2009. I sang "Amazing Grace" to her and she tried to sing along, tears streaming down her face. I will always be grateful that my Father allowed me to be with her and to lead her back to his arms. She went from fearful to peaceful in a moment's time. I look forward to seeing her again when we are reunited in our Father's kingdom.
The bird is an acrylic painting I did around the same time period. I cut it out from its original page and glued it above my drawing, signifying my sister's spirit being set free in a splendorous array of coloured feathers.
Thank you for visiting me today. My greatest hope for you is that you would know that you are beautiful in the eyes of your heavenly Father and that you are loved with his everlasting, ever-abiding love.

Blessing hugs,