Journal Life: Morning Journaling

“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.” – Jen Williamson

As many of you know, I keep journals and notebooks. I’m constantly taking notes and writing my thoughts or things I’ve learned or want to remember. There are many types of journals and I enjoy exploring new ways in creating them. I find the more you journal, the more ways you discover new techniques and ways to use them. I’d have to say that journaling is a very important part of my life and it has helped me develop new ways in expressing my thoughts and feelings better.

For the last eight weeks, I guess it was, I shared a morning journal on Instagram that I made out of small envelopes. Small index cards I used for journal cards, fit perfectly in the pockets. Each week I decorated a new page and each pocket represents a week’s worth of journaling. Despite it only had six pockets, I managed eight weeks because of the decorating… I use a ribbon to keep the journal closed when I’m not using it. I’m surprised how sturdy it is and the compactness of how the envelopes ended up with all the ephemera and journal cards I added. The envelopes are from the Dollar Tree. I believe there was forty to the pack and the brand is Mead.

My morning journals consist of my morning thoughts, encouraging words, prayers and things I want to get done for the day. I’m pleased with how this one turned out and will be using this style of journaling more often. Do you use a morning journal? How has it impacted your life?

There are a lot more images of the journal on my Instagram! Be sure to follow my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art Gallery here at Layered Pages!

My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged. 

Stephanie Hopkins

Cover Crush: A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari

A Saffron Everleigh Mystery

Pub Date Jun 7, 2022

About the Cover: This cover is really pleasing to the eye. The vibrant colors of the background, bottle and flowers add that extra spark to the overall layout. Often times, artists describe vibrant art as meaning pure, energetic and radiant. Quite the contrast to this novels premise. Though, I dare say, the most beautiful objects can be deadly.

About the Book: I love a good period mystery and what a great premise for a story! Imagine yourself alongside Saffron Everleigh, working to uncover the murderer and in the throes of intrigue and mystery.

Stephanie Hopkins

Description

London, 1923.  Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh attends a dinner party for the University College of London. While she expects to engage in conversations about the university’s large expedition to the Amazon, she doesn’t expect Mrs. Henry, one of the professors’ wives to drop to the floor, poisoned by an unknown toxin.
 
Dr. Maxwell, Saffron’s mentor, is the main suspect, having had an explosive argument with Dr. Henry a few days prior. As evidence mounts against Dr. Maxwell and the expedition’s departure draws nearer, Saffron realizes if she wants her mentor’s name cleared, she’ll have to do it herself.

Joined by enigmatic Alexander Ashton, a fellow researcher, Saffron uses her knowledge of botany as she explores steamy greenhouses, dark gardens, and deadly poisons. Will she be able to uncover the truth or will her investigation land her on the murderer’s list? 

Thrift Finds Wish-List: Botanical and Wildlife Books

As an avid journal maker and crafter, I’m always on the lookout for a collection of books with illustrations I can use to craft with. The best way to build your collection is to explore thrift stores, estate sales, yearly book sales at your local libraries and yard sales. When looking for particular books, one is not always successful but every once in a while, you can hit the jack pot.

There are quite a few botanical and wildlife books that have been on my wish-list and alas, I haven’t been actively searching for them, nor have I visited a thrift stores of late and want to remedy that. The hunt alone is thrilling and makes the experience more precious when you come across something you’ve been looking for.

Today, I’m sharing selected works I’m wanting to acquire and my wish is that you will find yourself inspired to search for these books to add to your collection. -Stephanie Hopkins

The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

This entirely new diary is composed in a similar style to the Country Diary, with Edith Holden’s thoughts, anecdotes, and writings interspersed with poetry, mottoes, and her exquisite watercolor paintings of flowers, plants, birds, butterflies and landscape scenes.

The Illustrated Book of Wild Flowers by Zdenka Podhajská, Květoslav Hísek (Illustrator)

A facsimile reproduction of a naturalist’s diary for the year 1906. Edith Holden recorded in words and paintings the flora and fauna of the British countryside through the changing seasons of the year. Edith Holden’s words, all carefully written by hand, include her favorite poems, personal thoughts and observations on the wildlife she saw surrounding her home in Warwickshire, and on her travels through England and Scotland. The exquisitely beautiful paintings on every page of birds, butterflies, bees and flowers, reflects her deep love of nature; they have been executed with a naturalist’s eye for detail and the sensitivity of an artist.

The Spotters Guide to Healing Plants by Jindrich Krejca

It is not the object of this book to present a complete morphology of plants, for which see a botanical dictionary. Here we present only a selection of medicinal plants – most of them flowering plants – and true-to-life color illustrations of them.

A Garden Eden Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration by H. Walter Lack

In pursuit of both knowledge and delight, the craft of botanical illustration has always required not only meticulous draftsmanship but also a rigorous scientific understanding. This new edition of a TASCHEN classic celebrates the botanical tradition and talents with a selection of outstanding works from the National Library of Vienna, including many new images.

From Byzantine manuscripts right through to 19th-century masterpieces, through peonies, callas, and chrysanthemums, these exquisite reproductions dazzle in their accuracy and their aesthetics. Whether in gently furled leaves, precisely textured fruits, or the sheer beauty and variety of colors, we celebrate an art form as tender as it is precise, and ever more resonant amid our growing awareness of our ecological surroundings and the preciousness of natural flora.

Basilius Besler’s Florilegium: The Book of Plants by Klaus Walter Littger

A magnificent pictorial document of the flowers grown in the greatest German garden of its time, the Hortus Eystettensis is in a class of its own when it comes to the range of flowers engraved.

First published in 1613, the 367 copperplate engravings by Basilius Besler (1561–1629) capture the spectacular diversity of the palatial gardens of Prince-Bishop Johann Konrad von Gemmingen (1593/95–1612) in Eichstätt, Bavaria, Germany. The meticulous illustrations are organized according to the four seasons, and, following the classification system used today, show plants belonging to a total of 90 families and covering 340 genera. The whole collection is regarded as one of the finest treasures of botanical literature; it was described by Carl Linnaeus, the legendary 18th-century botanist and zoologist, as an “incomparable work.”

Besler’s pictorial catalog long outlived the gardens, which were destroyed in 1634 by invading Swedish troops. In auction, the asking price for a first-edition copy of Hortus Eystettensis is now more than half a million dollars. With this edition, TASCHEN opens up the garden to a much wider audience: a rich and beautiful record, destined to keep the garden’s beauty in bloom.

Confessions of a Book Blogger: The Bigger Picture

I’m seeping into another reading slump. I’m losing my focus on the words. My frustrations are eating at me slowly and painfully. I’m restless in my reading, writing and feel a great loss in more ways than one. Yes, I still read great stories. Yes, there are still great stories being told but it is becoming too far in between. There is a shift in story-telling, in publishing and it is getting stronger. It is not just me that sees this. I hear it often behind close doors from authors, vloggers, other bloggers and readers.

There are writers who don’t share the stories they really want to because they’re fearful of the fall out. Or they know their stories won’t be published. They know they will be cancelled, threaten and ruined. There are writers who push the damaging agenda that one group of people are the cause for everything wrong in society. All the while, other writers are being censored for writing the opposite and quite frankly for putting the problems we face in context. There is a reason for that and people aren’t looking at the bigger picture. Stories throughout history and today continue to go untold, rewritten or destroyed because it doesn’t fit in the mold by the powers that be.

I continue to see miss opportunities in stories that would make them truly masterful. I’m finding it harder and harder to relate to any characters and finding myself wanting to go back to stories I read long ago or that were published twenty and thirty, a hundred or more years earlier. My admiration for historical fiction and fiction in general are on life support. My joy for blogging is on life support.

People are being censored. People are being cancelled. People are diminishing the suffering of one to elevate the other. Human experiences and history are not being told in its full context. Society cultivates victimhood and diminishes responsibilities which leads to lack of self-improvement. Institutions perpetuates a narrative that is false and damaging to the human spirit and individualism. People are being divided and the gap is getting wider. I could go on…

I’m constantly torn with thoughts of giving up book blogging or blogging all together. Though every time I come close, a voice inside me tells me to stop. To not give in because if I did, I would become like so many people who don’t speak up.

I refuse to live in a compliant, indoctrinated bubble. I refuse to give up discovering the next great story and to keep reminding myself we learn from the badly written told stories as well. I refuse to stop encouraging writers to not be fearful. I refuse to stop speaking up for the unspoken. I refuse to give up blogging. I will find my joy again. I will be my authentic self regardless of the naysayers. I will rally on and grow from this conflict.

Stephanie Hopkins

Book Review: The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman

About the book:

Mia Eliot has travelled from London to LA for pilot season. This is her big chance to make it as an actor in Hollywood, and she is ready to do whatever it takes. At an audition she meets Emily, and what starts as a simple favour takes a dark turn when Emily goes missing and Mia is the last person to see her.

Then a woman turns up, claiming to be Emily, but she is nothing like Mia remembers. Why would someone pretend to be Emily? Starting to question her own sanity, she goes on a desperate and dangerous search for answers, knowing something is very, very wrong.

My thoughts:

I must confess that this story took me a while to read and as I got closer to the conclusion, I was eager to push through. I have three minds about this book. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this book. I am not a fan of Hollywood and the corruptness is disgustingly appalling and in the resent years, they been have increasingly known to the public. Not only that, but the politically and socially motivated agenda pushed on the masses and the kind-of movies that are being made out lately…Yeah, I won’t delve further in that topic at present.

While I found the story starting to lag a bit and go on too much about details and my attention waned at times, there are a lot of well-written twisty and tensely moments throughout the story.

The situations Mia found herself in kept getting increasingly stranger and I began to think that everything happening to her was in her head or someone was seriously messing with her. I found it amusing that Mia in this book played the Jane Eyre part like Mia Wasikowska in real life. I did like how she was asking herself what would Jane Eyre do or act upon in dilemmas she found herself in.

I appreciated the author’s portrayal of LA and from what I heard about the area; she is spot on. Though, she was likely being tamed about the telling. Which, I’m happy with because that was partly why I was hesitate to read this book.

I was relieved to find the conclusion satisfying because I had my doubts. As a whole, The Disappearing Act is a clever story with fast-moving tension and sordid truths about the movie industry.

Stephanie Hopkins

I obtained a galley copy from the publishers through NetGalley for an honest review.

Good Time Coming by C.S. Harris

I want to share something with you about C.S. Harris’s story Good Time Coming. I still think about the story and my interview with her. I went over to Amazon so I can order a physical copy of her book to add to my collections of books I most admire. I read the reviews and I feel people are misunderstanding the story by saying it’s one-sided and this and that. It is far from that and she wrote a story that is rarely or if at all talked about. If these readers truly appreciated and studied history and were avid historical fiction readers of the period, they would know this. We need more stories about civilians’ experiences in the south. I also feel that she wasn’t conveying that all union soldiers are bad like what one reviewer stated. I did not get that impression at all when I read the book. I wish people would leave their modern-day sensibilities out of history so that they can truly learn history in its raw form. Harris beautifully and heart wrenchingly portrayed how horrible the war was for the women left unprotected, while their men and sons were off fighting and dying by the hundreds of thousands. Nothing wrong in giving a southern view of the experience. I wish people would be more objective and open to hearing all sides because you cannot learn or teach history without it. We need to take the good, the bad and ugly and discuss it openly without prejudice. To blame a wrong solely on a group of people is counterproductive and causes further divide. After-all, honest talk is only how we will learn human experiences and heal as a community. So please, stop bringing political correctness into everything. It is polarizing, damaging and complete utter nonsense!

“The army that marched against the South was the same army that perpetrated the massacres of Native American women and children at Sacramento River and Harvey and countless other sites, a well-understood reality that terrified Southern civilians.” – C.S. Harris

The link to my interview with C.S. Harris will give readers a better sense of what the author was conveying with Good Time Coming. I highly recommend reading the book and to read the interview in full. One of the best civil war related stories I’ve read and that says a lot because this period in our countries history, interest me the most.

-Stephanie

About the book:

It’s the beginning of the American Civil War, and the Union army is sailing down the Mississippi, leaving death and destruction in its wake.

The graceful river town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, has known little of the hardships, death, and destruction of the War. But with the fall of New Orleans, all changes. A Federal fleet appears on the Mississippi, and it isn’t long before the depredations and attacks begin.

For one Southern family the dark blue uniform of the Union army is not the only thing they fear. A young girl stops a vicious attack on her mother and the town must pull together to keep each other safe. But a cryptic message casts doubt amongst the townsfolk. Is there a traitor in the town and can anybody be trusted?

Twelve-year-old Amrie and her family have never felt entirely accepted by their neighbors, due to their vocal abolitionist beliefs. But when Federal forces lay siege to the nearby strongholds of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the women and children of St. Francisville find themselves living in a no mans land between two warring armies. Realizing they must overcome their differences and work together to survive, they soon discover strengths and abilities they never knew they possessed, and forge unexpected friendships.

As the violence in the area intensifies, Amrie comes to terms with her own capacity for violence and realizes that the capacity for evil exists within all of us. And when the discovery of a closely guarded secret brings the wrath of the Federal army down on St. Francisville, the women of St. Francisville, with whom Amrie and her mother have shared the war years many deprivations and traumas, now unite and risk their own lives to save them.

Mini Junk Journal: Part IV

Today is part four of my mini junk journal series. In this series you will discover ways to use recycled materials to make pretty journals without breaking the bank. It is possible to make pretty journals with junk!

I love taking things you would normally throw out and use them for my crafting projects. It’s a fun, creative, rewarding and a cheap way to craft. Junk Journals are books made through found objects, and recycled materials.

I have an insane amount of scrap paper from various craft projects. I’m constantly trying to use them up until there is nothing left to use instead of throwing them away. Well, I have way too many that are little bits of paper that have been recycled many times over. I collected a pile and say them on my desk to either create one more craft with them, or throw them away. I’ve been wanting to make little dollhouse journals for a very long time and thought the scraps would be perfect for this project! Sure enough, they were and these little journals turned out great!

I can’t not express enough how much these little books were fun and rewarding to make. The biggest challenge, will be to decorate the inside pages. This endeavor is a worthy one and will no doubt, show how creative one can be. I did, however, decorate a page on one of the journals to show you how they can look. Of course, there are thousands of ways to do this.

The trick is to fold the papers in half and join them together as a signature. Once you have done this, then you cut to size and added it to your journal cover. Then take paperclips to hold it together so you may start the binding process. I mostly used staples to bind the spin. Then added trim along the spin to cover the stable. Only two of the spins are bind with thread and are shown om my Instagram.

These little journals would make great gifts and they can be used for various reasons. Part five and the final post of this series will be a journal made out of junk mail, and plastic food wrappers and mail packaging!

Meanwhile, be sure to check out my other blog posts in this series. The direct links are provided below.   

Stephanie Hopkins

Mini Junk Journal: Part I

Mini Junk Journal: Part II

Mini Junk Journal: Part III

Check out my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art gallery here at Layered Pages! My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged.

(Images are subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie Hopkins.)

Cover Crush: A Flicker of Light by Katie Powner

About the Cover: I never tire of landscapes and I’m drawn to the calm and peaceful feel to this cover. The soft shades of colors and the girl facing the sun setting over the mountains evokes longing or a sense of renewal, and the landscape depicted gives you a sense of contemplation.

About the Book and Genre: I have read quite a few Christian fiction books since my early childhood and enjoyed a few of them despite my feelings towards the genre. I must confess, it is not my go-to read because more times than not, I find them cheesy, with weak dialogue, unrealistic to the human condition and often times, there is false sense of biblical teaching. Despite my misgivings of the genre, I’m curious about this story and what it has to offer to readers. I will be keeping my eye on this book and at some point, I might even give it a read. – Stephanie Hopkins

Description:

Pub Date 05 Oct 2021 by Bethany House

Christian Fiction

Secrets are like pennies. Everybody’s got one, even the poorest among us.

For generations, the Jensens have raised their families in the small Montana town of Moose Creek, where gossip spreads faster than the wind. Yet some secrets need to be told.

When twenty-one-year-old Bea discovers she’s pregnant on the heels of her husband losing his job, she’s forced to admit she needs help and asks her dad for a place to stay. But past resentments keep her from telling him all that’s going on.

Mitch Jensen is thrilled to have a full house again, though he’s unimpressed with Bea’s decisions: dropping out of college, marrying so young–and to an idealistic city kid, of all things. Mitch hopes to convince Bea to return to the path he’s always envisioned for her, but she’s changed since her mom died. And he refuses to admit how much he’s changed, too, especially now that he might be losing his mother as well.

Grandma June is good at spinning stories, but there’s one she’s never told. Now that her mind is starting to fade, her time to tell it is running out. But if she reveals the truth before her memories are gone forever, the Jensen family will never be the same.

Art in Motion: Artist Trading Cards

I belong to two ATC swap groups and I thought I would share the latest cards I received in the mail. These are such a blast to create and trade with artists around the world. This year, I believe I have already received over sixty cards from artists around the world. At the end of the year, I would like to list and blog about each country they have come from. The talent of both these groups are truly inspiring to one’s craft and collection.

ATC stands for Artist Trading Cards and measure 2.5″ x 3.5″ in size. Back in May, I blogged about this very subject and I have been recording my journey in this endeavor over on my Instagram account.

These two swap groups are open with how you choose to create your cards. I usually create collage as my background and work from there. I have created a few of my floral and landscape paintings for the swaps. These cards are for trading only, and conducted via mail from online groups.

What a wonderful and worthy pastime and community to belong to. Aren’t these cards beautiful?!

Stephanie Hopkins

Check out my art journey on Instagram and at my Mixed Media Art gallery here at Layered Pages! My wish is for you to be inspired and encouraged.

(Images are subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie Hopkins.)

Insightful Quotes About Reading

My niche expands in several areas that influences my overall creativity. They consist of creating art, crafting, sewing, reading, exploring nature, blogging and journaling. Discovering quotes about these endeavors inspire and encourage one to rally on when one is feeling less than inspired for whatever reason. I like writing them and include them in my journals and often times, use quotes from other artists.

Perhaps, I’ve blogged about this before, but one always needs a refresher. Today, I’m sharing quotes from other artists about reading. There are so many and I’ve compiled my top ten favorites. Which one do you favor? – Stephanie Hopkins

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” — Cicero

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.” ― Jane Smiley

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” ― Anna Quindlen

“We read to know we’re not alone.” ― William Nicholson

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ― Charles W. Eliot

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” ― Annie Dillard

“A word after a word after a word is power.”― Margaret Atwood

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” ― Joyce Carol Oates