Life’s Simple Pleasures

2020 Journal Overview

Life has its ups and downs and it is vital for one to find the simple things in daily tasks to keep moving forward. One of my pleasures in life is journaling. Whether it be art journaling, creating a new DIY journal or just writing an entry, brings me peace.  

Whenever I sit at my desk or reading chair to journal, I’m reminded of the time I was gifted my first diary at a young age. The memory is forever cherished in my heart and with it brings an appreciation for the pastime of writing my thoughts down. When you express your thoughts and feelings on paper, it is an extraordinary record of moments in your life.

My first diary was an Anne Of Green Gables Journal filled with Anne’s saying and little passages of her story written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Lucy’s beloved story is inspired by notes she wrote as a young girl in rural Canada.  I’ve lost count how many times I’ve watched the first adaption growing up. Looking back at what I wrote, I filled that diary with such strong emotions for one so young. Those were certainly captivating times…

Completed Journals

Last year I completed several journals shown above.  I really grew in my craft with these journals and making them, I was encouraged to keep writing and create art throughout the troubled year.

The journals shown below are my on-going ones that I write in from time to time. The earliest ones were started in 2014 and 2017. If you’ve never kept a journal before, I want to encourage you to start. You’ll learn, and grow mentally while providing yourself with valuable insight of your surroundings and your inner-self through life’s journey. -Stephanie Hopkins

On-going Journals

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A New Year of Possibilities

“New year—a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately, we write it. The choice is ours.” —Alex Morritt

What will you make of the new year?

These are uncertain times we live in due to world wide shut downs, riots, protest, political unrest and the virus. Everyone has stories to tell. Many are the same and many are different. Today is the start of a new year and what we bring to it matters.

I choose to focus on the positive and the valuable lessons I learned about myself with regards to my faith in God, supportive people, art, books, mindfulness and creating good habits. All of these carry over in my daily life no matter the struggles. Your positive endeavors are what gets you through bits and pieces you cannot control. Or better yet, it is something you control because you refuse to give in to the darkness.  

This year at Layered Pages, I will be sharing ideas, thoughts, books, art, motivations, my love of history and many more worthwhile projects. Be inspired, have faith, be positive, seek kindness, and explore. Happy New Year!

-Stephanie Hopkins

Feeding the Creative Soul

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope the holiday was a special one despite the tough times we are experiencing across the globe. Today I want to talk a little about what art supply I ordered this weekend and why. I’ve also started a new book to read that I have been enjoying so much that I’m wanting to take my time with. First, let’s talk art.

A few years ago, I developed my own technique in creating painted papers without the use of Gelli Plates. I didn’t want to spend the money and I wanted to be as original as possible. I created a masking technique of sorts and use my abstract painting style to create these papers. I knew one day that I wanted to invest in the Gel Press Plate. This weekend I decide to bite the bullet and order a plate. I can’t wait to see what I create with it and how much it differs from my painted papers “Masking” technique. I’ve even ordered a new soft brayer for this project. I look forward to sharing with you all what I come up with!

This weekend I started Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan and I’m really enjoying the story so far. I’m about half way through. Callahan is a talented story-teller and when I saw this one available for reviewers, I had to read it! Savannah Georgia is in my State and its history is among my favorites to study and read about. -Stephanie

Expected publication: March 9th 2021 by Berkley

About the book:

It was called “The Titanic of the South.” The luxury steamship sank in 1838 with Savannah’s elite on board; through time, their fates were forgotten–until the wreck was found, and now their story is finally being told in this breathtaking novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis.

When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.

Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.

A Time of Celebration

Quilted Christmas Tree Skirt

Once in a Manger

Once in a manger, a long time ago,

Before there was Santa and reindeer and snow,

A star shone down on humble beginnings below

Of a baby just born who the world would soon know.

Never before had there been such a sight.

Would the Son of a King have to suffer this plight?

Are there no armies to lead? Are there no battles to fight?

Shouldn’t He conquer the world and demand His birthright?

No, this frail little infant asleep in the hay

Would change the whole world with the words He would say.

Not about power or demanding His way,

But mercy and loving and forgiving God’s way.

For only through humbleness would the battle be won,

As shown by the actions of God’s only true son.

Who gave up His life for the sins of everyone,

Who saved the whole world when His journey was done.

Many years have now passed since that night long ago

And now we have Santa and reindeer and snow

But down in our hearts the true meaning we know,

It is the birth of that child that makes Christmas so.

–By Tom Krause

See you all again on the 28th!

Mixed Media: Rolodex Card Art

I was inspired by a fellow artist on Instagram to create art on Rolodex Cards. When I first saw the artist’s cards, I was quite intrigued with idea. Crafting with this medium was a bigger challenge than I originally thought.  These cards are a lot smaller than the index cards I was working with beforehand. I struggled to find my way in the beginning. After four or so cards completed, my muse awoken!

I’m thrilled with how many of them have turned out and looking forward to crafting more of these beauties. The pictures you see here are among a few of the cards I’ve created thus far.

I did have a few thoughts on what I would do with them but I think I will leave them in their original container. It certainly adds more interest that way.

Which one is your favorite? What is your latest inspiration for crafting and art making?

Supplies:

Rolodex cards, ephemera and images for collage, stickers, acrylic paint, stamps and ink.

Be sure to comment below and click on the subscribe button to stay updated with new content.

Stephanie Hopkins

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins

de Young: Selected Works

I came across de Young Selected Works through a good friend who was clearing bookshelf space in her home library. I was delighted she had a copy and was willing to pass it along to me. I’m always curious to see what my friends reading interest are. She has a broad collection and she is definitely a well-rounded reader.

I’ve looked through a few pages and will be studying this book thoroughly in the near future. As an artist, I am extremely interested in learning the history of art and why artists create what they do and their process.

Stephanie Hopkins

About the book:

From Goodreads:

“An illustrated survey showcasing the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s finest works of art, each accompanied by an informative commentary.”

From Amazon:

“The two museums that in 1970 became the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco were at one time rival institutions. The de Young museum grew out of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. The Legion of Honor had its genesis in the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, but was conceived from the outset as a museum of fine art. A striking copper-clad building designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the de Young museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park houses a broad spectrum of art from diverse cultures and traditions, including a world-renowned collection of American art; traditional African art; art from Oceania and the Americas; Western and non-Western costumes and textiles; contemporary art and works on paper. This illustrated catalogue showcases the museum’s finest works of art, each accompanied by an informative commentary.”

Weird Wednesday: Butterflies

Mixed Media Art by Stephanie Hopkins

An Exploration of Our Quirky World

We are delighted to welcome you to “Weird Wednesday,” a new joint series, partnered with our friends at before the second sleep, that explores the quirky side of our universe.

We live in an extraordinary quirky world that often times we forget to pause in our busy lives to notice. During these times many cannot venture outside-another great reason to pick up a book-so we are bringing our explorations to you.

Throughout the years I’ve taken pictures of butterflies during my outdoor explorations. Alas, I haven’t been able to uncover those pictures. Nonetheless, I’m obsessed with Butterflies and use their images in my art quite often. How wonderful and calming it is to see Butterflies fluttering in the air or watching them look for food and such. I often wondered how they ate or how they protected themselves from predators. I did know a few facts about them but I was pleasantly surprised to discover more.

There are a lot of fun facts about butterflies and today we are exploring some of those. You probably already know their life goes through different cycles or that they only live for a few weeks. But did you know…

Butterflies belong to the insect group called, “Lepidoptera.” I believe that means, “Scaly wings.” In Greek. What is cooler about their wings is that they’re covered with thousands of tiny scales that overlap in rows! Which is interesting because their wings are supposedly transparent.

Butterflies Live on an All-Liquid Diet: They cannot chew solids. The way they eat is basically like how we humans would drink from a straw.

Butterflies Drink from Mud Puddles: Yes, I would say they are very particular about what they eat.Ha! I have heard it said that they will even drink tears from turtles.

Butterflies Taste with Their Feet: They have taste receptors on their feet that finds food. When they land on a leaf, they drum the leaves with their feet. Apparently, they do that until the plant releases it juices…

There are so many more wonderful fun facts about Butterflies and I hope to revisit this subject another time with you.

Feel free to suggest topics and be sure to comment below and click follow to keep up with the blog content. We’ll be having contests coming up, so you’ll want to be sure to stay tuned!

Stephanie Hopkins

2020 Index Card Challenge: Part 15

Index Card Art

I have neglected to post my completed Index Card Art Challenge until now. I was supposed to share the final outcome a few weeks back. I must explain why I haven’t sooner. When your writing muse awakens from a deep slumber, one must bear down the hatches before the moment passes. What a wonderful writing experience it has been and, I believe it will continue for quite sometime. Forming new writing habits has really helped.

I thought of a couple ways to share my journey in this challenge and one of them was to take a picture of all the cards together and talk about each one. That task seemed a bit daunting to me. Not that I don’t enjoy talking about creativity, mind you. We’re talking about a hundred cards and I believe the previous posts and the art shown speaks for itself.

Today I’m sharing the final (days 96-100) cards. I will link the previous posts down below for you to take a look into this worth-while pursuit. This challenge has taught me a lot about my creative side and has built my confidence further with creating smaller pieces of art and blending brighter colors I had not beforehand.

If you are looking for a new craft to pursue, or you want to challenge yourself in creating daily art, this endeavor is for you.

My next art feature will be about creating art on Rolodex Cards! Now that has been a challenge since the cards are a lot smaller than the index cards.

Stephanie Hopkins

Index Card Challenge Links:

Parts I / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 /12 / 13 /

14

Book Review: The Vines by Shelley Nolden

About the book:

Pub Date 23 Mar 2021

In the shadows of New York City lies forbidden North Brother Island, where the remains of a shuttered hospital hide the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned by contagions and the doctors who torment her. When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past—and his own family’s dark secrets. By unraveling these mysteries, will he be able to save Cora? Will Cora meet the same tragic ending as the thousands who’ve already perished on the island?

The Vines intertwines North Brother Island’s horrific and elusive history with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss.

My thoughts:

If I remember correctly it was last year when I discovered North Brother Island. A documentary of the Island popped up on my YouTube feed. I watched it and learned a few details about its history and thought-at the time-I would love to read a fiction story that included the history elements. Low and behold, writer Shelley Nolden wrote a dual time-line story that takes place on the mysterious Island.

I must admit I was briefly hesitant at first to read the book based on the story’s topic of contagions. It’s not that I lacked interest in that subject but because of our current world-wide state of a pandemic. I thought it might be too sensitive of a story to read at the moment. However, my curiosity had gotten the better of me and I changed my mind.

When I opened to the first page on my Kindle, it wasn’t long before I became fully absorbed in the story. Finn Gettler arrives-more like sneaks-to North Brother Island and becomes immediately intrigued with the nature reclaiming the Island. He soon comes in contact with Cora. A woman who is not only trapped on the Island but, unknown to him , a prisoner of his family.

Cora is a fascinating woman and I enjoyed how the author developed her character as the story unfolded. Her experiences and circumstance had me connecting dots about real life, past and present, medical science I’ve often thought about.

When I discovered Finn’s last name is, “Gettler,” it struck a chord. I had heard of that name before but couldn’t remember where. I delved in little research and I was stunned at what I discovered to say the least! Nolden brilliantly balances real people and events into her story.

I experienced countless emotions reading this book. Many of them were sorrowful and feelings of anger on behalf of what was happening to Cora. The other emotions, I felt strongly, were for the absolute lack of humanity of a few of the characters. What makes this story good, yet all too disturbing, is the relevancy of the subject contagions and the evil that exists in this world.

There were moments I felt a few scenes were boggled down by just a little too much detail but overall, it was a worthwhile read. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

I’ve rated this story four stars and obtained a galley copy from the publishers through NetGalley.

Stephanie Hopkins

Book Banner Created by Stephanie

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins