Welcome! I'm Melissa Gross, a dynamic and interactive teacher and speaker called to lead and encourage Christian women in their walk with the Lord through classes, workshops and retreats incorporating Bible study, devotionals, illustrated Bible journaling, paper crafting and mixed media projects that merge faith and art bringing God’s Word to life so you can find renewed excitement to dive into the Word, use your creative gifts, and apply the Truth as you draw closer to the Lord and serve Him in your everyday life. This site is where I share my everyday adventures, Bible Journaling pages, scrapbook layouts, handmade cards, and other crafty projects, as well as information on my upcoming workshops and events. I also post photos, ramble about books I'm reading, stuff I'm organizing, and other FUN bits & pieces of my wonderful life.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Brake For Scrapbook Stores

When I stopped in our local scrapbook store recently, I picked up a sheet of Vibrant 2-sided patterned paper from Authentique's Lively Collection, and I couldn't wait to use it. I flipped through my storage binders to find a photo and story that I thought would go with it and set to work. This photo was taken on one of our trips last summer and represents something we do on most of our trips - locate & visit scrapbook stores.

I used several different letter stickers (including some Tiny Type & Thickers) plus some Scrabble tiles for my title.
I included my journaling on tags I cut from kraft cardstock & stuck them in this pocket from Little Yellow Bicycle's Saturdays Collection.
My question for you today is - did you notice anything different in today's post? Well, maybe two things?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Happy Mail

I had forgotten I'd won this great mini-album kit from Karen, so it was definitely a happy mail day when it arrived. The package contained the Echo Park Hello Spring paper & sticker collection, along with Karen's instructions and templates for a fun mini-album that she designed using this collection. This will certainly be a fun mini-album to create!

And look what a beautiful card Karen sent along with it. I love the detail & inking around all the little bits & pieces on this 4x4 card.


What happy mail have you received lately?

Friday, July 27, 2012

What were you doing . . .

A few days ago, I got a little older. Yep, another birthday has come and gone (with a fun trip to New Mexico & lots of presents from Robbie, of course), so today I'm testing my memory with a little inspiration from Beverly's post last month. Here's what I was doing . . .

One hour ago... checking my morning email while enjoying a granola bar for breakfast

Two hours ago... sleeping

Ten hours ago... just finishing packing up some page kits for a crop tonight before heading to bed

Eighteen hours ago... riding the exercise bike while finishing a book on my new Kindle

Twenty four hours ago... processing the 180+ emails I found in my inbox when we returned home from our trip to New Mexico

Three days ago... taking scavenger hunt photos and learning the history of the Taos Indians as we toured the Taos Pueblo, enjoying Taosino Rice for lunch, visiting the Royal Gorge, relaxing over supper at Sabrano's in Arroyo Seco & reminiscing about being stuck for 20 minutes on the chair lift at the Taos Ski Valley the day before (someone working on the mountain with a backhoe cut a main power line - luckily the generator fired right up!)

One week ago... organizing my newest layouts to put into albums and  making a run to Hobby Lobby for a few more albums because I've been very productive this year

One month ago... setting up my new craft room, stopping along the way to create new layouts

Six months ago... laying tile flooring, painting walls, installing new shelving, and buying a new washer & dryer to complete the laundry room renovation

One year ago... coaching in the Finding Photo Freedom workshop, wondering when Robbie's new part-time job would turn into full-time employment, and enjoying a trip to Waco to celebrate my birthday

Five years ago... settling into our new home as we had just returned to the Dallas area after a few years in East Texas where I completed my MBA & Robbie completed his BBA, enjoying my first trip abroad as I accompanied Robbie on a business trip to Moscow (Russia), Gardone Riviera (Italy), and London (UK)

Ten years ago... delighting in our first year of marriage, adjusting to living away from family for the first time in my life, relishing the fact that I didn't have to work, and completing our wedding scrapbook

Eighteen years ago... graduating with my Bachelor's degree, working full-time as the office manager for a small corporation in Beaumont, moving into my first apartment after finally leaving an abusive marriage, wondering what life had in store for me

Twenty-three years ago... working full-time, attending college classes at night, pretending life was great and hiding the truth from my family & friends

Well, it appears my memory is still functioning at my new advanced age! (Thanks for the inspiration Beverly!) How about you - what were you doing one hour ago? Twenty-three years ago?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quilling

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I received all these wonderful quilling supplies for Christmas (7 months ago!) and just recently decided to give it a try. Luckily for me, Robbie is an expert gift-giver, so he made sure I had everything I needed: a beginner's kit with all the essentials and an instruction guide, a quilling coach tool, two extra packs of quilling paper, and an inspiration book!


I thought it was only fair that the first piece I quilled should go to Robbie, so I created this tag as a thank you note. The quilled heart was my first effort at quilling, and to be perfectly honest . . . it's really fun!

I think you'll definitely see some quilled embellishments on future layouts and cards! Have you tried quilling? Do you have any tips to share as I continue to learn this new skill?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Seussical Mini-Album

A couple of months ago, I went to see one of the teen girls that I mentor in a middle school production of the musical Seussical. I have to admit that I had never seen this musical and really didn't know what to expect, but it was a totally fun production and the students did a great job. I took photos and wanted to create a keepsake for the young lady I went to see, so I pulled out a small (5x5) pre-made mini-album to start with.

I added foam letters to the cover for a title, then covered each of the interior white pages with fun, colorful patterned papers.

I included part of the program on the first page.

And then added photos, a quote & strips of paper on each page to complete the album. Most of the photos include the cast, so I'm only sharing this one here that shows photos of the stage on the page on the left.

This was a quick, fun project to put together! Have you created any quick gift albums lately?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

#18 - A Movie Poster

 For my fifth contribution to Rinda's 2012 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt, I have a photo for #18 - A Movie Poster. Last week, Robbie and I went to see the new Spiderman movie, and thoroughly enjoyed it. We really weren't sure at first if we wanted to see it - seriously, how many times can they re-make the same movie! However, as it turned out, we were both glad we made time to see this new version.


The movie posters were hung outside the theater in glass cases, so it was difficult to get a photo without lots of glare. Here are a few of the other movies that were showing that day.




Have you seen any good movies lately?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My First Video

I decided it was time to learn how to use the video feature on our new DSLR camera, so I've created a short video where I share six recent layouts. You may have already seen several of these layouts here on my blog, but in the video I share a little more about my process and inspiration behind each layout.



So, how did I do? Did you find the video interesting? entertaining? informative? I would appreciate your constructive critism as I'm planning to make additional videos for some projects I have coming up this fall.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pass the Book Recipient


The first recipient of Trading Card Treasures is

Elizabeth of Journaling by Lizzie!

Congratulations Elizabeth! Please send me your mailing address (robbieandmelissa at sbcglobal dot net) and be sure to check out all the details of Pass the Book:Year Two here.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in Pass the Book this year! Don't forget to check out the Pass the Book:Year Two page to see which books are ready to be passed.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guess Who Was In Dallas Last Week?


Yep, Stacy Julian was here to speak at the Close to My Heart convention, and she arranged for me to meet up with her and attend the session she was speaking at. She shared a fantastic video during her presentation, which you can check out on her blog here.

It was a quick meeting, but after learning so much from her in various workshops at BPC and working with her during the Finding Photo Freedom workshop and in the Library of Memories Community, it was a treat to finally meet in real life!

Over the summer, I've noticed posts where some of my bloggy friends have met in real life, too! Isn't it fun!?! I just found out yesterday that I'll get to meet Cheri in a couple of months!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cruise Layouts

I have been inspired lately to pull out some of the photos from our cruise and start scrapping layouts to go with those I created on board for our 10th Anniversary Cruise Album. This first layout was inspired by the week 1 materials in the Dimensional Details class.
I had fun pulling paper strips from my scrap bins for the background and items from my color bins for the embellishment cluster. (Don't worry, after I took the photo, I corrected the date to read 12-29-11! I guess it would be hard to have photos from the future, right?)

I began with Shimelle's recent Starting Point for this second layout. Instead of a 6x6 block, I used a larger piece because I planned to add two portrait photos to this background.

I added my photos, a title, journal block & small cluster of embellishments, along with some flowers to complete this layout about the tall chairs scattered around the ship.


Did you notice anything similar about these two layouts? It's a little detail, really, but one that I'm hoping will help tie my layouts together in this album. It's the small cluster of word strips on each layout. I know all the layouts in this album will be different, but in Shimelle's Cover to Cover class, she suggested using a design element (or the same background paper or a paper collection, etc) to give cohesiveness to an album. Thus, all the layouts in this album will have two or more word strips grouped together as an embellishment cluster.

Now that I've started on these layouts, I think you just might be seeing more of those cruise photos in the near future!

BTW - remember that Half-Priced Retreat my Texas BPC classmates & I were trying to win? Well, we won and are planning another get-together in Corsicana in September (6th-9th). If you're interested in joining us, please email me at robbieandmelissa at sbcglobal dot net for more information. There are only six spots left!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

#13 - A Library

I was excited to see a place that I often visit on Rinda's 2012 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt: #13 - A Library. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I love to read and am usually reading several books at a time. Sometimes I buy those books, many times they are given to me as gifts, and often I check them out of our local library. Here's the front entrance to our library as my fourth contribution to the scavenger hunt.

Our library has two floors filled with wonderful books, movies, magazines, computers and meeting rooms. I might walk in the doors empty handed, but it's rare that I walk out without something new to read!


Since the front entrance is not adjacent to the parking lot and is used mainly as a drop off point, I use this entrance when I'm searching for a new book or attending a monthly book club meeting.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the scavenger hunt and seeing the other participant's photos - it's fun to see what's the same and what's different in various states and countries around the globe!

There's still time to be in the draw for this month's Pass the Book - click here to check it out.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Christmas Begins In July at Scrap Your Life

I don't know about you, but it's hard to think about Christmas when the temperatures are striving to reach at least 100 degrees (F) every day here in Texas. However, we all know that it will creep up on us if we aren't prepared. With that thought in mind, Cheryl and Robin over at Scrap Your Life have started a series of FREE CLASSES featuring crafty gift giving solutions. There are two free classes each month.

Scrap Your Life

This month Cheryl shared a great idea for making a Hybrid Recipe Book  and Robin will be sharing an idea for creating 2013 Gift Calendars. I really like the way Cheryl used an old cardboard box to make her recipe book pages, and I'm looking forward to seeing Robin's calendar ideas as that class starts today!

All you have to do to join these free classes is sign up at the Scrap Your Life site and request membership in the class you are interested in. It's never too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts (despite the heat), especially if you are planning to give handmade gifts!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

5 Things I Love About The USA


This layout was inspired by a weekly challenge in the Library of Memories Community workshop at BPC. Stacy Julian challenged us to write down five things we love about our country, and I decided to create a layout using up some older patriotic supplies from my stash.

I flipped through my storage binders and found this photo that was taken a couple of years ago when we visited a nearby park's display of Christmas lights.


1. Freedom to worship God & share my beliefs.
2. Freedom to travel from state to state & enjoy the beauty & diversity of this land.
3. Freedom to make my dreams come true.
4. Freedom to vote.
5. Freedom to scrap all day long without persecution.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July Pass the Book (final Year 2 book) - Trading Card Treasures

I can hardly believe that a year has almost passed since Pass The Book: Year Two began! This month's book will be the twelfth (and final) book that I'll be passing. Each book will travel for a year and then (hopefully) make its way home here to Texas. I want to thank each of you who have participated and shared your thoughts and projects inspired by each of the books, and I encourage you to regularly check out the Pass the Book:Year Two page to see which books are ready to be passed.

Now, on to this month's book!


Trading Card Treasures: Sharing Cherished Photographs by Carol M. Heppner is all about creating trading cards using your photographs and scrapbooking, card making, or mixed media supplies. Of course, I had so much fun with this book because I am married to an avid trading card collector (at last count I believe Robbie we have over 1300 sets of non-sport trading cards). This book is filled with examples of fantastic trading cards which can be traded or used on layouts or as card fronts or in mixed media projects.

I was inspired to create a series of six cards using photos we took of ducks on our recent trip to Granbury.

Using the basic trading card "rule", each card measures 2 1/2" x 3 1/2". Another "rule" states that these cards are to be traded or given away (never sold), so I gave this (my very first ever trading card set) to Robbie as a gift.


Since these cards are all different yet have the same theme, they are considered a series and are thus numbered on the back.

I also created an "edition" of cards, which is a set of cards that are identical. In this case, I created two identical cards using a favorite photo of some yellow flowers.

If you'd like a chance to be the first recipient of Trading Card Treasures, please leave a comment telling me whether or not you've ever created a photograph or artist trading card and, if so, what you did with the card. I'll choose the lucky recipient on Friday, July 20, and get this book on its way!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jewelry in Granbury

At the beginning of the summer, Robbie and I took a quick trip to Granbury, Texas, where we enjoyed a very relaxing weekend. One of our favorite things to do when we travel to small cities is to wander around the downtown shops. The square in Granbury has quite a few wonderful shops. In the Artefactz shop, we met Cynthia James, an artist and jewelry designer. Here's a photo of me with Cynthia, and I'm wearing my new earrings that she designed.


Honestly, it was difficult to pick a pair of earrings because there were so many beautiful ones to choose from.



Along with other jewelry pieces created by Cynthia.



However, Robbie's favorites were her abstract multi-media sculptures. If he didn't already have every available wall space filled in his collectibles room, I believe he would have brought one of these home.





It's so much fun to find treasures when we are traveling, and even more fun when we get to meet the artist behind the lovely creations we find. You can see more of Cynthia's work here.

Have you discovered any fascinating stores or purchased a one-of-a-kind item on your travels this summer?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dimensional Details The Expanded Edition

One of my all-time favorite classes at BPC (along with Finding Photo Freedom, of course) was Nic Howard's Dimensional Details workshop in 2010. That class is being re-run as part of the 4Experts series this year, and I couldn't resist joining in again. Even though much of the material is the same, Nic has added additional information & techniques as well as created new layouts following the step-by-step directions from the original class.

As is often the case with classes at Big Picture, there was a pre-class handout and instructions for a layout. Here's a fun layout I created showcasing a photo of Robbie holding one day's worth of mail packages he received after a recent eBay shopping spree.
The directions called for a cluster of embellishments, but I loved how this dimensional Pooh sticker looked all by itself.

Anybody else joining in for this round of Dimensional Details?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ten on the Tenth - Transformation of a Room

I've hinted about my new craft room a few times over the past couple of weeks, so today I am sharing 10 photos of the transformation that took place as I converted one of our guest rooms into a new craft room for myself.

It all started with this room . . .

Which I emptied out and prepped to paint . . .

We then covered the walls with this happy Acorn Squash color . . .

Next Robbie assembled my new Expedit units & moved in the table . . .

We moved in one of the bookshelf units and I brought in a few color bins . . .
I added the remaining color bins & more drawer units to the bookshelf . . .
I put a few smaller drawers units on top of the Expedit . . .
And brought in the other bookshelf unit . . .
And promptly filled it up, too . . .
Then I finished up with a few more drawer units atop the Expedit & some mini-albums on top of the bookshelves . . .
All in all, the transformation took less than two weeks. I have been happily ensconced in this new room for the last several days, creating layouts, listening to PRT episodes, organizing, and smiling at how bright and happy it is!

I'll be sharing more views of the room and its organization in future posts. (Because of course you didn't get to see the other Expedit unit - just inside the door to the right - or my Cricut station or my printer's drawers on the wall above the old dresser or the shelves Robbie installed in the closet.)

This post is brough to you as part of Shimelle's Ten Things.