Day 13: How to Paint Leaves (And Other Awesome Things)

31 days of Enjoy squareToday, I wanted to share some of my favorite youtubes of people teaching techniques or demonstrating watercolor products! These have really helped either inspire or teach me as I’ve been working on watercolor and hand-lettered projects for the shop!

This is another great video of hers:

Now admittedly, this artist has an extremely intricate, realistic style, so if you’re watching them having a panic attack, join the club. Then, if you’re exactly like me, you can take a deep breath and remember that it’s ok to not paint just like her! But she’s clearly masterfully good at it, and I wouldn’t say no to learning from her manifold wisdom. (I think the last time I remember someone using the word “manifold” was Mr. Collins. Don’t hold it against me.) 

Here’s another great video!

I LOVE the smoothness of her style, as well as the warmth of the finished illustration.

I like this video, especially for beginners, because it shows how to create some basic structure to hand-lettered pieces, and for me, structure isn’t the most obvious go-to. (My brain is like, “You mean I can’t just make swirly doodles around everything and expect it to be polished and desirable?!” No, brain. No you cannot… or I cannot. Whatever.)

I enjoy these videos because they spur me on and inspire me to be excellent. Excellence is something crucial to seek as a disciple of Christ, and as an artist. Ultimately, it won’t come from copious amounts of youtube-watching, it’ll come from practice. Perhaps very smudgey practice.

But if you need some inspiration and some great teachers to watch, start with these!

Day 11: May You Enjoy Your Smudges

Sometimes I find myself perusing Pinterest (understatement of the century), and after looking at lots of illustrations, many of them staring me down with daunting perfection, I struggle against an immediate, simultaneous hate/love of their awesomeness. (No really, I have a whole board full of impossibly, unattainably beautiful such pieces.)

And I know in my head that comparison is the thief of joy- it SO IS. But sometimes I find myself treating it like an old friend instead of an unwelcome intruder. In fact, it could be argued that I seek it out through my broken way of looking at things.

Well, not in this series, folks! I determine to drive Comparison from my midst like the sniveling, lying worm that it is. Instead, I will be free to enjoy. And today, I’m freeing myself by sharing some old drawings and a few newer sneak peaks and such with you.

They are vastly imperfect, and a couple of them are arguably not a great representation of my skill now, since they’re from a few years ago. (I’d like to think I’ve developed at least somewhat since then.) 

But I’ll share them anyway.

This first one is back from before I got married! It’s sort of me in my wedding dress (you never would’ve figured that one out, would you?). 

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This may shock you, but I’m not typically prone to drawing robots… But there Blinky blinks out from my sketchbook to this day… I think he runs on gas station slushies. Red flavor.
IMG_3326 These are some character sketches I did for a story.IMG_3323IMG_3325 IMG_3322

Gee. I wonder what inspired this one…FullSizeRender 2

Then this library picture… ugh. I promised I wouldn’t list all the things I think are wrong with all of these pictures… Because that’s annoying. So here’s me resisting…

IMG_3327 And if you’ve read this blog for long, you’ll remember this one. But I unapologetically share it again. She just makes me so happy! Probably because I just want my hair to be like that… And I want to be in charge of the autumn fairy dust. (I mean, clearly that’s her job, right?)FullSizeRender

Those are old. These are new:

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I Will be With You unto us sneak peak

Ok. So the middle one was inspired by Aliza Latta’s design. And mine is far too mushy to be added to the shop, so I’m just sharing it for funsies. Aliza is amazing, btw! And the other two are sneak peaks of projects I’ll be adding to Ebenezer Designs! They are rough drafts and will probably end up quite different… But I just couldn’t resist sharing them. And I think that’s good, because they are SUPER imperfect and smudgey.

Regardless, I got paint on my hands today. That is life-giving to my soul. And plus, if I ever want to become better, I’ll have to start exactly where I am, smudges and all.

Today, may you enjoy your smudges. May you enjoy creating- whatever that looks like for you. And may you be empowered to share your own creations, unhindered by that toxic frenemy, Comparison.

Day 7: Enjoying Surrender.

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As Communications & Events Director for If Then Movement, I have had the privilege of attending and helping with a few ITM events since I took on the job almost a year and a half ago. (I usually just say Communications Director… but the official title sounds schmancy right?) Each one I go to speaks to me differently, as I see God working in both my life and the lives of those who attend.

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(Their decor was ON POINT, people. It was a fabulous fall explosion. But in a good way. Though, come to think of it, I can’t really imagine how fall could explode in a bad way…)

This weekend’s was no exception. It probably held greater depth for me in part because it took place at the church where I grew up, watching my parents minister on staff. I love that place!

And I love seeing what God does through our retreat called “So Be It: Brave Surrender to God’s Call Every Day”.

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This is my favorite retreat that we do. Because it gives women a chance to dig deep and let their hearts open up to the truth that surrender is how we experience the goodness God intends for us.

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Sometimes I have a hard time yielding to that process. Sometimes, all I can do is put one foot in front of the other, rejoice in simple things like autumn wreaths, incredible things like God’s grace, and continuously surrender moment by moment. And sometimes, surrendering is putting pieces of a necklace together that function as a small, beautiful, brave stake in the ground for the kingdom of God.

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That’s what attendees got to do together this weekend. My dear friend chose this necklace, and I confess that the phrase is one of my favorites. (I have a necklace with this same artwork in it… because we’re the same person. We even wore matching colors.)

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What you don’t see in the picture is the small piece of paper that gets buried behind the artwork and the glass tile; that piece of paper serves as a place to write something you feel God laying on your heart to surrender to Him, or a verse He’s leading you to cling to, or a person you need to keep praying for, etc. I love that it’s a tactile, tangible representation of the message.

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The other thing that gets buried in this necklace is a tiny seed, which represents the fact that in order to bear fruit, the seed itself must die. This stands out to me especially, because God has been reminding me that even if I’m afraid of losing or surrendering something to him, doing just that is what bears fruit.

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(This is a candy bar. Get it?)

For someone who professes to be a creative person, I can be really uncreative when it comes to looking past what I think is good and instead trusting that God’s best is better. (Or best… or something.)

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Later in this series, I plan to dig up what God says about enjoyment, but for today, I end with this verse:
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
                        – Psalm 36:7-8

Day 6: Laziness vs. Leisure

31 days of Enjoy squareLeisure is an important part of enjoyment. But sometimes, leisure gets a bad rap. Because we’re human and imperfect, and that often translates to taking something like leisure and turning it into laziness.

I struggle with this like any person does. Remember back when I wrote about how Netflix plays an important role in marriage? Well, obviously there was a degree of the facetious in that post, along with the serious (as is common here). And I confess, sometimes, binge-watching stuff on Netflix renders me incapacitated, and the thought of getting up off the couch to get more cookies seems as daunting as climbing Mt. Everest.

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That’s how laziness ruins leisure. There’s nothing evil about leisure in and of itself. But laziness? It renders me whiny and self-absorbed in a matter of a few pajama-clad, cookie-filled hours. At that point, am I really enjoying anything?

In those moments, maybe what I really need is some intentional enjoyment. That’s just another reason I love fall; I find myself doing specific things like going to covered bridge festivals, showing colorful leaves to my daughter, buying pumpkins (after laboriously looking for the one with the most character- aka warts and such), etc. And it’s not even that those activities are somehow better than watching Netflix.

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It’s just the searching and seeing that takes place when I experience those things.

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I develop an awareness of beauty; I tune my heart to the blessings of a moment. And even though fall comes every year, the awareness still- always- brings me delight.

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It’s a holy enjoyment.

So, with that said, may your leisure lift you up this season. May you become more aware of the unearthly beauty that graces the earth so generously with itself. Breath it in deep. Enjoy… whether you find yourself pajama-clad and cookie-filled, or wandering through a pumpkin patch.

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Today’s glorious pictures are brought to you by Kara Faith Photography!

Day 5: It’s Autumn at Ebenezer Designs

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For Day 3, I wanted to share with you three new fall prints I’ve added to the shop this week!

First, “I fall for autumn.” Because I do. Don’t you?

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Thank-Fall. (Get it? I know. I am a genius…)

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And what trio of autumnal prints would be complete without this quote by L.M. Montgomery? “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” That woman was so brilliant. I’m pretty sure she and I would’ve been BFFs.

October Quote Mockup

Click each picture to go see them on Ebenezer Designs on Etsy! They’re $10 a piece, but here’s how you can enter to win all 3 sent to your inbox for FREE!!!!

  1. Go and Like Long Live Beauty’s Facebook page and/or follow me on Instagram: @haylie_allcott
  2. Share a link to one post of 31 Days of Enjoy (or if you have a favorite Long Live Beauty post, that’s fine too) on your own timeline
  3. Now you’re entered into the drawing!!!

Regardless, I hope you are feasting on the beauty of autumn in whatever ways you love to do.

Enjoy!

Day 4: Autumn Mornings

I don’t always love mornings, but I always love morning light. Especially in autumn.
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Isn’t it divine?

I personally feel the beauty of whatever is beneath this shadow world most clearly trying to push through during that time of day, when everything is fresh and new and quiet, yet singing. It feels- almost- like things are the way they are supposed to be.

Autumn mornings make me feel this more acutely in some ways than other seasons do. Maybe it’s because it’s the harvest time; I remember the abundance we have yet to enjoy. The glory we’ll someday experience. And yet- He is with us now, even though we don’t live in the fullness of His presence like we will someday.

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Isn’t it a grace to dwell in so much beauty even now? That even in this life which often feels like waiting or searching, we are graced with moments of freshness and newness, of quiet and singing? I love autumn mornings because of that and because they still my soul.

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I hope yours may be stilled today, too.

Day 3: Spice Up Your Weekend Pinning

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It’s Saturday! We’re three days in to 31 Days of Enjoy, and for Day 3 I thought I’d share 10 favorite things from my Autumn board on Pinterest.

  1. Who doesn’t love free printables??? This one is a gem.6295273f13650d0f3863732b81dc7d8d
  2. I just love this centerpiece. The article linked to the picture is, supposedly, “60 Amazing Pumpkin Centerpieces and Glorious Fall Decorating Ideas” which I think is a) a verbose title and b) overselling a little- I mean, “glorious”? Well, they are gorgeous… so what do I know?5e0611e5a45926521f8bfda9390a0ab9
  3. This is one DIY I actually want to do! It looks easy, and also rather gratifying, considering its simplicity. My kind of DIY.79d31efa222b9c2899da75d690069c70
  4. I just love this girl’s mantle! It looks utterly cozy. And makes me want a mantle to decorate. 1ec41762cc9e76e71325a4934e13e5e9
  5. This is one of those things I pinned because as Liz Lemon says, “I want to go to there.” The link is to some place on tumblr. (Can I confess to not really understanding the purpose of tumblr? Is it just pictures?? I realize I could just google it, but I want to be real about important issues like this.)bc177faa509af99e64b1eb9178905ec1
  6. I want this scarf SO. BADLY. I found it recently on Amazon for considerably cheaper than the linked site shows, but haven’t ordered it yet. (One has to be mindful of spreading out one’s purchases… especially on things which one absolutely does NOT need because one already has a ton of scarves.)faa365990f898e574d2e9fb31c1a7e27
  7. Speaking of plaid things… I love this tablescape (incidentally, one of my favorite words ever) from The Turquoise Home. That post features 26 other fabulous tablescapes (weee! there it is again) for Thanksgiving.b4c420cb1dccda8a9218d8717bc33f6e
  8. This pillow. (Hmm, plaid again in this picture… I am really on a plaid kick, aren’t I?)b3c9068c21efeb8f1da5121a90a77898
  9. These velvet pumpkins. Velvet pumpkins, you guys. I desperately long for a few, however they are QUITE pricey. But still. Click on this one, because Love Feast is making some beautiful things in their shop!c916547d9fd353ad4864ea4318b2aa66
  10. And last, but not least, I had to include this one because it’s an old favorite. (And still funny.)Pumkin Flavored EverythingThere you go! 10 of my favorite things from my Autumn Happiness Board on Pinterest. To see the whole board in all its glory, click here! I linked each picture to its original home on the internet, by the way. That way, you can go explore these fun places. Enjoy!