Friday, April 27, 2012

DIY: May Day & Mother's Day Vases

With May Day, Mother's Day, and Teacher Appreciation Week approaching, the kids & I created home made tissue paper vases as unique & utilitarian presents. It is quick & easy & just about any age can participate! All you need is: 1. Jars 2. Modge Podge 3. Tissue paper
Have the kids cut or tear the tissue paper into any size they want (go crazy!). While they are at work doing that, you do a quick layer of modge podge on the recycled jar & they start sticking the tissue to the jar. Layer the colors & see what happens if you like! Or, as my son did, leave a "window area" on the jar so you can peek inside to see the stems! After the entire jar is covered with tissue paper, you paint on another layer of modge podge. Now, mind you when it is wet it is opaque white, but when it dries, ta-da!!! A beautiful & colorful vase! You can also use them as pencil holders, paintbrush holders, marble jars, etc... etc... the skies the limit!
Fill the vases with fresh flowers from your yard (even dandelions are cute)
And the people who receive these beautiful hand made gifts will be so happy!
{The girls wanted me to attach these photos of themselves & many other crazy pics to their vases for their teachers... OH, how i wish their teachers saw this side of them!} P.S. Don't forget: FREE shipping in any purchase in the shop now till May 4! Enter the coupon code SHIP2ME in the ETSY checkout! Grace & Peace, Julie

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mother's Day Giveaway!

Jill Savage, founder of the Hearts at Home ministry, is hosting a giveaway over on her personal blog today in honor of Mother's Day. Three women will win 2 8x10 standard fine art prints: one to give to their mom & one for them to keep! Head on over to Jill's blog to enter the contest & hurry it ends tomorrow night. I am also offering FREE SHIPPING on any purchase now through May 4 so that you can choose a meaningful Mother's Day gift, whether it is her favorite Scripture or Inspirational saying, or a Mother's keepsake to show her how much you love her! Just enter the coupon code SHIP2ME in the checkout of my ETSY shop! Grace & Peace, Julie

Friday, April 20, 2012

Charisma 2012

I am busy preparing my inventory for Charisma 2012, a benefit show put on by the Winnebago County Medical Society Alliance to raise money for health career scholarships, grants, and community service projects in and around my hometown of Rockford, IL.

The boutiques are open to the public (that would be YOU!)
Sunday, April 22 from 5:30-8:30
Monday, April 23 from 9:30-3:00

The benefit show is held at
610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford, IL 61107

I hope to see some of you there!

Grace & Peace,

Monday, April 16, 2012

Custom Birth Announcement

I recently had the joy of creating these custom birth announcements for a beautiful family! Enjoy!

{I did not take the photos on this one... but OH MY! LOOK at those baby's sweet eyes. She is just stunningly beautiful}

Grace & Peace,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Almost Amish : book design by Julie Chen

If you have followed my blog for long (which might be 2 of you!), you know that I am also a freelance book designer for Tyndale House Publishers.

One of my latest babies recently hit the shelves. Almost Amish is the story of a woman trying to simplify her life from technology and the busyness of life to truly slow down and enjoy life.

It has to be one of my favorite covers I have ever created!

The above cover, with the black damask background is actually the original photo & concept. We wanted to create a slightly "tongue-in-cheek" modern day "almost amish" woman... the suburban lady with a perfect manicure, tattoos on her wrists, funky rings, and yet wears a peasant black blouse and a not-so-old-fashioned-apron as she bakes bread in her kitchen to bring to her dinner table in a gorgeous basket.

Here is what a reviewer said about the cover:

The book Almost Amish is packaged in a kind of chick-lit come-hither way.

The cover model is holding a whopping loaf of homemade bread in a rustic basket, her nails a well- tended bright red and sporting a ring that looks as if a Kardashian dropped it while fleeing the paparazzi, a tattoo of a bracelet on one arm. Her black blouse is stylishly notched, and her apron/skirt is the sort of awesomely gorgeous Etsy-riffic thing for which you, too, would go almost-Amish if only you could find and purchase it. If you had that apron, you could eat fresh kale by the leaf and feel perfectly content.

It is a stunning book cover.

The publishing team wanted the background a little lighter & brighter, so we chose to bring out the teal.

Good thing for me, I not only have an extremely talented friend and neighbor who knows how to sew anything, but she is also adorned with the most beautiful tattoos and has a great style of her own. (she is also the type to buy organic, bake fresh bread, and again, create her own clothing)... so, I recruited her to design this apron & model of the cover!

And, this is most likely also my favorite spine I have ever created! Look at the detail of Heather's sewing. Please check out more of her work at

OH & if you have seen me at a local art show or women's conference, you will see me wearing this apron & she is currently creating a matching fabric headband!!! So excited.

Grace & Peace,

Sunday, April 8, 2012

new life

We had a wonderful weekend & were able to take another trip to the sheep farm, which is seriously one of my children's highlights of the year! {see more images here & here}. This year Farmer Sandy had 9 precious new lambs. The ones shown above are already 3 weeks old. I did see one that was born that morning, but the mama sheep protected her quite well so that I was not able to get a good photograph.

In any case, 2 things struck me this year:

1. New Life ... the beauty of new life is currently all around us as the spring blooms have opened and the sweet smells fill the air. We have already spotted butterflies in our back yard, which is I think the most prominent symbol of new life as well as transformation. To see the precious new lambs and witness their brand new lives never gets old. It is a wonder every year.

2. Innocence ... in looking at those new lambs and thinking back to the Old Testament laws, in which there must be bloodshed and death to cover over sin, and that of an unblemished lamb! I just stood in the barn and looked at those totally pure and innocent creatures and thought of how over and over the Bible refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God and how He was indeed also totally pure and innocent and yet willing to lay down His life for us so that we can experience the beauty of new life in His Spirit. Such purity is shown and in return, makes us innocent too. wow.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!
Grace & Peace,

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

I am just hoping my art will help you meditate on Jesus today, as the ultimate act of love is celebrated this Good Friday.

Once again, I am simply in awe of my Savior and His great love for me.

...looking forward to Easter,

Monday, April 2, 2012

Custom & Personalized Art Now Available Just for YOU!

Ever since beginning Life Verse Design, I have had so many requests to create custom art for customers, which I have loved doing. I will take your most beloved photograph and recreate it in my vintage style {either sepia or black & white} combined with any text that is meaningful to you {think famous quotes, lyrics, Scripture, poems, vows, people's names, birth stats, etc..} to create your own timeless work of art.

This art is the perfect gift idea for any wedding, anniversary, baby, adoption, baptism, family, birthday, graduation, retirement, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, memorial of a lost loved one, or just because...

8x10 loose print for $35 plus shipping
11x14 loose print for $43 plus shipping
12x18 loose print for $50 plus shipping

brown or black for 8x10 for $50 (print is included in the cost) plus shipping

11x14 ready to hang gallery canvas wrap $140 plus shipping
16x20 ready to hang gallery canvas wrap $165 plus shipping

11x14 ready to hang standout metallic print $85 plus shipping
16x20 ready to hang standout metallic print $115 plus shippin

Please see my ETSY shop for the details of how to order your own custom work of art.
Feel free to place your order either through ETSY or directly through me, by emailing me at

The possibilities are endless!

Grace & Peace to you this Easter season,