God and Art Series: God gives artist hope with photography

With the onset of summer and family vacations, it seemed appropriate to interview a photographer who takes pictures of places. Kim E, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a photographer, a writer, and a teacher, owns Road Ahead Photos on Etsy. In the future, if you see Kim as identified by her picture at right, you'll definitely recognize her because she "always has a camera in her hand."

"I have loved photography since I was a small child," Kim says. "There was just something about trying to capture a moment . . . a special image that I didn't want to forget. I can't remember a moment when I did not have a camera in my hand.

"One of my favorite things to take photos of is the outdoors and nature. I especially love photographing the ocean. There is something so majestic about it. I learned as a small child to look at life as I was looking through a camera lens - there is so much beauty in this world that God created! I also have a passion for classic cars. I love angles and corners and love trying to grab an out of the ordinary photograph. My camera . .or cameras - I have two - usually go everywhere I go. They are a part of who I am," Kim says.

As she grew up, Kim took photography classes in high school  was on the yearbook staff. She was also trained to teach dark room photography at summer camp, which she did for many summers. "Nowadays I have moved on to digital but I still love the joy that comes with watching a photograph appear in the chemicals," Kim says. "I also took around 15 units of photography in college when I couldn't decide on a major."

Kim has known Jesus Christ since she was eight years old and has considered her life an adventure, although it hasn't been perfect. "I grew up around the Christian Camping Ministry and started working in camps when I was 13," she says. "In college I received my degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing. Unable to find a full time job I went back into Christian camping in my home town of Big Bear Lake, California. During this time I taught Outdoor Education and found myself suddenly traveling to a variety of camps up and down the west coast and even spent 9 months working at a Christian camp in Australia."

After getting laid off from a camp in Oregon, Kim went back to school in order to obtain her teaching certificate. She then began teaching in California and suffered two more lay offs. "I was devastated and unsure if this was the field God wanted me to go into," Kim says.

Unable to find work, Kim packed up her belongings and moved to New Mexico where her parents were located.   "Immediately I was offered a job as a Kindergarten teacher at a small Christian school in the inner city area of Albuquerque. The job was an hour drive one way but I took it! For six years I was known as 'Miss Kim kindergarten teacher.'  I loved every moment of time there. I have stories and memories that will last a lifetime." 

In the spring of 2011 everything changed for Kim when officials at the school announced that the school would close because of financial reasons. "After six years of teaching I found myself once again without a job.  Those next few months were very difficult and it took a lot of trusting on my part. I had to believe that God still had a plan for me."

In fact, the verse that got Kim says got her through those difficult times was Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.

"I held onto those promises. Little did I know how tough the next few months would be. I sent out over 800 resumes and applications and was not able to find a teaching position for the 2011-12 school year. I had to trust that God would turn this into something good . . .that he would get me through to the next step," Kim says. "I wasn't quite sure what to do as I was unable to find a job anywhere. In January I decided to branch out on my own and started my own tutoring business so I could continue to work with the children I was missing. I also went and got a business license for photography. My passion and desire to take photographs just came back ten fold. A friend of mine that I worked with in Australia many years ago, Hannah from Bananaorangeapple, encouraged me to open up an Etsy shop to sell my fabulous photographs. So, in January of 2012 with the support and love of friends and family I did!

"I'm still not where I want to be and finances have been tight but I'm so thankful God has given me this time. He has gotten me this far and I know he will get me to the next step as well. The name of my shop comes from the fact that you never know where the road ahead will lead! I'm looking at life as an adventure and am excited to see what path God is going to lead me to next! I have a blog, Adventures on the Road Ahead where I share my story, my testimony and my journey. I pray I can be an example to someone else who is going through tough times," she says.

Kim's photography can be found on her Etsy store, Facebook page and her blog. She is also participating in local craft fairs. "This past fall I received a phone call from my local Sam's Club asking if they could use one of my photographs on display in their photography department. Here is the photo they are using:
Hot Air Balloon in the Clouds. This photo is being used as an example of their photos on canvas. There are five of these on display in five different sizes. They told me that this is the first time they had ever chosen a photograph from a customer. I was very honored!"

To other artists, Kim emphasizes that they should never give up. "We don't know what the future will hold but you need to trust and believe that God has a marvelous plan ahead for you! Things will get tough but don't let those down times bring you down and make you feel that your work is insignificant. You need to keep moving ahead on the path that God has laid before you. You never know what kind of exciting adventures you will discover when you take that first step," Kim says.

In the future, Kim would like to teach again. She would also like to return to school and take more photography classes. "Photography has really become my passion as of late and I can't wait to see what will happen next!" she says.


Blessing Boxes spruce up with a little Papermajik

 In the year that I've been on Etsy, one of the most popular items in my shop has been the regular-sized matchbox that I call the Blessing Box.

In the background, this box quotes the priestly blessing from Numbers 6: 24 - 26:

"The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Since it has been so popular, I decided to make another version with my die cutter. This new version (pictured) is 5-1/4 x 3-5/8 x 7/8 - inch. When you compare it to the  2 x 1-1/4- inch box, you can see that it is about double the size. However, since the smaller boxes have been popular, I've decided to keep that size as well as sell the larger box. There are some boxes that I am allowing to expire because, one, I don't want a bunch of unused matches (there has to be a craft for that, right???) around my house from emptying matchboxes on patterns that don't sell well and two, I'd rather recycle chipboard than buy something new. Of course if anyone wants a large custom order of small matchboxes, to use as wedding favors or other types of favors, I'd be happy to take your order.

I really like the size of the larger boxes though. You can fit more into them for one. It would make a cute little stocking stuffer or just a nice little box for a small gift. This box would also be good to use during Clergy Appreciation Month in October or as a way to bring a smile to someone who's having a hard time.

New to the box is the paper that I've wrapped around the middle. In the original box, I just use paper from a package of mulberry paper scraps. The new paper is handmade by Pam Granger Gale at Papermajick, a wonderful shop on Etsy.

Pam's work is fabulous and her customer service is outstanding. She made a custom order for me so I know this through personal experience. Here is some of her work:







Isn't it gorgeous? I love the flower cards, especially the Queen Anne's Lace. You really have to go onto her site and look at everything. She also has mounted butterflies, scrapbook papers and some jewelry supplies.

I hope you stop by and give Pam's shop a look, maybe buy some of her products.

Tomorrow we'll continue the God and Art Series. Have a great day!



 Everything we do, according to physics, is "work".

Do you categorize work? I do. There is some work I love, and some that is necessary but my attitude is get it done quickly so we can move on to something else. There is also work that I thoroughly enjoy, like the stuff I do down in the WritingPlaces Workshop.

Children have work. It's called "play". Child development experts will tell you that children should have time to play because it helps them process the surrounding world. You can tell a lot about what is going on in childrens' minds by how they play when they don't know someone is watching.


The Nature of Work

The nature of work has changed drastically since the Industrial Revolution, when many went outside their homes to work in factories. This was also the era when a lot of our labor laws were developed, like the 40-hour work week. Before these labor laws people, including children, would work all hours of the day, six days a week, in factories that were filthy and unsafe. Labor laws as we have them today are a good example of how government 'interference' can be beneficial.

Before the Industrial Revolution, work for life's sustenance was largely contained within the family unit and people were identified by their work in the community. Of course roles have developed over time. We no longer have families that make candles so that people will have light. The family of a grocer does not go downstairs and work in the family grocery store until time to close. Women teachers are no longer required to be single. Today a teacher's life outside school is separate from his or her work, or "the job", as our formal work is now called.

Back in earlier times, it was easy to meld our work, or jobs, with every part of our existence. Now most people drive away from their families to work in an office or a factory or a school. Our work is separate from our families. In fact, psychologists try to get us to disassociate from our work in such a way that we don't completely identify ourselves in it. That's healthy. We have to have other things to do; however with the way things are many times the only connection our children have with our jobs is food that they eat, the house in which they live and the things that they have or don't have. Some get an allowance and some don't have to work for anything. Come to think on it, some adults get an 'allowance' without having to work for it.  This disassociation with work is unhealthy.


Attitude Toward Work

In the past, work was seen as a penance for original sin; however, scripture is clear that "we are to work as for the Lord and not for men." It is not a form of penance even though sometimes it feels that way; it is to be our expression of the love we have for God. Everything in our lives should meld together under the umbrella of God's grace. It is through our lives that this grace is extended to others.

From the early day until evening our lives belong to work, German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote. He echoes the New Testament writers in their view that work and a relationship with God are one. In Life Together, Bonhoeffer wrote, In most cases a community of Christians living together will separate for the duration of the working hours. Praying and working are two different things. Prayer should not be hindered by work, but neither should work be hindered by prayer. Just as it was God's will that human beings should work six days and rest and celebrate before the face of God on the seventh, so it is also God's will that every day should be marked for the Christian both by prayer and work. Prayer also requires its own time. But the longest part of the day belongs to work. The inseparable unity of both will become clear when work and prayer each receives its own undivided due.

A Christian cannot work effectively unless fueled by prayer - that is,  communion with God. Through prayer, the Holy Spirit fuels us with joy to handle the task at hand. This is in direct relation to time spent with God in prayer. In turn, God gives wisdom for each task to the Christian and helps his follower extend grace to others while working.

I like what John Wesley said about work in Sermon 50. His three points were: 1)We ought to gain all we can gain but this it is certain we ought not to do; we ought not to gain money at the expense of life, nor at the expense of our health; 2) Do not throw the precious talent into the sea; and 3) Having first, gained all you can, and, secondly, saved all you can, then give all you can.


Becoming one

When I was without a formal job, I wondered how I could meld myself and my relationship with God as one with my work. It all comes down to attitude. We need to assess ourselves by making sure that our work is profitable and helps support our family so that we're not a burden to others. We also need to make sure that what we do benefits our spiritual life. It's difficult to have a job that makes you do things that are contrary to God's word and follow Christ at the same time. We need to spend what we earn wisely and help others as much as we are able and we need to employ as many of the talents that we have as much as we are able. Many of our talents may not come out in our formal jobs, but they can come out in other ways. This too is work. In everything, though, we need to be as Christ-like as possible and depend on the Holy Spirit to help us in this regard.

So as you work this week remember that whatever you are doing is a reflection of the way you allow Christ to work in you. By keeping Christ first you may find that even the unpleasant tasks can have  joy.


Buttons, Burlap and all things vintage

 Buttons, burlap, ivory lace and coffee are some of my favorite elements to work with in the crafting sphere. I also love jute rope.

Actually, I love things that look old or are old.

Old things, like vintage jewelry and furniture, reclaimed wood, burlap and other items remind me of simpler times. I will not say "better" times because each era has its own problems and discomforts. How would you like to walk outdoors to the outhouse to use the toilet rather than walk through your house? I like my modern conveniences such as dishwashers, flush toilets, microwaves, washers, cars,  computers. Today I really like my air conditioner. We're in the triple digits here! So the "old" days, while they have their attraction, are not necessarily "better" days.

Simplicity is what attracts me to the past. I love the times when everything was handmade. Old things also remind me of people from my past or about books I enjoyed. There is a connection with our heritage in old things. A piece of vintage furniture or jewelry might remind me of grandparents long passed or a vintage Barbie might remind me of the fun I had playing with them at my still-living grandmother's house. She turned 90 this year, by the way. What a trooper!

Vintage finds and rustic-looking items remind me that things do not have to be perfect to look cool. Of course, quality must be perfect, but I could spend all of my time striving for a perfect look and never give gifts or sell anything. That's why, when I paint a piece of furniture or something else, I enjoy the chippy-shabby-chic style any day over the regular kind of painting that looks beautiful but is flawless. I don't have enough patience or desire to make things look perfect. In fact, the shabby chic look reflects my soul. Not so perfect but beautiful to God nonetheless.

I recently added these favor boxes to my Etsy site. The first one is a little rough-looking. I covered this box with a reclaimed burlap rice bag. I love the color pops on it and the frayed look on the edges (all touched with fray check so they won't unravel). Like the other boxes I added this week, they are die cut by me from a large piece of medium-weight chipboard I "re-purposed" from Sam's Club.

The second box mixes a little elegance with burlap and a vintage button. I love the pattern on the paper I used to cover this box. It gives a feeling of simplicity and beauty. The burlap makes it shabby.

 The box is 3 x 2 - 1/8 x 7/8 inches and can hold several pieces of candy, as pictured, jewelry- rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, cash, anything you can imagine. They would fit well at any rustic-themed event, such as an old country-style wedding or shower, or a rodeo party. Whatever the purpose, I hope you will enjoy them!


God and Art Series: God shows artist wonder of nature in childhood

The discovery that one is an artist can appear at any stage in life, but when the gift becomes apparent during childhood an entire world of wonder can be opened. Such was the case for Doris Lloyd, an artist who lives in Hatboro, Pennsylvania. Doris owns two stores on Etsy which display her playful artwork, Dream Art and Hidden Faces.

Along with drawings, illustrations and paintings, she sells bags, jewelry, wedding invitations and painted boxes.

Dream Art
"As far as art goes, I don't remember ever not drawing," Doris says. "As a very little girl I remember enjoying doodling on every piece of paper I could find. I say 'find' because when I was small my parents didn't buy me drawing paper. I kind of had to recycle the stuff around the house. Also, I used to go for a little hunt around the house, yard, and neighborhood for interesting stuff to make things with. Things like feathers, butterflies, chipmunk banks and other critters.
"My drawings as a child were often of my imaginary play world, the stuff we would make up in our games. These memories have influenced a lot of the ideas I have today many, many years later," she says.

Doris' artwork continued into high school where she took an interest in drawing with a dip pen. "Half of my day was spent on art back then," she says. "Through many trips to the public library, I discovered just how beautiful some of the children's' book illustrations were."

Dream Art
With encouragement from her commercial art teacher, Doris decided to go to the Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and study illustration. She spent four years at this school. "These were some of the most enjoyable years for me," Doris says. "I loved spending all my time on art and being around other creative people."

If you look closely at Doris' work you may find eyes staring right back at you! Her work is a delightful mix of her love for nature, fantasy art, fairy tales and the unusual, she says. "I try to create work that is unique and thought promoting - that is more than a pretty piece. I try to create work with a twist or a message - stuff that is different and memorable," Doris says.

Dream Art
Doris was brought up in the church and she enjoyed attending services and Sunday school. "I committed my life to Christ at a very young age, around kindergarten" Doris says. "At 14 I dedicated my life to Christ and was baptized in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. I feel that art is a wonderful way to give glory to the creator. Those who create have a greater appreciation for the wonders of Gods creation.

"At this point in my life I am home enjoying the things I love: working on my art,working on my Etsy shops and all that fun stuff. I am searching for more opportunities to use and make money with my paintings," Doris says.

Along with her Etsy shops, you can also find Doris' work at Doris Dream Art. Follow her on Facebook at HiddenFacesArt as well.




 One my favorite activities when I hit a beach is to look for shells. In fact, I am looking down so much as I walk along, I continuously have to remind myself to look at the water so I don't get knocked over too much!

Shelling has been a favorite hobby since I was a child. I used to have a box under my bed - the kind that a flat of sodas come in - filled with shells that I found on the beaches of California. I also had a children's book that helped me identify some of them. I could literally spend hours looking at my shells.

Not much has changed in my adult years, but I didn't realize that until Mike and I started going to North Carolina on vacation every year. Talk about shelling! The beaches are loaded with all kinds of shells, small and very large. I could literally bring home a truck load, but the National Seashore would frown upon that since visitors are only allowed to take a gallon's worth. Plane travel also stops my pursuit but that's okay. I'm totally content with what I've gathered.

Now I want to share some with you. Remember yesterday I told you that I had bought a die cut machine? Well, here is another result of my play. I got the chipboard (it's more of a medium weight) from in between the toilet paper packets at Sam's. We put it right in our cart and no one said anything. They probably want people to take that stuff!

I got the idea for a shell box after seeing all of the beach wedding ideas on Etsy. This 3 x 2 - 1/8 x 7/8-inch box is covered with a patterned mint paper that has some grey mixed in. I wrapped a piece of lace around it glued on some mint embroidery floss and sifted through the shells I wanted to put on. These are two small scallop shells (I think) and an olive. They are gleaned from the beaches of North Carolina. As you can see, they hold quite a bit of candy so they would make nice wedding favors:



Wow. Someone took a bite out of that York Peppermint Patty right under my nose. I'll have to see if one of my boys did that. These Peppermint Patties are the small ones not the regular size. Three or four mini-sized Hershey bars will fit into the box as well.

This box is also large enough to hold jewelry (a bracelet gift would be very nice) or other small gifts, even little shells to another shell lover. So, instead of using it as a favor, you could use it as a fun gift box that will not get thrown into a landfill right away.

Here is a closeup of the side:


As I was walking along the beach, I realized that my favorite shells were the small shells. Yes, I love the big ones, but seeing the fine detail in the little ones left me in awe as I reflected on a Creator that would give so much attention to such little shells. At one time a little animal lived in those shells and God knew about them. Like Jesus talked about in Matthew 6: 25 - 34, God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers. I'm sure that he must know every empty shell on the beach as well. How much more detail does he put into our lives? It blows my mind to think about it.

The life of an animal inside a shell is relatively short and its purpose is limited. Yet, God adds the little details that perfect its beauty. Our life on earth is relatively short as well, but we humans have a great advantage over animals. We are able to make our own choices and we have a great effect on our surroundings. We are greatly loved by our Creator and it is our task to take care of his creation. I wonder how much detail in our lives is missed when we limit ourselves?


The beach and here comes the bride ... and groom

I've been gone for a few days. Two Saturdays ago after spending all of Friday in airports, Mike and I were taking in the sand and surf on Core Banks, N.C. with his sister Susie, her husband Louie and their granddaughter Natasha.

Here is a gallery of the pictures:

Core Banks

Can you believe the beauty of that place? We traveled all the way to the end of the cape where the island, Core Banks, disappears into the Atlantic Ocean, and the ship-eating shoals of the central of the Carolina Capes are formed.. We go there every year to get our annual fill of seafood, shells and sun.

Before I went on vacation, there was a mad whirl in the Writing Places Handmade Items Workshop. I've been making more boxes for people to use as favors or gift boxes. This time, however, I'm doing something different. Due to the fact that I'm getting tired of having tons of matches filling jars in my cupboards, and after checking the price of buying small empty matchboxes in bulk, I decided to buy a Sizzix die cutter and make them myself.

The die cut version is larger. I have two sizes so I will have to charge more than $1, but they are made completely from recycled chipboard (I'm starting to get a pile of old cereal boxes and the like. Even gas stations and Sonic are not safe from my collection efforts. They have nicely weighted drink carriers). They are turning out very nice if I do say so myself. ;0)

Here is a set that I posted in my Etsy store last night:



Each box is 5-1/4 x 3-5/8 by 1-1/8 inches (picture a 3 x 5 card with height). They are completely customizable, meaning that you can change the colors of the clothing, jewelry, flowers, or the skin tone on the bride.

What I like about these boxes is that they have real texture. The ribbons, buttons and lace are the real thing. I've also quilled the flowers.

These boxes are huge. Large enough to fit in a small gift, such as a nice heirloom handkerchief for the bride or a gift card for the groom. They will also fit several pieces of candy or jewelry.

They are also not limited to weddings because you can buy each box separately and give one to that special person for a graduation, prom, quinceaƱera, baptism or whatever you like.

Tomorrow I plan to feature more boxes on my blog. Hope you like them!

Being thankful for the small things

I was tossing around a few ideas about what to post on the blog this week and asking God for guidance when I came across this quote by German theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In his book "Life Together," he wrote:

Thankfulness works in the Christian community as it usually does in the Christian life. Only those who give thanks for the little things receive the great things as well. We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts prepared for us because we do not give thanks for daily gifts. We think that we should not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be seeking the great gifts. Then we complain that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experiences that God has given to other Christians, and we consider these complaints to be pious. We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the small (and yet really not so small!) gifts we receive daily. How can God entrust great things to those who will not gratefully receive the little things from God's hand?

Gratefulness. Not just something to be expressed at Thanksgiving. In fact, in I Thessalonians 5, the apostle Paul wrote: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Not bad advice. And, as a side note, this is one of the things I really like about Dietrich Bonhoeffer's and Paul's writings -- they are always practical.

But why is gratefulness so important? In my own life gratefulness helps me keep perspective. Say, for instance, I told one of my sons to trim the dead heads off of my flowers and to have it done before I return home. When I come back and look at my flower garden, I realize with great dismay that every flower head was cut off, including the good ones. Talk about a bad moment. I inflict my bad moment on the offending son and, after it's over, after I've calmed down, I take a breather and realize that the flowers will grow back. Am I happy about my son doing this? No. He didn't listen to directions. However, in the grand scheme of things, at least he's not out partying and behaving like a hooligan. I could have a lot more to worry about than a temporarily ruined flower garden. So, I have something for which to be thankful.

Gratefulness also helps me to forgive. For instance, if a friend of mine were to forget about a lunch date we had set and I sat in the restaurant for an hour waiting, I would be irritated. My friend, however, being the ditz that she can be, simply forgot. Since I love her and am thankful for all the good times we've had together, I can forgive her. Unfortunately, some people's greatest grievances are not forgetting lunch. They do things that hurt and cause great damage. How can you be grateful for someone or forgive someone who continually hurts you?

For this, I'm learning to apply the above scripture. "Be thankful in all circumstances." It does not say "for all circumstances." Has that friend done kind things for me in the past? Can I be thankful for that? Can that gratefulness help me to forgive? Or, do I need to ask the Lord for help? How do I treat this person afterward?

As a side note, I want to say that I truly believe that there can be healing and restoration in many relationships with God's help; however, when a person continually hurts me and doesn't have the slightest inclination to apologize (or mean it if they do), I need to stay away from that person. Why let them go on hurting me?

In this broken world, people have bigger things to worry about than some of the things I mentioned, like the flower garden. There is bankruptcy, illness, death, natural disasters and destroyed property, lack of financial resources for basic needs, loss of a job, divorce, miscarriages, betrayal, and on and on and on. The list could go on forever. What in the world would anyone going through just one of these situations have to be thankful for?

Good question. If you are going through a tough situation, what are you thankful for? Have you thanked God for the basic things that are easily taken for granted like a shower or bath; your spouse; a roof over your head, that first sip of hot coffee, or any of the other many small things that make life more pleasant despite the major problems?

If you struggle in this area, ask God to help. Ask God to make your heart overflow with gratefulness. This does not mean that you will be a Pollyanna, seeing everything through rainbow-colored glasses to the point that everyone around you wants to throw up. No, it just means that you'll be able to see something good in almost everything. At the very least, you'll know that God will be there to help in every situation no matter what happens. You will then be able to pass this encouragement on to others without even thinking about it. God will use a grateful heart. And isn't being used by God the best blessing of all?

Like Bonhoeffer said, we get so busy thinking about what we would like to receive rather than being grateful for what we have already received, that we prevent God from blessing us with more. Receiving more should never be our goal. Our goal should be to live in our present situation, thanking God for his gifts, no matter how small we think they are. If we do this, God will bless us, and we will be properly grateful. Thank God for his gifts!


God and Art Series: Artist finds herself in graphic arts

The right kind of logo or card can really help a business gain a memorable identity, and there are several shops on Etsy that offer this service. One of those shops that stands out is Marina Graphic Design. Marina opened her shop at the end of 2011. She is excited to offer custom design for everyone - logos, birthday cards, business card templates, motivational posters, brochures, flyers and layouts, among other items.

Marina is a self-taught graphic designer who lives in southwest England. "I am Christian, married and have a little baby boy," Marina says. "I have always been carrying a creative soul since I was a little child. I used to love doing handcrafts activities at home, painting, drawing and writing poems."

   Marina Graphic
Marina studied communications, learning about design tools, and found that she enjoyed graphic arts. "I think I found myself in creating designs with a personal touch," she says. "I think that if I had not studied communication, I would have studied graphic arts. I love playing with colours, all sorts of shapes and form. I get inspired looking at my baby, walking outside in the forest, or simply listening to music!"

Marina Graphic Designs
Marina's talent came in handy in 2010 when, while pregnant, she lost her job. "For me, this was very hard to accept but I discovered that God let that happen so I could start my own business," she says. "I can only thank him for everything that is happening to me. If I find myself artistic today, it is because he put the talent in me. So I decided to use my talent and open my shop on Etsy as it seems so popular. I created my shop [at the] end of December, 2011 and really started [it] in January, 2012. Now in May, I can say that I really enjoy doing graphic design and being able to help so many small businesses with tight budget, but also individuals. I would like to grow to inspire other women that even at home it is possible to do something that will benefit someone else!"

In her shop, Marina sells digital designs that her customers can print on their personal computers. "I also accept any custom order. You may find you are looking for a home planner, some jam stickers, a birthday card, or a new logo and a brochure for your business. In my shop I will be offering a variety of designs so come and check it out regularly. I am adding a new listing everyday!" she says.
Marina Graphic Design
"My goal is to expand the range of designs I am selling in my online shop," Marina says. "I would also like to buy a professional cut machine and professional printer to be able to print myself and not doing only a digital service. I also would like to keep some benefits for a project I would love to do in India. I would like to be able to send some sort of survival kit for girls and women who are abused and suffering badly in India. I need some funds. By buying in my shop, you are supporting this too!"

In her business, Marina always tries to satisfy every customer. "I am a self-taught graphic designer and you may find that I am not qualified. I would say that I love to design and always try to do my best to satisfy every customer that I may have."

In her life Marina says that she has learned to appreciate paintings, listen to music and look at God's work in nature. Her relationship with God greatly affects who she is. "I did not have an instant transformation as some people would testify for their life," she says. "But God has changed me, moulded me, little by little, step by step to the woman I am today.

"God is really part of my art. He is the one who give me inspiration and opened the doors for new projects," she says.
Marina Graphic Design