50 Day Design Challenge // State-themed Gouache Paintings

Happy December!! This year has flown by. We've had quite a few transitions in our family in 2015 between changing our focus from 'craft-based' to 'art and design-based' with Jitney's, and, of course, the exciting addition of our little Mia Kai arriving next year in April. Yay!! 

This October, I decided to challenge myself with a 50 Day Design Challenge.

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A Fresh Beginning // My First Surface Pattern Collection

If you're following along with the Scripture Memory / Dwell Richly printable, here's the verse for week 19: 

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6 (ESV)

A Fresh Beginning Pattern Collection via Jitney's Journeys

I've been taking Skillshare classes from Elizabeth Olwen and Bonnie Christine. If you haven't heard of Skillshare or looked into, go now. It is my, hands-down, most favorite learning site. If you click this link, you can get a free month membership. 


Via Bonnie Christine: The assignment for this course is to create a mini collection of 6 repeating patterns. Collections should be cohesive in style, theme and color. An excellent collection will tell a story through it's pieces and engage the viewer with a unique color story that provides depth and contrast. Patterns should vary in scale and include small, medium to large sized motfis, as well as vary in complexity with some patterns being simple and others being very complex.

M Y  C L A S S   P R O J E C T

Pattern Collection: A Fresh Beginning

Collection Story: A Fresh Beginning is the story of an artisian embarking on a unique creative journey, with each pattern expressing a step taken in discovering who she will become during this season of her life. This pattern has been inspired by the little ones she hopes to see running around in her garden in the years to come. 

Pattern Names: Rest // Awakening // Growth // Refreshment // Forest // Garden Whimsy

A Fresh Beginning Color Palette via Jitney's Journeys
A Fresh Beginning Pattern Collection // Sketches and Motifs via Jitney's Journeys
A Fresh Beginning Pattern Collection  via Jitney's Journeys
A Fresh Beginning Pattern Collection // Seamless Pattern via Jitney's Journeys

I also incorporated a few designs I've done for the Handletter Huntsville challenge and past custom orders:

Love It All Out // Art Prints via Jitney's Journeys
I Love You Always & Forever // Whimsical Children's Art Prints via Jitney's Journeys
Be Kind and Be Brave // Floral Art Print via Jitney's Journeys
Small Beginnings // Scripture Art Prints via Jitney's Journeys

I cannot express how thankful I am for the Skillshare community and its teachers. If you're interested in design, photography, entrepreneurship / business, DIY, culinary or almost any type of creative skill, this is a great place to learn more about it. Enjoy!!! 

You can see my entire Skillshare project on my Project page

Kyoto, Japan : Northwest Kyoto // the Golden Pavilion

The Golden Pavilion (or Kinkaku-ji) was extraordinary. Don’t be deceived by the photos… This site was PACKED! The pavilion is surrounded by a serene body of water so it’s fairly easy to get a fantastic photo. Plus, if you stand at the fence and put up your blinders, it’s almost as if you have the place to yourself. Almost. 

Golden Pavilion, Japan
Golden Pavilion, Japan
Maple Trees of Kyoto, Japan

Even the maples were breathtaking here. You're basically walking under a canopy of autumn, if there were such a thing. 

Kids of Japan

Remember reading about the students who would stop and ask us questions for their English class then give us a gift thanking us for our time? Most of the groups asked us at this site. I still can't get over their yellow hats. So stinkin' cute.

Don't forget to Like and vote for my designs on the Minted challenge here.

Kyoto, Japan : Arashiyama

If you're following along with the Scripture Memory / Dwell Richly printable, here's the verse for week 6: 

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:16-17 (ESV)

Kyoto, Japan

The bus was packed from S. Higashiyama to Arashiyama. We were lucky enough to get window seats. A small group of high school girls stood beside us and overheard JD and I talking in English. “Oh! You speak English?” Thus began the delightful thirty-minute conversation we shared where we discussed Japan, America and our interests. They snapped a quick group selfie with us before their stop then waved goodbye to us through the window. It's amazing how interested and willing they were to speak with us in English. They recognized it as an opportunity to practice a new language with new people rather than fear it. The Japanese are incomparable in their hospitality.

The ride into Arashiyama is exhilarating. I wasn’t able to take photos but it’s an image we will (hopefully) never forget. A river flowed along the road with autumn trees lining the Japanese mountains. I could sit there for hours taking in the beauty. 

We planned on starting at the Bamboo Forest but we accidentally passed by the entrance. When we finally stopped to get directions, we turned back around and started the day off with a coffee break instead. The Bamboo Forest entrance is a little hidden but we finally found it near the north gate of Tenryu-ji. 

Bamboo Forest

We’re also pretty certain we missed most of the forest. Don’t get me wrong, we saw a LOT of bamboo (and it was awesome) but the path we took lasted less than .5 mile. It was a rough morning for the Todd Navigation Duo. We quickly found our way out of the forest and headed toward Jojakko-ji, a temple perched on top of a mossy knoll. The photo below isn't great quality but I LOVED how the moss covered the gate's roof. Nature's inspiration at its best. 

Kyoto, Japan

We stopped for a fancy bowl of noodles at Komichi and were not disappointed. This is one place we would definitely eat at again.


We continued walking, searching for a bus station and ended up here:

Kyoto, Japan

In other words, we had nowhere else to go. We hiked up to another road and waved down a taxi that drove us to Kinkaku-ji (aka: the Golden Pavilion - we'll post about this next).

Between the hills and long distances, there was a lot of walking this day. So much that I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get out of bed the next morning. Even my Crossfit, buff-of-a-husband was a little sore. Our navigation skills failed at the end of the route when we couldn’t find the correct bus or hail a taxi. If you take this route, I wish we could give you better advice but we ended up walking another solid mile before finding transportation back home. By the time we finally got back to the house, we were filled with nothing but laughter. 

After a full day of poor navigation but breathtaking sites, there’s no other reaction you can have. 

Jitney's Journeys : Jeremiah 17:7-8 Custom Barnwood Piece

My friend Judy was at it again with another brilliant idea. (I should really make a "tag" for her so you can see all of the artwork we've collaborated on.) Her husband's birthday was coming up and she wanted to give him a custom piece featuring Jeremiah 17:7-8 with a tree of some sort and maybe a river running across it somehow. I'm not sure if this is what she had in mind originally but I ended up creating the artwork on barnwood with a typography mixture of my handlettering with a clean, sans serif font. I fell in LOVE with it and I'm hoping they did too! 

As always, I'm deeply encouraged by the scripture I have the blessing of working with. There is beautiful hope and pure Truth in these verses. Oh, I just love it.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.
— Jeremiah 17:7-8

Find this and other custom artwork from Jitney's Journeys here. If you would like to order a custom piece of artwork or something similar to this, contact us here

Ornamental Favorites...

Prepare yourself for an ornamental overload, as we are about to reveal to you our first Todd Nest Christmas Tree. Last year, we had a one-foot live Christmas tree set up in our Germany hotel. Our first year looked a little something like this. Now that we've settled into our Alabama home, we decided it was time to buy our first large Christmas tree and decorate our home in true Christmas fashion.

Friends always ask us what we bring home as souvenirs from our travelling: (1) we send a postcard home from each location and (2) buy a Christmas ornament.

Our favorite is this handpainted globe from Rothenburg, Germany.

And, yes, the town looks 



 this ornament! It's lovely.

JD's sister, Theresa, and her husband brought us this stunning ornament from their honeymoon in Gatlinburg.

(1) Paris, France: Christmas 2011
(2) Tel Aviv, Israel: 2011
(3) Oahu, Hawaii: 2012
(4) Oahu, Hawaii: 2011
(5) Milan, Italy: 2012
(6) Chattanooga, Tennessee: 2-year anniversary 2012
(7) Bahamas: 2011

My mom made the amazing ornaments and sent us one. It fits perfectly with our tree!

And the NOEL banner? Her creation too. I told JD earlier that morning that our tree was missing that special something, but I had no idea what it was. I put this banner up and the tree felt so much more complete.

How precious is this sign!? Better than mistletoe.

Do you like our tree skirt? Look for it in our 2013 Jitney's Journeys Christmas collection!! 

Those are a few of our favorite Christmas ornaments...

What is yours?

Do you have a themed tree, one tree or many, large or small?