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Recommitting My Work to the Lord

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“Commit your work to the LORD and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

I shared in a recent Instagram post that I have been feeling restlessness in my life – especially in my work. I’ve been praying my heart would be aligned to Christ and it didn’t take long for Him to start answering that prayer. However, it took a little bit more time and a good nudge for me to really start responding.

The turning point

At the beginning of May, I was a vendor at Minneapolis Pinners Conference. This was a dream come true for me and I saw it as a career milestone. However, God used the event not only as a milestone, but as a turning point in my career and life.

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I met so many wonderful people at the conference and had some great conversations that really got me thinking about my purpose as a creative small business owner. I walked into the event with a new realization that I had been making a lot of decisions based on what other people in the professional lettering community were doing instead of looking to God for wisdom and guidance. But, I wasn’t totally sure what to do with that knowledge.

After processing the entire event and many insightful conversations with other vendors, teachers, and attendees, I realized that I first needed to stop doing what other successful people are doing or saying to do and assuming it will be right for me. I had gotten caught up in the hustle and was starting to realize the things I was striving for weren’t 100% in line with how God wanted to use me and my gifts.

My response

I responded to these new realizations by taking some time off from posting on social media. Planning content sucks up so much of my time, so I knew by cutting that out for a bit, I would be opening up so much more time to pray, read my Bible, listen to sermons, meet with friends, and begin figuring out how God wants to use me. I also knew that I needed to re-evaluate the content I was putting out there and place my trust in the Lord to provide, instead of relying so much on my marketing efforts. Taking a break from posting for a couple weeks needed to happen for a lot of reasons and I’m so glad I took that time to reset.

I am amazed by all the things the Lord has been teaching me in just the past few weeks. The list really goes on and on and I’m excited to share more about those things in future social media and blog posts. I am still very much in the process of discovering how God specifically wants to use me, but what I do know for sure is that He wants me to go all in for Him. He wants me to give up my control, my ideas of what I think is gonna work, and allow Him to show me what He’s capable of. Not just so I can experience His best for me, but more importantly, so I can be used for His greater purposes.

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Moving forward

Like I said, I’m still learning a lot and figuring out where God is leading me. I know it will be a never ending process and I’m excited to see how the journey will impact what I share with this supportive, kind, loving community I get to be a part of.

I was hoping to end this post with what you can expect from me in the future, but really all I can say is, expect change. Expect more Jesus. I don’t want my shop and posts to be about hand lettering or even about me. I want my hand lettering and creativity to be used as a tool to point myself and others back to Him.

<3 Lauren

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My Everyday Lettering Tools

This post contains affiliate links.

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Whether you’re a brush letterer or an iPad letterer, I’m sure you have your go-to lettering tools. In this post I’ll be sharing the tools I use daily, but if you want a more extensive list, visit my resource page where I have much more detailed lists of other products I love for lettering. The ones I’ll be sharing today are the ones I use most frequently, so let’s get started!

Brush Lettering

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Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens

Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens are not just my favorite, but they’re a favorite of many – amateurs and pros alike! I couldn’t tell you if I like the hard or soft tip better. It really depends from project to project.¬† I love how versatile they are, that they are a great brush pen no matter what your skill level may be, and they last a long time, especially with the right kind of paper. Which leads me to my next go-to tool…

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You can use the Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens on any kind of paper, but what I have found is they last the longest when you use them on a smooth card stock. I don’t really have a brand preference, but I’ve linked some paper here if you’d like a recommendation. ūüėČ

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Delde Pen Case

This is my all-time favorite pen pouch. I mean, come on! How can you top this design?? I like having a collection of pens with me wherever I go and it’s so nice to not have to dig for the right pen like I do with other cases that store pens horizontally. You simply pull down the top half to access your pens easily and pull the top half back up to close it. I love that it’s like a pen cup to go. ūüėČ This is my favorite one, because of the simple color and metal zipper, but I also have one in blue and gray one with a plastic zipper for spare pens. It comes in quite a few colors so you’ll definitely want to check them out if you like this pen case!

iPad Lettering

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iPad Pro + Apple Pencil

For many of you, this one might seem like a no-brainer, but I still get a fair amount of questions about what kind of tablet I use. There have been more recent iPad versions that have come out since I first got mine in the fall of 2016, but since I’m giving you all my personal recommendations, I have linked the iPad that I currently have. (I would love to get the newer, bigger iPad Pro one of these days!)

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It wouldn’t be worth having the iPad Pro if I didn’t have the Apple Pencil I’ve tried other digital pencils and none of them compare to the Apple Pencil. The Apple Pencil hooks up to the iPad via Bluetooth and is pressure sensitive, which is a must to have as a calligrapher! Again, I have the first version and would love to get the new one with the latest iPad Pro, but it’s such a fabulous stylus, I doubt I would notice a huge difference between the two!

Procreate

Procreate is the app I use for my lettering and illustration. I first fell in love with it because of how intuitive it is to use, unlike more complicated programs like Adobe Illustrator – which I am always learning to use and has also become a staple for the kind of lettering work I do!

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Procreate Brushes

Procreate comes with a lot of default brushes, but my favorite are the ones I created myself. I use my Essential Brush Pack for the vast majority of my lettering work and I offer this brush pack, as well as a similar brush pack called the Natural Brush Pack, which looks similar to my essential brushes, but they have a more natural look to them… much like the Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens I mentioned above!

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Procreate Grids

Procreate is slowly improving the default grid system within the app, but it still doesn’t measure up to the grids I created for Procreate. I created five grids with common paper size dimensions and if you set your canvases to the correct dimensions mentioned in the Etsy or Creative Market listings, the grids will lock perfectly to your canvas and represent accurate dimensions in inches, divided into half-inches and all the way down to quarter-inches. If you aren’t worried about exact measurements, Procreate has a locking feature that will lock whatever grid and size it to fit your screen. I use the grids both ways! Sometimes I need to know exact sizing for custom orders, other times I just need some guidance to keep my lettering straight and centered on the page. If you want to learn more about how the grids work, watch this video tutorial where I share how great these grids are to have and how easy they are to use!

Anyway…

Again, these are my daily go-to lettering tools. If you’d like to see more of my favorite tools I use less often, make sure to visit my resource page for the full list!

If you’d like to be notified about future blog posts and shop updates, please join my mailing list community! I’d love to stay in touch!

<3 Lauren

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Strong & Courageous

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”¬†Joshua 1:9 ESV

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I’m so excited to being sharing the ‘why’ behind my latest enamel pin design which says, “strong & courageous.” More often than not, there is a story behind each of my designs and in this case there are two – the biblical story and my personal one.

As I’ve mentioned in a few posts on social media, I’ve been studying books in the Old Testament with BSF this year. We started in September with the book of Joshua and I was amazed by how the Holy Spirit used that book to speak to me and meet me in a season filled with unknowns.

God’s story

I highly encourage you to read the book of Joshua on your own, but today, I’m mainly going to focus on Joshua 1 – even more specifically Joshua 1:9. To give you some context, the book of Joshua opens with the Lord declaring Joshua the new Israelite leader after the death of Moses. They have reached the land God promised to give them after 40 years of wandering through the desert. And in this chapter, the Lord is preparing Joshua to lead the Israelites in taking possession of the land. God not only gives Joshua clear commands on how Joshua should move forward, but He also encourages Joshua. He commands Joshua to “be strong and courageous,” to not be afraid, and to remember that He would be with Joshua and the Israelites wherever they went, whatever they came across.

Joshua was constantly asking the Lord for guidance as He led the Israelites, in each decision. When they followed the Lord’s commands, they prospered, but when they took matters into their own hands, they perished. And, in the Lord’s great and rich mercy, He forgave them when they realized what they had done wrong and continued to guide them. In order to be led, the Israelites had to be willing to follow – they had to trust that even when God’s way appeared difficult and impossible, He would keep all of His promises in His perfect timing.

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His strength in me

As I studied the book of Joshua, I was drawn to Joshua’s relationship with the Lord – how he confided, listened, and really trusted the Lord. However, I saw a lot more of myself in the Israelites. Like them, I like to take things into my own hands, forgetting that God knows the future. Therefore, I need to be willing to be led and I can’t be led when I’m constantly trying to take control of my circumstances. I need to trust in His promises and as I read at the end of my study of Joshua, He will not back down on His promises (Joshua 21:45).

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God continues to speak to me through His word as I make my way through many of the books in the Old Testament. He continues to remind me to trust Him. Not just to ask for more strength, but to pray that Christ would actually¬†be my strength – that in Him alone I’ll be made strong and courageous, not through my own attempts to change.

My hope for you

It is my hope that you too will be inspired to find strength in Christ. That you would let go and let Him take the lead in your life – that He would fill you with His strength and give you the courage to endure whatever trials you might be facing. You can attempt to take on life’s battles on your own, but I’m here to tell you today that it’s so much better when you allow Christ to lead the way. Only He knows the future. He will comfort you, protect you, encourage you, and not just give you strength, but with fill you with His strength!

So, say yes to Jesus today, whether it be for the first time or hundredth time. Allow Him to lead you and see what He has in store for you! He reminds Joshua – and us – over and over again not to be afraid! He will be with you wherever You go and will always keep His promises!

<3 Lauren

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My Soul Finds Rest

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This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve shared occasionally on podcasts and social media about rest and my determination to make that a priority in my life. But, I haven’t really shared one-on-one with my community about how I make rest a priority and why. Since the new year is still young and fresh starts are still on the minds of many, I feel like now is the perfect time to talk about rest and why you should consider making more time for rest in your life as well.

Rest in my life

For the past few years, I have been keeping a “Sabbath” day. I use that word loosely, because to me it means so much more than a day of rest, but a day to keep holy and spend with family and that is not always the case for me… but I’m working my way there! I decided to dedicate one day a week to rest from work and scheduled plans after several years of studying scripture, as well as reading books on the topic, like John Mark Comer’s Garden City.

Many people think of Sunday as the Sabbath. I have been working nearly every Sunday as a worship leader for the past five years, so Sunday has never exactly been a Sabbath day for me personally. A day filled with worship, yes, but rest? Not so much when I’m up at 5:30 AM and not done until sometimes 13 hours later! (Phew!) So, my day of rest has fallen on Tuesdays, Fridays, and for the past couple years it has been Mondays. I pick one consistent day of the week, not a different day each week, because I believe keeping consistency is important.

So what do my Mondays look like? Well, I rest from work – which includes product design, custom orders, email, Etsy convos, and all social media. I don’t have a personal Instagram account, but truthfully, even if I did, it would be just too tempting to check up on my work stuff, so I hide my Facebook and Instagram apps on a separate “page” on my home screen. I also rest from scheduled plans. As an introvert, it’s necessary for me to have a day with no obligations. If I feel like making last minute plans that day, I do, but I keep it open beforehand. So what do I do? I sleep in, I spend an hour or two journaling and working on my Bible study lesson for the week, I read, I nap, I indulge in something creative, usually unrelated to work (AKA hand lettering) like knitting or drawing… those are the typical activities, but sometimes I’ll go visit my parents, watch a movie, or hang out with friends in the evening.

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The downside to my current arrangement is I’m still sticking to the same routine I did when I was single. I’d love to share a day of rest with my husband, but he’s in school and working, so it’s been nearly impossible to coordinate. I would like to start making rest a bigger priority in my marriage and we can hopefully start cultivating that as a couple once he’s out of school and has a more consistent schedule. Rest as a couple just happens in shorter, more frequent, less consistent periods of time right now. It’s a work in progress!

My main focus is keeping the spirit of the Sabbath and remembering Jesus is Lord over the Sabbath. It’s not about keeping legalistic practices or holding myself and my marriage to a standard of perfection in this area. That’s not rest. It starts with making the commitment to a day of rest. As we seek the Lord in our time of rest, He’ll reveal to us how we can rest in Him more fully – a rest that is peaceful and restorative as described in Psalm 23.

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Practical ways to prioritize rest in your own life

Now, I am totally aware of my unique circumstances. I’m self-employed with no kids, so I realize in many ways it’s easier for me to set aside an entire day of rest, but I will say, whether you’re single, married, have children, are employed by someone else, or create your own work schedule, keeping a day of rest is a sacrifice, a challenge, and something that takes continued practice and discipline to do well. But, as you begin settling into a rhythm, you’ll start to see what a blessing rest is, that it wasn’t just a command from God, but one of the greatest gifts we’re given!

So, keeping in mind that jumping right into a full day of rest might be daunting for some of you, here are just a few practical ideas to help you start making rest a bigger priority:

  • Daily quite time with Jesus – prayer, journaling, reading your Bible, working through a study.
    • My Bible study recommendation: I personally love the “Be” series of commentaries by Warren Wiersbe! He breaks down scripture in an easy to understand way, but takes you deep. There are also questions at the end of each chapter to answer. They’re great books for personal or group study.
  • Picking one day a week to go social media free – or if you feel comfortable, turn your phone off completely for the day!
    • Read this post if you want to read more about why I think this is so important.
  • Scheduling one evening a week for dinner and a night in with your spouse and/or kids.
    • Watch a movie, play a board game, get outside, or go out and do some other fun activity!
    • Leave distractions like phones, tablets, laptops, and homework in another room.
    • At the table have everyone go around and share words of kindness about each family member… verbalizing appreciation for your loved ones might be uncomfortable for your family at first, but there is rest and comfort in hearing words of affirmation from those closest to you.
  • Help your children get into the habit of getting their homework done by Saturday night, so they don’t have to do any homework on Sunday.
    • This will not only help them learn time management and help them see the value in rest, but will also give you a break from helping and reminding them to get their tasks done! Everybody wins! (I may not be able to relate on the parenting side of this, but remembering how much work my parents put into helping with homework and putting up with the protests and tantrums from my sisters and me, I know both kids and parents need a break!)
  • Try starting with committing to a half day of rest. Pick a time to start and end and stick to it!
  • Think you’re ready for a full day of rest for you, you and your spouse, and/or your family? Go for it!
    • Discuss what day will work best for your family, work around the most important commitments, let some go, and start experiencing the gift that is an entire day of rest!

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Anyway…

I hope this post, if anything, got you thinking about rest and how you might start keeping this spiritual discipline. We live in the midst of a hustle culture in America. Busy = better and rest = laziness. I used to struggle with that lie when I first started prioritizing rest, but I work six days a week and even our God rested on the seventh day! Maybe you work five days a week and have one day for getting errands run, chores, kids activities, etc. But, set aside a day – or, at the very, least a regular extended period of time within a day – for complete rest. Don’t worry about being perfect! Take baby steps and begin discovering how regular rest positively impacts your trust in the Lord, your physical health, mental well-being, relationships, work, and all the other unique aspects of your life.

How are you already prioritizing rest in your life? In what ways do you want to improve? What are your favorite scripture passages about rest? I’d love to hear in the comments! And of course, if you want to stay up to date of future blog posts, I welcome you to join my mailing list community! I’ll let you know about new blog posts, shop updates, and upcoming events, and I’ll even send you a little gift just for joining!

<3 Lauren

 

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Enamel Pin Style Inspiration

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My love for enamel pins has grown so much in the past year. They have become one of my favorite accessories no matter what season. Wherever I go, I usually have a pin somewhere on me – a jacket, a vest, my backpack, a sweater… and I always have the ones I’m not wearing at home on display.¬†I also was curious to know how my social media community was wearing their pins, so I reached out to them and received some great pin style photos from them as well.

Whether you have a collection of enamel pins or just one, I hope you’ll be inspired¬†to start rocking your pins in your day-to-day wardrobe and at home. <3

Jackets, vests, & sweaters

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Let’s start with an obvious choice: jean jackets! Sturdy fabrics like denim are your best friend when wearing enamel pins. You can place your pins on the collar, the pocket, or somewhere in between. In the photos above, I’m wearing my silver Be Kind pin. and in the photos below, I’m wearing my Strong & Courageous pin. and black and gold Have Faith pin.
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I love these photos submitted by Kiley of¬†@kileyinkentucky and taken by Connie of¬†@januaryjunephotography! Vests are great for the days you want to wear your pins, but it’s a little too warm for a jacket or thick sweater. I also love how Kiley paired the¬†gold Be Kind pin with the rose gold Do Good pin.
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Like Kiley, you can totally mix and match your metals. But, I usually I like to match my pins with each other and the metals on my clothing. I really like how the gold in my gold and white Have Faith pin looks with the brass zipper on my army green vest.
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On extra chilly days, I wear my pins on thick knit sweaters and cardigans. Strong & Courageous pin looks so sweet and dainty on this cream knit sweater.
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My friend @steenaanne looks so cute with her gold Do Good pin and that cute little fly pin she already had. They look so perfect together on the collar of her vest.
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Wearing a pin on my overalls is probably my #1 go-to. I have two pairs of overalls, so I wear them often and I love how my pins fit perfectly on the strap. It’s a subtle way to say something sweet while you’re out and about! And, the silver and black Have Faith pin looks so good on that dark denim.

Backpacks & Bags

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Since receiving these photos, I’m more inspired to up my pin game on my purses and bags. I only have a few leather purses, as well as a leather tote, and I personally don’t like the idea of poking a hole in my good leather bags (but hey, if you’re braver than me, go for it!), so I thought¬†@rebecca.aimeee‘s solution was genius: stick the pin through one of the buckle holes! I also like how the buckle acts as a frame around the silver Be Kind pin.
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If you’re like Kristin of the @howtofailpodcast and you do have a canvas purse or tote, you can place pins anywhere on the canvas without worrying about doing any permanent damage. Kristin paired the Be Kind and Do Good pins (both in gold) on her tote and I think it’s such a classy look!

Tip: I’ve heard a few people say they struggle to keep their pins in place on bags and backpacks or worry about them falling off. The fabric on bags is often times a bit thicker than clothing and we tend to toss our bags around during the day more than our clothes so a locking clasp can solve that problem. I personally have never had an issue with a standard rubber back, but locking clasps¬†are nice to have if you need a little more reassurance when placing your pins on thick material. Locking clasps are available as an upgraded option when you order any of the pins from my shop.
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Candace of @julingtonmarket wears her gold Be Kind pin on her black backpack. Pins are a great way to dress up a simple bag or backpack and this is the perfect example.
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@rcraikr also wears her gold Be Kind pin on her backpack. The white and gold pops on the blue fabric and she picked the perfect spot to place it.

When you’re not wearing your pins…

I don’t wear my pins everyday, but I still like to look at and enjoy them when I’m not wearing them. Instead of storing them in a box or drawer there are a couple other places I keep them:
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Canvas banners work great for displaying enamel pins when you’re not wearing them. I’ve seen larger banners for displaying big collections, but my collection is relatively small, so I made some small pin banners that look great with several pins or just a few.
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One day, while decluttering my desk, I put a few pins on my pen cup and thought they looked so cute, I kept them there until I wore them again. I’m the type of person who likes having verbal reminders throughout the day and the rose gold and white Have Faith pin paired with the gold Do Good pin are the perfect reminder of the importance of having faith and doing good works. <3

Start rocking your pins!

Ready to add enamel pins to your wardrobe? You can find all my pins at my Etsy shop, as well as pin banners, locking clasps, and of course, many other pretty things. Please send me photos of how you where your pins! Just tag @lauren.ibach and #laurenibachlettering when sharing on Instagram. I always love seeing my pins out and about and continue to get inspired by how others wear them too!
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Other pins pictured:
Gold fly pin: unknown
Heart glasses pin: @justine.gilbuena