Gift Wrapped


This season can either be my most favorite or most dreaded season of all.  I absolutely love fall.  On one hand it is full of beautiful autumn colors, crisp air (where I live), apple cider, and family birthdays.  On the other, as the leaves fall, it reminds me that life is fleeting, and winter is coming.  Perhaps it is because I grew up in Alaska, that winter has such an effect on me. To be sure, there is beauty to be found in the diamond encrusted branches and glistening snow, not to mention a good cup of hot chocolate, but the dormant season can be hard, and it can be long. Nevertheless, hope lives on! I have read that even in winter, although trees enter a “resting phase,” they still “maintain a readiness to grow.”

We all need “resting phases” throughout life’s seasons and although I must admit <cough> resting has not traditionally been my strong suit, I am called to learn how to rest.  It could take me months to share what I have been learning over the past few years about burn-out, rest, and recovery.  I hesitate to begin because I feel like I am still in the middle…or maybe at the beginning…of the journey.  Then I see the weariness in people around me.  Like a heavy blanket, the hunger for the truth that we can “cease striving” smothers the hope out of their eyes.  We must know and remember that God is God and He grants sleep to those (the whole world) He loves.  We can come to Him when we are weary and heavy laden.  Rest is a gift.  Peace is a gift.  Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  John 14:27 (NLT).  The word for peace here is eirene, meaning peace, prosperity, quietness, rest. This truth compels me to begin to offer up the bits of wisdom I have grown to treasure, not as one who has arrived or figured everything out, but as a sister who is walking this journey as well.  So accept my musings or don’t, as you would a physical gift that you can receive and use or pass on to someone else!


Oh, and for anyone curious what was in one of the presents above, one was a toy for my kiddo’s birthday, and the other a pair of Pajama bottoms made from Bailey’s Good Dog Bad Dog fabric.  I was so excited that my order of gift-wrap came in time to wrap my first gifts for October Birthdays! At the moment he is the only one in the universe with a pair and so he feels quite special.PJsChild

Inspirational Music:
Nichole Nordeman’s song “Every Season“.  She has such a poetic way with words, and a beautiful way of recognizing her Heavenly Father at work in each season.

Inspirational Scripture:
“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 
Acts 20:35 (NLT)

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Psalms 51:12 (NIV)

“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)

A Cosmic Voyage of Discovery

IntergalacticChalkboardA little over a year ago my imagination was captured by the Geek Chic Fabric 8 contest for which I entered Intergalactic Scrapbook, a fabric design that extends the vintage linen, French travel postcard look to the vast galaxy of science fiction. I have been both humbled and thrilled by the number of fellow “creatives” who decided to use this design in their own projects. If you are among them, thank you! May you live long and prosper! Since then I have released over 150 different fabric designs, most of which can be ordered as wallpaper, decals, and gift wrap as well. I am just getting started!

This year the Fabric 8 contest description reminded me of last year’s entry, but a new fresh design is required. Therefore, I am excited to present Intergalactic Chalkboard. I believe that this design is perfectly suited for Spoonsflower’s new Faux Suede fabric and I can’t wait to receive my order!

The reason I am excited about this year’s design goes beyond the trendy chalkboard to the message written on it. Each person (whether they prefer to live on the planet or off of it) has a purpose and destiny to find and fulfill. So many aimlessly float in a blank empty space waiting for destiny to find them. To me, life is like a Cosmic Voyage of Discovery. True adventurers employ creativity, vision, and imagination, to discover secrets pertaining to their identities and destinies. That is why these chalk silhouettes of Starships, Spaceships and other adventurous vessels that could have flown through worlds like Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Stargate, and Doctor Who spell out the words Voyage of Discovery, Creativity, Identity, Imagination, Vision, and Destiny with their flight paths as they fly through space on quests that at their core are not so dissimilar from our own. My hope is that everyone who sees this fabric will discover their personal “For What” and “For Whom” they are created to be. Because then the TRUE adventure begins!

For those who can, please login or create a quick account on Spoonflower’s site so that you can “favorite” this design. It just may help Intergalactic Chalkboard make it into the top 100 designs. From all of the entries submitted, 100 designs will be chosen for the semifinal round of voting, which will be open to the public. The top eight designers will be asked to develop three more designs to round out their collections, and then the public will choose the winner from the eight collections. The winner receives a contract to design a small collection for a fabric manufacturer (Robert Kaufman). This is definitely on my bucket list! Plus the royalties would be a huge help to me as my 7 year old design software is in desperate need of an upgrade! There are so many designs still longing to escape my imagination to become a part of yours! Thank you all for your support!

Inspirational Scripture:
…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.
Jeremiah 29:11

Can You Make a Quilt in a Day?

JBalyeatQuiltI certainly cannot make a quilt in a day!  But that is because when I set out to do something I know nothing about, I have to learn through trial and error…sometimes a tiny error that turns out to be massive by the time I follow it to the end.  I was staring at some 8 inch swatches, trying to decide what to make with them, when the thought of a guest room quilt to go on my not-so-lovely air mattress, popped into my mind.  The trouble is, I didn’t want to do squares.  So I  found a lovely little tutorial on how to make a diamond shaped quilt on Pinterest.  But the process looked way too time consuming for my short attention span.

Then inspiration struck.  What about designing a “cheater” quilt with fabrics from my collection?  (For those who don’t sew, a “cheater” quilt is a panel of fabric with all the designs printed, so all you have to do is sandwich some quilting batting between the decorative front side and a coordinating back side, sew along the lines, and add a binding.)  Easy peasy right?  Well, theoretically…

My problem was that I had to design the decorative panel template before I could “sew it in a day”.  Also I wanted to make it a bit bigger than a twin…just in case I wanted to use it on my double size bed.  Well, at last it is designed, but the whole design process from start to finish was much longer than a day!  Through trial and error, I discovered that when doing a diamond pattern, one must be sure to line up the diagonal axis not just the horizontal and vertical axises.  Um…’bout that, I didn’t discover the offset diagonal until I went to sew.  JBalyeatQuiltCloseUpThe picture above shows the weird jog I had to do in the intersections to get my needle back on track.  I have since fixed this in the design template so anyone else who orders yardage of the JBalyeat Quilt Sampler won’t have that to deal with.  The upside is that my sample is still usable, arguably plenty nice for an air mattress.  Also, Blaze, who is seven, was able to sew with me (since my personal “perfection meter” was stuck in “reboot” for an entire 30 minutes after seeing my mistake).

So, let’s tally up the time all together now shall we?

  • Time surfing pinterest for quilt ideas = Not countable.
  • Planning dimensions = At least a day
  • Designing template = At least another day
  • Trying to visualize the binding I wanted = A day
  • Pinning and sewing the top = Portions of two days
  • Trying to be frugal and piece together scraps of a friend’s discarded satin sheets for the binding = Another day
  • Redesigning the template after realizing my geometry gift hasn’t evolved since high school = Another day
  • Waiting for my computer to upload the file to Spoonflower = Another day…ok, not really but it felt like it!
  • Setting up the dining room like a pretend guest bedroom and photo-shopping a sunset outside the window to make a pretty picture = Yep, you guessed it…part of another day.

So for me it was more than a week.  But anyone content to start with a template already made, do a traditional binding, and not rearrange their entire house for a photo shoot, could totally pull this off in a day…Easy Peasy!

JBalyeatQuiltCornerOh, and for any one who wants to make their own template.  Just a couple days after I ordered my sample, Spoonflower posted a tutorial on how to make your own cheater quilt…hummm…must have been a good idea after all!

Inspirational Scripture:
Proverbs 31:22

Crown of Beauty


To me, a vintage crown whispers of a royal future, and a grace and beauty treasured by those who have discovered their royal identity yet endeavor to grow increasingly more noble in character. This design celebrates the scripture found in Isaiah 61:3 “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”

The seal on the front of this journal is significant, and let me tell you why! It reminds me of something very important. Deep down in many of us there is a little child that longs to be a prince or princess. And here is the great secret. We are! Maybe not in the manner in which one would think of ruling over a country and wearing fine clothes. But each one of us has some things over which we can rule. Our wills and our character. Everyone has a secret royal identity discoverable through relationship with our Heavenly, Kingly Father. We have each been given the ability to choose and receive beauty instead of ashes, light instead of darkness, truth instead of lies.

I believe we are all created to live as sons and daughters of this Benevolent King. There are just many who have never met their Kingly Father and discovered he is good; never stepped under the banner of his love and forgiveness, which reveals their royal identity, purpose, and destiny. This King is the best designer in all the land. And he is offering us a crown! I hope mine is sparkly!

He is the most Noble Creator, and is known in Isaiah 61:1-3 for sending his Prince “to proclaim good news to the poor… to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…”

Sometimes our wills or the wills of others were misused and ruined our circumstances, tarnished our character, broken our hearts, and destroyed part of the beauty in creation. Without the gift his Princely Son offers, there is despair. So I’ve decided to trust my life and character development to him, as the best designer in the land, and use the will he gave me to choose life over destruction. He “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28) Will you choose with me? Good bye, ashes of despair, we will take crowns of beauty please! Now we can proclaim with the psalmist “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy…” (Psalm 30:11)

Product Info:
The JBalyeat Small Journal Notebook is now for sale on Etsy and coordinates perfectly with the JBalyeat Custom Monogram Notecards available on  It makes a delightful favor for a party, addition to a gift basket or Christmas stocking, or a little piece of lovely convenience…just because!  The crown is also available printed on fabric via Spoonflower.

Measuring approximately 4.75″ x 5.75″, this handy notebook fits perfectly in a purse or the glove compartment of the car. Many times mine has come in handy when needing a place to capture a thought, reminder, list or a piece of paper on which to jot a quick note with a phone number, take notes in a meeting…or even write notes in a meeting for that matter 🙂 There is a clear plastic shield on the front and back that protects the flocked damask cover where attached ribbons secure the ivory pages that are bound inside.

Inspirational Scripture:
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
Psalm 30:11 (NLT)

Moving from Blogger!

I am in the process of moving my blog from The Joy of Design on Blogspot to Jolene Balyeat Designs on WordPress.  If you stumble upon my blog before the transition is complete, please stop by again in few days, as hopefully the transition will be complete by then!