Layle Koncar's Blog Posts

Hi friends, it's Layle back with you again with week 4 of our Bible Journaling Sunday Series.  We've had so much fun having Rachel Lindas guest design for us & had such great feedback from YOU on her process, tips & techniques that we've invited her to stick around for a while and extend the Bible Journaling Sunday Series!  We'll be futuring an in depth blog post from Rachel once per month along with weekly posts on our Instagram and Facebook accounts.  Hooray!!

Today Rachel is back sharing another awesome painting technique in her Journaling Bible using our new Faith collection - I think you're going to love it!


Hello fellow Bible journalers from Rachel Lindas.  We're a month into demonstrating the Simple Stories Faith line.  I just can’t believe how many fun pieces they have for highlighting/celebrating God’s Word.  Thank you Simple Stories for a product that inspires us to process through the art of creating meaningful journals in our Bibles.  The colorful visuals, biblical words, and verses they offer inspires me, may I say all of us, to dig into God’s Word and seek the meaning and lesson God wants to teach me/each of us.

Let’s get started with our fourth verse:

1.     John 8:12 “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world.  If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”   My pastor from Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, California shared wisdom in a sermon that he titled, “A Little Light Destroys A lot of Darkness.”  Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world”.  Jesus, as the Light of the world, calls us to be the His light in the world everywhere we go.  We should be shining for Jesus always.  The amazing thing about Light is that it overcomes all darkness.  As Christians we are created to walk in the Light.  However, when we step out into darkness, as we all do, that Light shines through us exposing what is hidden.  It is meant to convict us and it then cleanses us.  A real image that I enjoy sharing is, at the darkest of night when we turn on all inside lights, and then turn off  all the lights outside, we notice that the light inside floods out into the darkness for some distance.  In fact, it lightens the darkness but, the darkness does not flood inside where the light is.  Pause on that.   When we are in the Light (of Christ our Lord), we are given clarity.  We can see how to live without the penetration of darkness. The Light is showing us how to live.  Let’s agree to always encourage those around us, to stay in the Light.  Let’s be cleaned out, and so clear that Jesus Christ can shine His Light through us.  Find accountability partners to journal with.

2.    Product:  The stickers that come on the 12x12 sheet are seriously so cute. When I first saw those stickers I was immediately drawn to the three vintage looking light bulbs.   I could not wait to use them in my Bible margin.  (If you have children in your home wanting to create with you as well stickers are a perfect starting place.  They are fun and easy to use.)

3.    I started with drawing a box around the verse with my Bible journaling pen and then I began to work on the background of the page.  I wanted most of the page to have yellow on it to represent the light we are talking about.  I then wanted to contrast that yellow color with a darker color to represent the darkness we live in.  Using the paint technique with a gift card I added yellow and blue paint strokes across the page.  Cute paint cards are sold at Daysprings for this purpose but, you can use any old gift card you have laying around and it will work the same. (Check the process video below for clarity on how to apply the paint without covering up God’s word.) 

4.    Then for the sticker light bulbs I wanted them hanging at different heights in the margin of my page.  I traced around each light bulb sticker allowing them to pop on the page.  Then I used the snap alpha stickers in yellow, white, and black to highlight the title of the sermon, “A Little Light Destroys a lot of Darkness.”  After tracing around the alpha letters, as well, I drew some little crosses on the page.

5.    I finished my page by adding the word Shine, from the paper pieces, to the top of the page.  Don’t forget to date stamp it, to remember the day this verse was studied.  I added a paper clip with cute ribbon to the top; well, just because I like embellishments.

Take Note:  The painting technique I used this time is very simple, but it can be difficult for people to figure out the best application.  I have found, through teaching, that if you drag the card in a flat direction, the paint is too thick on the page, sadly covering up God’s Word. So, hold the card in a more vertical position and pull across the page leaving a very thin layer of paint so that you can easily see God’s Word.  Please practice this application on a piece of paper before you try it in your Bible.  Please do not be afraid to practice.  It’s well worth getting it right.


I hope you have a wonderful Sunday being in the Word and a blessed week. Rachel xxx



Hi friends, it's Layle back with you again with week 2 of our Bible Journaling Sunday Series.  Today guest designer Rachel Lindas shares another layout in her Journaling Bible using our new Faith collection - I think you're going to love it!


Hi from Rachel Lindas.   I am excited to share another page in my journaling Bible with you this week.  If you are new to Bible Journaling, and wondering what I am doing to my Bible, I encourage you to return to my first Simple Stories post here where I describe what Bible Journaling is and what it has meant to me over the past two years as I’m led by God’s nudging. 

Getting started:

1.     I chose Matthew 5:14-16,  “You are the Light of the World…Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”  In my Bible, these verses spread over two pages, so creativity will spread over the two pages following the verse.   I start by drawing a box around the verses (I like to go around them several times because I prefer a messy imperfect look.  Feel free to simply underline if that’s your preference.)  As I studied the verse I discerned that, although we are called to “shine the Light for Him”, we also need to check our motives, with the Holy Spirit’s, to make sure that the Light we are shining isn’t pointing on us/self, but that we are directing that Light beam towards our Heavenly Father…thus, always “shine the Light toward Him”.  We want the glory to be given to God and resist putting ourselves in the spotlight. 

2.     Sometimes, it comes as I go.  I knew I wanted to use the cute light bulbs and stickers that say, “Let your Light Shine.” However, it was not until I prayed and studied the verse that I realized I wanted to illustrate a beam pointing upwards so I could remember to “direct the beam toward Him and not on myself.”

3.     To create the “light beam” I placed the light bulb next to my verse at the bottom of the page.  Using a straight edge and journaling pen, I created the angles I wanted for the beam.  Next, I used the same Tim Holtz Distress Paints by Ranger that I used on my previous page blog post.  Then, I used the sponge dabber on top of the paint to apply directly on my page.  I suggest using a Bible Mat from Illustrated Faith or a piece of cardstock edge to make sure you don’t get paint outside of the lines you created.  Sometimes the paint can have a bit of an uneven look when you are using the dabbers and for this “light beam” I wanted a smooth look so gently using my aqua brush I  smoothed out the paint to achieve the look I was going for.  Watch this quick time lapse video to see how I did it 


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4.     Since I had my aqua brush out anyway I decided to add my favorite paint splatter to the page.  It’s so simple to achieve this look, however a bit messy.  I love the added touch it gives my pages so I do this a lot.  Get your paintbrush loaded with paint on it and then give it a gentle tap on top of the brush and paint splatters off of it onto your page.  Practice makes perfect.  It is easy, it is fun, and it is an obvious favorite of mine if you ever see my Bible.  Then I used my paintbrush with yellow paint on it and highlighted the verses. 

5.     The Simple Stories Faith line has a lot of small stickers that makes adding words and sayings to your page very easy.  On the page you will notice that I lined the bottom and the top of the next page with stickers. They each say something different but highlight things I want to remember about the verse.  I love outlining the stickers and letters with my black journaling pen so they look like a part of the page and not just stuck on.  It creates depth that I like.  They also have clear stickers that make adding fun arrows to your page easy.  They are very easy to work with since they have a clear base and do not cover up the words. 

6.     Using the Snap Stickers Basic set I finish my design.  The black and white alphas just pop with my yellow background.  Again, I take the time to trace around each letter to make them pop.  With the black letters I use my white uni ball pen and it glides like a charm over the dry yellow paint.  With the white letters I used my black journaling pen to trace around each one.  (But just make sure the paint is dry before you start writing on top of it with any kind of pen…remember, DRY before you write.)

8.     As I finish up a page I like to date stamp it, add a tab to top of the page to remind me of what I learned from that verse, thank God and then add any notes of wisdom and understanding in my own handwriting in the margin to remember what I have learned from studying and praying through the verse. 

Side note: For Bible Journaling I use special Bibles with 2 inch margins on every page and pages that are a bit thicker than your normal Bible.  For this layout I am using the hardcover NLT reflections Bible.  You can find them on Amazon, Christian Book stores, Daysprings, and Barnes and Noble.

FYI:  I have a study Bible that I do not create in. My Journaling Bible is a special place for me to document what I am learning as I study the Word of God. It’s a beautiful thing to have all of your prayers and notes all in one place documenting your faith walk with the Lord.  I truly believe we were all made to create as we are made in the image of the most amazing Creator of all, God. 




Howdy friends!  It's Layle, back again with my monthly Carpe Diem planner blog feature.  This month I challenged myself to do something a little bit out of my comfort zone - use a collection that isn't necessarily in my wheelhouse, so to speak, our new Faith collection.

Ok, time to get personal for a second - I'm not a religous person.  With that said, although I'm not religous, per se, I am a spiritual person.  And that's A-OK, right? Right!  We're all different and that's what makes this world such a great, diverse place.   When Amber, Simple Stories owner & Creative Director, designed the Faith collection, I was torn.  It is absolutely gorgeous; the colors, the florals, the patterns, it all speaks to me.  I knew I would use it, no doubt, I just needed to figure out how to make it work for ME.  

If you're scratching your head right now, wondering where all of this is headed, here's the point.  Have you ever looked at a baby scrapbook collection, found different parts of the collection that you're drawn to, but you steer away from it because you don't have a baby?   That would be my normal response to the Faith collection, in the past I would steer away from it because I would jump to conclusions and assume it wouldn't work for me.  Today I'm going to show you how you can use a collection that you are drawn to, but think may not work for you because of a specific theme.  

Before I jump in, Meka Meeks (one of our creative team members) created a gorgeous Faith themed planner a few weeks ago.  I encourage you to check it out here when you're done to see how she set up her planner;  it's truly inspiring and will give you an idea how to set up a faith based planner for yourself.

Now let's jump in!

The first thing I set out to create with the Faith collection a few weeks ago, before setting up my planner for March, was a Doc It Journal.  Similar in size to a Travelers Notebook, they're great for recording thoughts, notes, lists, bullet journaling - you name it.  

I did a bit of journaling about what I mentioned above - being a spiritual person vs a religous person.  It was fun to put my thoughts about it down on paper, something I've not done before.  As you can see, I used different stickers, washi, and die cuts from the Faith collection for my spread & they totally worked!  In fact, I knew right off the bat that I wanted to add the heart die cut with the Psalm -  even though it's religious in nature, that didn't stop me from using it because the words really spoke to me and emphasized my feelings & the words I was putting down on paper.

(Back to the baby analogy for a second - if you find a piece of scrapbook paper, sticker, die cut, etc that has a cute little bear or lamb or something that might be associated with a baby, don't let that stop you from using it if it speaks to you!)

Next step was to start setting up my planner for March.  Just how I like to change my purse out with a new season, I do the same thing with my planners - anyone else with me?!  For the spring I've transitioned to the new Clover planner - isn't it the prettiest thing you've ever seen?  I just love it and it goes beautifully with the Faith collection.  I added the fun Planner Decal to the front; they're super easy to apply, and a great way to temporarily switch up the look of your planner!  I ended up adding the flower clear stickers to tie the inside theme of my planner in with the outside.

After the cover, I set out to decorate the inside.  This is where the 'thinking out of the box' comes into play.  I knew I didn't want to set up a specific faith theme for the month, so I looked through the collection and found the patterns, icons, etc that were inspiring to me & I'm really happy with the way it turned out!   

I started by decorating the pockets - that's always the first thing I do when setting up a new planner.  I added 3x4 Elements to the pockets, then accessorized with clips from the Faith collection and a few stickers.  A few of the Page Flags from the Posh collection matched really well, so I used 3 of them in the bottom pocket, along with 2 more Faith clips.

I'll let you in on a little secret...  I always have a piece of coordinating paper, stickers, etc tucked in the big pocket to the right of the pockets.  Want to know why?  Not because it's cute (ok, it is though, right?!) and not because it's sticker storage for when I need them on the go.  It's actually to cover up my 'on the go' Washi!

I like to tear off a few strips of coordinating washi and 'store' it there in my planner, that way I have washi with me on the go when I need it!

After decorating the pockets, next step was to customize the dashboard - a really quick & easy way to change the entire look of your planner when you open it.  I've been making dashboards since I started planning a few years ago & I have to say - our new A5 Punch is a game changer, people!


Makes it SO easy to punch those 6 holes!  Up until this point, I've been using another pre-punched page as a template and a single whole punch to punch each hole individually.  The punch does it in one punch.  Sounds basic, but it makes such a difference!  When we designed it, we spent quite a bit of time considering what we wanted in a punch.  The best part about it is the guide along the left edge, so you know exactly where to place your paper each and every time - no guessing or lining up pages or measuring!  Trust me, you're going to want to pick one of these up when we start shipping to retailers in May!

With this release we introduced 6x8 pads & I have to tell you, when it comes to dashboards, the pads are the bomb!  No more measuring and trimming because the 6x8 papers in the pad make the perfect sized dashboards!

As you can tell, I love the florals in the collection, so I continued to carry that theme into my monthly spread.  I started by adding the floral washi to both pages, the handy dandy punch punched through the washi like butter!

Next up - decorating the spread.  I always start out by dating the calendar.  A mix of handwritten numbers paired with numbered stickers is my go to 

From there I pulled out the Sticker Tablet and went to town.  Ok, let's talk stickers for a minute!  The new Sticker Tablets are amazing - the Faith Sticker Tablet has 12 A5 sticker sheets with more than 700 stickers!  Talk about sticker heaven :)  

I had no problem finding PLENTY of stickers & sentiments that fit the look and feel I was going for, without being too religious

We're headed to Planner Con next month; as I was looking at the stickers, it occured to me that the bible looked like a planner!  So I cut off the bottom of the sticker & voila - a planner :)

Here's the 1st week in March.  

Another example about thinking outside of the box and looking at products in a different way is the washi I used on this page.  Although as part of the Faith collection the marks on the washi are intended to be crosses, when you look at it again outside of the theme, they can just be a whimsical + decoration.

Another simple dashboard here - a vertical 4x6 Element, punched with a few stickers added.  The sentiment on the dashboard is something I'll really focus on trying to do this month & will move from week to week in my planner as a reminder.

So there you have it, my planner set up for March.  I hope I've given you some ideas for looking at collections and products differently to see how you might be able to use them in your planning, scrapbooking & crafting projects!

If you're looking for more ideas on decorating your planner, check our our LIVE LOVE PLAN Pinterest board - with more than 600 pins featuring our Carpe Diem planners, you're sure to be inspired!