Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Gratitude Project - Week 5

\ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

The quality of being thankful:  readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.  

Hi Friends!  Sunday is here and I have a number of photos to show you this week in The Gratitude Project.  This week we spent 3 days at our Camp in central Alberta at a Pastor & Family Retreat.  Every year all the Pastors in our Association are invited with their families to enjoy some time away together.  I’ve talked about it before, but it’s a huge highlight for us.  Our daughter couldn’t come this year because she had two University midterms, but the boys came, and it was a great time.  It’s something I’m very grateful for, not only because of the beauty of camp, but also because of the time with family and the time we get to spend with so many others that we really love from around the Province.  

This photo was just with my iPhone on the way down, so it’s not a super fancy shot.  The camp is in the foothills and the mountains in the distance were so beautiful as the sun was setting.  Being in the mountains is one of my favourite things in the world.  

I just played a little with my Waterlogue app on my phone with one of the pictures.  Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to watercolour this up?  

The Camp is such a beautiful spot.  It’s got a lot of buildings on the property, but one of my favourite is the chapel.  It is absolutely picturesque nestled in the trees beneath the ridge and with the creek running in front of it.  

Here’s another shot of the chapel from the deck of the main camp building.  You can see the little creek running too.  We’ve had such a mild winter it wasn’t frozen over at all.  

A little more of the trees and the sunshine.  I love that bridge over the creek.  I have so many great childhood memories of time at this camp, and my children have loved all the retreats and camps they’ve been able to experience here, they’ve made friends, grown deeper, been challenged, tried tons of new things like zip lining, horseback riding, many many sports, giant swing, high ropes....the list goes on and on.  It is a place I’m very grateful for.  

This beautiful lady is an absolute treasure in my life.  She was one of our students in our youth ministry.  She was in our very first small group we led when she was 15, and from the first time I met her I knew she was someone really rare and special.  I know she still looks like a teenager but that was 11 or so years ago.  We sort of adopted her into our family during those teen years whenever we could, and she became like a sister to our kids.  Now she’s married and at a Christian college with her husband preparing for ministry.  She is incredibly gifted.  Her voice is so beautiful and completely unique and pure.  Right now she’s working on her second recording and I can’t wait to hear the new album.  She is a natural beauty inside and out.  One of the most heartfelt, sincere and encouraging young women I know.  She and I can go heart-to-heart in an instant.  I can’t tell you how many times she has blessed me by caring about me or our family.  Anything I’ve ever given to her, she’s doubly given back.  She’s a difference maker and seeks to live her life so that it points to Jesus, even when she’s had to go through some really difficult things.  I see God’s fingerprints all over her life.   I’m so blessed I got to spend some time with her at the retreat, we don’t get to see each other very often and this was such a reason for gratitude this week!  

Now this guy.... (with my goofy guys)... this is our Youth Pastor.  I don’t know how to describe how thankful we are for him.  He too was a student in the youth ministry way back when we were pastors there.  After he graduated we asked if he’d consider volunteering with the students and over the next 8 years he moved from being a volunteer to a paid intern to a co-pastor with me and then when I sensed God was saying the youth ministry chapter was closing for me, I handed the mantle off to him knowing he was called to take it to the next level. Now he’s the Youth Pastor of our kids and about 70 others.   I’m blown away by what God has done in his life in the last decade.  He is so good with teens!  He’s all the right combination of goofy, fun-loving, loyal, patient, joyful and intentional.  He speaks to them in a way they can understand, he is willing to ask hard questions or just listen when he needs to.   The impact he has on our sons is immeasurable to me.  How can you say thank you enough for that kind of positive influence at such an important time in the life of your kids?  He is like a brother to my husband and I, and I’m always pestering him to eat more vegetables.  Though we work together, we don’t always have time to have those deeper level conversations, but this week we had several and I am really grateful for that...and for him.  

So much to be grateful for.  I hope this week you can see with new eyes and be grateful too.  Thanks so much for stopping by!  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Magnolia Sunshine

Hello Friends!  Today we’ve got a brand new challenge at Power Poppy that’s going to be another good stretch for you.  Ally’s our hostess and here’s what she had to say about the challenge:

This month I want you pull out a coloring medium that you don't use that often.  So if you tend to use Copic Markers for instance, pull out your water color paints or your colored pencils instead!  Let's see you use up some of those not-so-used mediums this month.

That’s a great challenge for me as I tend to grab my Copics most.  Today I pulled out my prismacolor pencils and this BRAND NEW beauty, Magnolia Sunshine!  

Marcy has a brand new digi today that honours her mom’s favourite flowers - Magnolias and Daffodils.  As some of you may know, Marcy’s mom is going through some health challenges so we want to give her all the love, encouragement, prayers and sunshine we can, so I made this especially sunshiney.  

Did you see the fun tutorial over on Splitcoaststampers the other day on how to make a Pleated Skirt Fold?  I thought it was an ingenious way of folding paper in a simple way that creates a neat focal point.   So, I found some sunshiney paper in my stash (SU) and pleated the lower section.  

The image is just so pretty!  Here’s what this pretty digi looks like below:  

Here is a closer look at the colouring.  Finishing details include sparkly ribbon, enamel dots and baker’s twine.  

Here’s also a closer look a the pleated fold too.  Its nice because you can show off both sides of a double sided paper.  

And we’re also jumping in with the 30 Day Coloring Challenge at the Daily Marker with this one too!  It’s a good encouragement to color a few minutes every day!  

So, now we’d like to invite YOU to jump in with us at Power Poppy and pull out some of your unused colouring mediums to colour with us this month.  Enter at the Power Poppy Blog and you could win a Power Poppy set of your choice!  

Here’s the Bloomies and Instant Gardeners playing along today....

Allison Cope
Christine Okken
Cindy Lawrence
Julie Koerber
Leslie Miller
Stacy Morgan
Tosha Leyendekker

Cheryl Scrivens
Barbara Walker

Monday, February 1, 2016

Watercolour Pair - Bold & Soft

Hello February!  It’s amazing that we’re 1/12 through another new year!  Today I thought I’d show you a pair of designs that I did some watercolouring with.  When I saw the very fun Wreath Building Kit set from The Cat’s Pajamas and I saw that fun circular-nestlike Grapevine Wreath image in the set I wanted to see if I could do something totally abstract with it with some watercolouring.  So for this card I used some watercolour paper and embossed the circular doodly image several times on the page in white.  Then I used some reinkers and washed some bold colours on the page and it resisted the circular embossing.  I let it bleed where it wanted to, adding more pigment where I wanted.   It’s good to pick coordinating colours for this style because where the colours bleed together you don’t want it to look muddy.  

To finish the design I added a die cut grapevine wreath from the CutUps die for this set on top, and added a pretty sentiment on a vellum strip.  The sentiment is from TCP’s Simply Stacked Sentiments set.  

I also tried a softer watercolour wash with a different technique for the other card in the pair.  So here they are together.  

On this design I stamped the grapevine wreath in different colours of ink and used a waterbrush to spread out the ink I had just stamped.  Then I added some diecut Grapevine Wreaths overtop and added a sentiment strip on this one in vellum as well.    I think the combination of the stamped grapevine wreath and the die cut grapevine wreath make a great combination together.  

One soft and one bold!  So many possibilities for colour in this style too.  Easy and fun to create.

Here’s the rules for our TCP Anything Goes Challenge!  Jump on in!

  1. If you want to play along you just upload your design to The Cat’s Pajamas blog page using the InLinkz button.
  2. Cards and projects are not required to use a Cat’s Pajamas Stamp or CutUps die but if you do the Cat Cash amount increases.
  3. On the following TCP Tuesday, the week’s winner will be chosen from the previous challenge and will receive a Cat Cash Voucher for $10 or $15 if a TCP product is used.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Gratitude Project - Week 4

\ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

The quality of being thankful:  readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.  

Today I bring you my “adopted nephew”.  He’s the son of my dear friend and I’m grateful for his little life.  His momma and I have known each other for a number of years.  She volunteered in the youth ministry when we were Youth Pastors, my husband performed their premaritals and wedding and over the years we've gotten to know each other really well through a mentoring relationship and friendship.  She’s one of my favourite people.  She has such a warm genuine heart, she speaks with authenticity and kindness and really values people in ways they can feel.  She’s loyal and fun and kind.   

I remember one time when we were doing some mentoring and were supposed to keep it to an hour.  After at least an hour and a half I looked at her and said, “we’re just not one hour people”.  :)  

So, this fall when this little guy was born, they became a family of three and we were so excited for them to become parents.  It’s SO fun to watch her as a new mama and see the ways that God is shaping her through raising this beautiful little guy.  

He is so sweet.  I described him this week as “soulful”.  He looks at the world with such attention and  thoughtfulness.  It’s so delightful to watch him grow.  I told his mama before he was born that because of how much I love her, and couldn’t wait for him to arrive, that I was going to be his adopted auntie :)  

Look at those sweet baby blues!  Can’t you see that sweet little personality starting to grow?  

Here are he and his mama together.  I am so grateful for them!  

A Breath of Spring

Can you believe that while all the people out east in the US were experiencing all that crazy snow, we were having rain this week?  That is so unusual for us.  Snow yes, cold yes, but not usually above freezing and rain.  It’s given me a little foretaste of spring that should be arriving here in a couple of months.  

So today’s cards have a definite flavour of spring to them.  They are the last two cards I added to an order my co-worker requested for general cards she could send out to people.  

This first card showcases the lovely daffodil arrangement from our Daffodils stamp set.  

Finishing details are pretty straightforward with cotton lace and seam binding.  

This second card shows off the lovely windowsill arrangement from Go Wild.  I just love it’s serene feel, so I kept a nice blue-green-purple palette with the gingham paper and seambinding.  

Here’s the Bloom Brigade playing along today, I know they will inspire you!  

Allison Cope
Christine Okken (you are here)
Cindy Lawrence
Julie Koerber

Katie Sims
Leslie Miller
Tosha Leyendekker

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tons of Fun

My sweet little nephew turned five this weekend and we celebrated with a party together.  He just cracks me up, he is such a character.  Right now he is slightly nutty about Star Wars, as was his Dad before him....a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  He’s also sweet, silly and snuggly and we love him.  He has a stuffed animal aptly named “Elephant”, who is of course, and elephant.  So, despite his Star Wars addiction, I went with this sweet little elephant from MFT called Adorable Elephants.  

I masked off our sweet little elephant and added 5 balloons, masking them as I went as well.  I think he’s pretty cute.  I used an older MFT sketch for the design, embossing the sentiments and popping them up.  

Just some simple enamel dots finish it off.  I chose to keep it really simple on the details as his little 5 year old self is really more concerned with the nerf gun that was wrapped inside :)  

See you back here tomorrow for some Power Poppy fun!