Monday, May 30, 2016

Boom! 17

Here we are with a TCP Reminder of our latest challenge.  This week it’s all about using Bright Colours.  

This week was also our older son’s 17th Birthday.  He’s my Marvel Superhero loving son so I thought I’d create a superhero style card for him, and that’s easy to do with bright colours. 

I started with TCP’s Boom! Cutups Dies and Comic Balloons Dies and some primary colours of card stock.  All the best superheros wear them :)  I love these dies!  What’s awesome about them is that each of the words and the balloons come with a border in the die, so you can add more than one colour to each word or balloon.  Very comic-book-like.  

I created a comic book strip style panel using stitched dies to cut windows, then added the balloons and words popped up overtop.  I also added some stars from TCP’s Holiday Toppers CutUps.  The only stamping is with the My Hero stamp set.  

I also created a bit of a sunburst with embossing paste and the Sun Cutable from TCP.  I cut it out and used it as a template to add the embossing paste.  Once it was dry I die cut it in a circle and placed it behind the comic strip to give that explosion sort of feel to the design.  

Twelve years ago this was our little guy beside his baby brother.  Talk about cute overload!  And below that is him getting ready to light up all the candles as we celebrated 17 years with family.  Same smile too!  How we love this kid!  

Here’s some more of The Cat Pack bringing you inspiration today....

Brenda Nakandakari
Christine Okken (you are here)
Deborah Anton
Jessica Rone
Stacey Schafer
and Alma at the TCP Blog!

Come play along!  Use your bright colours and you could win Cat’s Cash up to $15!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Gratitude Project - Week 21

\ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

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

Lots to be grateful for this week!  

I mentioned last week that on Sunday we were able to dedicate the son of some friends in Church.  What a sweet privilege.  Here we are listening to the his parents read the letter wrote to him, this is something we do at our Church and it’s so touching every time.  He was adorable, let me hold him right up till the time we were praying over him, and then he wanted mama back.  He was wiggly and chatty which makes the dedication all that much more fun and memorable for everyone. We feel so grateful for his life, for his parents and the opportunity for them to express their heart for him in front of their friends and family and our Church.  I’m not used to carting a baby on my hip!  I’m a little out of practise!  

Also this week was the end of our regular youth ministry programming for the season.  Every year we gather at a local park and celebrate with a big BBQ.  We have a youth group of 50+ kids so, when everyone gathers with their families, there’s a whole lot of people!  This year the storm clouds rolled in and poured down rain on us, so it’s a good thing we had the picnic shelter.  About 150 of us tucked in there to welcome new grade 6’s in, celebrate the grade 12 grads and thank the youth staff.  Always a fun night.  

These three lovely people  above are so special to us.  They are the two interns and youth pastor (I’ve introduced you to him before).  They are like family to us and I’m very grateful for the time they invest in our kids, how much the care about them, and how precious it is to have role models building into your kids’s lives as teens.  

The next two photos are of my boy’s own small group leaders at youth.  

Our youngest son had two guy leaders, one has already left to be home for the summer.  They were great leaders for a group of energetic grade 7 boys.  

And along with my older son’s goofy face, these are his small group leaders.  He’s in a group of grade 10 - 12 students, guys and girls, and these leaders are amazing, they have deep conversations with the kids and are also so fun.  They give a lot of their time even outside of youth to the kids.  The guy our son is piggy-backing (also seen above) has been his leader for 5 years.  What a gift!

I have loved the teen years with my kids.  I really enjoy their growing maturity (notice I said “growing”, we’re not all the way there yet :) ...and I also love that in the midst of some of the bumps and bruises of what growing up looks like for these kids, they have other people that are coming alongside of us, and them who are able to say, “you matter”,  “you have a purpose”, “I think you’re great”, and by their example they live out Jesus’ love to each of them.  You’ve heard it takes a village to raise a child.  Well these lovely people are part of our village, and we feel very blessed.  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Wedding Bell Blues

I seem to be on a blue kick this week!  A few weeks ago one of the older ladies at Church asked if I would make a wedding card for a family member’s June wedding.  I was so touched that they would ask.  They are such a special couple.  The husband of this pair just turned 90 earlier this year and you would never know it because they are both so full of life.  They love to joke and tease and I really treasure them.  When I asked her what kind of card she wanted or what colour, all she suggested was “blue”, because she loves blue.  So here we are!  

I stamped the larger arrangement of Camellias from Power Poppy's Simply Camellias set numerous times onto XPress it Blending card stock.  I also stamped an extra image of the blossoms on another piece of card stock so I’d have something to colour and fussy cut later.  I spent a lot of time giving the flowers depth with Copics.  

The card is 5 1/4 x 5 1/4 so they’ll have lots of room if they need it on the inside.  

As you can see I added three extra fussy-cut blooms and leaves popped up in the design to really make it feel full and have some dimension.  

The pretty scripted love sentiment is from My English Rose, another one of Marcy’s hand-lettered marvels!  Accents are simple with the lace, seam-binding and pearls finishing it off.  

I had to add something simple for the inside to finish it off, so I stamped the smaller blossom of camellia in a little bowl inside and added a wee bit of colour to the blossom.  

This is the last week of our May Flowers Power & Spark Challenge!  Hasn’t it been fun?  I still have to pop into the gallery a second time and do some commenting on your wonderful creations.  You have four days left to enter to win a Power Poppy set of your choice!  

Here’s the Bloom Brigade playing along today!  

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Birthday Blues

Sometimes if I coloured an image at a different time than I actually put the card together, I have to do a lot of hunting for a paper that will match.  And then sometimes, like this week I have a hard time finding a paper in the right tone for the coloured image.  Blue is especially picky as there’s lots of different undertones tones of gray, purple and green that blues can come in.  So this time I went to my washi tape collection and found a pretty washi tape colour that went perfectly with this little lady’s dress.  She’s from MFT - Sweet Birthday Wishes.  After putting the pretty washi tape down in diagonal strips, I added some scoring with my Scor Buddy and the tool that lets you add jotted lines.  I did those in a wonky pattern to sort of lend itself to the wonky off set feel of the card.  It almost look like that gigantic cupcake is going to tip her over!  

The framing is done with MFT’s Zig Zag Stitched Rectangles and a wee button and twine complete the little birthday wishes.  

See you later and happy Thursday to you all!  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Today is a Perfect Day...

Put on your sunglasses! We’re kicking off another two week challenge at The Cat’s Pajamas and it’s a chance for you to use bright colours, perfect for the summer season ahead!

This adorable new set called Friendship is one I hadn’t had a chance to use yet and I really love how sweet it is with our favourite little penguins buddying up to each other and some fun new friends.  I stamped these two, coloured them up with Copics and then trimmed out the bottom half of the oval, popping it up on a darker blue background oval.  It gives it a little pop.  

With these fun stitched clouds I love so much and part of the sentiment inked up on the outside of the card, it invites you to take a look on the inside for more.  

A little bit of baker’s twine and some pretty plaid paper complete the outside.  

Then on the inside I put the encouraging sentiment, to make the most of today!  

Here’s the other Kitty Cat’s playing along today.

Brenda Nakandakari
Christine Okken (you are here)
Julie Elak
Stacey Schafer
Nancy Thomas
Wendy McGaffey
and Alma at the TCP Blog!

And here are the rules for the Bright Colours challenge:

  1. Every other Tuesday a new challenge will be posted on The Cat’s Pajamas blog and our Facebook page.
  2. If you want to play along you just upload your design to The Cat’s Pajamas blog page using the InLinkz button by the Monday, 11:55 EDT before the next challenge.
  3. You are not required to use a Cat’s Pajamas stamp or die but if you have them we would love to see them.
  4. On the following TCP Tuesday, the 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.

Colouring on Anything Other Than White!

Happy Monday people!

Today I’m over at the Power Poppy Blog with some inspiration for colouring on different types of paper  - just not white!  Hope you can drop by and check it out,  in the meantime here’s a couple of sneak peeks of two of the four designs.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Gratitude Project - Week 20

\ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

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

Oo, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to post my gratitude project....not because I haven’t had things to be grateful for...just a little short on time and photography.  I couldn’t let this week go by without a few things I’m very grateful for....all taken with my iPhone as I didn’t have my camera handy, so I hope you’ll see this as more about gratitude and less about photography :)

We did go to the greenhouse Friday.  I always love seeing the beautiful varieties of flowers.  This place has 12 different greenhouses on the property and this one was full of geraniums.  Aren’t the rows of colours pretty?  I’m so grateful for the beautiful world we live in and the bits of it that I can plant and grow at our home.  

This is the view of a huge gratitude item for us.  We just got a side of beef and a side of pork.  I had to store 3/4 of it at my parent’s place as they have a much larger freezer than we do.  Much of this amazing meat was given to us by a very loving and generous couple.  I don’t even know how to fully express my thankfulness for their generosity and how this will nourish our family over the next year.    And another really neat part,  I know who raised the steer, how old it was, what kind of care it had, who butchered it...essentially it’s from farm to table and that’s something I also appreciate.  We drove about an hour to pick it up the other day, and because our youngest son had the day off from school, he came with me.  It was great drive time both ways with him.  He’s always full of conversation and he was so helpful getting the meat in the vehicle, out of the vehicle into the basement at my parents, and helping to make an inventory of what we had.  I love spending good one on one time with my kids.  

Do you see that black muddy dirt?  Do you know what that means?  We’ve had RAIN!   I can’t tell you how grateful we are for that!  We’ve been dry.  Extremely dry.  Drought dry.  Previous to Thursday, my soil was like powder.  I read somewhere that we have had less than 1/3 of our regular spring moisture, and to make it worse we’ve had really high temperatures all spring.   You may have heard about a massive forest fire in Northern Alberta (about 5 hours north of us).  The city of Fort MacMurray evacuated 88 000 people with fire burning all around them as they tried to leave.  It was very intense and I imagine, very traumatic for them.  Much of the city burned, many lost their homes, all they had, their workplaces, and they won’t even be able to go back to their city until the beginning of June to see where to go from here.  Many are staying in shelters in our city, and many Albertans have jumped in to find ways to help.  My heart goes out to these people as they try to recover.  

So it’s clear that we've been desperate for rain, for that fire still burning out of control, for farmers locally, and for us in the city as the dryness is impacting everything. We’ve been praying for weeks for moisture.  The past few days we’ve had a couple of inches of rain and it should rain again Saturday night into Sunday.  We are so grateful, and I’m continuing to pray that it will make a difference for that fire and all the firefighters battling the blaze.  

So much to be grateful for, and even deeper, so much not to take for granted.  I hope that you’re encouraged to look around you with new eyes today and a heart of gratitude.  Enjoy the gift of today friends!

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Splash of Geraniums

Happy Friday!  I think we’re on our way to the greenhouse today, I don’t need a lot of extras this year as my perennials are really doing well and take up most of the space now, but we need tomatoes and a few things for hanging plants and pots.  We go to a greenhouse just south of the city that has excellent plants and a better price than I can get locally.  I might be on the lookout for some geraniums to plant in my pots.  I am always looking for that bright bit of colour that will tolerate the sun and heat, and geraniums are great for that.  

This lovely geranium is from Power Poppy’s Geranium Take Two (back in stock soon!).  I wanted to give it a really warm and earthy look, so I added some spashy watercolouring with my Inktense pencils and a water brush in a really loose style, allowing for a little spash and splatter here and there. I love how it turned out!  

I’m such a girl for vivid colour, but this time I was smart and really played down the rest of the card with layers of neutrals, so the red of the geraniums really stands out. 

A little sewing, some ink distressing, a little lace and satin ribbon and some wood buttons complete the design.  

I did add a little on the inside with the other pretty trailing geranium from the set and another pop of red.  

I’m adding this to my May Flowers repetoire and the Power & Spark Challenge at Power Poppy.  Have you jumped in yet?     You could win a set of your choice from the store and stamp some new May flowers that won’t need watering, or weeding for that matter!

Here’s the Bloom Brigade gang playing along with inspiration for you today....

Allison Cope
Christine Okken (you are here)

Cindy Lawrence
Katie Sims
Stacy Morgan
Tosha Leyendekker

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Helicopter Prayers and Hugs and Smiles

On Sunday my husband and I get to dedicate one of our favourite little people at Church.  We’ve been blessed to journey with this couple from singlehood, to doing their wedding ceremony and now to help them dedicate their little son to the Lord.  What a privilege it is to walk with people you love through many significant phases of life.  

So, to honour this special occasion I put together a sweet little card with The Cat’s Pajamas new set Sending You.  I hadn’t been able to work with this fun helicopter yet, and it’s perfect for a little boy design.  

Stamped on XPress It Blending cardstock, coloured with Copics and then all gussied up with these cute papers from Echo Park, Little Man.  There are times when it’s just FUN to play with patterned paper and as you can see I had a lot of layers to play with.  :)

I used some fun TCP CutUps dies including Framed Up Two and the Clouds Border Die.  

Here’s the inside of the design.  I think it’s perfect as a card to celebrate a Baby Dedication.  We’re standing with them as they raise their son with our prayers, hugs and smiles.  

Enjoy today friends!  Thanks for stopping by!  

Monday, May 16, 2016

Silvery Blooms

Hello!  Today I’ve got another pretty trio of cards that are all sentiment based for our TCP Tuesday Challenge to make sentiments your focus.

A couple of weeks ago one of our former youth students got married and one of the colours she loves is blue so I tried to pull together some ideas that might work and ended up making three cards.  

On this first design I started by using the beautiful Sketchy Flowers and stamping the solid posies and leaves in Pacific Point ink onto Pacific Point cardstock.  Once that was dry I used the outline stamp from the flowers and leaves and stamped that overtop using VersaMark ink and then added silver embossing powder to make it all shimmery and shiny...and more wedding-like.  

I cut out several Always words from our CutUps Die, layered and glued them together and then added some shimmery silver paint on top.  Silver really pops on the deep blue.  

Some dribbles of silver paint and then some sequins finish it off. 

This next design was what I originally had in mind for the wedding card, but of the trio I made, it's my least favourite, There's something about the layout that doesn't seem to work for me.  But, I'll show it to you anyways. :)

Similar idea for both cards, I think it's the positioning of the flowers that I'm not really sure about. Something isn't quite right for me in the layout!  

On this last design I thought I'd do an all over posie feel again and then add a different sentiment peeking out of the bottom of the card.  

This is a really great way to showcase sentiments and also the extra glitz of embossing!

So have you jumped in on the TCP Sentiment Challenge yet?  Here's the deets to enter and win:

  1. Every other Tuesday a new challenge will be posted on The Cat’s Pajamas blog and our Facebook page.
  2. If you want to play along you just upload your design to The Cat’s Pajamas blog page using the InLinkz button by the Monday, 11:55 EDT before the next challenge.
  3. You are not required to use a Cat’s Pajamas stamp or die but if you have them we would love to see them.
  4. On the following TCP Tuesday, the 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, May 13, 2016

Dainty Hellebores

When we were in Victoria, BC at the end of March, one of the places we visited was the amazing Butchart Gardens.  It’s well renowned for its beautifully curated and landscaped gardens.  It was the perfect season to see them too as all the spring blooms were flourishing.  Often in the different gardens I’d spy little clusters of Hellebore or Lenten Rose blooming.  They really are a subtle little flower with their heads bent down.  I found some that had a mix of green and purple blooms, so today I thought I’d show you how I tried to recreate that on paper.  

This little digi called Hellebores that Marcy created is so lovely!  I love the little vase of flowers!  Hellebore are quite tiny, so though this looks gravity defying with that little vase, it’s really not, as the blooms are only and inch or two in diameter, and quite dainty.  

I pulled out the Inktense pencils again for the colouring on this one.  One thing I really like about Inktense pencils is that they are in fact ink.  When you add water you can blend them just like regular watercolours, but when they dry they are permanent.  So that makes creating a design like this with quite opposite colours - easy.  Once I had laid down all the green, I let it dry and then came in and added the pinky-purple colours.  I could blend them in without them getting muddy in the green.  That’s one thing I really don’t like when you’re watercolouring - getting muddy colour, so these work perfect when using opposing colours, all you need to do is let the layers dry in-between time.  

Finished off with some stitching, some pretty plaid and blue paper and some twine.  

So have you joined us yet for our May Flowers Challenge?  Just like Buchart Gardens, our Power Poppy store is blossoming, all you need to do is pick one of our floral designs and create, and you could win a Power Poppy set of your choice!  

Here’s the gang playing along today with more inspiration. 

Christine Okken (you are here)
Julie Koerber
Stacy Morgan
Tosha Leyendekker

Monday, May 9, 2016


This week we’re kicking off a new round of the TCP Challenge, and the focus is on Sentiments!  I think it’s fun to challenge ourselves (especially me as a floral lover), to focus on the sentiment as the main image in your card.  Alma is great at giving us such fun sentiments, so it’s not hard to find something TCP that will work wonderfully!

For this card I decided to create a clean design focussing on the HUGS sentiment from our new Sending You set.  I started by creating a mask in the center of the design and then stamping the flowers and leaves from our gorgeous set Sketchy Flowers along both sides of the mask.  This gives a nice clean line.  

I coloured those flowers and leaves with Copics, and then added some Scor Tape along the lines and burnished glitter onto the tape strips.  

Then all you need to do is add the sentiment and a little twine and it’s complete!  

Here are the details for the Sentiment Challenge, we hope you can join us!

1.  Every other Tuesday a new challenge will be posted on The Cat’s Pajamas blog and our Facebook page.
2.  If you want to play along you just upload your design to The Cat’s Pajamas blog page using the InLinkz button by the Monday, 11:55 EDT before the next challenge.
3.  You are not required to use a Cat’s Pajamas stamp or die but if you have them we would love to see them.
4.  On the following TCP Tuesday, the 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.

Brenda Nakandakari
Christine Okken (you are here)
Jessica Rone
Julie Elak
Stacey Schafer
Wendy McGaffey
and Alma at the TCP Blog!

Friday, May 6, 2016

May Flowers

Hello and happy Friday!  We’re back with a new challenge at Power Poppy this month and Katie is our hostess!  Here’s her challenge.....

If April showers bring May flowers, what kind of blossoms does this month of beauty deliver for you?  To play along with this challenge, simply reach for your favourite Power Poppy stamp floral and make it the centerpiece of your design.  Don’t have a Power Poppy floral?  WHAT?  Run over to the Power Poppy shop and grab yourself a new set or maybe an instant gratification digital stamps set and colour it until your heart’s content.  With the abundance of gorgeous florals drawn by the Power Poppy Peep-in-Chief - Marcella Hawley, you might actually have a tough time picking your favourite!  When you’re done, simply link it up on the Power Poppy blog and you’ll be in the running to win a Power Poppy stamp set of your choice!  

Of course, I’m thrilled with this theme!  It will be a very flowery month over here on my blog!  My favourite!

For today’s card, I pulled out the very beautiful digi Ranunculus.  Such a gorgeous arrangement Marcy drew here, don’t you agree?!  Printed on XPress It Blending card stock, then coloured up with Inktense pencils, finished by washing the colour in with a waterbrush.  As you’ve seen over the last week, I’m on an Inktense roll right now, experimenting with these pencils and all the ways I can colour with them.  It’s been really fun.  I’ll get back to my beloved Copics again soon, but I think that it’s a good way to learn how to use something new by giving it a lot of practise. I’m really loving the transparancy and vibrant colour you can manage by using these pencils and just a wee bit of water.  

Ranunculus are such a neat flower.  I love their tightly curled blossoms and the fact that they can come in such a lovely variety of colours too, including more than one colour in a bloom.  

I kept the layout really simple, stitching the background to match the stitched die and then adding some seam-binding and buttons.  I really should have steamed that seam-binding so it wouldn’t lay so funny, but this is how it worked out today :)  

Here’s the Bloom Brigade in action today!  I hope you can join us on the May Flowers Challenge, it runs all month long and you could win a Power Poppy set of your choice!  

Allison Cope
Christine Okken
Cindy Lawrence
Julie Koerber
Katie Sims
Stacy Morgan

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Today we have a brand new digi being released at Power Poppy!  It’s called Peony Love and it has a sweet Mother’s Day theme.  

Here in Canada like much of the world that has British ties we say Mum rather than Mom.  I don’t even know that we know we’re doing it, and we might even deny we say it that way, but we totally do :)  I call my mom - mum, always have. My kids call me Mum....ok, they drag it out and call me Moooom if they’re exasperated or something, but typically it’s Mum!  So Marcy was so sweet to create a special sentiment that has both versions of what we call our mothers for this set.  

I created a really simple design showcasing some of the single peony blooms that Marcy added to this set.  They were printed out on XPress It Blending card stock and then coloured with Inktense pencils (see I told you I was using them a lot).  I don’t think there are purple peonies, but my mum loves the colour that’s what I went with.  

I added them around the sentiment, popping a few of them up to create some dimension, and adding sequins, some purple seam binding and some twine to finish it off.  

Here’s what this beautiful digi looks like, and the alternate MUM spelling will be available as well!  

Pop on by to the Power Poppy Blog and also Cheryl and  Kathy’s blog to see more about this sweet set!