Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Gratitude Project - Week 30

\ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

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

Just a few sweet photos of the week that bring me gratitude.  

Our youngest son returned home after 8 days away in another province with a great friend.  They spent the week at their cabin on the lake and he learned to fish!  It was something he set as a goal for this year, and he had such a blast with them catching 9 fish over the week.  This was the big one, a 20-ish inch sturgeon.  My friend took this picture after he reeled it in (he had snagged it on the tail so it was such a workout getting it into the boat).  The pointy nose of the fish is still outside the frame.  It was a fish he was so proud to catch and release.  Apparently sturgeon grow about 1/2 inch a year, so this one’s been around a while.    I feel so grateful for the week he had bonding with his friend, boating, fishing, paddleboarding, swimming, tubing...all so much fun.  It totally filled up his tank, and we feel so blessed he could go, and so blessed for such great friends.  I love seeing our kids thrive and grow.  

Today we spent a good portion of the day bringing in some of the fruits of our labour :)  I harvested all the peas, pulled in 2 zucchini’s and then starting picking cherries.  My word, we have so many!  We took off 16 lbs today and I’m sure there’s 100+ more pounds still on the tree.  I’ll have plenty to share, and I just pulled a cherry pie out of the oven that smells wonderful.  I feel very grateful for the beauty of abundance in our yard, so grateful for how God waters and grows all of it, and how we get to enjoy it!  

Friday, July 29, 2016

Step by Step Watercoloured Sunflowers

Did you see the beautiful digi that Marcy released a few weeks ago?  It’s called Sunshine of my Life.   What a gorgeous array of sunflowers in a vase.  I was really looking forward to giving it some colour, and decided to print the image on a lighter poundage watercolour paper to watercolour for a larger piece.  This took me several days to work on to get it finished.

I printed the image in a lighter rust-like ink to be about 5 x 7 inches.   At first I was thinking I’d split the image and create a couple of cards with it, but as I was watercolouring I decided to make it into a frameable piece instead.  I love sunflowers and it was worth all the time I spent colouring it to then be able to put it on a wall, or set it on the mantle.  

You can see that my printer was starting to run low on ink so there are sections of the image that printed more rust and some that printed pink.  It won’t matter because you’re really going for a no-line look and by the time it’s all coloured up you won’t be able to tell.  I kept it a pretty loose watercolouring style to keep that rustic look.  

The yellows and rusts of sunflowers go great with the contrast of darker blue so I washed in the background first using Inktense Pencils and my water brush.  Normally I work from left to right so my hand doesn’t lay on finished work as I’m watercolouring, but for some reason on this day those flowers on the right were calling my name first!  I really like Inktense pencils because once you’ve activated the colour fully and it dries, it’s permanent so it won’t reactivate again, so you can add layers of different colour without it getting muddy.  

I was imagining the light coming from the top left so the background is deeper on the right side, and the highlights in the flowers are on more on the top left as well. 

Here I’ve added some more colour to the leaves and a few more of the flowers as well as starting some blue and green shadowing around the vase and added some cast shadows for the lowest bloom on the right.  I gave the flowers different shades of yellow, orange, rust and brown to keep the bouquet interesting.  

Here’s the finished watercolouring, I added some warm tones for the vase, to tie in some of the colours in the flowers, and added some blues and browns in the shadows of the vase.   Then I trimmed it down to be just a bit larger than 5 x 7 inches, finished size.  

Today I found a simple navy frame at Michaels that was on sale, and thought the blue would pair nicely with the background...and the fake picture inside the frame when I bought it was a field of sunflowers, so it just called my name!  Sorry for the bit of glare on the glass, no matter which way you go when you’re photographing glass its really hard not to have some glare.  

A wee bit closer shot of the finished frame.  I’m no Van Gogh...but these sunflowers make me smile.  

The Bloom Brigade has more bits of lovely to show off to you today here:

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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Gratitude Project - Week 29

\ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

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

Just popping in with some pictures from our week that express my gratitude for the beauty of this life.  

For the first time that we can remember in 22 years of marriage, my husband and I have a house without kids!  Our older two kids are away with the youth group on a missions trip in Mexico City, we’re really proud of what they’re doing.  Our youngest is with friends at their cabin on a lake in a different province learning how to fish, paddleboard and all sorts of other fun things.  We’re really grateful for all the opportunities they have during these weeks.  

So, without kids, we took a few days off to take advantage of some time together.  Here are some of the highlights of a few of our days.  

We’ve done lots of fun things like trying new places to eat...this is a place called Love Pizza :) 

Next we got up at 5 am one morning and drove out to Jasper National Park to spend the day hiking and exploring.  These next pictures are all from Maligne Canyon.  It’s a good hike that goes up the canyon along the river and you pass over 6 bridges, many waterfalls and beautiful scenery.  

The canyon is so deep at some points I could hardly look over the edge.  

Next up was another beautiful hike called Old Fort Point nearer to the town of Jasper, it offers beautiful vistas of the valley from a 360 degree view.  This view shows Lake Beauvert and the Jasper Park Lodge.  

This is of the valley headed the other way toward Mount Edith Cavell.  

Something really neat happened as we were starting up the trail.  We really try to be prepared hikers and have bear spray and bear bangs, and coming up the trail we saw evidence of a bear (read poop).  As we walked up the trail a bit more we met a guy who warned us that there was a grizzly about 500 m up the trail.  He said he wasn’t going to do the trail by himself as it’s not really safe, but if we would do it, he would do it with us.  Bears are usually as afraid of people as we are of them, and the extra noise and number of people would be enough to keep him away.  It turned out that this gentleman has hiked the Jasper area extensively, knew tons about the trails, mountains and surroundings, even showing us a secret little off-trail vista where the National Park has placed big red adirondack chairs in a wide open valley space that has amazing views.  

We had such a nice time!  For one, we didn’t run into the grizzly (always good!)...and for two we had an awesome time on a trail that was new to us, and were grateful for bumping into someone who knew so much about the area.   26 000 steps later  on my FitBit, and a late drive home  - with a heart full from a fun day together.  Truly a beautiful place full of the majesty of God’s creation.  I am always in awe there.  

So, while one day was decidedly wilderness, the next day was very urban.  We decided to take the old fashioned trolley car over the river in our city and head into downtown.  

Isn’t it funny how you can live in a city forever and not do any of the touristy things?  This was our first time on the 1930’s trolley - the only way that the city used to connect across the river.  Now the trolley goes above a bridge and it feels like a step back in time.  

There was a sweet mama and her two littles on the car with us.  This little one was just two years old and very adorable.  Here we are getting ready to cross the bridge over the river into downtown.  

Here’s the river...looking quite muddy actually!  Another bridge in the distance under construction.  

This picture shows the bridge below and the rails on top of the bridge, and downtown in the distance.  It’s a little crazy that you’re crossing on rails that are actually above the traffic on a bridge...again more heights I’m not as fond of, but still a really fun experience.  Once we were downtown we walked to an outdoor food festival, tried a bunch of fun food and headed back.  

Isn’t this a fun picture?  It depicts the city’s history in mural form at the street car site.  

Joyful for the fun adventures with my husband, he’s still my sweetheart 22 years later!  Hope you’ve enjoyed a little of it with us.  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ice Cream is Just the Ticket!

I have a really summery fun creation to show you today!  This one is for those days when the thermometer is pushing higher and higher and a little ice cream (or in this case, rainbow sherbet) might be in order.  

I pulled out The Cat’s Pajamas sweet set - Life Is Like Ice Cream, giving it the rainbow sherbet colour with Copics, and trimming the little ice cream guy out.  Next,  I made a very vibrant sherbet-like card design with lots of fun papers, and added a ticket pocket with TCP’s die Big Ticket CutUp and the set Admit One.  

He looks pretty cool and cozy in there doesn’t he?  A few fun accents like the Toppers CutUps border, a button, twine and some enamel dots finish the design.  The background dots in the orange layer are done with the Dots CutUps Die, just embossing the die into the paper not cutting it.  

Here’s a peek at the coupon tag that pulls out of the ticket holder, entitling the receiver to a date with ice cream.  I know my kids would love to receive this...or my husband....they think ice cream is it’s own food group :)  

I added the ice cream letters with a retired TCP alpha set, but you could write it in as well.  

Here’s a sunny picture of the Copics I used...

So how about you jump in on this new challenge at The Cat’s Pajamas?  All you need to do is create a design that uses at Tag, and you’re in the running to win TCP Cat’s Cash!  

Here’s the rules:

  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.
And here’s the Cat Pack Playing along today with Tag inspiration....

SaveSaveBrenda Nakandakari
Christine Okken (you are here)
Julie Elak
and Alma at the TCP Blog!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Seeds of Today

The past few weeks our youngest son has been taking swimming lessons each day.  So for 45 minutes I’m on the sidelines watching him.  So, I decided to bring my Copics and some images to colour each time, and I can usually get one image coloured during the lesson.  It’s been fun because seeing a lady with a whole lot of fancy markers really seems to attract kids!  They are fascinated with seeing what I’m doing, all my colourful markers and are full of questions!  I love kids, they have such innocence and ask anything without worrying what you think, and they are always so interested to learn more.  

This was one of the images I coloured on one of the days.  It’s a lovely digital image from Power Poppy called Seeds of Today.  Isn’t it a beautiful quote?  It challenges me to think about what seeds I’m planting today.  Printed on XPress it Blending cardstock, coloured with Copics (with a little white accenting on the flower with a white sharpie), and then die cut with one of my old Spellbinders dies.   Blue and white are such a lovely crisp combination, so I kept the basic design really simple.  

Some lovely embossing in the background and a great big satin bow are all it took to finish it.  I really wanted that sentiment to shine.  Here’s the Copics I used below.  Bow, blue and blossom are all my B’s in this design.  

And this is just another little reminder that our Power & Spark Challenge, B Happy,  is still going on for another two weeks.  Enter to win a Power Poppy stamp set of your choice!  

Here’s the Bloom Brigade and Instant Garderners in action’ll see a brand new and gorgoeus digi along the way today too, a not to be missed new design!  

Allison Cope
Christine Okken (you are here)
Cindy Lawrence
Kathy Jones
Stacy Morgan
Tosha Leyendekker
Broni Holcombe
Cheryl Scrivens
Debbie Olson
Barb Walker
Nancy Sheads


Monday, July 11, 2016

Bundled Up!

How about another fun round of Christmas in July?  It’s hard to imagine snow right now in the Northern Hemisphere with the beautiful days of summer going on, but it’s always great to get a jump start on Christmas early!  :)

I pulled out these sweet sheep from The Cat’s Pajamas called Melt My Ice.  I think they’re pretty adorable.  I gave their wool some fun swirly colour with Copics.  Adding the look of texture to colouring is always fun.  

For accents I added the fun Icing Border Cut Ups die, some pretty sequins in tealy-blues, and then a wee bit of baker’s twine in red.  

Here’s the Copics I used.  

Here’s the TCP Challenge info for Christmas In July, jump on in!  

Every other Tuesday a new challenge will be posted on The Cat’s Pajamas blog and our Facebook page.

  1. 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.
  1. You are not required to use a Cat’s Pajamas stamp or die but if you have them we would love to see them.
  1. 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.
Now before you about some SALE NEWS from The Cat’s Pajamas?  It’s a 25% off sale!  

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Cottage Rose

Summer is in full swing in our neck of the woods.  This week our kids are all helping lead Vacation Bible School at our Church, and they’re all looking forward to it.  There’ll be an extra 150 people running around all week and it will be awesome.  

Summer to me speaks of roses.  We have a couple of rose bushes in our garden.   The more red rose is really thriving and is growing up around our lamp post to be about 4 1/2 feet tall, the other more pink rose is also starting to take off and is sending out new shoots to make it a much larger plant.  

So, with roses in mind,  it was fun to pull out this beautiful rose from Power Poppy from the set Everything’s Even Rosier.  This set is available now in polymer and the single rose is also available as a digital stamp too, as Rose and Chamomile.  

I paired this beautiful pink rose with some lovely country cottage roses from an older collection - Bo Bunny - Prairie Chic.  It’s a perfect match!  I finished off the design with some beautiful rolled rose netted flower ribbon and some butterfly accents.  

Here’s a few pictures of the roses in our garden.   I took these pics tonight after some rain we had earlier today.  

Look at these 8 buds getting ready to open up in the next week or so.  

These blooms are almost done, but are making way for more popping up around the other parts of the rose bushes, I love their long blooming nature!  

Here are the Copics I used for to pretty rose above. 

Playing along again in the 30 Day Coloring Challenge!  

Friday, July 8, 2016

Sweet Simple Things

You’ve probably seen some lovely little creations this week from Power Poppy Instant Gardeners with this lovely new digital set, Sweet Simple Things that Marcy remixed for July.  It’s an adorable Bee Skep surrounded by fogloves and cosmos and little bees buzzing in and out.  A sweet little summer scene perfectly done with two great sentiments.  

I played with our challenge this month,  B Happy with a whole bunch of B’s:  a Bee Skep, blue foxgloves, blue sky, blue jean patterned paper, buttons, baker’s twine and bees!  

Such a pretty little scene!  

Check out this pretty sentiment from the set that I placed on the inside!  I LOVED Little House on the Prairie when I was young, from the books that I read cover to cover, to the TV Series - where I was sure that if Laura didn’t marry Almanzo, I would :)  

Here’s the Copics I used.  

Cindy & I are showing off cards today, hope you can jump in on the challenge and enter to win a Power Poppy set of your choice.