Friday, December 27, 2019

The Weight of Heavy Things

Hello friends.  

Putting my heart on the page for you to read as we wind down 2019. 

Earlier this year, one of my favourite local artists, Crystal Drieger posted a picture of this painting she had just done.  The moment I saw it I gasped.  Something about it visually spoke to me in a deep way.    I love her work.  It can be both whimsical and realistic in a way that inspires me.  But this piece in particular felt like it symbolized 2019 for us.  As you can see, it depicts a coming thunderstorm on the prairies with vivid colours, texture, movement, power and peacefulness.  And though I couldn’t buy the original, I asked her right away if she’d be doing prints.  This month I bought a print which will be lovingly displayed in our home.  

Our year has been relentless.   I’ve not said a lot about it, but it feels a bit cathartic to write it down now.   At Christmas a year ago, my husband could not shake a brutally deep cough he had, and developed a fever.  I suspected he had pneumonia, which doctors initially thought as well, but when he continued to worsen, they hospitalized him and we waited weeks to learn he had a much more serious fungal pneumonia that required a heavy duty anti-fungal drug and treatment for at least a year to recover from. He was in the hospital for a month and off of work for 2 more months.  We had excellent care, but I juggled days at the hospital, and home with the kids and work trying to keep everything moving.  We experienced a great deal of love and support from our family, friends and Church that was so encouraging and helpful.  

Fast forward a few months, and the Doctor who is treating my husband's fungal pneumonia, can’t explain why some of his blood results are dipping.  She diligently researches and consults with other Doctors, and eventually lets us know she thinks the cancer my husband was treated for 12 years ago is back.  Tests confirm this.  Hairy Cell Leukemia has returned.  A big blessing is that this cancer is very treatable and it is also likely the reason he contracted the fungal pnemonia in the first place.  It causes a lowered immune system.  So, this fall, my husband had treatment October through the end of November.  Again, we were surround by prayers and support from such amazing people in our lives.  Our faith in Jesus powerfully sustains us in the deepest places.  The demands have been pretty heavy, he needed to be hospitialized again during part of treatment and there was a lot of up and down. He has been on medical leave from work since October and I’ve been juggling all of the extra pieces once again.  

My husband's last day of treatment was also his Birthday.  At our treatment centre they have a tradition that you ring the Bell of Hope to celebrate your last treatment.  Unknown to him,  I had planned for many of our friends to surprise him for the bell ringing to celebrate his recovery.  

As he was just beginning his last treatment we got the phone call that his Dad had just passed away.  We were heartbroken.  He had fought dementia for a number of years, and now he was gone.  Though we rang the bell of hope, we cancelled our celebration party, and gathered our family to head to ND for the funeral, which my husband did, as we are both pastors.  It was a day filled with sadness and joy, tears and celebration all rolled together.  

Just a week after Dad’s funeral, my husband’s mom became ill and within a few weeks her health became grave.  Less than four weeks after Dad passed away, Mom also breathed her last on earth.  There was no way we could have seen this coming.  So, even as I write we will be back in North Dakota with family to say goodbye and celebrate her life.  

That’s a lot.  Maybe you can relate to it too because of storms in your own life.  

Throughout it all, we have felt very carried by God.  We’ve been very supported and loved.  We are learning and growing even in the midst of this, and even as we grieve.  We are even closer as a family, and closer to our friends.  However, I have begun to realize that 2019 has taken a great deal out of all of us.  All of these events have held heavy weight and we need to pay attention to that.  I have not cared for myself well this past year, as I’ve spent most of it caring for my husband and children.  So, I’m going to be taking some time away to pay attention to the weight of what 2019 has been, and how I’m being called to live because of it in the years I’m blessed with ahead.  

I’ve asked for a leave of absence from my design teams and they’ve graciously given that to me (they are such good women - so thank you Marcy and Alma).  My creative spirit has left me, and I want the Lord to restore it, along with many other things in the weeks ahead.  

That lovely painting shows the dark storm coming; but it also shows light and vibrant green in the center of the field, which will be further watered by that approaching storm.  Letting God water me and restore me and bring growth is what I’ll be investing in over the next weeks.  

Look forward to all that this will bring when I catch up with you again.  With love and blessing.  


Saturday, November 30, 2019

A Giveaway and a Sale!

Hello there friends!  I’m giving away a $20 Gift Code to the Power Poppy Store!!  

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on today's post telling me what your favourite Power Poppy set is and why it’s your favourite, and you’re in the running to win!  Comments closing December 3 @ 7 PM MST.  

I will draw one name from all of the comments to win, and the winners will be announced on December 4th, Wednesday, on the Power Poppy Blog!

And have you seen the Sale news?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Christmas Remix: Poinsettia XL

Good Monday everyone!  The inspiration continues on the Christmas Remix at Power Poppy!  We’re happy you joined us today because we’re showing you the quintiscential Christmas flower, Power Poppy Version, Poinsettia XL!

The powerhouse of a Poinsettias. This digital download supplies three variations of this vivacious, velvety Christmas classic. With slightly puckered and rippling leaves, you can add lots of dimension and life to this festive plant though your coloring. Includes a large single bloom, Poinsettia with a stem and secondary leaves, the stemmed image with hand lettered "Joy to the World", AND a 5x7" supersized, full-bleed image to steal the show! Each image includes a light grey version for no-line coloring. Go XL and really dive into those petals this season.

A few weeks ago I did some GREEN colouring of another poinsettia in our Power Poppy Collection, Winter Wonderland or the digital version, Ultimate Poinsettia.  Today I’m back with one of my other favourite colours for poinsettias - a soft peachy glow.

I printed the image large enough to really get into the petals with both my Copic Markers, and then Prismacolor Pencils to finish off.  The citrus shades were really fun to work with - something like grapefruit and lime!  You can see there is a lot of blue and purple in the shadows and that is what gives the design more realism and nice contrast in the petals.  

To tie the background layer of the design to the colour palette of the poinsettia, I sponged peach and lime ink onto white cardstock toward the middle and then added some White Pearl Modeling paste through a stencil on parts of the design. It has a nice iridescent quality adds touches of texture and elegance.  

I always love Marcy’s hand lettering from the Christmas Hymn, Joy to the World.  We’re singing today as well because today my husband will have his last treatment at our Cancer Facility!  We’re delighted to turn the page over into restoration!  So we’ll sing as we ring the “end of treatment” bell!  

Take note of these great prices on this awesome new set!  

Pop on over to see more stunning inspiration from the team today.  There is such an amazing array of creativity with this set!  

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Christmas Remix: Winter Flora

We’ve got a such a stunner to show you today it’s called Winter Flora and wowee!  It’s a colourists dream!

Whimsical, wildly wonderful, and a total wow — Winter Flora is a botanical set that goes beyond. You'll love tackling this tangle of Poinsettia, Sweet Bay Magnolia, and Hellebores plus verdant bits of Holly, Pine, and Spruce, punctuated by berries and glass ornaments! There are so many ways you can take this. You can go classic red, white, and green. Think pink with various shades of pastel prettiness. Infuse warm glimmers of yellow, bronze, and gold. You get multiple versions of this bodacious border — with and without sentiments. 

I decided to go with one of my favourite Christmas combinations turquoise, red and white, with a bit of festive green thrown in!  Isn’t the collection of flowers, ornaments and sentiment stunning?  I love the freshness to this colour palette as well.  It really makes things pop, while staying true to the colours of the flowers.  

For texture, I placed the design on an embossed pine layer of white, it adds something, while not being distracting.  

Otherwise it’s a very clean card, I didn’t even add any embellishments.  An image like this can just speak for itself!  

Here are the Copics I used today:

Check out the sale on this set!  

And now please stop on by and see the creative inspiration of the teams showcasing this set.  You will be so amazed!  

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Christmas Remix: Season of Serenity

We’re back with Power Poppy’s Christmas Remix and today we’re showcasing a gorgeous new image that celebrates that cold frosty glow!  Its called Season of Serenity.  

Tranquility and peace surrounded by nature, isn't that one of life's greatest pleasures? I’ve tried to capture the essence of serenity in this oval scene of snowy evergreens and mountain caps, accented by a sweet bird in holly in the foreground. (Is it a cardinal? A blue jay? Color it however you'd like to match your color scheme.) Sentiments are framed perfectly by the snowy oval. OR - use the secondary focal image of the bird in holly branches with any of the sentiments. What a versatile digital set! You could even print these out to use as gift tags, just add your own "TO" and "FROM". Images included in black and light grey for no-line coloring.

Such a beauty isn’t it? It really captures that crisp cold quiet of winter.  I’ve given the scene colouring with Copics, and that beautifully little bird became a bluejay.  We don’t get cardinals up here like Marcy does in St. Louis, but we regularly see blue jays.  After colouring, I trimmed the scene out carefully, then placed it on a frame of bright blue, backed by an embossed layer of snowflakes making sure to keep that crisp white.  

This scene really reminds me of Lake Louise here in Alberta.  It is the most beautiful turquoise lake that is completely surrounded by majestic mountains and forest.  In the winter the lake freezes over and you can skate on the ice and they have on occasion, had an ice castle built.  It is stunning.  This picture is before the lake totally freezes over.  Just look it up and you’ll be blown away, it just looks too beautiful to be real...and in real life the photos don’t do it justice.  

I gave the “lake” some reflection of the mountains and coloured up the sky to have a deepening blue to purple, almost like an Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights dancing in the night sky, which we often see in the winter here.  

I’m just loving that jay!  I really appreciate that Marcy included the bird and greenery as a separate image for this set too.  

I added glittery pen to the snow and the moon, but it’s always so hard to photograph so you can see it, but you might see some of it on the left side.  A touch of glittery ribbon and die cut snowflakes accent the card.  

Pop on over to see what the rest of the Bloom Brigade and Instant Gardeners have to show off today with Season of Serenity.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Christmas Remix: Poinsettia and Pomegranate

We’re excited to bring you a power-packed week ahead with Power Poppy’s Christmas Remix!  In the next week you’ll see some of our Classic Christmas Stamps, All New Digital Stamps, new images that have only previously been in polymer now offered in digital and a SALE!  Click on the Power Poppy link above and you can comment to be in the running for a $15 gift code to the Power Poppy store!  

I think you’ll be blown away hopping through the blogs this week as you get to know our brand new designers on the teams and see their amazing artistic ability with Marcy’s images.  

Today we’re kicking it off with the beautiful classic set, Poinsettia or in the digital format as Poinsettia and Pomegranate.  For today’s card, I’ve used the polymer stamp set.  After all these years, I still can’t get over the gratifying feeling of pressing a stamp onto paper and the magic of lifting it up to a beautiful image!  This one is such a beauty with the arrangement of flower, greenery and fruit.  

I stamped the image in opposite corners on XPress it Blending Cardstock.  I love how it looks like it is spilling over the corners of the card.  Colouring is done with Copic Markers and finishing details are added with Prismacolor Pencils.  

For some pretty sparkle I added a strip of Scor Tape and glitter, and it’s all tied up in a simple Baker’s Twine bow, a few added sequins accent the card.  

And now, take a look at all the inspiration from the Instant Gardeners and Bloom Brigade!