Welcome Everyone!

Remember to "click" on all pictures if you'd like to see them a little closer.

Monday, January 9, 2017

New Beginnings

Hi everyone!  Happy New Years!

The topic for the Round Robin at Swirlydoos this month is "New Beginnings".  I chose to document the story of my dog, Oakley, as he has gone through a huge change in his life this year, and has started his "New Beginning" with grace and acceptance.  

If you want to know Oakley's story, you can read it at the end of this post. 

I started with one of the beautiful papers from the Heirloom collection by 49& Market.  I had a lot of fun with some mixed media techniques:  layers of heavy gesso, strips of newspaper, stenciling and sprays... and then I covered most of it up!  I guess that's what mixed media is all about... glimpses peeking here and there through all the added ephemera.

The stenciling was done using Prima's Static stencil and White Crackle texture paste. Over top I used a beautiful Starburst Spray from Lindy's called "Autumn Maple Crimson".

The small flowers were stamped with a Heartfelt Creations stamp set "Berry Blossoms" using Archival ink "Vermillion".  After they were glued together, I put a light coat of  "Clear Rock Candy" Distress crackle paint on top and left it to dry overnight.  Once dry, I added some burgundy "Baby Beads' from Queen & Co.

The color choice for this layout came from a challenge at Unity Stamps.

I have fallen in love with Unity Stamps... they are so unique and beautiful.  The one that I used in this challenge is "Shari Girl".

I coloured Shari on a piece of tissue paper with Copics and then glued it down with Matte Gel, with a coat over top to protect it.  *Tip.... In order to get the image to show up on the dark background, I stamped it on to the layout and filled it in with white gesso.  Then I glued the tisse layer over top of the white "shadow".  At this point, I almost wanted to stop...because I loved the shadow with all the distressing... but Oakley's story needed to be told.  LOL.

The rest was just playing with bits and pieces from the November Swirlydoos kit and adding embellishments from my "stash".  For me it is the longest part of creating a layout.

Thanks for stopping by on this COLD day (-25C) and checking out what I've been up to!


Oakley's Story

I chose to use Oakley in my layout about new beginnings, because he began a new life with us in August.  He is 7 years old and his previous family was no longer able to look after him.  I had never adopted a dog that was this old and I was a little nervous… he had grown up with 3 boys, lived a merry life in the Rocky Mountains running up and down ski hills… and now he was coming to live a quiet life with my husband and I (mainly me, because my husband works away from home 3 weeks of the month.)

Oakley was very much loved by his previous family.  Mom was a bronze medal Olympic skier from Sweden, and the family owned a ski resort here in Canada’s Rocky Mountains.  The youngest boy of the family, who came with his mom to interview me, had some hilarious stories to tell about Oakley stealing ski gloves as a pup, and sitting on the gondola looking down and watching him race up the mountain with the glove in his mouth.  Unfortunately, the parents were getting divorced, mom was moving back to Sweden, the boys were scattered around the country in university, and dad didn't appear to have enough time for Oakley… so he needed a new home.
I was smitten the moment he walked through the door, although I was surprised by how big he is … he is a GINORMOUS dog, but he has the gentlest spirit of any dog I’ve ever met.  I didn’t get him right away… the family was interviewing several others who were interested in him… but in the end, after some nerve wracking days, they phoned and said they had let him choose, and they felt he was the most comfortable when he was at my house.  Whew!  Happy, happy day.

So, Oakley’s new beginning started, and I have learned a lot about grace from him over the past few months as he has adjusted to his new circumstances.  At first, he waited by the door for them to come back a lot, and his head would turn whenever a little grey car would drive by, but he didn’t whine or cry… he was just very quiet and well behaved…and accepting.  After about 3 weeks, I noticed he was becoming more animated… he was excited to do things with us… and he was wagging his tail merrily when we would talk to him.  I think he is very happy and comfortable with us now!

Oakley’s new beginning has been a real blessing for us.  My husband has a walking partner again, (we had lost our previous big dog a month before Oakley came to us), I have a gentle companion to keep me company, and our small dog has someone to show him that he isn’t the boss of the house!  (He needed to learn this… trust me!)

The moral of this story?  Don't be afraid to adopt a senior dog.  They adapt very quickly when they are given love and you will soon feel like you've had them forever! 

Monday, January 2, 2017


Hi everyone! 

Today I have a layout that was made with Swirlydoos' November kit, "Market Street".  It is a stunning kit using gorgeous paper from 49 & Market, BoBunny and Kaisercraft.  (Hint Hint....  There's still a kit left in the store!)  

This layout was made for the Swirlydoos' challenge "All That Flutters".  In order to make it I used the challenge at More Than Words where your inspiration word is "Celebrate" and you were to bling your layout up with jewels, glitter, and anything sparkly.  This worked well with some photos that I had from New Year's Eve this year!

Sometimes when I'm starting a layout, I sit and stare blankly at the paper.  When that happens I turn to a sketch to help me get going.  This month I used the sketch from Stuck?!Sketches.

I did a lot of mixed media on this page, using some of the products from Swirlydoos' Mixed Mediums kit. 
I used the silver Viva Decor Modelling Cream to emboss with a stencil behind the photos.
I splattered the whole page with watered down gesso.
All flowers were dry brushed with gesso.
I fussy cut the flowered paper and blinged it up with Stardust Stickles.
The Dusty Attic chipboard was painted with the silver modelling cream and once that was dry, I added a layer of stickles over top.

The silver tiara and the word "celebrate" were cut with my cricut explore, and the silver glittery leaves that you can see on both sides of the photos were cut with a die from Penny Black "Winter Garland".

The butterflies were also cut with my cricut explore.

The "All that Flutters" challenge is over now, but watch for the next kit... it will be arriving soon, and with it, there will be another "All that Flutters" challenge.

Also check out the challenges at More Than Words and Stuck?!Sketches....they both run until the end of the month.

Thanks for stopping by to see my first project for 2017!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hearts of the West Blog Hop

Welcome to the Hearts of the West Team 
monthly Blog Hop!

In this blog hop today, we are featuring the brand new 
CTMH paper pack "Sugar Rush".  

You will find "Sugar Rush" in the new Seasonal Expressions catalogue 
that goes on sale TOMORROW, January 1st.

If you came from Anna Miller's blog , then you are on the right track. 

This is a circular blog hop so you can start anywhere. Just in case you get lost, the full list of participants can be found at the bottom of this post. 

For this card, I used the "Spread the Love" D1711 stamp set and watercoloured the little girl.  I think the sentiment "This card is a Paper Hug" is my favorite of all the CTMH stamps!  It's such a lovely thought to send to someone you care about!  

I've embellished the card with some pink twine from the Adventure Ribbon pack and pretty new gems "Sugar Rush Dots".  The card components were cut with a die set from Papertrey Ink called the Scalloped A2 Die.

Thanks for joining us on our Blog Hop today!

Next on the hop is Brenda Gieck.  Be sure to check out what she's made with the Sugar Rush papers!!

Blog Hop participants:

Have a wonderful New Year's Eve tonight and I'll see you next year!! 


Edited on January 1st.  Yesterday when I posted my card, I wasn't entirely happy with the watercoloured image... however I had a deadline so I posted it anyway.  Today I worked with it a bit again, and thought I would show you what a difference removing a little paint can make.  

This is the version I am now happy with.  To fix it I wet a paintbrush and painted over the background which I thought was too dark, and then dabbed it with a paper towel to pull the paint off.  I'm happy now that the background isn't the first thing catching your eye anymore... it's now the little girl who is the focal point on the card as it should be!

January Planner Page

Hi everyone!  

It's the last day of 2016 and I treated myself to a quiet morning of watercolouring in my Planner... getting ready for the New Year.  I decided to use these pages as practise sessions for water colouring.

I wanted a "frosty" look to my January page... as these are the colours of winter in my part of the world.

These are the colours I used from the CTMH Watercolour Paint Set.

To prepare my page for colouring, I first painted it with a layer of clear gesso, as I knew I was going to be using a lot of water on it.  This ended up working well to keep the page fairly flat.  As I worked, and it dried, I kept flexing it and flattening it, and it dried very nicely.

I began in the center with January, and then I worked my way from the left upper corner over to the right, and the same for the bottom.  This kept me from dragging my hand through any wet paint.

I began with my lightest colours first and then added the darker colours.  I found I got better at painting as I got to the bottom.... I loosened up and was letting the paint fall where it wanted.  If it got too dark I added extra water and blended it out.  Sometimes I dabbed it with a paper towel to blot it up a bit... always with a "light" hand.  The nice thing about watercolouring is you can go back and fix things... so I went back and added extra depth here and there where I felt I had blended it out too much.  

To finish, I went all around the leaves with the lightest colour, adding lots of water to blend it out.  Once it dried, I added zentangle type accents with a white gel pen.

Thank you for stopping by and seeing what I'm up to today!  I hope the New Year brings you peace and prosperity!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Mary Did You Know?

Hi everyone!

I was wanting to make a card for some special friends and looking for a starting point... over at Creative Carte Blanche, song lyrics are the theme for the monthly challenge.

This got me thinking about my favorite Christmas carol which is "Mary Did You Know?"... and that led me to design this card with the nativity as the focal point.

I'm still using Close to My Heart's paper "Oh Deer" but I've abandoned the sea glass colour I've  used on past cards, and focused on the golds and browns instead, with a hit of red glitter.  The musical notes on the paper continue the theme of the challenge.

All three Nativity dies that I used are from Penny Black:  Manger, Winter Garland, and Rejoice, and the interior label die is Merry Labels from Catherine Pooler's Candy Cane Lane collection this year.

If you haven't heard Pentatonix sing "Mary Did You Know?" you really must relax back in your chair and enjoy this YouTube video.

Wishing you peace and blessings this Christmas season!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sweet Treats

Hi there,

Yesterday, I shared a fun Christmas gift that I made for a friend, and today I'm putting it together with a card and entering it in Power Poppy's challenge this month "Sweet Treats"

When I first saw Power Poppy's stamps, I was smitten!  They have the loveliest images!  This little tree in a tea cup is from a set called Cozy Cupfuls and it is just darling.

I used paper from Close to my Heart called "Oh Deer" and waterpainted the image with coordinating inks:  Juniper, Sea Glass, Fern, Whisper, Desert Sand and Ruby.

Finishing touches are a glittery silver bow, diamond stickles on the tree bulbs, and Bitty Sparkles here and there.  The card and mats are a set from Papertrey Ink called the Noted: Scalloped A2 Die Collection.

The inside sentiment comes from a different Power Poppy stamp set "Poinsettia".  It was stamped in Delicata "Golden Glitz".

On the envelope I stamped another image from the "Cozy Cupfuls" set in Delicata "Golden Glitz".

You still have time to enter the Power Poppy Challenge as it goes until Dec 31st., and you don't need to have a Power Poppy stamp to enter.  (They do have digital images available for sale though if you should want to use one of these sweeties for the challenge!)

Thanks for stopping by today.  Especially with the big day drawing ever closer!  If I listen carefully enough I think I can hear the sound of rustling wrapping paper being taped together all around the world!


Christmas Gift Trimmings


Today I'm sharing a gift I made for my friend.  

She and I are gardeners, so I purchased a jar similar to this for her to display cut flowers in during the summer.

I've been fascinated with some of the little house domes I've seen on Pinterest, so I decided to try making one myself. 

I cut the little house on my cricut, scattered Stampendous Shaved Ice over cotton batting, and then added snow with Aleene's Glitter Snow texture paste.  The dome is half of an acrylic ornament.

I added a gift tag with a die in it of a little terrier since she just got a Cairn Terrier puppy this year!
The die that I used to make the gift tag enclosure is one I purchased from Catherine Pooler from the Candy Cane Lane SOA box.  It is an awesome die that cuts and embellishes all in one pass through the Big Shot.  I love its' elegant lines and the word "Joy" was a piece that came with it.

The dome is attached by lace ribbon which can slip off, leaving the jar ready for its original purpose!

She's a very special friend and I hope she likes it!!