Riley's Fall Colors and bein' Thankful!

Good morning, sweet blogging friends!  We've been praying diligently for those in Sandy's path and hope that in her wake you are all doing well and are safe and sound.  Blessings!

Today's post is what I like to call a two-fer :)  The new bi-weekly Riley and Company challenge brought to us by Joy calls for using Fall colors on our Riley cards so I inked up one of my favorites: Wheat Riley.  I decorated the inside of my card with a sentiment I found at a writing sight and loved it - especially since Riley does have his banjo *wink!*

My friend Lorie used to call me the queen of mix and match papers ... that always made me smile when she said that!  So I'm sure I'm channeling her sweet words with this pairing up of papers :) For my Fall colors, I went for my MME paper pack, Happy Heart - my eye drew in on the warm orange-ish colors and it felt like Fall to me :)  Be sure to play along with the Riley challenge this week, too - you can find the challenge blog here. {If you link up to a gallery, please use the keyword 2212}

Another group near and dear to my heart is the Crafters of Faith and once a month, always on the last day of the month, we post a card with a theme chosen by the monthly hostess.  This month, our Sharon asked us to create a card of thankfulness.  In her words, she challenges us with this:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wow, it's hard to believe that there is only 3 more months left of 2012...where has the time gone?? Some of you may know from reading my blog this week that Autumn is my favorite season of the year. In Southern Ontario it is quickly making its appearance and where I'm from the colour of the changing leaves can be quite spectacular. It's so inspiring--I just love it! Autumn also includes my most favourite holiday celebration--THANKSGIVING!! It's hard not to love a holiday that calls on us to give thanks for our blessings. I realize not everyone around the world celebrates this holiday, and our friends in the U.S. don't celebrate until November, so for this challenge you can choose to make either a card for thanksgiving OR a thank you card for someone who has been a blessing to you. Please use at least 2 designer papers and 1 embellishment, and most importantly, have fun! I can't wait to see what you've created!

I am thankful for many many things - from my faith to my family and even the busy-ness that often keeps me going from sun-up to sun-down.  I am thankful that even though the days are stressed, time runs short and there is always "one more thing to do", I'm blessed that I'm able to do it and give Him all the glory for those blessings!  I'm thankful that God has bestowed upon us miracles, that he shines upon our family with a beacon of fresh hope and faith to face each of the days ahead, even the ones that are a little more topsy-turvy than others :)  And of course, I'm thankful for my online friends ~ 
I you!  

I hope my card represents the beauty of this season and how cultivating a thankful spirit (as my granny used to say!) brings so much joy and beauty to our lives.  

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!


The Colors of the Wind :)

Hi there!  It's the 28th of the month and that means the Calendar Girls are posting our cards based on the challenge from our hostess, Tami!  And she challenged us indeed!  I had SO MUCH FUN with her challenge!  I knew immediately what I was going to make as I was in full craft mode with my daughter, Chrissy, in my mind.  {I have been making a lot of cards for my children lately!}  She recently applied for a prestigious singing group in our area that held auditions and one of the 3 songs they gave her to sing was a Disney Musical.  She chose "Pocahontas ~ Colors of the Wind" with a soprano twist  :)  She did wonderful and she was chosen the same day without a call back -  We are so proud of her!  I created the card with a reflection of her (the blonde girl!) and the sentiment inside are the words from the song :)

Back to the challenge!  I did my very, very best to keep up with the hefty requirements!  I had actually accomplished it until I went a little happy with my buttons ~ I just couldn't resist!!  Buttons make me smile :)  So I guess I won't Pass Go or collect $200! :p  

Here is what Tami challenged us this month:

We are all about the month of October! I have three little challenges for the girls this month.
It is the tenth month of the year, so please have exactly ten ( 10 ) items on your card. No more, no less! The ten items do not include your card base. Your image stamped on a piece of card stock is counted as one item. 
Our due date is the 28th. So, that is going to require two ( 2 ) circles needed on each card and a minimum of eight ( 8 ) different colors. 
Are you scared yet?! LOL Start taking a peek….there are a lot of different elements and colors on our cards! I am so looking forward to what you all create, as I do each month.
I love my Calendar Girls!
Tami (Miss October)

Layers are such a joy for me ~ I love me some layers!  And I originally read that the card must have 10 layers  {oopsie!} so from the base to the image it has exactly 10 - no more, no less, LOL!   For my 2 circles I included the yellow button in the flower center and her necklace {then got happy with more buttons!} and my 8 different colors are: 3 different browns, blue, orange, green, cream and white!  I chose this image from Lori Boyd Designs as the moment I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for my lil Pocahontas :*)  This is little sweet Feather - isn't she sweet!

And since Barb says the inside of the card doesn't count *grin* I continued the theme inside as I usually do - that's my favorite part :)  She was so tickled with her card ~ her little brother put it together with the flowers he gathered from the garden to congratulate her when she got back home :)

Thank you, Tami, for the challenge this month!  Be sure to stop by and see what the other CG's did with their 10-2-8 challenge cards and you can find them right over there on my sidebar!  I hope I did your challenge justice, Tami - I sure loved it and Chrissy did, too!

 Big hugs,
 Bigger Blessings!

Entered into:  LBD Challenge - Thankful!


It's Zombie Time!!

 This is a self portrait .... of me ... without my Starbucks!! :)

Hee hee!  I jest, I jest!!  My oldest daughter, Kaitlyn,  loves Zombies .... bordering on obsessed, I'd say!  She is one of the biggest fans of The Walking Dead which she's watched faithfully since show #1 along side my husband ... yep, that's where she gets it from :)  So of course I had to make her a commemorative card for her 'special cards from mommy' collection to break up the monotony of filling out college applications, fellowships and grants and juggling her classes, rehearsals and long hours.  I'm so proud of her and truly do just love her to pieces!

And bits.  And pieces.  


I was so excited to ink up my Zelda the Zombie from Kraftin Kimmie - did my best to follow their sketch of the week but couldn't find my container with the oval nesties. So I just had to wing it and even though it's not spot on and has my own twists, I love it :)  It was perfect for what I was trying to accomplish! Her favorite color is purple so I went more with a purple theme over the green I intended and I love how this turned out :)  I know Kaitlyn will, too! 

Have a Zombie-licious day!  We're staying in doors, safe from the wrath of Sandy :)

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!


Entered into:  KraftinKimmie - Sketch 
That Craft Place - Halloween
Cute Card Thursday - Something Scary
Dream Valley Challenges - Halloween
CraftyMess - Halloween


Book Review ~ A Thin Film of Lies

From start to finish,  “A Thin Film of Lies” by C. S. Lakin had me turning pages long after the sun went down.   I received this as an e-book and it’s truly a rare gem – a mystery/crime novel with a christian theme entwined.   This “whodunit” is the total package ~ murder, suspense, accusations, betrayal and ultimately redemption.  Just when you think you have it figured out and think you know who it is, you don’t!

From the book's cover description:  Fran Anders is a dedicated, no-frills homicide detective who takes her job seriously but has a wry sense of humor. She suffers from the unbearable heat, from unrelenting allergies, but does not suffer fools. As much as she wants to please her superiors, she knows her true boss is—God—and she answers first and foremost to his leading, which sometimes takes her beyond the call of duty, often to the ire of those around her. A middle-aged, divorced, single parent with two teens, Fran hopes someday to find a great man and remarry, but she’s not holding her breath. Right now, she just wants to be a good cop and mother, and use her faith to help those she encounters in her line of work learn there’s someone “up there” who truly cares for them.

Fran's current case throws her into the lives of Mike and Alisa Jepson, a couple whose marriage is disintegrating fast. When leads coming into the precinct point at Mike Jepson as guilty of murder, Fran watches the damage wrought on this couple, yet is unable to ignore the incriminating evidence. When Mike ends up arrested and in jail, Alisa takes comfort in a friend—Dee Dee—who moves in with her.. Mike hires a PI who uncovers clues to who is setting Mike up, but Alisa is caught in a trap before Mike can protect her. Although Fran reaches out to Alisa during her crisis of faith, she is unable to stop events from barreling toward a crash.

The characters are so real-life and you soon get the feel they are just like your neighbors, colleagues, and friends from church.  You meet them all in a purposeful way ~ from the thrilling opening of a hit and run to the dramatic conclusion of fingers pointed in the wrong direction in vengeance. The pain and betrayal that Alisa and Mike face is often fustrating, a sign of a really well developed characters. Detective Fran Anders’ intuition played a huge part in this novel as does her reliance on God, with whom she discusses her every day cases at length and in continual conversation.  Both Alisa and Fran are fighters of faith – It might be uphill, but they don’t give up or let go.  Serendipity, not just in meaning, holds a key position in this mystery and the irony that builds around it is part of what makes this novel so interesting.  From mysterious letters, hidden photographs, car damage and more, it keeps you guessing and trying to fit it all together like a pieces to an intricate puzzle.

My favorite quotes in the book: “The darkest hours usually mean victory is just around the corner.  Joseph in prison.  Abraham at the altar.  Christ on the cross.”

“God develops us in the dark.  Like a roll of film.  So that when he’s done, it’s no longer a negative, but a positive.”  Brilliantly stated!

The only drawback to the e-book copy I received had some issues with the fonts and format.  Often from one sentence and/or paragraph to the other, it would change between 3-4 font styles with no reference to the book.  In other words, it wasn’t a different person, chapter or a need and it was terribly confusing at first bordering on difficult to decipher what the author was trying to say.  Once I figured out the pattern and true meaning, it allowed the plot to unfold naturally. Overall,  I’m blessed to have been given this e-book. As a fan of mystery/intrigue/crime novels, to have one with a faith-based theme throughout is an absolute winner!  

About the author:  C.S. Lakin is novelist and writing coach who spends her time divided between developing new book ideas and helping writers polish theirs. She is the author of twelve novels – six contemporary novels and six in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. Whether she is exploring the depths of the human psyche and pushing her characters to the edge of desperation, or embellishing an imaginary world replete with talking pigs and ancient magical curses, she is doing what she loves best – using her creativity and skills to inspire and affect her readers.  In all her books she seeks to journey to the heart of human motivation, to uncover unmet needs, and show the path to healing and grace.  To read more, visit her website here!  

Thanks for stopping by!
Big hugs,

Bigger Blessings!

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.


The Color Run - Miami Style! :)

Afternoon friends!!  What a whirlwind weekend ~ we've been gone more than we've been home :/  And since I don't have a card to show you, I thought I'd show you a few pictures from our absolutely FUN 5K Color Run today! 

We got up at 5:30 am to make it to Miami Beach by the 7:30 start and saw the gorgeous sun come up right along the waterway! We started out in white t-shirts and ended up a Kaleidoscope of colors, bombarded along the way :)
The kids were super troopers and did so great, we're going to do it again - often!  As busy as we all are and as hectic as the schedules we keep, I know they totally understood the importance of this event - for charity, for mind body and soul, and family bonding! :)

Introducing ....... The Scrambled Legs! :)

 And we're off! :)  First color up - yellow!  

  Then pink and blue and green and .........

We were in the HUGE cloud of paint - what a moment!! 
 (this is the outskirts, lol)  

Big hugs, Happy Running, Many blessings!


Sophie is skating by ...

... with a Center-Step Hi! :)

Good morning, blogging friends!!  I'm channeling my inner love of snow and wishful holiday thinking with today's card :)  Growing up and falling in love with the snow always make me nostalgic as the seasons change and winter approaches. I grew up in the frozen tundras of Europe where in Fall/Winter, the lakes and ponds froze over and became our skating rinks!  The first time I saw an indoor rink was at 15 when we arrived in North Florida and our host family took us to the skating rink.  I was quite baffled, I must say ... LOL!  

But how fun to make a winter card for the new Riley and Company challenge!  Our challenge this time around is brought to us by Cindy and she asked us to make a Side-Step card.   I LOVED Frances' tutorial on SCS - super easy to follow.  I'm a visual gal - I really need to *see* things as I go, LOL, and made a wee blunder  on my first Side-Step card but I sure can't wait to do this fold again!  I also did the inside of my card - you know I can't resist that :)  I paper pieced her little skating outfit and this is leftover scrap paper from MME.

*Card now edited!  I tweaked it a bit and brought the side panels all the way down ~ when it's folded (production stage, it appears that it will be long enough but when the card is in it's opened state, they are too short!  Just a tip I learned!!* 

We can't wait to see what your Center Step card looks like using your Riley and friends stamps! 

If you would like to play along with us of course we would love to have you! AND - if you do, you could be in the running to win free rubber ... One lucky person per challenge will win our Logo Riley image which isn't available for purchase. You will also get the chance to display a winner's button on your blog. So get stamping Riley fans :).

To play create a card using Riley and Company images

Once you have created your card/project come back here and place a comment with a link to your card/project to this post so that we can see what you created. If you upload your card/project to SCS don't forget to include the keyword RILEY2112. We can't wait to see what you create!

Be sure to see what the DT made using the Center Step Fold!

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!


Dueling Darlings - We love Animals!

Hi there!  It's the 15th of the month and that's posting day for the Divas -vs- Darlings duel.  Melina was the sole hostess this month so in lieu of a kit, we just shopped our stash!   Cottage Cutz has a gorgeous selection of Halloween dies out now, and since our Diva challenge this time around was to look through our stash, find an image with an animal on it and use some buttons, I thought with limited time I'd combine the two.   Buttons, you say?!  That part was easy peasy!!  And since crows - and bats - are technically animals, well, that was pretty easy, too :)  I'm not a fan of Halloween at all and tried to make it as cute as I could ~ using the dies as a focal point of the card to showcase the cuteness of them :)

So for me this month, I created a matching card and bookmark set.  Using the Bats on a Branch die, I made the Halloween card with bat paper, striped yellow for the moon and H'ween paper as a bottom border and added my beloved buttons!  I loved using the trio of mish-mashed buttons - you've seen those for a long time now on many of my cards :)  I'm obsessed with them, so that part of the challenge was a joy!   For the bookmark, I used matching paper and continued the moon pattern for the Crow on Books ~ added more buttons and twine and on the back, I added a quote from Edgar Allen Poe.  I was an English Lit minor in undergrad college and always use the opportunity to sneak in a lesson or quote or scripture somewhere for the kids - you never know when they will say "I remember learning that!" :)

Here is the card by itself - Animal (bat!) and trio of buttons :)

And the inside, theme carried over :)

The bookmark!

Excerpt from The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

and that's about it from me today!  I sure had a ball putting an interesting twist on our "animal" challenge!   You can see what the other Dueling Darlings made by clicking the links in my sidebar :)

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!

Entered into:  RIbbon Carousel ~ H'ween, something spooled (twine)
Papertake Weekly - Fright Night


It's a Mysterious Cup of Coffee! :)

Holy Catfish! It's an actual blog post!! ;)   I am WAY behind in crafting and blogging - life is full steam ahead with no chance of slowing 'til the New Year :(

However, I am so excited to be in this round of Mystery Stampers!!  This month, our hostess of the mystery swap was the sweet Terry and she sent us this fantastic image from MFT called a la modes "miss you a latte" :)   What is a mystery swap, you might wonder?  It's a swap on SCS that sends out the same image to all the swappers and we create a card based on that one image - each card being unique and different but oh so fun!  This one especially tickled me being that I'm a huge Starbucks fan {yep, went on a 4 month hiatus until the Pumpkin Spice Lattes returned and eh, what can a girl do :)}

I wanted my card to be fun and festive - just as my S'Bux is for me!  If you have ever seen me get mine through the drive-through window, I usually drive off shouting "wooohooo!" :)  So I kept the papers fun and carried it over to the inside of my card ~ using a sentiment from Kraftin' Kimmie :)  And yes, I used buttons!  Lots + lots of buttons!  Hopefully whomever ends up with these in the swap won't mind my slight button obsession - they fit in with the design of the paper and I couldn't resist! I made two different designs of this card and this is one sample :)  Thank you, Terry, for a spectacular image to play and create with!

Thanks for stopping by!  If I haven't already been by to see you today, I will be superbly soon!!  

Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!

Deets:  PTI Dark Chocolate, White; SU! Green Galore; DSP = Bo Bunny Ad Lib Collection;
Image: MFT a la mode:  Miss you a latte + Sentiment:  Kraftin Kimmie Coffee sentiments
Sentiment stamped in Stazon black; misc buttons, Hannah Stamps ribbon; Tombo, 
Prismacolor markers; Stazon Black Ink; brown/white bakers twine; Fiskars border punch


Sprititually Stronger in 40 days! ~ Book Review

When Spirtually Stronger in 40 days {Kindle Edition} arrived for me to review, my immediate thought was 'Oh! This book was written for me."  I was already anticipating the goodness it would behold but the surprises inside where so much more that that.  This book is about faith .. having it, wanting it, faltering in it, sharing it, growing in it.   Here I stand at the crossroads in my life ~ wanting to know Him so much more than I do, craving that spiritual growth that I know I need.  Yet, what is the first step?  I read my bible, attend worship services, get my family up and out the door each week to faith groups ... but do I really know Him?  This book tells you that you do and CAN take those steps 
- it just won't happen overnight! 

When you are wanting a deeper relationship with Christ, one thing is clear.  There are no free lunches!  You must clear your mind, open your heart, and fully let Him in.  It's okay to hope for better things as long as we freely welcome God's will for us.  This book is written in a way that you take each day as a learning tool.  As you travel this book's journey, it gives you daily lessons and scriptures and homework to complete, which is simple but thought-provoking.  It reads at a nice even pace each day and for me, it helped to have a bible nearby for referencing and making personal notes from books in the bible.  

God's riches are given to us every single day - and often in forms we may not be aware of.  One key point that Serge points out is "God has already provided for your needs.  Whatever your needs, trials, rough seas you are navigating, and miracle you need, God has already taken all the steps necessary to meet them."  Don't you love that He knows what we need before we do!  

Another point of reference I found inspirational was this passage: "Focus on fulfilling God's plan for your life.  Make it your goal to discover it ... and implement it."  Amen!  To grow in faith means to truly relinquish characteristics that aren't so healthy for you ~ like mistrust, guilt, feeling of betrayal or bitterness, anxiety and despair.  He wants to give you a life of peace, love, joy, hope and faith.  Enough faith to move the mountains you feel are in your path and to live the life He wants for you!

Are you at the crossroads, too?  Spritually Stronger in 40 days! is a remarkable   treasure of a book on faith and the journey it holds for each of us. Hebrews 11:1 shares with us "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Faith is a personal journey and this book is a guide essential for your spiritual strength!  Grow it.  Live it.  Believe it!

Here is a short biography on the author:

Author Serge Roux-Levrat:   By many world criteria, Serge Roux-Levrat had a very successful life. He had received a privileged education, worked for some of the world's most admired companies, and before the age of 37 had realized a life-long ambition: to become CEO of a publicly-quoted company. In this capacity, he had the opportunity to join the world elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2001. He was married to the woman of his dreams, and had two beautiful children. He had "everything" to be happy, right? However, this was not the case. In his heart, he didn't have peace since he always felt pressured to perform and to prove himself to the world; he was restless, unhappy and found no meaning in life. 

Until one day, and through one of life's surprises, he got to know the living God! Not the god he had heard from as a child: a god who wants people to be poor and suffering; a god who is defined by a bunch of rules, a list of dont'ts , s straight jacket for life. No. He got to know a God of love and a God of life; a God who wants us to live in complete freedom, to be full of expectancy, to pursue amazing dreams, and to enjoy so much abundance that it overflows!

Following his encounter with Jesus, he spent seven years he what he calls "God's detoxification clinic" before becoming Ambassador of Jesus Christ to Europe and starting with his family 
for SRL Ministries (www.SRLministries.org), a non-denominational and not-for-proft Christian association. SRL Mininistries aims to help both unbelievers and Christians open new taps of abundance in their lives.

I received a free copy of this ebook to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.


Riley's ORANGE Challenge!

Happy October!

There's a new Riley and Company Challenge for the bi-weekly challenge blog and this week our hostess, Joy, challenged us to make a Riley/Sophie card using the color Orange!

Using Popping Pumpkin Riley, I created an orange Fall card with slight accent hues for balance.  I adore this Riley!  It's so festive and fun for this time of year with the changes leaves, crispness to the air, wonderful spices + aromas, and a lot of leaf piles to jump into! I loved the Autumn-ish hues the papers brought out and I left the inside of this card blank for writing a special message. I couldn't resist adding buttons *smile!*
I hope you will take the Riley and Company challenge this week 
and show us your orange creations!  If you upload to a gallery, 
please use the keyword 2012 :)

Check out my sidebar for some gorgeous DT creations using Orange and Riley, Sophie and friends!

Thanks for stopping by!

~Big hugs,
Bigger Blessings!~

Deets:  PTI White; True Black; SU! Really Rust; MME 6 x 6 paper pack; 
Stamp = Riley and Company Pumpkin Popping Riley;  Momento Tuxedo Black ink;
prismacolor markers; Fiskars border punch; Basic Grey Buttons; 
orange embroidery twine; Tombo; trimmer