Join The 'Pen Pals' Challenge ...

Every other Friday we will issue a new journaling challenge and post our sample pages on the blog. We'd love to have you join in with us too ... & maybe we'll pick you to be our 'Pen Pal of the Week!'

How you interpret the challenge is up to you, we will mostly create scrapbook pages - but feel free just to journal/blog post ...or maybe adapt the challenge to your art journals, cards & altered art.

Leave a comment on the challenge post with a link to your blog or gallery where we can find your work ... & if you'd like to be considered for the 'Pen Pal of the Week!' Guest Design Spot, be sure to e-mail your entry too!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Jan's Entry for Challenge #5

Check out this fab, colourful layout from Jan! And I have to say, she must have been quick off the mark this week - I've had this in my inbox for a couple days already!

Journaling reads:

The girls: “Mamaw, Seth drives like

a Grandma.”

Me: “Well girls, maybe he is just trying

to drive carefully”.

Girls: “But we don’t want to be careful,


Layne: “I want Brelynn to drive.

She goes faster”.

Me: “But isn’t it Seth’s turn to drive?”

Seth: “I don’t mind Mamaw.

I’m tired of being careful!”

Thanks for joining in with us again Jan! I love your choice of colours - so bright & fresh ... & the li'l flower accent that mimics the papers , the doodled (I think) road accents & stitched ribbon that also hints at a road & the whole driving theme. But most of all, I love this snippet of conversation - gotta love the funny things our kids say! LOL

Monday, 29 September 2008

Weekend (!) Winner

OK, so it's not actually the weekend but work with me on this. Let's just pretend for a moment that it is Saturday & I am about to announce the winner for Challenge #4's Pen Pal Of The Week!!!! With me so far? Good.
So, entries were down a bit for this one - I guess maybe I'm not the only one who has been struggling with fitting everything in just now. Happily Colette & I have come to a decision & are pleased to announce our latest PPOTW ... Nancy Jones.
I have long been a Nancy fan (no really? I hear you say! LOL) but her entry this time was soooo moving I cried! Congrats to you Nancy - can't wait to have you join us for Challenge #7!!

Check back tomorrow to see the first of Challenge #5's entries!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Challenge #5 - Let's Talk

This week's challenge is brought to you by Chantele, our Challenge #2 winner. Documenting conversations is a fabulous way to tell the story ... and gives a great insight to the way we interact with others, it tells who we are. So for Challenge #5 we want to eavesdrop.
It's up to you how you do it: you might want to create a layout, complete a page in your journal or art journal, blog about it or even use a series of e-mail or letter excerpts. However you do it, let's document those conversations - and e-mail them to us for your chance to be our next pen pal!

I love Chantele's page! A little gruesome perhaps but who said we can only scrap the good stuff!

The journaling reads:

The phone call:
"Hey baby, would you like to go to the open house with me at 6pm?"
"Yeah, if I'm done here by then I'll go with you."
"What are you doing?"
"I'm on my way to the emergency room"
"Why? What happened?"
"I got cut with a chainsaw."
"What?! Are you ok?"
"I think so."
"Tom, what happened?!"
"Cameron and I were cutting a tree branch and the chainsaw slipped and cut my wrist".
"I'm on my way!"

Scary stuff huh? We'll be hearing more about Chantele during her stay with us ... in the meantime, don't forget to check out our new 'meet our pen pals' links to visit their blogs.

More About Jing-Jing

I have been hit by the most terrible bout of lethargy, hence the lack of posts this past fortnight. So, without further delay ... here's some more about Jing-Jing:

I am Jing-Jing Nickel and I discovered scrapbooking 10 years ago when I was invited to an in-home class. To me, it was the most perfect extension of my love for traveling and travel photography. Then with the birth of my first child in 2004, a new dimension of scrapbooking as well as a new realm of creative possibilities were born with her. I transitioned from a pure event scrapper (trips) to encompass many "moments" documentation of her life with us. Now I have two adorable girls with my husband of 10 years, and scrapbooking has never been more fun and taken more seriously.

I was recently named one of the runners-up of the Memory Makers Masters competition, an honor beyond my wildest expectation.

In my spare time from scrapbooking, I have a full-time job in the I.T. profession as a software development infrastructure engineer.

Other interesting facts about me... I am extremely extroverted and outgoing. People who know me in real life know that I'm loud and crazy. I speak English (above all else), Chinese (Mandarin and Shanghainese), and French. And I love words and writing.

Blog Link:

Thank you Jing-Jing! We have loved having you as our pen pal & hope you will come and play again soon.
The new challenge will be posted this evening, so watch this space!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Marta's Challenge #4 Entry

Well it has just been one of those months so far where little gets done! I guess it must be the same for most people as I have to say all my blogs have been quiet of late - not so many comments, and only 3 entries to this current challenge!!
Anyway, this li'l package of loveliness comes to us from Marta.

Here's what she had to say:
I did this LO in a 8x10 photo frame, inspired by one posted by Colette in the SO gallery some time ago.

The journaling translation is as follows:

My Wish…

I wish that I was closer to both of you instead of being a long-distance grandma. I wish I could sing you songs and read you stories before going to sleep. I wish I could make bubbles with you and chase the butterflies; See all the Elmo movies with Chloe and dance all the songs of the Backyardigans with Alejandra.

I wish I could tell you about Abuelita Cuqui, and how much she loves to sing and recites poems. I wish I could also tell you about Abuelito Juan, Abuelita Mary and Abuelito Figue; and how much they would have loved their great granddaughters. I would tell you about your cousins, aunts and uncles here in Puerto Rico, and how much we enjoy our family reunions. I would tell you about how beautiful Puerto Rico is ‘The Enchanted Island’, as it is called; where your parent’s roots are and so are yours.

I wish I could be closer to the two of you so that I could practice Spanish with Chloe and see Alejandra’s progress as she learns English. I would enjoy so much watching you grow. I would constantly talk to you about God Our Father, and all the blessings you receive each day of your lives and the marvelous gift he has given you of having parents that love you so much. I wish I could be closer to you to take care of you when your mom and dad have other responsibilities and that way you wouldn’t have to stay in the arms of non-family members.

I have to recognize that technology makes wonders! And thanks to the existence of the internet, digital photography and cellular phones, I can enjoy of the many moments almost instantly. But, my main wish is that I could hold you in my arms and kiss you frequently especially each time you say “I love you Nana”.

Thanks for sharing with us! I love the mix of graphic style & computer text, softened with the clustered embellies & li'l splashes of colour that tie in elements of the photos - adorable! And your wish? Something I guess most long distance grandparents also feel & something that the ones closer must appreciate every day!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Vanessa's Challenge #4 Entry

Journaling reads:

My Hopes

Everyone has numerous hopes and dreams- ones that often change every day. I, on the other hand, have had the same hope for a long time. You were always more then an uncle to me, you were my teacher- my mentor. It was hard for people to see in you what I saw. Often people only saw you for the teacher, the bossy teacher, the one who made them actually do some school work. They couldn’t handle the challenge. They weren’t used to it. I wanted (or needed!) the challenge and I always got it. I felt as though I always needed to work harder then everyone else. They all thought I was getting good grades just because I was your niece. Oh boy! Were they ever wrong! I believe family has to work harder than everyone else; they have a standard outside of school to hold up to, a home and family standard that others never realize. I thank you for those challenges. I never took the time to say it. Although I believe that day you called me and convinced me to stay in University (regardless of the money, you said something would work itself out) you understood that your words meant more to me then anyone else’s at that time. To have someone with such high standards believe in you is worth the whole world. So my hopes? My hopes are

to be at least half as good of a teacher as you were. Anything over half would be outstanding! I think about you every day and I silently

thank you for pushing me to reach my goals- and I am nearly there!

Thanks for playing along again Vanessa - I'm loving the li'l ribbon flower details & how you pulled the whole thing together with the red in the staff noticeboard. I'm pretty sure you are going to look back on your Uni years fondly, they were definitely some of my best times! LOL.

Have you sent your entry for Challenge #4 yet?? E-mail it to us to have it posted on the Pen Pals Challenge Blog and for a chance to be our next Pen Pal Of The Week!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Nancy's Challenge #4 Entry

Here is Nancy's entry for Challenge #4 ... & a bit of a departure from our usual 1-pic post. Not favouritism, you understand (although I guess you might have heard that I'm a not-so-secret Nancy fan! LOL) but she sent me close ups & I thought it would make a nice change!
Anyway, the journaling reads:
There are so many things that I hope for your future. You are such a smart, caring and beautiful girl. You have a beautiful heart so full of love. I hope you always stay true to yourself. Pursue your passions and live your life to the fullest. I hope you apply your self and get the most from your education. We will always sacrifice to make sure you have the best education we can get you.
I hope you find a man someday as wonderful as your father to be your husband. NEVER settle for any one that does not cherish you and treat you like your father treats me. Make sure he is also your best friend. Forever is a long time when you are unhappy. I hope for you struggles that will make you strong. Unselfishness and happiness but most of all I hope that you know just how loved you are, and that I am so very proud to have you as my daughter.

Awwww Nancy, you made me cry! Not that I shall admit it, ever! LOL. In fact I told DS1 that I had something in my eye ... not that he bought it - I have smart kids, which can be a disadvantage!
Anyway, I shall try to keep my emotions in check ... or just blame the hormones! Thanks for joining us again Nancy - I love the li'l hinged journal book & the buttons ... & the 'love mommy' sticker detail ... all of it really (I'm a bit of an embellie junkie too! LOL) I'm a bit tired this week, so I guess I'll leave it up to Colette to come along and say something really fabulous! LOL.


I am such a super-idiot! I have just realised that while I thought I was all up to date with the Pen Pals Blog, I haven't announced Challenge #3's winner - how daft am I???? So HUGE apologies to all of those that entered the last challenge & might well have been waiting for an announcement!
Without further delay, our next Pen Pal Of The Week, who is invited to join us on the blog for Challenge #6 is Aubree!
For the first time, Colette & I were 100% totally agreed right away on this one - I love the energy & colour in Aubree's layout ... & the equation-style journaling. Can't wait to have you join us Aubree ... & thank you to each & every one of you that has entered our challenges - we love to see them all!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Challenge #4 - I Hope For You As I Hope For Me

This week, we are honoured to be joined by our first official Pen Pal of the Week: Jing-Jing Nickel. Over the coming 2 weeks we will be getting to know Jing-Jing a little better but for now, I'm guessing you are all dying to know what exciting challenge she has for us ... so I'll get straight to it! Over to Jing-Jing:

Dear PenPal readers,
This week, I challenge you to document one of your hopes, be it for you, or someone else, journal it, scrap it, write it, print it, consume it...

My journaling reads:

I hope you will like traveling as much as I do.

Your Nagong and Nabu took me traveling at a young age when I was a little girl. At that time in China, people stayed put where they lived and worked. Traveling for fun was pretty much unheard of, but Nagong and Nabu thought it important for me to see the world and to expand my horizon. By the time I was a second grader, I had already been to several destinations including the Yellow Mountains, deemed to be the most beautiful of all Chinese mountains. For that trip, Nagong and Nabu spent nearly two months’ of their combined salaries (probably around $10 back then). Nagong had to carry most of our food on his back, ascending 3000 feet in altitude! Through their careful cultivation, they instilled in me an untamable heart to see the world and its wonders God-made or men-built.

I have come a long ways since my childhood. I have lived a few surreal moments when I finally came face to face with that which was only in my dreams. So I hope you will want to see the world like I do. I hope your hearts forever long for that next destination, that great valley, that awesome mountain, and that immortal structure. I hope you will write about your travels, document your journeys, scrapbook your photos. I hope you will grow up to be travel partners to each other, to dad and me, and to the lucky men who will be your spouses. I hope I will be there always, in person and/or in spirit to cheer you on in exploring this wondrous world of ours. I hope for you as I hope for me, that you will like traveling as much as I do.

I'm sooooo excited about this challenge & will be posting mine soon. Are you ready to take the challenge? E-mail your entry, be it a layout, card, altered project or a humble writing sample by midnight Thursday September 25 to have your entry featured on our blog & to be in with a chance of becoming our next PPOTW (Pen Pal of the Week). Go on, you know you want to!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Vanessa's Challenge #3 Entry

Journaling reads: Whether you are 1 or 101 I will love you always. We may fight and argue but one thing I learned the first 5 minutes you were born - you are one of my favorite people in this world.

Thanks for sharing with us Vanessa! I love the blackboard-style journal block & how you highlighted the numbers in li'l doodled squares ... too cute! And you used your own handwriting! well done!

Jing-Jing's Challenge #3 Entry

Another gorgeous entry from Jing-Jing this week! Now Jing-Jing says that she didn't feel this page met the 'journaling' aspect of our challenge ... I think it does beautifully! The point of our journaling is always to make the point, to get the story across. Sometimes that will need a lot of words ... and sometimes just a few carefully chosen ones will say so much more than an essay! This page does that and sums up in those few perfect words (even if you guys spell 'honoured' differently to us! LOL) just what those cute li'l guys mean to Mum & Dad!
Thank you so much for sharing your page with us again Jing-Jing!!

Haven't sent yours in yet? E-mail it to us today & you could still be in the running to become our next Pen Pal of the Week!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Marjorie's Challenge #3 Entry

The journaling reads, 'Together for us = 18 years + 6 change of addresses + 14 vehicules + 7 pregnancies + 3 beautiful children + 3 major career changes and 0 regrets'

Thanks for sharing with us Marjorie ... I love the clustered embellishments & obviously the Cosmo Cricket papers (is there anyone that doesn't know how much I love Cosmo Cricket?? LOL). Such a good idea to present your journaling as an actual equation too. 0 regrets? Now that is something to aspire to!!

There's still time to join in this challenge - check it out here ... but don't forget to e-mail us to be featured on the blog & maybe win a spot as our next Pen Pal of the Week!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Carol's Challenge #3 Entry

Another new player joining us this week! Carol's journaling reads:
December 22, 2007

Heather and Rachel making tons of sugar cookies. Heather did not have enough money to get everyone in our large family something for Christmas. So, she decided to make tins with cookies and fudge for everybody. They both made cookies until 3:30 the next morning. It was a good thing Rachel helped her or she probably wouldn't have got them all done!!

Where is the maths? The 'tons' of cookies says Carol! LOL.
Thanks for playing along with us Carol - It's a great page & I love the 'recipe card' style journaling block!!
Wanna play? Challenge #3 details are here ... but don't forget to e-mail your entry if you want a chance to be our next Pen Pal of the Week

Ruth's Challenge #3 Entry

Here is the first of many entries for challenge #3 ... although I had to hold off publishing to this blog for a couple of days. Ruth, like me, indulges in a spot of multi-purposing layouts & this is a DT piece for Crop 'Til You Drop (I'm allowed to plug it a bit ... it's my store! LOL) Anyway, the journaling reads:
In this place, there are over 600 sheets of paper, 250+ pieces or cardstock, 57 pots of brads & eyelets, over 400 metres of ribbon, 263 pens, 123 pencils, 9 different types of adhesive, 27 CD's, 8 drawers of embellishments, 52 packs of rub-ons, 16 different paints, 19 tubes of Stickles, 34 ink pads, 17 different embossing powders, 19 tools, 4 craft knives, 16 bottles of primas and ONE artist at work! ME
In her e-mail, Ruth also added 'I wasn't sad enough to count my papers and ribbons so I estimated but I do confess to counting most of the other stuff!! Just realised I missed off a box of 50 ink pads and it was only after I completed the page I realised I had used the only picture of my desk looking tidy!! Ooops!'
Does this sound at all familiar? LOL.
Thanks for joining the challenge Ruth ... I don't think I'm quite brave enough to be counting all my stash though ... & certainly not before I've used a bit more of it!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Marta's Challenge #3 Entry

In her e-mail, Marta told me
'This really is a HUGE challenge for me. I've been willing to participate in your challenges since the first one, but I'm a very lazy scrapper and never finish my LO's on time. Since this was a long weekend for me, I decided to participate and to my surprise, the challenge has to do with numbers -- something I'm not very good at (not in my finances, neither following chronological order) Anyway, here is my entry. It's in Spanish as I prefer my journaling in this language. I will translate but feel free to correct, as needed.'
Well I haven't corrected Marta's English (this is your stories in your words folks!!) & we are very pleased that you have found time to finish your page & translated it for us ... Marta's English is heaps better than my Spanish! LOL.
The journaling reads:
(as of 8-31-08):
  • we are both 54 years old
  • 33 years of marriage
  • 7 years as boyfriends
  • 3 wonderful children and 2 beautiful granddaughters
  • 2 cars and a big house where we have been living for the past 25 years
  • A extended family of 36 members (inlaws, brothers, sisters, etc); and
  • One vacation club we can hardly use
Thanks so much for sharing your page with us Marta. I love that you have calculated the number of days together (& the li'l date block in the bottom corner), the soft colours (don't they match that tie perfectly?) & how the yellow brackets & clustered embellishments provide the perfect frame for your photograph - fabulous!

There will be more entries to share tomorrow ... will yours be one of them? Check out all the challenge details here!

Aubree's Challenge #3 Entry

Aubree's journaling reads:
3 active children, 7 days a week = 4 sports,
3 games, 2 practices + 1 Hebrew school
Noah = Soccer, Ice Hockey, Roller
Hockey, Hebrew school
Hannah = Gymnastics, Soccer
Sarah = Gymnastics
Total of 9 hours of extra-curriculars each week
and 3 hours of travel time


Thanks for playing along Aubree! I love the bright colours, numeric, calendar & cog elements on this page & the title that goes soooo well with the activity in those pics. You sure are one busy lady!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Challenge #3 ... Gardening by Numbers

Here's my take on Jodi's #3 Challenge: to use numbers as the focus of your journaling. I have used a sketch (September #1) by Deanne Burton ... this is actually my first DT layout for her site ... gotta love those multi-challenge layouts! LOL. The journaling (in the seed packet/envelope) reads:
I have been gardening & showing an interest in cooking/baking the results since July 2008 ... just 2 months
In my garden there are...
4 pots of herbs & a chilli plant ; 2 courgette plants ... which produced 6 courgettes & 2 marrows; 3 potato plants grown from sprouting spuds that measure 18" tall ... & 3 more at 6" tall (gotta love successional planting!); 1 row each of parsnips, turnips, beetroot, spring cabbage, spring onions & mixed salad leaves; 2 rows of early carrots; a blueberry bush that has lovingly provided around 8oz in it's couple of months here (although Auryn ate most of them before anyone else could get to them!); 1 blackberry & 1 blackcurrant bush that should fruit next year.
In my kitchen & totally free are 3lbs of crab apples to be turned into jelly; 3 tubs of blackberries and 10 cooking apples ... we love blackberry & apple crumble; 6 sticks of rhubarb ... Sean called dibs, so I won't get any ... this time!