Sunday, May 21, 2017

What REALLY Goes Into a Blog Post

So you want to start blogging, eh? "Go blog" they said! "It'll be fun" they said!

Well it is fun. And very rewarding. But, like much of social media, you only see the highlight reel, not the cutting room floor.

I made a card that took 45 minutes today on my Sunday call with my team. But that is such a tiny fraction of what I'm bringing you today that I feel the need to enumerate the steps. Here's what it actually took to get here today.

Step 1: 4 PM yesterday. Think about what you want to stamp for the one card you will make this weekend. Instead of starting, begin an insane process of swatching 268 watercolors in a very precise and unusual day, because you don't have 85 things that are ACTUALLY on your to-do list waiting for you. Tell yourself that this will make you more efficient!

Step 2: Eat three lifesavers for dinner because you're only halfway through this insane process at 8 PM and it's time to be sociable.

Step 3: Arise at 6 AM and get everything ready for the door installers that were re-scheduled for today because of rain last week. Notice that it looks like rain. Text installer. He says everything's fine.

Step 4: Go back to swatching. When installer arrives, chat about bacon for a while (it's a long story.) Listen to three hours of drilling and hammering. Realize that your teeth are now welded together from clenching at the noise. Inspect door work and let installers go, after some more bacon talk. Go back to swatching. Finish the swatches, but not the grand design, because it's time for your team call. Put everything in a folder for "later" - and by that I mean two years from now when you remember.)

Step 5: 2 PM (22 hours later), hop on team call with favorite peeps. Start working on card, which uses the watercolors you were swatching. Complete design, with their help and advice and lots of fun chat.

Step 6: 3 PM - start dinner, which will be at the senior citizen hour because no one in the house has eaten all day except the cats. Wash and peel potatoes, wash and trim green beans, saute leeks, clean all the things. Soak grapes.

Step 7: Show cats the new door, now that they've awakened from their customary 10 hour post-breakfast nap. Experience the complete boredom that can only be radiated from an unimpressed feline.

Step 8: 5 PM - finish dinner prep and eat. Clean up. Get text from installer about a credit we'll be getting on some unused material and also - wait for it - bacon.

Step 9: 6 PM - glue card together and attempt to photograph. Remove cat from photo tent 47 times. Take photo.

Step 10: Hear thunder, and run frantically around the house emptying trash to take outside for trash day before it rains. Forget about the card completely and delete old stuff of DVR because someone on Facebook told you that there's a new Food Network Star tonight and the DVR is full.

Step 11: 7 PM - edit photo with cat #2 on neck, freaking out over the storm, and cat #1 under desk freaking out over the storm.

Step 12: 26 hours later, finish editing and come to blog it. Pray the power stays on.

That's the reality of a 45 minute card, people. Real life. Right here.

I bet  this isn't how Patty Bennett's process works. She probably gets dressed by bluebirds and then sits down and makes a perfect card with no interruptions, other than the occasional glance at the magical creatures that frolic outside her window. Or that's how I imagine it working. But for all I know, that's how she imagines me making cards. Incorrect, Patty Bennett. Incorrect.

But speaking of Patty - it was HER million dollar stamp set that I wanted to play with today - after starting the process basically last week.

I decided to get out of my comfort zone and use very, very pastel colors. My happy place is brights, so this was a stretch I needed to try. I embossed the ribbon image first in white on some Bristol vellum, and then watercolored it. (Note - this is cardstock, not vellum - that describes the finish. See link below. It's a great cardstock for light water media, and if you have Zig markers - it should be your one and only.)

Just five colors on the ribbon, and a pale yellow, hopeful glow and I was done! It was so much fun, and I love chatting with my team while creating - it's like an e-retreat! And they are hilarious :).
Ribbon of Courage by Understand Blue

I love this doodly image, and the possibilities for making it any color, or multi-colored, or just black and white and zentangly. She did a great job choosing what she wanted for her stamp set. I just love Patty. Bluebirds and all.

This stamp set will be available on June 1st when the new catalog goes live.

And now, I'd probably better shut this 26 hour blog post down before the storm hits.

It's always an adventure! And I wouldn't trade it for anything. :)


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

There's Magic In You

I had a very productive weekend last weekend - I started prepping the projects for my June retreat, and my hands are still stained! But I also did some prep for today's blog hop as a guest of Hero Arts. This hop is for their Summer Catalog, which I got to see when I went to Boston for the Collins Show - but I couldn't show them to you so I've been squealing into a pillow until today. I had so much fun, and I couldn't wait to show these things to you - especially this first one. I laughed the whole time I was putting this together.

Like everyone else my age, I was suitably traumatized by JAWS as a child. It, aside from The Wizard of Oz and 101 Dalmations, was one of those movies I remember experiencing sheer terror in. It might have been the first time I screamed uncontrollably in a theater (but not the last). I loved the movie, and its ensuing place in popular culture, especially the soundtrack, which is THE sound of fear and suspense.

In more recent days, the popularity of Shark Week and the fun shark tracking you can follow for some named sharks in Florida is fun too - and I think society and shark research owe a lot to JAWS.

And so while this might be a little sick and twisted, it's also HILARIOUS and awesome, and will resonate with all you JAWS fans out there. I am tickled pink with it! You know, pink like that tint in the water....

To create the background, I just used Daniel Smith Watercolor into a wet wash with two colors to look like there's a light ray highlighting my murderous shark. The shark die is paper layering - it's hard to see here - but his pearly whites are poking out from the card in a delightfully macabre way. This die is perfect in every way!

Then I cut the silhouettes with the same die set in black and added the hilarious sentiment from Killer Messages. I also watercolored the shark - leaving his eyes out until I was done, and then popping them back in.

I love this card so much!

Now, I can show you a kinder, gentler, sea creature in case you're scared. This beautiful color-layering whale card is what I made a while ago for the class at the show. I think that Indigo Ink is perfection for the blue whale. So the card is white cardstock, and on the front of it, I sponged Aegean ink all over the whole card front. Then, using a strip of cardstock, I sponged "rays" of Indigo ink to give the illusion of filtered light. Then I stamped the solid part of the whale image in indigo to make it look like whales that are far away. I stamped two more whales with all the layers and die cut them for the front. I also cut two more from Indigo cardstock to hide the adhesive on the back of the whales which are stuck on the front of the acetate card.
The lower right whale on the acetate conceals the greeting from the same stamp set. The inks I used are Cornflower (from the bundle linked below), Indigo and black.

I love all the blue and those sweet creatures.

Now we can head back onto land, where we are safe!

When I saw the Road Trip stamp set in the catalog, this card instantly popped into my head. I knew I wanted to layer different colors of watercolor for the mountains. To get this look, I stamped the full image on the bottom of the watercolor paper, and masked it with masking paper, stamping partial images to either side so that the pattern looked somewhat random as I moved up the card. Then I watercolored the mountains with my "desert" Daniel Smith palette of my own making, and then the sky. The sentiment is from Mermazing Messages.

And finally - just to bring you all the way back from your fright at my shark - I have my favorite image from the whole catalog - this slinky, sassy, and charming little magical creature

SERIOUSLY - how cute is that?? She looks like she's about to tell you a secret. Or maybe stifling a giggle. Whatever she's doing, she's doing it with style, and I love her. Behind her is a fun new background stamp - Scribble - that almost looks like letters, but not quite. Maybe a fun new monster language is contained in there, and that's what she's keeping a secret!

Anyway - I love it all. In a FB group I'm in, every now and then someone will ask the group "what's your favorite stamp?" My answer is always ALL OF THEM. The ones I own, the ones I don't own yet, and the ones that haven't been designed yet. I LOVE THEM ALL.

If you want to see the amazing catalog, you can see it here. And you can get anything from the collection either from Hero Arts or Simon Says Stamp or Ellen Hutson now - all the products go live today.

And as always, you can win some! Leave a comment at each blog on the hop for a chance to win one of THREE $25 shopping sprees from Hero. Be sure and leave your comment by Wednesday 5/24 at 11:59 PM Pacific to be eligible. Next stop after my blog is the sweet & talented Jessica, and the full list is below.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

And if you're planning a trip to the ocean anytime soon... well, you know! MUAHAHAHAH.


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