Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stamp Etching

So I've been hanging onto my Convention swap photo because I was on the calendar to do my Stamp Etching tutorial today for Splitcoast for a long time. Even though I did give you a sneak peek here.

So it's nice to be able to let the image that started it all out of the closet.

When I was procrastinating doing retreat prep, one night I was watching a video about classical etching techniques. Yes, I'm THAT good at procrastinating. You have to practice a LOT to get this good, trust me.

Anyway, I love etchings because of the fine lines in them - necessitated by the needles that they use to create the designs in wax.

I thought that maybe some fine, detailed lines would really change a big bold image like Blended Bloom. So I hit pause on the video, stamped a flower on a scrap of Coastal Cabana and behold - a new style is born!

I loved it SO much I had to text my friend Melanie and swear her to secrecy, since this was going to be both my swap and part of my on-stage presentation.

She gave me the thumbs up, so off I went!

Did you get one of my swaps? I'd love to hear if you liked it! I'd also like to see if you've tried it - I know a few of you have!

Here's the video, with a few additional samples and some tips.

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Now on that note, if you're not already a subscriber to the Splitcoaststampers Weekly Inkling Newsletter - sign up! It has a free video tutorial each week, along with step-by-step instructions, a list of our weekly challenges, hot topics from the forums, and crafty deals. It arrives with your coffee every Wednesday morning and you know what you can do with it??


Like a boss.


Monday, August 18, 2014

#kindofabigdeal #WACDisney

I love Twitter.

Twitter is somehow cleaner than Facebook.

There's less noise, and more conversations that are one on one and authentic.

There's a wide variety of content, to satisfy even the most #shiny #squirrel personality.

And Twitter has brought me some of the most EPIC challenges.

For example, today, my friend Leslie reminded me of a hilarious blog hop some of us who became friends on Twitter once did - the "Get Ill Soon" challenge - HAHA! OMG I laughed so hard today when she reminded me of this.

You really need people in your life who challenge you to do things, because many times, those things are awesome.

Friday, a Twitter friend - @Clay_Harrison - tweeted a challenge to a few of us. Disney/Pixar/Marvel character - make art and post it.

I ruminated a bit.

I almost used my Undefined hand carved Rocky stamp, since I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy and I loved it.

But then, my friend @ImtheQ posted that she was reading Ms. Marvel. And my wheels started turning. And so did Google images.

But mixed into the Google image search for Ms. Marvel was Marvel Girl.

And OH how I loved the colors in her outfit. So Baylor Bears-y, Green Bay-y and summery and fun.

I could not resist.

So out came my Dress Up Framelits (retired) and my watercolor paper. Out came my Brusho powdered watercolor. Out came my BELOVED Calling All Heros set, my Smoky Slate ink, my #SoSocial stamp set (seriously - how perfect is THAT for a Twitter challenge??), my craft knife and my Crystal Effects.

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I love this card, I'm not gonna lie.

I love the acidic green and yellow of her outfit. I love the bold red of her belt buckle. I love that I was patient enough to let each layer dry so I could do a little detail work on the belt buckle - always hard with watercolor.

I love the confidence.

Being a superhero means you know you're #kindofabigdeal.

They are sure of themselves, which frees them to do great things.

I started reading this book today which starts out with a great quote:

Don't apologize for who you are or the art you create. ~C.J. Rider


Make it for yourself.

Be as confident as a superhero. :)

Besides, you look awesome in a green dress and a mask.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

One of the World's Biggest Unsolved Problems

I really feel like my blog should get a grant.

There's no reason that I should keep pointing out these MAJOR issues affecting our society and their possible solutions for free.

People get grants to study - I kid you not - the link between cocaine and the mating habits of quail. Because THAT matters. THAT impacts the quality of life of the average American. And how mean is it to give cocaine to quail? Senator Tom Coburn - I'd like to invite you to Austin so that I can scary whisper at you until you pee yourself and slink out of the country on a cargo ship in the dead of night. Any time that works for you works for me. I will make time. Call me.

Way to go, government dummies!!

Wait - I mean, eminent humans who should bestow wheelbarrows of cash upon me to study...


I like ketchup. I like mustard. I like mayonnaise.

But I do NOT like throwing away 15% of the net weight of all the ketchup I buy because I can't get it out of the blastedly incompetent squeeze bottles they package it in.

I wondered, while making rude noises with my Whataburger ketchup bottle today trying to coax the last few tablespoons of ketchup out, why in TARNATION we don't package ketchup in a jar like mayo so we can scoop the container clean, consuming every last bit. The old glass bottles were FAR superior to these new things that you can't squeeze all the way to get the last bits out. If they want it in a plastic bottle, why don't they put it in a tube like toothpaste that we can roll up?

It's just not working for me.

And before Whataburger ketchup, the best ketchup in the world, I didn't care as much. I'd love the throw the entire Heinz corporation in the garbage, as a matter of fact, so I didn't mind kissing their gross ketchup goodbye before its time. But now - now, I care.

So give me a grant to fix it. I'm crafty -  I will figure it out.

Pre-ketchup trauma today, I had my stamp-a-stack. I'm doing one each month until Christmas, so my students will have 40 cards done by mid-November all ready to send! We really had fun. I was amazed - there were 15 people, and we were done in 115 minutes, so they made 150 cards in 115 minutes! Pretty wild!

We did three designs: one very simple, one intermediate and one more involved. This is the intermediate card, and I think it was their favorite:

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This is the BEAUTIFUL Holiday Home stamp set from the Holiday catalog (you should have it by now) that covers Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween and comes with ADORABLE matching dies.

We sponged the main panel in Pool Party, masking the moon with a 3/4" punch and a Post-It note - I use the ones where the whole note is sticky.

After that we did a fun technique we saw at Convention - you fill a mister with water. Spray a little puddle into your left hand if you're right-handed. Then pick up some water with your right hand and flick it onto the sponged area, creating those little spots of "snow" you see. This way you just get a few little drops, and not a misting of water all over the panel. Very fun.

Then I used the cute candy cane striped paper from the matching Nordic Noel DSP for a little pop of red. The images from Holiday Home are stamped in Bermuda Bay and the embossing folder for the second layer is the Decorative Dots folder.

If you've ever gotten a Christmas card from me, you know that I'm all about this fun color scheme that's both frosty and warm. When you're stamping when it's 104 degrees, the frosty part of that equation is KIND OF a big deal.

If you've stopped by my blog to give me a grant, please click the email button on the right and I'll give you the ketchup bottle of your DREAMS. Promise.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Subtractive Art

I have been pondering subtractive art lately.

I have been fortunate to have been in several art demos from Golden, because they have been invited in by some local stores and art guilds I'm a part of.

Their instructors are AMAZING. Real, life-long artists and product experts, and the demonstrations, while free, are incredibly detailed lessons in both chemistry and technique.

At the most recent demonstration, we got to paint little paintings using a variety of techniques - this is really the way that I remember how to do things, so it's my favorite sort of demonstration.

One of the techniques we learned was subtractive painting. We painted a base color, then another color on top of it, and then removed the top layer in a shape - we did a pear - to reveal the color below.

Simple, but awesome.

I started to get obsessed with subtracting things.

Subtracting is as good as adding you know.

You can subtract bad things. Things that waste your time. Stupid things. Things you don't need. Unpleasant things. It's all good.

Aside from removing acrylic paint and stupid, boring, bad things though, you can also remove stuff from your art with items from your pantry!

One thing that is a fun subtractive technique, is salted watercolor. You put down some watercolor, sprinkle salt, and let it steal some of your color. Here's a sample from a watercolor class I took. The texture in the water is from salt.

But you know what else steals water?


Alton Brown would love this tutorial. Walter White probably would too :)

I decided to use this technique for today's Mix-Ability challenge. Here's the technique.

First, tape a piece of watercolor paper down onto a board. Your paper will warp a lot if you don't.

Next - add OODLES of water and pigment. You can use watercolor - I used Lukas Aquarelle - or sprays, or anything water-based with a lot of pigment. Paint it on thick and goopy and wet.

Sprinkle rice on it. Then walk away. This technique requires patience. Watch a cooking show. Do laundry.

When it's dry, and not a moment before, brush rice off into a container - it can be reused!

Enjoy the results!

I loved watching this develop - so fun. Sort of like a stampy Polaroid.

I decided to use mine with Kinda Eclectic, since I used fall colors.
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So what do you think? Feel like subtracting something?

Come play along :).


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mary Kay Ash and a Lesson in Karma

I listen to a lot of talk radio. We have a local station here, thanks to the Johnson family, that has some hilarious people on great shows. Some of them are even friends as a result. As a reformed musician, I also find music distracting because I really focus on it. If I'm working, I like just having voices as my background noise during the day.

So this means I hear all sorts of different shows. There's a gardening show I adore. There are real estate and money market shows, which I loathe. There are local news discussion shows which are great and really Austin-focused.

And then there's the Car Pro show.

Now I know what you're thinking. How in the world can she like a car talk show? But I actually really do. I feel like the hosts are honest, they're pretty funny, and I've learned a lot about a lot of different vehicles. Keep in mind that I own the WORST SORT OF AUTOMOBILE IN THE WORLD - the most unreliable, fly-apart-at-the-seams-instantly-after-the-warranty-expires vehicle. So no matter WHAT those guys are talking about, it gives me hope for my automotive future!

But this weekend, they told the most interesting story about Mary Kay Ash and the pink Cadillacs.

It turns out that when Mary Kay Ash decided to launch her pink fleet in 1967, she actually liked the Lincoln she tried out better. So why didn't she go with Lincoln?

Well, my friends, what follows is the best lesson in Karma I've ever heard.

The Car Pro guy explains that when Mary Kay Ash asked the dealer about purchasing a pink Lincoln, that unfortunate man told her to go home and come back with her husband.

I'll wait a minute while you collect yourselves.

Still with me?

Needless to say, she was treated better by Cadillac.

I don't know what happened to this person, but I'm quite certain that that mistake followed him the rest of his days.

I had a similar experience with a leather couch. This was decades ago after we had bought our first house. We wanted a really nice living room set and so we went to the store that was actually advertised on my favorite radio station I listen to every day. The name of this store was the name of the owner - Theresa Mink. It was not cheap, but I was going to spend my Christmas bonus on a nice piece of furniture, and this store was THE leather furniture store in town.

We walked in, and were swooped down upon by a commissioned sales person. At first, I did not want to kill this man.

We looked around and then I had a few questions, so I asked him one.

He turned away from me and started talking to my husband.

Physically turned away from me.

Now, just as in the wild kingdom, I could see that my husband understood that terrible, terrible things were about to happen to this salesperson, and he started moving backwards slightly. His amygdala was probably screaming at him to run, but he did not. However, the salesman, who clearly had no amygdala, did not sense any danger.

I interrupted him, channeling my mother, and said "Excuse me" and asked my question again. Again, he turned his back on me and spoke to my husband, now pale, sweating and nearly unrecognizable.

However, I did not do what I wanted to do, which was to deliver a knee to his nether regions. Instead, I poked him on the arm and said "You just cost yourself a $2K sale (insert one of my favorite words here).

Now - this was SO long ago that people still wrote letters. Which I did. To Theresa Mink, the owner. Her response was the response of a person who would hire a man who would do that. Classless.

Now I'm no Mary Kay Ash, but karma is still a beast, and she is out of business.

Mary Kay Ash, on the other hand, purchased 22,000 Cadillacs and counting

 In general, it's just better to be nice to people and not assume you know something about them. Let their stories surprise and delight you, and the world will be a little kinder to you. Perhaps, the world will give you a commission on 22,000 cars. That's how karma works, my friends.

In honor of this revelation today about Mary Kay, I thought I would bring you a little pink.

In my presentation at Convention, I talked about ways to make your sentiment stamps the star of the show. One thing I like to do is create backgrounds for them on one layer cards, and so I came up with a fun sponge dauber floral background, inspired by Donna Mikasa, an AMAZING artist, who made flowers like this with alcohol markers.

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And I promised my sweet friend Linda Ostby that I would do a tutorial, so here's a video showing you this simple AWESOME technique!

I hope you try this! And I hope you try different colors - it's so fun.

And in the meantime, remember - the next person you meet may be your Mary Kay Ash! Be kind!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Say It Ain't So!

Today marks the final day of challenges for Dare To Get Dirty 2014 at Splitcoast.

(Insert wailing and gnashing of teeth).

The challenges are flat-out amazing, as usual and I'm still having fun catching up. If you're playing along, you have all weekend to finish up - the deadline isn't until Monday night.

I hosted the very last challenge and holy cow are your cards for it beautiful already!! I can't reveal the challenge here, but you can head over to the site to see how you can see the details and play along!

Now today is ALSO Mix-Ability Friday, with Anna Wight as our hostess, and I combined her sparkly watercolor instructions with my DTGD challenge and I just LOVE the result!

First, I colored the flower from Bloom With Hope with my Viarco ArtGraf water soluble graphite, which has a beautiful shimmer. I love this stuff. I have a severe psychological aversion to regular graphite (non-colored) pencils - they completely freak me out, so this stuff is awesome, because I get that gorgeous grey tone and shimmer without touching an awful pencil. :) I added some clear Wink of Stella for some additional sparkle.

 Of course, photographing it straight on steals all the sparkle, but here you can see the center, which I did a fun trick on. I used the end of my scoring stylus to pick up black acrylic paint and make little dots in the center of my flower. Fun & easy. 

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What are you up to this weekend? I'll be plotting my Unite & Excite event - SQUEE! and prepping for my Christmas Stamp-A-Stack - are you coming?

Don't forget, I'm doing my Unwind Retreat, Austin edition - at the end of the month as well. Space is limited, so this one is first come first served.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bring Your Own Sunshine

I remember when I was little, my dad used to say "you make your own luck."

It really is true, and the way I knew it was true, was of course, not because my dad told me - we all know your parents are never right - but because I had Eeyore as an example.

(There isn't much you need to know about the world that can't be gleaned from Winnie the Pooh, you know.)

Eeyore EXPECTED bad things to happen to him, and so they did. His expectation was a welcome mat. Also, if you're expecting bad things, everything can be interpreted to fit your expectation, if you're really determined.

Of course, the opposite is true too - if you're expecting good things, everything can be interpreted as a good thing, if you're determined.

I was re-reading this book (I think I need to read it about 10 more times) - Manage Your Day To Day - and the part that really stands out to me is the section on serendipity. Specifically, putting down your phone when you're in public and letting serendipitous things happen. Being open to them. Not being Eeyore.

And then, like magic, this article showed up in my social media feed. Here's an excerpt:

‘Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected.'

‘As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. Lucky people, on the other hand, are more relaxed and open, which means they see what is there.’ 

So how can you be more open to serendipity? 

Wiseman has a few tips. Be outgoing — the more people you are in touch with, the more chance encounters you are likely to have. 

Be prepared to deviate from plans. Unlucky people hate to break their routine. Don’t be afraid of failure. Serendipity smiles on people who try new things, instead of worrying about what could go wrong. 

Research is also looking into whether our increased reliance on technology is reducing serendipitous opportunities. Technology is making our lives more efficient, but it’s also making our world narrower, which is the enemy of serendipity. 
I love that there was a whole study on it.

As if I needed more than Eeyore, but still. It's nice to have backup.

Now I'm not saying that if your tail comes off and someone sticks it back on with a nail that you're not going to have a bad day - I'm just saying - more Tigger, less Eeyore is a recipe for good luck! :)

All of these random thoughts because of my new stamp - Ray of Sunshine. :) I LOVE this sentiment. I made this card for Lynn's Dare to Get Dirty challenge this week and I just couldn't wait to share it.

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I used the new What's Up punch to punch out a bunch of arrows. I stuck them down to watercolor paper with Hermafix and then spritzed the paper with Tangerine Tango and Daffodil Delight ink mixed with rubbing alcohol. I stamped the sunburst from Kinda Eclectic on the card base with Daffodil Delight before I added the panel.

Here are the rest of the images in those sets:

So there you go, sparkly people! Bring your own sunshine! :)


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mani, Pedi.... PAPER?

Okay I've been sitting on this little tidbit for MONTHS like a broody hen!!

Bock, bock!!

In the spring, I had an idea. It was part of a totally SQUIRREL chain of events that went like this:
  •  On Amazon, it showed me "people who bought this also bought" thumbnails.
I thought - wait a minute - look at those fine little tapes - SURELY I can use those on a card! The lines were so teeny and delicate, I KNEW they would make a fabby mask, and since the adhesive had to be light enough to come off your nail after painting, I thought it wouldn't damage my cardstock.

SQUIRREL! PLUS, they were only $1.54 for TEN ROLLS!

So I ordered this set of tapes, and then they sat on my desk until this week when I was prepping for Dare To Get Dirty, which started today.

Cassie Trask hosted one of the challenges today - now, the challenges are for Fan Club Members only so I can't tell you what it is - and her challenge was PERFECT for my tapes!

So I busted out my Brusho powdered watercolor, my manicure tapes and I went to town! It worked PERFECTLY as a mask with no bleeding the very first time. I'm in love!!

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SQUEE!! Look how crisp they are!!

I  can tell this is something I'm going to be using a lot!

The stamp is from the For All Things set from the upcoming Holiday Mini Catalog - let me know if you need one!

You just never know when buying nail polish is going to spark an art storm - so by all means - paint your nails!!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Mighty Kind of You

In a sort of an #InspireCreateShare2014 miracle, I have actually begun work on some thank you cards.

Yes, you heard me right.

And yes, I mean thank you notes from the Convention that just happened, NOT my first one thirteen years ago.

I said it was a miracle, right?

When I was in Utah, a friend was telling us that at some weddings, you actually pick up your thank you note from the bride & groom on your way out of the wedding, along with a nut cup or some such.

Now that, my friends, is efficiency. I suppose I could try sending out NEXT year's thank you notes right now and then being all smirky when I arrive in Salt Lake - "Oh, hi - I hope you got my pre-thank you cards - thank you so much for whatever nice thing you're about to do to me!"

Except no. I like to have mine be a little more personal, even if they're late.

So at the BEST CLASS EVER at convention - the Stamps, Ink and Paper optional class given by Melody, Donna and Arika, my friend Sue won a stamp set designed by Melody Hyde called Yee-Haw.

It. Is. Awesome.

It won't be released until August, but you're going to love it. It's a photopolymer set of 25 western themed images and phrases and it ROCKS!! Now Sue was kind enough to GIVE me, her favorite Texan, this prize and I've been stamping up a storm with it.

This set is SO AWESOME that it even helped me mend my relationship with Wild Wasabi, which is strained at best. I have a really weird psychological aversion to most greens, with few exceptions, and Wild Wasabi is definitely my least favorite. BUT - I decided to try something and we are back together now!

What I did was cut a mask for this cute lasso image. Then I masked off the lasso and sponged inside it with Wild Wasabi, and then sponged Coastal Cabana on top of that - it makes the most AWESOME sea-foam green. Seriously - looks just like the Crayon of my childhood. THIS is a green I can live with!

Then, while the mask was still in place, I stamped Hardwood over the sponged area and removed the mask - WHEE!! The cowboy hat I colored with the Dark, Medium and Light Daffodil Delight Blendabilities, and then used my Project Life pen to do a little of my addicting stamp etching technique on.

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Now if you can't wait to get your hot little paws on this set, just email me. The day it goes live, I will order you one AND include a sheet of masking paper in your order! Mighty kind of me, I know! Maybe I should pre-thank m'self!! :)

Now I have to scurry off and get ready for my framelits class tomorrow. You comin'?


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Learn The Rules Like a Pro, So You Can Break Them Like an Artist

It's hard to believe that this amazing week of #InspireCreateShare2014 is over.

And it's MORE than a little sad. It was very, very hard to say goodbye to my awesome downline and stampy friends this year. I had the biggest downline group ever go with me and they are FANCY. Many thanks to Bev Gerard, Carla Goodlace, Kelli Hull, Dana Keith, Katherine MacDonald, Christine Orecchio, Ceal Pritchett, and Jen Treadway for an AWESOME team week. Several I had met for the first time and it was SO fun to get to know them, even though I'd seen them each week on our Sunday video calls. There's nothing like real life.

They certainly made the most of the week!

Kelli got a recruiting leadership award and got to hang out in the Recognition Room, where we took a picture with my beloved Sue Farrant.

Ceal was a Stampin' Start achiever and also earned the Recognition Room.

Jen and Kelli BOTH had cards featured on the My Paper Pumpkin boards.

It was a red letter convention for my whole group for a lot of reasons. We arrived on Monday and got two days to just chill and enjoy each other's company and hang out in one of my favorite cities.

The Unwind Retreat we had on Wednesday was amazing - thank you so much to everyone who came - I was so excited to meet so many of my imaginary friends and get to stamp with them in a very leisurely, fun day. My amazing team - the "sherpas" - worked so hard all day (as well as for months before the retreat - thanks Christine, Mel and Melissa and Jen) to make it all run smoothly - thank you ladies!!

The incomparable Melanie Hopes kicked off the retreat with her Zentangling class so that we could REALLY unwind.  Her artwork is unbelievable and she taught us a lot more than Zentangling.

If you attended, I'd love to hear what your favorite class or project was or see links to your own photos. Here are some more of the photos from the retreat:

For those of you who couldn't come to convention this year, I will be having an online version of the retreat as well as a real live version for those of you near Austin. :) So stay tuned if you missed it.

Then on Thursday convention started, and I had the incredible honor of doing a stamping demonstration on main stage as part of a Stamps, Ink and Paper class. I had the stamps section, Michelle Zindorf had the ink section and Michelle Suit had paper. These two women are amazing and it was so cool to get to team up for this event. Stamping in front of nearly 4,000 people is just a LITTLE different from teaching my monthly card class :). The backstage team at Stampin' Up! is absolutely amazing and incredibly professional. Every conceivable detail was planned out, and everyone was so warm and sweet and really took all our nervousness away. It was SO much fun, and I am extremely grateful for this experience.

One of the fun things I learned backstage was that the social media/web marketing manager for Stampin' Up! - Chad Williams - had started a #catvention hashtag the year before with an app that lets you add a cat to photos. So of course I had to get all over that.

While we were waiting between presentations, I had a little fun backstage with a napping Shannon West while Chad looked on approvingly.

And maybe a little fun with some of the on stage presenters.

And even a little fun with our big group dinner.

Aaannnddd maybe in Temple Square

I look forward to the fun energy of this event all year. It really is magic. I SO MUCH love it when you guys find me and say "I've read your blog" - you have no idea how much that means to me. Thank you all so, so much.

I can't wait to see you in Orlando for Leadership - ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU RIDE THE TOWER OF TERROR WITH ME! So excited that we will have the place to ourselves for Manager's Reception.

So want to see what I demonstrated onstage?

The first technique was one I call stamp etching, and it's based on the Edward Gorey books I loved when I was little. I loved his simple, detailed pen and ink illustrations and used that as the inspiration for my first technique.

It's very simple - you just use the fine point of a Basic Black marker and a slight flicking motion to add tapered lines to each petal of Blended Bloom. Completely transforms the image and really makes it look nothing like what it looks like in the catalog, which was my goal.

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Isn't that striking? It's amazing how simple it is. Perfect for people who don't like to color but still want a dramatic effect.

I just love it and I find the process soothing. I used the Lovely Lace embossing folder for the background and added some Sweet Sadie washi tape.

So what do you think?

A poster Melanie made for the retreat really summed up this week for me. We all flock together once a year to learn a squillion techniques and tips. One class I took gave us THIRTY techniques in two hours - it was amazing. You come home home with tired, full brain, but you're just DYING to create something.

My presentation during demonstrator theater was all about finding ways to surprise people with stamps after you've learned the traditional ways to use them.

So it was sort of serendipitous that she hand lettered this sign that Ilina Crouse ended up winning at the retreat as a door prize. I could not love it more.

I hope all my fun arty friends have safe travels and come home to break all the rules.

Thanks for hanging out with me this week. 


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