Monday, July 24, 2017

Seas the Day

I'm still plugging along with my World Watercolor Month challenge, and I did a fun one this weekend while working on Dare to Get Dirty samples.

It just so happened that one of the prompts coincided with one of the challenges for DTGD (which I still can't tell you about until Saturday :) so I made a card and did a page in my sketchbook for it.

One thing I hadn't done during the challenge yet was masking, so I got out my FAVORITE masking fluid (link also below photo). This stuff is amazing. I've tried all the others, and disliked them for one reason or another - too stinky, too sticky, wrong drying times. But THIS - this is my one true masking fluid. I have it in both white and blue. It's not expensive, and it has a really fine applicator which is perfect for masking. You can add a little or a lot and it stays wet long enough for you to work it where you need it to be and not get gummy and pilled.
Stampin' Up! So Many Shells  - Schmincke masking fluid, Daniel Smith Watercolor by Understand Blue

So what I did was apply the masking fluid in a diagonal line, making little dots and wiggles I thought would look like foam, and then some stripes out in the water area for whitecaps. You need to wait until the fluid is TOTALLY dry before you watercolor, and AFTER you watercolor, that needs to be TOTALLY dry before you remove it. This was unusually easy for me this time because I had 15 other cards I needed to get done on Saturday. I watercolored it with the blues and golds listed above, and lightly spattered the sand with Burnt Sienna for a tiny amount of speckle. Then I used my MISTI to stamp the sentiment from So Many Shells.

It was so simple and quick, and I love the look. This is an easily duplicatable card, and would work with ink refills as well as watercolor. You just have to learn to think and work backwards.

Here's the sketchbook page with the same process. I love how ephemeral watercolor is. You are NEVER going to be able to reproduce anything you do with watercolor.

Watercolor sketchbook  - Schmincke masking fluid, Daniel Smith Watercolor by Understand Blue

If you like watercolor, part of this challenge includes some great giveaways, so be sure and enter - you do NOT have to be playing along to be eligible to win!

Hannemuhle Watercolor Paper and Sketchbooks Giveaway
Davinci Watercolor Paint Giveaway

If you want to do any of the prompts, they are all on Charlie's site here. Which - I highly recommend subscribing to - his art is glorious, and his posts are so sweet.

And speaking of giveaways - don't FORGET - I have a huge monthly giveaway going - details on how you can win are at this post.

Happy Monday!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint Kitties

I saw one of those "he must have too much time on his hands" comments on Facebook the other day.

There are few things that make less sense than that sentence. I wrote a post about this three years ago, which you can read here. And it still floors me that people can't hear what it sounds like when they say that.

My brother-in-law stumbled across the sweetest story on Pinterest and shared it with me today, and I was just amazed. It's the story of Maud Lewis, a painter in Nova Scotia, who painted the entire interior and exterior of her teeny, one room ( 9' x 10') home during her very difficult, and literally painful life. Her paintings were just the opposite of her situation - bright, whimsical, sweet and cheerful. Her subject matter, like her home and life, were small and local.

I'm sure if there had been social media in her lifetime, some ding dong would have commented on one of her Instagram posts: "you must have too much time on your hands" after seeing the flowers she painted on her stove, on her walls, and on the outside of her house. Or her little childlike kitties she liked to paint. The kitties are my favorites.

Having just seen her work for the first time today, I can say she most definitely did not have enough time. Not nearly enough. She passed away in her sixties. There's a sweet little video about her here, and as a bonus there are some very fuzzy cows in it.

The human spirit is an amazing thing. I can't imagine living in a house the same size as my teeny studio, or painting and doing all the things she did while barely able to hold a paintbrush. I've always thought that whole tiny house thing was a recipe for a multiple homicide. But she made sweet kitties out of it.

If you want to read more about her, here are all the books about her, and here's the article he sent me.

She's my inspiration today, with a little help from Dare to Get Dirty and World Watercolor Month. She most definitely got some lemons, but still managed to live her life with zest.

Still Life with Stampin' Up! Lemon Zest and Schmincke Watercolor by Understand Blue
This is the second citrus I've painted for World Watercolor month, but this is the first time I've stamped for the prompts this month. I decided to turn the lemon image from Lemon Zest into a still life, because it's a nice, big image perfect for watercolor. I feel like making a ton of these - it was so fun and relaxing. I used a very limited palette, which is listed above, and the whole process took 19 minutes. I sped that up for you for a quick video. I edited out the 3,000 times I reached across my palette to rinse my brushes because it was annoying :) But other than that it's as it was. Someday I'll figure out where to put everything so that I'm not always reaching across the frame and I'll save a ton of editing time. But in the meantime, here it is.

I used Schmincke watercolor for this. It's been fun to see the difference between the Schmincke and the Daniel Smith paint. All watercolor lines are surprisingly different. I could have 40,000 Prussian Blues and it would still not be enough, I can tell you that.

The daily painting challenge from World Watercolor Month has not only given me a lot more working knowledge of the paint, but I've learned a ton of other skills as well. Amazing how much you can learn if you dedicate yourself to something daily for a month. I'm sure all our teachers told us that at some point and we ignored it until it became practical in our own lives.

Now I have some VERY exciting news for you guys. From now until the end of the year - I'll be giving away a HUGE prize from my friends at Arkon.

As you know, I LOVE my phone stand that I use to film my videos. There's a 20% off code in the footer of every blog post that you can use on their site any time. This thing is sturdy, takes up a small amount of space and is the only reason I can produce videos regularly. The before and after effect on my YouTube channel is remarkable. I'm a HUGE fan.

So every month from now until December, I'll be giving away a monthly prize package which includes my stand, plus the AWESOME ring light for the perfect selfie, perfect lighting for Facebook lives or desktop live video. These guys know what they're doing, and they're very generous - so you are the beneficiaries!

So starting today, and in the last week of every month for the rest of the year, you will have a chance to win this amazing giveaway. First - every one of my online customers will be automatically entered to win with a $25 or higher order in my store - you do not have to do anything at all extra to be entered! That begins today as a thank you to every one of my Stampin' Up! customers - I appreciate you! Orders between the 23rd of the month and the 22nd of the next month will count for that month.

For everyone else, simply leave me a comment here with the words "I want to win an Arkon Live Streaming Pro Phone Stand" somewhere in your comment. Be sure your Google Profile has an ability to contact you in it. I don't recommend leaving your email in the comments - spammers can grab that. Just fill out your profile and be sure it includes a link to your email.

I'd also love to hear what you think of sweet Maud Lewis and her ability to make lemonade.

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks of my Dare to Get Dirty cards in the coming days!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Come Back, Chronological Order!

My sister posted an incendiary question on my Facebook page yesterday, and ignited the angst of all of us non-millennials who have been deprived of time by millennials.

Specifically, chronological order.

One of the the things I really love about forums is that the content is in chronological order. You can find old things, or find new things, but they are in the order they happened.

Then Facebook arrived, and the world became ordered by randomness, as if that were possible. Our definitions of yesterday and tomorrow were destroyed, as we began to see Monday's posts on Friday, and not see Friday's posts at all, let alone on Friday.

It's the feeling you get inside novels with non-linear time, like 100 Years of Solitude. Time just swirls all around you, and like you're a cow out in a field somewhere, it's just "today" and don't bother with the details.

When Instagram killed off chronological order, there was rioting. (And by that, I mean people typing rude, misspelled comments with poor grammar).

But the last front in this epic war is the order of books (and podcasts) in a series. A SERIES. That word means something! But not to Amazon. Not to the Apple Podcast app, or the internet in general. Any one of you whose brain has been damaged by the humiliating act of typing "what is the order of the Louise Penny books?" into Google - we stand with you. It's inhumane. Terroristic. We must rise up and restore time on this earth before no one cares anymore. I welcome you to fight alongside me. Sadly, I can't tell you what day or time to meet me because I can't tell any of those things, BUT WE WILL FIND EACH OTHER!

Anyway - back to my beloved, chronologically ordered forum happy place - Splitcoast. We are working behind the scenes on the most fun week of the year - the Dare to Get Dirty challenges.

This is a week of challenges by Dirty Dozen Design Team members and Alumni, just for Fan Club members who support the site with their membership dues. Fan Club members enjoy instant uploads to the gallery, a monthly private gallery created by the team, and exclusive tutorials and challenges. Our wonderful sponsors have lots of prizes for them at the end of the challenges, and it's a chatty, colorful week in the gallery.

There are more challenges than there are days, since we do multiple challenges per day, so I'm sneak peeking some of my cards. What the challenge is is a secret - but I can show you my sample for Dina's challenge!

I wanted (like I do every day) to use Lemon Lime Twist cardstock with some lively black and white, so I used the new Pick a Pattern Washi Tape - this comes with five rolls in five different widths - I love the super skinny 1/8" tape - by just adhering stripes of it to cardstock. Then I die cut the Happy Birthday thinlit out of both the lime green cardstock and the taped cardstock and die cut inlaid them back together. I used a Kool Tak pencil I got in Santa Fe for a pick-up stick for the itty bitty bits. I love finding new pick up sticks. They're all a bit different. I think it makes for a fun, happy card!

Now on the white cardstock panel, I adhered a Sizzix Multipurpose adhesive sheet to the back after I die cut it, so that the openings where the greeting was was sticky and I could just piece in the die cut pieces easily. Then I glued the whole thing to the card base.

Very fun and a it's hiding a very clever challenge that will go up on the 29th!

Now for two bits of VERY exciting news! My Sweet Petunia is turning THREE YEARS OLD today!

I cannot believe how much the MISTI has changed the stamping world in three years. I still kick myself for not buying it as soon as I heard of it. I'm so grateful the MSP for all the cardstock I've saved, and how much better my stamping and no-line watercoloring is because of this amazing tool. So Happy Birthday to MISTI! To celebrate, she's have a birthday sale - no coupon needed! 20% off on the Original MISTI that was born 3 years ago, as well as grid paper and the grid mousepad. Go forth and shop here! Sale ends Friday!

And here are my two winners of the amazing Unicorn Awesomeness bundles! I've given them your names, so shoot an email to them here, and they will get your info! :)  Congratulations and thank you so much for all the comments!


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Duoprinting, Part Two

Remember my Duoprinting with Chlorophyll tutorial?

Well today that tutorial is being featured on Splitcoaststampers today, and I added a little twist this time.

I made lots and lots of really beautiful prints from my garden, and then I added just tiny bits of shading with Daniel Smith watercolor and this STUNNING, tiny detailed paintbrush I bought in Santa Fe - it's like painting with a single hair plucked from the tail of a unicorn!  Or something like that. On this card I added just three colors - those and the brush are linked below. Initially, I just used the shadow violet, but then I thought some brighter notes would be nice. I really didn't add much - the duoprinting did all the heavy lifting. The brown areas on the stem are from the plant. I wrote the name with a super skinny Micron pen.
Chlorophyll printing by understandblue

This Estaceno chile is delicious - it's a New Mexico chile that my sister brought me seeds for when she visited Baker Seed in Missouri. That place is LITERALLY the mother ship of all seeds.

I also printed herbs like parsley, oregano, mint and even my Calamondin Orange. They're all so unique and fun.

Here's a print of my butterfly bush, which hasn't bloomed yet this year, but is a beautiful plant. Lightly accented with Shadow Violet.

Chlorophyll printing by understandblue

I used watercolor paper for these, and to me, the result is more detailed and crisp than when I used cardstock in the original tutorial. Some of them, like this one - look like photographs.

I can't believe how much the watercolor paper and a tiny bit of watercolor shading do for this technique! I'm enjoying the heck out of it. Hope I have some plants left by the time I move on to something else :)

I hope you check out the step by step photos in the tutorial and give this a try!


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Non-Precious Art

I've been trying to work on "non-precious" art lately.

Last summer, I took Art Journal Summer School, and I think that was the origin of this for me. I had never really done any art journaling - I've always started projects with the idea, at least, of finishing them. Cardmaking does that to you - you really want to end up a card at the end of the effort. But art journaling can free you from that, letting you practice techniques, try color combinations and mediums, and even write some things down that you wouldn't write down anywhere else. It was quite liberating, especially the secret writing part.

Then, my friend Lori introduced me to the Close to Home watercolor class. In the first videos - I marveled at the beautiful paintings in Michelle's casual sketchbook, and I was still struggling with preciousness - thinking "HOW CAN SHE NOT FRAME THOSE??" But I kept watching. And her philosophy started to sink in. Practice is art. You are learning during practice sessions. You might love a practice piece, but you didn't go into it with a "precious" mindset. You went into it wanting to try something, with an equal shot at success and failure. And when you fail, you can just turn the page. Maybe after taking notes on what didn't work, which is what I like to do. It's just a sketchbook. It might end up being a pretty sketchbook, but it's just a sketchbook. It's not expensive paper, it's covered with notes, the outside might have paint all over it. It's humble.

After I took that class, I took a photo at the Wildflower Center (I showed it to you here), and Lori and Lisa Spangler and I used it as a challenge to each other. I brought my sketchbook to Ohio and got to sketch with Lisa, which was amazing. She has inspired me this year with her nearly daily sketching of plants and animals she sees on her trips to beautiful Texas Prairies. So now I'm officially hooked.

It's quite liberating. I highly recommend it, no matter what kind of art you're doing. Try stamping techniques or new products in a book. It's very fun to fill up the pages and look through them.

This month is World Watercolor Month, and so I'm doing more sketching than normal, which has been fun. I've asked people on Facebook if I can save certain photos to use as sketch inspiration, and I've loved painting the places both they and I have been recently.

I save the photos to a private Facebook album that only I can see (I recommend this also for times you are going on vacation but don't want the world to know your house is empty - just change the privacy of it when you get home!) and then I bring them up on my iPad so I can see them while I'm painting.

When I'm done, and if I like it - I print out the photo on this AMAZING portable printer I got - I read a million reviews and this one won - and I glue or tape the reference photo into the sketchbook - the little photos are the perfect size for this.

So I thought I'd just share a few recent ones I have done.

This is from a photo I took during my last retreat when a storm was rolling in - Temple, TX. It's not that great, but it let me practice clouds, which are hard, and use a brush Antonio Darden gave me when we visited his studio. I lightly sketch with a water soluble pencil (links to everything below) before I start painting each sketch, and sometimes, like here, I mask with tape.

This next one is from a photo my friend Meg took the other day at Lake Powell in Arizona - I ended up loving this one. The Hematite Burnt Scarlet watercolor is so much fun - it has a black granulation in it that makes it so perfect for rocks.
And speaking of Hematite Burnt Scarlet - it makes GLORIOUS bricks. This next page was very brave on my part - I've never tried a reflective surface before and it was definitely challenging. Also challenging was all the different perspective issues created by different planes of the walls around the barber pole. The World Watercolor Month prompt on July 4th, was red, white and blue, so this is what I came up with, with the help of this reference photo by Lisa Knechtel.

See the oopsie bottom right from some paint from a previous page? Doesn't matter - just a sketchbook. :)

This one was very challenging and fun and I ended up liking it a lot.

I got a tool in Santa Fe that blows my mind in the perspective department. I have lots of artist viewfinder tools, but none of them as genius as the View Frame by Miira. This ingenious magnetic guide system was invented by a woman and her son in Oklahoma. There's also a great app that goes with it. I purchased mine at Artisan and when I took my sister back to get one the next day, I noticed hers had a little pouch that mine was missing, and so I emailed the company and instantly got a kind, helpful response, so I'm a fan! It looks like she has a newer version in the works that's in pre-order right now, so check out her website! The original one is on sale with free shipping to make room for View Frame II, so you might want to snag one.

The AMAZING new brushes I got in Santa Fe are just phenomenal. They are synthetic, which I have never liked before these, but they are SOOOOOOOO tiny and perfect for detail work. All you Breaking Bad fans will understand why I love their name too - Grey Matters.

You can do teeny lines and details with them, and I love teeny details.

People have asked me to film these sketches - but there are a few reasons I don't. The most important one is that it would instantly make it "precious", and that's what I'm trying to get away from with my books. I'm just in a learning phase, and I need the safety of a practice sketch to be just that. When I ACTUALLY am technically proficient and can produce repeatable success, maybe. But also - these take me hours over days - and I walk away a lot. It doesn't lend itself to the storage capacity of my current iPhone.

Make lots and lots of non-precious practice art. Enjoy the process and view the result ONLY as knowledge, and you'll have so much fun, I promise. Hope you're having a great weekend!


Friday, July 7, 2017

Remember Griffin and Sabine?

I think I discovered Nick Bantock in college or shortly after, which was many moons ago.

I LOVED Griffin and Sabine, with all the beautiful envelopes and artifacts tucked into the books, the mail art, and the strange and mysterious story of their correspondence. After I read the books, I bought the Nick Bantock rubber stamps, and used to actually create mail art that was MUCH better than what I was doing in the way of cardmaking back then!

But then, as my cardmaking got better, my envelopes got more and more boring, and now they're just plain white envelopes with terrible handwriting on them. That has to stop. I'm hereby issuing myself (and you if you like) to STOP sending completely boring envelopes.

In my defense, I do handmake a lot of envelopes out of retired DSP, but that's not really the same as the mail art of days of old. My friend Gary - and the best penpal in my life, really - used to do amazing mail art. Stamps and collage and drawing.

I remember Rubber Stamp Madness' mail art features and the ones in the Stampington magazines. I am going to get back to that level of awesomeness if it kills me. I STINK at hand lettering, which you will see soon. Like in just a few seconds. :)

But I came up with a technique to at LEAST create pretty labels for my envelopes that are 100% handmade, and I hope you like it. First - enjoy what I did with half of the label paper that I used on a matching card - it's the background for the beautiful climbing orchid.
Climbing Orchid card with ink layered background by Understandblue
When I do this technique, I can cut each sheet in half - half of the sheet makes TWO pretty envelope labels, because I die cut an oval out of the center of half the sheet and can use both the oval and the frame for envelopes as you can see here.

Ink layered gel press labels by understandblue
Here's a closeup of what the frame label looks like.

Ink layered gel press labels by understandblue

Here's card #2 where I used half the label paper for a different background.
Climbing Orchid card with ink layered background by Understandblue
Here's what the label looks like that matches that card.
Ink layered gel press labels by understandblue

Now how did I do that, you ask?

Well let me show you! I'm a contributing artist over at Gel Press today, and so I made a video of this fun technique using just ink, a Gel Press, your MISTI and some label paper. You will get addicted, I promise. In 10 minutes you will throw down your mouse and run for your desk. Promise.

So send some PRETTY mail today, won't you? These two are already in the mail and I plan to make lots more over the weekend.

I'll be back soon with something completely different.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Hyperbolic Life

I have always been a linguaphile, from my earliest days on this planet.

(I am not implying I was ever on another planet, by the way.)

I love words and sentences, and rhymes, and puzzles and games.

I think the gift of language to humans is unlike any other. Think of how complicated our languages are, and how we are always making up new words. Each word we speak and how we speak it - yes, even, maybe especially, cuss words - has a thousand meanings and makes us unique among the beasts.

(Unless one of those beasts is Splotchy, who speaks many languages, passionately, usually at 4 AM. Little bugger must be Italian or something. )

But in all things linguistic, I love hyperbole the most. (I'll wait for you to get over your surprise at this revelation.)

Why say "it's hot" when you can say "OH MY GOD, IT'S EIGHT THOUSAND DEGREES OUTSIDE AND I'M MELTING LIKE I JUST OPENED THE ARK OF THE COVENANT!!!"? We all know which one wins.

I've always thought of hyperbole as a particularly Irish talent - maybe because of Yeats. I also remember loving this the first time I read it.

"“For last year's words belong to last year's language 

And next year's words await another voice.” 

― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Edward Lear's so-called nonsense always appealed to me, as did the Jabberwocky and the strange words in the Hobbit. Maybe that's why I ended up in linguistics in graduate school. None of it sounded like nonsense to me.

Hyperbole is often defined as exaggeration - but they really are different. I use hyperbole as expressiveness - not stretching the truth - just making it more interesting, as in the above example. Once you have the visual of the guy melting when he opened the Ark of the Covenant, you immediately know exactly how hot I feel. We are on the same page.

So imagine my delight a few weeks ago when I get a text from my friends Greg & Angie at Concord & 9th asking me if they can use something I texted them in a stamp set. I said, and I quote: "OMGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!! SQUEE!!! Yesssss!" More boring people might have said: "Why yes, you may."

So they sent me the stamp set as a thanks, and I could not love it more. I can't wait for you to see the whole thing.

The text message was the sentiment that's on my card - and honestly - it's true. They are awesome people, and I could not be more grateful for their friendship. I was cleaning out my phone's digital landfill yesterday, and I came across the pictures of us at CHA and got all verklempt. They are just good people, whose awesomeness rivals that of a unicorn - no exaggeration.

The set is called Unicorn Awesomeness and it will be in their July 9th release, this Sunday at 9 AM.

To make this card, I cut the clouds from the dies that match the set on my favorite watercolor paper (linked above). I painted those with Daniel Smith watercolor, and glued them together. That's 140 pound watercolor paper, so this is a pretty sturdy card! Then I stamped the sentiment (squee!) on the front cloud and stamped and die cut the unicorn. I colored her with three grey Copics. I'm sure people will make her look amazing with a rainbow mane and tail, but I had enough rainbow working in the background, that a stately silver is what I wanted. You know - because unicorns are stately.

What a fun thing to have happen. Thanks for that, my friends! :)

Because of their unicorn awesomeness - they are giving me TWO bundles to give to you guys - that's two stamp & die sets of Unicorn Awesomeness. All you have to do is leave me a comment between now and July 9th at noon central telling me about someone whose awesomeness rivals that of a unicorn in YOUR life. I will draw two winners on that day! Hop over to their blog today to see sneak peeks and see if I've exaggerated :)

Speaking of winners - here is my winner of the This Might Be Vodka stamp set from this post! Kris - email me your address and I'll get that in the mail!

PS - I love sun tea too!


Monday, July 3, 2017

Driving Through the Wind Farms

I recently returned from our annual Santa Fe trip, and we chose a new route that we really ended up liking a lot.

Typically, we went out to Ft. Stockton, and then up into New Mexico on a long stretch of 285. However, in the last ten years, they've been fracking on either side of that road, and it's ruined the road in numerous ways - the heavy trucks have destroyed the road itself, and the number of trucks has ruined the traffic pattern - you're always stuck behind a truck, unable to pass for long periods of time, and so the trip has lengthened each year. When you're talking about lengthening an eleven hour drive, you develop some dark thoughts about the route.

So this year, we went up 183, through Sweetwater, through Brownwood and Lubbock. It was a much better, faster route, now that they've raised the speed limits through most of it - we used to go this way but it was 13 hours because they made you crawl through the numerous small towns, but now - not only did we have cell service most of the way, but it was faster and prettier and there were more places to get gas, and no fracking trucks.

But one part really unsettled me, and that was the section through Sweetwater and its bizarre wind farms. There were THOUSANDS of wind turbines, and because it's somewhat hilly there, as we were driving through - you'd see just blades turning while you were driving - sticking up over a hill and turning quickly at an odd angle to the road, everywhere you looked. The hills make it so they are at all different heights, and honestly - I don't get motion sick, but I felt queasy. It seemed like the road and the ground were spinning from just the inescapable spinning all around us. I couldn't wait to get it out of my field of vision and see just the earth again.

I was going to do a watercolor sketch of it when I got to Santa Fe, and just document how disturbing the experience was, but I couldn't capture it in a drawing. On the way home, going back through there, I thought about how sad it was that this supposedly "clean" energy has RUINED what used to be a beautiful part of Texas - a pretty, empty, hilly stretch where you could see forever - a huge expanse of blue sky and rolling land is now a mechanized, ugly nightmare. They create deserts and harm wildlife too. The law of unintended consequences is brutal. It made me sad, and not very many things make me sad.

I lived my life outside as a kid, and have always loved just being alone with the plants and the bugs and the animals, and it's still my favorite place to be, although I don't drink boiling hot water out of the garden hose anymore, thankfully :). Not sure how we survived that, Jell-O, Super Elastic Bubble Plastic and cars without seatbelts, but we did.

One of the things I love most about Santa Fe is that once we park the car, we don't get back in it, and I spend hours and hours every day walking. This year - we went at a different time - and the flowers were spectacular. Hollyhocks that were seven feet tall lined the streets, and sprung up out of little cracks in the pavement. There were pansies, and cherries and apples on the trees, cottonwood fluff floating down like snow - it was magical.

Inside, I painted. I sketched and I played with the new My Monthly Hero Kit and watercolor. I wanted to experiment with perspective and masking and materials like glass and metal, which are terrifying in watercolor. Or I thought they were. Turns out, they are just colors after all.

The kit is beautiful - here's what comes in it. Yes - that's a full sized Distress Oxide ink pad.
My Monthly Hero July 2017 by Understandblue
I wanted to challenge myself, so I didn't use the dies.

For my first project, I arranged the bucket and watering can behind the jar from the kit. To do this, I stamped and masked the bucket first, and then stamped the watering can and the jar - all stamping except the sentiment was done in Distress Weathered Wood - stamped off once so it was very light. The flowers are from the add-on set Little Florals (add-ons are not limited time, by the way), and those I just stamped without masking because they would appear "through" the glass. Then with my trusty Silver Brush, I very carefully painted the images with Daniel Smith watercolor. The outline of the jar was done with Fuchsite, and the water with Manganese Blue Hue. I wanted the watering can and the bucket to seem like they were made of different types of metal, so I painted one with Payne's Blue-Grey, and the Other with Neutral Tint. To make the flowers look like they were inside and behind the glass, I just watered down the colors I used there in those areas and used less water for the parts not behind glass. But my FAVORITE part of this card is the wood. I took a somewhat dry 1/4" flat Silver Brush and just dragged it across the card in various colors, after using this masking tape to give myself a straight horizontal. By the way - don't go on vacation without grid paper. Straight lines are impossible without it. Ask me how I know. After I got a woodgrain texture I liked, I painted a thin, dark line halfway up to make it look like a gap between two boards. Then I went back with neutral tint to create shadows. I really ended up loving this card. The sentiment is from an add-on set - Summer Garden.
My Monthly Hero July 2017 by Understandblue

Then, I wanted to keep going with the masking. By the way, the most inexpensive and easy to use masking paper is this one - it's all I use outside the tape.

I could not resist the snail image in the Summer Garden stamp set, and despite my attempts at realism for the flowers, I had to paint the snail from my childhood, in completely unrealistic colors. To set this up - I stamped the snail first - this time in India Ink - I didn't do no-line on this card - and then stamped him on masking paper and masked him. THEN, I stamped that vine of flowers from Summer Garden and masked those too. Then and only then did I stamp the watering can in black on top of those images. Then I masked the top of the can and stamped the other flowers and the foliage, removed all the masks and painted them. The sentiment is from the Daisy & Bugs bundle. I just hinted at ground underneath the image. By this time I was full-on in love with that Neutral Tint watercolor - wow.
My Monthly Hero July 2017 by Understandblue

Finally - I went back to glass. I love the delicate flowers in the stamp set from the kit, and I thought they were perfect for those little soda bottle images - sort of wispy and relaxed. So no masking this time, but I did repeat the woodgrain because it was ridiculously fun. All images here are from the kit.

My Monthly Hero July 2017 by Understandblue

This was so fun and relaxing - so perfect for a peaceful vacation. I can't wait to go back - re-entry is hard!

If you want to win one of these kits, there's a blog hop, but remember, if you REALLY want one - they are gone when they are gone (unless you're a subscriber) so you can get yours here. The products are worth $74, so it's a steal and a half. LITERALLY. And, if you buy the kit and you win the drawing, they will credit you back, so you're safe either way - how cool is that?

Anyway, I'm as excited as you are to see what everyone else has done with it - so let's check it out, shall we?

The Hero Arts Blog
Jennifer McGuire
Wanda Guess
May Park
Yana Smakula
Jessica Frost-Ballas
Kathy Racoosin
Lydia Fiedler
Amy Tsuruta
Michelle Short
Libby Hickson

Thanks for stopping by today - leave me a comment about your favorite place to vacation to be entered in the kit drawing, and have an A1 day! :)


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bear Hugs

It's Thursday - and if you're out of the vodka from yesterday's post - you might need a hug!

I brought you not only a bear with a hug, but a watercolored, die cut inlay bear with shiny eyes, a shiny nose and a HUG.

He's so cute, his name is Picture Book Bear, and he's part of the new Simon Says Stamp One of a Kind collection that is being released today, and he just makes my eyes happy. I need to go back for his cute buddy, the fox. You can see the rest of the new stuff on their blog today.

To make him, I just die cut him twice from two pieces of watercolor paper, being sure to save his little ears, eyes, nose, snout and belly. On the second time, I taped him down to be sure he was straight on the one that would become the negative space. Then, I glued the negative space piece to a piece of Pool Party cardstock, that I had adhered a Sizzix adhesive sheet to, so the open space was sticky.

I watercolored the bear with Daniel Smith Watercolors, dried him with my heat gun, adhered him into the opening with the adhesive, and then added shine to his nose and eyes with an Irresistible Pico Embellisher in black.

After that was all dry, I put that all onto a card base, and popped it into the MISTI to add the sentiment from Concord & 9th Cuddles & Hugs, and then added the die cut from that same bundle on top.

That cute bear and his hug should allow us all to at least survive to the weekend! :)

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