Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hope You Can Cling To Kickoff (+ RAIN)

It's October - and you KNOW what that means! It's time for Hope You Can Cling To - the best stamping month of the year!

If you've never heard of this before, Hope You Can Cling To is a month long card drive that we do at Splitcoast for the patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. We send about 4,000 cards to the Volunteer services office there every October, and the patients or their families and caregivers can grab a beautiful handmade card from a basket and connect with their loved ones on their birthdays, special events or just to say hi. It helps keep people connected during a difficult and stressful time, and it's easy and fun for us to do. I hope you join us. There are 40 challenges this year - a minimum of one per day in October, and they are full of creativity and inspiration. We provide the address for you to send your cards to in each challenge post.

To reward you for this act of goodwill towards total strangers, we have some amazing sponsors who are contributing thousands of dollars in crafty prizes for participants. So get inky with us and share some kindness for these patients in Houston!

I get to open and close the challenges, and my challenge today is really a challenge! I found this little poem that I thought was perfect for our event.

Whether the weather be fine 
Or whether the weather be not, 
Whether the weather be cold 
Or whether the weather be hot, 
We'll weather the weather 
Whatever the weather, 
Whether we like it or not. 
                 ~Anonymous British poet

I love the British, stiff-upper-lippiness of this poem.

So my challenge is to make a card depicting your LEAST favorite weather condition.

I know I don't have to tell YOU this, but the answer for me, of course, is RAIN. I despise rain. (Droughtmongers - HUSH).

I actually made two different versions of this card and let my Periscope viewers pick which one would be my challenge sample. This first one is the reject.
 And here's the one they picked.

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I did a video on this after I put it on Periscope so you can see the two different techniques. You can see that here or below.

I really hope to see your ideas for this challenge in our gallery. We really have a lot of fun in October - so join us!


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Have You Talked To Your Markers Today?

I hope not - because that would mean you're crazy, and you should be at the hospital instead of here on the Inking Royalty Blog hop.

I'll give you a minute to call the men in white coats.

BUT - if you are sane, and you are here to learn a trick, then you're in the right place, and I hope my trick will be a treat!

Last week, on Periscope, I shared a tip on using the Stampin' Up! Stampin' Write Markers to get nice blending effects.

The most important thing to know about our markers is that they are NOT watercolor markers. They are water-based dye markers, and they behave very differently from watercolor mediums. Understanding this can be the difference between frustration and bliss.

It's important to know the chemical properties of any medium you work with, so that you know what techniques you can and cannot do with them. So I took some time to explain the difference between our markers and true watercolor markers in my little broadcast, which you can watch below.

The best way to use a waterbased dye marker to get good blending is to layer color. These are translucent dyes, and you can get beautiful shading and dimension with them, but the technique you need to use is different than what you would use with a traditional watercolor medium.

So I picked what I thought would be the perfect image to show this technique, which is the beautiful grapes from Market Fresh. Grapes and balloons and other round shapes are a great way to practice light and shadow if you like to color.

What I did is worked one grape at a time, coloring the entire grape with the lightest color - in this case, a retired marker - Lavender Lace (because I wasn't paying attention - use Wisteria Wonder in its place) - and then added a tiny bit of shading with Elegant eggplant on one side, and then layered more Lavender Lace on top of the line where those two colors met.

It's not technically blending, because the dyes in these markers aren't as reactive as either alcohol or watercolor, but it's a layering technique that allows you to achieve a blended look. When you're done, you have a nice gradient that looks like you were using watercolor or alcohol, because of the transparent layering of the dyes.

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Now being on Periscope is fun because you can chat with your viewers, unlike YouTube. It allows me to spontaneously share without the burden of editing, etc. and it's really fun. If you're new to Periscope, come watch a few. If you get the app on your phone, and follow people and watch their broadcasts, be sure and tap the screen while you're watching to give them lots of hearts. Hearts make Periscopers happy. So without further ado, here is the replay, where you can watch me color this entire image.

Karen Barber does a great job with marker layering and actually has a tutorial on it on Splitcoast. She uses a blender pen, which makes the dyes more reactive as well. You can find that tutorial here.

Now it's time for you to hop along and find out whether the next post is a trick or a treat! I'm going to go ahead and guess that even if it's a trick, it will be a treat because I just adore Shawn. He's amazing - so click here to see what he has for you!

Thank you for hopping along with us. If you get stuck during the Blog Hop, please use this line-up as a guide:
  1. Brian King at Stamp with Brian
  2. Candy Ford at StampCandy
  3. Lynn Kolcun at Avery's Owlery
  4. Lydia Fiedler at Understand Blue
  5. Shawn de Oliveira at ShawnStamps
  6. Lisa Pretto at InkBig Academy Stamps
  7. Sharon Walker at Stamp with Sharon W
  8. Jennifer Spiller at Westside Paper Creations
  9. Becky Volpp at Ink Blossom with Becky

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ignoring the World Around You? Or OND? You Tell Me.

I've discovered there are two types of people in this world.

I know that sounds like the introduction to a joke - like "A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar."

But I'm completely serious.

There are two types of people in this world. Dr. Seuss had it right. You either have stars on your belly or you don't.

What fascinates me about the two types, is that in order to group people into two distinct classifications, you need to be alive right now, in 2015. Prior to roughly this time, this subdivision wasn't possible. This fact, in itself, might lead you to question the entire time/space continuum, in which case I say - you are welcome.

Here are the two types.

Type 1: When you see the image below, your brain chemistry changes. Your heart rate elevates, your palms sweat, a teeny bit of adrenaline rushes through your veins. You go into fight or flight mode. You attack with a ferocity that might frighten a hyena, just to remove the red notification icons.

I understand the psychology behind the red notification icon. Red induces panic.

Unless you're me. Which leads me to....

Type 2: What? I've never noticed that before - what is it? Oh - it's how many notifications I have? *Shrug*

I have absolutely ZERO desire to "clear out" notifications from sites which are purely social in nature. They are social. I don't need them. It's bad enough to have the weight of 200 emails an hour bearing down on you - you don't *need* to know that 48 people have posted a blurry picture of their grilled cheese on FB since you took a shower. If you even had time to take a shower in between notifications of some sort.

However, there is a specific gene that enslaves people to these little red notifications. And they are powerless to resist its siren song.

And then there are people like me.

Mine are always at 99 because I never click on them.

I remember the first time my friend Dana looked at my phone years ago and SCREAMED because I had 99 notifications on every app. I was so confused - I had truly never noticed them. I said "what are they?"

And then she explained that they are basically a to-do list. For a social app. At which point I went back to being completely bored with them.

There's even a thing on Facebook business pages now that yells at you about your response time to messages and tells you to answer them faster. No. We need fewer things to do, not more. Don't fall for it!

If you are afflicted with OND - Obsessive Notification Disorder, I am sorry - but I have an idea.

Since every app uses red for its notifications, what if you just got some green glasses? Then everything would look brown and you wouldn't feel anxious and behind all the time. Feel free to invent "OND glasses" and become a zillionaire.

Now the other day on Periscope, I did some image transforming with pointillism. You KNOW I love transforming images! Just so you know what it looked like before, this is the stamp I'm using.

And this is what I did with it.

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If you want to watch the replay of this project from Periscope, you can view it here - I'll delete this after Hope You Can Cling To though - so be sure and watch soon!

This is my card for one of the challenges - but I can't tell you which one. Be sure and join us for these - it's a great cause, and we reward participants with thousands and thousands of dollars in prizes. What could be better than that?

Oh - I know what could be better than that - a new online class! :)

I'm SO excited about this class - it's adorable. It's a very hip, retro-modern holiday class - it can be Christmas, or just general winter themed - and it is SQUEE-worthy. I hope you like it. I offer both a digital-only version as well as a postal version. You can read all about my Santa's Workshop class here.

I know you will love it!

I hope you have something fun planned for World Cardmaking Day this Saturday - and remember - if you make a card - SEND A CARD. :)


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pondering a Wily Raccoon

My mom had a pet raccoon when she was little.

The little thing loved Nilla Wafers, but found them endlessly frustrating, because he would go wash them in water, as raccoons do, and they would dissolve. I think he finally figured it out and stopped washing them.

While in a circumstance like this, I can understand that it might be difficult to be a raccoon, most of the time it's difficult to be a human with a raccoon problem.

I am such a human.

One night, in our old house, I was awakened by the sound of breaking glass near the front of our house. I got up (of course, my husband slept through this part) and realized the sound was coming from the garage. Smash, smash, smash.

Now I don't recommend this, but I was mad, and I opened the door to the garage - and immediately I thought I was hallucinating. Our garage was FULL of raccoons. They were up on the high shelves on the wall, they were on the car, they were on the ground. One of the ones up on a shelf looked right into my eyes and SMASH - pitched a jar off the shelf onto the floor, where it shattered.

Next to the car, this poor stray cat we had been feeding, and the reason we kept the garage door cracked, was being hissed at and terrorized by one of the coons that must have weighed thirty pounds. THAT made me mad. I started smacking them with a broom and chasing them out of the garage, After I vamoosed five of them, I closed the door and tried to comfort this poor kitty and make sure she hadn't been bitten. I left the glass cleanup for the morning. I go back to bed, and had JUST closed my eyes and SMASH! I shot back into the garage and sure enough there was another one in there. I chased him out and went to bed.

Since this incident I have had exactly zero love lost for raccoons.

The other day, I went to take the trash out, and found, as I do most days, that a coon had been in our trashcan, eating our scraps. I call him our composter. But as I looked at the bag torn open and wondered what his dish of choice was that day I realized something horrifying.

The little bugger has to hop up on the recycle bin - he can't hop onto the trashcan or he wouldn't be able to lift the lid - this is one of those giant, grey, city trashcans - lift the lid, which is heavy, hop down in onto the trash and then at at point sit INSIDE the trashcan in the dark with the lid closed and eat trash. Shudder.

Then how the heck does he get out? Does he just jump up so hard he bonks the lid open with his head? It's just slippery plastic so unless he's REALLY a giant, I don't know how he'd reach up there and crawl out.

And yet he does. It makes me want to film it. Maybe I will.

I felt sorry for him when I thought about that. But then I thought about our little kitty Dinah being terrorized by his cousins and that feeling passed. Bunnies are better.

I colored these bunnies on Periscope the other day and I promised everyone I'd make them into a card, so here they are.

I love how insecure they look. I wish I could make them feel better about themselves :).

This is actually a sneak peek of one of the Hope You Can Cling To challenges on Splitcoast. But I'm sworn to secrecy, so I can't tell you which one. What I can tell you is that you should join us for this amazing, month-long card drive for breast cancer patients at MD Anderson. It all kicks off on October 1, and our sponsors have some amazing prizes as a reward for your generosity and kindness.

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The bunnies are from the Made With Love set - I just did stamp surgery to separate them from the sentiment they are attached to.

The sentiment is from the Feel Goods Stamp Set. I colored them with Derwent Inktense pencils.

Don't you just want to hug them?? Make them laugh? I do.

And I want to convince raccoons to be more like them.

And to stop eating my trash. 

I'm having fun in the newest Watercolor for Cardmakers Class - Exploring Mediums - are you in this class with me? The first two days have been AMAZING. I love these classes because they are filled with experts, they make the techniques approachable and tell you ways to use supplies you already have, and you have lifetime access to them.

And guess what? You can win a seat in this amazing class!

All you have to do is leave me a comment with your absolute favorite FALL recipe.

I will draw a winner this weekend!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How Did I Get Here?

My sister and I were talking about a few really odd experiences at retail stores this weekend.

We've noticed a distinct change in the retail experience over the last ten or so years, and not really for the better.

For one thing, we've noticed that no one in any sort of retail store seems to know anything about the products in the store. I mean anything. If you ask a question, a crazy, outlandish question like "do you sell garden hoses," employees will stare at you, slack jawed, and join you in your wondering. "Wow - I don't know - I wonder if we do? I need a garden hose too."

The second thing is even more disturbing. This has happened to me several times when I've traveled lately. The most recent was in Salt Lake.

I was looking for a business, and I asked a person who worked in Starbucks where a particular address was. She walked outside with me and it was like she had just exited the alien spaceship in which she arrived at Starbucks that morning. She looked around like she had never seen any aspect of this environment before in her life. So much so that I asked her if she was from there. She not only said yes, but that she had worked at that Starbucks for five years, and dang it if she had no clue where the address I was looking for was. Now I'll give her that addresses there are stupid, but this was pretty odd. Turns out the address I was looking for was actually IN THE BUILDING THE STARBUCKS WAS IN and not two blocks south of there, which is where she tried to send me.

And she's not alone. This happens nearly every time I travel and ask people for directions. I have no idea how people actually get to work every day.

However, while pondering this I realized that maybe these two things are related. Maybe the reason that the people in Home Depot don't know whether they sell garden hoses or not is because they don't actually WORK at Home Depot. They work at Starbucks, but they didn't know how to get there, so they ended up at Home Depot.

That's my working theory, anyway. We should be kind to these people. They must be frightened and confused constantly.

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I made most of this card on Periscope yesterday. I wanted to show people how to use this ArtGraf water-soluble graphite. I love the sparkle the graphite gives - and you use it just like you use watercolor. Really fun.

I stamped the image from Blended Bloom in Smoky Slate before watercoloring with an Aqua Painter. The stamp and die for the sentiment are the Being Classy bundle from Concord & 9th. The card base is Basic Gray.

Big news about OnStage Live in Dallas if you're going - Bev and I are hosting a mini-retreat the Friday before the event. So if you are going to be in Dallas that weekend, or you just live in Dallas and want to stamp, be sure and register here - space is limited!

Also - my Embellished Ornaments online class is available now and I have the CUTEST Santa's workshop class coming in about a week.

In the meantime, if you go into a retail establishment in the next few weeks, plan on being self-sufficient.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Into Each Dove's Life, A Little Owl Must Fall

I have recently been occupied with The Great Dove Poop Battle of the century.

There's an oak tree that shades our driveway, and I park my car under this tree.

And these two sweet little white wing doves that roost in this tree rain down a rather alarming quantity of poop onto my car all night long every night.

I believe there might be some kind of dove poop parties where they invite thousands of other doves to their roost to poop on my car, because despite the fact that I believe it's the same mated pair that has been here for years, the sheer quantity and coverage area of the dove poop leads me to believe there are co-conspirators. Or that my doves need to change their diets.

I may or may not have heard quiet little dove giggles from time to time when I come out in the morning to be greeted by my poop covered car. It felt like they were mocking me, while I was cursing under my breath and trying to find a tiny clean spot on my door handle so that I could get in for my daily trip to the car wash.

It was out of control. I had to do something, and it's generally frowned up, even in dove season, to blast the little buggers out of the trees in your front yard in a quiet suburban neighborhood.

Besides - I really like them and the sweet little sounds they make, even though I realize those sounds are probably elaborate poop-mapping conversations that would rival the planning that took place in Churchill's war room.

Enter Hootie.
Hootie is a life sized Great Horned Owl, with marble-like reflective eyes.

Doves are not all that bright, after all, and they scare easily.

So up Hootie goes onto a branch near the roosting branch and SHAZAM! Not one more poop has been directed at my poor car since Hootie has been on the job.

 Hootie - the avian patron saint of white car owners, I thank you for your service!

So - to my neighbors who may now be the proud owners of two homeless poopy doves - #sorrynotsorry.

Victory is sweet.

You know what else is sweet?

The Embellished Ornament Bundle.

I was working on my newest online class with this bundle (the class is available now, by the way - click here for deets) and I sat down and cut out all the shapes from the dies just to brainstorm with. I cut them out of various types of papers, and then I saw some scraps on my desk that looked enticing.

One was a Brusho experiment piece I did while practicing for the upcoming Watercolor For Cardmakers class from Online Card Classes. The first one was AMAZING and I'm really excited to be a guest in the next one.

I was playing around with Brusho, and trying to get different intensities and textures, so I burned through a lot of watercolor paper, and one piece in the pile looked like it would make a pretty ornament. It had sort of a marbled look and mostly cool colors I thought would be fun on a holiday card.

So into the Big Shot it went. And out came....

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Isn't that fun? I just love the crispy cleanness of it all.

Clean like my car.

I have to say - those Christmas Greetings Thinlits cut like a dream and pop right the heck out of those dies. I love them so much.

I love them almost as much as I love Hootie.

But not nearly as much as I love all of you.

I hope you're having a good weekend - craft it up!

OH - PS - if you are coming to the On Stage Live event in Dallas in November - plan to be there that Friday before - we will be having a one day mini-retreat with fun classes, prizes, goodie bags, swaps - tons of fun! Registration for that will open next week.


Friday, September 11, 2015

The Eggplant Night Terrors

I made eggplant last night.

I knew better. I violated my own rule, which you can read about here.

But it was so delicious, so I just forged ahead.

And man did I pay for it. I had the most HORRID nightmares - scary little kids with those black eyeballs you see in horror movies killing people and flying out the windows of the windows of some creepy mansion in my dream.


Twice I woke myself up faux screaming. That's where you scream in your dream, but in real life you're making this pathetic tiny sound that doesn't even bother the cats. So you go right from a scary dream to being completely humiliated.

This is why there's coffee. Which I drank a lot of.

I'll go back to the lunch rule now.

I'm hosting the Mix-Ability Challenge on Splitcoast today.

Since my challenge day fell on 9/11, I had to honor the day. 

So the challenge is to use multiple mediums with stars, stripes, the colors red white and blue, or any combo of all of the above, with bonus points for doing stars in one medium and stripes in another.

I did a Periscope on these two projects, so you can view it until about 1 PM central today if you want - they only live for 24 hours, which is kind of fun. Love the ephemeral nature of Periscope and the lack of the need to be formal or edit. I also love that I can live chat with the people watching.

The trees are from Wonderland, and I used Derwent ArtBars for one medium, and white pigment reinker and black ink for the others. This was a fun and quick watercolor project, with the Wonderland and Reason for the Season stamp sets.

This one was the first one I did live. 

The second one I did with a direct to paper technique for the sky and a direct to stamp for the trees. It's cold press watercolor paper (Stampin' Up!) so that's what makes the texture in the sky. Fun.

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These were great because they were just a minute or two to make!

Now I've waited too long to do my giveaway from this post! So at long last - here is my winner! Email me Susan and I'll send you your prize! :)

I'll say what I said in the challenge post, and then I'll leave you.

Remember while you do this challenge that the unexpected is always around the corner - enjoy every moment, be kind, try not to worry, don't take things too seriously, have fun & celebrate your freedom. Make art while the sun shines.


Friday, September 4, 2015

The Borrowers

I'm realizing how much all the books I read when I was little influence my daily thoughts.

Today, I spent a lot of time chasing my tail.

In my newly organized studio, all like things are together.

All my watercolor mediums are together

All my photopolymer sets are together.

All my acrylic paints are together.

And all my camera equipment is together.

The camera that I photograph my cards with has a REALLY long battery life. Like MANY months - and I use it a lot.

A few months ago I needed to charge it and I couldn't find the charger. Thankfully, I had another Canon charger so I used that, but it's been bugging me.

So today my battery died while I was photographing my card for today's Mix-Ability challenge. I went through my camera box again - and I couldn't find it. I knew what it looked like - it has those collapsible prongs for the outlet and was very compact.

I suspected The Borrowers. Did you read that book? It was one of my faves - I read it many times. I loved the idea of being tiny and running around in little tiny spaces. Maybe that's why I liked Stuart Little. And Alice in Wonderland. But I digress.

I do not, however, like the idea of The Borrowers stealing my camera charger.

After another search, I googled my camera and its charger - and I, with horror, realized it WAS in my camera box. It just looked nothing like what I had in my head so I kept ignoring it and pawing through the box.

That will teach me to get a camera that only needs charging twice a year. I need to spend more time getting to know my charger.

However, I do think this is how great stories like the Borrowers are born.

Creative people who can't find their chargers just make something up. Like a whole children's book.

Today is the Mix-Ability challenge on Splitcoast. Anna is our host and the challenge is whitewashing. We could leave a lot of white space, or add white with gesso, etc.

I decided to use my Luminance pencils - I always start my images with white and also blend with white, so it was perfect for this challenge.
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How fun is that?

I love those beautiful little cups from the July My Paper Pumpkin.

Remember that all you need to do to transform a simple line image is fill it with color! I'll have three cups of color please - thank you!

I did a quick video of the coloring process for you. PS - here's the Smudge Guard Glove info I left out in the video :).

I have three pending registrations for the retreat at which point I believe the house beds will be filled. I will update the retreat page for those needing hotel accommodations, but there's not much time left.

Enjoy the long Labor Day weekend if you are in the US. I plan on doing a whole lot of nothing after my class on Saturday.


PS - I'll be back with my class winner this weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Great Foot Sled Mystery - SOLVED

So remember old Pegfoot?

Well in a hilarious turn of events, there was a bit of a replay today.

The Holiday Catalog went live today.

It's really full of amazing.

But as usual, I'm mystified by some of the images.

I thought that the highlighted image in this set was a badminton racket that was missing a handle. That screams holiday, right?

I asked Brian King what it was, and he briefly thought it was a jai alai racket. I stuck to either wiffle ball or badminton, but I didn't think people played any of those things in the snow, and the rest of the set is pretty wintery. We played a lot of wiffle ball and badminton, but we didn't have sleds or ice skates around while we were doing it.

I am not sure what possessed me to ask a fellow resident of the southern states this question, but maybe I just don't have enough friends in Minnesota or Alaska.

However, he's far enough north that he did have a little glimmer of recognition while we tried to hash it out.

A lively conversation ensued, during which he told me he thought he knew what it was.

"I think it's some sort of foot sled," he said.

"What is a foot sled?" I asked. He wasn't really sure but he felt like you put your foot in it and did something. The "some sort of" led me to believe that there are a decent variety of foot sled apparati that I needed to be educated about. (Assuming, of course, that the plural of apparatus is apparati.)

A foot sled sounds to me like something you put your foot in by itself and watch it go sledding down the hill. It didn't make sense to me. Isn't an ice skate technically a foot sled? And there's already an ice skate in that set. None of it made sense.

I was set on badminton.

But then he enlisted the help of some friends on Facebook in northern climes who revealed to us that it is, in fact, a snowshoe.

AHHHHHHH - that made much more sense than a broken badminton racket or a foot sled. 

Technically, I had to admit, though, that his initial assessment of "food sled" was correct, if somewhat abstract.

I suppose we are all allowed a little abstraction.

Speaking of abstraction, I'm doing the tutorial on Splitcoast today!

This is a technique for marbling with the MISTI that I came up with and featured at my retreats this summer. I swore everyone to secrecy until the tutorial was published. It's SO much fun and so easy.

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Fun right?

And here's the video - it's just a three minute card!

So don't forget to make sure you know where your foot sleds are today - winter is coming!


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