Friday, February 17, 2017

Spring Cleaning

Everyone I know is in purge mode right now.

I just got back from a great retreat in Tucson, where we worked from a few books - one of which was Essentialism.

It was a strange coincidence because both of my "texties" - my friends Kat and Mel - and I have been on a quest to minimize our possessions for about six months, maybe longer. The book is about much more than that, but clearly the concept is out there in our shared universe right now to sort of cut to the chase.

I love it when ideas line up like that - for one thing, it's much easier to do things like that with other people. So each time we attack a junk drawer or a closet, we text each other pictures of the ridiculous number of trial sized shampoos we have and we laugh at and with each other and it makes it easier.

I really am not much of a "stuff" person anyway - and I think if you came to my house, you'd think it's pretty minimalist (except for art supplies - minimalism will never contaminate my art supplies) and somewhat bare. I like space and I don't like clutter.

But "stuff" creeps up on you. It creeps into drawers and closets and cabinets and places that you don't see when you walk into your house and you have to fight it.

One thing that's been great for me is Facebook garage sale pages. I have a neighborhood one where the people are really nice and trustworthy, and I can sell things for just a few dollars, if it's an item I know someone would love, and it's maybe something that I wouldn't want to put in a donation bag because it's fragile, etc. It's fun to give someone something they think of as a real find for $2, and it helps you get rid of things if you get coffee money for them.

One of the things "stuff" takes away from you is your free time. So if you always feel guilty because you know you need to clean out your junk drawer, and it aggravates you every time you open it, that steals your time to be lazy and have fun. Or it makes you feel guilty about sitting down to enjoy your hobby because you have that little voice cussing at you about the drawer. So you just have to do it. What I do when I have a project like that to tackle is I put my headphones in with an audiobook, set a timer for an hour, and I do that thing for an hour. The hour flies by because of the book, and it's amazing how much you can get done in an hour with no distractions.

I decided to make that concept of free time into a card. What's funny is, the card really took almost no time, which sort of ruins my point about freeing up time :). BUT, I did use three different techniques in the eight minutes it took to make this card.

I was inspired by the Art Impressions class at Creativation. I was signed up for this class, but I had double-booked for the Gel Press class, so Iliana went and brought me my kit and showed me her samples. Their stamps are beautiful, and they teach a simple watercolor technique that starts with the "smackdown" technique. This technique is one of my favorites, and I used it a few years ago on my Unite & Excite ATC swap, but I didn't do that watercolor portion that Art Impressions does - and man, is it beautiful.

So I combined that with two other techniques - no-line watercolor and vintage watercolor, and came up with this little scene.
Sitting Here by Understand Blue



The sentiment is from the Hero Arts Meow set, and is perfect for what I wanted to convey.

Since this was such a quick card, I did a real-time video for you. I love it when a card takes less than ten minutes.



Lazy days ARE the best.

I hope your weekend is as happy and lazy as a kitty in a basket. :)

Loveyameanitbye.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hero Arts Hop + Katy's Kindness Hop + Giveaways

Happy Valentine's Day!

I have two things I LOVE to show you today. One is a charitable cause - see later in the post - and the other is a blog hop featuring stuff from the new Hero Arts catalog.

At Creativation, my friend Ilina and I volunteered to help with a make & take event Hero had for their customers. This event was in our hotel, and there were three projects, all amazing, so we got to play with a lot of the fun new things from the catalog. Is there anything more fun than a bunch of new stamps and dies? I think not. My make & take table featured the Color Layering Peacock set, and what I did was set each one of the layering stamps up on a separate MISTI, and I numbered them with Post-It Notes. I put the coordinating ink with it, so everyone knew which step used which ink. They could just stamp a step (with layering stamps, it doesn't matter what order) with their MISTI and ink pad and then hand it to the next person! It was easy and fun - and it was a good way to get more than 50 people through a beautiful card in as short a time as possible. We had a great time.

Anyway. there was no way I was passing up getting some of the fun new stuff that the other tables got to work with too. The things Ilina made with the Color Layering Koi were amazing.

Aaron, the owner of Hero Arts (if you don't know him, please watch our OCC interviews with him here and here - he's a great guy), and I chatted before the event about the powerful influence of crazy chicken ladies on our current culture. I laid out the case to him that they were much more fervent than crazy cat ladies, and as a crazy chicken MAN himself, he was unable to disagree.

Now I can't confirm that his crazy chicken man tendencies are the reason that Hero Arts came out with a Color Layering Rooster stamp set, but what I CAN tell you is that all the crazy chicken ladies and men everywhere will lose their clucking minds over it.

I'm neither crazy NOR a chicken lady, and I did, so there.

Now I have every stencil ever made on earth - just so you know. EVERY ONE. I can't resist them. Every time someone says "I love shopping - I have 84,000 pairs of shoes" I roll my mental eyes and think - "YOU are cra-" and then I remember my stencil drawer. I wink and nod.

To me, the Abstract Waves stencil design looked like the furrows of a plowed field, and so I thought I could tie my rooster into his home farm with that design in the background. Tell me those aren't perfect together. I used my Clarity stamp stencil brushes and Butter Bar ink. For the rooster, I used the coordinating ink cubes - which are perfect - those are chosen by the set designers' samples and there's a reason for that. As a matter of fact - I had the ink cube sets on my desk because I hadn't unpacked my crafty bag from Arizona yet, and I grabbed these colors not even knowing they were the coordinating ones - and they are perfection. Imagine how pretty my hair felt when I realized they were the intended coordinating colors. (I swear I'm a brunette.) Anyway - here's the card - I used the oval infinity dies and my MISTI to curve the cockadoodledoo sentiment around the oval. The main sentiment is from the color layering peacock set. I was all - if that rooster is going to wake me up, he'd better at least wish me a lovely day!
Lovely Day by Understand Blue - blog hop and giveaways





(Pauses for crazy chicken ladies to compose themselves.)

Now - on to crazy dog ladies!

Yes - I said dog.

I'm trying to raise awareness of ALLLLLLLL crazy ladies. There are so many more than just crazy cat ladies. Diversity in the crazy ___ lady population needs to come into the light.

So the next card is for the crazy dog ladies.

Now while I can cuss at an Olympic level of performance, especially in traffic or during election cycles, I don't tend to use curse words on my cards, just because I know some people find that offensive, and I really just want to make people laugh or smile with my cards. I save my best cuss words for the privacy of our interstates or with my close cussing friends.

HOWEVER, that does NOT mean that I don't like a good implied word every now and then. As I said here - a sense of humor is important to the general enjoyment of life by all humans.

And because my desk was basically a superfund site this week, I had the Irreverent Birthday Messages set sitting there left over from this card, and also the new Woof set, and my brain did the rest in less than a tenth of a second.

I give you - a heartfelt "sorry" card.
Sorry by Understand Blue - blog hop and giveaways




The three markers I used for the poop are E47 E55 and E57. The rest listed above are for the pup, and I added some white accents with my gel pen.

The poop is from the Irreverent Birthday Messages set, and the dog and sentiment are from the Woof set. So freaking adorable. You KNOW it's cute if I ended up with a dog card instead of a cat card, and I do own both sets. :)

I seriously laughed the whole time I was coloring this.

So to stop my giggle fest, I pulled out a lovely and more contemplative set - Japanese Wishing Garden. When my little eye spied this set, I was really drawn to the torii gate image in the set. Now mind you, I didn't know it was a torii gate, and I didn't know what a torii gate was, but I loved the image - I'd seen one in Hawaii, and I wanted to paint it. So after I painted this card, I looked it up - and this is what I found:

torii (鳥居?, literally bird abode, /ˈtɔəri./) is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred

How perfect is that for my transition to this card from the dog poop card? Seriously - you can't make this stuff up.

I deliberately left white areas on the gate, because the ones I've seen have been enameled, shiny finishes. Then I did no line watercolor for the rest of the card - I started with Soft Vanilla Shadow ink - and finished with the mirror image technique. I just think the images make such peaceful scenes. To help me put it in the right setting, I just did a google image search for torii gates, and found that they are frequently near water, so I wanted that to be prominent.
Wishing you peace by Understand Blue - blog hop and giveaways




And I did a sped-up video of the watercolor process along with some mirror image tips, so enjoy! Splotchy may or may not have contributed to this video.



Now I know you want to win some of these stamp sets - and of course Hero is giving some away, so be sure and stop by the other blogs in the hop and leave comments for your chance to win! Start at the top!

The Hero Arts Blog
Jennifer McGuire
Laura Bassen
Wanda Guess
Amy Tsuruta
Clare Prezzia
Yana Smakula
Kathy Racoosin
Debby Hughes
Kelly Purkey
Lydia Fiedler
May Park
Jessica Frost-Ballas
Heather Ruwe
Libby Hickson
Michelle Short
Jana Millen


Now I hope you'll join me for a sweet card drive after all that. I know I'm asking you to do a lot of clicking today - but this will warm your heart.

The Katy M. Murphy Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by Katy's mom Amiee.  Katy had a congenital heart defect and lost her life at the tender age of 6. Amiee started the foundation to honor her daughter's memory. 

Today we are kicking off the card drive with a blog hop. We are hoping that all of you will help us by sending in cards to help complete Katy's Kindness Kits.  The kits are for children and their families who are living with a congenital heart defect (CHD) and are inpatients on the cardiac care unit at Boston Children's Hospital. The foundation will be delivering kits to the hospital to help make the children and their families stay at the hospital easier, or kinder if you will.

All the details for the card drive can be found HERE, as well as a list of AMAZING sponsors who have offered up some phenomenal prizes to be raffled off to those who submit cards. Please read the rules carefully. The card drive will run from February 14th thru April 15th.

So if you want to check out what my sweet friends have created for this card drive and maybe win some of the giveaways, please visit all their blogs below. I'd love it if you sent in tons of cards for this great cause.


Amiee is a real sweetheart, and I'm really grateful that Michelle asked me to participate. I admire people who turn their pain into something wonderful like this, so I hope you will support her and these families - you know how much a card can mean.

Thanks for being here today!

Loveyameanitbye.

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