Monday, September 8, 2014

Does Anyone Actually KNOW a Junker?

It's White Trash Week here in the old neighborhood.

White Trash Week is that lovely week when people are allowed to pile junk at the curb for bulk collection pickup. You get to drive down the street seeing people's old toilets, broken dressers, scrap lumber and everything else under the sun, and pretend for a week that you live in a neighborhood full of meth lab owners - but without all the fun of Walt & Jesse.

It's only half as disturbing as the parade of junkers that accompany it though.

These junkers prowl the streets in trailers that look like something out of White Trash Harry Potter.

Photo credit - Evil Vince

You can hear the junk towers creaking as they prowl by and you just pray they don't swerve to avoid a squirrel and unleash a torrent of washing machines and lawn chairs onto your car.

Here's what I don't understand - is junking a business? Can you make a living from picking up suitcases with busted zippers and broken particle board furniture? Does anyone actually KNOW anyone who junks for a living? And if so, what is the lifestyle and income potential? Do you have to get a special junk trailer insurance policy for when a toilet goes flying off your precarious rig and through the windshield of an ice cream truck? How much does a policy like that cost? How many tetanus shots must you get annually as a junker? Who BUYS the junk?

Is this the real secret of IKEA?

I have just so many questions, as I gaze out the window at a tumbleweed of chicken wire the size of a hay bale and a pile of used brooms.

I might have to hide inside all week and stamp. There are some things you just don't want to know about your neighbors.

I'm obsessed with the Four Feathers stamps & dies right now, speaking of stamping. I LOVE the bold graphic designs SO much in black & white. I actually haven't stamped them in anything BUT black yet - I just can't help myself!

I just took two of these little buggers and put them on one of my Gelli Prints I made last weekend. I just bought the teeny 3x5 plate and played with that. It takes a little getting used to after you're used to printing on a big plate, but it's really fun to have a print that doesn't have to be cut down to go on a card front.

I thought I'd pick one of my jumbly alphabet prints to go with my White Trash day questions. I love the way that images tend to look embossed after multiple prints, like the letters do here. 

Pin It

I also love how the red and yellow and black all play together nicely. For the shadow underneath, I used the negative of the die cut as a stencil and rubbed metallic black Pan Pastel through it and then offset the cut feathers a bit. You can't see the sparkle here but it's cool. The greeting is from Kinda Eclectic.

Like the ecosystem of junk.

We have junk.

Junkers want junk.

White Trash Week - where the junkyard comes to YOU.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cutthroat Stamp Room at #uniteexcite

Friday night I hosted the Austin #uniteexcite event for Stampin' Up! and it was a BLAST!

3 hours of fun, tips, prizes, swaps, displays and great people sharing their stamping awesomeness.

I also gave away 16 stamp sets to a group of 72 people so everyone's odds were darn good. Everyone also got the Everyday Occasions card kit.

When I got to the two Good Greetings sets to give away, I decided to be super evil, and make two people battle it out in a Cutthroat Stamp Room game show, based on Cutthroat Kitchen. We had a coin toss, and the winner of the toss got to decide which sabotage the other contestant got. Then, they had one minute to stamp a card, and the rules were - one image, one greeting and one embellishment. Each stamped item had to be in a different color. And the ink pads were Stampin' Spots. Heh.

Here's a video of what happened. Apparently Melissa, who won the coin toss and chose the foam hand, didn't realize she could ONLY use that hand. Had she, I think she MIGHT have picked the Spiderman boxing gloves. Muahahaha!

Then we had two judges come into the room and judge the cards from these two experienced demonstrators. They both had medical training so they asked the contestants if they'd had recent head injuries - heheh. You ready to see these masterpieces?? Feel free to CASE them!!!

BWAHAHA!! Good job ladies!!!

Oh my gosh it was so much fun. We also had a 3x4 technique swap and the beautiful samples are now in my Project Life 6x8 pocket pages and together in my PL album as a technique reference and I have 30+ technique classes ready to schedule! WINNING! Thanks to all the swappers - your swaps are AWESOME.

Speaking of techniques, I did a fun one for my class this morning by creating a fake shadow with a negative die cut. First, we stamped the image from Four Feathers and the greeting from Kinda Eclectic on the card base. Then we stamped the Dotty Angles image a few times to get a bokeh effect (examples here and here). Then we die cut the feather out of the card front, mounted a quarter sheet of Basic Black cardstock on the inside of the card so the black showed through the opening, and mounted the feather just a wee bit offset and up on dimensionals to give the illusion of a shadow. I LOVED this one. I designed it for this month's Challenge Chicks challenge to use feathers. Gee, I wonder why our Crazy Chicken Lady Jeanne picked that theme??? :) She seriously has the most adorable chickens on EARTH.

Pin It

Big thanks to all my awesome helpers at Unite & Excite and to my victims in Cutthroat Stamp Room. I hope we get to do another one of these events soon! Enjoy a few pics! :)

Thanks for a great night, friends!!!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Santa Like Nobody's Watching!

Okay - this might be a surprise to you, but there are only seventeen more Sundays (including today) until Christmas!

(Pauses while you collect yourself).

You okay? Here's the moment where if you were with me right now, I'd get you a cold washcloth for your forehead, bring you some water, and gently pat your hair and your hands while I look into your eyes and ask you if you've accepted procrastination as your personal savior.

Because if you have, this little piece of knowledge has exactly ZERO effect on you, because you're not going to do anything until December 24th anyway! You are FREE!

The peace this grants you is quite something. I highly recommend it.

That right there is the kind of freedom and liberation that only the new Visions of Santa stamp set can adequately express.

I LOVE this quirky and silly set. I describe my stampy style as CAQ - Clean And Quirky - and this is one of my faves in a long time.

I finally had time to play with it yesterday - actually - I didn't have any time at all, so of course that's why I did it. Once you've fully converted to Procrastinism, the light of this feeling will envelop you at all times and bring you joy.

So here is this fully self confident and nutty little Santa, dancing his head off.

Pin It

So fun. I watercolored him with Peerless Watercolors, now that they're all organized in my binder. Very quick & easy.

I know some of you are scared of these Santas, with their complete lack of body image issues, but I adore them - they'd fit right in here in Austin! Keepin' it weird, y'all. It's what we do. Confidence is the most attractive quality on earth - shake it, Santa!

Any time you're ready to join me in the pursuit and exploration of Procrastinism, I'm here for you. Putting something off until tomorrow.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

First Order, Then Chaos...

It's really pretty amazing the lengths a papercrafter will go to to organize their supplies before actually MAKING something with them.

It's like artistic nesting, sort of.

It happens to me all the time. I buy something new and I'm simultaneously enthralled and paralyzed by it. I know that there's NO WAY I can bust it open and start using it until I've bought JUST the right organizational system for it so that it looks pretty and neat on my shelves when I'm NOT using it -  which is supposed to come AFTER using it - but that's not how it works.

Enter stage left - Peerless watercolors. These are a super fun, very different watercolor product - they come as sheets loaded with pigment instead of in tubes or pans, and so they are great portable watercolors for anyone with an aquapainter and a nomadic soul.

But since they come in loose sheets, you have to find a way to store them before you can start painting. I bought the watercolors MONTHS ago and then used creative avoidance to NOT paint with them because I was indecisive about how to store them.

Then, I saw an awesome video by Jennifer McGuire on a new storage idea - a little photo album that she slipped swatches into the pockets of. Then she stuck the actual watercolor sheets to the top of the pockets. GENIUS. I loved that the swatch was protected while the paint was accessible.

However, I wanted something larger which would lie flat when it was open, because I like to paint outside a lot, and I wanted a bit more room and a flat palette. So I thought maybe a regular page protector would work for my swatches.

Then I had to find the perfect notebook for my page protectors. God forbid I use some boring plastic notebook from Office Depot. That's completely irrational. If you think that's what I should have done, I worry about your soul.

Instead, I decided to alter a beautiful kraft notebook I got from Jam Paper for this sacred task. It's a 1" Designders® binder, and some of you will probably be horrified that I altered it, because the kraft by itself is so pretty. Stifle yourselves and just wait for it.

It's uncoated, so I knew I could paint it, stamp on it, or do any number of things, but I started to get a little obsessed with one of our recent Splitcoast tutorials and decided to cover it with aluminum foil tape.

First, I die cut a bunch of letters from Whisper White cardstock with my Little Letters Framelits, and arranged them NOT so randomly on the front of the binder. You'd be amazed how many (not very desirable) words you can accidentally spell while being "random". After much censoring, I glued the letters on with Tombow Mono Multi. Please notice the absence of vowels. This is critical to not embarassing yourself, trust me. Where there are vowels, there are vulnerabilities.
Then, over more than a few episodes of Dead Like Me and NCIS, I applied cut pieces of aluminum tape, and burnished them with paper stumps. The paper stump part is super important - the tape won't bond completely or lie flat over time if you don't take the time to do this. What I noticed about this binder while I was doing this is it does NOT show fingerprints - which is really different from most kraft paper surfaces. Love that. If I weren't altering it, that would be super important to me. It also takes the tape really well because it's a matte surface, so your tape will really be stuck down and won't lift.

I then took just a fine black gel pen and pierced dots into each letter for a little bit of detail. The back of the binder doesn't have letters. This is because I wanted to make it easy on myself - I wanted to quickly know which was the front and which was the back. You'll see why in a minute.

Here's what it looked like with the burnished tape. It's already pretty cool in this state.

Next - I painted the whole notebook - front, back, inside - with black acrylic paint and wiped most of it off with a paper towel. This aged it and defined the places where the tape overlapped, as well as the letters.

This was cool enough, but I can't really leave things alone, so I needed to add color. 

Out came my Viva Decor Inka Gold - in Green/Yellow, Orange, and Steel Blue. You probably knew I was going to say that since these are my go-to colors in any medium.

Maybe you can see why!
OMG isn't that awesome!??? I truly wasn't expecting how much life those colors would add and I LOVE it!

Here's what the inside looks like - instead of doing a lot of small pieces - the outside took a LONG time - I settled on just strips of tape, overlapped. Wiping the paint off with the paper towel is what created those differences in texture you see. So cool. 

Oh - but what are those pages in there, you ask??

Well those are my Peerless Watercolor pages!!

I cut 8.5 x 11 sheets of hot press Fabriano watercolor paper to go inside the page protectors.

Here's where the OCD skills really come into play.

The set I ordered is the bonus pack - which is 40 colors in 2x2 squares. The colors are listed on the package, but they aren't in ROYGBIV order. So I took them out and painted tiny swatches to put them in the one true order. Then I numbered them - the swatch and the square. Then, I put the swatches in ROYGBIV, and used the numbers on the swatch & squares to help me build my book with the page protectors.

You Virgos know how important this is. We cannot create beautiful, haphazard and chaotic art until our colors are in order, am I right?

MMMM. Makes me happy.

Hard to believe this all started with a 3-ring binder, eh?

Here's a little slideshow of the process, complete with a cat butt photobomb.

Pin It

Now that this is done, I can actually watercolor this weekend, so watch out! :)


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beetle Chucking - a Diary

It's click beetle season.

This does not amuse me.

During click beetle season, I spend most days following clicking sounds, finding beetles, picking them up in a paper towel and flinging them outside.

They come back while I'm sleeping and it starts again in the morning. Beetle flinging.

You have to pick them up with a paper towel because the thing they do that makes the clicking sound is quite violent and unpleasant without the paper towel. I do not like it a bit. I do not like hearing them clicking all around the house like I'm living in a popcorn machine either.

They can't be happy either, going along doing their beetle thing and suddenly getting flung. You'd think they'd learn, even with their tiny beetle brains. Nuh uh. They don't.

Unlike click beetles, today's Splitcoast tutorial by my friend Jeanne Jachna is AMAZING! I've been waiting for this to go live for soooo long because I really fell in love with the sample the second I saw it. It's really a simple technique but it's a huge wow.

I decided to use Pan Pastels for my coloring method because I realized that one of the Pan Pastels Sofft tools is PERFECT for applying color horizontally like you need to. It's this one - sort of like an offset palette knife:

So I got to work! I decided to do cool wintery blues and greens. Since they blend so well, I just put down all blue, went back with touches of yellow-green, back with blue, etc. However, the blue I used is actually calle Phthalo Green Tint and the green I used is called Hansa Yellow.

Pin It
 I embossed our watercolor paper with the Vintage Wallpaper embossing folder - one of my all time faves.

Then I used White Christmas set - SQUEE - isn't that polar bear cute??? I made the ground and the glow around the little star with Pan Pastel. I filled in the star with gold glitter.

Now here's a little secret. I had completely made this card, photographed it and edited the photo and then I took it apart and did it again. I had originally made the polar bear panel on whisper white - and there was too big a color variation between that and the watercolor paper. I also had stamped the star in soft sky, and it just didn't match the pan pastel. I had almost hit publish on this post and then I stopped and started over. And it's a better card now. THROW YOUR CARDS AWAY! :) The next ones will be better.

Flinging all those beetles and doing a new technique (twice) really work up a person's appetite, so I have to share sort of a miraculous recipe with you.

First, I have to tell you a little story about eggplant.

I love eggplant. Always have. I started learning to cook with it after trying an amazing eggplant tapenade at the CIA in California. After several years of cooking and eating eggplant, the Other and I started to notice that whenever we had eggplant for dinner we both had severe insomnia. This took dozens and dozens of meals for us to realize. But when we did, it was an aha moment. Then we had to figure out why. This might have been in the dark ages before Google, and so it was only a few years ago that I discovered the answer.

Eggplant is a cousin of tobacco, and actually contains a bit of nicotine. Twenty pounds of eggplant has the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette.

So apparently .0125 of a cigarette is enough to turn me into a vampire. Good thing I've never smoked!

Now, I'm careful only to eat eggplant at lunch, never dinner.

But when I have it, I love it, and recently my sister made an AMAZING batch of what I call Italian nachos. My brother-in-law and I ate a really inappropriate number of these - they were sooo good. Somehow she came up with this crazy cornstarch technique that results in an incredible crispy crust on the eggplant that is even better than deep frying and much lighter.

Here's the recipe.
Cynthia's Eggplant

Peel (important) and slice one eggplant - I did about ½ inch slices - you don’t want them too thin. Sweat them in salt on paper towels for a few hours - 2 ish? Blotted water with paper towels.

Make a marinade with ¼ C balsamic, ¼ C Olive oil in a gallon ziploc. Put slices in, squish/shake them around, and marinate them in the fridge for 4 hours.

Remove from marinade and coat in cornstarch - including edges.

Put on Parchment, bake at 375 for one hour, flipping once. Serve like nachos with marinara on top.
AMAZING. Whisper my name. (required) Also works great for parmigiana. You will LOVE it! 

Also, did you know that the shorter, squattier eggplants taste better than the tall ones? Truth!


Okay - back to beetle chucking.


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.

Pin It

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.

Pin It


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:

Pin It
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.
Pin It

So what do you think? Feel like subtracting something?

Come play along :).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...