Every time we do one, I learn something super fun. I really encourage you to watch them - there have been 12 episodes so far, and each one is amazing.
One week, Kristina dropped a tip about the Zig Clean Color markers that I just kept in the back of my mind until this week. I loved the colors of the Zigs, but I was having a hard time blending them, so I didn't feel comfortable blogging about them. If I struggle with something, you won't see it on my blog. I really only blog things I love and techniques that are reproducible - not one-off accidents. We talked about this on a Crafty Chat too. If you see it here, I love it, I promise.
So the tip Kristina mentioned was how amazingly well the Zigs blended on Canson Bristol. I ordered some before my retreat, and just now had a chance to play with it. So I thought I'd try again with these markers on the Bristol before I gave up on them, and H-O-L-Y C-O-W does that make all the difference! They blended like Copics on this cardstock - it was night and day different from the results I was getting on watercolor paper and regular cardstock. NIGHT AND DAY.
As Jennifer said in the chat - a lot of times when we are frustrated with craft products, it's because we're using them wrong, or using them with the wrong companion products, etc. It just takes patience and a willingness to experiment to fix most of those frustrations. I could not agree more. This paper will make you love the Zigs even more.
I wanted to make a fun celestial-style background for Teresa Kline's Dare to Get Dirty challenge, so I just scribbled with the Zigs onto the Bristol, and then used a paintbrush and water to blend them. It was just dreamy! Then I flicked water droplets onto the background to give it those textured splotches. I love how reactive they are with water - very similar to Distress ink.
Then I used the shooting star from Shooting Star, also stamped on Bristol and colored with Zigs, and I fussy cut that out. Shooting Star makes ADORABLE slider cards - the matching dies are genius!! Such a cute set.
I used my Mini MISTI to position the two sentiments from Concord & 9th Written in the Stars around it. PS - this set just went into "while supplies last" status, FYI. I love the fonts.
What a difference the right tools make.
Speaking of the right tools, I found something totally not craft related that I ADORE!
Confession - this find was sparked by me finding some items in the pantry of, er, questionable date. And I mean really questionable date. Please tell me I'm not alone in this.
It completely freaks me out to have expired food sitting around, so after the latest "house blessing" I did by cleaning out various cabinets, including the pantry, I decided I needed a better food storage system that kept my oldest items at the front of my shelves.
In order to accomplish this goal, I did the thing any sensible person interested in food storage would do - I consulted a Mormon! :)
My sister and I ran a few options past my Mormon friend Melanie (also my amazing celebrity chef for my retreats, and custodian of all worthwhile cooking and sewing knowledge), and she told us which ones were garbage and which ones really work. And the result of all that is this AMAZING adjustable FIFO (first in, first out) can storage rack.
This thing is incredibly well made. The posts that separate the sections snap in and turn to lock and come in three different widths. Here are the widths I chose based on what we use the most often.
In a curious twist of fate, we also now have more room for cans. When they were sitting up straight, the cans you see here occupied the entire space presently occupied by the rack, and now I have room for many more cans of each type, so when I freak out and buy ten more cans of pumpkin at Thanksgiving I'll have room for them!
There's a running joke at my house about my tendency to overbuy both poultry seasoning and pumpkin in November but LOOK - STUFFING AND PUMPKIN PIE ARE MY FAVORITES.
Anyway - that's enough random rabbit trails for today. If you have other pantry organization tips I'd love to hear them. We have a small kitchen and a small pantry, but I love to cook, and so anything that makes the space more effective is welcome news!
And before I leave, here are my latest audiobooks I've loved - many thanks to my Facebook friends who give me great advice whenever I need a new book. I can vouch for both the stories and the narrators of these on Audible if you like audiobooks too.
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - true story and 99 kinds of eye opening
- The Cuckoo's Calling - fantastic mystery - J.K. Rowling's nom de plume
- When Breath Becomes Air - the true story of a neurosurgeon dying of lung cancer.
- If I Can't Have You - true crime - the story of Susan Powell
- The Ocean at the end of the Lane - so oddly wonderful. Dark, strange and great.
- Live Right and Find Happiness - Hilarious, as Dave Barry always is
- Going Clear - a very well done expose of Scientology