Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Happy Birthday to EVERYONE :)

Well - the fact of the matter is that today is my birthday.

I'm 30.

I'm also a liar.

I definitely am 30 multiplied by X, which you will not be able to solve for because I refuse to give you Y. Take that, algebra!

ANYWAY, because it's my birthday, I am celebrating with some friends who are also having a birthday this month - Greg & Angie at Concord & 9th.

Greg and Angie are unbelievably great people, which is the first thing you need to know about them before we even talk about crafting. They are just sweet, fun, nice, hardworking, funny and kind people. Those are the kind of people I like spending my hard-earned dollars with.

Crafting is a complete luxury, and I don't know anyone with an unlimited craft budget, so HOW we spend our crafty dollars is important. And the nice factor influences me heavily, and it's why I'm a huge fan of these two people and their business.

They are celebrating a super important birthday this month - August 9th is their first birthday.

In some ways I can't believe it's only been a year, because they have been so successful and it seems like such a mature company.

In others, it seems like it's flown by in a blur since their first release.

I'm very happy they are part of the crafty industry and I'm grateful to call them friends.

I had a hard time picking what to use for their birthday card today, but a Dare to Get Dirty Challenge on Splitcoast inspired me, and so I chose the Blossom Bundle, because I feel like it best represents their style.

What's funny about what I did though is that this because a sort of never-ending card, because I was doing die-cut inlay with two different materials - one was white cardstock, and the other was watercolor paper I did washes on with my Mijello Mission Gold watercolor.

So what that means, is that on the first pass through the Big Shot, you already have two cards' worth of stuff - an outline and the insides. But then you have to cut a second set so that you can replace either the innards or the outards. Well now you have the stuff to make FOUR cards with.

And on and on like die-cut inlay is the papercrafting equivalent of sourdough starter!

However I had to stop after three cards because I saw a squirrel or something. But here are the first three.

On this first one, I built a background with their Stripe Builder set and Smoky Slate Ink - just overlapping it in my MISTI. I thought the grey would be a nice contrast to me eye-popping Opera Pink watercolor. Then I put the white die-cut outline down, and pieced the watercolor pieces back in with the help of Press-n-Seal. Then I added some clear mini dewdrops - I don't remember where I got them! (Note - as you age, remember to write notes. You'll thank me when YOU turn 30.)

So here's how card #1 came out. I really loved the warm vs. cool.

Then, to use up the inside pieces from the white die cut, I pieced them back into the piece I'd cut the watercolor bits from.

But because I just put the white inside pieces back in, that meant I still had a watercolor outline to use. So that birthed card #3. But now I had to cut a second white one, because the watercolor outline looked better with white pieces pieced back into the outline!

But at some point you have to stop and get dressed and do your laundry and all those adulting things that don't care if you've created a never-ending card process. Jerky adulting things! Funsquashers!

So anyway - happy birthday to my friends at Concord & 9th! And for MY birthday, they are nice enough to let me give away a $20 gift certificate to their store. And since it's MY giveaway, I get to ask you to do something.

So since I am constantly walking and listen to several books a week on Audible, I'm always running out of good audiobook selections. So in order to be entered in my giveaway, I want you to comment with a book that you just love. Please let me know when you comment if it's an audiobook and if you recommend the recording, but paper book recommendations are welcome too!

One lucky winner will get the shopping spree and I'll announce the winner next week!

And if you want to see the rest of their birthday hoppers, each one has a gift certificate to give away too, so enjoy the list here!

I look forward to seeing your books! I'm off to have bacon and see the new Star Trek movie!


Monday, August 22, 2016

Deer World...

This might be the earliest I've ever started holiday crafting. I'm going to take this as a sign that I am becoming more organized, since no other visible signs of this exist anywhere in my environment.

Since Texas is offset from the rest of the country in terms of weather, it's always fun to play with images that are wintery - just because we never really experience that. It's probably how northern people treasure beachy images.

But one of my FAVORITE images that to us Texicans isn't a wintery image, but to the rest of the world can be, is DEER and other things antler-y.

We live in very close contact with deer here. Billions and billions of deer, and they are such pretty little things. It's pretty common where I am to have momma deer leave their babies on porches while they go eat during the day - they are all over our neighborhoods, and you just learn the various ways to live with them, be careful around their fawns, help them with water during a drought, and plant plants they won't eat in your garden. In real life, as well as in stamp imagery, they're just some of my favorite things.

One deer in particular has caught my little crafty eye this year, and that's the Color Layering Deer. HE'S SO PERFECTLY DEER-ISH!

So, thanks to this sweet deer being in my house, I'm hopping with some friends today to celebrate Hero Arts Winter Catalog, in which my adorable deer resides. I love every single person on this hop - I hope you check them all out after you leave here - they are amazing people!

And since you know I don't normally like traditional Christmas colors, I made this sassy deer in warm pinks (Pink Pirouette, Flirty Flamingo, Watermelon Wonder, Cherry Cobbler) and acidic green (Green Apple). He is cool because while the layers make him very realistic, the style of the artwork is also very poster-y and graphic. So I think my modern colors speak to that modern look he has. I paired him with the Delicate Petals Stencil for the bright background, which I made by lightly brushing Green Apple ink through the stencil with the Clarity Stencil Brushes for a deer-y glow. And since he's sort of a funky little hipster deer, he wishes you nothing but peace, man. Peace. (Sentiment from the Color Layering Cardinal Set.)

Color Layering Deer by Understand Blue
And while we're on the subject of deer, I had to play with another, very different little deer, who also speaks to my deer-loving heart. This little guy is from the Origami Happy Holidays set with a sentiment from the Color Layering Snowy Tree set.

I loved him in black and white, so I just stamped him and cut him out, and then cut up a Gelli Plate print I did a few weeks ago with my sister, using Dylusions paint and the Bold Floral Stencil - because lo and behold - MY PRINT WAS RED AND GREEN! :) After I just got done telling you I never do that for Christmas! I'm apparently a liar. But my deer is super cute and festive! So try to overlook that.We're all sinners, right?

So if you want to see the beauties some of my fellow professional shoppers have made with the Hero Winter goodies, hop along, and comment for a chance to win one of three $25 shopping sprees! Who doesn't want a crafty gift card for Christmas? Crazy people, that's who - and I know y'all aren't crazy.

Do be a deer and make something pretty this week, y'all. :)


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Let Them Eat Cake

I was a little bit of an outsider in the cake department as a child.

I was one of the few tiny humans I know that was completely revolted by frosting. I still am, for the most part.

At birthday parties, the frosting was the overly sweet, gritty, garishly colored upcycled Crisco, and I really just couldn't. I wasn't big on sweets even as a kid, but I always thought that that type of frosting wasn't even actually food. I still don't think it is.

My favorite cake much more closely resembles unfrosted white wedding cake or just a good plain pound cake. Or just skip all that and give me a potato chip.

In an ironic twist, I actually got a blue ribbon for a cake I made at a 4H contest. And it wasn't sweet at all. It had a thin layer of dark chocolate as the "frosting" and between the layers, and it was a really pretty Neapolitan cake.

But the combination of not really liking sugar that much and living in a boiling hot climate have conspired to eliminate baking from my life, with the notable exception of my annual Free Range Fruitcake festival.

But what I really love is to LOOK at cake. Especially on Pinterest. And especially tiered cakes.

Maybe it's the architecture of a tiered cake that I love. I love that they look like little buildings, with room on each floor for three-dimensional decorations. I'm pretty sure I'd never eat fondant, but it's spectacularly beautiful. I also don't think I'd eat marzipan, but the little fruits made out of it and dusted with color are a feast for the eyes. And look - here's a marziPANDA.

It's all very Alice In Wonderland to me, the world of cake.

So I'll take you down a cake rabbit hole with me today with my post for the Splitcoast Inspiration challenge. I'm filling in for the completely amazing Audrie today. I always get nervous subbing for Audrie, because she is so, so good at what she does.

But I found this gorgeous Etsy shop for my inspiration. Book worshipers - avert your eyes. Some books are about to be sacrificed on the altar of art up in here!

This shop has everything I love - old books, illustrations, children's stories. So fantastic.

So that is our inspiration site for today.

For my card, I chose the singularly beautiful Happy Day stamp and die bundle from Concord & 9th for a very good reason - my inlaws' 50th anniversary party is today! So this is the card I made for them. Vintage Watercolor for some vintage celebrating :)

Vintage Watercolor Cake by Understand Blue

Isn't that a fun, low calorie cake?

It was super easy to make too. I made a little video for you of the process.

And while you're watching that - I'm off to eat cake! :)


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