Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Find Your Tribe, Love Them Hard

Let's face it - we are all strange.

Everyone I know has a quirk or a hundred of them. There are introverts and extroverts and germophobes and claustrophobes, and people who love rollercoasters and people who don't. There are people who stamp and then there are weirdos. :)

When you're a kid - you're on a quest to "fit in" to whatever your nebulous idea of the crowd around you is.

But your brain isn't developed enough to know that that is not, in fact, how to be happy.

To be happy - you just need to seek and find people who are strange - in EXACTLY the same way you are. Those people are your tribe, and you will find the most peace in their company.

This weekend, I had the huge honor of hosting my friend and artist - Kathy Racoosin.

Kathy is like a long lost sister. We have art in common, of course, but we also have a lot more. We are sisters in food preferences, vegetable washing, and our love of both whole foods and Whole Foods. We have a similar taste in books. We both love to teach, and have low tolerances for things that don't make us happy.

Her event this weekend was amazing. Working in small groups, she spent tons of time with each student, teaching them her simple tips that make her work so amazing. She is without a doubt, the world's best colorist. I'll put some of her cards I took photos of below.

She told everyone that she wanted to share that fun feeling of being with like-minded creative people that she gets at retreats she attends with TONS of people, and that's why she took her coloring challenge on the road. She funds these events herself - the fee she charges goes to the local charity of the host store's choosing, minus $5, which she uses to buy everyone lunch. She pays for her airfare, hotels, all the supplies and an awesome goodie bag for each guest. Lawn Fawn donates a stamp shammy for every person, and Honey Bee stamps donated tons of stamps for prizes, (including a sneak peek set or two!) and also gifts and coupons for the goodie bag. (I loved spending time with Lisa Cisneros from Honey Bee - I felt like I'd known her all my life.) How generous is that?

She is truly just sharing the love of what she does with her talent out of the goodness of her heart. I'm so grateful to have been a part of that.

I'm always sad when it's time to say goodbye to crafty friends at the end of these events, but I'm so glad to have just a vast community of people that I have so much in common with that I can spend time with at things like these.

We might be strange - but we are awesome.

I've had today's card on my desk for a while, waiting for just the right story.

The images are from The Cat's Pajamas, and the sentiment is from one of the new Hero Arts sets I've used in a previous post - I love this Edgar Allen Poe quote. The cute striped background is part of this gorgeous black and white paper from Stampin' Up! I colored them with the Tombow Markers listed below, and - you can't see it but I added sparkle to all the heart with Wink of Stella. I cut the little guys out with my ScanNCut 2. She has these two separate little wing dies I think would look so cute behind these images.

Beauty and some strangeness by Understand Blue
Weird & Wonderful
[ HA ]
Sent with Love – The Cat's Pajamas...
[ THC ]
Petal Passion Designer Series Paper...
[ SUP ]
Tombow Marker
[ BLIC ]
Tombow Marker
[ BLIC ]
Tombow Marker
[ BLIC ]
Tombow Marker
[ BLIC ]
Tombow Marker
[ BLIC ]
Tombow Marker
[ BLIC ]
Tombo Marker
[ BLIC ]
Tombow Marker
[ BLIC ]
Clear Wink Of Stella Glitter Brush...
[ SUP ]
Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby...
[ AMZUS ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
Multipurpose Liquid Glue by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]

Their faces remind me a bit of Edward Gorey's art. I love them.

Now I will do a video soon, but I tried a new to me no-line coloring ink this weekend at the coloring event for the very first time, and it is my ONE TRUE NO-LINE INK! I am absolutely in love, and our guests got to see it in action as I taught watercolor tips this weekend. Here's a work in progress that I'll blog later - but you can see how much detail you can see with the ink to guide you while you paint, but that it completely fades out without adding any unwanted color to your image!! So you can see on the uncolored parts that the ink is clearly visible and easy to paint in details over, but on the colored portions - the red, blue, yellow - any color - the ink just disappears. Many thanks to my friend Ellie Wilkins for pointing this ink out to me. And I got it lightning fast, and the owners are very kind. When I asked about the ink, she told me she had poured her heart and soul into the creation of this ink, and I told her - it shows! If you like no-line coloring, I cannot tell you how much you will love this ink. Made in the USA.

Work in Progress No Line Watercolor by Understand Blue
Fadeout No Line coloring Detail Ink
[ INK ]
Hey, Pumpkin | 4x8 Stamp Set - Honey...
[ HNB ]
Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors -...
[ BLIC ]
DaVinci Vinci Cosmotop Spin Brush,...
[ ELH | BLIC ]
Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. Cold Press...
[ AMZUS ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ MSW | HA | SSS | ELH | MFT | SBC ]
Lawn Fawn STAMP SHAMMY Cleaner LF1045
[ SSS | ELH | ART | SBC ]
Nesting Porcelain Bowls - BLICK art...
[ BLIC ]



Finally - here's one of Kathy's beauties from this weekend. Look how her work just glows. You'd think that creating it is impossible, but she broke down the process into simple tips everyone can use to enhance their colored images. She's a genius. I encourage you to subscribe to her blog and YouTube channel too! If you're lucky enough to be in Missouri - sign up for her next event here -- hosted by the amazing Marcella Hawley of Power Poppy!

Kathy Racoosin watercolor with Tombow

I hope you had a great weekend and are ready for whatever this week brings.

It was so fun to meet some of you this weekend - thank you so much for reading my blog and then coming out to this class. I love nothing more than meeting people who have visited and commented here! Hugs all around!

Loveyameanitbye.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Some Birthday Heffalumps

I'm trying to get better about birthday cards this year - I really am! It's not like I don't have enough cards, after all.

Today I have another sample I made for Creativation. I made two of nearly every sample - one for Creativation and one for the show in Germany - but on this card, it took such a long time to watercolor the mandala, I only made one for the US. But I LOVED this card.

I just embossed the mandala, and outlined the embossed areas with two Tombow markers - 725 and 752. Then I used my Aquapainter to pull the color out a bit. I love these colors together, and they're so bright and happy next to the grey elephants. These are the color-layering elephants, which I die cut with the matching dies and made them march along the curve.
Color layering elephants by Understand Blue
Mandala Bold Print Stamp
[ HA | SSS | ELH | SBC ]
Hero Arts Color Layering ELEPHANT...
[ SSS | ELH ]
Hero Arts Color Layering Frame Cuts...
[ SSS | ELH ]
Tombow Dual Brush Pens and Sets
[ BLIC | SSS | SBC ]
Aqua Painters by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]
Soft Granite Shadow Ink - Hero Arts
[ HA | SSS | ELH | SBC ]
Hero Arts Intense Black Ink
[ HA | SSS | ELH | SBC ]
Versamark Pad (102283)
[ SUP ]
Brutus Monroe ALABASTER Ultra Fine...
[ SSS ]
Strathmore? 300 Series 9" x 12"...
[ ART | JGG ]
Heat Tool (Us And Canada) by Stampin'...
[ SUP ]
Whisper White Cardstock - Thick
[ SUP ]
Sizzix BIG SHOT EXPRESS Gray and...
[ SSS | ART | BMS | SBC ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
Multipurpose Liquid Glue by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]

Are you good about sending birthday cards? If so, what's your system? I'd love to know!

I'm off to pick up Kathy Racoosin for her Texas Coloring Challenge on the road! I hope to see some of you there!

Loveyameanitbye.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Hero Arts 2018 Catalog Hop + Giveaway

Truly the hardest thing in the world is to make a card and then not blog it for months. I made some samples for the Hero Arts booth at Creativation, and have had to keep them a secret since November. At least you know you can trust me! :)

When I was little, we had a very small linen closet at the top of the stairs. Being on the second floor, it was already warmer than the rest of the house - but it also was up against the sloping part of the roof, so the closet was especially warm. There were stacks and stacks of blankets in there (God knows why - it wasn't often that you needed a blanket in that part of the world), and towels and sheets. 

For some reason, I used to climb up on top of all of the linens - almost to where my head was touching the ceiling, and read books for hours. We didn't have a TV for much of my childhood, so my entertainment was primarily books and radio, and the books were primarily read in this warm, cozy nest of the linen closet. 

Those reading sessions were the inspiration for this first card. When I saw the images in the Story Time set, they just melted my heart - it's exactly how I feel about books. So I went dramatic, with a galaxy background on watercolor paper, my favorite moon man from Astronomical, and the little boy from the set. Those of you who love to read will be totally at home in this card. I drew the stars with a white gel pen, and colored him with Copics (E09, E15, E08, E44, C3, BG96, BG93, B41, B45, E11, E51, PV000, W2, W1, W5, W7, B52, B04, RV09 - a lot, I know! 

Book Dreams Watercolor Card by UnderstandBlue












Story Time
[ HA ]
Story Time Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
Astronomical Stamp Set
[ HA ]
Astronomical Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors -...
[ BLIC ]
Fabriano Extra White Cold Press...
[ BLIC ]
09331-8002 - Escoda Versatil Brushes...
[ BLIC ]
Sakura WHITE MEDIUM POINT Gelly Roll...
[ SSS | MFT | ART | BLIC ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ HA ]
Copic sketch Markers at Simon Says...
[ SSS | BLIC ]
Whisper White Cardstock - Thick
[ SUP ]
Multipurpose Liquid Glue by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
Sizzix BIG SHOT EXPRESS Gray and...
[ SSS | SBC | ART | BMS | CST ]

And for something completely different - I had a ton of fun with the new Paper Layering Swan die. You know these are my thing. I wanted to make a black and a white swan, but I went with really deep blue-grey watercolor for the black one, and just added a ton of water to my lightest grey for shadows on the white swan. Since there were feathers, I wanted my watercolor pretty loose to give the impression of texture. I brushed Soft Granite ink with a stencil brush through the Abstract Waves stencil for the background, and used the Circle Infinity dies and the Color Layering Swan bundle for the sentiment. It's all on a Sunshine Mix Layering Paper card base - these are nice for card bases because the inside is white.
Paper Layering Swan Card by Understand Blue












Paper Layering Swan with Frame
[ HA ]
Color Layering Swan Bundle
[ HA ]
Circle Infinity Dies (H)
[ HA ]
Hero Arts Abstract Waves Stencil
[ HA ]
Claritystamp STENCIL BRUSHES Set of 4...
[ SSS | ELH | MFT | CRF | ART ]
Soft Granite Shadow Ink - Hero Arts
[ HA ]
Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors -...
[ BLIC ]
Fabriano Extra White Cold Press...
[ BLIC ]
09331-8002 - Escoda Versatil Brushes...
[ BLIC ]
Sunshine Mix Layering Papers (12) |...
[ HA ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ HA ]
Whisper White Cardstock - Thick
[ SUP ]
Multipurpose Liquid Glue by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
Sizzix BIG SHOT EXPRESS Gray and...
[ SSS | SBC | ART | BMS | CST ]

For the Elephant Pair Stamp, I just stamped these little guys in black, and then cut a mask out for them using my ScanNCut2 and this removable label paper. I then brushed Green Apple ink through the Delicate Petals Stencil, added a sentiment from one of my favorite sets in the Spring Catalog - Weird and Wonderful - and added Green Ombre sequins, being careful to adhere some of the holes cut from the sequins as well - I love those. I attached all of them with Ranger Multi Medium Matte and a jewel picker and patience. I did use the "fling" method to determine placement - just fling a handful on the card and glue them where they land. I store my sequins and other loose embellishments in this organizer, in ROYGBIV order.

Elephant Pair Card by UnderstandBlue















Elephant Pair
[ HA ]
Weird & Wonderful
[ HA ]
Delicate Petals Stencil | Hero Arts
[ HA ]
Green Apple Bold Ink
[ HA ]
Hero Arts Intense Black Ink
[ HA ]
Claritystamp STENCIL BRUSHES Set of 4...
[ SSS | ELH | ART | CRF | MFT ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ HA ]
Foliage Mix Layering Papers (12) |...
[ HA ]
Whisper White Cardstock - Thick
[ SUP ]
Avery Self-Adhesive Removable Laser...
[ AMZUS ]
Marvy Uchida JEWEL PICKER Tool 91GRC
[ SSS | MFT ]
Ombre Green Sequins Hero Arts
[ HA ]
Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 Home & Hobby...
[ AMZUS ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
Multipurpose Liquid Glue by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]
Ranger .5 Oz. MINI MULTI MEDIUM MATTE...
[ SSS | MFT | ART | SBC | ELH | ART ]
Sizzix BIG SHOT EXPRESS Gray and...
[ SSS | SBC | ART | BMS | CST ]

Then I went back to sort of a book-themed card with the adorable rabbit and tiny cup from Woodland Tea Party, and the sentiment from Mouse Tea Party. I masked the rabbit before I stamped the stump so that he would look like he was on his tippy toes on the edge. I colored the whole thing with Copics (R29, RV13, C3, C5, E57, E37 and 110) and die cut two ovals from the Oval Infinity die - the mat in black. Then for the background, I wanted an Alice in Wonderland feel, so I used a sponge dauber to sponge Strawberry and Intense black ink through the Spades stencil on a white panel. I matted that in black and put it all on a white card base. 
Rabbit with Tea card by Understand Blue














Woodland Tea Party
[ HA ]
Woodland Tea Party Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
Mouse Tea Party
[ HA ]
Mouse Tea Party Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
AF334 Strawberry Bold Ink
[ HA ]
Hero Arts Intense Black Ink
[ HA ]
Spades Stencil
[ HA ]
Sponge Applicator, Sponge Dauber 25 pk
[ ELH | SBC | ART ]
Hero Arts Oval Infinity Dies
[ HA ]
Copic sketch Markers at Simon Says...
[ SSS | BLIC ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ HA ]
Whisper White Cardstock - Thick
[ SUP ]
PS697 Midnight Mixed Layering Papers...
[ HA ]
Avery Self-Adhesive Removable Laser...
[ AMZUS ]
Multipurpose Liquid Glue by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
Sizzix BIG SHOT EXPRESS Gray and...
[ SSS | SBC | ART | BMS | CST ]

But the Woodland Tea Party was too cute to leave, so I had to pair it with super fun scene background, made with the Into the Woods stencil, Wet Cement Ink and stencil brushes. If you were at Creativation, you might have done this make & take with me! 

I stamped and cut out the fox and the mushrooms and colored them with Copics (YR14, YR27, YR07, E09, B24, B26, N6, W3, R29),  and cleaned up the edges with a Gasenfude Pen - I like this one because the soft nylon brush gets into the nooks and crannies. The card base is from the Earth Mix papers. This is a super fast card - that stencil does all the work. 80+ people made this card in three hours! The sentiment is from the Make a Fountain set.
Into the Woods Card by Understand Blue












Into The Woods Stencil
[ HA ]
Woodland Tea Party
[ HA ]
Woodland Tea Party Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
Make a Fountain
[ HA ]
Hero Arts Intense Black Ink
[ HA ]
Wet Cement Mid-Tone Shadow Ink | Hero...
[ HA ]
Claritystamp STENCIL BRUSHES Set of 4...
[ SSS | ART | ELH | MFT | CRF ]
Copic sketch Markers at Simon Says...
[ SSS | BLIC ]
Copic Marker GASENFUDE Nylon Brush...
[ SSS | BLIC ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ HA ]
Whisper White Cardstock - Thick
[ SUP ]
PS697 Midnight Mixed Layering Papers...
[ HA ]
Multipurpose Liquid Glue by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
Sizzix BIG SHOT EXPRESS Gray and...
[ SSS | SBC | ART | BMS | CST ]

And last but not least - a fun Newspaper background stamp to go with this sweet pup from Headline Messages. Reminds me of my golden retriever I had as a child. The sentiment is from Make a Fountain. I colored the dog with Copics (C3, C5, Y13, Y19) and the Ombre Sunshine sequins (again with the fling method.) I used the Circle Infinity Dies for the dog and Sunshine Mix Layering Paper.
Dog card by Understand Blue
















Newspaper Bold Print
[ HA ]
Headline Messages
[ HA ]
Make a Fountain
[ HA ]
Circle Infinity Dies (H)
[ HA ]
Hero Arts Intense Black Ink
[ HA ]
Copic sketch Markers at Simon Says...
[ SSS | BLIC ]
Copic Marker GASENFUDE Nylon Brush...
[ SSS | BLIC ]
Simon Says Stamp Sequins SUNSHINE MIX...
[ SSS ]
Marvy Uchida JEWEL PICKER Tool 91GRC
[ SSS | ELH | ART ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ HA ]
Whisper White Cardstock - Thick
[ SUP ]
Sunshine Mix Layering Papers (12) |...
[ HA ]
Multipurpose Liquid Glue by Stampin' Up!
[ SUP ]
Ranger .5 Oz. MINI MULTI MEDIUM MATTE...
[ SSS | ELH | MFT | ART | SBC ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
Sizzix BIG SHOT EXPRESS Gray and...
[ SSS | SBC | ART | BMS | CST ]
Orangemonkie Foldio2 15-Inch Folding...
[ AMZUS ]
ORANGEMONKIE [Foldio3] Portable Photo...
[ AMZUS ]
Entire Spring Collection from Hero Arts
[ HA ]

Now before I tell you about the blog hop today - I just wanted to share a peek behind the curtain as to how I work when I get new stamps. When I buy new stamps I can't wait to use, I keep them all in a fridge bin on my desk so I'm prompted to reach for those when I sit down. When I know I'll be blogging them later, as I make the card, I write the supplies down on a Post-It note which I stick on the back of my card. Then I put the cards into my Foldio2 for photographing (There's a Foldio3 out now. I love my Foldio2 and it's more affordable.) After they get photographed, they go into the card rack in my office (I use this one) and the Post-Its go into my planner for what day I plan to blog them.

In this case I had a spreadsheet that I stuck the Post-It's on to keep track of what I had made for Creativation and for PaperWorld. I just hung onto that until today, when they were nice enough to let me guest hop with them for the new catalog!

I just thought it would be fun for you to see the OTHER part of "just" making a card. :)


So on to the blog hop! The Hero Team has some prizes for readers on the hop. They will choose three lucky commenters to win $50 shopping sprees. Please comment by February 22nd, at 11:59 PM PT to be eligible to win. 

It's a huge honor to guest in this amazing list of people! I'll be hopping alongside you today. 


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