Monday, April 24, 2017

A Paper Pumpkin Thing Blog Hop

Happy Monday!

I'm just back from working at a show in Boston this past weekend, and while I was there, my friend Pam asked me if I wanted to be part of a blog hop today featuring the Paper Pumpkin Kit for April, designed by Sara Douglass.

I actually had my kits with me on that trip - I love doing those in hotels to wind down from crazy days at shows - it is fun and relaxing to just CRAFT, without having to design anything, and also to come home from a trip with some cards I can mail.

This kit was really fun and different. It came in a super sassy black and white box, with accents of our new ink color - Lemon Lime Twist - that will be in the catalog in June. It was so punchy and high contrast and all the things I love. There was also a little watercolor and a lot of black and white - seriously - all my favorite things. Well - minus cats. Not sure if Sara is a cat person, despite the numerous cats I've photoshopped onto her during her #catvention presentations.

But I wanted to do something using the AMAZING envelopes that came in the kit. I love it when they give us fun envies, which is happening more and more often in these kits. This month takes the cake. Black and white and splattered with a fun striped inside.

I wanted to highlight Sara's adorable color choice with a card that popped into my head as soon as I saw the sneak peek of the box.

It just cried out for a little T-rex. :)

Isn't he the cutest??

I did a couple fun tricks to make this card.

First - I cut down the envelope to 4" x 5.25" so I could fit it on a card front, and put glue on the two open sides to seal it closed. Then, I lined up the "wild about you" sentiment in my MISTI until the edge of the white section went between the I and the L.

I stamped the sentiment first in black ink - so half the image shows in the white part - the other half doesn't show on the black envelope. I made sure the ink on the black side was dry, and then used my embossing buddy to be sure it wouldn't pick up stray embossing powder.

I used Post-It masking tape to mask the right side of the white rectangle which would normally be for your address, where the black part of my sentiment was. Then I re-inked the stamp in white ink, and embossed with white embossing to have the second half of the sentiment pop in white.

The T-Rex and the sentiment are from a set that will be in the new catalog called Pieces & Patterns - not available until June 1. It's completely adorable and perfect for this kit! (If you do not already have a demonstrator and would like a catalog when it comes out - fill out my catalog request form.)

To color the T-Rex, I just scribbled the blue and yellow pencils on top of each other on a scrap of watercolor paper, picked some up with a wet Aquapainter, and painted him. This is an easy way to get quick, blended color. Since I was fussy cutting him, I didn't even have to stay in the lines.

Here's what the card kit looks like without a T-Rex. So fun. It came with four mini watercolor pencils and a little paintbrush as a gift.

I really hope we have more Sara-inspired card kits - this one was certainly a home run.

Paper Pumpkin is a monthly kit, featuring both cards and some 3D items - you can pre-pay for a kit, or get a subscription - just note that you have to be subscribed by the 10th of the month to get that month's kit. Each kit comes with paper, adhesive, stamps, ink and accessories - and your first kit comes with a clear block. It's $19.95 per month/kit - with free shipping.

Once the kit has shipped, refills become available while supplies last which contain all of that month's consumables (no stamp set or ink will be included).

So if you want to see some incredibly creative projects that are really outside of the Paper Pumpkin box, visit these lovely ladies to see what they've done with it.

We are giving away a very special prize to one visitor today - one of your very own Sara Thing Paper Pumpkin kits! If you leave a comment on all these designers' blogs, you will be entered to win this kit and put your own T-Rex on it :). Drawing closes on Saturday, April 29th at 9 PM EST. The winner will be announced on Monday, May 1, 2017.

Thanks for stopping by today. 


Friday, April 21, 2017

Twinkle, Twinkle

At CHA, I got to hang out with a woman I ADORE - Wendy Ramlakhan, the owner of Sugar Pea Designs. Wendy and I met when I was in Orlando years ago for a Stampin' Up! event - and she came over and had dinner with us, during which we all laughed so hard. The dinner in Phoenix was no different.

I think we even scared the cardinals. :)

Anyway, she is a delightful human being - you can see our Crafty Chat session with her here - it's great.

She brought one of her illustrators with her - Becky Pearce - who is also a delightful woman. We had so much fun. One of the cool things Wendy revealed in her Crafty Chat interview was that she chose her illustrators from children's books she saw at Barnes and Noble. It gives her images  a sweet and youthful style.

I think you could do an effective test to find out if someone is mentally unstable just by asking them: "Do you love children's book illustrators?" Yes or no - all no's have to be locked up in a hatch. I LOVE illustrated children's books. Everything from Edward Gorey, to Alice to Where the Wild Things Are. Some of my favorite art in the world is from children's books.

Today, I am guest hopping with Sugar Pea and My Sweet Petunia, and I chose an image that absolutely stole my heart - Twinkle, Twinkle. I love the love for her bear, her squeezing him tight, the fact that they are alone together, and the hopeful, wishful window. Children are often alone in children's books - off in imaginary worlds, or in places where their parents can't find them, like Oz or Wonderland. This image evokes all those worlds and stories, I think.

I had to call in reinforcements on this card - texting my friends Yoo-Rah and Kelli for advice on what to put in the window - a night sky or a blue sky - but the name of the stamp set won us over, and I had to go for stars.

So I stamped the image in Daffodil Delight and then did no-line watercolor on it. Then I colored the sky. As the last step, I stamped it again on label paper and masked off everything but the sky and then splattered white ink on it for the stars. So much fun.

But not as much fun as prizes! So if you comment on all the blogs in today's hop, you can win prizes from BOTH Sugar Pea and My Sweet Petunia. For MY blog, please leave me a comment telling me your favorite children's book!!

Here are all the stops on the hop! Enjoy the creations - these are some awesome artists.

 you are here >>>>>>Lydia Fiedler<<<<< you are here


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A New World (Ink) Order

I have had zero "free" crafting time this month, sadly. I have traveled every week in April - my next trip is in a few days. I've been hopping with the MISTI team all month and been in a few other blog hops, so I've done lots of projects for those, but not any real unstructured play time. Until yesterday. I finished the samples that I needed to get done for The Collins Show on Sunday, and declared Monday a play day after work.

I have my pre-order from the catalog, and the stamp set to play with was a no-brainer. It's the Crafting Forever set, and it rocks. One of the sentiments says "Crafting forever - housework never."

And the people said -"Amen."

I wanted to try out the new masking fluid I got - it's from Schmincke, it's ammonia-free, and works beautifully. I had tried the Molotow masking pen with no real success - I found it got gummy during application, and doesn't work equally well on different papers. But regular frisket/masking fluid smells like the devil and I hate using it. So this - which is in a container with a very fine tip - made me feel like Goldilocks in the perfect bed. Easy to apply - even to those tiny paintbrushes - doesn't gum up and doesn't stink. I'm super happy with it. It comes in blue tint as well as colorless - I like the blue, because my vision isn't good enough for the colorless one.

So I masked off the little pot and paintbrushes, and then built the background around them. I just finished it with a sentiment from the set. This is going to be a much loved set, I can tell. The other images are adorable too. It was very fun to watercolor.
No line watercolor by Understandblue

I did a video - and I'll be honest - I love doing videos for lots of reasons. I love teaching, so that's my favorite part. But right up there is the forced peace that takes place when I'm filming. I film with my phone, and so to start a video, I have to put it on do not disturb, and manually turn off all notifications so they don't interrupt my app. It's like that first time it snowed every year when I lived in New York - everything gets really, really quiet.

Sometimes, of course, I forget to turn it all back on, and then people think I'm dead. But it's really, really nice when it lasts. When social media is a big part of your job, like it is in my job - all the messages, and emails, and notifications can get crazily overwhelming, so taking a break from it is awesome. And as you know, the actual phone part of the phone I'd be happy to live without forever.

So yes, I highly recommend doing something creative every day. With your phone turned off. :)

In related news - on my Show Me Sunday team Facebook live a few days ago - I was stamping out the new In Colors I got to preorder, to show the team where they fit in the lineup of our existing colors.

When I was doing it, I stamped them with the balloon image from Super Duper in little groupings with like colors. But what we found surprised us! The new Fresh Fig, which I expected to group with our purples, made a lot more sense in the burgundy range, as it is very warm. Pool Party was much more green than blue, and I had previously had it in the blues. So after the call, I became obsessed with grouping all my inks properly, so I stamped out ALL the colors that will be current in the new catalog and grouped them this way: Reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples and neutrals. Here's how it turned out - so if you have a compulsion to ROYGBIV all the things - this is the order that makes the most sense to me.

It was easiest for me to stamp and punch them out and move them around to where they made sense. I wrote the color name on the back, and then once it was the way I liked it, I glued it onto a piece of Whisper White.

Now I just need to put the actual ink pads in the right order in my storage and my mind will be at rest. :)

2017-2018 Stampin' Up! Ink Chart by UnderstandBlue

Hope you find that helpful.

A few final notes!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Hip Hip Hooray!

I just got back from Stampin' Up!'s OnStage event in Shreveport.

I haven't driven through East Texas since I was a kid, and I forgot how beautiful it is. Tall, beautiful trees, mile after mile of peaceful farms and ranches, and 60 billion brand spanking new baby cows dotted across the Ireland-green grass.

I was particularly excited to drive through Carthage, where the movie Bernie was set. My all time favorite description of Texas is from this movie - and Carthage is forever immortalized here in this clip from the movie. Completely accurate. :)

I was lucky enough to have my team member Katherine with me, and on the 11 hours we spent in the car, we pretty much fixed all the world's problems, so you are welcome.

The event was awesome as usual, and of course we got the first look at the new catalog at CentreStage on Friday night, so if you heard oohs and aahs, it was coming from Shreveport.

It's fantastic. I was completely amazed at the extra coordination of some of the products - this is a trend that has been growing at Stampin' Up! and I love it. It stretches your crafty dollar. So for example, the bow in the Holly Berry Builder Punch also matches the bow in the Baby Bear set. Each catalog brings us more of these product mixes and I love it - it respects the investment that all of us have made in tools and supplies, and rewards it.

But my absolute favorite one of these coordinations is in this upcoming catalog. Remember this Home For Christmas DSP from the 2016 Holiday catalog? I LOVED the retro look of this paper and the beautiful way they were colored.

Well that style is back in the new catalog in a big way in my absolute favorite product suite - the Birthday Delivery suite. It's a stunning vintage, storybook stamp set in the style of Home For Christmas / Greeting Card Kids / Storybook Friends line of products. It's like a children's book come to life and it is BEAUTIFUL. It was one of the prizes at OnStage, but I didn't win it, so I have to wait for my pre-order to show you more.

But the coolest thing about this suite is that the dies that match the stamp set ALSO match the DSP - so you can cut out as many foxes, banners and other images as you want and they are perfectly colored and oh so cute.

So I'm breaking one of my own rules for the very first time, and posting a card that I did not design. I've never done this on my blog before, because I want you to get my work here, not someone else's. But our make & take was so cute, I just had to show you. Christina Nielsen - a concept artist at Stampin' Up! designed this card - it's her original work, not mine. And I love it so. This is the DSP cut with the dies - both the fox (which matches the stamp set) and the banner he's holding. Then we stamped the presents and the sentiment on the banner - thank God Katherine brought her MISTI. The suite also features new honeycomb balloons in Real Red, Daffodil Delight and Pool Party, and some baseball-style stitched ribbon, in addition to the stamps, dies and paper.
EEK I love him so, so much.

We all lined up at the Big Shots to cut them, and I didn't have tape, so my die cutting is a bit off, but you get the idea. I can't wait to cut 40 billion of these out.

One of the stamping demonstrations showed how to make "Golden Book" style cards with the yellow pattern in the DSP stack - it was adorable.

If you want to get your paws on this catalog, you can request one here if you do not already have a demonstrator. You won't be disappointed!

Now on to the important stuff - the people.

Here we are eating Papa John's by the valet stand because our hotel restaurant food was slow, cold, expensive, and served by grumpy people. We made the best of it and had fun.

This was our team dinner at a really nice steakhouse not far away. I'm not 100% sure our waiter thought we were sane people.

Frenchie modeled the ADORABLE apron we got at CentreStage - see the In Color straps? That's Lemon-Lime Twist - AMAZING new color. Hard to see here - but there's a rose on that white pocket - beautiful, graphic image from a new stamp set. Really cute apron.

Sharon is showing off her beautiful gift from Bev for promoting to Silver! Bev couldn't be with us, so she let me surprise her with it.

Caron was MILDLY excited about her prize patrol!

We have so much fun at these things. I look forward to them and wish they happened more than twice a year. There's not enough time in the world to hang out with my crafty tribe, and it was just glorious. We are all looking forward to seeing each other in November in Salt Lake - and then NEXT November in Orlando - we found out that the 30th Anniversary celebration is going to be where our conventions first began, and I could not be happier. :) I most definitely will have a retreat prior to the event.

If you want to be a part of this fun, join us here. I'd love to see you at my next team outing.

PS - the new catalog starts June 1. The retirement list is here.

 Once the retiring list is posted, as of today - all items are while supplies last. Shop here while the shopping is good!

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