Tuesday, September 27, 2016


When I was little, our biggest treat EVER was going to Baskin Robbins. I can still smellmember (yes, that's my new word for remembering a smell, which seems impossible to do but we still do it) the sort of frosty smell when you opened the door of the store. And even though I had my go-to favorites (Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Orange, Coffee, Jamoca and Daiquiri Ice), I still looked at every single flavor every time.

I loved the little taster spoons you could get because then I COULD try a few new things but still have my favorites. Sometimes we brought my cat Cucumber with us - and BR would give us these TINY cones for cats and dogs - maybe 3" tall - and we'd bring the tiny cone back to the car and give the cat his ice cream.

My all time favorite still is a sugar cone with Mint Chocolate chip. I hate cold chocolate, but the Baskin Robbins chocolate in that ice cream - at least back then - was shaved, so it melted the second you took a lick. It was as perfect as an ice cream gets.

But once year, during the holidays, I'd break out of my mold and get their candy ice cream. It was pink, minty ice cream, and it had tiny, crunchy, multi-colored hard candies in it. I think those candies were also minty.

When I was sitting down to work on a card for one of the card drives for Falliday Fest, I looked over at the sets sitting on my desk and BOOM - that candy ice cream turned into a birthday card in my head. Baskin Robbins was part of our birthdays as well - we almost always got an ice cream cake - mint chocolate chip for me and orange chocolate for my brother.

Part of my design process is to let stamps sit on my desk for a while while I work on other things - so my newest purchases are always within eyeshot of me. They sort of steep in my head, and then things like this happen and I get a card idea.

So I had the Brushed Cheers and Holiday Confetti sets from The Ton sitting in my new stamp pile - waiting for inspiration for that big, brushstroke sentiment - I love how it looks handpainted. I took the confetti corner and stamped it on each side in So Saffron, and then filled in in Pool Party and Blushing Bride with the smaller confetti stamps. It honestly looks good enough to eat :).

The card base is Pink Pirouette. Kind of an odd size because that's also what was on my desk. Finished cards size is 5.25" x 4 1/8".

links to supplies

Here's a real time video of how that card comes together.

This card is for the fourth card drive of Falliday Fest, and that will be revealed on October 20th. The event itself starts October 9th. We will have four card drives during the event for really special, sweet organizations, so I hope you'll join us!

Then I took the same confetti stamp and made a quick gift card holder with the Gift Card Thinlits. This is one of those dies that saves you when you're late for birthday party, because you can cut a cute holder in two seconds and stamp it up and look like you were actually prepared for something, which is rare :).

links to supplies

I wrapped it like a present with Basic Black Twine, and left the naughty or nice decision to the recipient.

I'm not Santa after all...

I'm hopping with some amazingly talented friends today - I stalk many of these people on Facebook and Instagram because they are so, so talented, so have fun taking a look!

And next time you're at Baskin Robbins, have a sugar cone with some mint chocolate chip for me, will ya?


Friday, September 23, 2016

Why are Tigers so Delicious?

I was on Pinterest the other day doing some work for Falliday Fest, and I stumbled across some holiday treats that were made of tigers.

Well not really MADE of tigers, but CALLED tigery things, because apparently Tigers taste like peanut butter.

I first learned that tigers tasted like peanut butter in the late 70s, when my mother discovered the insanely delicious Tiger's Milk bars. I freaking LOVED those things and was quite glad that tigers produced milk that tasted like peanut butter.

Then there's Tiger Butter fudge, Tiger Bark and Tiger Bars.

These many tiger-themed recipes, all of which contain peanut butter, cannot be a coincidence. Tigers clearly taste like peanut butter. God help the first people who discovered this. I imagine it was quite terrifying to get close enough to a tiger to give him a lick.

Now that that mystery is solved, let's have a card, shall we?

A few weeks ago in my stamping class we made a card with the detailed Santa thinlits die - WHICH I LOVE. And I had a few cuts left over after class that had been lurking about my desk until I decided to use one as a mask for one of my Falliday Fest samples.

I brushed three colors of ink over the mask onto the card base with my Clarity Stencil brushes and deliberately made the top left near his face the lightest part of the card - I wanted to make him part illusion and part reality to go with my sentiment.

I used the Sophisticated Script set from Concord & 9th to stamp "believe" - I actually started with the last letter of the word and worked left (pro tip - write the word down before starting if spelling backwards is not one of your spiritual gifts!). I love how no matter what you're spelling, all the letters link up.

Links to supplies:

He's so very cool in blue. :)

This would make a great Christmas card because start to finish it was five minutes to make. Speaking of Christmas cards - I have a new online class up using the Christmas Pines bundle if you are interested!

About three minutes of this card are captured in a quick video for you!

Now I'm off to find a delicious, peanut buttery tiger for a snack!

But speaking of delicious, I have to share my new favorite recipe of all time - Coconut Almond Granola. I'm not typically a granola fan because I find it too sweet and too polluted with cinnamon. (Cinnamon should be confined to cinnamon toast, Big Red gum, toothpicks and pumpkin pie, in my opinion!) This, with a touch of salt and not too much sweet stuff for the quantity of oats is AMAZING. I like it on Fage 2% plain yogurt. This recipe is via my friend Bev Rousch - bevmom on Splitcoast.

  • 1 cup whole almonds, divided (I used roasted, salted almonds)
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    Other ingredients as desired - I added dried cranberries the second time - amazing. 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse half of the almonds until they are very finely chopped. Pour them into a large bowl. Then chop the other half of the almonds coarsely, and pour them into the same bowl.
  3. Pour the oats, salt, and brown sugar into the bowl with the almonds and stir to combine.
  4. In a small microwaveable bowl, combine honey and coconut oil, and heat for 40 seconds. Stir to dissolve the coconut oil, and add the vanilla and almond extract.
  5. Pour the honey mixture over the oats, and stir so that they are evenly coated.
  6. Pour the oat mixture evenly onto a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet (helpful if it has sides).
  7. Bake for 7 minutes, and then stir and spread back to an even layer. Return to the oven for 7 more minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. I actually then turned the oven off and left it in there for another ten minutes or so - because the first time I made it it wasn't crunch with the original cooking time.
  8. Pour the granola and onto a piece of wax paper to cool. Spread it out into a thin layer - about 1/2 inch thick.
  9. After it cools completely, break the granola into clusters and store in an airtight container.

No tigers were harmed in the making of this granola.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Clown That Never Was

Sometimes things don't turn out like you expect them to.

For example, sometimes you sit down to watercolor a beautiful vintage Santa image and you end up having the living daylights scared out of you by a Google image search for "French clowns." True story.

This Santa image is super detailed and sketchy. I had a rougher textured hot press than my normal Fabriano - (I love the size of this block - 5x7 because I can get two cards out of that if I'm painting small images) so I stamped him 3 times with my Mini MISTI in black, knowing that I was going to stamp him again after I painted. Some watercolors have opaque pigments in them - like the peachy one I used for his face - and if you don't overstamp, the lines of the image will look dull when you're done. So I left the stamp set up on my mini MISTI while I painted so that I could just pop it back in, stamp a few more times and crisp it up after it was dry.

Then I started painting, trying to be careful around the details, not putting too much color on anything but his coat.

And then I saw it.

If you were watching a horror movie of this scene, you'd be screaming at the screen right now.

I noticed that hanging from the left side of Santa's belt was....

a French clown

Specifically a Pierrot-ish creature. 

Because I was immersed in my audio book, without thinking, because I couldn't remember hideous little Pierrot's name from my childhood, I grabbed my phone and Googled "French clown," in an attempt to color the little monster accurately.

and then I clicked "images".

never, ever, Google image search French clowns.

Trust me on this. You're welcome. I am typing this from deep inside the Institute for PTSD, just FYI.

After I regained consciousness and changed my drawers, I decided just not to color that part at all. And honestly you don't even notice that there's a little face eating clown there at all with the detailed image and the watercolor paper. Except that now you know. So in essence, this could be a Halloween OR a Christmas card, you choose.
Father Christmas Watercolor by Understand Blue

Links to supplies

Anyway, I really do love the vintage Father Christmas who is about to have his face eaten off. He's so innocent and sweet. And doomed.

I stuck him back in the MISTI and overstamped a few more times to get the most out of the image. Then I paired it with a sweet sentiment from Forever Evergreen. This is a 4 Bar Card (3 1/2" x 4 7/8"), so that gives you an idea of the size of the image. It's pretty tall. This card is actually a sample for one of our Falliday Fest challenges - I hope you'll join us!

Anyway - speaking of the Mini MISTI - we did a review of it at Splitcoast today, and in conjunction with the review - there's a coupon code! Use code SCSKIND to not only get a 15% discount, but she is also donating a portion of the proceeds from the coupon code sales to the Kind Campaign - an anti-bullying organization. Click here to use the code on anything in her store!

The coupon is good through the 15th. Go forth, without searching for clowns, and shop.

Don't search those clowns.



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