Monday, January 31, 2011

True Grit

I did not want to see this movie.

I objected on principle. Actually, I objected on several principles. First and foremost, the absurdity of "remaking" John Wayne. Pfft. Surely that invokes some horrible supernatural cinematic wrath.

One can hope.

Oh, but people kept telling me those Coen boys made it okay. These people have KNOWN allegiance to the Duke, and so I was plagued with doubt until I could resist no longer.

And I went.

And thank goodness for that.

It was a GLORIOUS movie. The story, by design, was different from the original, but they preserved the sacred mental strength and sass and determination of little Mattie, and Jeff Bridges was beyond brilliant. It had the added darkness that only the Coen brothers can do, but it also had that one simple thing that all great westerns have, and it was with that one thing that they won my heart.

I long for this one thing in all movies that aren't westerns, and I'm usually disappointed. It's easy to get the feeling wrong, and most do. Some don't.

What was, and is, great about westerns is that they show you a world where the only things between you and justice are time and geography.

Wait. Climb a hill. Cross a river. But you will find it.

And in this version, they perfectly delivered the feeling that there were no other forces between Mattie and Tom Chaney.

Justice was personal, and final. It had its own gravity. It was black and white and red all over. And I loved it.

So I made a card...There's a scene near the beginning where Mattie walks past a bowl of apples. In movie time, it was a long moment, and I wondered why. It wasn't an accident and it was very nicely done.

So I used today's Try a New Technique Challenge to make my little scene. The challenge called for heat embossing on dry embossing. I took some Poppy Parade and embossed with my Vintage Wallpaper folder. Then I rubbed Versamark on the raised parts, added clear embossing powder and heat embossed that. Hard to see the shine here, I know.

I stamped the apples from Studio Sketches in Basic Black on Poppy Parade and cut them out. I adhered them to the image I had stamped in black on Crumb Cake and then covered the whole image with Crystal Effects. I hung the little crown of justice :) from hemp twine. I used a 1 3/8" punch and my Circles #2 die for the apples and just a strip of Newsprint DSP at the bottom for the black and white. :)

Oh, and Poppy Parade is now officially my new favorite color and I'll be ordering metric tons. It's definitely the new red.

So how do you like them apples?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

An Open Letter to McDonald's

I worked at McDonald's when I was a teenager. It was my first "corporate" job, and I learned so much there. I think of my McDonald's experience as a sort of boot camp for the career minded. The work was precise and formulaic, and we were trained so well that we could execute our tasks in our sleep - which was quite handy since I worked the obscenely early shift and was on deck at the crack of cranky every day.

The precision was a thing of beauty. We had a machine that dispensed an identical amount of ketchup and mustard onto each glorious little cow sandwich. The fries and Filet-O-Fish™ (still my favorite) had a timer, and were never over or under done. God only knows what sort of time/motion studies they had done over the years to produce this sort of consistency, and truly it made our jobs easier. One the best things I ever learned there was the dis-assembly each day of the soda machine, so that all the parts could sit in bleach overnight. Subsequent establishments I worked for did no such hygienic work, I can assure you. I will not detail those differences for fear of scarring you.

However, I admired that organization then and I do now.

But we do have one little problem that needs to be resolved.

For some reason - probably on the advice of a overpaid and nincompoopy consultant, they have installed bizarre drink conveyor belts, upon which the drinks are filled by a computer.

They fill the drink precisely as you would imagine a computer would do it - VERY POORLY WITH MUCH SPILLING OF BEVERAGE ALL OVER THE OUTSIDE OF THE CUP.

The poor window workers then take a rag (gross) and not very carefully wipe off the cups, having resigned themselves to this asinine procedure and apparently not in the mood to start a revolution, and hand the victim (me) a wet and sticky drink. 100% of the time. And again today, at which point I snapped.

It's maddening. I do not understand why they have not rolled back this horrendous time, product and pain waster. It's beneath their finely tuned reputation, in my opinion. We've been drinking fountain drinks for nearly 100 years and suddenly we are going backwards. Why not just pick up the drink hose and spray us with it at the drive through? Then at least the worker could stay clean and I would be the only sticky one. Just a suggestion.

I'm not too tired to start a revolution. Who's with me? Sticky handed Filet-O-Fish™ lovers unite!!

While we give them a minute to accommodate our demands, how about a card? When I worked at McDonald's, we wore polyester knit uniforms that were a deep, sort of 70's Astro's baseball orange, so I think this card is perfect for my revolution! I made this for my homies Chriss & Yvonne - we get together for some stampy fun once a month and always do a challenge/card exchange.

This was the first time I got to use the new Build a Blossom set and matching punch. I stamped it on First Edition paper, arranging three stamps on a clear block first so they matched my punch, and then just punched them out! Easy, no wasting paper! I definitely prefer wood mounted stamps - I'm just old school like that - but for this set if you get the punch too, I definitely recommend you go with the clear mount version. The ink and paper are both Tangerine Tango and the base is Crumb Cake. The greeting is from Vintage Labels stamped in Basic Black.

With the First Edition Paper, it's VERY easy to curl the paper smoothly without cracking, because it's much thinner than our normal DSP. I just used a ribbon curling motion a single time on each petal with my bone folder and it was perfect.

To stick them down I put a 1/2" piece of sticky strip down on the card, attached four petals in a cross, put down another strip, four more petals, repeated with the third set of petals, and then added a pearl.

Extremely quick card!!

Now I'm off to wash the Coke off my hands and wait for an email from McDonald's. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Warm Fuzzies

Need a warm fuzzy?

I have just the ticket!!

I'm filling in for Jeanne today and hosting the Free For All Friday challenge.

I decided since it is... So. Dang. Cold. that I would do a warm fuzzy challenge. You have to use at least one warm color, and something fuzzy - a texture, an animal image, etc.

Want to play? Come on - who couldn't use a warm fuzzy on a Friday?

I decided that I would go with browns for warmth, so the card base is Early Espresso, and Crumb Cake for the background. The blue is Ballet Blue (retired).

I stamped what I call the "weed" :) from Nature Walk in Basic Black and then highlighted it with my white gel pen.

I stamped the background from Clearly for You in Sahara Sand on Whisper White and stamped the greeting from Well Scripted on top of that before punching it out with the Decorative Label Punch. I finished it off with Delphinium Blue Flower Soft®, Aleene's Tacky Glue, Pearls, Mini Glue Dots, Twine and an Chocolate Chip button.

Here's a closeup of that gorgeous blue flower - I love all the different colors of blue in that Flower Soft®. Yeah, it's pretty much my favorite...

I hope you will play in the challenge today - I'd love to see your warm fuzzy cards, and I REALLY hope you have a warm, fuzzy Friday!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Coon Crazies!

I have a disease.

I blame my mom.

When my mother was growing up, she had a pet raccoon. I've heard many stories about this cute little critter, but my favorite tales are the Nilla Wafer stories.

See, raccoons are very fastidious beasts. We will set aside for a moment that they eat out of our trashcans. But they love to wash their food in running water, which is probably the key to their longevity, ability to pick locks and fatness.

My mother's little pet would go street rat crazy at the mere whiff of a Nilla Wafer. But his little furry brain couldn't grasp the temporal nature of a cookie. He would grab the wafer and run to the nearest source of water and scrub the little cookie until it disappeared, leaving a mad, hungry coon. Apparently this was repeated many times, until the little guy overcame his genetic programming and learned to eat unwashed Nilla Wafers.

I believe that my mother somehow had some of this raccoon's DNA accidentally grafted onto hers and then passed it on to me.

I wash my food. I wash all my vegetables with vegetable soap until they squeak. I rinse meat under running water, because research shows most bacteria can be removed from the surface this way. Yes, I have read too many books about E Coli and campylobacter. BUT REALLY IT'S THE RACCOON'S FAULT!

Yesterday, on my walk, I suddenly realized that I never wash frozen vegetables!!OMG. WHY DID I JUST ASSUME FROZEN VEGETABLES ARE CLEAN?? THIS IS HOW RACCOONS GET KILLED, PEOPLE!!!

I'm totally scarred now and afraid to open my freezer. Thank God my stamps aren't in there.

I decided to stamp something CLEAN to get over the shudders.

Aaah - doesn't this make you feel better about your dirty, dirty broccoli? :)

I used the direct to paper technique for the background, with Pear Pizazz, Daffodil Delight and Tangerine Tango - just scraping the edge of the ink pad along the cardstock.

Then I stamped my gorgeous little birds from Clearly For You and the sentiment from Grateful Greetings in Basic Black and kapow - a clean & striking thank you card.

If you're in Austin, be sure and email me to get added to my invitation list for classes - I have a great class coming up next weekend!

I better go wash some cookies!

Clumsy Monsters!

So last night I have this dream that our neighbors (who were not our neighbors of course) come to our house, open our door, yell inside and blow an air horn and then wander off our porch.

I'm not happy about this and I go up front - and all these idiot neighbors are wandering around like zombies - one is waving a badminton racket, one is riding a bike, and the two that came to the door are just being noisy.

Someone explains to me that it's one of those national "do XYZ on your street" days and apparently the task on this day was to just really make your neighbors mad.

Well in the excitement of randomly walking into someone else's house and somehow living through it, the loud neighbor had let Splotchy out. In my dream Splotchy was a fluffy white kitten with bright electric blue fur around his eyes and ears. I really liked Dream Splotchy.

I caught him on the porch, but it scared me enough to actually wake me up this morning.

So even when you're dreaming, you have to beware of things that go bump in the night! Like this adorable guy, for example. :)
And the inside...
Isn't that hilarious? I love him and his underbite, and I'm actually not afraid of him at all! I also love having something to stamp on the inside of the card, because mine almost always go blank because of a lack of companion greeting.

Today I'm the guest designer for Hambo Stamps, which is where this sweet monster comes from. Thanks to sweet Libby and Monica at Hambo for this fun stampy adventure!

Now when I saw this little fella I decided he was so cute he needed a spotlight. It was actually really simple to do. I just punched an oval of white cardstock to stand him on. Then I laid some vellum on top of him and used a ruler to draw the triangle so that it touched each side of the oval and met in a point at the top of the card.

I cut that out, and then adhered the oval to it at the point where both edges were touching, and then I trimmed off the extra below the oval. Doing this hides your adhesive too, because I could just put the adhesive behind the oval. Fun, eh?

The rest of the supplies are Basic Grey DSP, Bermuda Bay Cardstock, a Martha Stewart spiderweb border punch, SU Label punch, BG000, BG45, BG49, YR00 and YR04 Copics and Dazzling Diamonds glitter.

Beware of clumsy monsters! Don't say I didn't warn you!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

10 Bucks Cash and a TROPHY!

Since tonight is the State of the Union Address, I thought we should have a little political commentary from the only group of people in the world who actually understand how things work.

Seven year olds.

That's right. If you want things distilled down to their most important concepts, ask a 7 year old what the scoop is.

In Austin, we have been blessed for many decades by the Pryor family's wit and wisdom. Since I didn't have a TV when I was little (more on that here) I listened to the radio constantly, and felt like sweet old Paul Harvey was a familiar friend that chatted with me every day.

When I moved to Austin, I never shook my radio habit, and Paul Harvey was replaced by Cactus Pryor. Cactus is the kettle corn of radio - his humor is both salty and sweet - and he's an archetypal Texan and Austinite.

My fave daily radio show - the Todd & Don show - features his insanely hilarious son Don, who inherited all that talent and then some, as you can see for yourself here.

Now what I didn't know is that Don almost outgrew what I can only describe as a SHOCKINGLY Texas accent. Take a listen to this 7 year old Texas twang, as he describes just how incredibly cool it is to be the President of the United States. Put down beverages and make sure no one is asleep before hitting play.

(If you don't see a tiny MP3 player below, click here for the audio.)

So if that speech tonight does not mention the fact that if we don't do everything just right, America won't be liyyyyykkke it iyuzzzz, I suggest you turn that TV off and listen to the radio, where people have common sense and crazy accents. :)

Here are some more cute kids for you. Imagine them with an adorable little drawl, where words like "cash" have ten syllables.
I made the card heart shaped by folding some Graphic 45 DSP in half and then cutting it with my scalloped heart Nestabilities die.

The Greeting Card Kids I colored as sort of sepia except for the red apple and my teeny glimmer paper heart.

Enjoy your day - I hope you get ten bucks cash and a trophy!


Monday, January 24, 2011

There's no Substitute...

I was a teacher in another life. Well actually, I'm still a teacher - but I used to teach kids instead of adults.

Any teacher that tells you they don't have a teacher's pet is just lying! You always have one favorite little kiddo that can really do no wrong.

When I taught third grade, my favorite was this little boy named Drew. He also happened to be the one that I had to take to the principal's office most often, but I adored him. He was only in trouble because of an excess of enthusiasm for life in general. Also happens to be what I always got in trouble for, so it was a wink, wink, nudge nudge sort of trouble he was in.

I think if Drew had been a stamper, he probably would have taken his large Big Shot Pro Petal Card Die, which is the grandmother of my Petal Card Punch and the mother of my regular Petal Card Die, and made this card out of Crumb Cake cardstock.

Since I'm the Fab Friend over at the MFT Blog again, he would have carefully stamped the little apples from MFT's Teacher's Pet set, and then colored them with Copics. He would have embossed the tag with polka dots, stamped it and then added an apple made out of glimmer paper, because he's thoughtful like that. That gorgeous herringbone ribbon is from an MFT VIP kit.The inside is a sheet of Crate Paper DSP, with some of my SU rhinestones left over from Halloween. I used the MFT Die-namics notebook edge die for authenticity on the top, and I made the teacher's sweater plaid, because the school where I taught little Drew was private and they had uniforms.
And while it's true that there really is no substitute for a great teacher, I'd say there's no substitute for the teacher's pet, either.

Happy Monday little Drew, wherever you are!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Four Things for Your Sunday

I love meeting some of you when I travel. It's so fun to connect in real life with the people behind all the sweet and funny comments here.

One thing that several of you said in Nashville is - "Where are Maddie & Splotchy?"

I am not one of those people that only loves animals when they're babies, and have snapped scads of photos of catnanigans, but I guess I've neglected to post them!

So here's a short reel of Maddie disrupting my stamping time by trying to eat a piece of my lovely MFT herringbone striped ribbon I was using for a cute project I'll show you tomorrow.

This weekend is the Mini Virtual Stamp Night on Splitcoast. I LOVE VSN! The mini is a warmup for the main event in February, when the challenges will run all weekend. This weekend, the challenges were issued on Friday evening, and you have 45 minutes for each creation, and you have till Monday to upload. So play along today! They are such fun ones.

What I love about the 45 minute time limit is that it forces me to keep it simple and not overthink everything.

The first challenge this time is here, and it's a combo sketch, punch or die and color challenge.

I decided to bust out a technique we tried at Leadership, that I call scrunched flowers.

We die cut the Springtime Vintage Fabric with the Fun Flowers die, and laid them out on a paper towel. Then, we lightly sprayed them with starch, scrunched them up into little balls and set them aside to dry. When you unscrunch them, the starch lets them keep some of their scrunch and they get this fun, shabby look. We layered some of the flower die cuts with First Edition DSP punched with the Scallop punch.

So for this challenge, I scrunched a flower to match the sketch and put it all together with an Antique Brad.
The rest of the card is simple - the stem of the flower is made with the Tasteful Trim die, and I used the Pinking Hearts and Scalloped border punches, the 1.75" circle punch, Basic Black Ink and Well Scripted.

45 minutes - no problem! I even had time to spare! Did I use that to clean my desk? NO. I just dinked around in Google Reader :)

And I found something fun! My good buddy Chriss posted this on her blog and I thought it might be fun to pass along - it's just four things... :)

1. Four shows that you watch:
  • Modern Family
  • The Middle
  • The Office
  • Community
2. Four things you are passionate about:
  • Animals
  • Art
  • Technology
  • Walking

3. Four words/phrases you say a lot:
  • Seriously?
  • Can I take your picture?
  • Quad short espresso with steamed breve, please

4. Four things you've learned from the past:
  • Use a potholder to take the cookie sheet out of the oven
  • If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's probably a duck
  • Your first instinct is always the right one
  • White pants are a terrible idea

5. Four places you would like to go:
  • Ireland
  • Maui
  • Fiji
  • Mt. Everest
6. Four things you did yesterday:
  • Had a serious nap
  • Dinner with friends
  • Made a card - didn't like it, threw it away
  • Bought a new mouse for Maddie
7. Four things you are looking forward to:
  • February stamp class
  • Salt Lake City
  • Spring
  • Summer

8. Four things you love about winter:
  • That it is short in Texas
  • My hair is fluffier
  • Fire
  • No fire ants
Feel like sharing? Leave a link to your list in a comment - I'd love to see your list!

Back tomorrow with a super fun project for a teacher for MFT Fab friend week #3!


Friday, January 21, 2011

The Ice Age Cometh

Actually, it doesn't cometh, it's here. Except minus all the cool stuff like wooly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers.

On my walk the other day it was LITERALLY 30 squillion degrees below zero. Celsius. Times 4.

It's so cold Lady Gaga had to wear more than a strip of bacon.

It's so cold, the Austin police told a robber to freeze - and he DID.

It's so cold, I baked a cake and it frosted itself!

It's so cold our local flasher is just describing himself!

Really. It's cold. I miss summer. If Texas isn't a warm enough place to spend the winter anymore, I guess I'll have to move to Florida.

Luckily, all my stamps are inside, so that's where I'll be if you need me!

I went to Sam Moon with my stampy friend Dana before Leadership and I found the perfect purse for the trip - a teeny purse with customizable sides. And I customized it!

I used the Newsprint DSP for both sides, and then just added a Bashful Blue panel, stamped with Artistic Etchings, French Foliage and Easter Blossoms in Basic Black and Soft Suede. I glittered the flowers with Dazzling Diamonds glitter, and added a rhinestone to the Eiffel tower.
That newsprint looks so sassy on that black purse. Of course, there's a chance I'll have to burn all my DSP just to keep warm.

Some cool stuff coming up if you have some Christmas money to spend! First the Filled With Love promotion, where you get free buttons when you buy the Filled with Love stamp set and Love Patterns DSP.This one runs through January 24th, and I'm offering free shipping because I love you! :) Email me for deets!

Then January 25th, we kick off Sale-a-Bration - with a free stamp set for every $50 spent!

I'm off now to find a wooly mammoth...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bendy, Foldy, Flopsey!

It's MFT Fab Friend week 2!

When I saw Emma Fewkes amazing bendy foldy card, I KNEW I was going to have to stick bunnehs all over it! It cries out for wabbits!

So I used Kiwi Kiss cardstock and the MFT grass die to make some hills, embossed with polka dots. I stamped and verrrryyyy carefully cut out my little tree and bunnies and stuck them on the front. The card has ingenious tabs and slots so it folds flat for mailing, but is a pretty, 3D scene that stands up on your desk when assembled. Perfect combo card/gift.

The sky is October Afternoon Seaside, and the clouds are white felt that I cut with my MFT Die-namics cloud die. I colored the bunnies with Copics.

Then, when you open up the card you get tons more room for more bunnies! I put a little pom pom trim behind him and gave him a scarf. I used my scalloped Die-namics to cover up the sides of where the grass is attached to the card. How fun is THAT for a 3D card? It's almost time to think about Easter, which means two months of adorable bunny wabbits!!

Let me see your buns!! :D

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ain't Nothin' Cuter...

Have you seen that SNL skit with Jennifer Aniston and Amy Poehler singing country songs for some compilation?

That one song that says "there ain't nothin' cuter than a fat country baby eatin' peaches off a hardwood floor" cracks me UP! It came up this week on Twitter and gave me some hard core giggles.

But there IS actually one thing cuter. And that's this sweet little girl from Greeting Card Kids.

Seriously. She's so sweet my teeth hurt.
I made this for a publication call a while back, but my sweet little girl didn't get picked. So the paper is now retired, but I love that candy stripe - so cute. I paper pieced her dress and hair bow, and then used my white gel pen on her socks. Her shadow I made with a Versamarker™.

If that were a box of animal crackers in her hand, it would definitely remind me of one of my favorite photos ever. But that's a story for another day. :)

I learned something really fun at the Heirloom stamp show last weekend that I will show you soon! And then some fun folds and projects for my next class that we learned at Leadership.

For those of you who wanted to know about how I made my swap card here, I stamped the girl from Easter Blossoms in Crumb Cake on Crumb Cake cardstock. I highlighted her with a white gel pen, and used First Edition DSP and Bashful Blue cardstock for accents.

See you soon! :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Leave Breadcrumbs...

I don't think I've ever been in a building this large. None of us even know what "outside" looks like anymore. This place makes casinos look like convenience stores!

I got to meet a blog reader friend Lisa today - and she was so sweet!! Hi Lisa and the sweet angel princess who gave me the homemade chocolate turtle - you were right - it's AMAZING!!!

a few pics before class tonight... These are from demonstrations today.

Beautiful 3D flowers from Build a Blossom.A cute swap that Millie let me snap a pic of.
Adorable card with a fun fold I'll tell you more about later.
AND, from the Pattern Pieces - Brian made a FLOWER - brilliant!
I gotta vamoose, but more later! Loveyameanitbye!

Woo hoo!

Leadership 2012 in San Antonio!! January 18-20!

The Day in Pictures

I cannot BELIEVE that after all this time, I finally met my friend Millie!!! Look at this beautiful lady! I got to meet her hubby too, and he's just as sweet as she is. He pretends he doesn't love their cat, but I know the truth, Mr. Millie!
Then, I got to meet my sweet Canadian friend Gail (basketballmom on Splitcoast) who was kind enough to have her picture taken with the shortest person she's ever met :)

The displays that opened last night were AMAZING. They took the stamps and accessories and turned them into pop art. It was so fun.
Look at what they did with the keys and baubles!
EEP - a pop art portrait of Shelli made with glimmer brads!!

We all loved the snake made with the pom pom trim.
This wire cupcake tree was stunning.
You know you want to make one of these with the keys and crowns!
This was one of my faves - you know I love white on white. This little paper sculpture was gorgeous.
And the BOOK ART!!! These displays were so my style! I love this! All the spaces in the books were laser cut to hold the stamps.

Here's one of Shelli's projects from Main stage - gorgeous hand sewn sachet - look at the glass glitter on the bottom. This was made with our Leadership set - we'll get that tonight at Make & Takes.
LOVE this!
So there you have it! Should be able to get some super pics tonight while we're crafting. Stay tuned! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


The updates are on the demo website! The highlights are: increased override percentages, free product bundles and free event registrations and tons more! Much easier incentive trip system AND a second smaller trip with different criteria. Go look!!!

Have you signed up for the UBlue Cyber Club? Attended one of my Webinars?? Come on - get your geek on! :) Want to see my other blog?

Leadership news updates

I will update this post with breaking news:

#1- All year, in their birthday month, all demonstrators can get any
current catalog item for 15% off (in addition to your discount) :)

#2 We are under a gag order! :) Check the demo website in the next few hours! :D

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Is where the nicest people in the world live! Truly! And I say this as a devoted Texan. We are nice in Texas. But only Tennessee is Tennessee nice.

It's almost time for Leadership, and just in the NICK - I finished my swaps. I kept em simple, and used one of my faves from the new Occasions mini - Easter Blossoms.

I wanted it to look like the sun was shining on her and her Easter basket :)

We could use the sun here! It's SNOWINGGGGGG..... What the heck? We are supposed to be warm right now!!

Good thing I have my sassy new bag and stamps to keep me warm!
Here's the Wild Horse Saloon - they rented the whole thing out for the Manager's reception, and we got AMAZING private performances by Dave Robbins (Blackhawk) - one of my fave singer/songwriters from - well, a while ago! :)

Here's a shot of the crowd before the concert
AND, despite the fact that she threatened to kill me ON video, here's a shot of Kim line dancing!

Click here for the video...

More updates to come!
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