Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's Almost Time For LEAPrechauns!

I looked for a leprechaun stamp this morning. If I have one, it's deep in the recesses of my closet.

I thought that a leprechaun would be PERFECT for a leap day challenge that sweet Lee proposed on Facebook this morning.

Our challenge was to create a card with anything that leaps.

As you can tell, I also don't have lizard stamps, which is too bad, because a leapin' lizard would have been freaking hilarious.

I also don't have Superman who could have leapt tall buildings in a single bound. Of course, that would mean I'd need building stamps, which I also don't have.

Sheesh. You'd think a lady with eleventy squillion stamps would have all these things.

But you know what I can ALWAYS put my paw on???

A bunneh stamp.


And bunnies leap!!!

So here's my challenge card for this special day.

Stamps: Everybunny Ink: Basic Black Paper: Whisper White, Big Top Birthday Designer Series Paper

Now who wouldn't want an extra day to enjoy a snuggly little bunny?

A crazy person, that's who.

If you want to play along, upload your leapy card to Splitcoast with keyword SCSFBLY2012 and we'll see you there!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

If There's a Cure For The Blues, Please Don't Tell Me

Sometimes, people who know I love blue will send me beautiful photos of blue Morpho butterflies. I actually have a framed Morpho on my desk. They are some of the most stunning creatures on earth. They are the world's most perfect blue, with a shimmer - nature's glitter. I would love to see a whole swarm of them in real life.

I was telling someone the other day that where I grew up, we had GIANT butterflies - just huge - bigger than a softball or a good sized Texas grapefruit. They were blue or yellow and they were amazing. Some of the other bugs that weren't nearly as pretty also got frighteningly large, but the butterflies made it all worth it.

When I saw that Moxie Fab world issued a "Cure for the winter blues" challenge, there wasn't even a second's hesitation in my mind about what I was going to do. It had to be the butterfly. 

So here's what I did. 

First, I inked up the butterfly from Wonderful Wings (retired) in Bashful Blue. I stamped off once, and then stamped it on a white card base. Then I filled it in with the same color ink for a shadow. 

Next, I wanted to do a Bokeh effect, because I've been playing with photography Iphone apps, and the Bokeh effect is one of my faves. I read about it for my real photography in this book - Creative Composition. Basically it just means little spots of light. To make my Bokeh, I took a pencil with one of those nice smooth white erasers (I don't use regular pencils outside of this application, so all my erasers are perfect circles) and I inked it on my blue ink pad and stamped all over the card. Then, I scribbled some metallic blue gelato onto the lid of my stamp case and misted it and used that with the eraser - you can see the shimmer in the photo above. 
To color the butterfly, I used a water brush and a PITT artist pen - big brush - to shade it. Then I went back over the dots on the edges of the wings with a metallic PITT pen. It's so shimmery up close - the sunlight kind of washes that out in my photo. I cut it out and I also cut in between the upper and lower wing sections for dimension.

The sentiment is retired, but one of my favorites - it's from Nature's Secret and my beloved Richard Bach. I'm so glad I kept both of these stamp sets.

If there's a cure for the blues, I don't want to know about it.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Have No Professional Training...

I have been pondering crafts this week and various crafty topics.

Then today, I went to the bank to deposit a check from Dell - a result of an accounting mistake on a computer I bought years ago. I'm glad they caught it, because surprise money is never a bad thing, even if it's small.

Anyway, the teller at the the bank started reading my shirt. I had to look down, because I don't really think carefully about the t-shirt I choose before I run out the door at lunch to go to the bank. I usually am pleased if I get it on right side out.

It says: "I have no professional training. I already gave my best. I have no regrets at all."

Do you remember that? Or who said it?

Well, it was this guy.

Yep. William Hung. That's a pic of when he came here to Austin. Yes, I took a half day. :)

 And here he is saying it during his audition on American Idol.

Now that, my friends, is true love. 

He just loved that song, and loved singing, and he clearly didn't define his love for it by what anyone else did or thought - he defined it by singing it to the best of his ability.

After I left the bank, I thought about the things I love versus the things I have professional training for and I tried to find a match. 

I really couldn't. I'm professionally trained in all sorts of things that would bore you right to death if I listed them. 

I would not list "love" next to any of those. 

But I do love the things that I'm a complete bona fide rank amateur at. 

Needle felting.
Organizing colored pencils.
Patting furry creatures.
Speaking Pig Latin. 


Specifically papercrafting. 

Yeah, I've taken a class or two. But those classes are taught by people like me. People who just love DOING it, and have found some awesome tricks. We didn't go to school for it, or get a license, or have papercrafting insurance or titles.

We just love it. We give our best. We have no regrets at all. :)

I made this card with no training whatsoever. And I have no regrets at all. I already gave my best. 
Stamps: Elementary Elegance (Sale-A-Bration - Free with $50 order), 
Bright Blossoms (Sneak Peek set I got at Leadership)
Ink: Basic Black Paper: Whisper White
Perfect Polka Dots Embossing Folder, Watercolor Wonder Crayons

I've been crafting since I was a child, thanks to my mother, and my school, and Brownies and 4H. I'm so excited whenever I see a little girl crafting, and I try to involve myself in things that help girls craft. Especially since I know what a lifelong love and comfort it becomes.

Today, my sister sent me a picture of a purse her sweet little neighbor girl - Chloe - made her out of duct tape. I doubt I ever made anything this spectacular at her age. Or most ages since!

Way to go Chloe! Thanks for keeping the crafty torch burning. I can't wait until you have your own crafty blog. :) I'll read it every day, I promise.


Friday, February 17, 2012

And The Cow Jumped Over the Moon

It's raining.

Which has nothing to do with my blog post, but I can hear it and it's bugging me so I had to just put it out there. It's supposed to rain all weekend. I actually took the picture of today's card outside in the rain. I think I caught the last light of the week out there. 

I had some fun visitors last week. Jeanne, Bev & Dina - all Dirty Girls from Splitcoast

We got a tiny amount of stamping in in our short visit, and I got to do what I really wanted to do for a little while, which was watch Dina color. 

She does it so effortlessly.

I, on the other hand, do not. 

However, I just need a little practice. What I tried is using alcohol like you would normally use water to paint with. 

First, I scribbled some Touch Twin markers on a smooth ceramic tile. That was my palette - like when you put water based reinkers on a paper plate or the lid of your ink pad. Then, I filled up my Aquapainter with 91% rubbing alcohol and picked up marker ink on it to paint with. It took a little getting used to, but it was really fun. It gives you a more watercolored look than just coloring traditionally with the markers. A little less perfect, more soft and super fun. 
Stamps: Nursery Times Ink: Memento Rich Cocoa (stamped off once) 
Paper: SU Watercolor Paper, First Edition DSP, Crumb Cake 
Edgelits - Adorning Accents, ShinHan Touch Twin Markers: B67, Y34, BR103, BR95, 
Rubbing alcohol, Aqua Painter

This little Nursery Times set is so sweet. It reminds me of the sweet little Mother Goose nursery rhyme book that was such a welcome break from the unnecessary terror and horror of the Brothers Grimm! I'd much rather think about a cow jumping over the moon than some crazy broad turning kids into blocks of ice or popping them in the oven like a chicken pot pie! 

Seriously. Those stories are horrid. HOWEVER, I'm really enjoying their reinterpretation in the show Once Upon a Time - are you watching? It's perfectly creepy and I'm now old enough to only be moderately terrified of a child-eating witch. Moderately. Rumplestiltskin still scares the bejeebers out of me though. Sheesh!

I'm back - I had to go check under the bed for witches. 

This week's Kindle book for me is really great - I can't believe how many books I've read since I got my Kindle Fire! I love that thing. I hate to say this out loud, but I might like it better than my Ipad! HORROR!

Anyway - the book is called Quiet

I know - I'm not quiet!! Don't make me pinch you for that brilliant observation! But this book is a great study of how the world deals with extroverts and introverts. 

The part I just read had this great study about babies. They put mobiles over babies' cribs. They measured the degree to which the babies yelled and batted at the mobiles. Surprisingly, the yelliest, battiest babies grew up to be the most introverted, and the quiet babies turned into extroverts. The babies who reacted less, to stimuli were more confident and relaxed, where the other babies were more stressed by the somewhat active environment. Makes sense, but it's the opposite of what you first think when you read the study. 

It's full of great information and I love books on personality and psychology. Now if I could just stay awake more than five minutes after settling down to read, I'd be good! I wonder if there's a book about how to stay awake while reading and watching movies. Let me know if you find one!

That danged cow just starts jumping over the moon as soon as I get comfortable :).


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hate To Say It, But It's Not Your Turn

Okay so lately I've been battling Austin right of way dementia.

Not ME - I don't have dementia.

I've taken defensive driving more times than I've renewed my driver's license - let's just leave it at that rough number - and so I KNOW who has the right of way at all times. I also know several obscure traffic laws. But that's for another day.

My fellow citizens of God's Country, on the other hand, do not have a CLUE about right of way.

Let me simplify it for everyone.

You're sitting in a parking lot, waiting to leave. I am on a road which goes past the parking lot. You ready?


Stay put until the coast is clear. Pretend you are in a grown up version of hide and seek and just sit there, quietly, until all us road types have executed our maneuvers. You have zero rights. You may as well not exist. I don't care if your baby is crying, you bought ice cream, you have a rash, LOST is on, Bruce Willis is at your house, you left the stove on - whatever. Sit tight. Don't make me come over there.

I've been gone pretty much since the beginning of January and haven't stamped in about that same amount of time, so I've been having withdrawals in addition to dealing with incompetent drivers. Today's tutorial on Splitcoast I could not resist though. Beate can always make me stamp my way out of a drought.

The technique uses pastel pencils on black cardstock, and I was ready for some simple drama, so here's what I did.

Pretty, no?

I cut the butterfly from Basic Black with my Beautiful Butterflies die, and then embossed some images in white from Bordering on Romance. I colored them with my pastel pencils - and honestly, it was just a minute or two to color them. The panel behind the butterfly is sticky back canvas that was in my big bag of scraps and the card base is Whisper White. The greeting is from Loving Thoughts, which I got at Leadership.

I love cards that are simpler than explaining right of way to my countrymen. :)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Made in a Moment of Crazy

Inspiration strikes at the ODDEST moments.

And by oddest, I mean - those moments where you haven't slept much prior to the moment. You know. When you're just on the edge of crazy but haven't fallen in yet.

I had just such a moment at my monthly stamp class this month. 

Remember this cute candy bar holder project? Well to make that project, you have to cut the ends off the large labels framelit die cut. So all my customers were cutting off their edges and they were in a little pile on the table, and I realized that they REALLY looked like cute clouds! So I hoarded the scraps so that I could make a card. 

Surprisingly, I executed the idea within two weeks of having it. That hardly ever happens.

I'm also celebrating on this card my purchase of the supremely awesome Simple Letters alphabet die set - why did I never buy this before?

The bottom edge is the new Adorning Accents Edgelits. Thought I'd use them to make the bottom look like grass.

What do you think? Are moments like these why we never throw anything away? I'd like to think so...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why Yes, I Did Eat That!

SUCH an interesting day Thursday!

It started at 4 AM. I got up and prepped for a little live TV - crafting on YNN with the beautiful and talented Bonnie Padron on the morning show!

Click here to watch all the projects we made!

We were making fun and affordable Valentine crafts, and it was just a blast. Especially the outtakes at the end :).

We made these projects.. First - a candy heart topiary! As a person who has never liked the taste of these hearts, (disclaimer - I don't eat much candy) I thought this was an excellent use of an extraordinarily cute candy. I saw this when Lyssa linked it from Tiny Prints. I had a bunch of TEENY terra cotta pots that my sister and I had gotten somewhere - they came out to .15 apiece! Of course I bought them years ago and finally felt all smirky about how smart I was today when I got to use them. I used Apple Barrel acrylic paint to paint the pots blue, and I also painted a bamboo food skewer blue. I used a styrofoam ball to hot glue the hearts to, and also to put down into the pot. SO easy and cute!

Next up - the tried & true Hershey Bar treat slider! I LOVE this project - it's one of my favorite ways to package candy because the slide mechanism is sort of magical! Well, I guess I'm easily magicked. this slider uses some retired Ribbon Originals from Stampin' Up! along with some current lace trim, trinket crowns, and DSP. For a tutorial on these sliders, click here. 

Then, Bonnie had a GREAT idea to do a project that men could make for women. So I thought - okay - even a man can craft with a sharp knife and matches, right? I had seen this on Pinterest (again, thank you Lyssa!) and it inspired me. So I cut out matchboxes and covers from Crumb Cake cardstock using our Sizzix Matchbox die - perhaps my most beloved die. Then I just cut a heart with the Sizzix framelit to trace a heart on the backside of this pretty DSP. Then, you just cut half of the heart and fold it back like this....
 On the inside, I took some of the same paper and printed "you light up my life" on it and added two matches. Now what man wouldn't win Valentine gifter of the year if he gave this handmade gift with a candle?
I did have to say to the cameraman that this would be an AWESOME gift for a girl pyromaniac, but I couldn't really say that on the air. Tee hee....

But the real main event today was a dare from my friend Val.

I kind of have to let this video - Bamboo Charcoal Nut Experiment - speak for itself. Enjoy. I hope I'm still here tomorrow!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The REAL Big Event Today

Is the Puppy Bowl.

I've heard there are other bowls going on today but I think we all know they are inconsequential compared to a room full of puppies, kittens, and this year - PIGGIES!!

I can't wait!! The fun starts at 3 Eastern here. I can't wait!!

Now to celebrate today, we of course have to have a stamping challenge, so we cooked one up here.

Now owls are fuzzy, right?
So I decided my card would celebrate the fuzzy owl!!

SQUEE!!! I used the owl and greeting from Love Bandit, my new fun little Adorning Accents embossing folder for the hearts and the Adorning Accents Edgelits for the bottom scallop. Adorable, no? I can resist no owl.

So after you make your onion dip for the Puppy bowl, why don't you come play along? Use keyword SCSFBPB1 when uploading to Splitcoast!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Tisket, A Tasket, a Neater Paper Basket...

I nested a little this week.

My definition of nesting is this: I ignore all the organizational things I should do until about 5 minutes past when my stamp class prep HAS TO BE DONE each month and then suddenly decide to embark on an unthinkably large reorg. It's advanced procrastination, and it never fails me. If you are still a baby procrastinator, this won't make sense to you, but as you complete my advanced courses, it will all become clear. Patience, grasshopper.

So, having done no preparation at all for today's class yesterday, right after work I decide to tackle a few nagging annoyances.

First up - I never know where my keys are. Like NEVER. So after I've procrastinated beyond all conceivable limits and am running out to some event, I spend ten minutes cussing and looking under the cats for my car keys.

Problem finally solved!! I found these RIDICULOUSLY cute little bird key and mail hangers. They have one of those crazy strong magnets under their chins, and you just barely touch your keyring to them and they are stuck like glue! Even my crazy heavy janitor keys. Also, their beaks hold mail and reminder notes!! Love these so much!!! You can find them here.

 Next - my neutral cardstock storage.

Up till now, I had kind of a floppy canvas pocket thing strapped to the back of my closet door with - wait for it - zip ties. It barely fit a full pack of paper plus my assorted scraps and was a huge eyesore.

So - VOILA - I replaced it with this fun over-the-door basket system. It easily fits 8.5 x 11 cardstock on its side (not 12 x 12 btw) and 7 unopened packages of cardstock plus scraps (which I need to add today). There are smaller and larger baskets you can pop on, and it takes about 5 minutes to install. Since this is my go to cardstock - with my colored cardstock just used as accents, this is a huge improvement to my space. You can get this system here.

Also, it really helped me procrastinate yesterday, and now I can procrastinate more today by getting it just right!
Now, when I could procrastinate no more, I got to working on my class projects. There was a cute project Shelli showed at Leadership with the labels framelits that I knew I wanted to share.

It's so simple to make! You just cut two of the largest framelits, cut off one end of each, score them at 1", and put them together to make what I call the "treat taco" that holds Hershey Bar wrapped with Everyday Enchantment DSP from the Sale-A-Bration catalog. Mary Fish has an adorable black one here.

Next up, a card inspired by this card on Splitcoast
I flipped it and turned it blue. I used that fabby new Baja Breeze pleated ribbon, the heart framelits and  Take it to Heart. This was also the first time I'd used the Adorning Accents tiny embossing folders
and I LOVE them!!

But, as usual, blogging is my way of procrastinating something else, so I should go now. 

Or maybe a nap. I've got time, right? :)

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