Monday, April 30, 2012

Messy workspace? The Secret to Life, the Universe and Everything...

So here's how I realized this.

And I'm not just rationalizing. Seriously.

I woke up at about 4:45 to a pack of coyotes yipping down the street. It's such a cute sound.

What follows is not.

One millisecond later, Splotchy, who thinks he's a coyote, and who was sound asleep, shoots off me and heads for the window to yip back. He sounds JUST like them. It's so ridiculous that it's funny and I laugh despite not being quite awake. It wasn't much weirder than sleep anyway - I had had a dream that Arnold Schwarzenegger and I were working on a project where people would rent beds in malls and sleep out in the open areas, and it started raining inside while we were planning which threw a wrench in all of it.

But after Splotchy started yipping, ALL the dogs in the neighborhood started howling together. Dogs and coyotes do not like each other. Yip, yip, howl. Yip, yip, howl. Time to get up.

I started working and after about five hours, having forgotten coffee altogether (mistake) I took an art break. My desk is a disaster. I just don't have time to be organized right now. So I did what I always do. I pushed everything away to clear a spot JUST big enough for a tiny piece of watercolor paper and I started to paint. I'm slow, so halfway through, when I was just starting to relax and have fun I realized that my mess was exactly the reason stampers and artists are my favorite people.

We can make a tiny bright spot in ANYTHING.

That's what you do when you push back all the clutter to make a tiny space to make something prety in. You just make your own little bright spot.

Optimism in its purest form.

Strangely enough, a very good metaphorical match for the image I was coloring.  I love it when the universe lines up.

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Stamps: Sweet 'n Sassy Treasured Ink: Basic Black, Tangerine Tango, Summer Sun  
Paper: Watercolor paper, First Edition DSP, Going Grey  
Accessories: Want2Scrap bling, Viarco Water Soluble Graphite, Aquapainter, White Gel Pen, Black Marker
Viarco ArtGraf Graphite
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ArtGraf Viarco Pigmented Tailor Chalk...
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ArtGraf Viarco Pigmented Tailor Chalk...
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ArtGraf Viarco Pigmented Tailor Chalk...
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The monarchs are recovering here from last year's drought and it's good to see them again. They are our state insect, and I love them.

They make a little bright spot.

Don't fret the mess. Do something with the space you cleared. :)


Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Study Finds Bumper Stickers Linked to Driving Skills!

I conducted the study, of course.

It's rock solid.

What I found is what you'd expect.

The people with the equivalent of an extensive Twitter feed plastered all over the back of their cars are horrid, distracted and inconsiderate drivers.

I followed a driver who I thought, based on her random braking, weaving and gunning the accelerator, was surely actually a chimpanzee or a small child, to a stoplight where I was surprised to see an adult human.

Prior to pulling up beside her and risking my own life, I had been subjected to her sticker graffiti, through which I could barely see what color her car was. I imagine her gas mileage was greatly reduced by her multitudinous mini lectures, political endorsements and incredible pithy, Nobel prize worthy wisdom communicated in sticker form.

Austinites seem to be particularly afflicted with stickeritis, and they are also the worst drivers in the world.

Game, set, match.

 I should have gotten a grant for this study. It's way more brilliant than the ones that people do get paid for that reveal brilliance like "drunk people fall down more" or "people with pretty hair get more dates."

Whatever, science. I beat you.

Now I made an absolute disaster of a card and I had to share the story. I wanted to use Silhouette Sentiments because I had a brilliant idea. Nope, that was a lie. It was actually on top of the stack of stamp sets on my floor. How glamorous is that? Design secrets of the stars! I knew I wanted to do emboss resist with watercolor, but when I was done coloring with reinkers it was so blah. So I took my Aquapainter and used Basic Grey reinker to outline the flowers. Now we're getting somewhere. Then I cut it out with my labels framelit and that is when it all started to go to hell in a handbasket.

I tried it on white. Boring. Matted it on black. Okay, better. Then I used a piece of embossed  Crumb Cake and put that all on a Crumb Cake base. I even took a PICTURE of it and Photoshopped it. Then, I admitted it was hideous. I won't even show it to you because you'd be scarred.

I ripped off the focal point and started over, and I'm glad I did, even though unsticking a dimensional is not for the faint of heart.

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Stamps: Netting, Silhouette Sentiments (Hostess)
Ink: Basic Black and reinkers: Poppy Parade, Summer Sun, Tempting Turquoise, 
Wisteria Wonder, Lucky Limeade, Basic Grey
Paper: Whisper White, Basic Black
Accessories: Labels Framelits

It's WAY better on black and white.

That background stamp is Netting. I love it.

Now just in case your favorite stamps and accessories are retiring, you better click here to order them - many items are already sold out!

Now I'm off to get my grant money. Here's a free, cute LOLcat video for you while you wait. Click here if you don't see a video player.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

I Just Ate a Forty Year Old Sandwich...


It was in honor of my sister's birthday - she gets a bit more vintage today, along with my friend Bunny.

So I felt like I should travel backwards in time for lunch, and I was shocked to discover a forty year old sandwich in absolutely perfect condition.

The sandwich was from Schlotzsky's. Schlotzsky's opened their first store not too far from where I live now in 1971. But they didn't enter my life until 1977, when they opened their first store in Bryan College Station, where we were living then.

It was truly earthshaking and different food at the time, and quickly became a very crowded favorite in our little 40,000 person town.

If you're not lucky enough to live near one, you must know that their sourdough batter bread that they make the sandwich buns from can actually cause you to lose your mind temporarily. Then they build a hot sandwich with fresh veggies and a few kinds of meat, black olives, mustard and fairy dust that is smack-yo-momma-good. Add to that a prime location next to the putt putt golf course we used to go to and you really had a little slice of heaven.

After I moved to New York and then later Austin, I didn't have these for a long, long time. Today, it seemed like a good idea to pick up an old fave and I was completely dumbfounded when I tasted it.

It tasted EXACTLY the same as it did in the teeny little shop we ate them in in the 70s. It was like time travel, truly. Yummy, yummy time travel.

Most things I loved when I was growing up are nowhere NEAR as tasty today - Hershey bars, popsicles, Coke, Nacho Cheese Doritos, Taco Bell - all these things have suffered over the decades from various ingredient or process changes that have been made and I don't enjoy them anymore.

But Schlotzsky's - Schlotzsky's hasn't changed a bit. Completely amazing and delicious.

What a nice surprise.

Here's a little ditty I made for my vintage sis. :)

I took the positive part of the Summer Smooches stencil and laid it down on a piece of Sweet Shop DSP and then sprayed it with Electric Blue Smooch Spritz. I finished it with Happiest Birthday Wishes and Daffodil Delight seam binding.
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So what would you have for lunch if you could go back in time and have your favorite childhood restaurant meal?

Lay it on me, stringbean! :)


Friday, April 20, 2012

New Olympic Sports Added!

While you all were doing your taxes, I invented some new events I think we should add to the upcoming Olympics.

These are all events I know I could take the gold in, so I'm not sure if anyone would want to compete against me, but it would make for great television. Here's what I have in mind.

  • Applying black liquid eyeliner with a cat on your back. I do this daily, so no one has a prayer unless the Russian judges sabotage me. 
  • Playing Scramble With Friends while walking nine miles. Again, daily. Be afraid.
  • Carrying 100 full plastic grocery bags so that you only have to make one trip into the house. I cannot be beaten - I'm like a Grand Canyon burro. 
  • Competitive giggling.
  • Complete disorganization of a perfectly clean art studio in under ten minutes.
  • Number of days you can survive on cheese and club soda.
  • Quickest time to fall asleep after opening a book. 
  • Fastest milkshake drinking contests.
Doesn't that sound fun? That beats the tar out of ice writhing/falling/dancing, IMHO. 

Until I bring home 8 gold medals, I'll have to settle for gold ribbon. Daffodil Delight, to be precise. 

Oh, and speaking of Daffodil Delight - I now sing "ohhh ohhhhh Daaaafodil Delight" to the tune of "Afternoon Delight" thanks to Leslie - every time I see that color! *shakes fist*

Anyway, here's what I did with it for my class this month. I love these two colors together! 

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Stamps: Hello Doily, Hand Penned Holidays
Ink: Blushing Bride, Basic Black
Paper: Whisper White
Accessories: Daffodil Delight Seam Binding, Pink Rhinestone from Blossom Builders Kit

To make the bottom section, I used the diagonal score plate for my Simply Scored to score a diagonal grid - with the lines spaced one inch apart - into a piece of Whisper White. Then I brayered Blushing Bride over it to show off the diamond pattern. We had fun making this one!

If any of you are interested in becoming my official sponsor for the Olympics, please let me know. Since it's my first Olympics, I'll really wear anybody's logo.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Beware of F.A.D.S.

Lately, I've been reading a lot about some supposedly Facebook-induced psychosis.

What people have been rumbling about is that Facebook is depressing people. For example, here's a story about how Facebook will make you a mummified corpse that no one will find for months.

I know - dramatic, right?

Most of the stories are about how people get depressed about their own lives because they look at other people's lives on Facebook and think theirs are dreary by comparison. Then I guess they lie around until they turn into a mummy.

This makes no sense to me personally. Well except the mummy part - mummies are almost as cool as zombies. I also could use a few days of laying around, but I digress.

Facebook is a highlight reel - a great description I saw recently. People should keep their Charlie Brown feelings, medical conditions and bad hair days out of their highlight reels, because they don't belong there. They don't show a montage of drunk and belligerent celebrities at the Academy Awards - they show their finer moments. But that shouldn't make anyone think that there's a human on earth whose entire life is a highlight reel. That's complete crazy talk. I think if someone really believes that, their mummyhood might have been their destiny to begin with and not caused by Facebook.

Personally, I love the highlight reels. It gives me joy to see other people experiencing joy. I'm just glad they share it with me.

And I have no fear of becoming a mummified corpse, and I don't think we're more isolated than ever before. I actually think quite the opposite. I know, meet, and interact with more people because of social media than I ever have prior to it. Just yesterday, I met a new Twitter friend at Art City Austin, and a few weeks ago had a crafty meetup at Stamp Salado with another Twitter buddy. None of us turned into mummies. (Yet.)

My conclusion is that the media is making up F.A.D.S. - Facebook Anxiety/Depression Syndrome. And they should probably quit it. It's scaring the mummies.

So today, I bring you the complete opposite of a mummy - sunshine!

This month's Fan Club gallery theme is "Let the Sun Shine In". I haven't played along with these challenges in so long I had to rescue my mummified stamps and get crafty.

I used the new, sassy, limited edition Summer Smooches Stencil (only available till April 30th) and Pool Party ink to create my floral image. I sponged the ink on with a sponge dauber. With the stencil still in place (I just used low tack tape) I stamped the background image from Clearly For You in Poppy Parade onto the design.

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Then I just pulled off the stencil and added the greeting from Pursuit of Happiness in Basic Black. I will NOT show you the lowlight reel version I threw in the trash. :)

Now, if there's anything that will make you sad enough to turn into a mummy, it might be the fact that some of the stamps you haven't bought yet are retiring - EEK!

Here is the full retiring list, released today, and sadly, Clearly For You is on it.

So if you want this beautiful stamp set, or any of the others, click here to shop before they are all turned to mummies for good! I have little surprises in store for anyone who places online orders for retired merchandise! Email me for details.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

When I Grow Up, I'm Gonna....

I remember very frequently when I was little having serious discussions with my friend and partner in crime - David - about things we were going to do when we grew up.

As we had easy access to a 7-Eleven and its Slurpee and Now and Later treasures, a frequent topic of these conversations was the amount of candy we would be eating for dinner when we were of legal eat-candy-for-dinner age. We were positive that we were going to be having Skittles and Starbursts every night as we watched the Hardy Boys or whatever other free adults did after candy dinner.

But the other day, as I was smugly enjoying the privileges of adulthood by eating Laughing Cow cheese and Triscuits for dinner, as is my grown up right, I realized that we overlooked something very important in our plotting.

We never actually saw any adults eating candy for dinner. Not a single one.

I don't know why this didn't occur to us. If it had, I'm sure it would have been horrifying to suspect that some monstrous change in our brains was going to make us look forward to boring steak and chicken at the end of a hard work day and not an endless buffet of candy. We might not have been able to go on with our spirits crushed by this realization. Perhaps it's for the best.

But I will say that choosing what I get to eat for dinner, especially on days when I just want Cheetos or cheese and crackers, is one of the truly wonderful freedoms I enjoy as an adult. Sometimes I'm very happy that I no longer serve time in food prison and can just do what I want. It's probably one of the most constraining parts of childhood, really.

I was inspired by my friend Jami to make a candy colored card today for my monthly stamp class. Her version used a sweet dandelion stamp and Shimmery White cardstock.

For mine, I embossed the doilies on the left with clear embossing powder and then sponged Daffodil Delight and Pink Pirouette over them, after masking the left side with a Post-It note. The doilies on the right (These are from Delicate Doilies) are stamped in Daffodil Delight. I added a strip of silver glimmer paper and a greeting from Afterthoughts (hostess set) in Basic Black.

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Sweet color combo isn't it?

Very springy and happy and sweet.

Speaking of sweet - maybe tonight I will have sour apple Now and Laters for dinner. :)


Sunday, April 8, 2012

We are the Easter People...

I read the most beautiful quote the other day and I don't think I'll ever get it out of my head.

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. 
We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.
                                                     -Pope John Paul II

We are the Easter people.

Yes, we are. 


I have a simple Easter card for you today with a little fine art product that I'm absolutely in love with!

I saw this at our last Creative Arts Society meeting and I literally screamed when the lady demonstrated it.

When I was in college art classes, we worked with graphite a lot, and I always loved the look, but I hated how messy it was, so I sort of abandoned it after graduation.

Until now.

This is the tiny, miracle art supply that has forever changed my life. Water soluble graphite from ArtGraf.

ArtGraf Graphite

It's absolutely amazing - you can get a squillion different tonal values with just a little tin of this gorgeous sparkly graphite and an Aquapainter! And all without the mess of graphite sticks and perfect control.
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Viarco ArtGraf Graphite
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ArtGraf Viarco Pigmented Tailor Chalk...
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ArtGraf Viarco Pigmented Tailor Chalk...
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ArtGraf Viarco Pigmented Tailor Chalk...
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LOOK HOW CUTE HE IS!!! What I did was I stamped the little bunny on copy paper and put it on my LightPad. Then I put the watercolor paper over it, and painted this in about five minutes with my AquaPainter and the graphite. Look at the difference between how black his little eye is and how light the grasses are - it's amazing! I have a serious art crush.

What you can't see is the SHIMMER. I tried nine ways to Easter Sunday to capture that with my camera, but no dice. But trust me, it's luminous and beautiful. I just have one word for this stuff.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Flowers in the Attic

Remember those creepy Flowers in the Attic books from the seventies?

They TERRIFIED me. Actually, attics terrify me. They're so mysterious and creepy and hot. It's no wonder that's where both ghosts and rodents decide to make their home.Perhaps also the ghosts of rodents.

I would actually like a house without an attic - just a big lodge type ceiling with no space between there and the roof. That would definitely force the ghosts to go to my neighbors.

Sorry neighbors! I'll bring extra cookies at Christmas :)

Well speaking of attics, I've been neglecting my Attic Boutique products and my Rue des Fleurs set. It's not creepy at all so I'm not sure why I haven't played with it much. My friend Mel made the most beautiful card with it at Leadership and I swore I'd come home and do a million things with it, and I looked up and it was April.

I've been on a watercoloring binge lately so I thought I'd bust out my fave color combo - aqua and red - and color the pretty little corset thingy.

I just used my Aquapainter and Poppy Parade and Pool Party Reinkers on watercolor paper. I put a little grey around the image for a shadow.

Then I added some Smooch Glitz Frost to the vines, and some Clearsnap Ocean Spray glitter.
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I die cut the watercolor paper with the Labels Framelits, and cut the next larger framelit from First Edition DSP.

I scored the Crumb Cake base with my Simply Scored Diagonal Score Plate at 1" intervals and added the teeniest  pearls to the intersections.
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I think those two colors are so pretty together!

I am not sure who would have a bustier like this all full of flowers and glittery, but I bet whoever it is, they'd keep it in the attic so their ghosts could get their fancy on.

I do love a fancy ghost.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Surprise!! You and I are Going to Paris!

How would you surprise a good friend for her birthday if you could do whatever you wanted? And I mean WHATEVER. No limits.

I would buy plane tickets on this sweet, springy day and I would whisk my surprised friend off to Paris.

Once there, we would storm the cafes and the Eiffel Tower in our exuberant style, talking louder than the Europeans, as is our American custom, and giggling hysterically.

We would stick our little fingers out while we drank our coffee and wear striped shirts and berets, and sleep late and stay up even later.

We'd get all teary and verklempt at Notre Dame and the Louvre and take crazy pictures of ourselves pinching landmarks between our thumb and forefinger and re-enacting cheesy mime scenes.

If I could do that, that's what I'd do for my sweet friend Korin, whose birthday is tomorrow.

But since, as of this writing, I have not won the $600 million lottery, I'm not able to do that for her. Maybe someday. :)

So instead, I'm taking part in a little surprise blog hop for her.

But I did want her to have at least PART of my imaginary Paris experience, so I used her pretty Paris stamp to make her birthday card.
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The card base is Very Vanilla, and I stamped the image in Basic Black. Then I masked off the image with some super high tech (not) painter's tape and sponged Summer Sun and Soft Suede in the background. I stamped the image again on Poppy Parade, and cut out the roses. I used my Moonlight Smooch to highlight the image and added Crystal Effects to both the Eiffel Tower and the Par Avion tag, and you can see below. 
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The bling is from Want2Scrap and I used Airmail Divine Twine to complete the theme, with a Trinket Key.

In my mind it's the key to her glamorous hotel room right smack in the middle of Paris.

Maybe by the time you read this, Korin, I will have won the lottery and called you with your ticket info. :) Maybe we're already baguetting it up, girlie.

If not, I'll settle for a phone call and your hilarious posts on Facebook. I'm so happy you are my friend, and I hope you have a happy birthday!

If you want to see more amazing birthday tributes, please hop along this list and celebrate a great lady. You might find a surprise or two along the way :).


Hop along now...

>>>>> Lydia Fiedler <<<<<

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'll Take Things That Can Kill You for $1000, Alex

I heard a story today on the radio about how people are more thin-skinned and fearful than they used to be. They didn't offer a reason why, so I'm going to go ahead and guess a combination of 24 hour news cycles and WebMD. I mean - how many of us haven't caught Ebola or the like from WebMD?

Believe me, our parents generation wasn't worried about Ebola or any of the following things, all of which can supposedly kill you:
I mean really? We didn't even have seatbelts and our parents told us to drink out of the hose in the summer. God knows what garden hoses were made of in the 70s or how "food grade" they were out in the hot Texas sun. I know that the boiling hot water tasted funny. But no one was researching the chemical composition of hoses after work or worrying about death if they sat too long in front of their TPS reports. While smoking at their desks, I might add.

Time sort of stretched out in front of us in a different, simpler way without constant news and the internet. I think we were scared of the Russians and that was pretty much it. Oh and sharks. Thanks a lot, Roy Scheider. Thanks a lot.

All that to say you probably should do things on the internet that are fun, because there are SO many fun things. Lots of things that won't kill you or make you worry about dying.

LOLcats for starters. And of course, art, arty people, Pinterest.

I should caution you though, having artistic friends all over the world can really be hard on a person's finances.

In my social media world, we have a lot of enabler alerts for each other, where, in the most loving way possible, we cost each other hundreds of dollars on fun arty, crafty things. I wonder sometimes if companies that get these little micro flurries of orders from our little group have picked up on our enabler alerts.

If not, they should. They should also give us our own coupon code.

I had not only a coupon code but a gift card that I spent on some fun art supplies in a complete splurge as a result of one of these micro flurries. I bought these Caran D'Ache Pablo pencils that I played with this weekend. They are oil based, so they are very different from watercolor pencils, pastel pencils, or wax-based pencils and I love how saturated and smooth they are.
stamps: Lean on Me ink: Basic Black Paper: Whisper White 3x3 Notes Accessories: Caran D'Ache Pablo Pencils

I know some people don't like to color, but I find it very soothing. 

More soothing than a hot drink of water out of a plastic hose on a boiling hot east Texas day :).


Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Won the Mega Millions!

Well, not really.

I did buy a ticket though.

Along with 640 million other people I guess.

I love it when there are mysterious winners who haven't come forward. I think if I did win, I'd definitely be one of the mysterious types, not one of the types who blogs about it.

Or AM I being mysterious and I really DID win and am I'm just April Fooling you in reverse??

How will you ever know?

Maybe I'll just send you a postcard from Moscow or somewhere fun just to keep you guessing.

From Russia, with love....
Stamps: Everything Eleanor, Hand Penned Holidays
Paper: Soft Sky, Whisper White
Ink: Versamark, Basic Black
Accessories - Pentel White Pencil, White Gel Pen, Perfect Layers Tool

до свидания :)

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