Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Paper Disco!

I think people who don't like disco are deranged.

It's like saying you don't like kittens or bacon. It's just weird and sad.

Every time I pull out my glimmer paper I am just consumed by the urge to listen to disco. It's totally paper disco.

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Paper: Glimmer Paper, Newsprint, Very Vanilla, Crumb Cake
Ink: Basic Black

I made this little disco ditty for today's tutorial on Splitcoast! Squee! It's the honeycomb shape tutorial and my other version of the apple card is in the tutorial, so go check it out.

Also, while filming the tutorial, I busted myself for committing a crime! You'll have to watch to see what I mean. If you don't see a video below, just click here to watch it.

Admit it.

You're humming Dancing Queen right now.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Keep Calm and... MWAH!

Today - a goodbye kiss!!


I hate goodbyes, especially when I'm saying goodbye to a stamp. Well, except I never really say goodbye to them because I keep them all forever. But I do have to OFFICIALLY say goodbye to a LOT here in the next few days, and one in particular makes me want to cry and scream and throw a fit...

You have two days left to buy one of the most adorable stamps ever made - S.W.A.K. And it's only $5.95!!


I suppose I'll have to buck up, keep calm and carry on, but I don't WANT to.

Stamps: S.W.A.K. - better buy it now - it's gone in two days!, Keep Calm (Available June 1)
Ink: Basic Black, Poppy Parade
Cardstock: Whisper White

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I'll just put one foot in front of the other and try to survive. Somehow.

OH - speaking of one foot in front of the other - I have a new OBSESSION!!!

This is the fitbit and I'm in LOVE!! It tracks all my activity, food, water, etc throughout the day and makes getting off your butt SUPER fun. Today I picked it up and it called me a "stepgeek" :D. It even monitors how well you sleep, and, in my case, how many times your cat starts screeching in the middle of the night.

It's WAY more accurate than the apps I used to use on my phone to track distances and calorie burn, because this actually calibrates to your own stride and movement instead of using distance to estimate your activity level.

It constantly syncs with the website and gives fun graphs and goals every day.

It really is fun to see your patterns this way, and it's so simple.

It's one of my fave gadgets I've ever bought. To the Blue List it goes!

Click here to see the other color and more chitter chatter about it. If you already have one, add me as a friend!

Now, speaking of friends - are you coming to convention? If so, I'd love to include you in my annual Understand Blue Happy Hour! Sign up here.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Nothing Is Worth More Than This Day...

Nothing is worth more than this day.

It was paid for with the blood of patriots and the grief of mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and children.

To this we owe not only our freedom, but the promise never to rest in our pursuit of the same. Memorial Day is not only a sober look back, but a determined look forward. This is the promise we must keep to our country and her fallen. 

As Lincoln said: "from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause." 

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Stamps: Summer Afternoon (upcoming hostess set starting June 1) 
Paper: Watercolor Paper, Whisper White

I hope your day is filled with rest and peace. Thanks for stopping by.

God bless America.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road...

In just NINE days, some of my favorite stamp sets are going to be POOFED into retirement!

POOFED, I tell you!

As part of the long goodbye, a few of us decided to showcase our *sniff* favorite retiring sets in a little blog hop.

I chose not just my fave retiring set, but one of my all time favorite stamp sets in the world - Inspired by Nature.

*pauses to lie on the floor and sob dramatically*

I used this set to create my blended pencil tutorial with these cards and this card and also my crayon rubbing tutorial and this sample using that technique. It was perfect for the dramatic highlighting technique and the even more dramatic bleaching technique.

I even used it for my entry in the Austin Art Boards contest.

I have undying love for these images.
Ink: Midnight Muse, Summer Starfruit, Summer Sun, Calypso Coral
Paper: Whisper White, Vellum Cardstock
Accessories: Daffodil Delight Seam Binding, Bitty Banners Framelits (Available June 1) Clear embossing powder

To make the background, I just used the Direct to Paper Technique - making vertical swipes with Summer Starfruit (available June 1), and Summer Sun and then horizontal swipes with Calypso Coral (retiring - get this before it leaves forever!). 

I stamped the images with the new Midnight Muse ink - it's a gorgeous deep navy blue, and the new firm foam ink pads make for completely covered solid images - they are MAGICAL! 

I stamped the greeting on vellum with Midnight Muse and then embossed it and cut it with my Bitty Banners framelit (from the new catalog - squee!) and finished it with Daffodil Delight seam binding. 

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Goodbye, sweet stamp set. I loved you well!!

Now go see what my friends are crying over. :) Hop along! 

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


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Perils of Eating and Driving...

It's been birthday palooza lately! My sister and dad just had big milestone birthdays in the last few weeks.

It's really odd how they are aging faster than me. They should try to get to the bottom of that!

Then this Friday is Lori Lou Whoo's birthday.

So the challenge today at the Touch Twin challenge blog was perfect to get me stamping for all these occasions.

Dina got me hooked on this ribbon dyeing technique at CHA. It's so quick and easy. Just use the chisel end of your Touch Marker to make a few swipes of color on your ribbon - it's really pretty with multiple colors on white or ivory ribbon - and then mist it with rubbing alcohol and scrunch it up in your hand for a quick tie dye!

Today was the first time I tried dyeing colored ribbon and I love it! I used Daffodil Delight seam binding and added YR23 for a deep orange to match my butterfly. It makes SUCH a pretty combo! Because of the alcohol it dries almost instantly.

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Stamps: Papaya Collage (available June 1), Happiest Birthday Wishes, Musical Score (Retired), Elementary Elegance
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Early Espresso, Basic Black, Crumb Cake
Paper: Very Vanilla, Silver Glimmer, First Edition
Accessories: Daffodil Delight Seam Binding, Touch Twin Markers: Y37, YR23, Rhinestone, Curly Label Punch

I used my craft knife to cut around the design from Elementary Elegance to run the ribbon through.

So happy birthday to all you spring birthday peeps!

Now onto the subject at hand. Eating and driving. I'm amazed at how many people eat in their cars in this town.

I'm even MORE amazed at the type of food they choose. I can see a french fry or even a chicken nugget if you're just in a ginormous rush.

But check out this lady nomming on a sandwich with both hands at a very busy highway intersection not too far from where I live.

I got away from her as fast as I could. I didn't want to think about what was going to happen when the light turned green.

One time when I was driving down one of our larger freeways at 70 MPH I looked over and saw a guy eating something out of a bowl with a spoon.


Are we really that rushed? And is it fun to eat soup in the car?

So next time you see some mysterious stains all over a coworker's clothing, or lettuce on the floor of someone's car, you'll know why.

Stay safe out there!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Say You Won't, Say You Don't Want To, But Don't Say You Can't

I saw two amazing things this week - the Kentucky Derby and a video.

As is my custom, I rolled them around in my brain on my walk and ended up with a card as a result - the card is really almost incidental when this happens, but I love being able to make something from the things that inspire me. It's my way of paying back the universe for the inspiration.

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Stamps: Papaya Collage (Preview set from the upcoming catalog. Email me to get yours June 1
Ink: Basic Black 
Accessories: Rhinestones, 3" Circle Die, Polka Dot Scalloped Ribbon

Both the race and the video struck the same chord with me.

The Derby was more exciting than most, as at the end, the winner broke free and overtook a horse with a considerable lead. Picture perfect, it was. And the jockey just dissolved into tears that lasted about an hour. A humble man from Mexico, he just kept repeating that he knew this horse's heart and he believed in the animal when other people didn't.

Then I saw a heartstopping video. I am not sure that I have EVER had the chills for as long as I did when I was watching this video. It's incredible.

What amazed me about this is not the miraculous physical journey this man makes, but it's his triumph over the word "no" that got me. I think that was harder than the rest of what he did, honestly.

No is such a hopeless word. And yes is so life changing. Just watch for yourself.

So be careful with no. You never know what a yes will do. And ALWAYS, always, run for the roses :).


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Service is a Science

I love studying the ways people do business. It borders on an obsession, truly. I'm a bit of a sensitive consumer, if sensitive is defined by wanting to be treated like a human who gives out money.

Hopefully, the Lord has blessed you with Chick-fil-A in your area, but if not, just try to picture an operation where cheerful, efficient, human touch service accompanies food that tastes as though angels made it.

These people get it.

As I told you before, one of our CFA's pioneered a new amazing order process to speed up drive through times.

Well last week, my Starbucks, which is also the highest volume Starbucks in town, tried this out for their drive through. I went and chatted up the employee who was taking orders since I was on my walk and she said that they, too had seen better order times.

Now they are already the highest volume store in town, so they could just sit around and be happy with that. But they don't. They try to make it even better. And they are still the friendliest, nicest people - no human touch gets lost there.

Yesterday, there was a little furry trauma at Casa Blue, which led to my thoughts about service. Maddie Bat has a little virus that's pretty common in cats, which causes her to have eye problems about once a month and I needed some more eye drops. I placed my order with 1-800 Pet Meds, and they didn't fill it because my vet wanted me to call him. He asked that I bring her in so he could see her and talk to me. This of course, caused me great anxiety.

She wasn't jazzed about it either.

But I have to say, she loves Dr. Rafferty, and I've never had a veterinarian who was gentler and kinder to my animals. He's so sweet and always pats her and takes his time with her so she isn't too anxious. No vet has ever been so gentle and loving to my animals and I've had a lot of animals and a lot of vets.

Anyway, he told me that the medication I had been giving her had actually been found to cause an anaphylactic reaction in some cats that killed them in two minutes after they were given the eyedrop. YIKES. So he wanted to change her meds, obviously. He gave me a new medicine, and we were off to restore her spirits after a trip out of her safe zone.

At about 9:30 last night, I remembered to email 1-800 Pet Meds and cancel my order with them. Honestly, I expected it to be days before getting a response or a refund.

Much to my surprise, within ten minutes, I had not only a personal response, but a refund, and a credit towards a future order.

Here's what the email said.

Thank you for your email, Lydia.   We hope this email finds you and Maddie doing well today.  We have processed your request to cancel your order.

We are sorry that we were unable to complete your order and hope that you will keep us in mind for any future needs.

We look forward to helping you and Maddie again.  Please give her a big hug for us.

Please give her a big hug for us??

That is MADE of awesome. As is answering my email at 9:30 at night. I will be a super loyal customer.

It's amazing to me how some companies study and work on the customer experience and some - well, some, er... don't.

I'll stick with the ones that do. :) Thank you Starbucks and Chick Fil-A and Dr. Rafferty and 1-800 Pet Meds for recognizing that I'm a human being. Or, in the case of the latter two, a human being and a beloved furry.

On the stampy front, today I'm honoring a carryover set because I HAVE MY NEW CATALOG! EEP. But wait, first the carryover set - Mouthwatering. I've collected all the citrus themed sets over the years because I'm obsessed with lemon/orange/lime images on cards. Citrus is inherently happy, I think. :)
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Stamps: Mouthwatering, Delightful Dozen Paper: Whisper White 
Ink: Daffodil Delight, Lucky Limeade, Basic Black 
Accessories: Rhinestones, Dazzling Details, 2.5" Circle Punch, 1.25" Square punch

I'm sorry to see some of our sets go. If you want them, you need to shop now. The catalog ends on May 31st and the new OMG AMAZING one begins on June 1. :) If you want a giant discount on all the new stuff, they are also rolling out a $99 totally customizable starter kit you can get your paws on right now

So what's your favorite company? The one that treats you like a human? I'd love to know which one it is and why.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's Probably Time I Tell This Story...

We all have our Lucille Ball moments that we're not proud of. Later, of course, they are hilarious. But in the moment - not so much.

I was talking to someone a week or two ago and told them that soon I would tell the tale of one of my best Lucy days.

Before I was blessed by the universe with a job that let me office at home, I used to slog to the salt mine every day. I had the same routine. Starbucks at 5:30 AM and on to the dark, empty office at 5:35 to try to get an hour or two of uninterrupted toil in before the phones started ringing.

Sometimes, I was carrying things and I had to organize myself, my stuff, my coffee, and my building access card before I shut my car door.

One morning, I got out of my car - a Yukon - and had to do this, which necessitated putting my coffee somewhere. Why my drink holder was not my first choice, I'll never know, but if I hadn't mentioned it before it was 5:35 AM.

So I chose the roof just above my driver's door. Mind you, I'm not very tall. An ankle biter, in fact, as my dad used to say.

And I started gathering my things. However, I was listening to the radio while I did this so my car was still running. That slight vibration of a V8 engine was just enough to ever-so-slightly jiggle my quad short espresso with steamed breve across the roof of the car and, just as I had all my things in my arms and was reaching up for the cup, straight down on top of my head.

Yep. A boiling hot latte lands on my head and soaks my hair and clothes and purse and papers in coffee and half and half.

Here's where I cuss. A lot. And not genteel, ladylike cussing, like "oh fudge" or "darn it all".  There were some new conjunctions of cuss words created. Artfully, I might add.

And, it's also where I realize there are a lot of advantages to getting to work before everyone else. My shame (and my cussing) was my own, and I had more than two hours to go home and right myself before appearing again.

If only there had been a video of this incident, I might have been typing this blog post from an exotic island beach, my concentration broken only by the polite delivery of a mai tai by a handsome cabana boy.

What? What just happened?

Oh yeah - I spilled coffee on my head. Because that's real life people! :)

In my real life this weekend I've been organizing myself. I've archived more than 12,000 emails, (yes, you read that right) written out some cards to mail (pauses while you faint), boxed up some goodie boxes to mail to friends - long overdue - had my stamp class, pulled out my retiring stamps, worked on a project for my Dad, *sort of* cleaned my office, ordered a new water filter, threw away a bunch of post it notes that were stuck on my office cabinets and generally crossed things off lists. I might actually start Monday even, if not ahead.

Class was fun - I kept the projects simple since I am in that transition period to the new catalog, and the projects were all very bright and light and summery and easy.

The first one was a fun card with the Mixed Bunch stamp set and the matching Blossom punch. I saw the tutorial for this on Julie Davison's awesome blog.

Here's what it looks like closed.
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And here's how it looks open! Fun and happy, eh?

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Fortunately, real life does contain some things that work out better than my Lucy moment did, like fun cardmaking classes with fun girls, some of whom, like my downline Melody, bring me sweet gifts like real fresh chicken eggs from her farm, presented in a way only a stamper would...

Now if I can just make sure not to spill them on my head....


Friday, May 4, 2012

You are the BOMB!

The ice cream truck has come back to our neighborhood.

Actually it's been back for nearly three months. Since that's when our summer starts - February. But this week I've heard it nearly every day and I just love it. Every time I hear it, (ours plays Music Box Dancer) I am transported back to the days where we used to hear it and immediately run for our houses to shake change out of the couch or a piggy bank so that we could get a Dreamsicle (my fave), a Fudgesicle or the big daddy of them all - a Bomb Pop.

As I recall, the Bomb Pops were significantly more expensive than our staple treats, so I rarely, if ever, got one.

But oh my word were they special.

It doesn't really get better than red white and blue after all...

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Stamps: Pops2Eat, Patterns4Pops 
Accessories: Clearsnap Fairy Dust Glitter - Sugar Shimmer, Airmail Twine, Dimensionals

How could I resist stamping one when I heard that?

I am also playing along today with a Clearsnap blog hop, so you might have come here from Steph's blog. If so, your next stop is my sweet friend Mary Dawn!

If you're just plain lost, the full hop list is below - I hope it helps you have a sweet day!

>>> Lydia Fiedler <<< You are here :)


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake

My question to you is, how could eating a cupcake NOT calm you?

They should give them to people to see if it can cure the fear of public speaking or arachnophobia.

On second thought - I'm not sure even a cupcake can cure arachnophobia. Or fear of monkeys, which I have. Yes, Sue, I can hear you laughing at me from Canada.

Monkeys are gross.

I hope there's not such a thing as a monkey spider. Shudder.

WAIT - back to cupcakes.

Okay so last night on our way back into town, I saw the UPS plane at the gate at ABIA. I squeeeeed like a crazy person because it was 6 PM. A UPS plane at the gate at 6 PM could ONLY be carrying my expedited preorder from the new catalog, because that would be JUST the right time frame for them to load up the trucks overnight and be at my door bright and early with my happy red label box.

Just as I was growling in a comment on Facebook that my friend Mindy had already gotten hers - I mean, as I was typing, my driver knocked on my door - at the same moment!! Now THAT, my friends, is LOGISTICS.

So I ripped open the box and made this for you!!! YES OMG WE NOW HAVE A STAMP TO MATCH MY SHIRT!!! You should order one for convention while you're thinking about it ---->>>> HERE.

Anyhoo. LOOKIE.

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SQUEEEEE!!! Did I say that already?? Yes, that is two new sets of Framelits, a Keep Calm set, and OMG the new firm foam ink pads are the BOMB! The coverage is SO much better than with our current ink pads - you will just be floored. They are somewhere between a craft pad and our current pad in ink consistency and the ink pad itself is very smooth and soft. If you were a masher or a pounder before - you'd best quit those habits before you get these dreamy ink pads. They make using solid images completely blissful!! I'm in love. LOVE, I tell you.

And if you're interested, there is a new, completely customizable starter kit for only $99 - KAPOW! As a bonus, all my newbies get a Keep Calm and Stamp On T-shirt as a welcome gift from me :) Join the fun here.

And for my beloved driver and friends at UPS - thank you!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Giraffe Love Story

Well it is spring, you know.

Giraffes are probably giggling and flirting with each other RIGHT now! How cute would it be to see a twitterpated giraffe?

Well if that appeals to you, you're in luck because I'm providing you with JUST such a scene today, to celebrate the entrance of Your Next Stamp into the Splitcoast Member Company program! We are very happy to have our friends call Splitcoast their stampy home now and so we're celebrating with a little hopping around.

Which, by the way, giraffes ALSO do when they're in love. And when they're not gracing the front of my cards.
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Stamps: Your Next Stamp Love is in the Air, Paper: Summer Smooches DSP, Whisper White 
Accessories: ShinHan Touch Twin markers: RP137, RP86, B182, B66, 
Oval Punch, Scallop die, Daffodil Delight Seam Binding, Rhinestones

You probably just came here from Peggy's blogTo go to the next stop on the hop, visit Jenny. To start at the beginning of the hop, just visit Splitcoast here

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