Friday, August 31, 2012

Have You Heard of These People?

I've heard tell of a strange kind of crafter.

Maybe you've heard of them.

They're "planners."

They "plan" things, like their Christmas cards - not DAYS or WEEKS in advance, but yes, MONTHS.

It's okay to say it out loud. I'm thinking the same thing. Yes, they are freaks.

Normal people do this sort of thing right before the turkey goes into the oven. Am I right?

Well I don't want you think when you see today's card that I've BECOME one of those people.

I am just having a lot of fun. This in no way indicates organization or pre-Christmas planning. None of that will pop into my head until I smell turkey, believe me!

A few girls got together and decided to have a little fun with a card club - where we all use the same supplies and see what we come up with.

I haven't seen any of theirs, so I'm very much looking forward to peeking today.

But I took my supplies and made a few cards that are CAS enough to be quick Christmas cards, but have a little depth too. Here are a few of the things we all had to work with.

For my first card, I really wanted to make my little nutcracker dude be the star of the show. I used the TTC24 inspiration challenge for my starting point, and actually colored him in traditional Christmas colors which is SO out of the box for me!
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Stamps: Waltzingmouse
Paper: Echo Park Holly Jolly
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Touch Twin Markers: GY167, GY47, YR133, RP9, R4, buttons, snowflakes, silver cord

I still had tons of paper left, and I engaged in my normal struggle I have with double sided DSP - which side do I use? They're both my favorite!! ARGH.

Good thing you can't see all those gyrations and you just get to see the card.

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All I did after putting all the elements on was sponge the edges with soft suede. The paper does the rest.

We're calling these little projects a Random Act of Christmas 2012 - or RAC12 for short :) You can see all the cards together with that keyword in the Splitcoast gallery by clicking here.

I'll be peeking with you! :)

Hey - TGIF and happy long Labor Day Weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hide and Seek for Grownups

One of my Twitter peeps posted a shocking photo yesterday.

You can see that photo here.

I don't know if Costco sells calendars, but if they do, they need to crack one out and look at it.

It's AUGUST, for goodness' sake!

The ONLY people who are allowed to even PONDER the holiday season are stampers. Everyone else should stifle all Christmas-y urges accordingly.


So I bring you a Christmas ditty, since I'm allowed.

A very simple Christmas ditty using the beautiful Noel Notes from the Holiday mini - they are precut and come with a pretty, vanilla scalloped insert. The envelopes have a cute green insert.

These would make fun Christmas cards with very little work. I also think that you could just slip a photo into the frame, add the insert and have a photo card that doesn't look like everyone else who got theirs done at the same online Christmas card photo printer.

Since the end of the year is rushing at us, quick is very appealing! :)

I didn't want to spoil the simplicity of the design, so after I attached the insert I just punched a few vanilla trees with the Merry Minis punch and popped some of them up with dimensionals to make a teeny forest. I used this week's inspiration challenge as my starting point. I don't know how Stephanie keeps coming up with these amazing websites, but each week is better than the last. This week she chose LEIF. I used this Pantone teapot for my inspiration. 

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Now I have to tell you about my new obsession - geocaching!

My friend Lee came for a visit, and she and her husband are avid geocachers and they got me HOOKED!

If this had been around when I was little I don't think I ever would have gone to school. It's just like being Nancy Drew, which was always my lifelong dream.

Since I walk for a few hours every day anyway, this just adds a whole new level of fun and mystery to my stomps. 

I'm curious if any of you do this also? If so, please find me on - I'm understandblue. 

Seriously - look how fun this is. I'm totally addicted. I've only found 15 so far but I have zillions mapped out to find. Wanna play? (if you don't see a video below, click here) It's like Hide & Seek for people who would otherwise be considered grownups if not for the treasure hunting and stamping and whatnot.

Have you played today? It's good for your soul. Do something fun.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If You're Unorganized Enough, You Can Do Anything


I was trying to go through my 91 draft blog posts to see if there was anything fun to post and I found a card from LAST YEAR.

I'm so organized like that. It's okay to be jealous.

I like it though, so we're going to pretend I was saving it for a special occasion. Like Tuesday, August 21st.

Yeah, that.

This card was actually a sample I did for last year's Hope You Can Cling To event, which is near and dear to my heart. This year will be our third year, and I can't wait - I really hope you can join us. It's  a great cause, and the most fun you can have without getting arrested!

Stamps: From the Heart (retired)
Paper: Whisper White, Silver Glimmer
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: ShinHan Touch Markers: RP196, RP17, SU Oval dies, SU dotted ribbon

This weekend I also did a little project with some of my leftover paper from my fun CitraSolv experiment.

You can see the results on this post on Project Reanimate.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What if my Cat is Just From HECK?

You've seen My Cat From Hell, right? If not, PLEASE get a season pass immediately.

I really don't watch TV - there are just a few exceptions for me. I watch the news, Food Network, and a few beloved series and sitcoms. TV just doesn't hold my interest like stamping does.

But THIS show is amazing. I was very skeptical the first time I watched it because I did not think there was a person on earth who could do the things this guy does with felines. But he is an amazingly intelligent and intuitive human being, and truly an expert at both understand and changing both human and feline behavior. I'm astounded at what I've learned from him, truly.

The cats on the show aren't really from hell. It's actually kind of heartbreaking how misunderstood they are, when you go into each show thinking - OH MY WORD that cat is from hell - and come out thinking - yikes, those people made that poor kitty miserable. If you have any sort of love for furry critters at all, you really need to give it look. And if you don't, I seriously doubt you'd be on my blog anyway! :)

So thank you, Jackson Galaxy, for an awesome, eye-opening show. 
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Ink: Daffodil Delight, Basic Black
Cardstock: Whisper White

So what I was wondering, though, is what if your cat is only from HECK? Or, in my case, your little sister cats? What if they've never laid tooth or nail on a human, including the vet? What if they've only been MILDLY bad? Shoot - mine might even be from DARN!!

But who is around to help me with the CONSTANT talking? I'm serious - these two (which we think have a Siamese in the woodpile) can TALK - they are like a cross between Jim Carrey and Robin Williams. There is a LOT of talking, at ALL hours of the day and night! Maddie gets EXTREMELY angry about pizza for some reason and YOWLS when we try to eat it. Seriously. Pizza. Every time. Splotchy has to answer EVERY coyote yip in the middle of the night, like he's kinfolk or something. And there's some furniture scratching, and some packing tape eating and a few other things. But really only to the heck or darn level. So where's MY heck expert, anyway? Make a reality show out of THAT, Animal Planet!

Here are some of the things that make me not worry so much about all that heck though.

Here's what happens when I can't find Splotchy.

I know - it's cute right?

And here he is enjoying his new felted cat cave from Elevele. Thanks to Modern Cat for this find from Lithuania! This is incredible craftsmanship - even better than they look online and she included the sweetest handmade toy I've ever seen.

As predicted, my little burrower LOVES it and hopped in for a nap as soon as it was out of the box!

So, my little heckcats aren't worthy of a reality show, I guess. I'll just have to get earplugs. And find something to eat besides pizza.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to This Post

Some days are just more "Lucy" than others.

August has been a crazy month and getting crazier.

I had two challenges I wanted to do for today - the Touch Twin challenge and the Splitcoast Sketch challenge.

So why not combine them, right? Smart, efficient. I got all smirky about that.

The sketch is adorable,

and the Touch Twin challenge was a shadowing technique.

So I came up with this CUTE idea with Animal Talk where I was going to have my dog's shadow go through the greeting and make a super bright and happy card, since it was the first time I'd ever inked this little dude.

I got done and I really liked it!
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Stamps: Animal Talk
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Paper: Whisper White, Polka Dot Parade, Birds of a Feather
Accessories: ShinHan Touch Twin Markers: BR103, YR133, BR92, BG179, B65, dimensionals, Square Punch

So I go to upload it and I see....

The Touch Twin challenge is actually FOOD and shadowing.


This card wouldn't really send the right message there, eh?

I did laugh for quite a while, and then I made another card, which you can see here. :)

Come play along with us in both - but if you do, it's a great idea to read the instructions FIRST.

Monday, August 13, 2012

When You Are Allowed to Use The Word "Real"

I saw something very disturbing yesterday when I was grocery shopping. Well, actually, I saw lots of disturbing things - like the guy crawling all up in my business in line, as per usual. I also saw a child having a fit that was like something out of Alien. Actually, I'm nearly positive the child was inhabited by another life form.

Anyway, this next thing was MORE disturbing.

I saw a product which boasted "Made with REAL cream" on its label.

Let me tell you people something.

Cream is a word. It means something. It does not require the use of the word "real" as a qualifier, if that is, in fact, what you are using in your product.

As a matter of fact, we should not allow the use of the word "cream" if the actual ingredient is made out of coconut oil and partially hydrogenated extract of donkey tail.

Some other things that should never require the use of the word "real" include:

Cheese - If it's vegetable oil dyed orange, injected with plastic and formed into a rectangle, it's not cheese.
Butter - This is the definition of a holy food. Don't use the word if you don't mean it.
Fruit - What in the world drives people to qualify FRUIT? It's either fruit or it's not.

I suggest that the makers of fake products come up with their own words for their fake products, like the people who make KRAB. KRAB is not the same as crab, which is real. So maybe if you're making something other than cheese, instead of cheese makers having to describe their product as "real", you have to call your product. CHIZE. Fake donkey tail butter could be called "GROSS" and fake fruit could be called FROUTH.

I'm sure we could come up with something.

I'd be ever so grateful.

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Paper: Whisper White
Ink: Melon Mambo, Basic Grey, Peach Parfait, Tangerine Tango
Accessories: Framelits - Labels Collection, Daffodil Delight Striped Ribbon, Fancy Fan embossing folder
Techniques: Dry Embossing

I made this pretty card for Joanne Basile's Dare to Get Dirty Challenge on Splitcoast and I LOVE it - I LOVE this stamp set! Look how pretty the grey is as the dark note on my Melon Mambo flower? SQUEE! Nothing fake about that!!

Now that we have sorted all that "real" nonsense out, here's a little stop motion video I made of my walk, for all my friends who always say they want to walk with me. :) Enjoy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Unexpected Tie That Binds Us All Together...

You know - at the end of the day, we're not all that different. Social media will definitely teach you that we have more in common with our fellow man than the news media would like us to believe.

Last week, on my walk, where all my best, slightly unorthodox thinking is done, I finally figured out the one thread that runs through all of us and unites us as a species.

Republican or Democrat, vegan or carnivore, Christian or Muslim, tastes great or less filling, National League or American League, Aggie or Longhorn, there is this ONE THING that we all come together around.

One unargued truth.

One thing no one denies.

We ALL, every one of us, when it's hot outside and we exercise and our fingers swell up - we ALL call those fingers snausage fingers.

I realized this while talking to a friend from the Northeast who couldn't possibly have known that that was MY word for this condition. I was stunned to hear her say it - how could she know?

It's THAT universal an idea.

And I don't understand it at all. I mean, Snausages are a dog snack that looks like a pig in a blanket. We don't call our swollen paws pigs in a blanket - but race, creed, color aside, we ALL call them snausages.

I'm fascinated by this.

What do you think Europeans call their swollen up fingers?

At least at the end of the day we can meet each other on the common snausage ground and call each other friends. Thank goodness for that.

I had fun on Thursday with the Splitcoast Ways To Use It challenge. I decided to try this week's tutorial from my beloved, beloved friend Bev Gerard for the background and I REALLY like it! I've never done this tutorial before, or if I have, I've forgotten about it, which is one of the best things about getting older - it's like a new world every day :).

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Stamps: Sage Advice (Retired), Hello Doily
Ink: Tempting Turquoise, Lucky Limeade, Basic Black
Paper: Whisper White
Accessories: Want2Scrap bling

Now that we've achieved world peace through snausage fingers, let's move on to the important news of the day - banana bread.

I ADORE my ladies that come to my class every month, and I love to bring them presents whenever I can. This month I decided to bake something for them, but I wanted it to be really, really special. So instead of regular banana bread, I made banana bread with my FAVORITE food item in the world - it's the normal person's answer to Nutella, which I despise.

And not only is this amazing spread like CRACK, but in banana bread, it makes the angels sing. So as promised, here is the recipe. Please only make it for people you really, really love. I can assure you - no one else is worth it! I got this recipe here. (If your grocery store doesn't carry it - I have links where you can buy the spread and the cookies together. And yes, you heard me right - this banana bread has COOKIES in it.)

Biscoff Crunch Banana Bread

3 ripened bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt ( I used Fage 2%)
3 tbsp. butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the first 5 ingredients and mix until well blended.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Then slowly pour it in the stand mixer, beating on low until batter forms and is mixed well.
  4. Gently fold in 3/4 of the crushed Biscoff cookies with a spatula.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and then top with the remaining 1/4 crushed Biscoff cookies.
  6. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let cool completely before removing from pan and slicing.

Go forth and make banana bread with your unifying snausage fingers!!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

You're Nekkid Already - You're Just a Different Color!

There's been a profusion of inappropriate nekkidness lately.

First, I went to Starbucks one morning and had my eyes assaulted by a 65-ish year old male cyclist who had his bike outfit on - and, I have to say, this already qualified him as nekkid pretty much - just a different color than his birthday suit, but otherwise pretty much nekkid. But that wasn't the issue.

The issue was that he had the dang thing completely unzipped in the front, practically clear down to his nether regions.

I was completely appalled. I can honestly tell you that it has NEVER, in the history of the WORLD, been hot enough anywhere on earth to justify this behavior. Never.

Also, I believe it was a health department violation. If not, it should be.

But THEN - then the Olympics started. And sand volleyball. Which, according to one player who actually kept a straight face while answering John McEnroe's question about why they were playing practically nekkid, said that the sport was SO advanced that it required the highly specialized "equipment" of a tiny string in everyone's butt and little else.

It's been the source of many hilarious observations in social media, and for that I am grateful.

But it has also led to an invention  by me.

As you know, I don't sew. It's a genetic disability. Well I can cross stitch and embroider - does that count as sewing? I can also stamp sewing images, as you can see here.
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Paper: Real Red Polka Dot DSP, Early Espresso, Whisper White
Ink: Early Espresso
Accessories: Real Red & Early Espresso markers, Large Scallop Edgelit, 2.5" circle punch

So here's my idea for a little sewing first aid for our volleyball players and our exhibitionist men at Starbucks. A cover up! Most women own a bathing suit cover up already because it's a generally accepted norm that you should only be in your bathing suit when you're actually in or quite near a significant body of water. The mall, for example, is not a place where you should appear in a bikini, regardless of whether or not you are an Olympian. So I have made the following modifications to inappropriate use of athletic outfits.

Or for my biking friend, he'd just have to adjust the position of the wrap.

Better, don't you think?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

It's really hard to believe we are on the last day of the Dare to Get Dirty Challenges! I have been having a blast and learning all sorts of new things, and I hope you've had a chance to play along.

My first challenge for the week was a very clean challenge, so I decided we'd get dirtier and dirtier as the week went on. 

Now I can't tell you what my challenge is - you can find it here if you're a Fan Club member- but I can tell you what technique I used. 

I've heard about this technique for many years but never tried it until now, and I am HOOKED. 

It's a very cool way to make stunning backgrounds, and to recycle. And I know you're all... "Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but two videos in one week, maybe?"

And to that I say yes! I have a video for you!

Can you guess what these pretty strips of paper are made out of? I'll give you three guesses while you peruse....
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Paper: Whisper White, National Geographic
Ink: Early Espresso
Accessories: Linen Thread, Citra Solv, Foam Paintbrush, Tombow Multi Glue

It's a National Geographic magazine! I bought mine for $1 at Half Price books, found the Citra Solv at Central Market and I went to work!

To see my other card with this technique - head over to Project Reanimate!

To learn to do it yourself, watch the following Citra Solv Magic video!

And then go get your share of our amazing prizes for Dare to Get Dirty!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Quilling is Thrilling!

I always thought paper quilling was intimidating.

I pictured paper quillers like monks, holed up in lofty towers with little strips of paper, working on their ancient and difficult art.

Then Beate asked me to do a tutorial on it.

Not having access to a monk's robe or a lofty tower, I had to make do. Luckily I had a quilling tool, still in its package, of course, from when I bought it at a craft show last year.

I used strips of copy paper - mine were about 1/4 inch - just to get the hang of it. After the first flower petal, I was completely hooked. And, unlike other techniques I've tried, I didn't have to throw my first attempts away!

What you see on my card is my very first try.
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I love how it looks both simple and complicated at the same time. 

Head over to Splitcoast to read the step by step tutorial and watch the video if you don't see it below!

Now go forth into the world and put a quill on something!


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