Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Walk In the Woods

When did the fall get so crazy? This month was not only completely full - every second of it, but there were even extra things shoved into all the cracks. I'm hoping for a quiet close to the year.

When it's crazy busy like this, the only thing that maintains my sanity is my walks.

This month, some friends and I took a day and did the insanely fun Necropolis of Brittania Manor III haunted geocache. It took us on a journey all over Austin, during which I ripped my pants and apparently showed my underwear to everyone on Mt. Bonnell.

Despite my unladylike exhibition, we solved the puzzle and made it to the end, which was an insanely awesome locked building in the woods, full of bones, a geocoin that has been into space with its owner and all sorts of other fun things. It was a complete blast.

I would go crazy if I couldn't go outside every day. That's why I love living here in God's country, where it's not only possible, but pleasant nearly every day of the year.

This was the inspiration for our final Hope You Can Cling To challenge - my walk in the woods each day.

Here are some of my recent walk photos. Do I not live in the prettiest place on earth?

I thought that for the ladies being treated at MD Anderson, seeing some art representing the outdoors might be a virtual breath of fresh air, so my challenge is for you to do just that. Bring something that you love about being outside onto your card.

I used an image that I colored for my Watercolor Wow class last weekend (which was an insane amount of fun, by the way) for my challenge sample.

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Isn't she adorable? One of the most fun things about being outside in the winter is all the fun coats, scarves and sweaters we get to wear, and she is so sassily dressed for her walk!

We colored using three different mediums and it was really interesting to see how my students really took to different tools for their favorites.

My favorite is still reinkers, which is what I used here. I think I like it best because it gives such saturated color.

Now if you haven't had a chance to play yet, you still can! Our upload deadline isn't until November 7th - so you have plenty of time to upload cards for a chance to win our more than $6500 in stampy prizes! Here is the prize list.

Get yourself a little early Christmas present :).


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BOO-ing myself

For some reason, I'm even MORE into Halloween this year than normal. And that's saying a LOT because I love Halloween.

This year, I put out my awesome wreath of bones, my beautiful Decor Elements spooky white pumpkins, my little pumpkin I painted to look like a candy corn, and I did a live segment on YNN  With Bonnie Gonzalez on pumpkin carving and decorating.

Then, I added this crazy awesome decal to my car....

Don't ask to hitchhike unless you want to ride with MY SKELLIE!!

It's been a hoot and I can't wait for the big day.

OH - and this weekend, some friends and I are going on this EPIC haunted geocache set up by the way more than famous Richard Garriott...

I wish Halloween was a season and not just a day. There's too much fun stuff to do and not enough time!

Like stamp, for example!! So many cute and spooky images, so little time! 

I made this card for one of our Hope You Can Cling To challenges on Splitcoast (wherein you can win some of our $6500 in stampy prizes, btw) called "Monster Mash." This challenge - since we are making cards for breast cancer patients - is to remind us to get MASHED :). Adorable.

So I busted out my SUPER awesome Googly Ghouls, the Ghoulist Googlies Printed Kit, the self adhesive googlie eyes and I went to town!
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Do you love Halloween too? I'd love to see pictures of what you do!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

How To Get a Divorce in 30 Seconds

So I'm on my walk not too long ago - not a geocaching walk - just my regular route.

At one point I cross over the entrance to a gated community of garden homes. There's the entrance, which I cross first, a small grassy median and then the exit.

As I approach this entrance on this particular day, right before my eyes, a lady on her bike just crashes and falls over in the entrance, which is the side closest to me. A jogger, a woman, in front of me, just keeps going while the lady is stuck under her bike, sort of struggling to get untangled and up again. Then, across the median, in the exit from the subdivision, a man in his car has his window rolled down and is yelling something. I assume, being a normal human being with empathy, that he is asking her if she's ok.

As I'm hurrying to get closer to this lady and see if she's okay, I can hear that is NOT, in fact, what this human was yelling at her. This person was her HUSBAND. And instead of getting out of his car when he sees his wife on the ground, pinned under her wrecked bike on a busy street, he is 15 feet away, in his car, asking her WHAT HE SHOULD TELL THE PAINTERS TO DO IN THEIR BATHROOM.

Still trying to get up, she's yelling a few instructions at him and telling him to just deal with it when I finally get close enough to ask her if she's okay or needs help. She gets the bike off herself and stands up and says she thinks she's okay. At this point, there's a car behind her idiot husband and he says "I'll be back in an hour" and drives off. Astounded, I look at her and say, "Would you like me to find you a divorce lawyer on my Iphone?"

Some people. I swear.

I hope she meets someone nice in her cycling group after it's all finalized.

Maybe she'll have a Merry Christmas :).

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I made this card for Giovana's Hope You Can Cling To challenge to use three punches or die cuts and a sentiment. I thought the little mini tree punch would go perfectly with the big snowflake die. 

The background paper is actually Howlstooth and Scaringbone Halloween DSP but it's perfect with this Christmasy layout!

Are you playing along with us? If not, you're missing out on the chance to lift the spirits of women battling breast cancer at MD Anderson, and also on more than$6500 in prizes from your favorite crafty companies. So what are you waiting for? Get to stamping!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Earl Grey & Miracle Whip - a Genetic Mystery Story

So I haven't even had any espresso since we got back from Santa Fe because I'm SO addicted to these London Fogs! In case you missed it, here's how you order it at Starbucks: Grande whole milk no water five pump Earl Grey tea latte. It's a lot of words, but it's worth it. It's the best drink in the world.

However, I've noticed something since raving about this drink.

There are people with a very serious genetic anomaly I wasn't aware of before now. It's frightening for the families of those affected, I'm sure.

These people suffer from Earl Grey Aversion Disorder Syndrome - or EGADS for short.

EGADS!! How can you not like Earl Grey?? Well, aside from a genetic disorder, that is...

I questioned my sister on the subject, as she suffers from EGADS, and she claims that it's the bergamot.


No one's ever heard of bergamot or would be able to identify it in a tastebud lineup. That is just a person in denial about EGADS.

I posed this question to my barista this morning -I said, "Barista, what is wrong with people who don't like Earl Grey?" And she made a very wise observation. She said "You know - it's like those MIRACLE WHIP people." And I think I saw an eyeroll.

She's right you know. Miracle Whip is only enjoyed by a small group of people with a similar genetic defect. Normal people eat mayonnaise, you know. And drink Earl Grey tea.

These are the things that divide our nation!

How will we achieve world peace with imaginary bergamot and Miracle Whip keeping us apart??

While I ponder that, I'm going to have a London Fog and keep calm and carry on.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Newest Invention - The Stranger Danger Airlock

People who don't telecommute can't really grasp all the things that drive a telecommuter crazy.

My friend Joanne Basile posted about this last week.

On the whole, telecommuters are more productive than people in cube farms because there are fewer distractions. You'd be amazed how much of your day is eaten up in an office environment with chit chat, fire drills, people asking you to help them get the 30 page report with staples out of the copier and the endless parade of birthday lunches.

However, there are some things that happen at home that people don't think about.

For me, it's the endless stream of door to door solicitors that break up my day. My UPS man knocks softly and leaves my package. He gets it. However, the following people do not.

  • Random hippies who care deeply about something that is on their clipboard. They ring the bell a minimum of three times. This is FANTASTIC when you're on a conference call. 
  • FedEx - FedEx likes to throw the package at the door from 200 yards away causing me to scream and weaponize. Also super if you're on a conference call or recording a training video. 
  • Flyerists  - these are the worst. These are the creepy people prowling your neighborhood and leaving garbage on your porch. Sometimes, I hear something and go look out the peephole and there's some creeper just standing there. I don't think I should have to throw away anyone else's garbage. These should simply be outlawed. They apparently are not acquainted with the internet.
  • Converters - people who think that I'm ready to sign up to worship Zolton at 2 PM between meetings and that it's just fate that I opened my door with my soul all laid bare for the taking.
Now mind you, I do NOT open my door. I've seen enough movies to know how that scenario ends. But still, I think it's disrespectful to ring the doorbell of a person you do not know or of a person who knows you but does not know you're coming, unless you're being chased by an axe murderer. Wait - that doesn't really work either. Girl scouts are the only known exception to this rule. Oh, and trick or treaters, which I'll get to in a second. Also, this rule is waived at Christmas when people are flinging cookies about like so much confetti. 

So I have invented a system I believe will solve this issue for me and my fellow telecommuters.

It's a series of airlocks and consequences, leading to the front door. A person would enter the first airlock and be asked the following question: "Do we know you?" If the answer is no, they are asked "Are you with FedEx or UPS?" If the answer to that is yes, they proceed to the next airlock. If the answer is still no, they are asked if they are being chased by an axe murderer. If the answer to that is no, they are simply vaporized. 

If they answer that they DO know us, but answer the question "Do we know you're coming?" in the negative, they are vaporized. 

If they know us, we know they're coming, or they have a package, they can proceed to the door. 

If they do not know us, but are being chased by an axe murderer, they may proceed to the door IF the axe murderer is NOT in the airlock with them. If he is, sadly, they will both be vaporized. It's for the best. 

Girl Scouts and trick or treaters are automatically approved for immediate transport to the front door. 

You have to agree this is for the best. This system will be available soon on Amazon. 

Since Halloween is coming, the trick or treater exception is important. I love my little trick or treaters. I remember how excited I was to get my costume - usually hand made by my mom - every year and put it on. Mine were always princess-ish and I remember how I thought every one was the best one in the world. 

Like this...

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I bought this little image on vacation in Santa Fe because the second I saw it I knew it would be PERFECT for Beate's Hope You Can Cling To challenge, which is called Rays of Hope. The challenge is to make a greyscale card with a pop of pink. It was the perfect way for this little girl to show off her sassy ballerina outfit, and most certainly exactly how she feels about her costume compared to the others.

My dad had bought me some Lyra watercolors for my birthday and that's what I used to watercolor the image with. But see how the paper is sort of transparent?

That's because I bought this CRAY-CRAY paper in Santa Fe - it's made of stone! I'm not kidding - it has no wood or fiber in it at all, and so if you roll it up, it will immediately go back to its shape. It's also water resistant, so it's good for camping or geocaching, and you can even write on it without a pen or pencil - just a stick or a piece of metal. I bought some small pads of it for geocaching. It's called TerraSkin and you can read about it here.

Anyhoo - these little peeps are welcome at my door.

For the rest of them? I say - answer carefully and beware the airlock! :)


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Random Act of Christmas Part II - The Silver Bunny

It's time for the second round in our Random Act of Christmas Club. This month was my month to send supplies to my stamping buddies - Misti, Meredith, Finn, Lee & Kelli.

I chose the SWEETEST Christmas stamp in the catalog, and some of my fave papers and goodies. If you can believe it, I even sent them some of my HOARDED Champagne glimmer paper!!

The inspiration for this card is Lori's Hope You Can Cling To Challenge - For Kid's Sake, which asks us to think about the kids affected by the scary situation of a parent with cancer.

I remember one day when my friend (also a Hope You Can Cling To Hostess) Libby's daughter Courtney lost her favorite animal - Silver Bunny - for a day - I think he got left at school. I also think all of her Twitter and Facebook friends held their breath for a day until Silver Bunny and Courtney were reunited. 

I remember how much I loved my little bear Ferd when I was little - he played Brahm's lullaby from a little music box in his hiney - it's amazing how important those things are when you're little. Or when you're grown up :).

So when I saw this image, to me it looked like Courtney having a little reunion tea party with Silver Bunny. 

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Accessories: Linen Thread, Corner Rounder, Designer Brushed Bronze buttons
Touch Twin Markers: R2, BR103, R139, CG0.5, BR134, G46, G43, R136, R131, BR99

Isn't that just the sweetest?

If you want to play along with this fun challenge and do some good for breast cancer patients, please use keyword HYCCT1201B in the Splitcoast gallery and upload to the Hope You Can Cling To Challenge gallery.

What was your "woobie" when you were a kid? A bear? A doll? A silver bunny? Lay it on me, stringbean! :)


Monday, October 1, 2012

What Are You Made Of?

Can you believe it's October already? I guess time really does speed up as you age. Or maybe even babies think it's going faster! :)

October has come to be my favorite crafty month of the year because of the AMAZING Splitcoast Hope You Can Cling To card drive benefiting patients at the MD Anderson Breast Cancer Unit and their families.

Last year, our community sent more than 3,000 cards to women fighting for their lives - that's how awesome papercrafters are when you give them a great cause and a great challenge. It's really an honor to be a part of this and I love seeing what all of you do.

My challenge is up, and I'd love it if you played along. I decided that since serious illnesses and other tests of human nature can really reveal what you're made of, that I would use that as the basis for my challenge. So to play along, you just need to make a card that shows off what you consider to be the core of your designing style.

For me, this is very clear, although it wasn't always. I like lots of white space, CAS cards, but with extremely vivid, bright, complementary colors.

The idea for this card came to me when I was in Santa Fe. I was so glad to be there this year when it was warmer and not snowing. I like snow, but I'm not overly fond of being cold, so this trip was a nice change. I thought that maybe my favorite snowflakes were on paper :).

I'll try to do a video on how I achieved this look, but it's really simple. Just watercolor paper and reinkers - it was way less than a five minute card, aside from drying time. Plus, I got to play with my new snowflake die that I hadn't used yet. The greeting is from Snowflake Soiree and is stamped in Midnight Muse. Midnight Muse is sort of becoming my new black. You get all that contrast and crispness but just a little softer look. It's harmonious with this image anyway.
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I really would love if you joined me for this fun month - you'll get a new challenge every day and we have thousands and thousands of dollars in amazing prizes from our generous sponsors. We have a blast in there chatting and stamping and we even have a dedicated thread for recipes. Hope You Can Cling To is where I got the Mac and Geez recipe, after all.

If you play along with my challenge, please use keyword HYCCT1201A when you upload to your gallery so that you are eligible for prizes. And if you or your loved ones' lives have been touched by breast cancer, please share your story, and know that you have more than 300,000 Splitcoaststampers members in your corner with you!


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