Thursday, November 29, 2012

You're The Bee's Knees!

You may have heard about Small Business Saturday in between your pie and your Cyber Monday.

This past Saturday was a day where you were encouraged to shop at the very heart of American business - the sole proprietors, the mom and pop shops - the people who took big risks to try to to make it on their own instead of slaving away in a cubicle.

I'm lucky enough to call one such small business owner a good friend - Korin Sutherland.

I never get tired of the stories of people who started a business literally in their living rooms. Korin did just that when she started Sweet 'n Sassy stamps five years ago and she's been a huge success.

As much time as I spend BUYING and PLAYING with stamps, I honestly don't know how she has the energy to DESIGN and MAKE stamps, but she does, and I'm so thankful that because she does, I have a sweet friend.

Korin and I met through Splitcoast, when she became a member company, and I just love her to death. She is sweet, and she is sassy :), so her marketing skills are obviously on point!

Anyway, today we're having a little birthday party for Korin and Sweet 'n Sassy, so I really hope you'll hop around and see all the cards her friends have designed for her birthday party. Here's mine, for a girl I think really is the bee's knees.

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Stamps: Bee Happy Rhubarb 
Paper: Crumb Cake, Polka Dot Party, Chevron treat bag
Accessories: Sizzix Westminster Hexagon Dies (2")

So happy birthday, friend! Thank you for making the world sweeter and sassier! Y'all hop along now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So I Bought This Toilet Paper....

No really - this is actually a story worth telling.

I think that all women have at least a modest fear of running out of toilet paper. As a result, we pack it in like Army supply clerks, making sure a mental alarm goes off when we're down to our terrifying remaining 18 rolls. 

We actually have a small ledge in our garage that we affectionately call "Little Costco" because I feel the need to have toilet paper, paper towels and Ziploc bags in astonishing quantities on hand at all times.

However, because sometimes I actually do shop at big Costco, the brand selection varies. They do this to trick us. And to move Soviet style goods off their shelves and into the bathrooms of unsuspecting consumers like me.

So apparently, one day, I bought a magical, Jack and the Beanstalk style package of FREAKING ONE PLY TOILET PAPER at Costco!!

I moved it into our distribution system, unaware of my future peril, and so that meant it didn't surface in the rotation for months. 

One day, not knowing that life was about to forever change, a roll of this heinous affront to modern living worked its way onto the toilet paper roll.

This is a picture of me:


I had no idea that since the Berlin wall came down that one ply toilet paper was even MADE! It's so Orwellian!! 

And here's the Jack in the Beanstalk part of it - IT WILL NOT GO AWAY! This toilet paper has been sneaking into the rotation for a year! I swear it's replicating somewhere. And you can't really tell when you innocently put it on the holder what evil it holds. 

That's what I've been dealing with. 

Your sympathy is appreciated. 

To console myself, I stamp. 

In particular, I stamped along with our Queen for the Day challenge on Splitcoast honoring one of my favorite stampers - Gabby, or gabalot on Splitcoast. She seems like the kind of girl smart enough to avoid buying large quantities of communist TP. She's also a great stamper. You can see her gallery here.

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I love her one layer collage style so that's what I did with Snowflake Soiree, White Craft Ink, white gel pen, rhinestones and some tinsel trim. Fun and sparkly. Unlike commie TP.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Color - NOT a Challenge

I'm a guest for the Splitcoast Color Challenge again today and I was SO excited when I was falling asleep the other night and figured out what I was going to do with the colors.

SO excited when you're trying to fall asleep - not so great. Card idea - PRICELESS!

The combo today is Real Red, Gumball Green, and Basic Grey. When I realized I could use (if I could find the stamp set) my cute Stitched Stockings and use the grey to shade them and make them 3D I had to suppress a squee! I had a vision of how crisp and bright they would be.

But THEN, sleep deprived and all, I thought I'd make a shiny white mantel out of the Woodgrain Embossing Folder and Crystal Effects and then I really DID squee, because it was during the day and no one was sleeping.

To really get a nice neat shadow on the stockings, I used a sponge dauber so the shadow wouldn't spread too far into the stocking.

I did punch the stockings out with the matching stocking punch, but I trimmed them closer to make my shadow more realistic. I finished them off with rhinestone hangers.

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Doesn't that just get you in the holiday spirit?

If you want to play along with us, just head over to today's Color Challenge and show us what you got!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Embarrassment is in the Details

I'm such a loser!

I completely forgot to post my Random Act of Christmas Club card for November!

I fully expect Kelli to have me caned.

Knowing Kelli - it will be a candy caning though :).

She sent us a super fun box of goodies to play with, including the most awesome peppermint striped ribbon I've ever seen and a glaze pen!!

I got so excited coloring the adorable stamp she chose for us that I put my background paper on upside down!!

Lucille Ball makes an appearance every day in my craft room, I swear. Anyway, just to make you all feel better about yourselves - oh, and because it's glued down - I left it! It's going to be all the rage soon! Expect me to be interviewed by Martha about this new abstract technique soon!
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StampsSnow Bunny Lucy (Sparkle Creations) 
AccessoriesDazzling Diamonds Glitter, Peppermint Ribbon, 
ShinHan Touch Twin Markers: R2, R131, R4, R136, YR21, BR94, YR142

She's so cute you didn't notice yourself, right? Right?

That's what I tell myself.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkey Induced Amnesia - I Haz It

Seriously. Enough turkey and pumpkin pie can truly erase all memory of all the things that went before.

I have no memory of my days before the pumpkin pie for breakfast days. And I don't want to - so please don't contribute details and bring suppressed memories of soup and salad to the forefront or I will glare at you. Intensely. Until you look away.

As a result, I can't remember who I stole the idea for this card from - but I do know at least part of this design was borrowed from someone else, so if it's you - let me know so I can add to your street cred! Also, I should publish my blog posts instead of leaving them in draft, but I suppose that's what I'll do when I retire.

Anyhoo - one of the curious quirks of stampers is that we actually never have cards for anyone's birthday or special occasion. Why?

Let's see - magazine submissions, card hoarding, contests - there are a million reasons that all of you - our loved ones - are getting awkward smile/shrug combos instead of cards or adorable handmade packaging.

Here - have some pie and you'll forget all about it.

Wait - who are you? Who am I? Why are we here?


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Be Not Forgetful To Entertain Strangers

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your dishes are all cooked and your house smells like poultry seasoning, pumpkin pie spice and gratitude. Mine does.

Did you know that the Mayflower only had 102 people on it? That is a little humbling, yes, to think about how much goodness came from those brave souls?

But wait - only half of them lived to see spring after arriving here.

Life was unimaginably hard, even if you had survived the trip.

History tells us that an Abenaki Indian and a Pawtuxet Indian - Squanto - befriended these bedraggled Pilgrims and taught them how to get maple syrup from the trees, catch fish, grow corn and not kill themselves eating poisonous native plants.

Our first official Thanksgiving is said to have taken place in 1621, and lasted three days. Remember - this was before stretchy pants. They may have forgone pants all together given the harsh circumstances. I think I certainly would after three days of Thanksgiving meals.

But more importantly, imagine your life and the future of your new nation and all of your descendents depending on the kindness of strangers like Squanto, who hadn't really been treated all that well by strangers himself.

After you imagine that, and after you've recovered from stretchy pants today - just pay it forward. You just never know -  you may be entertaining angels.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ~Hebrews 13:2

Thanks to a sweet and talented Facebook friend who shared this idea, I made these little placecards for our meal today. I hope all the little turkeys enjoy them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goodbye, Sweet Bobra

Remember Bobra?

This sweet little stray adopted me many months ago. He would come around and cry for food and want to be patted. He REALLY wanted to come in, but Maddie and Splotchy wouldn't have any of that. Splotchy would attack the window whenever he came around.

I named him Bobra because of his odd resemblance to Barbra Streisand, but I had to boy-ize the name. I was so sad that someone would let this beautiful, sweet little kitty roam the streets and run the risk of getting eaten by a coyote.

Well one day, he did get attacked. He came limping into my yard on three legs, with one of his back feet completely mangled. I thought I could see his bone, and his foot was a mess. I rushed him to the emergency vet, where he spent the night. Many hundreds of dollars later, he was recuperating in my garage. As the weeks went by and he got better, I got sadder and sadder at the prospect of putting him back out with the coyotes. I didn't have much of a choice though - a life in the garage is no fun for a young kitty that just wanted to sit on my lap and I'm sure sleep on my bed. I pleaded with my Facebook and Twitter friends to find him a forever inside home, and had no luck.

And then - a Twitter miracle!! My friend Leslie - of Crookedstamper fame - said "I'll take him!" Leslie had lost her sweet kitty not too long ago and we all grieved with her, as we'd come to love Koshka from her pictures on Twitter and on her blog. But Bobra walked into her heart and the time was right - they were destined to be together!

One tiny obstacle - Leslie lives in Maryland and I live in Austin. Enter another Twitter miracle - P.E.T.S. - a pet transport company! For a great price, our friends at P.E.T.S. will drive our mutually loved furbaby from here to there, stopping every three hours to feed and love on him, and delivering him safely into the hands of my sweet friend.

So today, I am driving to meet them in Houston. I will probably cry a lot when I have to say goodbye to this sweet creature, but I'm so happy to know that someone I love and trust is going to love him and keep him safe for the rest of his life. I can't think of a happier ending.

Today is also the day that my Matchbox Dresser Tutorial is featured on Splitcoast! I love this project. As you will remember, I showed you a sneak peek last year (yes, that's how far ahead we schedule our tutorials) and I've been waiting and waiting to show you how to do it! 
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The step by step instructions with measurements are above, and here's the video. I hope you enjoy it. This is the perfect project to use up the metric tons of paper we all hoard :)

Wish little Bobra a good trip - I'm going to be a giant worryball until he's safe with Leslie.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bay Leaves - the Sea Monkeys of the Culinary World

If you think I'm not still seething with anger over being conned by Sea Monkeys, you'd be completely wrong.

I can feel my heart rate elevate every time I even THINK about a Sea Monkey.

I remember the packaging, with the little seahorse looking creatures with crowns on them, prancing around in their little sea monkey palaces, and I remember DISTINCTLY anticipating the joy a little bowl of swimmy royalty was going to bring me. All I had to do is add water. 

Freaking liars.

I can also tell you that the heartbreak which ensued when I did NOT get oodles of crown wearing Sea Monkeys, or even one TWITCH out of the lame, clearly expired shrimp eggs is vividly burned into my memory as the precise moment in my life when I stopped trusting human beings completely and put all my faith into animals. Real animals, not Sea Monkeys. I have yet to hear a story about a border collie tricking a small, impressionable little girl into buying dried shrimp eggs on the premise she'd have a castle full of lively sea monkeys.

If you know of such an instance, please let me know and I'll rethink my position.

Well I've recently taken a stand on something equally important - the Sea Monkeys of the culinary world - bay leaves.

Oh, please - before all you devotees start in, please know I recently conducted a very well controlled psychological experiment on Facebook, the result of which is exactly the premise I started with. Bay Leaves do nothing for food. Every single koolaid drinking bay leaf user admitted that they cannot, in fact, describe what they THINK bay leaves do for their dishes, and not ONE of them conducted a controlled experiment, in which they made one pot of nekkid stew and one with sea- er, bay leaves in it and objectively compared them.

They just roll along, doing what someone told them to do, and adding bay leaves with no EVIDENCE.

I reject ALL sea monkeys. Even the ones in your soup. I will not succumb to this cooking chicanery. 

My heart has a scar in the shape of a sea monkey, which will not allow me to love a fake food enhancer.

Instead, I choose puppies. 
Accessories: Adorning Accents Embossing Folder, Rhinestones

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Be as Gracious as you are Passionate

I borrowed that title from a Facebook friend.

I was in Whole Foods yesterday, having abandoned all domestic duties for several weeks, and feeling the need to produce something for dinner other than a bag of almonds. Not that anyone really should complain about a bag of almonds - they DO make you smarter.

I had my heart set on making my spectacularly fantastic chicken enchiladas suiza, which requires Mexican crema.

There are only a few things I make that are made from my soul and not a recipe - my Irish beef stew, salsa and guacamole. Everything else is precisely controlled by my Virgo personality, and there are no deviations allowed. 

So when I say the recipe requires crema - I mean do NOT try to foist sour cream off on me, or I swear I will cut you. 

Well I get to my retail church - Whole Foods, and head for the dairy section, where two girls were stocking and strategizing. I looked around for a while and didn't find the crema, so I asked one of them if they sold it. One girl tells me she doesn't think so, because sales are sort of hit and miss on it, but that she will check. She calls someone and walks with me to the sour cream section to see if it's there. Strikeout on both counts, and she says she's sorry. No biggie - I'll stop by HEB on the way home. 

So I finish up the expedition, with all sorts of crazy things jumping into my cart, like my new favorite dessert in the whole world - Hail Merry coconut macaroons - and I make my way to the checkout.

I'm all done, paid and about to walk out the door when a guy runs up to me and says "Wait - were you looking for crema?" Surprised, I tell him I was, and he hands me a jar of locally made table cream and starts telling me all about the farmer that produced it and how he thinks I'll like it. He asks me what I'm making and I tell him, and he tells me this will be perfect. He gives it to me for no charge and asks me to come back and let them know how I like it. 

I was completely astonished. 

Whole Foods has great service - but this was just amazing. I had been gone from the dairy section for 15 minutes, and clearly the girl that helped me had been talking to someone about me not finding what I wanted, and in that amount of time, this fella goes and gets something, finds me and gives it to me for free.

That, my friends, is both passionate AND gracious. A tough combo to pull off. 

We should all work on that. 

Speaking of passionate, I had a little fun this week catching up on Hope You Can Cling To Challenges with Libby's "kissing" challenge. I kissed my Christmas Deer (inked in Pool Party) with the border stamp from Pendant Park inked in Poppy Parade, and then continued that motif behind him. I love these two colors together, and I think his stripe makes him look like he's wearing a fun, preppy deer Christmas sweater :).
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You have till 11:59 tonight to upload your challenge cards and be eligible for our prizes so I hope you do get to play in at least one!

In the meantime, especially since we've just had an election and people are exhausted from it, no matter what side you're on - remember to be as gracious as you are passionate.


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