Friday, April 26, 2013

We Came, We Saw, We Printed!

Last weekend, we had a little informal Dirty Girl gathering in Southern Oklahoma - aka, Dallas - to do a little monoprinting.

I got to teach Sharon Harnist, Jeanne Streiff, Vicki Garrett and Bev Gerard a few of the things I'd learned in Linda Germain's workshop at the beginning of the month.

First, we made our gelatin printing plates on Saturday night after we got there.

If you've never done this, please note - unflavored gelatin is REVOLTING! It smells like DEATH. I've never liked flavored Jell-O, but I don't know how you could smell unflavored gelatin and ever eat the stuff again. So, while this method is cheap and relatively easy, I much prefer my GelliArts Gelli Plate. Poor Bev put in some hard time skimming the bubbles off those stinky plates. The good news is, they don't stink after they're set. Bev - I hope you forgive me.

Here are the girls showing off their plates after we got them out of the cookie sheets the next morning:

We got busy and inked up a storm, making stacks and stacks of prints - it was so much fun!!

It was exhausting though, so we had to take a lunch break at Mi Cocina with Bev's beautiful and talented daughter, Jessica Witty.

It's amazing how much better your prints get after some enchiladas, margaritas and hilarious company.

Now the cool thing about these prints is that even the ones that don't turn out exactly like you thought they would are beautiful when you cut them up for your journal or to use on a card.

I used one such print on my card for today's Mix-Ability challenge to do hand doodling on your card. The print was of a piece of beautiful grass that we picked as we were leaving Mi Cocina. It made lovely prints.

I just outlined it with my white gel pen, and then added the greeting from my NEW, sneak peek set from the upcoming catalog - Really Good Greetings in my NEW sneak peek GORGEOUS Baked Brown Sugar ink. SQUEE!!

How adorable is that scripty greeting??? I'm in love with that set.

And I know I never bring you two cards in one post, but I'm making an exception for the other card I did for today's challenge, with more Baked Brown Sugar goodness, and the new Wildflower Meadow stamp set and MATCHING embossing folder. How amazing is that? Again, I doodled in white.

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You're just going to FREAK when you see the catalog - believe me. I had it in my hot little hands last night and it's AMAZING. So many fun things coming. I'll show you more peeks in the coming days.

In the meantime, I had such an insanely busy spring - something every night and weekend for months - that I've declared May to be the month of NO. I will not say yes to anything, and I'll work, and nap and organize and do whatever I want. In my PJs. So there. Don't even ask me.

Now go look at the gallery for today's challenge - it's incredible. Then get your pens out and get to work!


Friday, April 19, 2013

You Are a Star

I saw many great videos this week, which I'll show you after my paid political announcement:

*****Paid Political Announcement*****

Dear Stampin' Up!,

Please, please, please do not retire the stamp set By the Seashore. I love this set. I love the text inside the images. I love the classic beach images. I love to color them. I'm getting all cranky and discombobulated just thinking that you MIGHT retire them. I'm making my hair look all crazy from wild fits of running my hands through it during my occasional retirement panic attacks. I know that you want me to have peace and joy, so please, just do what I say. Please. Seriously. Love, Me.

*****End of Paid Political Announcement*****

Okay, so I used this set today for Dina's Mix-Ability challenge - Pop Goes Your Color Wheel! SQUEE! This is my favorite design principle, so I'm stoked to see it in our mixed media setting. The challenge is either to do mostly warm colors with a pop of a cool color, or mostly cool colors with a pop of warm - LOVE!! I chose mostly cool with a pop of warm, after seeing a GORGEOUS card that one of our newest Dirty Girls - Linda Paider, aka Holstein - made for the Fan Club Gallery using graphite to color with.

I LOVE graphite. I love the soft, sparkly look it gives your card. The greys are both deep and light reflectors. Perfect coloring medium. I'm lazy, so I used my water soluble graphite and painted with it. Hers was more painstaking. If you're a Fan Club Member, go check it out.

So I masked and stamped the shells in Basic Black and then watercolored them with the ArtGraf graphite. Then I stamped the starfish image on a separate piece of paper and colored it and adhered it with a glue dot.

The greeting is from the I Am... set we got at Convention last year. I love that set. I don't use it enough.

Stamps:By the Seashore, I Am... Ink: Basic Black 
Accessories: AquaPainter, Viarco ArtGraf water soluble graphite, TouchTwin markers: YR33, YR21, Y45

Viarco ArtGraf Graphite
[ BLIC ]
ArtGraf Viarco Pigmented Tailor Chalk...
[ BLIC ]
ArtGraf Viarco Pigmented Tailor Chalk...
[ BLIC ]
ArtGraf Viarco Pigmented Tailor Chalk...
[ BLIC ]

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OH - speaking of Convention - don't forget to sign up for the annual Understand Blue Happy Hour!

Okay - now since you ARE a star, I wanted to show you two videos I saw this week that I loved. One you may have already seen, but watch it again because it's awesome.

Then, watch this one, which will make you smile. :)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How We Should Order in Restaurants - You're Welcome

Another simple solution today to one of life's most pressing problems - the incorrect food order.

I walked 8 miles on Sunday. When I do this, I'm ravenous afterwards. I have to have serious protein or I'll die. So I had to squeeze in Five Guys before we went to a friend's house to watch the Master's.

Their online ordering is amazeballs. I do a lot of online ordering and theirs is one of the simplest and most customer friendly. Not only can you pick your own toppings, but you can pick the density. Like mayo, but not too much? They have a light mayo option. Want 40 zillion pickles? Choose heavy pickles.

The bottom line is when you get there it will be exactly what you want.

So I was thinking - why can't we do this at restaurants? The least valuable part of the customer/waiter relationship is the few moments where they try to memorize your order. The odds they'll get it wrong are high. The most valuable parts of the waiter/customer relationship are: greeting, drink and food bringing and check bringing. That whole part where they bug you while you're chatting - lose it. The part where they get your order wrong - lose it. Let us type our orders in just like we want them, ideally just on our cell phones and texted to the kitchen, and let us interact with our servers in a fun, stress-free way. Tips would go up, order accuracy would improve, and no one would be interrupted in the middle of an awesome story by a jittery server.

Just an idea. You're welcome.

This weekend I went to my very first My Favorite Things Party, hosted by the talented and lovely Lani. We all brought four of our favorite things, and then we did a drawing and each of us went home with four of everyone else's favorite things.

What I brought was this:

A London Fog kit. My favorite drink - steamed milk, vanilla, Earl Greyer tea and sugar. It's a religious experience. I stamped the lids and tags and shredded up First Edition DSP to put in the jars with the teabags and bottles of vanilla. the grey chevron bags on the outside hold the Demerara sugar cubes.

I hope they like it.

What I GOT was the following:

A Cool Gear insulated cup.                                                                                                                                          

A fun, folding beach bag.

 A local shop's cuticle balm  - this stuff is AMAZING! This was from my friend Tisa, of Tisa's Creations. I'm completely addicted to the Lemon Sugar balm. I love supporting local businesses and so does sweet Tisa. Here we are before the party at my stamping class.

A hair glossing polish that I can't wait to try! 
Some yummy tea:

Some SASSY nail polish in my favorite color:

Some SERIOUSLY wow hand cream - I was amazed at how this just disappears into your skin:

And from our beautiful, sweet hostess, Lani of Elle Dee designs:

EEP! I got eight of these - so cute!!!

Okay I know you're wondering if I'll EVER get to a papercrafting project but WAIT! I was talking to my co-worker, Lori, today when what to my wondering eyes did appear but a FOX!! In my yard! He snacked on my black sunflower seeds at my bird feeder, then frolicked over to my birdbath, and then hung out on our soon-to-be-tomato-box lumber!

Yes, he IS laughing at me in that last pic as my camera clicked away.

We're all happy that summer is here. :)

This is a sight I've never seen in my yard, and I'm so excited. The cats - fierce beasts that they are, slept through the kerfuffle.

They did NOT, however, sleep through the Oklahoma earthquakes last night. They completely freaked out and howled from 2 to 5. A lot of good that does me, kittens. That stuff was 6 hours from here. But thanks for the heads up. Meanwhile, something that can eat you is in the backyard, but no worries! Just nap on!

Anyway, I really do have a project for you today.

I stole the buoy idea from my friend Heidi - so cute! It was perfect for this month's Fan Club challenges!

We made this for my monthly stamp class, using the Fancy Favor die, Pool Party Core'dinations, Parker's Patterns DSP, Word Play, By the Seashore, and the Decorative Label Punch.

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Fun, eh? Heidi is so creative!

I hope you're still with me after all that rambling.

If so, loveyameanitbye.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Voicemail Puzzle

I was leaving a voicemail for my friend Mel the other day and as I listened to her message, I thought - what in the heck are we all doing?

Are there Martians here who don't know what to do when they hear the beep?

If not, why do all of us just record the same danged message on our voicemail? "This is X (huge surprise, since I dialed your number), I'm away from my phone right now (duh - I'm listening to your voicemail), please leave your name (Really?) and number (Oh, are you still using a rotary phone?) and I'll get back with you (that's not a guarantee anyway - why do we say it? I never call anyone back)."

We are numbed sheep. In honor of that revelation, I changed my voicemail message to include a fun fact about Norwegian farmers and none of the above garbage.

Think how much more entertaining our lives could be if we all used our outbound message as a means of communicating bizarre and hilarious tidbits of truth?

It might even make me use the phone more. Nah - that's not going to happen. I'm an anti-phonite.

Today is Mix-Ability challenge day on Splitcoast and Janelle, our hostess challenged us to use die cuts as a stencil or collage element. I decided to go with stencil because I had just bought a roll of Badger Frisket (is that not super fun to say??) for my monoprinting class and I was dying to use it! Now I'm completely in love. It's a low tack masking film and it works beautifully with dies.

I used the lattice die for my experiment and I learned a few things. First - the Frisket is pretty thin, so I probably should have cut it with a piece of cardstock on top to make sure the intricate parts cut all the way through. I had to hand cut a few. Also, the more intricate cuts like this need a steady hand when applying - you don't want bubbles under any part of the mask when you're sponging.

That being said, I still made a two minute stained glass card while watching NCIS so BOOM! I sponged Lucky Limeade and Tempting Turquoise with sponge daubers, stamped the greeting from Word Play and peeled off the mask. Easy.

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Come play along!

After you change your voicemail message, of course.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

An Open Letter To Working Men


Thankfully, since I work from my home office now - praise the Lord - I don't have to deal with this boorishness anymore, but many of my friends still do. And it gives them homicidal fantasies.

Men - you have no idea how disgusting you are to women (and civilized men, in case you care) the second this happens. You are ensuring that you will die not only alone, but reviled in your aloneness, and with good cause. I'm pretty certain you'll also go to hell. Where you will also be alone, because you are too gross even for the general hell crowd.

At not just one, but TWO workplaces, I experienced men clipping not just their nails (insert extreme stabbiness here) but their TOENAILS.

Yes. Toenails.

I completely support the death penalty for this offense. No trial necessary. Just drag them out of their cubicles and kill them with their nail clippers.

I say this lovingly, of course, and as a public service announcement.

Apparently they lack an enzyme or a gene that prevents them from recognizing disgusting habits. They need our help. Right up until the second they pick up a clipper. At that point, all bets are off.

Speaking of workplace injustice - I ordered the new Bombs Away Birthday stamp set this week the second it came out because it CRACKS ME UP! If you've ever had to eat dozens of pieces of substandard cake at the endless stream of office birthday parties, you'll appreciate this greeting.

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 Hee hee... isn't that hilarious? I think we can all relate.

I just used the new washi tape from the This And That Bundle (you can buy the tape separately here) and the Adorning Accents embossing folder.

Here's the rest of the set, which is equally hilarious.

This is my sage - all my herbs are going nuts right now in this gorgeous spring weather.

I never noticed before today how much the sage flowers look like a teeninesy iris! Look closely!

My mint has finally made a roaring comeback after I replaced the dirt the squirrel removed.

Maybe I'll have enough for a julep by the time the Derby rolls around.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Happy Birthday Grumpy Cat!!

This week brings birthdays to two of my favorite mammals on the PLANET - Grumpy Cat

and my friend +Korin Sutherland.

Grumpy Cat turns 1 year old today, and Korin turns I BELIEVE sixteen years old tomorrow. :)

So in honor of both of them, I watercolored a portrait of little Tardar Sauce for Korin's birthday card. Sorry for the early peek Korin!

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I love you both and hope you both have a very happy birthday!!


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