Friday, August 30, 2013

What? Is it Behind Me?

This has been quite the week.

Just read a story about a woman who called 911 about a baseball sized spider in her house.

I would have done the same. Well played, lady. Well played. Actually I would have called the fire department too just as a courtesy since I clearly would have had to kill the spider with fire.

I have also had a terrible bug invasion this week. Monday, there was some horrendous click beetle conference in my living room and I had to put SIX of them outside! One of them brought a stink bug in with him. Awful.

Every time I flung one out the door, I'd turn around and there was another one, being stared at by the cats. Thanks, cats, for staring at bugs. That really helps.

After all that bug flinging, I had an even worse experience.

I was walking down the hall when I saw the worst thing any pet owner can see - the LOOK.

You know the look. Perfectly still cat, large pupils, looking JUST past you with what is clearly abject terror in their eyes.

It looks something like this:

Now why is it that we fearfully and wonderfully made two legged creatures have lost our ability to perceive danger? I will give you that to a cat, sometimes the threat is a paper towel on the counter that they are seeing for the first time, but still. They can hear and see things we can't see, and sometimes those things want to kill us.

I turned around slowly and saw... nothing. I turned back to Splotchy, who was stretching his neck out to get a better look at IT behind me. I actually said "What?? What is it??"

Nothing from the terrified cat.

Then he slowly walked off, butt low to the ground, tail down, probably to describe IT to Maddie so that they could make their plans to outrun me when IT decided to attack.

I still wonder what it was. How many legs it had. If it was holding up a furry tentacle to its lips as a warning to Splotchy to shush.

These are the things that keep me awake at night.

Today is Mix-Ability Friday, and Tiffany Johnson is our hostess. Tiffany is fearless with mixed media, and she always lets us get messy. Today's challenge is to DRIP. Drip ink, sprays, water, whatever.

I took her suggestion to use an eyedropper and reinkers. I put a line of More Mustard reinker on the edge of a piece of Arches Watercolor Paper. Then I held it up over a rag on my desk, and dripped water from the eyedropper in several places along the line until the ink ran to the bottom of the paper. I turned the paper 90 degrees and repeated that. I did that on all four sides. Then I spritzed it with my Color Spritzer and a Tempting Turquoise marker until I had this. You're probably thinking that this is hideous.

 But it's amazing what a little die cutting will do.

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I cut leaves out with my Autumn Accents die and then used the edge of a Basic Black maker around the edge to give it sort of a burned look and define the edges.

The greeting is from Million & One.

So should you hear that I've disappeared suddenly this weekend, please look for evidence in my house of some sort of giant, shape-shifting, half spider, half wasp with a full belly.

Splotchy saw it.

It's waiting.

Or maybe there's just a paper towel on the counter.


Friday, August 23, 2013


Okay - I don't know how to sew. There's something about sewing machines that just is offputting to me. I think it's how the loose threads just hang out all willy nilly. Then there's the tangling. Why is there so much tangling and bobbin suicide? Why do you have to use your feet AND your hands?

It just seems to me that the whole process could be better designed. It seems like they never really progressed past "Let's make a machine that jabs a needle into things (like your fingers) and we'll work out how and why there are two sources of tangly thread later when someone complains."

So I have a little bit of a phobia.

Really if I had to choose between and iron and a sewing machine, I'd choose an iron. Which really means, I choose neither.

However, sadly, I love fabric! So sometimes I buy it and do absolutely nothing with it. I suppose I could get a needle and just poke at it and see if I could make something, but ain't nobody got time for that.

BUT, as if to justify my purchases, Birgit's Mix-Ability challenge today is to use fabric on a card. I could have used felt, I suppose, and really made it easy. But NO - I proudly trotted out my unused fabric, tore the edges of it with my own two paws, painted it with white acrylic paint and used it on a card!

Take that, Singer!

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Stamps: Sent with Love, Hearts a Flutter Ink: Basic Black, Real Red, Pool Party, Paper: Whisper White Accessories: Candy Cane Christmas Fabric, white paint, Hearts a Flutter framelits

Now before you start calling me a weirdo for having a sewing phobia, I was talking to a friend on Twitter who is afraid of magnets. And balloons! She'll have to tell me after she reads this if she's also afraid of sewing machines.

We may have been separated at birth.

If you're not afraid of fabric, come play in today's challenge.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Extreme Flashback, SRA edition!

Okay, I don't know if this is just a Texas thing, or what, but when I was in elementary school, we had this fun reading program called SRA. It was self-guided, and basically you got to do it if you finished your other work. I LOVED it.

I think that there were two things I loved the most about it. No, three things.

First, the self-guided part. As much as I love learning, I wasn't overly fond of school. I was bored a lot, and I never did my best learning in an environment where you had to try to sync up 30 people. That's true today. It's just not my thing. I actually don't think it's anyone's thing, and as a former elementary school teacher, I could go on for days about that, but I know, you don't have days.

Second, it had an Angry Birds/Candy Crush feel to it. Everything was contained on neat little cards, and when you finished something, you got to go on to the next card. It really had a game/puzzle appeal, and I LOVE games and puzzles.

Finally, it was color coded. This spoke to my graphic and color-oriented brain. I loved having milestones marked by color. My only disappointment here was that one of the highest, if not the highest, levels was brown. REALLY? BROWN? Sheesh. I can tell a man came up with that. No offense men, but you creatures like brown a lot more than we felines do. The highest level OBVIOUSLY should have been a beautiful aqua, you big ding dongs.

Any time I have a chance to make things that are ROY G. BIV I do, and I also have all my paper, ink and accessories ordered by ROY G. BIV. It's like the math of art. (I can hear you rolling your eyes, UnderstandBlue's Father).

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Stamps: Carry On
Paper: Watercolor, Whisper White, Modern Medley DSP
Ink: Basic Black, Pumpkin Pie, Summer Sun, Kiwi Kiss, coastal Cabana
Accessories: Crystal Effects, Rhinestone, Derwent Inktense Bark Pencil, Embossing Powder 

Speaking of our friend ROY, this is a card I did for Dare to Get Dirty on +Splitcoaststampers for my friend +Jeanne Streiff's challenge. Hard to see here but the little purse has Crystal Effects on it so it looks like patent leather.

And are you impressed with how I cut out that tiny purse handle?

Well I didn't! :) I just watercolored it to match the background. Booya.

Now - back to cleaning the stamp cave. It never ends.


Monday, August 12, 2013

How Do You Get Through YOUR Day?

Stamps: Birds of a Feather, Express Yourself  Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black Paper: Whisper White 
Accessories: Touch Twin Markers:  GY48, B68 

 "The American dream is not that every man 
must be level with every other man. 
The American dream is that every man must be free 
to become whatever God intends he should become." 
~Ronald Reagan

This is going to be the best 7 minutes of your week. Click here if you can't see a video player below.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

The Brisket Cleanse, Day 2

You know about those cleanses right? Drink nothing but water and lemon juice and honey for a week and right after you pass out and hit your head on a public toilet, you'll wake up feeling all pure and clean and starving, despite your skull fracture?

Or juice cleanses? Just take anything that even resembles a plant, grind it up and drink it, and you'll just be so much healthier you won't ever die. And really, it doesn't all taste like dirt. Supposedly.

Well I am on day two of my new brisket cleanse.

You don't even have to pay me for me to tell you about this awesome cleanse.

This cleanse will ritualistically remove all traces of wheat grass, lemon juice and kale from your system in an easy, two day process.

Day 1 - Go to Starbucks. Get some espresso, and carpool with your friend Kim to the legendary Franklin Barbeque at 7:45 AM. Unpack your camp chairs and cooler and settle down in line to wait until they open at 11. Take pictures of people watching movies and eating donuts in line.

Paint a few little paintings with your awesome watercolor lap easel from Kathleen MacElwaine. This one is meant to look like a beautiful photograph I have by Leslie Kahl of Rancho de Taos in New Mexico. She takes an hours-long exposure of her subjects while shining colored lights on them. They are ghostly and beautiful.

 This zen in line is important to the efficacy of the cleanse. You need a four hour period of waiting to prepare your body for the healing powers of the brisket.

When you get inside, you mustn't get too excited. The brisket can sense anxiety. Just be cool.

Order, at a minimum, the two meat plate, and several pounds of brisket, pulled pork and turkey to go.

Sit down, and begin the cleanse.

Cry if you feel moved to do so. I did. Kim did. Reflect on the beauty of the human experience. Hug strangers.

Now I have to say, that as important as the quality of the brisket is to the brisket cleanse, (and it was the best brisket I've ever eaten in my life) the quality of the PEOPLE serving the brisket is equally important. From the moment we arrived, every single employee who was there looked us in the eye, thanked us for coming and served us so sweetly that it was really kind of astonishing. I can honestly say I've never had better, kinder service. They were just so nice.

As you leave Franklin, take note of how much more sweetly the birds are singing. Notice how much prettier and younger you look. Feel your hair - it's soft, and full of body, and shines like the sun. You feel at peace, as though you've accomplished everything you've wanted to accomplish in life. Traffic no longer annoys you, and you imagine your fellow travelers are also full of delicious brisket. You briefly consider eating these brisket stuffed commuters, but you come to your senses.

Go home and nap. You'll need your strength for Day 2.

Day 2: After the bluebirds gently awaken you and dress you in your best gown, head to the kitchen for a brisket sandwich. If you use anything but Duke's mayonnaise on this sandwich I will send banshees to your house. And so help me God, you will NEVER eat brisket again.

Note that your ability to speak foreign languages has increased dramatically. Recite a Portugese sonnet to your brisket.

Measure yourself in the doorway. You will have grown an inch, thereby lowering your BMI and gaining you the hatred of your least favorite skinny friend. Winning.

Whisper Franklin's name.

Give credit for any art or Nobel prizes that issue forth from you to the brisket.

Whisper my name.

Go play in the Mix-Ability challenge on Splitcoast.

I did.

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Stamps: Really Good Greetings Ink: Tempting Turquoise, Orchid Opulence, Summer Sun Accessories: Air Can, brisket

I got those ink splatters by blowing kisses at my brisket.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Screech Owl Omen

You know how it's so easy to find omens when you are looking into the past?

I found an omen today.

First of all - what is the word for a giant herd of screech owls? Pack? Gaggle? Fluffernutter?

I'm going to go with a fluffernutter of owls. Mostly because our screech owls are teeny and fluffy and round and so insanely cute it just makes your face hurt to look at them.

This morning, at about 5:15, a large fluffernutter of owls descended on my backyard and started making their sweet little trilling sounds.

I was telling some friends today that "screech" is an entirely inappropriate word for them because their sound, while amplified in a fluffernutter, is so soft and cute.

When you have a fluffernutter of cooing owls, though, a lot of things happen at once. All cats immediately forcefully eject themselves from your surprised and sleeping stomach and vault to the windows, leaving you dramatically awakened and a wee bit sore and angry.

Then, all the dogs in the neighborhood start barking. (Because we all know dogs are slower than cats.)

The dog barking starts the coyotes howling and yipping at the edges of the neighborhood.

At this point, you just have to get up and start working. There's no going back to sleep now that all of creation is making some sort of a noise.

However, I had an early geocaching date with my friend Lee, so I headed out with her to a local park before the sun was too far up and it was beastly hot. This is where the omen of the fluffernutter became more apparent, specifically when I ran directly into a large prickly pear cactus hidden in some tall grass, and got about 20 large cactus spines embedded into my thigh.

That was fun.

I pulled one out that was at least an inch deep in my leg. No one should have to do that, because it's gross. But after I got all the big ones out, I was left with the teeny ones that are like fiberglass, many of which are still in my leg and under my fingernails. During this hideous process, my friend - a nurse - Lee, was talking to a birder we met on the trails. Both of them were fluffernutter free and had navigated our little path un-spined and were oblivious to my - heh - punctuation.

Cacti don't have brains. They don't have Iphones or the ability to make icecubes and knit granny squares.

But they are so, so, so much better designed than we are.

They just sit there and you kill yourself on them.


Cactus winning.

I hope it wasn't some weird zombie cactus that is going to turn ME into a cactus in 24 hours. We will see.

This week it's my brother's wedding anniversary!

I won't tell you how many years because unfortunately, we have aged in tandem, so let's just say they are both still VERY young! :)

 I saw something that inspired this card on a convention swap. I was not organized enough to do a general swap, but one of my friends got one with these flowers on it and I filed it away in my brain. Turns out that was just perfect for Tammie Edgerton's Dare to Get Dirty challenge on Splitcoast.

Stamps - Backyard Basics, Express yourself
Dies - Backyard Basics

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Tomorrow morning, I am going to pay close attention to all obvious omens.

And I will also wear pants.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Streaking. It's More Fun Than You Think!

This month kicks off a challenge on the website - 31 Days of Geocaching.

They've challenged us to find one cache each day in August and it's very motivating.

Since I've found most of the caches within walking distance of my home, I have to really plan this out so that I have time each day to find a quickly accessible cache that I have a shot at finding.

I kicked off the streak with my sweet friend Lee Ann, who was here visiting from Missouri. And yes, one of the caches was in a HEAD! :)

What's cool is this will be a streak within a streak this month - because I'm quickly closing in on a 365 day caching streak that started the day I found my first cache last year :)

I'll have to find a really epic one to end my streak on!

Speaking of streaks, I've been streaking through the Dare to Get Dirty challenges on Splitcoast also.

I saw a swap at convention that used the Backyard Basics stamps, Express Yourself,  and Backyard Basics dies to make a little bouquet and I had to copy it because it was just so pretty. This card is for Tammie's challenge.

And, it turned out that this month's Challenge Chicks challenge was flowers, so I had a twofer!

Streakin' baby! :)
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Do you have a streak you're working on?

I'm working on most days without folding laundry right this second.

Also, most consecutive days without dusting.


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