Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Imbecility Vortex

There are some things that just do NOT cross cultural borders.

Like haggis, for example.

God bless those hairy, skirted men - but seriously - keep your nasty food to yourself and we'll get along great.

You could say the same about menudo. It would be interesting to see a menudo/haggis faceoff on Food Network. Wait - no it wouldn't, because they're both disgusting.

Anyway, one of the things which just never should have come to America is the traffic circle.

I understand that it works great in England. Awesome. Maybe because their brains are wired differently from driving on the wrong side of the road. Or perhaps it's all the delicious Earl Grey tea they consume. Or their awesome accents.

Whatever it is, it ain't working here.

We have one of these blessed (if you're from here, you know in Texas, that context is everything with this word) things in the shopping center where I have my stamping classes, and also, the shopping center that contains my beloved retail church - Whole Foods.

And it is a disaster of EPIC proportions.

There are three behaviors on display at all times.

One - people who have no clue what is happening and so since they don't see a stop sign they just go on in, blindly, killing people.

Two - people who know they're supposed to yield, but don't know for how long, get anxious and just freak out and dart into traffic regardless of what is happening in the circle.

Three - people who never go.

It makes me completely stabby every time I go there. I want to just film the chaos one day and become a YouTube millionaire.

But for the time being, I've just sketched out the traffic circle anarchy for you.
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Pray for me - my class is this Saturday.

That's one of the reasons I've started having Greenling deliver some of my groceries every week. I'm just trying to save the giraffe.

Here's the card I made for my Greenling delivery man this week.

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I have just discovered the joy of our little Print Poetry paper pads. They have a lot of our DSP designs shrunk down to 4.5" x 6.5" sheets - and I loved this ship's log pattern in blue, so I cut out the whale with the Happy Whale Clearlits Die and added a rhinestone for his eye. The waves are with the Oh Wave! wheel, and the ribbon is our denim ribbon which I love and hoard. The greeting is from the Oh Whale! set that matches the die.

I hope he knows how much I appreciate him saving me a trip into the imbecility vortex.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Not Cool, Robert Frost!

"Today, create something that will make the world AWESOME."

I can't think of better advice.

This video will just flat out make you happy to be on this earth.

So watch it.

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Stamps: Farm Life Ink: More Mustard, Early Espresso, Basic Black

You've been pep talked :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Finally, the Delicious Recipes and a Winner!

I keep promising you all kinds of things and then forgetting to post them here!

First - the name of my Season of Giving blog candy winner - congratulations to Sue Brailey! Thank you all for all your lovely comments - I wish I could have sent stamps to all of you!

Second, I owe you two AMAZING recipes. These are two of my faves I've made in a long time. As a matter of fact, they are right up there with my Mac and Geez and the Sundried Tomato Risotto.

In Orlando, we were lucky enough to have dinner with Wendy - an incredible artist and one of the most hilarious people I've ever met! We ate at Flemings, which is my favorite steak joint on earth.

So last week I decided to try their Fleming's potatoes, and oh my CAT were they amazing! I modified the recipe slightly, so here it is.

3 Tbsp. diced fresh jalapeños (for me this was one large one)
4 oz leeks, sliced thinly - green tops discarded. Soak the rings in cold water to remove any dirt
1-1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1-1/2 oz. butter, lightly salted
2 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 cups half & half
4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz. jack cheese, grated
3 lbs. Idaho russet potatoes (for me this was five medium potatoes), peeled and sliced very thinly.

Place butter in large sauce pot set on medium high heat. Add jalapeños, leeks, salt and pepper, sauté for 4-5 minutes or until the leeks are soft. Add cream and half & half and bring to a simmer. When cream is hot, pull off stove, add both cheeses and blend it thoroughly.

Butter sides and bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish. Layer the potatoes in pan, overlapping, and lightly sprinkle with salt between each layer - I found the salt in the sauce too small for all those potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350° F for  20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another hour until the top is a dark, golden brown. Your amount of time with the foil on might vary depending on your oven. 

Oh my goodness. Whisper my name when you make it..

Next up - Pioneer Woman's Leek pasta. Yes - can you guess that I had four leeks and needed two recipes? Well I was in luck because while I was stamping on Sunday, she was on TV making this recipe!

Now the recipe that they posted on Food Network for her was very different from the way she prepared it on TV, and since I wanted my pancetta crunchy - I did it the way she did it on TV and it's AMAZEBALLS. A friend of mine already tried it and absolutely freaked out. I changed some of the quantities too. Here is the way I did it.

1 lb bowtie pasta, cooked al dente
Reserved pasta water, if needed
4 ounces chopped pancetta - mine came pre-chopped from Whole Foods
2 Leeks, tops discarded, sliced thin - put slices in cold water and separate to remove dirt
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt And freshly ground pepper, to taste
Parmesan Cheese, grated - I probably used 1/4 C or more

Cook pasta and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
Saute chopped pancetta until fat is rendered and it's crispy. Remove pancetta and put on a paper towel on a plate. Add sliced leeks to pancetta grease - there's not much - and until leeks are soft. Add butter while cooking leeks. After 8 to 10 minutes, pour in wine, then cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until reduced. Reduce heat to low, then pour in cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in Parmesan. Toss in pasta, adding a little pasta water to thin as needed (I didn't do this). Serve with Parmesan shavings over the top.

It's amazing. You will love it.

Now - let's stamp, shall we? Today's card is brought to you via the Splitcoast Inspiration challenge. I really needed this today after some technology troubles early in the morning and a super grey, damp day outside. I'm hiding in here anyway from the cedar pollen, so an excuse to stamp was perfect!

The site she chose today is ADORABLE - it's called Octopurse.

To combat the grey skies, I chose this purse for my inspiration - and pulled out that red and green and some flowers to put onto paper.

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Snappy huh? That will brighten my day for sure.

I embossed the Pleasant Poppies with white embossing powder before watercoloring with Real Red and River Rock reinkers.

The greeting is from Vintage Verses - which you can get free during Sale-A-Bration with a $50 order.

Easy, quick card you can make while you're fighting internet gremlins! :)

I hope you have a good...


Thursday, January 24, 2013

I've Created Pavlov's Cats

I've created Pavlov's cats.

I just had this revelation today, as I launched into my morning routine with a head full of cedar pollen and some unladylike words rolling off my tongue about said cedar pollen.

I got the cat dishes, brought them into the kitchen, filled my espresso machine with water for my London Fog, and hit the "Rinse Machine" button. The second that familiar sound of the machine steam cleaning and rinsing itself filled the kitchen, the two cats shot up onto the bar like little rockets, like they always do.

And it hit me.

I have trained them that my espresso machine means kitty food.

It all works like a well oiled machine. While the espresso maker self cleans, I clean out their dishes. I turn the machine to steam if I'm having a London Fog, and in the amount of time that takes to heat up, I can put food in their dishes, take it to their feeding station, come back and steam the milk. If I'm having espresso, I just hit the shot button while I'm getting the food ready. It's very efficient and neither I nor the furries have to wait too long for what we're dying to have.

But I flat out started laughing when they bounced up today the second I hit the rinse button. They do it every day, but I never realized until today that I trained them to. I imagine if they ever escaped and got lost, they'd head down the street to Starbucks and hop up on the bar for food while the barista was pulling shots.


Anyhoo. I have been DYING to play with the Sketched Birthday set we got at Leadership. This is a not yet released set, so I'm sorry to torture you, but it's wicked cute. I did the background with my D block from the My Paper Pumpkin Kit. The balloons are paper pieced - I used Summer Sun and Pool Party Ink, and then paper pieced the balloon out of the opposite color cardstock. They are stamped in Early Espresso, and it's hard to see here, but I used silver Dazzling Details on all the spots on the balloons so they are very sparkly IRL.

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Thanks for looking! Now go train your cats!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Does Anyone Remember?

Does anyone remember life before Greek Yogurt?

Why were we eating such boring, goopy yogurt before?

When I was in Orlando, I got my friend Sue hooked on the crack that is Chobani yogurt.

I had to work slowly though. She immediately mixed it all up like it was the 90s. Silly rabbit.

I had to beg her on the next go round to eat it like God and Mr. Chobani intended, just dipping your spoon straight down to the bottom without mixing.

Well smack me and call me Edna if the next day she didn't admit it was way better that way!

But seriously - I could never go back to eating regular yogurt now. It's so boring. Amazing how such a staple of our lives can suddenly and without warning after decades just take a Fosbury Flop into the new awesome and we forget how we lived before.

That happens in stamping too. I truly do not remember life before my Big Shot. Goodness it must have been boring. Now it's like the John Bates of my stamp room.

Today I smashed bottlecaps in it!

It was so easy and they're so cute smashed. I used the teeny ones from the Soda Pop Tops in the spring mini.

Then I filled them with the teeny, SQUEEworthy critters from the Itty Bitties stamp set in Tangerine Tango, Real Red, Early Espresso and Gumball Green. I used the 1/2" circle punch and the scallop from the Itty Bitty punch pack to make the insides.

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SEE? Didn't you just SQUEE??? Ack I can't wait to use that little skull and ghost!!

The inspiration today was from the Splitcoast Sketch Challenge #420. I thought it was perfect for some smashed pop tops.

If you want to smash them, just open all the tabs on your Big Shot and put them on a cutting plate with another cutting plate on top and zip it through. I thought it would be hard to get through the machine but it was actually less resistance than a die. Easy as pie.

Give it a try! And don't forget, Sale-A-Bration started yesterday - don't forget to get your freebies!


Monday, January 21, 2013

I Escaped the Flu

I was terrified to go to Orlando.

Three planes. Three airports, two of them twice. Two nekkid body scans. 1500 people in one room for four days. Countless restaurants. Two theme parks.

All during the worst flu outbreak in America. What was I thinking?

I found an old bottle of Robitussin in my bathroom when I was packing for my trip. It was an artifact, because I bought it the last time I was sick. It expired in 2005. Which means I bought it in 2004. Maybe 2003.

The last time I was sick was nearly ten years ago.

I didn't want to break my streak.

Luckily, I learned right before I left that actual influenza is not airborne, like colds can be. It's spread by people touching something contaminated and then touching their vulnerable spots - mouth, nose, eyes.

So I armed myself. I brought boxes of lavender scented hand wipes from Target. And I mean boxes.

In restaurants, after I touched the menu, I discreetly wiped my hands under the table. I washed them about 100 times a day, singing happy birthday every time. At the theme parks, I was constantly using the hand wipes.

I never touched my face with my hands If my eye itched, I used my shirt to touch my face.

It worked. I think I'm the only person I know that didn't get the flu. (knocks on wood)

However, four hours after I got home, healthy as a horse, I realized I had forgotten one thing when I was in Florida.


Oh well.

You can't win em all. *Achoo*

Either way, I'm super thankful I didn't get the flu. I hope you didn't either! Thank you, Florida, for not giving me the flu!

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Our technique challenge this week was to make dies the focal point of our card. Since I had two negative cuts on my desk from the dress die I used at this month's class, I thought I'd put them together for a quickie card.

The paper is More Amore - the die is from the All Dressed Up bundle. So cute. I added some pearls and some of the ribbon you can get starting Thursday for Sale-A-Bration.

You should be proud of me for not hoarding that pretty blue ribbon.

Also for not getting the flu.

I hope you are healthy.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hey (H)ombre!

It's so cool when little waves of things - most of which you've seen in the past - come through the arty crafty world as new trends.

Somehow they are all sparkly and fun again, and people find new and fun things to do with them that make you think - why didn't I do this before?

I remember when I first started stamping how one of the things I was most in love with was those Spectrum pads - especially the blue one. I think I stamped every card for a year in those nice gradient inks.

Well now that's back, with a new name - ombre. See how they did that? They're all - ooh, look at this fun, stylish name we have now for something you did in 1998! :)

It happens to be incredibly beautiful in all sorts of techniques - brayering, sponging, etc. - and gave me the itch to try ombre-ing our flower trim.

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And I love it!!! I used Pool Party, Tempting Turquoise, Pacific Point and Midnight muse and a sponge dauber - took about 20 seconds. I added some of our Delicate Details Lace Tape and a greeting from Word Play.

See? Everything old is new again.

And not just because we're getting senile :).


Friday, January 18, 2013

Keep Calm and *#$^&*!

So... true story.

We rented a car when we were in Orlando for Leadership and boy oh boy did it make the trip fun. For one thing, I got to meet a sparkly friend I've known for years on Twitter, and we had such a great time. I wish she lived closer to me, because we could get into a lot of trouble. They practically had to kick us out of this restaurant, in which I had one of the best hamburgers I've ever had. We also got to do the Tower of Terror at Disney Hollywood Studios, and just generally go crashing around having a ball.

However, my Canadian friend and roomie - Sue Farrant, had to learn how we drive in Texas.

If we're driving, we are yelling at people. People that walk against the light, people that are going too fast or too slow, basically everyone.

You have to make up new names for each new behavior and yell it out passionately, sometimes combining swear words with animals for new and different insults. It really makes driving much less stressful. I think we taught her a fun new skill.

So when I got the Dude, You're Welcome kit at Leadership I knew I was going to have to make a card to help commemorate Sue's American driving lessons.
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Stamps: Carry On, Dude, You're Welcome Ink: Whisper White Paper: Dude, You're Welcome card 
Accessories: White Gel Pen, White Embossing Powder, White pencil, Heat Gun

I used the chalkboard technique featured in our Technique Challenge. It's so fun and it's amazing how it really looks like a chalkboard when you're done!

So, if you need to get somewhere today, remember it will be a lot more fun and exciting if you just keep calm and #%&@!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Day In The Life of a Clothing Tag

While I was grumbling last night and ripping out a tag that was scarring my back, I wondered about the people who source tag material for clothes.

I imagined them sitting in an expansive office up at the top of a building in lower Manhattan, with scratchy tag material samples spread out before them, and a baby in front of them, with his soft little back to the executives. One of them picks up the tag and puts it on the baby's back. The baby, of course, cries.

"NOT SCRATCHY ENOUGH!!" yells the executive, tossing the tag to the floor and picking up another one. "Can we find one with sharper corners or do I have to fire all of you??" he screams to his staff. The baby cringes.

I'm almost certain that's how it goes.

I'm counteracting the now banished prickly tag with something soft and pretty.

The little tag on this card is from the Pop Up Posies Designer Kit. I wish you could feel the flowers - they are so soft and fun. The tags come with that embossed edge. The stamp image is actually from the upcoming Sale-A-Bration catalog, and I stamped it in Early Espresso. The card base is Pool Party Core'dinations textured cardstock, that I embossed with the stripes embossing folder and then distressed with the sanding block.

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I think if I stuck this whole card in my shirt it would be softer than that tag was.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Don't Grab Detergent While Holding a Bear's Paw

So this morning in the detergent aisle I saw this incomprehensible warning.

My interpretation is: whatever you do, do not reach for Tide Pods while holding the paw of a large teddy bear. Now is that for the safety of the bear? The pods? The woman? Also, if I click the x will it close the window?

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So odd and ineffective! But, I will think twice next time I'm doing laundry and reach for my teddy! :)

I got to play with my My Paper Pumpkin welcome kit today! I also filmed the whole thing because I was going to give you a video with amusing observations, and lo and behold, I never hit record. Definitely a Lucy sort of day happening here.

I used this kit:

And lucky for you, I didn't hoard that gorgeous yellow polka dotted paper - but I wanted to!

I added the heart framelits, some of the divine Pool Party embossing powder and Pool Party Ribbon (from the upcoming Sale-A-Bration catalog) and I really like how it turned out.

And don't tell my friends, but it's my valentine swap card for tonight's meeting. Hope they're not reading this. Wait - yes, I hope they are - I'd be sad if they didn't read my blog. Now I'm confused. Anyway, here's the card:

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Stamps: My Paper Pumpkin Hey There Ink: Versamark Paper: My Paper Pumpkin 
Accessories: Hearts Framelits, Pool Party Ribbon, Pool Party Embossing Powder

Okay is that not the coolest embossing powder in the WORLD??? I can't stop using it.

Well I guess I CAN, but I don't want to.

Hope you're having a good week - we're halfway to Friday! :)


Monday, January 14, 2013

POSH - Not Just for Spice Girls Anymore!

If you're worried about people getting tortured with sleep deprivation - don't.

I've just returned from Stampin' Up!'s Leadership, where I spent a week screaming, giggling and running around like a crazy person. My estimate is that my roommates and I spent a total of 9 hours between Tuesday and yesterday sleeping. They can correct me if they feel it was only 8. Or 6.

That's called making the most of your time, not torture. And it resulted in some VERY funny moments, some of which will stay secret FOREVER!!!

Anyway, I have TONS of news for you - it's hard to know where to start!! So I'll start with MEN.

Yep. Men. Or, as we call them, DUDES.

Watch this video and I'll meet you in one minute and 40 seconds.

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SQUEE!! Isn't that awesome?? A kit for the dude in your life! You are welcome!! You can order this dude-alicious kit right here right now!! I'll give you EXACTLY one guess as to which of the stamps in this kit is my favorite!!

But that's not nearly all!!

I screamed myself into a sore throat when they announced that we have a new monthly kit called My Paper Pumpkin! I have been waiting for this forever!!
SQUEEEE!!! I love it SO much!! There's a welcome kit (shown) that even includes an acrylic block  - so for absolute beginners who have never stamped before, or for busy experienced stamper, this is 100% self contained creativity each month. There's also a trial where you can try before you buy and see if you like the kit:

Now for everyone who subscribes to this kit with me as their demonstrator, I have a bonus for you, called Posh My Pumpkin!™

Each month, after the kit arrives, you'll receive an email from me with a special "Posh My Pumpkin" tutorial with bonus projects made from the kit that you may not have thought of.

To sign up for the kit, and to be eligible for Posh My Pumpkin™, just go to and at the end of the quick & easy registration process, be sure and add my name as your demonstrator - Lydia Fiedler - to be eligible for poshing! :) Only my personal pumpkin peeps will be POSHED - say THAT three times fast!

Tomorrow I'll be back with the CUTEST card, I promise. But now - it's catch up at work time. It's also "readjust to cedar pollen time." And "solve Mexican food craving time."

You know - the usual. :)

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