Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Well That's Just Crepuscular!

Okay that is a really terrible word, crepuscular.

It sounds like a disease.

I only bring it up because cats, contrary to popular belief and observation of Splotchy, are crepuscular, not nocturnal or diurnal.

SUPPOSEDLY, this means they are active at dawn and dusk. Yay - that would be awesome. Actually, Maddie really is.

But Splotchy is a fourth category.  Not diurnal, nocturnal or crepuscular.

He is from the terrorist nation of Loudsqueakistan, and is most active at 3 AM.

 Is there a word for that that's PG13?

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Luckily, there's a stamp for that!


Saturday, July 27, 2013



I'm terrible at swaps.

There's no point in hiding from the truth.

I'm never going to be a person who has 200 neatly packaged swaps ready a day, a week or a month before convention or Leadership.

I'm probably not even going to have one ready.

I thought I'd share the truth with you about this year's convention swap. Much of it has been leaked to the press already, so I'll just fill in the details.

I never intended to do general swaps. I honestly just don't have time. Work fills most of my waking hours, and when I have stamping time, I spend it on class prep or my favorite challenges. One of my favorite challenges is happening right now, as a matter of fact - Dare to Get Dirty on Splitcoast. But I digress.

I do, however, like small pre-planned swaps, and I signed up for two of them this year. Lyssa's CQ swap (20 people) and Rebecca's jewelry swap (7 people). For me these are not just manageable* but they are fun and stress free.

* = whatever. nothing is manageable.

So with the best of intentions, I designed and assembled the pieces for Lyssa's swap. Because I was procrastinating packing, laundry and a million other pre-trip details, I cut enough for 51 swaps. I sure was impressed with myself. "Self," I said to myself "you are going to do these on the plane and be very smirky upon your arrival in Utah."

Well my first flight - to Denver - was way too short for swap prep. Flight two, which I had to run for, was another story. I set out my swap pieces on a table that a Borrower would find small and got to work. Part of this swap involved watercoloring with white craft ink, and Coastal Cabana. I only dropped everything once, which I thought was stellar. Working studiously away, the time passed quickly. I think I only got 8 flowers done before it was time to put it all away. I packed it all up, we landed and I headed for the restroom before meeting my friend and downline, Christine, who was arriving shortly after me, for the first time.

Thank God I went to the bathroom. What greeted me in the mirror was me, in my black T-shirt, with one COMPLETELY WHITE BOOB. It was COVERED in craft ink! I must have been leaning over it coloring and totally wiped up all the ink on my tray. Nice. Classy. Good start to the trip! I cleaned it off and met Christine, who didn't hear the story until later.

Now mind you - the swap wasn't until Saturday and this was Monday. Every night I'd have a chance to assemble these swaps. The first night, I even had tons of help - Sue cutting out flowers, Mel coloring. You'd think we'd have finished ONE CARD, but no. Tuesday we are headed back to Kanab from the Grand Canyon, and I'm coloring in the back seat, and Christine is assembling and putting them in envelopes. Are they done? Absolutely not. I don't even have the 20 I need for my swap.

Well forget about Wednesday - that was our first day back in Salt Lake. No biggie, I still had Thursday - I mean, convention didn't even start until Thursday night.

Did I do them Thursday? Heck no.

So Friday night, at about 11:30 PM, poor Sue is sitting in my room cutting out more flowers (with HER scissors) and I'm putting them together. Do I get to 51? Heck no. We squeak out 20 and I show up at my swap on Saturday with no more, no less than I need.

It takes a village to make a swap.

And yes, I now have a box of 31 unassembled swap pieces, and a T-shirt with a white boob print on it.

Do you see why I don't swap?

It's for the best, really.

However, my swap, which I designed for the first Dare to Get Dirty challenge I'm hosting today, I'm really proud of. I used what I call "frosted watercolor" which I learned from Karen Barber. I'm having a class on this (with a free bonus class on stamping with your boob) at the end of August if you're interested.

The background is the new Dictionary background stamp. The print is so small and precise it really just looks like patterned paper.

The flower is Regarding Dahlias.

Stamps: Regarding Dahlias
Ink: Whisper White, Coastal Cabana, Baked Brown Sugar
Paper: Baked Brown Sugar, Coastal Cabana, Whisper White
Accessories: Rhinestones, Victorian Lace, Linen Thread, Sponge Daubers, Corner Rounder, White Embossing Powder

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My challenge today is just one of six challenges today - we have a total of 42 this week for our Fan Club Members. It's SUCH a fun week and the challenges are a blast. Come play along with us! They are all sponsored by our Member Companies, so you could win prizes from My Favorite Things, The Cat's Pajamas, Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps, Stamp 'n Storage, Stamping Bella, Simon Says Stamp, Verve, Paper Smooches, Scor-Pal and Taylored Expressions!

Six more challenges go live every morning until Friday. Play one, some or all!

But whatever you do, don't do your swaps on the plane.

And if you're one of those 200 neatly packaged swap people - my hat is off to you.

Love, Boobablanca.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Convention 2013 LIVE Coverage

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's Not Fight or Flight, and It's Not Eat, Pray, Love

One of the things I learned in the body language book was that "fight or flight" is a myth. My theory is that it's actually a myth perpetrated by bullies to make themselves seem tougher by implying that there are two types of people - those who run, and those who fight.

The limbic system actually does something quite different. All animals, not just humans, go through a different sequence when confronted with a threat.

Freeze. Flight. Fight.

Fighting is actually the last, and least desirable option. Why? Because fighting gets you injured or killed.

Freezing does a few things. All mammals' primary "I'm going to eat you now" reaction is triggered by motion. We are visual creatures. Freezing is the most critical response, because it makes you invisible, hence, a less likely snack option. It also gives you time to prepare for phase two, if necessary - flight. In order to prepare for flight, you do all sorts of things. Your nostrils flare, because you need oxygen to run. Your pupils dilate to help you see more accurately, because there's nothing more embarrassing than running into a tree when a cheetah is chasing you! And last, and ONLY if the first two didn't work, do you fight.

So there you go. Something you've heard all your life is a lie!

Now on to Jackson Galaxy. When I went to see him speak, he joked about eat, pray, love. He said that if you want happy felines, you have to align yourself with the normal cat progression, which is:

Play. Eat. Love.

This is a very different cycle from canines.

Cats need to hunt before they eat. If they don't, then they can have play aggression, or, as most people know it, ankle attacking. If they get out of sync, their play (prey) occurs at inappropriate times. So he recommends a good play session before you feed them. After they eat, they're happy to lounge on your lap like the spoiled little beasties they are.  I've started paying attention to this and they are much happier and calmer in their downtime if I wear them out before I feed them with crazy mouse games.

Now, if you're a human, what you should do is:

Stamp. Stamp. Stamp.
That's what I do, anyway!

Today is a very special day - it's the 5th birthday of the Color Throwdown! I'm lucky enough to have been an Alumni and very honored to help them celebrate! I love their color combo for the birthday celebration!

I stamped an image from Greeting Card Kids (retired, but I will never let go) in Memento Rich Cocoa ink, stamped off once.  Then I colored it with just two Touch Twin Markers: YR29 and YR31. I used Afternoon Picnic paper on a Baked Brown Sugar card base. Easy sepia look!

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Please hop over to the Color Throwdown blog to wish them happy birthday - there's a GOOD chance you might win one of their awesome prizes.

And I challenge you to start paying attention to your response to stressful situations. I never, ever realized that freeze came first, but now I'm hyper-aware of it. You'll be amazed when you start to notice it.

And don't forget to play with your kittens. Or to stamp, stamp, stamp. :)


Monday, July 8, 2013

Never Trust an Echidna!

I'm reading a fascinating book right now. Actually two books, but I don't want you to get distracted.

So I'm just going to stick with the one for now.

It's a book about reading body language, and it's written by a former FBI agent. It is FASCINATING.

Click here for more info
At one point in the book he talks about deception, and says that your neocortex is the area of your brain that is what is responsible for deception. Well, not just deception, but if you're lying, that's where it's coming from. About 1/3 of our brain is neocortex.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Right after I read that section, my sister called me and asked me about an animal that looked like a porcupine, but laid soft shelled eggs and had a beak. I said, "an echidna?" and she said "YES - that's what it is." So I went to get her the Wikipedia link so she could read more about them and I see that the echidna's brain is HALF neocortex! OMG they must be SOOOOO devious!!

Do NOT trust one. Do NOT buy real estate from them. Do NOT take one to Vegas. NEVER let an echidna marry your daughter.

Now we are exactly ONE WEEK AWAY from my departure for convention! SQUEE!

You know what that means - my LIVE coverage will begin on Monday. This year, you'll be following me to Kanab, where a group of us are going to tour the Stampin' Up! manufacturing facility for the first time ever, visit the Grand Canyon, and spend two nights in Shelli's childhood home! Nope - I'm not kidding! It's going to be a hoot! Then follow us back to Salt Lake where we will have my 10th annual Understand Blue Happy Hour kickoff event on Wednesday, and the beginning of convention itself on Thursday. Tune in right here on Monday and watch it all live! You will be able to ask questions in the comment section.

If you are attending and would like to sign up for the happy hour, please do so here. I will have a small gift for the first 30 or so people to arrive :).

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Stamps: S.W.A.K. (retired), Priority Mail 
Ink: Real Red, Sahara Sand, Early Espresso
Accessories: Rhinestone, Label Punch, Airmail Twine

Hopefully we will encounter an echidna at the Grand Canyon and I can show you a video of me trying to trick him with Iocane Powder :).


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Washi-ing You a Happy Independence Day!

I love this country, as I'm quite  sure you know.

I have this image in my mind, and in my heart, of the purity of our constitutional republic.

There's something in my Irish DNA that is forever entwined with the principles of American constitutionalism and human individual liberty.

Sometimes, people confuse patriotism with perfectionism.

I do not, because I am a human, and humans have no knowledge of perfection. Only psychopaths understand perfection. :)

So when I say I love something, that means I love it in all of its glorious imperfection, like I love a sunflower or a squirrel, or a piece of bacon.

Such love of imperfect things comes in handy on July 3rd, when a person is making their Independence Day card, which is quite simple, but they find that even WITH the stamp-a-ma-jig, they cannot for the life of them stamp their images straight, and end up throwing away 8 sheets of Whisper White cardstock with horribly crooked images on them.

But what's great about both America and stamping is that you can just keep trying till you get it right.

So I did.

I hope you have a great Independence Day, and that you think about what independence truly means.

It's not cheap, free or perfect.

Nothing worth having is.

Stamps: Tape It 
Ink: Briliant Blue, Real Red
Cardstock: Whisper White

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Monday, July 1, 2013

I've Got Leprechauns In My Tomatoes

Okay - you know the song about the ant moving the rubber tree plant right? (you're welcome for the earworm)

Well last week, when the Other came home for lunch, we saw that our giant tub and trellis for our two 7' tall tomato plants had fallen over on our porch this morning.

It's HEAVY - took two of us to stand it back up. Now mind you, we had a crazy wind storm more than a month ago with 60 mph gusts and nothing like this happened.

I, of course, assumed leprechauns.

I don't know what German people assume, so I'll have to ask.

Anyway, I go to get my allergy shot, come back, and it's back flat on the ground.

Now I'm cursing in a very unladylike way at the leprechauns, because I have to stand it back up by myself. I totally understand why my ancestors were so annoyed by the pesky little buggers.

I wrangle it up, and notice that it's sitting on a funky bump on our patio, which might be the problem, so I scoot it a bit to see if I can find a flatter place.

That's when I see it.



When I moved it I realized how serious it was - they FREAKED OUT and were grabbing their gross fire ant eggs. Sorry fire ants, but your babies are disgusting. I'm sure you think they're great, but no one else does.

They ARE as strong as everyone says.

I had to really do a pretty lame temporary fix, involving my pretty baker's twine, two logs and a shovel, until the Other arrived home. But it worked and the gross ant babies are gone.

Speaking of gone, today is the last day for my beloved Google Reader. :(

If you subscribe to my blog via Reader, you'll have to switch to Feedly (what I'm using) or Bloglovin (which I would never use because the name is so stupid, but I've heard good things about) ASAP.

Now for two pieces of exciting news!

First, my Paper Share from the new catalog is now open! This share costs $20 (that includes shipping) and it gets you a 66 sheet 6x6 pad - 1 sheet each of all the new designs in the catalog!

You can sign up here right now - space is limited!

If you do sign up, I will send you the cutting instructions for my One Sheet Wonder (cards below). This pattern makes 12 cards and a little tote bag to put them in.

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The second piece of exciting news is that convention is right around the corner! And as usual, I will have live coverage running right here on my blog so that you won't miss a thing. Join me starting July 15th for a tour of the manufacturing facility at Stampin' Up!, a trip to the Grand Canyon, Shelli's childhood home (that's where we're staying) and then of course the main event! It's going to be a blast and I can already tell I will not be sleeping much. I'll need to channel that ant strength!


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