Monday, March 31, 2014

Will Toilet Paper Be Folded Into Points In Heaven?

I have an informal survey to conduct. Please indicate your opinion in the comments.

I'm wondering if having your toilet paper folded into a little point makes you:

A. Have a higher opinion of the hotel you're in? Do you run to the bathroom and say - ah, yes, now THIS is a classy hotel if you see the telltale point?

B. Feel like your house is cleaner? So if you hire a housekeeping service and they do NOT fold your TP into points, do you get all grumpy and feel like you didn't get your money's worth?

C. Feel like you cannot achieve such artistry in your daily life? Are housekeepers the only ones capable of providing this soul-enriching service? If not, why aren't we all treating ourselves to folded, pointy TP every day?

Where did this custom originate? Are there some opulent palaces somewhere in Europe where some sort of over-the-top royals are beating servants about the head and neck should they encounter a - SHUDDER - straight edge on their loo paper?

Just today's random thought. There's always a conversation happening in my head, you know.

Friday's (I know I'm late - HUSH UP) Free For All challenge was to make a card with circles in the background. After seeing a beautiful, rainbow colored mesh wreath that my friend Dana made, I knew what my challenge card was going to be - another deconstructed rainbow.

I used the the remainder of the Gelli Print I used for my tutorial for the background.

The big bold Thank You is from Another Thank You.

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I'd love to stay and chat, but I need to go fold my TP. It's a never-ending source of joy.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Juice - Or Is It?

I'm SO close to finding out who the murderer is in my latest Louise Penny audiobook - Cruelest Month. So close, in fact, that I decided to clean the house just so I could have an excuse to listen for a while. That should say something to you.

A friend on Facebook recommended this mystery author to me when I asked for some good, clean, suspenseful Christie style mysteries. She NAILED what I wanted and I've really enjoyed the books - so much so that I went to a book signing when Louise Penny visited Austin. She is not only a great mystery writer, but a HILARIOUS and beautiful lady. I thoroughly enjoyed her presentation and I'm loving the series.

So it's weird that the following even happened to me because I normally exclude the rest of the world when I'm engrossed in an audiobook.

I was walking past the living room carrying laundry and there was a commercial on. Out of the corner of my ear, I hear something so ridiculous I pressed pause.

"It's 100% real juice, with no sugar added."

Since when does the word JUICE not mean this? If someone tells me I'm drinking juice, I assume that I'm drinking a smashed fruit or veggie with nothing else. It doesn't need the word "real" or the words "no sugar added" because both of those things hint at something that isn't juice and should be described with another word like Kool-Aid or Coke or anything under the Gatorade brand family.

The definition of juice is: the natural fluid, fluid content, or liquid part that can be extracted from a plant or one of its parts, especially of a fruit: orange juice.

If you use the word JUICE, you do not need add any other words. I speak English. Words mean something. 

Or they should. 

Please see my rant on what the word tea means here.  

I got back to my book after thinking I needed to discuss this with you, but seriously, marketing people. Use English.

Today is the day each week when I do "Show Me Sunday" with my downline. Everyone makes a card or two before 2 PM on Sunday, and then we have a video chat where everyone can show their card, or just chat. Today's call had people from coast to coast and I sat outside for it because it's SUCH a spectacular day today. I actually got a sunburn. Oops. 

When everyone was posting their projects throughout the week in preparation for the video chat, I saw one by Dana that inspired MY Show Me Sunday card. She had made a spring wreath out of a rainbow of mesh ribbon that was so pretty and fun - I had to put it on the card.

So I took the circle stamps from the February My Paper Pumpkin kit and made a deconstructed rainbow.

I really like how the stripes look at a 90 angle in two different colors when they overlap. So fun. Colors - Wisteria Wonder, Strawberry Slush, Tempting Turquoise, Gumball Green, Tangerine Tango.

The greeting is from Another Thank You - LOVE how big and bold it is.  
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This is your last reminder about Sale-A-Bration - it ends tomorrow. If you want any of the free goodies, or want to get $150 worth of goodies for $99 and be able to come to my Show Me Sunday events, you better get busy! :)

Now, I'm off to make one of my favorite recipes - Biscoff Banana Bread - you can see the recipe here.


PS - retreat is filling fast - click below to register! :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Explain Something To Me

Got to go on a walk this morning - I hadn't been for a few days because of a few unusual raindrops so it was nice to get back to my audiobook and see all the blooming trees and flowers and see little bees buzzing around.

There's a couple that I see a lot on my walks and they're doing something that completely mystifies me.

It's this:

What in the heck is the point of this? The poor woman basically has her head buried in the man's sweaty bum, which is 100% of her view as well. And y'all - IT'S HOT HERE. In case you weren't aware of this, every human being is sweaty and stinky within about four minutes of leaving the house most days. And miles and miles of being that close to anyone's sweaty, spandex-clad nether regions? No thanks.

What are the possibilities here? Can she not ride a bike? Does she get lost a lot and this is the only way her man can keep her from wandering off? Is he terrified to be alone? Is he not strong enough to ride a bike alone? Is this human trafficking? Could they not afford two separate bikes? Why would you prefer that someone else might be responsible for you falling down (and breaking your face on their sweaty hiney) over you being solely responsible for you falling down?

Its just something I need a lot of help understanding, because it looks like a completely miserable and weird experience to me.

Today is the Mix-Ability challenge at Splitcoast, and it's to create a monochromatic card with a hat tip to spring.

Well as usual, before I started, I saw something shiny - Dina's technique here - and I did a poor imitation of it here with Blessed Easter and Derwent Inktense pencils and a little white acrylic.

I cut the greeting off of this stamp set and mounted it separately. I don't like my greetings attached to my stamps and I love these beautiful tulips. Reminds me of Rochester.
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Then I got down to business and made a monochromatic one for the challenge. Can't decide which one I like more.

Come play along! But please do share your thoughts with me on what the point of the sweaty butt bike is. I can't wait to hear!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The PGC Ribbon - REVOKED!

If you have a tortie, or any other variety of mentally quirky feline, then I know you will understand what I'm about to say.

Darling, precious little Splotchy is determined to kill us via sleep deprivation. He loves to bloviate late into the night and for about an hour before the alarm goes off every day. He has so, so much to say on so many topics that the daytime cannot contain his words. (Also, yes, he is actually a she, but that's another story.)

So on those RARE nights when he actually sleeps, like last night, and we get to sleep, we have to praise and reward him. So this morning I came up with an award - the Pretty Good Cat ribbon. It can't really be any better than that because if you only let your servant sleep for about four nights out of 365, you're really only a Pretty Good Cat. It's hard to get to Cat Excellence with that kind of a record. So this morning I awarded him the PGC ribbon.

However, shortly afterwards, I had to revoke it when he surprised me (why I don't notice that he's followed me into the bathroom is beyond me - he's very slinky and quiet when I'm NOT sleeping) by shooting onto my back, slipping, and clawing his way back up - WHILE I WAS PEEING.

I'm quite certain I had a minor heart attack. And I look like I've been lashed as punishment for something heinous.

He, on the other hand, made a little chirping sound and flopped down on my shoulders and purred.

Maybe I should come up with a VBC ribbon. Very. Bad. Cat. Or a CWJOMBWIP ribbon - Cat Who Jumps On My Back While I'm Peeing.


But since I was rested, I felt creative, if scratched, dented and filled with adrenaline.

I saw a beautiful technique by Tasnim Ahmed in an online card class I just took and I had to try it. I stamped the image from So Very Grateful in Smoky Slate, stamped off once. I think I'd stamp it off twice next time. Then I used a gold Sakura gel pen to outline part of the stamp image - it's so sparkly and pretty IRL.

Then I just colored the outlined portions - easy!

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Hey - don't forget - my retreat is filling up fast - and when the seats are gone, they're gone! Sign up below!


Monday, March 24, 2014

The Worm Has Turned

We have officially gone to war.

We had to go on a killing spree in the garden this weekend in the first official skirmish of spring.

All of our plants have been starting their young lives safely in our pop-up greenhouse until this weekend when it was time to throw them out of the nest.

However, to our horror, when we started pulling plants out we saw the dreaded CATTERPILLARPOCALYPSE - all over my chives!!!

The little buggers must have been in the chive soil because that was the only plant that got moved into the greenhouse that lived outside most of last year. The rest were new plants with sterile soil.

Being an urban gardener requires extreme vigilance. Last year we got tomato horn worms - which I will NOT post a photo of because they cause extreme PTSD - ask me how I know. And one of those little beasts can defoliate your entire 7 foot tall tomato in a day, undoing all your hard work in one case of the munchies.

Then I decided to wash my car, because doves roost in the tree above my car. Not cool, doves. Not cool at all. What I didn't factor in is that the wind was blowing 60 mph, so operating the sprayer at the car wash was a lot like trying to control a runaway fire hose.

After all that excitement I was ready for some serious couch time. So I grabbed my TV emergency kit :)  (I like it because I don't need a cup of water) and this watercolor paper (which is so smooth it's perfect for stamping) and plopped down with an old, old stamp set - Stew Pot Pals. You can't see in my photos, but there are teeny accents of Wink of Stella on these, making them sparkly and fun on their accessories, shoes and collars.

I love these images and the little punny sayings. Vegetables make such fabulous anthropomorphs.

Carrots are always *sweet*.

 This yam is just letting its freak flag fly.
 A full figured and yet dainty turnip.
 And that stylish and flirty bean is the life of every party.

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This is why I never sell the stamps I buy.

I love them all, and there's always a day where they just feel so right.

Someday, I'll sell the movie rights to the Great Caterpillar Wars of 2014.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Caturday Painting Session and Recharge

I taught today. I have my Land, Sea and Sky class this month - I'm teaching again next weekend if you want to come - today was a private class for one of my customers and her mom, who was visiting from Florida.

Every time I teach, I have this compulsion to spend the rest of the day experimenting. I don't know how to explain it, but it sort of feels like when I teach, which I absolutely love, some of my creative battery gets depleted, and I have to charge it up again right away by making something so that I can teach again. It works. Not sure if I'm describing it exactly right, but if you teach, maybe you know what I mean.

So today, I thought I'd play around with turning a stamp into a painting. A lot of people don't paint because they can't draw - or they think they can't draw - and that paralyzes them. So I wanted to show you a fun way to use your stamps to get over that fear. The stamped images can just be used as your base drawing and you can have fun, without worrying that your image looks wrong.

So here's what I made - nothing fancy. But I did take photos (bad photos on my Iphone) of each stage of it and I turned it into a little video for you. Hope it inspires something fun - you do have all day tomorrow to play you know before Monday enslaves us all again. :)
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And here's the video - enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

I have an awesome neighbor.

Actually, a bunch of awesome neighbors.

But my neighbor Lee is especially awesome. She invited me to go see Grand Budapest Hotel last night, and it was the highlight of my week!

I'd describe this movie as a cross between two movies that I love - Brazil and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

We giggled so hard through most of it. It's funny and wistful - sort of like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Every single actor and actress that you love is in this movie - I cannot believe what a HUGE cast of superstars it has, and I got to see my beloved Tilda Swinton in all her strange, icy glory for a minute or two. One of the best things that's ever happened in social media was the @nottildaswinton Twitter account. I nearly cried when it's prescribed time came to an end. It was so odd and mesmerizing. So seeing the real Tilda was fun.

But all that to say that as a creature of habit, I would not have gone to see this movie on a Thursday night, when it was sure to be crowded. I like seeing movies when there are just three or four people in the theater. And normally after work, I'm pooped and don't do much of anything. But thanks to this invitation, I did, and I had a very fun, sparkly, funny few hours. So do stuff with your neighbors :)

I had some fun a few weeks ago with the People Like You set and my Polychromos pencils. This is a gorgeous image.

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There are waterlilies in a pool just outside the door of the classrooms I take art classes at at the museum - I always want to paint them and I just have never done a painting of them that I loved. This stamp makes me feel better about myself :)

So go see the movie. I command you. :)


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Let's Gel

Is it just me, or has it been a crazy few weeks? I'm so busy I don't know if I found a rope or lost my horse!

AND, as a result, I've done something I've NEVER done before - I've finished some things EARLY. As in, BEFORE they were due.

And not five minutes before like normal, but like DAYS. Crazy, huh? Must be the Ides of March.

So today, I bring you the tutorial I completed a whole four days early for today's Splitcoaststampers Weekly Inkling. I've been excited about this for a long, long time, ever since I took a monoprinting workshop from Linda Germain and fell in love with gel monoprinting (if you ever get a chance to take a class with her - do it).

Now a full disclaimer - I learned to print on a homemade gel plate, and the smell of the gelatin is so completely revolting I almost died while I was preparing it. Then I taught a few friends at a gathering in Dallas, and they agreed - it is gag-inducing. After it's set, it doesn't smell, but the preparation is more than I could ever do again. I MUCH prefer a Gelli Plate.

I love the process - the zen feel of rubbing the paper onto the Gelli Plate and pulling multiple prints, the bright colors - it's relaxing and exciting at the same time. I love the abstraction of pattern and color and the complete surprise with the result. You really never know what you're going to get! (Insert Forrest Gump voice here) Of course, then I take all that abstraction and put it into a clean and simple environment, as is my custom. :)

So here's the card I made with the Hexagon Hive thinlit and one of my favorite gelli prints. I used the die cut inlay technique to make it a truly one layer card.

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I just LOVE those colors and patterns. So pretty against that nice bright white.

So if you've never tried a Gelli Plate, here's the video to show you how easy and fun it is. In two seconds you can be creating a big stack of beautiful prints to use on your cards, or in journals or as framed art. Enjoy!

Oh - and before you go - I've posted registration information for my retreat in Salt Lake in July - see the graphic just below this to sign up for classes and for my happy hour! :)

If you've already filled out my pre-registration form, you need to click the graphic below to formally register & pay.


Monday, March 17, 2014

One Extra Year To Repent

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

I just finished my AWESOME Irish stew, which is seriously the best stew in the world. I NEVER order stew at a restaurant because there's no way it's this good. I weep when I see Campbell's soup commercials that reference the word "stew" because I don't think that word means what they think it means.

While I am the undisputed queen of stew, many spirited discussions have taken place in this house about the fact that I do NOT put potatoes in my stew.

They do NOT belong in stew. A potato is like a snowflake - it should be celebrated for its eternal and unrepeatable, fierce beauty alone, with only salt and butter, its closest friends. Much like bacon should not be demeaned by being wrapped around a lesser food, a potato exists on its own plane of perfection, and does not stoop to being a component of another dish. I'm also completely offended when asked in a restaurant if I'd like a potato "loaded." Loaded with butter and salt? The Holy Trinity? Yes. A tray full of cheese and sour cream and chives and bacon? Shudder.

The potato is actually the reason that many Irish people landed in America - nearly 25% of the country emigrated during the potato blight and ensuing famine years. Perhaps even my great greats.

So we are NOT going to stick what I consider to be a sacred ingredient and quite likely the reason that I was born an American INTO A STEW!

So it is said, and so it shall be written.

Here are some fun facts about potatoes:
  • In 1995, the potato became the first vegetable grown in space
  • The Incas measured time by correlating units of time with how long it took for potatoes to cook.
  • Thomas Jefferson introduced french fries to the US. God bless him.
  • Potato chips were invented in Saratoga Springs, NY by a hacked off chef trying to put a Vanderbilt in his place.
  • During the gold rush, potatoes were actually worth their weight in gold.
So I had to make a card today, of course, and I decided it was going to be a thank you card. To the potato. Which was not in my delicious stew. That I'm super humble about. :)

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Paper: Watercolor Paper, Watercolor Wonder Notecards

How about them potatoes? :)

"May you live to be 100 years, with one extra year to repent."
                       ~Irish toast

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Collective Art Subconscious

Today my sister and I went to one of my favorite events in Austin - Renegade Craft Fair - SXSW edition. This is without a doubt the BEST assortment of artisans in a show anywhere on the planet. If you live in Austin, I beg of you - go to this show this weekend.

And THIS one was the best one yet. It was HUGE and I saw (and bought) some amazing things this time, some of which I will be showing you soon - SQUEE!

But each time we go to this show, we notice something very consistently - the presence of little cultural and artistic themes that are very pervasive, no matter where in the world the artisans are from.

One year, it was very smart-arsey  T-shirts and posters - really hilarious, snarky sentiments.

One year, it was microscopic things - fishtanks with scenes of teeny tiny people in them next to their teeny tiny swimming pools.

One year, it was sort of a wistful, kindergarten sweetness

One year, it was incredibly detailed drawings of all sorts - this was one of my faves. 

One year it was sort of dark, animal themed artwork - strange taxidermy and prints and notebooks with anthropomorphic animals being dastardly and saying wicked things.

It's really bizarre how consistent these themes are across these artists from all over the world. We concluded that it must be out there in the universe like air, being breathed in by all of these same people and turned into art.

This year, the themes were as follows:

  • Primitive tools/survival gear

  • Things made out of watch parts

  • Wood - we saw EVERYTHING made out of wood - Iphone cases, prescription glasses frames (I almost bought some of these) - you name it.

  • Drinking.
  • Axes. Seriously - we saw sooooo many handmade axes and hatchets. It. Was. Awesome. My sister loved this one. I felt like it was an essential zombie apocalypse tool.

It was an insanely fun show. 

Also a gorgeous day, which will end with much patio sitting and grilling. Such is our difficult lot here in the center of the Great Republic.

But I HAD to play in today's Ways to Use It challenge - it's all about rainbows. I had to go back to my beloved Sweetie Pie stamp set and the matching Sweetie Pie Frames. This was so simple and cute. I stamped the circle-y image in Coastal Cabana (stamped off once) and then stamped and colored the image with Touch Twin Markers.
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Stamps: Sweetie Pie, Sweetie Pie Frames
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Coastal Cabana
Paper: Whisper White, Crafter's Companion Marker Paper
Accessories: ShinHan TouchTwin Markers: WG5, PB73, P81, YR24, R136, YR132, Y37, P83, R139, B67, R131, R15, GY48

Renegade Craft - I love you! :)


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