Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Stifled City Girl

I went to college in New York. Upstate, but we'd sneak down to Manhattan every now and then when we'd deprived ourselves of Ben & Jerry's for a week or two and saved up the $19 it took to get one of those crazy People's Express flights.

I know big cities aren't for everyone. Most of the time, they're not even for me. But every now and then I do miss Gotham. One of the greatest things about New York is that it is possible to be by yourself for days on end in huge crowds of people. It's sort of like the internet that way - you get all of the excitement and weirdness of this big sea of humanity, but without ever having to talk to anyone.

And the water in New York is acceptable too for this water-averse human. It seems sort of civilized and tamed down there at the lower end. I love that feeling you get when your view opens up to the Statue of Liberty and you feel like you've walked to the edge of the earth. SO MUCH STUFF and then nothing.

So when I FINALLY got to bust out Calling all Heroes, I knew what MUST be done. Is this not the cutest??
The first card I made with this set was super graphic and cute (can't show you until convention) in the style of the set, but the card I made with my heart was a little different. :)

I outright stole this technique from my sister. We were in an India Ink painting class this month and she was making all these cool landscapes by folding up the bottom of her paper onto her wet painting to get a reflection. She got some amazing results and I know I had to try it with this beautiful little cityscape.

First, I scored the watercolor paper. Oh - and I could not get this to work with cold press watercolor paper. No matter how much water, ink etc. I tried, it wouldn't transfer. So I ended up using hot press Fabriano. I even tried it with regular cardstock and no dice.

Next, I masked off above the fold with Post-It masking tape. Then I inked up my stamp in Tempting Turquoise. Using a sponge dauber, I dabbed Blackberry Bliss all over the stamp randomly. Then I sprayed the bottom half of the paper with water, stamped the image on top and folded the stamped image down into the water and burnished it. When I opened the card, this is what I saw.

Well almost - I went back in with an aquapainter and added some Daffodil Delight. 

Cool, eh? Easier than some other reflection techniques too.

If you want to get this set, you better hurry - it's a while supplies last set.
Hope all you city people like it as much as I do. :)


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Enjoying The Fiddly Bits

Normally, I do not enjoy making boxes, cards with funky folds, etc. I much prefer that blank canvas of a pure white FLAT piece of paper. My mind works in that size & dimension best.

However, I have been lured to the dark side by those adorable pop-up card boxes. I had my class today and that is what we made - and I have never had so much fun making something with a bunch of little fiddly bits. I was SQUEEing when I was putting the flingy things on there - and I had to squee quietly because it was late at night and I was the only one awake.

This thing is EASY and fun. I can't believe (even though I've made two now) that the darn thing folds flat and goes into an envelope - seriously - FLAT. Crazy, man. Just crazy.

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The tutorial is for a larger box than mine, but I used the alternate measurement below the main tutorial for one that fits in an A2 envelope. There are two versions that will fit in an A2 - one like mine, and a cute squatty one. The butterflies are from Best of Butterflies with the butterfly punch, and the bird punch for the leaves. The greeting is from Hi There, with the small scallop punch. The base of the box is Basic Black and I used Back to Black DSP - some of the girls alternated the patterns on their boxes and those were ADORABLE.

We had a ball making these together. Love starting my weekend crafting with my ladies.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Round and Round

So I admit that I have serious shiny squirrel syndrome.

But I'd also like to point out that the world GIVES ME shiny squirrel syndrome.

Today was the perfect example.

I wanted to make my awesome Thai coconut curry soup. So I load up my grocery list with the ingredients and head to Whole Foods.

Once inside, I get distracted. There are some awesome avocados, a wine tasting, new cold brew coffee I've never seen and the CHEESE people! All the cheese! So even though I have my Grocery IQ app to keep me focused on the list, I still forgot the ONE THING I really needed for what I was going to cook tonight - rice noodles.

I get home and unpack and realize my error. No way do I have time to go to the store after all the distractions, so I thought I'd spend five minutes searching the pantry because I had a vague memory of owning some rice noodles and I thought I'd get lucky.

So I start searching the pantry. And here's what happened. First - I find three containers of arborio rice that are each 1/3 full. I combine those and throw away the extra containers. Second - I discover we have 80 metric tons of quinoa  - I consolidate that. Then - I find a bag of sugar that I can put into our sugar container. And rice that I can put into our rice container.

Finally, I see something that looks like a rice noodle box, but there's a box of lasagna noodles in the way - I grab it, and unfortunately, the box is open, and as I'm moving it, lasagna noodles are shooting into my face and then down into every crack and crevice of the pantry.

So then I have to clean all that up and before you know it, 45 minutes have vanished without a trace!

The good news is, I did find the rice noodles, but I was way too worn out to wash all the veggies and then make the soup, so I ended up having a tuna melt.


Today I'm hosting the Mix-Ability challenge on Splitcoast, and I decided to stick with the chasing my tail theme and call it "Round and Round." The challenge is to use this fun painted circles tutorial with ink /and acrylic paint for an abstract background. I chose the Typeset paper for my background, and then I used an aquapainter and Tempting Turquoise, Strawberry Slush and Daffodil Delight reinkers to paint loose circles. The last step is to take a paper towel roll dipped in black paint and use that as a stamp to give a little definition. Fun eh? I finished it off with the Work of Art stamp set.

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If you play along, please use keyword MIX73.

And to reward you for visiting me today, here's the soup recipe (modified slightly from this recipe), which I will now make today, barring getting an unexpected face full of lasagne noodles. I'm making it without the chicken.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Two 14 oz (398 mL) cans of premium coconut milk
1 heaping tablespoon (15 mL) of Thai curry paste
Roots of 1 bunch of cilantro, rinsed well
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced (or leave out)
2 cups (500 mL) of chicken broth
2 TBS Ponzu or hoisin
Lemongrass paste  - this is by Gourmet Garden - usually with the fresh herbs.
Zest and juice of 2 limes
A small knob of frozen ginger
One 8 oz (225 g) package of rice noodles
Leaves of 1 bunch of cilantro, rinsed well
2 or 3 green onions, thinly sliced
A sprinkle or two of salt or soy sauce

1. Scoop the thick coconut cream from the top of just one of the cans into a large stockpot set over a medium-high heat. Melt the cream, add the curry paste and stir for a few minutes until they begin to sizzle.
2. Add the cilantro roots and chicken and sauté until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the coconut juice from the first can and all the contents of the second can along with the chicken broth, lemon grass paste, and lime zest and juice. Grate the frozen ginger into the broth with a Microplane grater or standard box grater. Simmer for 20 minutes or so.
4. Add the rice noodles, gently pushing them beneath the surface of the broth. Turn off the heat and let stand until the noodles soften, about 5 minutes. Rice noodles don’t need to simmer like pasta to cook; they simply need to rehydrate in the hot liquid.
5. Stir in most of the cilantro leaves. Taste and season with a touch more salt (or soy sauce) as needed. Ladle into large bowls and garnish with the green onions and remaining cilantro leaves.

FYI - I am lowering the capacity on the Love What You Have class for the retreat because of a supply limitation, so if you have not signed up yet, I'd do so this week.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Polarizing Craft Supplies

I was watching a Laura Bassen tutorial the other day and she mentioned how polarizing glitter can be - my words, not hers.

She said it's one of those things that people either love or hate.

Sort of like Miracle Whip.

I have concluded that glitter is the Miracle Whip of the papercrafting industry.

Now, I think Miracle Whip is the work of the devil, but I LOVE glitter.

I am sad for the people who hate it. I try to buy their share of glitter whenever I can to keep them from experiencing any unpleasantness. I'm selfless like that.

One of my most favorite glittery cards I've ever made has lain dormant in my draft posts since last summer's Dare to Get Dirty challenge and I'm so ashamed I never let it shine its little light out in the world. So I present to you - UBER GLITTERY DAHLIA!

My camera, the soul sucking beast that it is, makes my glitter look boring straight on, as you can see below.

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Coastal Cabana and Daffodil Delight are pretty together, eh? That's the Chevron background stamp.

Where do you fall on the glitter divide? For or against?

And I guess, while we're at it - what is your opinion on Miracle Whip?

(steps away while the internet explodes)


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Are You Smarter Than a Jackrabbit?

I was driving home the other day and saw something that never ceases to amaze me.

We are now in the full on throes of summer where it's hotter than the surface of the sun. (Which I love, by the way.) Texans sort of reverse hibernate in the summer. You only see us out in the environment early in the morning, after sundown or in cars or buildings. Only crazy people hang out outside in the afternoon.

So I saw a crazy person.

Not JUST outside when it was 8,000 degrees. Not just JOGGING at 3 in the afternoon when it was 8,000 degrees. But outside, SHIRTLESS and jogging at 3 in the afternoon when it was 8,000 degrees. I could feel his organ failure and the melanoma from inside my car.

Dear people of earth - the closer you are to the equator, the meaner the sun is. And don't exert yourself when it's 8,000 degrees. I highly recommend a trip to the Mojave. You will marvel at the complete lack of living things in the desert. UNTIL THE SUN GOES DOWN.

If you aren't smarter than a lizard or a jackrabbit, I can't really offer you any help. I want to, but I think you're past it. You have damaged your brain with your hot jogging.

So on that note, I decided to take inspiration from the VSN Challenges at Splitcoast. The challenge I used was the campfire challenge.

I colored this in a backyard happy hour session and first masked off my watercolor paper with artist tape. then I watercolored the rest and removed the mask. I love making those little scenes.

The flower is from Bloom With Hope and greeting is from the new Hi There set which I'm stamping all over everything.

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 I'm packing up the boxes for the retreat - are you coming? There's a lot of crafty goodness about to get shipped to Salt Lake :)


Friday, June 6, 2014

Feeling Crabby?

I saw this little crab from Sea Street at the Catalog Premiere and nearly died from the cuteness!

This was one of those moments where that little voice (hear this in Tom Selleck's voice) told me not to buy a stamp set for one image, and a moment later, I smacked that voice in the MOUTH!!

Today's Mix-Ability challenge is all about SAND. It is summer, after all, and our hostess Tiffany does live on the coast.

Luckily, I am in posession of the new Dazzling Diamonds glimmer paper  - WHAT? Yes, Dazzling Diamonds glimmer paper.

And I am an American, and I have every right to spray that paper with a mixture of alcohol and Baked Brown Sugar for a mixed media challenge.

And I have a right to put a crab on it.

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No way can anyone be crabby looking at that little dude. We'll be making this card at my class tomorrow if you're coming!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Zentangling Mania!

In preparation for the retreat, I've been zentangling like crazy! Our master zentangler, Melanie, will be showing you the real deal and some of her incredible tangle patterns, but me - the little baby zentangler, I decided to do it in a safe place - namely a stamp.

I know you've been seeing Blended Bloom all beautifully done up with Blendabilities, but how about THESE apples?

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It's a perfect tangle canvas isn't it? I love how graphic and crisp it is - the petals are the PERFECT size.

I just so happened to do the weekly tutorial yesterday on Splitcoast, so here's my video for you - I really hope you try it and then come for an advanced lesson in July!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Firefly Alert!!

It's my turn to host this month's Challenge Chicks challenge and I decided it would be based on another blast from my past - catching fireflies.

I remember magical twilights catching fireflies in a jar with my Aunt Julia (a redhead, lucky woman - where did THOSE genes go?) in Maryland.

Fireflies are one of those natural wonders that make you think anything is possible when you are little. If a bug can fly around with a light on its hiney, why CAN'T you dig a hole in your yard that goes to China? And why do you get in huge trouble when you try? (Ask me how I know).

They really are magical.

Sadly, thanks to Scott's Weed & Feed and other commonly used landscape poisons, fireflies are mostly gone from Central Texas. If you get far enough away from Home Depot infested lawns, you can still see them in the country, but gone are the days where our yards light up in the evening with these enchanting creatures. If I could find a way (other than blogging about it) to shut down Scott's, I most certainly would. These products also kill birds, fish, and I'm quite sure, us. (End of rant.)

Luckily, I live in a neighborhood where most people understand these products are a terrible idea. And the other day - out in the hill country, Texas Parks & Wildlife reported a firefly sighting! I hope I'll see them again someday.

So today's card is an homage to my lovely red-headed aunt and those magical little beasts, in the abstract. I'm using some sneaky peekies from the catalog, which goes live tomorrow - SQUEE! :) I'm so excited about that that MY butt might light up!! :)

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If you play along with the challenge this month, be sure and use the keyword CHXJUN14 when uploading to Splitcoast so we can find you!


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