Wednesday, December 31, 2014

One Last Gift for 2014

Happy New Year!!

Imagine me dancing around blowing a noisemaker with a lampshade on my head as the ball drops in Times Square instead of being sound asleep since 10 PM, which is my own actual New Year's Eve custom.

Exciting, I know!

If you've arrive here via the Season's Givings Blog hop - this is the third year I've taken part in this awesome blog hop, which is not about anything but giving, and that makes me happy!

This is the time when all of us give thanks for all of you who visit our sites during the year, share your cards online and do all those things that make up the big, glittery beating heart of the papercrafting world.

I just want to give you presents and tell you that I LIKE YOUR FACE!!!

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Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black

Seriously - a fat chicken in a sweater holding a sign that says I like your face - how awesome is that? I colored little tubby with Blendabilities - isn't he glorious?? 

And BECAUSE I like your face, I'm giving away some presents today to some lucky commenters!

First up - for one lucky peep .... a no holds barred Stampin' Up! shopping spree! AND - it's Sale-A-Bration, so you'll get a bonus item free with your spree! The shipping and tax are on me!

 Second, I'm giving away TWO mystery boxes - these are large Flat Rate Boxes STUFFED with goodies. These will include assortments of stamps, ribbon, dies - all sorts of treasures! Each box will contain more than $50 worth of crafty goodness!

Here's what you have to do to win:
 Comment on this post with one of the following:
  1.  A link to a card that you've favorited lately or pinned - something you love & want to try.
  2. A link to your favorite tutorial video.
  3. Tell me something you'd like to learn in 2015
  4. A picture of your studio (I'm remodeling mine and would love to see yours)
  5. A crafty tip of some sort - anything that makes your crafting easier
  6. Tell me about your pets
  7. Share a favorite recipe
  8. Share a New Year's Resolution
 I will do my drawings Sunday, January 4th - so be sure and include your email address in your comment.

I really do appreciate all of you. Whether you comment or just look - I love you all and am grateful if you spend even one second of your time on this earth here. I enjoy sharing my love of crafting (and food and critters and everything else) with you, and I love that you make time in your life for things that are handmade. It's a treasured part of my life and I'm happy to give you a little present or two to say thank you.

I also have to say thank you to Latisha Yoast, whose brainchild this hop is, for her generous outlay of time organizing the event and her love of and respect for our industry and all the crafters in it.

So have fun with a leisurely New Year's stroll through some beautiful blogs, and I hope each of you win a thank you gift! Here's the full list of amazing people participating - have fun!


Update - Tissue Paper Collage Tutorial Video

Remember this card?

I'm back with the technique video for today's Splitcoaststampers Weekly Inkling tutorial - enjoy! (Here is the link if you don't see a video player below. And if you click on the link to the tutorial you'll see step by step pictures and instructions.)

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I still don't have a stamping table in my room - ARGH! But I will be back with a cute card for you tomorrow :).


Friday, December 26, 2014


I thought it would be fun to talk about some of my favorite small businesses that you could shop with this year for fun, unique gifts, which help a real human being I know personally prosper.

I remember many years ago when Sandy - at that time the owner of Stamp Salado (Central Texas' last independent stamp store, sadly) - was passionately explaining to a group of people taking a class in her store the benefit of $1 spent locally versus $1 spent at a chain store. Then last year, I heard +Alton Brown speak in Austin about how you should pay for your groceries with $1 bills, and look at each dollar as a vote for the things you are buying. Are you voting for food from China or food from America? Are you voting for products which have a label detailing country of origin of each step of the process, or are you voting for food that says "distributed by" and that's it?

I do consider every dollar a vote, and especially when it comes to buying gifts at this or any other time of the year. I know what a dollar to a local artist means because - well, I AM a local artist and I know how awesome it is when people vote for me with their dollars. :)

On average, $1 spent locally returns about 4 times as much to the local economy as $1 spent in a national chain does.

So this holiday season and in 2015, consider shopping with some of my fave independents - I know all these people - not all are in Austin, but all offer online shopping. These are truly some of my favorite things.

  • Confituras - locally produced jams, flavored salts and preserves.
  • Love Bean Fudge - I don't even really like chocolate, but this stuff is like crack. It's what Nutella wishes it was. It's not really fudge in the traditional sense - it's more like a chocolate spread. My favorite is the coconut.
  • Keith Kreeger Porcelain - beautiful, beautiful stuff. I go see Keith every chance I get at local shows.
  • T. Marie's Toffee - I told her that she needs a new word for this stuff because it's not like any toffee I've ever had. It's light and crunchy and unbelievably perfect. I have sent this to my co-workers in California and to the demonstrator support team at Stampin' Up! and they can all back me up on its amazeballness.
  • Kreativlink - the most beautiful handmade journals I've ever seen in my life - I have four of them. Renate does incredible work and is such a sweet human being. 
  • Patti Backer art - Patti is one of a small circle of beloved humans that I "met" on Twitter and later got to meet in real life. Her whimsical art just makes me smile and I have several of her paintings hanging in my studio. She and her husband are such sweet people, and you could not patronize a nicer artist, I promise. 
  • Miles of Chocolate - Again - I'm not a chocolate fan, but this local food artist produces something that is like a cross between a brownie and an angel. Trust me. You need this in your life.
  • Sunny Carvalho - Another artist whose work hangs in my studio, Sunny has a fun, silly style that's edged with a little darkness. Something about her style reminds me of Edward Gorey and I just love her. When you see her work up close, the detail is astonishing. Add that to the fact that she sings and dances while she paints and you have a charming combo. I love her line of rubber stamps as well. Here's her Etsy shop, and you can see her paintings and buy them from her through her Facebook page.
  • Fairbanks Fancy Goods - the artist is Julie Vician - again a sweet person and a talented seamstress. Since I can't sew a lick, I like to leave the pillow making and whatnot to Julie.
  • The Stitch Lab - I cannot recommend this small business enough. The owner, Leslie Bonnell, is an incredibly talented, funny and gracious lady and a real Austin original. I first met Leslie on some sort of studio crawl years ago, when she was operating the Stitch Lab out of her home. At that time, she was teamed up with Jody Haller, who opened the The Furry Godmothers and became my pet sitter for our kitty Spot. The Furry Godmothers no longer work in my zip code, but maybe they work in yours!
  • Speaking of pet sitters, a friend and former co-worker of mine (I've known her for nearly all of her life - she's the daughter of a good friend of mine) operates Paws and More pet sitting here in Austin. If there's anyone you would trust with your furry critters, it would be Allison! She loves animals and has a kind heart.
  • Blue Bridal Boutique - owned by my sweet friend (and former employee) Ruthie - is Austin's favorite bridal store! Her goal was to provide an affordable option for Austin's brides after several years of wedding planning, and her boutique is beautiful, as is she, inside and out.
So there you go - spend a few of your "votes" on some local people and make them count!

Now today is Friday, so it's the Mix-Ability challenge on Splitcoast, and Dina's challenge is SO creative! Perfect for our ONE HUNDREDTH mixed media challenge! Her challenge is to choose one color from each ring of her color wheel - a shade, a hue and a tint. I thought a fun way to do that would be with sponging through a stencil, because I can both layer different colors and layer the same colors to achieve different intensities. My colors are yellow (tint), orange (hue) and red (shade).

I used the Fade Horizontal stencil from Green Pepper Press and +Jennifer McGuire's masked tree technique with low tack tape. The greeting is from Christmas Bliss. A little bling and poof! :)

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You know what Christmas bliss is? Not having to venture into a store! :) Since we did the handmade/re-gift Christmas we were all free of the shopping burden and there were some VERY cool gifts given. There were re-gifted books and DVDs - a delight! My sister made candied ginger for everyone, as well as a little packet with both herbs (rosemary and sage) from her garden, as well as a few little acid oranges off her tree. My nephew did this hilarious glitter painting for his mom that looked like a four year old did it (he's in graduate school). My nephew's girlfriend made us all homemade laundry detergent and homemade dish detergent (pictured below) that smells SO amazing. She also made these little Ball jar sewing kits with a pincushion built into the top. Too cute. My brother, who is a photographer, made all of us photo mugs with photos he'd taken of us at family gatherings over the years - my dad's is below. My mom re-gifted some awesome crafty stuff to us - a Xyron for me, an Anna Griffin Cuttlebug to my sis.

Here are a few pics of other fun items from the day.

I got the Book of Poisons - MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Just for writing purposes, of course. Heh.

My sister in law made chocolate covered candied bacon - it was amazing.
 My sister made homemade cat toys out of paper towel rolls that my cats went NUTS over. All cat owners received these.
 Here's the mug my brother made for my dad.
 This was Amber's natural laundry soap - I wish you could smell this. I'm a HUGE homemade soap fan, but I've only made the boring kind that smells like Dial. Hers smells incredible and it's so finely powdered.
I forgot to take pictures of the gifts I gave, but they included homemade Alton Brown fruitcakes for everyone, which have been sprayed daily with brandy for the last two weeks, Love Bean Fudge single serving packets from my pantry (linked in my list above), packets of True Lemon, True Lime, True Orange and True Grapefruit for everyone. I love this stuff and had bought a big variety pack of little packets of them this summer because I love them in tea. My sister-in-law does medical work in Haiti and said these would come in handy. I painted a little cactus watercolor for my niece's boyfriend who lives in West Texas, a sunflower painting for my niece, a pear painting for my parents, and also re-gifted some books and DVDs.

There were tools, pots and pans - other fun re-gifts that were fantastic too.

It was SO much fun and I highly recommend doing Christmas this way. Even people who don't *think* they are creative get pretty darn creative during these events and I love the uniqueness of each gift.

Thanks +Jenn Nahrstadt for suggesting that I list these out - it was fun!

Hope you had a great Christmas and have a little break between now and 2015.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Sparkle of the Stars

Merry Christmas!

I waffled a lot on this year's Christmas card. I wavered between Ornamental Pine and what I ended up with for a long time. The ugly prototype of my poorly executed Ornamental Pine card is sitting on my desk validating my ultimate decision as I type.

I start my Christmas cards each year the same way. An idea in my head for the ULTIMATE Christmas card, which quickly goes in the trash. I end up going through four or five iterations before I settle on what clicks.

This year, I had a card hanging around in my head from earlier in the year. I'd seen this card by Jill Avery Foster and asked her how she achieved that background look. She said it was a happy accident with some distress stains and a baby wipe.

Well I have neither of those things, so I tried to DIY another version.

I took a sheet of Fabriano Hot Press Watercolor paper, uncut. I used Dr. Ph. Martin's Frisket Mask Liquid (I like this the best because it comes in a bottle with a dropper) to drop dots of mask all over it. I let these dry completely before watercoloring.

For the color, I smooshed inks onto my clear blocks - blues, yellows and pinks. Then I took a somewhat gnarly, well-used 4" gesso paintbrush, barely dipped it into water, dried it a bit on a paper towel, picked up ink, and made large vertical swipes of a single color on the paper - down from the top and up from the bottom - not quite meeting in the middle. Then I repeated that with each color. Sometimes my brush was wetter and sometimes it was dryer, resulting in a lot of variation  between smooth, blended colors and more crisp, brushstroke-y colors. So fun.

I continued this process for 20 sheets of watercolor paper - I got 8 pieces out of each piece of the large paper - and I needed to make 150 cards. I measured it so there was no waste out of any of the paper - that's a challenge I give myself every year.

After the watercolor was dry, I took my adhesive eraser and rubbed off all the masking fluid to reveal the sparkly stars.

Then I used our tree punch and the AWESOME greeting from Christmas Bliss to finish the card.

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Here's a small sampling of how different they all look. Is the one you got one of these? :)

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Now, as is my custom, I'll prove to you that making your own cards is not only a joyful activity, something that connects you to people you may only connect with once a year, a great gift, and a fun way to slow down during the holidays, but it's LESS expensive than buying your cards!

Here's the breakdown:

Now I don't count non-consumables - if I can use it again, it's not much of a project cost.

I used about 15% of the bottle of masking fluid - that's $1.95. I used 20 sheets of watercolor paper, so that's $7.33 - by far the most expensive part. I used 75 sheets of Whisper White Cardstock, cut in half, and that's $23.44.

Grand total for 150 lovingly handmade cards? $32.72. Had I ONLY made those 150 cards with these supplies, my cards would have cost .22 apiece.

BUT - see the punched tree? I got 50 more cards out of those pieces for my downline appreciation cards - so add in 25 more sheets of whisper white and divide by 200 and you get a whopping 20 cents a card.

As I did last year, I searched Amazon for the cheapest Christmas card of 2014. I sorted low to high price and came up with these bizarre cards, which are .83 apiece. And no one had fun making them while watching Elf. :)

I loved the star in the Christmas story, which is why I chose this greeting this year. I loved that they were looking up, I loved that it was a source of light.

I've given up news for the most part, and I have to say - my life is infinitely better. I used to be a news junkie and nearly always had it on for background noise. I've switched to Cutthroat Kitchen for background noise while I work. I have a few local radio talk shows that I can't live without - our local gardening shows, and a few discussion shows. But outside of that I'm in a news blackout and it's glorious. I tend to hide people who post news on Facebook - because, let's face it - it's overwhelmingly negative. Who needs that? Aren't sparkly stars better?

I used to think I'd miss something if I didn't listen to the news every day.

I think what I've figured out is that the only thing I missed when I DID listen to the news is the sparkle of the stars.

Try it for a week and see if the stars aren't sparklier.

Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Internet Killed the Copywriting Star

Those of you who are old enough to have breathlessly turned on the television for the first ever broadcast of MTV will no doubt remember the first video they played - the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." But not until after repeating that MTV was IN STEREO about 40,000 times while being generally hairy and disheveled. It was more glamorous in my memory than this:

But the first video could not have been more perfect.

And they were right - it did kill the radio star. Or, alternatively, it gave birth to both the video star and the talk radio star. And the Ipod, Iphone and everything else after it. Then, MTV killed itself like a Dalek by not being MTV anymore and we all wandered off and did something else.

But we are again in an era between two things that work right now. A broken, crack of a space with terrible.... copywriting.

The internet, apparently, leaves us no time for pesky details like grammar and spelling. And I'm not throwing stones, because I compose my posts live too - we all do - and it's easy to hit send/save/publish with an error. It's a modern plague, really.

But it represents an opportunity for a HERD of really excellent copywriters to fan out to news organizations and advertising agencies and make the world better while getting rich.

I'll give you two examples that just kill me every time I hear them - these are radio ads I hear about twenty times a day.

"If you don't replace your XYZ, then you're really going to be kicking yourself in the head."

Now I'm sure Jean Claude VanDamme can kick himself in the head, but I don't believe most people can. It's like they didn't read that one out loud to themselves at all before they sent it to the voice actor.

And then this from a Mercedes Dealership: "We do things one way, or we don't do them at all."

Okay... well that was a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.

I am a big fan of reading computer-composed text out loud. I do it for my blog posts and it really helps me avoid super egregious errors, but it also ensures that my words really reflect the way I actually speak, which is always how I want to come across.

Well, not always. I would never put in print what I say in my car to other drivers, for example. But I can promise you it's heartfelt :).

For today's card, I borrowed a technique from +Jennifer McGuire to whip up a clean and simple holiday scene.

I just masked off the triangle with low-tack tape and then sponged pink and orange ink through our Dots & Stripes Decorative mask and stamped the greeting from Cheerful Christmas on top. I love how clean and modern it looks. I deliberately made it darker on the left to add some dimension. I also did the sponging on watercolor paper - I like the way the ink works with that surface - I seem to always make a mess when I do this on white - the watercolor paper's tooth keeps me in check.

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Of course every time I see this greeting I hear Buddy the Elf saying "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."

Of course, Buddy the Elf has never heard me sing, so there's that.

The internet killed the copywriting star. So what comes next?

I can guaran-darn-tee you it AIN'T autocorrect.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Picking Change Out Of My Bra In a Post-80s World.

I was reminded today of a quote I've posted here before:

"Only man is capable of work, and only man works, at the same time by work occupying his existence on earth. Thus work bears a particular mark of man and of humanity, the mark of a person operating within a community of persons. "
                                                                        ~Laborem Exercens: On Human Work - John Paul II, 1981

I love me some John Paul, but based on this, it won't be hard in the future to conclude (for the aliens who will occupy the earth after the zombie apocalypse) that he had never been through a fast food drive through in the post-80s world.

I worked at McDonalds when I was 16 and to this day, it remains a huge influence on my perception of good employment and good training. It was run like a very tight ship, and we were trained and re-trained monthly. The management at McDonald's at that time understood that the objective of the work was to serve human beings both good, safe food (stifle yourself if you feel like ranting about McDonald's - you're missing my point) and a pleasant experience in the store and at the drive through. The majority of our training was focused on the nuances of providing a good service experience and on friendliness and courtesy, and the minority was on the technical perfection that was expected of us.

Post 80's fast food franchises have as their objective total ticket times and orders per hour. The customer experience generally is not a factor.

In the 80's, we were trained to look a customer in the eye, ask them how they were doing, say yes ma'am and no sir and please and thank you. (I will say that this is still clearly the directive at Chick Fil-A, which is an exception to everything I'm about to say.)

All that was and is just ducky, but it still isn't the pinnacle of good post-80s service at a fast food counter or drive through.

The absolute TOP level of service in this current day and age is when the person "serving" you is not trying to fling your drink, your food, your three foot long receipt, your 68 coins and your three dollar bills at you all at the same time, waving their arms like a millennial baboon if you don't respond quickly enough (with what I can only assume they believe is your 8 arms and your mastery of the space-time continuum, allowing you to process all of these things and put them in their correct places in exactly one nanosecond) and then floor your vehicle, rocketing it out of their way and through time so that the next customer can have things flung at them.

We were actually trained to hand a customer their coins (which, newsflash - go in a separate container from the bills, not just into a giant Mary Poppins catch-what-is-flung-at-me-like-a-fast-pitch-softball bag) and wait until they put them away, THEN hand them their bills, and lastly, their diminutive receipt, which in the good old days was about two inches long, not three feet long. Then and only then would we ask them if they wanted condiments, put those in the bag, fold the bag over and hand it to them, thanking them for their business and telling them to have a good day. None of this was done with baboon gestures, grunting, or buffalo snorting at the inordinate amount of time a surprised customer spends picking french fries out of their eye and dropping change into their bra while trying desperately to catch an airborne iced tea with their three foot long receipt.

That's all I'm saying.

Stop it.

The world isn't going to end if you allow me four seconds to put my change in my wallet before handing me the next thing. It really isn't. And if you allow me those four seconds, I might not blog-shame you, Taco Bueno. And everywhere else besides CFA.

And can we get rid of four foot long receipts everywhere? Is that too much to ask? I wonder if millennials TP their friends' trees now with receipts instead of actual TP. I know I could lob a Michael's receipt up into a 100 year old oak tree and both ends would still touch the ground.

After I picked all the change out of my bra, I played in this week's Mix-Ability challenge, which was a spray challenge. I knew JUST what I was going to do because I have my brand spanking new Hooray It's Your Day kit from the upcoming Occasions catalog, which comes with this GORGEOUS rose die cut. These are SO pretty just stuck on colored cardstock, but I can't say goodbye to one of these so I decided to make a permanent stencil out of it and keep it forever.

To do that, I just painted both sides with gel medium. I love gel medium because it dries fast. Not fast food order time fast, but fast. I let it dry on waxed paper.

After it was dry, I taped it down to some watercolor paper with low tack tape

OOH - you know what else comes in this kit? Little wood embellishments like this one that says hello. I colored it with a black Sharpie and covered it with Crystal Effects.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I sprayed the paper with three colors of ink spray - hot pink, orange and also Gold Glow Smooch Spritz

After it dried, I used a fine paintbrush and some Golden Iridescent Gold Deep Fluid Acrylic to paint around the flowers. I love the orange-y red and gold together. 

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Fun eh? Then I just used a little dot or two of Crystal Effects to tack down the wood element and mounted the whole thing on black cardstock.

Now this project resulted in another WAY cool technique that I'm not going to fling at you right now - because I'm better trained than that.

I'll be back tomorrow after you put your change and your receipt away to show you that wonderfulness.

In the meantime, it's been a pleasure serving you. I hope you have a great day.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Do More of What Makes You Happy

This Christmas, we are reviving the best Christmas we ever had at my parents' house - the all handmade or re-gifted Christmas. What was cool about this event was that NO ONE had to venture into a store in December. We had more time to bake, to do our Christmas cards and to just RELAX in December.  Unheard of, right? The only gifts that were allowed were either handmade or they had to be something in your house you were re-gifting. This resulted in some HILARIOUS gifts, believe me.     

We then fell off the wagon for a few years, but now it's back and I'm really looking forward to what everyone comes up with.

I have a pretty crafty family, so this can be a challenge, but luckily, my friends at Uncommon Goods are enabling me this year, by sending me a few things I am quite sure are going to make you squeal. I squealed. So here goes the Christmas 2014 edition of the Blue List.

The first one might be our Christmas family craft, because it's so easy and portable and fun - it's their Hedgehog Needle Felting Kit.


First of all, if there's any craft I l can truly say I love as much as stamping, it's needle felting. Maybe that's why I always say that things make me stabby - heh. It's a very zen-inducing process - repetitive motion, forgiving medium, tactile - and one that is as close to sculpture as I'll ever get.

Felting is like magic. The wool (in this kit it's from New Zealand and is so soft and beautiful) WANTS to stick together, and jabbing it with a needle grants that wish. I really enjoy "free felting" where I hold a little ball of wool in one hand and hold the needle in the other. I hold the needle like this - with just a tiny bit extending past my pinkie finger so that I know how deeply the needle is going into the wool ball and I won't accidentally jab myself.

 However, I don't recommend this for beginners, because you will definitely stab yourself and be mad at me. Try it after you have a little experience.

The instructions in the hedgehog kit are exactly what beginners need to use - placing the felt on a soft surface, like a pillow, or, what I did when I was working on the tiny pieces like the ears and noses - a kitchen sponge.

Speaking of instructions - they are fantastic. You do not need to have experience felting to make these cuties with the awesome step-by-step photos. It's quite the opposite of Ikea furniture. (Just bracing for December 23rd when my computer desk arrives. #twitch)

Now I don't usually present graphic content on my blog, but I thought you'd like to know how a cute felted hedgehog has a baby!


I know - it's weird that they are born without their ears and eyes - but hey - I'm not The Master.


The kit is a grand total of $17. I have no clue how you get this gorgeous wool here from New Zealand and package it up in an adorable Chinese takeout box with needles and beads and perfect full-color instructions for $17, but mine is not to reason why, mine is just to felt - OH MY!

There's OODLES of wool left over after making this momma hedgie and her baby - the kit says it makes two, but it makes much more than that! The mom is 3" long and 1.5" wide and baby is 1.5" by .5". Oh - and the beads are for the eyes, but I decided to felt my eyes.

Now while you're felting, you'll need to have some nice hot tea. Depending on what time of day it is, I recommend a London Fog (Republic of Tea Earl Greyer tea steeped in milk with sugar and vanilla) or a soothing cup of Tazo Rest, which I love. But there's no buzzkill like having your tea tag slither off the side of your cup and land in your hot tea, making the whole thing taste like an old library book.

So, I present to you a perfect, perfect tea cup. Yepper - it holds the tea bag for you so you are free to felt.

BOOM. Problem solved.

And finally, they sent me one of the most beautiful things I've ever laid eyes on - a Lumen shadow projector.

If I had had one of these when I was a kid I probably wouldn't have left my room.

First of all, they are made in Brooklyn, and mine - the Nest design - is so beautifully and perfectly made. It comes with two oil bottles, which surprised me. The wicks are pre-fed so you just pop off the childproof cap with a screwdriver and light it.

I played with different distances from the wall for different looks.

This is going to be on all the time in my remodeled studio, should it ever be completed. You'll notice the disassembled card catalog base the projector is sitting on. :D Keeping it real over here.

The oil is unscented (thank you!) and I truly cannot describe how magical this little projector is. I think my next one will be the Pine design for my guest bath.

I've loved Uncommon since I found them, because I know if I buy a gift there, it will be something no one else will get - gee, I wonder where they got the name? - and my absolute favorite thing about the site is that I can filter my search results just to see products made in the USA, and you all know how strongly I feel about that. They also have a zillion products made in OTC countries (Other Than China).  Here are some of my other faves from their site - these are all from their under $50 section:

I wish I had seen this fun gift before my neighbor's daughter's bridal shower - I would have loved to have given her this wishing ball. Super cool idea - made in Rhode Island. See more of their Christmas gifts here and stocking stuffer here.

Life is short. Do fun things, like making felted hedgehogs and wearing unicorn horns.

OH - and open your pre-order and play with it. Then enable other people to hedgies and teacups and projectors and stamps.

Below is a sneak peek from both Sale-A-Bration and the Occasions Mini catalog. If you need one or want to come to my spring classes with these goodies, let me know!

This one features the stamp we all screamed about during the catalog premiere. It's called Lotus Blossom and is a three-step stamp, only available during SAB. I used Tempting Turquoise, Pacific Point and Basic Black. Then I added a greeting from Hello Life (Occasions) and embossed it in gold.

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It's great advice, really.

Here - you better have another look at the hedgies before you go just so that I know you really are doing things that make you happy. I'm always thinking about you.


Friday, December 5, 2014

The Eternal Mystery Of The Feline Mind

I've been an animal whisperer all my life. Ask my parents.

I've never had trouble communicating with creatures, furry or feathered or creepy or crawly.

Until Splotchy.

And, to clarify - I can communicate with him (her) just fine. And much of the time s(he) communicates effectively with me.

But then, there is the song of his people. At 4 AM. Or randomly during the day.

Sometimes he tries so hard it sounds like English. Seriously.

We did try with moderate success, the Jackson Galaxy method of not reacting at all to the 4 AM sounds and that worked at about an 81% rate, I'd say. But this cat is like Oprah. There are a certain number of cat words that have to come out of that thing every day and not God, not man, not Jackson Galaxy, not a voodoo doll, potion or spell are going to stop that from happening.

I realized today - during a particularly talkative session that happens every time either we humans are in two different rooms, or one human is in the bathroom, or GOD FORBID, there are humans in two separate rooms and Maddie is also in a non co-located space with Splotchy -what sort of little beast (s)he actually is.

Splotchy is a herding cat.

Like a border collie, except a cat.

This cat is COMPLETELY wigged out if the herd is not all within about a 10 square foot space. His little kitty mind breaks. He stands at the PRECISE midpoint between the two humans - one watching golf and one stamping - and attempts to speak English. For hours at a time. When one human moves within the acceptable range - squeaking and talking halts.

Maddie? Maddie bases the happiness quotient on this question: "Is there a human or cat in this room I can sit on? Yes > happy. No > howling."

So if any of you have Wikipedia links to share on the lineage of my rare sheep herding cat, I'd appreciate you sharing them. Thanks.

Today I'm hosting the MIx-Ability challenge and I decided on a blast from the past - INCHIES! My challenge is to have 1, 2, 3 or 4 inchies with at least two mediums each - all different - on your card.

I used a gelli print for mine - and surprised myself because I'm not a fan of purple, but I really liked this one.

After I cut up the prints into 1 3/4", 3/4" and 2" squares, I dipped the non-brush end of my paintbrush into some Viva Precious Metal and made dots - I love the sparkle. Be warned though - this stuff does have a solvent odor. I'm not a fan of stinky art supplies, but I'm sort of sensitive to that, so if you are, you might want to substitute a sparkly acrylic. But this stuff is gorgeous and very metallic. It has enough body to it that it makes those pretty perfect circles, but it's much thinner than paint.

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I made the diamonds on the gelli print with that plastic mesh they give you at Costco or the grocery store for your oil or wine bottles. It makes a great mask!

All of the gelli prints are from one single piece of cardstock. The greeting is from Happy Day (retired).

Sort of has a Mardi Gras look, I think.

I love the inchies because they let you preserve a CAS look with little vignettes of mixed media.

No but seriously - please research herding cats. It's important.


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