Monday, January 19, 2015


So I'm unearthing things as I prepare to move back into my room. Some of it is drudgery. Some of it is hilarious and ridiculous (really? I saved one square inch of white cardstock?) Some of it is sweet.

Some of it is bittersweet.

I joined Stampin' Up! as a demonstrator in May of 2001. I remember this like it was yesterday - honestly. That first party I was "dragged" to by my friend Kris - I only went to be nice, with lots of internal eye rolling. I'm sure many of you got started the same way.

Then I squealed for 3 hours and spent like $400, and the rest is history.

But shortly after that, my life changed with the rest of the world on 9/11.

I remember what felt like years of silence in the months that followed that.

I don't know why I remember the silence, but it was like a lot of snow fell, and everything was quiet for a long, long time.

It was a long time before I remember laughing and having fun without a sense of guilt.

I was desperate to do something - anything - to make anyone feel better. Or to make myself feel better. Or to make it less quiet and sad everywhere. I felt like stamping had taken over my life at just the right moment.

So when SU came out with the God Bless America stamp shortly after 9/11, it was a huge creative relief. I probably made 300 cards with that stamp. It was just something I could do. It was a happy and sweet image with a simple message and it was just right. Here's an image of the stamp from an Etsy listing.

This was long before I was blogging and before I started my Splitcoast gallery, so these cards I made don't exist anywhere on the interwebz. But I loved them. That stamp may have actually started my mixed media fetish, because I remember loving using my watercolor crayons on this stamp to get the blue and the red together. I bought a few extras and cut them apart to use with ink, too.

Anyway - fast forward to convention 2008.

At this convention, they made a small number of the mag plates for some retired stamp sets available to demonstrators at Memento Mall. I knew what I wanted and was holding my breath as we waited in that long line. I found and grabbed the following: Architectural Elements, Botanicals, Branch (one of my faves ever), Citrus And Such, and...

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I couldn't believe my good fortune when I found this flipping quickly through the bins in a big crowd of people trying to see them all. This one really meant a lot to me, and it felt like I was meant to have it. I'm sure everyone who got some of their favorites that day felt that way.

They all came with these.

There was something very cool about being able to get these plates and knowing that these images would never, ever be produced again. It all just clicked.

So I found these today and set them up where I can see them from my desk. And it's sweet.

Now, my room is still in chaos. I haven't started moving back in yet. I just finished my paper storage today. But I at least can work in the chaos now, which makes me happy.

While I was waiting for the spray paint to dry on the platform for my paper storage today, I did a little ARTING.

I decided to carry on in my art journal, using the A Happy Thing set again. I'm determined to make everyone want this beautiful set.

I documented some of the process here in this Instagram video.

A video posted by Lydia Fiedler (@understand_blue) on
I like doing this because it shows you that at some points along the way, your stuff is really UGLY - but it improves if you keep at it.

I kept the same layout - notes on the left (I had to leave that big hog from the book untouched), and sketch on the right. What I love about this process is the end result doesn't have to be finished, really. It's just practice, so it doesn't have to be perfect.

You'll see that I used almost the identical colors I used here, but much paler and with a different result.

I stamped the bird first in So Saffron, and then just painted over him. Then I added some details back with a pen. I like wrapping up with actual drawing - you lose those skills if you don't use them, and I don't use them enough. The stamp makes it hard to get this part wrong. I left a lot of the text peeking through.

Sweet little birdie.

In case you're wondering about this magical book full of hogs that I'm using for a journal, it's called the Biggle Swine Book "Much old and new hog knowledge, arranged in alternate streaks of fat and lean."

Quite a hoot.

Back to the grindstone for today - I will spend my time outside work this week trying to put pieces of my room together. I can't wait to show you the finished space. I can't wait to BE in the finished space. The kitties are pretty excited too. They show their excitement by sleeping. All day.

God bless America.



  1. the book choice couldn't be more perfect cause really are we not all hogs when it comes to crafty supplies? Love ya, can't wait to hug yer neck...........unless your germy then I'll shake your hand...unless your just picked your nose, then I'll fist bump ya...unless you just coughed and well I'll wave at ya from across the hall.........

  2. So cool that you mentioned the silence after 9/11. My husband works for an airline, 9/11 affected us on many levels. We live 45 minutes from the busiest airport in the world (no lie, that's what the stats say). The silence overhead in the days following 9/11 was profound. I would look up at the deep blue sky with no jets flying overhead and was constantly reminded that our world had changed a bit. I love your bittersweet finds you have unearthed in the process of your remodel! You are going to have an amazing room!!! Thanks for sharing your journal process. I am doing journal52 this year. I haven't been very bold with it yet but I am looking forward to the process! So fun that you kept the hog! He needed to be saved! :)

  3. That is profoundly cool that you bought that plate, I have goose bumps and tears in my eyes :)


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