Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Shout Out To All The Black Sheep

I am a runt selector.

And I stretch the word runt a bit to also mean quirk-filled, three-legged, etc.

On the few occasions where I got to select an animal (rather than an animal selecting me), I selected the weirdo of the litter. The tiniest, or oddly marked one, or the one all the litter mates were stepping on.

Those make the best pets, I swear.

My quirkiest friends were always the best friends too. The least judgy. (Yes, I know that's not a word, but I just made it a word.)

Sometimes when Maddie needs her hour long hug every day, or Splotchy sings the song of his people all night, I think - I sure am glad they ended up with me. I'm not sure everyone would have indulged their quirks to the degree we have.

Yesterday when I sat down to make card, I took a look at the new All Ye Faithful set, and I challenged myself not to make a Christmas card.

That ruled out at least one of the other images in the set, and possibly the third, as they are fairly traditional Christmas images.

I LOVE this artist's style. I love the sketchy lines and the gentle abstraction.

So as I looked at this image, I shut the Christmas carols out of my head and I thought about the job of a shepherd - human or otherwise. He has to protect all the little sheep in his care, and probably sometimes from each other.

So as I wondered why he was holding that one little guy I thought - IT'S THE BLACK SHEEP!

How sad it would be to be the black sheep, right? But look how nice this guy is to the black sheep :).

So I scoured my shelves for a sentiment that would work for my little black sheep, and ended up where I end up most of the time - Feel Goods. These are my favorite sentiments in the catalog, and this one is perfect for little Blacky McSheeperson.

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Seriously - it's like they were meant to go together.

I did a video of this card, but as happens about every fifth video, the codecs got jacked up and so I just have the card today. It is just a simple watercolor with Brusho, and the sheep (can't see in the pic) are sparkly with clear Wink of Stella.

It wasn't that exciting anyway :). I just saved you 12 minutes - you're welcome.

I hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

We made our first brisket in our new Primo Grill. I splurged on this sucker after I earned some Stampin' Up! bonuses and it was worth every penny. It's made in the USA (vs. the Big Green Egg, which is made in Mexico and China.) It's INCREDIBLE at temperature regulation, and for our first brisket smoking attempt I have to say - it was darn near perfect. I think the only thing that could have been improved was that it would have been better if it was an untrimmed brisket. No one likes a skinny brisket. But the bark was PERFECT, it was falling apart, and it was delicious.

I want to become the brisket queen of South Austin and have brisket flash sales where I tweet about a brisket and I'm sold out in 20 minutes.

If only there was more time in the day.


Friday, August 21, 2015

You Can Make Beautiful Things

Some crafty friends and I were talking today about practice.

I was a band geek.

Well first, I was an orchestra geek - I played the violin. That was somewhat short lived due to the orchestra teacher underestimating the amount of pushback he'd get from a stubborn little Irish girl when he told me I'd have to choose between orchestra and band (even though the schedules didn't conflict), because there was "no way" I could be good at both.

No way? Was there really no way? (Insert hairflip here)

So I chose band. Because people are not allowed to tell me what I can't do. :)

And boy, did I love band.

There was a team spirit in band that I don't really know if I've found to the same degree everywhere else, because every single person in the band would do anything to make that music sound great. There was no way any of us could be great without all of us being great, and so we cheered each other on, and helped each other where and when we could. Despite the innate competition (who was first chair, etc.), when it was time to play, everyone mattered. And we no more wanted anyone with a solo to make a mistake than we would have wanted a meteor to crash into the stadium during one of our performances.

Music is pretty unique in the arts that way.

And band required SO much practice. I'd say we practiced 98% of the time and only performed 2% of the time.

And what I remember about my practices by myself - really - was failure. I'd start, I'd screw up, and I'd start over. For hours, and hours and hours.

Alllll that failure made me good at what I did. It made it so that during those 2% performances, I got it right. (Most of the time.) And when I didn't, at least I had a lot of people who cringed with me.

This is why practice comes naturally to me in art. But for a lot of people, it's a foreign concept. Papercrafters - who are by and large perfectionists - often want to recreate something they see immediately - in one take.

But that's not how some things work. Watercolor is a great example. I spend hours and hours and hours practicing watercolor - stamping ten of the same image and coloring each one - learning what colors and methods work and what don't. I don't have the patience to read instructions, but for some reason, I have the patience to do this. Part of it is that I'm happier when I'm learning something than when I know something. Doing something I already know how to do is not nearly as much fun as trying to master something new.

So all that to say - if something doesn't work the first time you do it, try it 10, 20, 30 more times and keep your first attempts to compare. I think you'll find you evolve quite a bit.

Today's MIX-ability mixed media challenge on Splitcoast is really fun. The challenge is to smash some plants in your die cutting machine. MariLynn's samples were beautiful - she used wildflowers - and I panicked at first because it's that time of year in Texas when everything flowering is dead. Actually everything not flowering is dead too.

So I went into the backyard with little hope - but I found a few blooms left on what I call my butterfly bush - I'm not sure what it really is, but it has pretty purple flowers on it that attract a lot of butterflies. I snagged three of them and smashed them according to her instructions - sandwich them between two pieces of cardstock and then run through on whatever sandwich you'd use for Framelits. If you have less bulky plants than these you might need to shim.

What was cool was that I was using Whisper White cardstock - which is a coated cardstock - so it actually has a little bit of clay on the surface. This means when water touches it, the clay activates and you'll actually see a little 3D effect. That added extra dimension to the image I got.

In addition, the leaves were pretty juicy, so you can see that at the top where the "ink" of the plant came out. But it's amazing - I couldn't have painted this! Look at the detail that was preserved on both the flowers and the leaves!

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The cool thing is you actually get two prints - the top and bottom pieces of your sandwich are both arted :).

Now she instructs us to let it dry before rubbing off the plant material. I was impatient, so I dried mine with a heat gun and then rubbed it off.

I LOVE the way this looks and this technique. I'll have fun with it in the spring when my roses bloom.

Look out in your yard and see if there's something you can use. I'd love to try rosemary next.

The stamp, which I love, is a set we got at convention - a My Paper Pumpkin promotion set - I'll have another sample and a giveaway of this set soon :).

Remember - you can make beautiful things. If you practice. 


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Baby Duck Imprinting

I know you thought when you read that title that you were going to get a fun tutorial on using baby ducks for monoprinting.

I'm not SAYING that's something I wouldn't do, just for the record.

It's just not what you're getting today.

I watched the most ridiculously adorable video today of a kitten learning to take a bath by watching its mom.

Fine, I'll share it.

Seriously - what is cuter than that??

Of course immediately after watching it I realized that I know why Splotchy doesn't know how to be a cat! He and Maddie were flung onto South Congress at 3 weeks old and didn't have time to learn to be cats. Instead, they imprinted on us, and now eat cheese and talk.

Neither of which are super desirable in cats, but if there's one thing I know as a committed card game player, it's that you just play the hand you're dealt with grace. Cheese eating talking cats are my lot in life.

As I was making today's video, I realized that there are some stamp sets that I've imprinted on. I bet it's the same for you.

Maybe they weren't the first stamp sets you owned, but they are the ones that STILL make you all twitterpated. You still have them in your craft room. You still remember the cards you made with them.

For me, one of these sets is Definitely Decorative Branch. I remember the Christmas card I made with it - and I actually found a few of them during my studio remodel - it was a Not Quite Navy card, with the branch stamped in Night of Navy and accented with white. It was one of the first cards I made that made me think I actually might be good at stamping some day.

I still have the stamp set.

I still love that design.

And apparently I still use it, because I realized when I was editing the photos and video today that I basically made the same card today.

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Isn't that fun? The white on the blue gives it that chilly nighttime feel - almost a spooky look. I might re-do this in a Halloween edition.

It's a pretty simple card, but it does take a few steps, so I made a video for you - I think you'll have fun with this technique.

This STUNNING embossing folder will be available on September 1 with the holiday catalog.

This is one I will keep and use forever.

The cute little cardinal is from White Christmas - I love this set because there are two little birds - each facing a different direction. Sometimes you need a left facing bird, and sometimes you need a right facing bird! The Happy Winter is from the upcoming Happy Scenes set.

So enjoy the video tutorial - on this 100+ degree day - and wish yourself a happy winter! :)


Monday, August 17, 2015

Art Unto Others™ + A Giveaway

Just a little note about the gift of time today.

I had my team video chat yesterday - which is something I look forward to each week. It's a hilarious bunch of talented artists and I just love hearing what they've been up to during the week.

This week we talked about making video tutorials, and the obstacles that that can present. It rolled around in my skull for a bit and then when I worked on one of my own videos later, I felt like there were some things I should probably say.

People who give the incredible gift of many of the minutes they have to spend on earth to freely share their art and instructions are such amazing people - and they all get my utmost respect and heartfelt thanks.

Many years ago, I trademarked the phrase Art Unto Others™ because I have always had a conviction that service is a huge part of art.

You serve other artists when you share your art and your techniques, inspiring MORE art and thus making the world a better, prettier place. You serve everyone that you give your art to - especially all you cardmakers, who light up people's mailboxes and lives daily. You serve the quiet people, who learn from you purely for their own enjoyment, and who never have the courage to post their own work online. You serve the industry you work in, because you generate excitement for products someone worked hard to bring to life.

And, I believe, you serve the balance of good vs. evil, because you are adding to the good side of the scale, which is never lost time.

And adding to the good side of the scale is my mission in life.

To give you an idea of what it takes to produce a 7 minute video, I decided to document the process this weekend. Here's how it breaks down.

  • 27 minutes to film and complete cards.
  • 20 minutes to shoot and edit stills.
  • 30 minutes to edit video and  insert stills.
  • 8 minutes to record a voiceover.
  • 75 minutes to edit the audio. (Note - I have asthma and so I tend to take deep breaths between sentences, and I have to edit out each of those, which is pretty time consuming. It would annoy the heck out of you to listen to it :) )
  • 10 minutes to export the video.
  • 20 minutes to upload the video to YouTube. 
  • 50 minutes to add closed captions to the video - I have a lot of hearing impaired viewers, and the auto captions are gibberish. I'd rather have everyone be included, so this is so worth the time.
  • 10 minutes to add annotations and links.
  • 20 minutes to blog the card, video, upload to all the galleries I'm a part of and post to social media.
That's 270 minutes - 4.5 hours - to share a 7 minute video. And I've done a lot of them, so I know the steps and shortcuts. THIS is why it's hard for people to start sharing. Add to that people's insecurities about their hands, their accent, their workspace - and you can really appreciate the tiny percentage of people who overcome all that to share their tutorials with you.

And MOST importantly, THIS is why we need to lavish nothing but love on the people who DO invest in us and share their talent and time. I don't even know WHAT kind of work I'd be doing right now if it weren't for the tutorials people freely share, and the amazing videos I'd watch all day long every day if I didn't have to work and do super boring things like laundry and sleeping.

So I would like to do an Art Unto Others™ love bomb today. I want everyone that all of us watch regularly to know how much we appreciate them.

What I want you to do is to pick a YouTube channel that you love (or choose from one of my favorites below), and I want you to go comment on one of their videos and tell them that you love and appreciate them, their time, their quirks and their art. Then come back here and leave a link to their video in the comments so that we can all share these great people with each other.

I will do a drawing on Friday from the people who play along and I will give away my newest online class - the postal version including the PDF instructions, the Wild About Flowers stamp set and the card kit. EVERYONE WINS!!

Here are some of the people whose videos I adore:

  • France Papillon - stunning art journaling, which she makes look easy.
  • Mel McCarthy - she elevates everything she does. INCREDIBLE gifts in every post - you will just die if you haven't seen her stuff yet. She is a kind person and a cat lover :).
  • Jennifer McGuire - incredibly approachable and generous instruction - true heart for service - how she does what she does AND be a busy mom is a bit of a mystery. I suspect magic.
  • Kristina Werner - the first person who ever made me think about DESIGN - sweet and generous. She also is a fellow cat lover and an infectious giggler.
  • Dawn Woleslagle - she is so gifted at watercolor it will just make you pass out.
  • Brian King - he makes me laugh, which is pretty much my favorite, but his CAS design is the ultimate in class, and he is a kindhearted and generous person.
  • Maureen Wong - she is a crafty engineer - she does AMAZING things with the MISTI and just has such a soothing presence on video.
  • Tiffany Lovering - a completely mesmerizing Zengtangler.
  • Debby Hughes - I remember when she didn't think she could do videos. She is completely awesome and just as sweet and charming IRL.
  • Dina Kowal - this is my sweet friend and coworker - our Artist in Residence at Splitcoast. She is fearless, and has really helped me loosen up my approach to supplies and their use. She is a patient and kind instructor. 
  • Vicky Pappaioannou - AMAZING mixed media artist - her cat cameos crack me up. She is a patient and precise instructor and her voice and accent are beautiful.
  • My Serenity Crafts - another incredible art journaler - I love her because she composes on camera like I do so you get to learn along with her, which really appeals to me.
Anyway - I love everyone and could go on for days - but I want to see who YOU love, and I want them to feel loved, so share away!

I will do the drawing on Monday the 24th - that's my birthday so it's a good time to give a gift to one of you!

So onto the cards, shall we??

I wanted to send cards to my online class customers, and I wanted to do something really bright and happy and fun, so I thought I'd do a reinker background.

I feel like in the new focus on watercolor and ALL the amazing products that are out there for watercoloring, that reinkers get overlooked. I never buy an ink pad without a reinker and they are so great for watercolor techniques, I thought I'd give them the spotlight.

The cool thing about reinkers is that they are already coordinated with your paper, ink, etc. AND they are a very inexpensive medium. The pigments are very saturated and even diluted, they are quite vivid, as you can see. 

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 And I've been trying hard to take +Jennifer McGuire's advice lately to just make multiples while you have your supplies out. I had prepped for my Sleigh Ride Edgelits Stamp-a-Stack so I had a lot of little strips of the Neutrals Pattern Pack DSP left and they were the PERFECT accent for these colorful cards.

The other fun thing about this background is that every one is different.

What's fun about this technique and using the MISTI for the sentiment (from Thankful Forest Friends) is that the entire process of making all these cards only took 27 minutes. We can all find 27 minutes to say thank you, right?

Here's the video - I hope you enjoy it!

Have fun spreading some love on YouTube, and good luck in my drawing! I love the class I'm giving away and I hope you do too!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Jobs That Make You Go Hmmm....

I was thinking the other day about the strange jobs that the Iphone has brought to life.

Specifically - jobs like the one the guy who yells "SODALICIOUS" at you while you're playing Candy Crush has.

He has an interesting voice - and it's so much part of the branding of that game, but I wonder how all that went down.

Here's how I imagine it happening. The dirty, overly caffeinated game developers were sitting in a coffee shop at 2 AM and overheard him order a quad short breve latte with 1/2 a pump of vanilla and a cinnamon sprinkle. When he tasted it he bellowed "this is SODALICIOUS!!!" They bolted out of their seats and said "DUDE - do you want a job saying four really weird words for our game in a mildly inappropriate tone of voice?"

And he said "DUDE - yeah!" and the deal was done?

I wonder how much it pays. If he gets paid per game, he probably owns half the world by now. I'm thinking maybe I should go say weird words loudly to myself in coffee shops more than I already do.

Anyway - that's this week's episode of INSIDE MY HEAD.

I am super excited to tell you that I have a brand new online class and it's BEAUTIFUL! It features the Wild About Flowers Set - and the samples are gorgeous! They feature a unique technique on each of the three cards that will have you using this set in a way you wouldn't have imagined looking at it in the catalog, I promise. These are all occasion cards that can transition from thank you, to birthday to sympathy to just because. I think this is my fave class yet!

Check it out on my Blue2You Class page here.

I had my first Christmas stamp-a-stack today. It's been Vegas hot here lately so it's fun to eat ice chips, fan ourselves and make "chilly" cards. Not that it ever is chilly here on Christmas either but whatevs! :) I have to share this pic from today because everyone left with hands like these! This is Andrea.

I made this card for today the other day during a conference call. I have two behaviors during conference calls, or really any telephone call.

1) Pacing around the house like an angry lion. I am not sure why I do this, but the second I answer the phone I get up and aerobically participate in the call. I have talked to other people who do this too, so it must be an amygdala thing.

2) Fussy cut something. It's a nice mindless activity that doesn't distract me from the call, but it does distract me from the fact that I'm suffering through a call.

I had the Home For Christmas DSP on my desk and my little eyes bugged out at the paper with the houses on it (I couldn't SQUEE because I was on the call, remember?) and I knew what I wanted to do with them.

I paired them with hand cut hillsides and the Softly Falling 6x6 embossing folder on a Pool Party card base.

I BARELY sponged the hills and used a sentiment from Cozy Christmas.

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Aren't they cozy?

It's funny - I love chilly cards, but I'd rather wear a coat made of spiders than live in a snowy place again.

I contain my snow on a card front, which is the only place it belongs, and from which its evil cannot escape.

I hope you are having a relaxing weekend. After having a plumber and a dishwasher repairman basically living here for weeks I'm ready for some alone time.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Put a Hamhock In It

As you know, I'm a big fan of Instacart.

I have not darkened the door of my grocery store since November of 2014. I have saved what I estimate to be thousands of dollars (even including the small fee I pay for delivery) because I only order what I need - there are no impulse buys. It has radically changed my purchasing patterns and my cooking patterns. AND I've reclaimed hours and hours each month I used to spend driving to the store, shopping, packing, driving home, unpacking, putting away my bags and crying and tearing my hair out.

I also think another REALLY cool thing about Instacart is the flexible career part - the microtasking for college students and others that they can pick up on their schedule - it's genius. I love that the economy is providing those opportunities for people who don't want to be cubicle prisoners.

Sometimes funny things happen when other people are shopping for you though.

We are having a BANNER jalapeno year here at Fiedler Backyard Farms, and so I decided to can some of my candied jalapenos and also make tomato jam. So I ordered 12 of the small canning jars.

They brought me 12 CASES of small canning jars.

Now accepting peaches and cherries by the boatload, by the way.

Then, the other day - there was this:

How is it possible to raise a human being who has had no experience with a ham hock ever? Or even heard of the ham hock in legends and stories?

I lit a candle for this poor person who has never had a decent helping of beans or a good split pea or navy been soup in his life.

Society failed him, miserably.

I wonder if he was raised by coyotes? (Not many wolves down this way.) I worry.

Anyway, I'm a wee bit late posting my card for Dina's Mix-Ability challenge from Friday. It's a cool challenge - to use a wax-based medium. Her challenge post is cool because it uses something I've never played with before - Judikins Micro Glaze. Look at her step by step instructions for doing a cool resist with it in her challenge post.

I decided to use my Derwent Artbars for this challenge. It's been REALLY hot here for a few weeks and I wanted to make a cool landscape to rest my eyes on. I mixed violet, blue and pink bars for the sky and used just a single yellow and a single olive for the ground. The way I do these is very simple - I just break off a piece of the bar, dip it in water and run it around the page, layering colors or mixing them on the page. You can create very quick abstract scenes this way and for me they are great for putting onto all occasion cards like this one. This is on watercolor paper.

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Plain old ink was my second medium (you have to use at least two mediums for each Mix-Ability challenge, and the sentiment, which I love, is from Something To Say.

And as you know, I've always got something to say.

Teach your children about ham hocks people. The future depends on you!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Breaking Stepford

I drove through a new neighborhood that completely freaked me out the other day.

Every house was 100% identical. Not even a TINY amount of variation, other than the cars in the driveway. Even the one builder tree (don't get me started on THAT - you'll be here all month) was exactly the same height, and placed in exactly the same spot in the yard.

It really gave me anxiety - I felt like I couldn't breathe driving past house after house that looked exactly the same, and when I was safely out of there I realized that it is because that degree of sameness is extremely disorienting. Forget about the creepy lack of individualism - how in the world would you not come home every evening and feel like you had dementia? What if you were slightly impaired by cedar fever or a large meal and you just wandered into the wrong house?

It was very unnerving, and sort of 1984ish.

I hope no friends move into that neighborhood - I'll never be able to come for a visit. At least not without being medicated.

That strange experience inspired today's card. I'm still completely obsessed with the Sleigh Ride Edgelits. (You still have time to sign up for my online class using these. Registration closes at the end of the month!)

But I wanted to do something different because I thought it would be fun to add color to them. And make each little house unique. So I cut them out of watercolor paper and used my FineTec watercolor for a 10 minute card.

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And, just for you, a tiny video showing the process and some of my strange observations, as well as a tip for cleaning your die cuts.

This is the perfect card for today because it's hotter than a pregnant mouse in a wool sock outside.

It's so hot my hair is sweating.

It's so hot the trees are whistling for the dogs.

You know - hot.

But I'll take hot over rain any day - so let it hot. :)


Friday, August 7, 2015

I Judge You On Your Googlie Eyes

I posted today that I totally judge friend-worthiness on the quantity of googlie eyes a person has.

If you don't have at least ONE googlie eye in your house, we can't be friends.

If you have less than 1,000, we can't be GOOD friends.

Googlie eyes are at the PINNACLE of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

That's real - I learned that in college.

If I had to give up ALL my craft supplies but one, I think I'd keep the googlie eyes. They're so versatile.

For example, there's eye-bombing, which has to be the best thing to happen to the planet since bacon.

It's amazing to me that we actually don't know who invented the googlie eye. How shocking is that? There should be statues of this person everywhere in our public spaces. Streets named after him or her. A googlie eye museum.

But it is a mystery. The identity of this endless source of joy is known only to God.

(moment of silence)

So today is the last day of this year's Dare to Get Dirty challenges, and I get to finish the week off with another challenge. I can't tell you what it is - you'll have to join the Fan Club for that - but I can GOOGLE YOU WITH MY EYES!!

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Isn't that bat a hoot? He and the greeting are from Cheer All Year (upcoming Holiday Mini) and the background is sort of a modified Northern Lights technique. I have a two minute video for you so you can see how easy and quick this card is.

Isn't that fun? I love those two colors together. I almost added in Cajun Craze but I liked it the way it was so I left it.

Try that splatter technique - it's fun and easy and you already have all the stuff.

I hope you have a good weekend - I'm going to be working on house stuff and making and freezing my favorite veggie lasagne. Here's the recipe.

Hope you have an awesome weekend - stay cool!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bambigate - A Disney Survivor

I know Walt Disney has done a lot of great things for the world, but I have say - I'm still pretty mad at him about Bambi.

Actually - I'm still pretty mad at him about a lot of things - a woman with a coat made out of Dalmatians comes to mind.

After a few years in my childhood of being subjected to these horribly dark and PTSD-inducing movies that masqueraded as cartoons, I realized that Disney must have been a descendant of the Grimms. The horrid, horrid Grimms.

It shocks people that I haven't seen Finding Nemo yet, but I learned at a pretty early age to ask things like "does something bad happen to a fish?" when presented with the latest Disney flick someone is raving about.

What surprises me is that to this day, friends will say things like "Oh yeah, like the main fish's babies are all murdered in front of him by an evil fisherman with a blender in the opening scene, but it's a SUPER cute movie!"

Whatever, people. You are disturbed. I'll stick with the Lego Movie, thank you very much.

But speaking of deer, I have to tell you I am obsessed with the Home for Christmas DSP in the holiday catty. Brian King and I were trying to figure out at convention how to describe the LOOK of this paper. It's not vintage, exactly. Brian said he can see these images on wrapping paper that would have been at his grandmother's house.

But today when I was making this card I realized that it's a very stylish, cool old-fashioned. Not an antique or vintage old-fashioned. A hip old-fashioned. A Dean Martin/Frank Sinatra old-fashioned.

I decided that the card I made would be the card Dean Martin would have made had he been a stamper.

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Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog

I thought the Happy Patterns mask made sort of a bead curtain look in the background for my little hipster deer. Doesn't he sort of look like he's got a secret? SO adorable.

It's perfect for Cathy's Dare to Get Dirty challenge this week.

And it's so cute I don't think I can mail it out - I just love that little guy. I hope I'm brave enough to use the rest of that paper and just not stare at it until Christmas!

I made a little video for you of this card - it's a really quick project too - this would be a great card for mass production because you get so many deer per page. So if this ends up being my Christmas card, please act surprised.

Speaking of Christmas - don't forget it's time to sign up for my Christmas stamp-a-stack online - it includes the Sleigh Ride Edgelits and the Jingle All the Way stamp set, and there's also a digital only version. 

I hope you enjoy this video more than a horrific Disney cartoon. I promise no deer die during this video. Not even imaginary ones.


Monday, August 3, 2015

It's a CORNspiracy

Someday, you will hear a Karen Silkwood style story about me, as a result of all of the times I've exposed huge conspiracies here on my blog.

I'm okay with that.

Sometimes you have to take a Silkwood shower for the team.

Yesterday, I stumbled across one of the many mysteries that confront me daily - the mystery of the white shoepeg corn.

To give you some background - white shoepeg corn is like the UNIcorn. If you're going to buy a non-fresh corn, this is the ONLY acceptable option. I would tell you that other corn pales in comparison, but I can't do that because white shoepeg corn is well, white.

I bought some because on the busiest day of my life, between class and stamping bingo night, on the first day of Dare to Get Dirty, I decided I should take five hours and make tortilla soup. The day someone recognizes me for my procrastination skills is long overdue.

Anyway, I did save some time having Instacart deliver said corn. But as I unpacked the order, the conspiracy nagged at me.

Why is it that white shoepeg corn comes in a tiny, 11 oz. can when gross yellow canned corn comes in the 15.137 oz. can or whatever they're calling a pound these days. (You know - like the 15 ounce PINT of Hagen Dazs they sell now? #newmath).

Is it because it's UNIcorn? The most amazing corn in the world? The SAFFRON of corn?


But what I do notice about this corn is that there is no liquid to drain off. You can use it right out of the can.

So I need your help.

I need someone who is in possession of a sub-standard can of yellow corn in a "standard" size to weigh their drained corn for me. Sadly, you will then have to eat some terrible, non-shoepeg corn. But just do it. For me.

I really want to know if yellow corn eaters are paying for 4. 137 ounces of basically dishwater.

Please let me know if you conduct this experiment in the comments.

Now that I have my soup and don't have to worry about lunch for the week, I'm back to work tomorrow, carrying on with Dare to Get Dirty. I made a card for Dina's challenge that I just love with the upcoming Dove of Peace set. I love the splashy, modern look of this stamp - and it's BIG.

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 Isn't that fantastic? I love everything about it.

My friend Holly enabled me into the new autumnal colors of Brusho, and so what I did here was clear emboss the dove, and then spray it with water and drop Brusho onto it. Then I fussy cut it out, and used the Softly Falling embossing folder for the background. This is meant to be a holiday set, but I wanted it to be more all occasion, so I paired it with the sentiment from Timeless Love.

Now if you want some holiday awesomeness, be sure and sign up for my Sleigh Ride Christmas Stamp-a-Stack - this class is only available in August and comes with everything you need for ten stunning Christmas cards, including a stamp set and die bundle.

Stamp set and die - that sounds bad. Like someone is yelling at you - JUST STAMP SET AND DIE!!

Except stamp sets don't kill people.

Bad corn kills people.

Pints of ice cream that are only 15 ounces kill people.

Stamps make people happy.



PS - retreat registration is open, and rooms are going fast. Register here.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

But What About the Soul?

I'm really super excited about today.

It's the start of a new month.

It's my class day.

I'm having my first stamping bingo night tonight.

It's my birthday month.

Registration for my fall retreat opens today at 5 PM. Sleeping space on site is limited, so early birds get the beds. After beds sell out, you can sign up for the retreat only and I will provide a list of nearby hotels. 

It's hot and sunny and dry.

AND it's the first day of the best week of the year - the week of the Dare to Get Dirty challenges on Splitcoast. I LOVE these challenges - by some of the most talented people in the industry. They always inspire me.

I get to host the first and last challenge each week, and since I'm almost through with Breaking Bad for like the millionth time, I used that as my inspiration for my first challenge.

I love this scene from the show, in all its dark, foreboding goodness. If you haven't seen the show - they're listing all the elements in the human body - starting with water, and they can't quite get to 100%. "There's something missing."

Now I can't tell you what part of this makes up the challenge - that's a secret only our Fan Club members can see - but I can tell you how I made this card.

It started with a week of squealing in Salt Lake, where I got my paws on the holiday catalog and got to play with and bring home many of the products in it. It's spectacular - you will love it.

One of my favorites was the Sleigh Ride edgelits - EEK! They are SO beautiful!! If you want to make some GORGEOUS cards for the holidays with this set, you will love my Sleigh Ride Stamp-a-Stack online class.

If you want to register for this class, do so by August 31st, and your kits will ship the first week in September. Then there will be three additional classes - one per month through November, at which point you will have 40 Christmas or holiday cards, featuring 12 of my exclusive designs not published anywhere else! Check out the Blue2You page for all the details.

For my challenge card, I kept it simple with a fun background technique and a gorgeous die cut from this set. I LOVE Blackberry Bliss and Tempting Turquoise together for a Lydia-style bright sky behind that crispy white.

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And - I did a quick video so you can recreate that sky.

How fun is that? I love the way these colors react with that technique. And for a very quick card, I think this has a lot of impact.

So I hope you'll join us this week for the challenges. If you have any mojo issues at all, this will fix them.

Those of you who are subscribed to my newsletter - what did you think of my demo of the new Archival Basic Black ink? Pretty cool, eh?

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