Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thank You!

I just wanted to say thanks today.

Your comments, your cards for my card drives, and just your presence here makes me happy. I appreciate you so much, and today is the perfect day to thank you for being awesome.

I hope if you're celebrating Thanksgiving today that it's peaceful and fun and FILLED with pumpkin pie, and no prohibited items like oyster stuffing.

If you're not celebrating Thanksgiving today - please know that the rest of us are sleepy and full and confused, so don't take us too seriously today.

Friday - we plan to choose the #OptOutside campaign started by REI and spend the day hiking off that turkey, and then, for me, it will all be about those Christmas cards for the rest of the weekend.

Yesterday - since you know how I feel like Christmas needs to stifle itself until after Thanksgiving, I decided to take my leftover Brusho sheets from yesterday's project and cut them up with the Take a Bough die from Concord & 9th - it makes SUCH cute trees. I thought the Brusho sheets would make a GORGEOUS fall tree, and they did. I haven't seen a fall tree with this die yet - I hope I'm the first person to think of this! It was a happy accident born out of the UFO pile on my desk :).

I will say that the one time of year that I miss New York is in the fall. We don't get this color here.

 I took a 1/8th skewer and rubbed Soft Suede Ink all over it with a paper towel, and then put the tree together according to their instructions, except leaving off the large branches, because my skewer was pretty short.

Then I drilled a shallow 1/8th hole in my wood slice, and filled it with wood glue and held my skewer in there until it set.

Then I covered the slice with Mono Multi and added Flower Soft.

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Now shortly after this photo was taken, my kittiot - Splotchy - was discovered eating the top of the tree.

He's in the doghouse. I repaired it and it's now up high on a shelf, safe from marauding beasts.

(I am, however, also thankful for my marauding beasts. I love them, despite their bouts of crazy brain. )

Thanksgiving is really my favorite holiday. I look forward to it every year.

Did you know that it was a woman who petitioned the powers that be (Lincoln) to establish an annual day of Thanksgiving in America? Her name was Sarah Josepha Hale - and I'm betting she was a woman who appreciated a good pumpkin pie. It didn't become official until 1941 - but Sarah - my pilgrim hat is off to you! Thanks for getting that ball rolling!

Thanks for stopping by today and always.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#ShareHandmadeKindness Week 4 - Strangers (And a Visit With Alex)

Remember Alex from Costco?

If not - you can read about his story and the kind things you all did for him here.

Since this is week four of the Share Handmade Kindess campaign Jennifer McGuire has running, and the focus this week is being kind to strangers, I had an idea.

I thought I would go up to Costco and tell Alex welcome back and ask him to do something for me.

He was so excited to see me and after we got all the hugging done, he told me he treasures that box of cards you all sent him. He described them as "works of art." I'm sure they were. You are amazing humans. He said to be in such a social job, and then go home to sit and watch awful daytime TV with no one to talk to is not really anything he'd wish on anyone, and so you brightened those days - thank you so much. He's getting around great.

I went into the store and bought small Costco gift cards, and put them into the cards I got from Jennifer at the beginning of the campaign (she handmade those, by the way - beautiful hand-foiled cards with great messages). I asked Alex as he was greeting people today to find a few who looked like they could use a fun surprise for their shopping trip. Most people  are hurrying trying to get things done for their Thanksgiving meals (I saw lots of carts with turkeys in them), and Thanksgiving isn't an inexpensive meal, really - so I thought a gift card from a stranger might be a fun outcome of Jennifer's challenge this week.

He was thrilled to do it, and we sealed up the envelopes and he stuck them in his pocket for the fun day ahead. After a selfie, of course. 

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This week's challenge really speaks to me for a lot of reasons. I have a little sign I painted with my favorite verse on it.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ~Hebrews 13:2*

The ability to do something kind for someone who doesn't know who you are multiplies the magic, I think. The random act of kindness in a drive through, for example. The Art Abandonment Project is a great example of this too - and many times people come to the group to post that they've found a piece of art just at a very low moment in their lives, and that it made a difference. Think how that must feel!

As a person who has rescued every sort of bedraggled feral animal possible all her life, I believe that being kind to people or animals who have no ability to thank you is one of the most rewarding ways to make a change in the world.

So please do something for a stranger this week. Do whatever it is you can do to make the circle of light around you a little bigger. There may be a shadow that needs you. :)

Today, I'm using them to wish some strangers a happy Thanksgiving.

I used Brusho on a full sheet of Fabriano hot press watercolor paper and then cut it down. Then I die cut leaves from white panels with the Leaflets Framelits and put a card together. Here are the fronts and the backs, which I stamped with the Hero Arts A Bit of Kindness stamp (25% of the profit from the sale of these stamps is donated to the Kind Campaign) :

And here is one on a car - I put them out in the parking lot of the place I get my hair cut since I had an appointment today. I like putting them on the driver window because I don't always notice things people leave under my windshield wipers :).


*PS - I knew I had this verse on my blog somewhere so I did a search while composing this post. Oddly enough it was three years ago to the day as I'm writing this. The spirit of Thanksgiving past.

Monday, November 23, 2015

9 AM Is Not Too Late For Tacos, Brian

So I was talking to Brian King this morning while I was on my way to get the traditional Sunday breakfast tacos.

He was mortified that we were being so Bohemian as to have breakfast tacos at such a late and slothful hour, so I justified myself by telling him about the 8 million other Bohemians in line in front of me - nearly every one of them with a dog in their car. Seriously - everyone that I saw this morning had a dog in their car - everyone at the Starbucks drive through and everyone at the taco drive through and many cars in between.

I wondered out loud what kind of strange looks I'd get if I packed up the cats every Sunday morning and just started driving around town with them looking out the windows at people.

Why are dogs considered normal car companions and cats are not?

It seems discriminatory.

Although, in reality, a cat would never sit in a seat and look happily out the window at passersby. It would scream like its soul was being sucked out by Voldemort, poop, barf and then shoot onto the accelator or under the brake, killing us all.

Perhaps I have answered my own question.

Today I'm playing along with the Global Design Project - CASE The Designer challenge - and the designer is the decidedly un-Bohemian early riser himself. The inspiration project from Brian is this cutie:
As you know, I'm not a red and green Christmas person, and I love holiday designs with aquas and reds instead. So, since I was already braving the frigid 41 degree temps this morning, I decided to take inspiration from Brian's frosty theme, and his beautiful color combo to make my card.

I like trying to use the images in a new way - my rebellious streak - so I used the berry images to create an emboss resist snow in the background. Then using a ruler and my Versamarker, I created an echo of a window shape to frame the bird in, and embossed those as well. I sponged the entire background with Pool Party and then used my MISTI to stamp the bird body from Joyful Season - first in Real Red, and then in Cherry Cobbler - I like the mix. With a blender pen and Tangelo Twist, I created a beak, and I used the blender and Cherry Cobbler to draw in an eye and the darker area near the beak. I didn't want the outline image of this two step stamp to break up the softness of the overall card so I just left it off. But I did want him to have legs, because otherwise that would have just been awkward, so I masked my finished bird, and again with the MISTI, I stamped the legs from the outline stamp image onto the bird. The glimmer paper snowflake is from the retired snowflake card dies. And because I'm in denial about Cool Caribbean being retired, that's the card base.
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I think this would make a fun card for winter birthdays too.

This was really fun to do, and a  nice Sunday diversion before I dived into part one of the annual Alton Brown Fruitcake ritual. This is a million dollar recipe, both figuratively AND literally - these organic dried fruits are expensive little suckers and you use quite a bit of rum and brandy. The whole process takes from now until Christmas, at which point these exquisite little gifts are ready to package up and make people happy.

My grandfather on my mom's side made amazing holiday treats - notably rum balls, which is to this day one of my favorite recipes, and one I have yet to share outside our family, like our closely guarded cheesecake recipe. And he LOVED fruitcake. I did not share his love though, because at that time, fruitcake was made with those hideous, gummy fluorescent candied "fruits" that sit in those plastic containers at the store, boring their evil into you while you're trying to buy oranges. I was always repulsed by those red and green sort of bitter, gummy things - WAIT - maybe THAT is why red and green give me the twitchies at Christmas!

Anyway, I never bonded with it. Until I watched the show where Alton Brown made this free range fruitcake. It has real fruit in it - and real fruit that I liked, and not jellied or dyed anything. Add cake and rum and brandy spritzing for a month and I am a total fruitcake convert! It's seriously amazing. If I can be converted, anyone can.

I make three full batches so that I can divide them into mini loaf pans for a precious few gifts.

We are doing our traditional handmade or re-gift only Christmas again this year, so a few lucky people will be getting these amazing cakes! And I try to mail at least one to a faraway friend each year.

Speaking of faraway friends - all my faraway friends can now get my newest online class - featuring the Reason For the Season bundle. I have some fun, surprising designs with this set that can be used all year - not just at the holidays - so even if you're done with holiday cards, you won't want to miss this. AND, this punch matches a NEW adorable stamp set you'll see in the Occasions Mini, so it's a great value.

Here's what the bundle looks like. And if you purchase the bundle from me, the class is free :).

Please feel free to play along with this challenge - and if you share your card in the Splitcoast gallery, please use keywords GDP and GDP012.

And don't forget - the Online Extravaganza starts today - and it's a great sale - get the details here. If you use host code SWQG4DAV when you are shopping you will be entered into a drawing to win a stamp set from the upcoming Occasions Mini! All orders of $30 and over are eligible!

Then go make yourself some fruitcakes! You will not regret it!


Monday, November 16, 2015

The Love Bug

I grew up in the 70s and 80s - spent my formative years in both those decades. This explains my general awesomeness - any child who lived through both disco and Journey can't help but have a great outlook on life.

I remember the following about these decades.

We had the best music. Don't even pretend we didn't. Seriously - I'll shun you. And maybe call the men in white coats. I'll even reach back into the 60s - that's allowable - since my siblings were older I benefited from their tunes as well. My brother and sister used to use me as a party trick because I knew all the words to all Beatles songs and could sing them endlessly on command. (I use the word "sing" loosely - not really one of my gifts.)

Our TV shows and movies were clean and sweet, and many of them were outrageously sweet and optimistic or had pure, classy justice at their core, with no depravity (not that I minded a little depravity in Breaking Bad, mind you), nice clothing and PG language:
  • The Love Bug
  • Xanadu
  • The Love Boat
  • Fantasy Island
  • The Brady Bunch
  • The Partridge Family
  • Perry Mason
  • Laverne & Shirley
  • Magnum PI
  • Cheers
  • Happy Days
  • Charlie's Angels
Even the names are happy. Love, Fantasy, Happy, Cheers, Angels.

Just for fun, I have a list of popular shows now-ish.

  • Blacklist
  • Scandal
  • Breaking Bad
  • Walking Dead 
  • Six Feet Under
  • Mr. Robot
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • Dexter
  • LOST
  • Bones
  • Criminal Minds
Now this is an unscientific comparison of course, but I can feel the change, not just read it, as a person who has lived in both times and I think the names are the best way to illustrate the cultural difference.

Interesting, isn't it?

I haven't really moved on from Xanadu and the Love Bug, personally. Even Disney is a bit dark for me. (Why you gotta kill all the animals, Disney?)

So when we received our bags at OnStage, with the Beautiful Ride stamp set in it (sneak peek of the upcoming Occasions catalog - email me if you want a copy when it comes out), I was instantly transported back to my childhood and the days of Super Elastic Bubble Plastic. I knew exactly what I was going to do with this stamp set when I got home.

And as pooped as I was after coming back from Dallas - I did it :).

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It turned out just how I wanted it to. :) I masked off the Bug with Winsor Newton Masking fluid, sprayed it with water from my mister, and then just touched a paintbrush with reinkers (Melon Mambo, Daffodil Delight, Tempting Turquoise) on it to the water and let it do what it wanted. I painted the wheels and the dog from the set with my Koi watercolors, and made the chrome with FineTec metallic silver watercolor - in real life they really shine and look like chrome.

I made a quick video for you on how I did the tie dye - please enjoy!

Hope your preparations for Thanksgiving are going well. Be sure and watch our favorite Thanksgiving movie - Planes, Trains and Automobiles. That's the warm up movie for our serious holiday movie blitz - Home Alone, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Grinch, Charlie Brown Christmas, Christmas Story, Elf and Christmas Vacation.

This is how we survive the dark months of the time change, people!

Who else is tired of it getting dark at 4 PM? Turning the lights on and crafting is the only remedy.

Do it.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Brighten Someone's Day!

Today I'm headed home from the Dallas OnStage event, but I have a SUPER fun project for you.

It's the last day of our Holiday Tutorial Blitz at Splitcoast - we've had a new holiday tutorial every day since the 8th - so be sure and check them all out - they are fantastic, as usual.

Today's tutorial is by Alex Bleicher, but she wasn't able to make the video for us, so I got to!

I was thrilled because this project is soooo cute.

These are filled with mini Twix - one of God's perfect foods :)

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I will absolutely set my hair on fire if the Curvy Keepsake Box is ever retired - it is the most versatile die I've ever used.

You will be amazed at how easy these are to make! So here's a VERY quick video with the step-by-step and a few modifications.

Starting tomorrow, I'll be able to show you peeks of the Occasions Mini and SAB goodies we got at OnStage - until then, mum's the word!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Great Controversies of Our Time

Every now and then I cannot resist bringing up controversial topics on Facebook.

No, not politics.

Not religion.

I don't touch those with a ten foot pole.

But there are a few things that can always get people to fight with each other, and I just sit back with my popcorn and watch the comments roll.

The first is a sacred cow to some - and to others, the devil.


A Keurig.

In October of 2012, I posted a comment that I'd read an article about how you're actually paying about $30 a pound for coffee if you use K Cups.

That started a war that lasted SEVEN DAYS! All my friends who were part of #keuriggate2012 still remember the endless notifications from that week-long thread, and the passion of the Keurig cult members and the anti-Keurigites, the reusable K-cup people vs. the throw-aways vs. the people who pick and roast their own beans in Columbia every morning and fly home to make their coffee with water from the dew on their plants in the yard.

It. Was. Glorious.

I remember it with such fondness.

Recently, I got a similar reaction with a post of some absolutely hideous fleece lined Crocs (God help us) that I truly was unaware of the existence of. The Crocophiles lined up against the anti-Crocites with ferocity. It should be noted, however, that each Crocophile who posted their undying love for these things did so 100% of the time with an excuse. Some of my favorites were things like "I only wear them at home - my family has to love me not matter what" and "I'm Canadian." You know you have made a poor choice in footwear when you have to use your nationality as an excuse for the things. Another said " I want to go on the record as stating that they were not purchased by me."

Regardless of what side of these contentious issues you are on, the discussions are completely hilarious, and never overly-serious.

Our culture suffers from an ACUTE case of over-seriousness. Everyone should relax and stamp more.

My friend Leslie over at The Crooked Stamper (Bobra's mom) told me she saw Christmas trees in Ikea and gasped. I believe the Christmas gear should come out the Friday after Thanksgiving, but I'm a bit of a purist that way. Stamps are different, of course - because people need a month or two to make their Christmas cards, so they have to buy their stamps in the fall.    

But I don't want to see Santa lurking in the aisles until I've had a little turkey if that's okay with everyone.

So I decided to comfort her with a fall project I actually made when we were together in October. My friend +Kathy Racoosin  brought us some of those gorgeous fall Starbucks cups to color and I had so much fun just talking and coloring this - even if it did take me all day :).

I watercolored it with my Koi pan watercolor and sponged the edges with Distress Ink. I borrowed this sweet fox set from Lawn Fawn and colored him with Koi as well. You had to die cut the logo out of the middle after you deconstructed the cup, so he's on a separate piece of cardstock behind the opening.

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I do love fall.

Let's give it room to breathe. Back off on the trees, IKEA - we'll be there in a few weeks!

I'm off to work on another divisive topic like cranberry sauce in a can. Heh.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Passive Aggressive Ninja Cat

Since I re-did my studio, I have a very teeny computer desk.

It's just big enough for my monitor and keyboard, with a little space to write notes - but that's about it. It's just for working, and so I deliberately kept it small and physically separated it from my stamping surface so that my computer doesn't distract me when I am creating.

However, there is no space small enough to keep out a cat.

There is one cat in particular that has perfected a passive aggressive ninja technique in this tiny space.

The right side of my desk is against the wall. So there's only about 8 inches between my keyboard and the wall - and that's where my mouse and my modem are. There's no room for a cat.

But there's frequently a cat there. Specifically, Maddie - my little 6 pound elephant.

Here's what she does.

She jumps up onto the right side of my desk where there's no room for her and just sits there staring at me. If I look at her, she does a slow, hypnotizing blink. This blink is what Jackson Galaxy explains in his book as the cat "I love you". (A realization which launched his career, BTW.)

If I look away from her, or move my hand, she moves closer to me, 1/8" at a time. Eventually I can no longer reach my mouse, but she pretends she hasn't moved, and just slow blinks at me.

She keeps at it until I give up and pick her up and put her around my neck for her daily hug.

She's really perfected her mind control techniques since the remodel.

You have to admire her pluck.

Cats I think all have an inflated sense of self. They lack no confidence. There are no insecure cats walking around, worrying what other cats think of them.

That's what inspired this card. I actually designed this card in my head at Convention last summer, when Pam Morgan was explaining the antler trend.

It only took me 4 months to get around to putting antlers on a cat. 

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Cracks me up.

Headed to Dallas for OnStage Live and my mini retreat next week - will I see you there?

I have two seats left at the retreat if you'd like to come make projects on Friday from me, Bev and Ronda Wade! Register here by Tuesday.


Friday, November 6, 2015

The Case of The Neglected Embossing Folder

A friend of mine showed me a card in the holiday catalog the other day (page 21 if you're interested) and I realized that I had never taken that Boughs & Berries embossing folder out of the package.

So my mission yesterday was to get that sucker out and use it - it's really pretty. Not sure what I was thinking.

I've used nearly everything else in that catalog and this poor little folder was neglected.

Looking up at me like the little sheep below - saying "why are you holding HIM?"

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Isn't that pretty? Think of all the things I could have made with it so far!

I made this card on Periscope yesterday - starting by rubbing Blue Ice Inka Gold over the raised areas made with the Boughs & Berried embossing folder, and then watercoloring the little tag I made with the Curvy Corner Trio Punch and Island Indigo, Daffodil Delight and Night of Navy reinkers.

The Periscope cuts off because my phone rang, but you can see the bulk of it here.

This card is for two challenges - the Tag, You're It! Hope You Can Cling To challenge, and I'm also hosting the Mix-Ability Challenge today.

I got the idea for today's challenge from a member at Splitcoast - Linda - who has this great chart she uses if her mojo stalls.

I modified hers slightly to make it mixed media, but it's a really cool idea. Here's the matrix for today's challenge.

So I picked Watercolor, acrylic, blue, yellow, animals and dry embossing!

Fun, eh?

I love out of the box ideas like that for starting a card design.

If you want to read something fun, check out this thread - which is about advice you'd give yourself if you were just starting to papercraft. There's a LOT of wisdom in here.

Happy Friday peeps!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Feline Chaos At The Door To Narnia

I'm sure life with dogs is interesting and whatnot, but I'm fairly certain that it is not as exciting and terrifying as life with cats can be.

Yesterday - I was sitting in my office, working, and my husband was getting ready to get some gloves out of our linen closet so that he could go paint a shelving system he's building for our laundry room.

(By the way, this type of shelf is fascinating - if you like this sort of thing - go look up French cleats sometime.)

Right outside my door is a cat lounging station - a four slot black Expedit on legs that I bought from my friend Lani. On top, there's a little black cat mattress that my sister made. Not a mattress for a black cat, even though it IS for a black cat, but a little black mattress for a cat. You know what I mean.

Since this unit is almost four feet tall, Maddie loves ruling the world from up there and can be found on it frequently.

However, because of the proximity to the linen closet, it is also the center of one of her many terrorist operations. Every time you open that door she shoots onto your back at about 60 miles per hour, with a claw assist. When Maddie hits you, even though she only weighs 6 pounds, it's with the force of a cannonball, and you frequently have no warning, so you have to have your wits about you. It's as if she knows that her petite weight must be made up for in velocity - sort of like a ballistics expert. Hmm - that's another indication of why we should fear them. Splotchy makes a little trilling warning sound right before he jumps onto your shoulder - like the sound the raptors make in Jurassic Park - and he also doesn't hit you with the same velocity - so it's much less alarming and painful. Please refer to my article on feline echolocation for more information on Splotchy's technique.

Well before getting the gloves, he apparently also set a cup of water on the cat lounging station, which was the trigger for an event which would plunge our house into complete chaos for two hours.

I drew it out on a Post-It note for you.

So all I hear is the door opening, and then a HUGE crash, some cuss words, another crash, hissing and the sound of cat claws slipping and sliding on the tile as they try to get away.

Out of the corner of my eye, because my chair faces the door of my office, I see two huge fluffy tails shooting out of eyeshot.


He tells me he set the water down on the cat lounging station, and when he went to open the closet door (we are positive they think it's the door to Narnia), both cats snuck up on him - Splotchy to the left of the open door. Maddie makes her move - trying a compound jump - first to the cat lounging station and then onto his shoulder, but in mid-air, she sees the cup of water - too late. She slams into the water, scaring the living pee out of herself, and the cup flies through the air, raining down its contents on the completely innocent and now confused and terrified Splotchy - who hisses and tries to get away, completely soaking wet. Maddie, who is not very good at understanding the consequences of her actions, is also terrified and confused, and so she freaks out and runs away, with a serious case of the big tail.

Every time we try to approach either of them to calm them down, they completely lose their little furry minds and hide - EVEN THOUGH WE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING! THIS WAS A COMPLETE CAT-GENERATED SITUATION.

This lasts for two hours, with poor wet Splotchy shooting underneath furniture every time he hears a sound or sees anything move, and Maddie acting all indignant that the floor is wet.

Never a dull moment, I swear.

I made this card for Dina's Hope You Can Cling To challenge which is a GORGEOUS orange inspiration board from Pinterest.

The tree is from Among the Branches, and I inked it up and then wiped some of the ink off in places, to give the illusion of leaves in front of the branches. The rest is Brusho.

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Yes, good things are going to happen.

But if you have cats, some really surprising and terrifying and hilarious things are going to happen.

When you least expect them.


PS - did I mention Ronda Wade is a guest presenter at my retreat? Because she is. You'd better sign up now. :)

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