Saturday, October 31, 2015

My Future Zombie Self

I cannot resist zombifying stamp images.

It's so bad that I think I might actually qualify for a Social Security Disability program of some sort.

It's SO much fun.

What's funny is I checked out of the Walking Dead at Terminus - it just crossed a line for me that I couldn't recover from. Up until that point, despite the darkness, I really thought it was a well done show. I don't mind darkness - I'm a fan of Thomas Hardy, Jose Saramago and George Orwell if that gives you any clues - but there's a limit to my tolerance for depravity and brutality. I prefer struggles of the soul, I guess. That's what was so unusual about Breaking Bad - it was able to overcome the brutality of some parts of the show with the really elevated soul struggles. But I digress.

I like my zombies funny - like Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead (my fave - although you have to calibrate your ears to the English accents - I remember feeling lost in the first few minutes because they may as well have been speaking Japanese.)

There's just something hilarious to me about the whole zombie thing. The fact that they lumber around as if they've been pithed.

The growly sounds.

The groupthink.

Maybe it's that they remind me of politicians, with their lack of higher thought and their voracious appetite for my stuff.

Just take, take, take. Hmm. If only I had time to make a wickedly funny political satire. Sadly, I'm writing a blog post.

One thing I LIKED about the Walking Dead before they crossed the line was that they gave you hope through a few characters that maybe there was a glimmer of a soul left in the zombies. Just a tiny chance that they retained their humanity. This, of course, is how you hoped they differed from politicians.

Also the immortality is sort of oddly appealing. I think everyone thinks - well, I guess if I get to come back, I'm not TOTALLY opposed to eating brains and lumbering around in a torn shirt with a bunch of strangers.

Their hygiene leaves a little to be desired though. I don't really get that part. If I were granted a zombie afterlife I think I'd spiff myself up just a bit. You know - you want to stand out from the other zombies. Try to have a little zombie self-respect. Maybe lure your victims in with your sparkly and clean zombie outfit.

When I saw the Make It Crafty collaborative zombie challenge with Sandy Allnock, I scoured my stamps for the perfect image to zombify.

When I found it, I squealed.

It's like a preview of what I'd be in the zombie afterlife. hehehe.

I give you - my future zombie self.

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See? I'm not scary.

Come a little closer.


Happy Halloween, y'all!


Friday, October 30, 2015

The Evil Acorn and a Lot of Mid-Brain Shenanigans

You can say we are evolved beings, capable of higher thought, and the most advanced life form in the galaxy.

But the fact of the matter is, when there's a full moon - everyone becomes a complete lunatic.

Luckily I have two little beasts living with me that tip me off a few days before the full moon that society is about to break down.

I notice little psychotic breaks in the cats - bouts of crazy brain, some fighting and I look up at the sky and say to myself -

People go completely off the rails on the internet and off for a few days, and then, thankfully, recover. For slightly less than a month.

The best thing to do is to not respond to anything during this period in which humans come down with crazy brain. They can't help themselves, and we should leave it all to the professionals, God help them. Take a moment to appreciate the nurses, police, baristas, firefighters and Community Managers who are on the front lines of each full moon battle.

I can't say for sure that that was my inspiration for my card for today's challenge, except that I can.

I had tried for DAYS to make anything halfway decent, and failed, and then the mid-brain full moon induced crazies I observed lit an inspirational fire, and I completely perverted the adorable Acorny Thank You set and twisted it to my dark purposes. Muahahahahah!!

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My apologies to the designer of this cute and innocent stamp set. #sorrynotsorry

The team challenge for today was to choose any technique from our tutorial section at Splitcoast, so I did the bokeh technique in the background with two different alphabet sets, just very lightly though so it didn't interfere with my stamping.

I had forgotten about that fun sentiment from Mingle All the Way.

Anyway - I'll go back into hiding now and wish you the best in your own battle against Full Moon Crazy Brain, or FMCB. The struggle is real, y'all.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Why Water Is the Devil's Work

Okay - pre-post disclaimer:

If you are even slightly inclined to think or comment "we need the rain" or "I love rain" or "I sleep so great when it rains" - you need to stop reading this post right now - go fix yourself a beet salad with green bell peppers and Velveeta and read something by Henry James, because we will never come to agreement on this or anything else, and I still want us to be able to be friends. In spite of the fact that you like beets and green bell peppers and Velveeta and Henry James and rain.

Go on.

Okay - for those of you who remain - I have to tell you the revelation I had after I woke up in a dire panic at 4 AM to the sound of rain on Friday.

Well I actually didn't have the revelation at 4 AM.  All I had at 4 AM was anxiety and the sound of water hitting various objects in the back yard, a nervous cat, and my mental to do list.

I had the revelation at about 8 during my walk in the woods, after being awake for four hours unnecessarily.

I realized why water induces complete panic in me and all other normal people. (Here's the part where my parents start calling me to tell me I'm crazy. HANG ON I AM TYPING A BLOG POST.)

Let's go back to the cave days, when all our little amygdala reactions made sense and we weren't all numbed by yoga music, Angry Birds, Kardashians and the Kindle.

Let's say the cave version of me is sleeping in the cave and am suddenly awakened by water sounds. This can mean one of the following things is happening.

  • The cave is flooding. We live in a cave for God's sake. It's on the ground. If it fills up with water it's Poseidon adventure, but with larger foreheads and probably lots of rodents. 
  • Someone (I live with cave people, after all) is peeing in an unauthorized area. This is every woman's worst nightmare. You know I'm right. Every woman on earth is in a state of high alert, asleep or awake, for a peeing sound.
  • It's raining. My favorite Saber Toothed Tiger one shoulder throw is out on the grapevine, getting wet, and ensuring that I'll smell like a long dead goat for the rest of the year's social occasions.
  • Let's say I live in a barren desert cave community - the sound of water at night can only mean that the tiny amount of water that my dear husband Thag walked miles to bring us is spilling onto the sand and we're all going to die. 
  • We live near the ocean and suddenly a giant tsunami is consuming our world, and because we are cave people we didn't notice earlier in the day the ocean disappearing from view and all the animals fleeing for their lives. Now we are starting to be clued in, as the water starts to cover up our cave address pole, or whatever cave people had outside their caves.
The modern manifestation of these worries for me is this crazy terror that that the roof is just going to turn into cheesecloth, or all the pipes will burst. Rain is just terrible. And it's completely not my fault. It's just my cave self-preservation genes.

This is why you should walk every day. It really helps you solve mysteries in your everyday life and relax you after you've been terrorized at night by rain. Seriously!

I also saw deer prints - running deer prints - for nearly a mile. That was a much longer trot for me than the deer - his/her stride was about 10x mine. I think the rain was chasing him :).

I do really love - rain aside - being outside. Which I can't do when it rains. Yet another reason to support the normalcy of pluviophobia.

One thing I can do when it rains is stamp, though.

Kim's challenge for Hope You Can Cling To (we are giving away more than $5000 in crafty prizes, btw - are you playing? Still tons of time!) was to have use a transportation theme - representing all the requirements a cancer patient has to go to and from treatment, and what an important role these trips play. She's so creative.

I decided to do something that's been in my head for a while, born out of something I used in my latest online class featuring the Hearth & Home Thinlits. I combined my fave galaxy background I featured here with the Sleigh Ride Edgelits, with an extended cut from the window die. Then I created the Police Box header and flyer in Photoshop, glued them to my die cut, and then coated the whole thing with gloss medium.

I tried the windows in vellum and they just didn't look right, so I cut teeny pieces of Pacific Point cardstock to make the dividers and put them on Whisper White. I randomly sponged on Night of Navy on the Police Box to make it look a bit distressed. The sentiment is from my favorite Project Life Set - Let's Get Away.

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Let's Get Away - from rain. This weekend at my class - half the class couldn't make it because of flash flooding - and then halfway through class, my venue started filling with water!

It's always an adventure here, that's for sure.

Speaking of adventures - I have a new online class ready for you - holiday themed of course! You can read about that here, and catch up on any other classes you missed. 

AND - don't forget my mini-retreat in Dallas in November - we are close to capacity for this event! Reserve your seat today! The event runs from 10-3 on Friday before OnStage.


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I also have a new online class for you!

This one is featuring the Hearth & Home Framelits, Happy Scenes stamp set, as well as

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pencils - The Devil's Work

I think you know I hate pencils. Not colored pencils - I love colored pencils.

But regular graphite pencils give me the heebies! I hated using them when I had to do math - I hated the way they felt on the paper, the fact that they never really erased all the way, and that they would smear when your hand touched the paper. I much preferred pens - alllllll the pens!! So I never wrote anything by choice with a pencil in school, only when forced to by some dictatorial teacher.

However, in art, graphite most definitely has a place, even if it gives me a little PTSD.

Especially with tortillons, they blend so nicely and make soft, nice shadows. So, for that reason, they are allowed to stay in my house!

This card is for Lee's Hope You Can Cling To challenge called Pinkalicious - this is a word challenge and I LOVE word challenges. We had to make a card with things that are words we could form out of the word Pinkalicious. So here's what's in my card:

piano (I listened to @_mrgrand_ on Periscope while I made this card.)
uncap (I had to uncap my Brusho)
panic (I couldn't find my sequins)
pluck (I had to pluck my sequins out of the container with my QuickStik tool)
ulna (you can't make a card without your ulna, you know)
pin (I stuck it into my glue to clear the clog)

BOOM. Word challenge accepted!

I used Lighthearted Leaves (I can't stop using this set and dies) and Brusho in an emboss resist. I actually don't know how I got this pink - there isn't really a pink in the Brusho set, so it was kind of a happy accident. I've kept every scrap from that session and I put a scrap on the inside of this short-front card, as well as die cutting a piece for the hello with the Greetings Thinlits.The pencil I used was a Faber-Castell 2B Jumbo drawing pencil, and I used a Lowe-Cornell tortillon. The drawing pencils have super soft leads.

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I made a super quick little video on this for you. Such an easy and fun way to add a little interest.

Even if it requires a devil pencil.

Don't forget to register for our Understand Blue Mini Retreat in Dallas the day before On Stage Live. You do NOT have to be attending OnStage to attend this mini retreat - so anyone who will be in the Dallas area that day is welcome! Space is limited, and registration will close soon, so don't miss your chance!


Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Enabler Gets PUNKED!

Sometime early in the year, when I was remodeling my studio, I started converting all my photopolymer stamps to the envelope storage system, which has saved me a ton of space. You can read about it here. So someone told me that I could use Duralar to stick my cling stamps to inside these pockets. So, like a good little shopper, I bought tons of Duralar to get started.

But I bought the wrong kind.

I bought the opaque kind, which NOTHING sticks to. So now I had a ton of Duralar and no use for it. So for the past few weeks I've been obsessed with finding fun techniques for it.

Just to keep it real - a LOT of Duralar has gone in the trash.

But I did find two really fun things to do with it recently. One we are trying at my retreat.

The other was pretty simple - play with Adirondack alcohol inks on it.

Each color has a mind of its own and does unique things.

The side with the inks on it is somewhat sticky and textured where the inks got on top of each other. But when you flip it over and put it against white cardstock it looks pretty cool. So that's what I did.

This is for today's Challenge Chicks challenge by Kelli. It's a 3-2-1 challenge - we had to use three layers, two embellishments and one sentiment - no images. It's also for an upcoming Hope You Can Cling To Challenge that I can't reveal yet.

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And speaking of unrevealed, the sentiment is also something that will be revealed on November 1, and it's something I really think will change the world.

How's THAT for a tease?


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ricola - The Steve Jobs of the Cough Drop Industry

I thought I caught Ebola on the way home from Ohio.

You know, when you sign up for that flight where everyone sounds like they have TB? Then you play the Southwest Air lottery as you're sitting in your seat, hoping the one that sounded like a horse in the throes of the plague does NOT sit in the middle seat in your row. Of course, he/she always does. It's either going to be that or the person with the stinky, E. Coli-ridden airport burrito the size of a car battery going in that middle seat, people.

Next time I'm just buying two seats.

I was so careful.

I NEVER touch the tray table or the magazines. Those are just fertile petrie dishes. I always wear loose clothing so that I can put my seatbelt on while only touching it with my shirt and not my hands. I don't touch my face. I glare the ojo at people who cough.

PS - if you fly when you're sick, you should be in prison. I'm just saying.

So anyway, a few days after I got home, I felt the beginnings of airplane Ebola. I had a fever, a sore throat, uncontrollable scream-sneezing.

And then today, in the depths of despair, after covering up all the mirrors in my house so as not to see my Draculean (I just made that word up) face, I tapped the weather app on my phone. And I saw this.

As usual, Texas is trying to kill me.

Alternaria is by far my worst allergy.

If I could set off a nuke right now that would target just alternaria and banish it from the earth, I would. With no regrets.

If anyone knows if there's a place on earth where alternaria does not grow, please tell me. I will go through level 6 decontamination to make sure I'm not carrying spores, and I will move there right now. I don't care if it's an iceberg at the North Pole. I'm there.

So I bought some cough drops to try to help me survive. I went for my go-to Ricola as well as some Halls Mentho-Lyptus. (I am sad the old Halls ones that taste like Listerine aren't made anymore.)

I started with the Ricola, and as I felt the ornery, square drop of death tearing the roof of my mouth apart, I thought - the guy who invented this thing was the Steve Jobs of the cough drop industry.

He said - forget about smooth, oval shaped cough drops that don't tear your mouth apart - what the people need is a pointy cube of death that will take their mind off their searing throat and sinus pain.

And you know what? He's right. I've been a Ricola fan since I was 13 and had my first job at Calico Natural Foods. I just deal with the horrid mouth pain so that I can get the delicious herby magic the death cube delivers.

Sometimes, you have to think different. (If you're Steve Jobs. If you're a normal person, please think differently so that all the English majors don't twitch to death.)

Anyway, I made a card for Dina's Hope You Can Cling To challenge that is basically a self-portrait of me today since I look and feel like the undead.

I actually really struggled with her challenge, which is to use an image of a hand, or use your hand to finger paint, etc. I could have taken the easy route and done the fingerpainted clouds I LOVE to do (learned this from Jeanne).

But a challenge should be a challenge, right? And since I don't normally stamp humans, I had to scour my collection for a human with a hand.

And butter my butt and call me a biscuit if I didn't find the perfect one from the Holiday Mini - the little vampire from Haunt Ya Later!

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Isn't he fangastic?

And you can see not ONE hand but TWO. The sentiment is from Happy Scenes.


I colored him with Copics.

If you are in an alternaria-free zone this weekend, enjoy yourself. I'll be scaring little kids with my scream sneezes and puffy eyes.


PS - don't forget to sign up for our mini-retreat the day before OnStage Live in Dallas! First come, first served, and seating is limited!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Let's Talk About Remakes

Okay - we have a serious matter to discuss.


I'm really deeply offended by some remakes, but oddly enough - not others.

For example, I enjoyed the HECK out of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Maybe the reason I loved it was because I'd never seen the original series. I feel the same way about the Secret Life of Walter Mitty and probably for the same reason.

Here are a list of remakes which deeply offend me, and I think we should all show up and protest them.

  • Overboard - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? IS SOMEONE SERIOUSLY GOING TO TRY TO GET ME TO BUY THAT THAT STORY CAN BE TOLD WITH ANYONE BUT GOLDIE HAWN AND KURT RUSSELL? These people should be shunned from society and set afloat on an iceberg covered with fire ants. No. Just No.
  • Jumanji - WHY?
  • The Birds - Remaking HITCHCOCK?? Why does that dark thought even cross anyone's mind? Is it prescription drugs? Ebola? What could drive a person to think that is an acceptable idea? Profane. It's profane. One clue on what a good idea this is is the director's name: Diederik Van Rooijen < what? No. 
You really have to wonder about the balance of good and evil in this world with this list and which side is winning.

Very disturbing.

But really - you should see the Man from U.N.C.L.E. - it's fantastic. Sorry if anyone's head just came off.

Anyway, one of our Hope You Can Cling To challenges was to remake or renovate one of our older cards. I knew which one I wanted to do, because at the time, I really liked it and I wanted to see if I could like it with a different look. Specifically, not a BLUE look.

Here is the card I chose to renovate.

And here is the renovation.

For this one I used my Zig Clean Color brush markers to color the rose, and then I cut it out and popped it up over the others, instead of coloring the base layer like I did in the original.

I ended up with too bright a pink, and so I softened it with some all over yellow, and that gave it a fun coral glow.

The sentiment is from Cottage Greetings

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I love this type of challenge just because it forces you out of your habits.

But that doesn't mean we should get all crazy and remake Hitchcock movies. That's crazy talk.

Hey - don't forget - we are doing a mini-retreat in Dallas the day before OnStage Live, so come join us for a day of stamping and fun. Register here- first come, first served, and space is limited.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Art Space / Time Continuum

I got to spend some time this weekend with some crafty friends I really admire.

One of them is a phenomenal watercolor artist and an entrepreneur - Dawn Woleslagle, who owns Wplus9.

She said something that really made me think.

A lot of people are in awe of her talent and tell her. Her teaching style is super approachable - and she is a kindred spirit in that she tells people to experiment and stop worrying about perfection in their art.

But she said that for someone first learning to watercolor, she might seem like the absolute best painter in the world. (at this point I was telling her she WAS! :) ). But then she said, in comparison to people who have painted professionally their whole careers, or have work in galleries in Santa Fe, her work would be considered amateur.

As a huge fan, I wanted to disagree with her, but it really was a great moment about the learning cycle that we all go through while we're trying to get better at what we do, and understand that all art exists on a sliding scale.

So I drew out a little art space/time continuum on a Project Life card on the plane home today.

I'm pretty sure my row mates thought I was a terrorist, but I had been up since 3 AM and didn't really care what they thought. After just a few hours of sleep I think everyone feels like a terrorist anyway.

I love her humility and reality check on this. We are all somewhere on that line, and it's important to know that there is both respect and admiration ahead of us, and that there is also respect and admiration behind us. It's up to each of us to pull each other along this line, and make sure that everyone knows there are fans behind us and models in front of us. She's a cool chick.

 Here's a sample of her work.

Now I'm a wee bit late on posting my Hope You Can Cling To cards because I've been gone, but I'm ready to catch up, so get ready for a lot of posts!

This card is for Cathy's challenge called I Am A Warrior. Cathy lost her sister to breast cancer, so this card drive is very meaningful for her and she's a fantastic host. Be sure and play along and give her some encouragement!

I did emboss resist with Lighthearted Leaves and Brusho. Then I made a card base from Fabriano Cold Press Watercolor paper, and did a background wash on it with QOR Payne's Grey - which is my absolute favorite neutral in the world. Perhaps because it has a blue tint.
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To me it looks like Indian Corn and since the challenge said we could use a Native American theme I thought it was perfect.

The sentiment is from the uber fabulous Watercolor Wishes kit. 

So hello. :)

Hope you can join us in the challenges, and remember to admire & respect creative people wherever they might be on the art space/time continuum. 


Monday, October 5, 2015

I Had Grand Plans

I had grand plans for this weekend.

I was going to get half of my Christmas cards done at a crafty retreat with some friends this weekend. I cut up some cardstock, pre-stamped a few things, packed things carefully (including determination) and headed off.

Five days later - the box of supplies still has not been opened. It was just hard to focus with all the giggling and Periscoping and borrowing other people's stamps, and spilling things all over the table, and using InstaKitty to put cats on people.

However, I DID open another box, and that was this adorable Hero Arts kit with a layering poinsettia.

You know I'm a complete freak for layering sets, and this kit was wicked fun. It came with five of the mini ink cubes (perfect for using with the MISTI since it's a layering set), dies, stamps and embellishments.

They have a really good guide in the package in full color to help you line the stamps up and the whole thing comes in a little plastic envelope with a snap that's about the size of a business envelope. There's another smaller envelope inside with a snap too that holds the embellies and the dies. I loved the packaging almost as much as the stamps. (I'm weird like that.)

This fun little bundle was the only thing that enabled me to make a single, finished card in five days of creative chaos and I really enjoyed it, so I am participating in a little hop about it today. Here's a walkthrough that will explain the contents better than I did :).

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Love the teeny leaf dies - I put those down on the cardstock and then popped the two poinsettias up over them. I sponged the edges of the flowers and the leaves withe the darkest red and green of the four with a Fantastix. The sentiment and the rhinestones are from the kit.

 Now you should see what everyone else did with the kit, so please check out their work below. I got to see Kathy's card in real life and it's amazing. The soft pinks she got with her second generation stamping are really beautiful.

Amy Tsuruta
Clare Prezzia
Jayne Nelson
Joan Bardee
Kathy Racoosin
Libby Hickson
Lydia Fiedler
Mariana Grigsby
Sandy Allnock
Suzanne Dahlberg
Wanda Guess
Yana Smakula

Also - I have the winner of the Online Card Classes Class from this post - so see if there is some beautiful watercoloring in your future!

Here's my winner! Please use the link in the sidebar to email me.

Email me with the link in the sidebar and I'll hook you up!

Have a great week.


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