Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Kindness Is Contagious - Pass it on (And the MIStI Maynia Winner!)

You know the whole pay for someone else's order at a drive through phenomenon?

I don't know who invented it, but I love it.

I do it myself often at my Starbucks.

On the drive through sign, there is sometimes a little bird that sits there and sings, and every time the bird is on the sign, I buy the order behind me in line. I've very frequently had my order bought by the person in front of me too, which is amazing.

I like to think that every time that happens it starts one of those big chains where everyone does that for hours, because if there's one thing I know - it's that kindness is contagious. In my youngest child's heart, I also like to think it's more contagious than meanness is, which I also know is contagious. I just will always believe that good wins. But only if you do good.

So when this RIDICULOUSLY cute little Paper Layering Hedgehog arrived in my mailbox (I counted the days), I just so happened (because cleaning is for serial killers) to still have the May My Monthly Hero Kit on my desk. And just like the historic moment when chocolate and peanut butter came together to form God's one true candy - the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup - these two things merged into complete, perfect awesomeness.

Behold. The Hedgehog of Kindness.

Hero Arts Paper Layering Hedgehog by Understand Blue

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Ha! I laughed when he was all put together. So cute.

To create the background I used the Clarity Stamp Stencil Brushes with Watermelon Wonder Ink on Watermelon Wonder Cardstock with the Hero Arts Delicate Petals Stencil - to me those little shapes were identical to his tiny quills.

Bahh! Isn't he hilarious? I added googlie eyes just to make him quirky, but approachable. :).

Today I'm lucky enough to be hopping around with the Hedgie of Kindness for the Hero summer release if you want to check it out. As per usual, there are prizes for the commenty types, so do partake by May 15th. All these goodies are so fun.

I HAD to have the Destination Texas stamp - they have a bunch of fun destinations, and I bet you'll see others on this hop. I love the graphic, modern look to it, so of course I had to try something different, so I did a little no-line watercolor with my Mijello Mission Gold Watercolors. It is painted on Strathmore Ready Cut watercolor paper, and stamped initially in Daffodil Delight ink. I used one of the card bases and vellum overlays from the May My Monthly Hero Kit - it perfectly matched one of of my colors and it was still on my desk - this is one of my favorite design techniques - the "it was on my desk" technique. I used the sentiment from Hello Gorgeous because I felt like it evoked that postcard greeting style that I was going for on this card.

Destination Texas - Hero Arts by Understand Blue

So little time. So many stamps, inks and dies.

Here are some friends hopping with me today.

The Hero Arts Blog
Amy Tsuruta
Clare Prezzia
Debby Hughes
Jennifer McGuire
Jenn Shurkus
Joan Bardee
Julie Ebersole
Kathleen Graumuller
Kathy Racoosin
Kelly Rasmussen
Kimberly Crawford
Laura Bassen
Libby Hickson
Lori Craig
Lucy Abrams
>>Lydia Fiedler << You are here
Mariana Grigsby
May Sukyong Park
Nichol Magouirk
Sandy Allnock
Teri Anderson
Wanda Guess
Yana Smakula

Be sure and peek at all the amazingness, and also stop by my Facebook page this week for impromptu live broadcasts from arty and crafty places :)

I also wanted to announce my MISTI Maynia winner!! Congratulations to Larissa!! Larissa if you do not already have an account on, please open one and then send me your email address so I can give it to them for your prize! I thought it was so fun to read all your responses - thank you to everyone who commented - I read them all!


Friday, May 6, 2016

Puffy Pillows

 I'm taking some liberties with this week's MIX-Ability challenge at Splitcoast, which is to make something FLUFFY.

While I normally think of fluffy as a characteristic of a mammal, I knew exactly what I wanted to do ever since Glenda Travelstead's HILARIOUS presentation at OnStage where she did a modified paper tole with balloons.

I love paper tole and I think +Lisa Lara is a master of it. But I don't normally have the patience for the layers. So I blended Glenda and Lisa today and made some easy puffy pillows for Jeanne's challenge.

**Edited to add - after I did the video and the blog post and went to go pin my card, I saw that my beloved +Francine Vuillème actually made a very similar card to this - so this idea must be floating around the universe. I love her and hope you will check out her gallery on Splitcoast after peeking at my accidental CASE of her beautiful card! Great minds think alike, my friend!

Anyway - I really had fun making these pillows fluffy - this was a super quick and easy card. I used the Sitting Here set and Layering Love, both of which are new catalog sneak peeks.

Just sitting here MIX171 by Understandblue

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Even though it's easy, I thought a visual might help, so I made a quick video of the process.

Fun, right?

Here are some things I mentioned in the video: the 3D paper piecing tutorial by Mariska van der Veer featuring Olba dimensional glue and syringes. Thanks to YouTube user ArtemisToo for asking for that info.

I wanted to give you a heads up that I will be out of my office next week, so my blog and YouTube channel will be quiet, because it's just been too busy for me to work ahead. But if you are friends with me on Facebook or follow my business page on Facebook, I will be doing some live broadcasts from some VERY arty and crafty locations, and I'd love to chat with you while I'm doing that. I swear this will be my last trip until the fall. I'm mostly swearing to myself :).

See you soon.

PS - Online Card Classes has a new website and a fun new feature called Crafty Chat that I'm a co-host of - come check it out. The site is beautiful and they have a really fun new class out called Clear & Sheer.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Smallest Things

I was thinking the other day that it's time for another book purge. I've slowly been really getting rid of MOST of the books in our house over the last few years.

Don't freak out - I know I have a lot of book fiends that follow me - this is not the end of the world. And I'm not pitching them into a bonfire or anything. Just breathe. They'll go live at the book farm we know and love called Half Price Books.

I just don't like clutter, and I'm trying to have less of it OUTSIDE my studio, and books are something we just have too much of right now.

Also, I've transitioned to audio books and Kindle books - more audio than Kindle. Reading makes me sleepy now, and I don't have a lot of time to read, so I can listen to as many books as I used to read while I'm on my daily walks. I can still hear the birds chirping over the book, and I just find it relaxing.

So I made a pass through the house this weekend gathering up the non-sacred titles - just mysteries and things I'll never read again.

But every time I do this I enjoy seeing all the ones I'll NEVER part with. All my Russian writers, Orwell, Saramago and Garcia-Marquez, Carroll, Tolkien, Rowling.

And while I believe it was probably Swimmy that launched my love of reading, or Little Blue and Little Yellow, there's one series that will always be on my shelf and that's the Herriot series - All Creatures Great and Small and the rest. I read them probably twenty times starting at about age 10.

I've always loved all creatures, and I wanted to be a vet until I read these books and learned that it's not all a walk in the park. Besides never wanting to shove my arm up a cow's butt, I couldn't take all the tragedy. I could more easily work in a profession where people are keeling over every day than I could a place where one pet was likely to die.

But I loved these books, and laughed and cried every time I read them.

He had such a great outlook on life and death, and the simplicity of the country setting always appealed to me. He was such a kind man, and as a friend often says - the world could use more kindness. I think he expressed better than anyone else ever has just what it feels like to be a true animal lover.

My pre-order came today and I thought about him when I took out two stamp sets together - so my first card with new catalog goodies was literally a split-second design choice. The kitty is from Sitting Here, and the sentiment is from a GORGEOUS set I love - Layering Love. The sentiments are beautiful! You will love them - you can see them in June. This kitty reminds me of my friend Ellie's cat Opie, who I got to snuggle in Phoenix in January.

Sitting Here by Understand Blue - Stampin' Up! Sneak Peek

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I stamped the kitty on the card base and then again on marker paper in Memento. Then I colored him with Copics, cut him out and glued him on top of the stamped kitty, after coloring a little shadow. The reason I did all that was because I wanted his whiskers to show.

So there you have it - a clean & simple sneak peek for you. I did this card for a little pre-order challenge with some friends - can't wait to see what they do. We'll be using some of the same stamp sets.

Hope you're having a good week!


Monday, May 2, 2016

Hero Arts & MISTI May-nia!

Well it might be Monday - but it's a super fun day here on my blog. You'd better fasten your seatbelt.

I'm hopping with some Hero Arts friends today to launch the My Monthly Hero Kit for May, which was inspired by a campaign near and dear to my heart - my friend Jennifer's Share Handmade Kindness campaign.

If I could go back and rewrite my thesis on metafiction, featuring Thomas Pynchon, I would have discussed the postal them in a different light, now knowing what I know about how much stampers LOVE to actually make mail themed cards. You know we do.

My favorite obsession is airmail images. I've loved them since even before Griffin & Sabine, which I hope you've all read. If not, you are not allowed to stamp again until you do.

The add-on to this month's kit is called Happy Mail and that's the one I'm playing with today for a fun, meta, clean and simple card today. 

May My Monthly Hero Card By Understandblue
As usual, if you hop along to all my friends, and leave a comment, Hero Arts will choose a lucky winner of this month's kit - you can see the full kit here.

The Hero Arts Blog
Jennifer McGuire
Kelly Rasmussen
Yana Smakula
Lucy Abrams
Kathy Racoosin
Mariana Grigsby
Wanda Guess
Clare Prezzia
May Sukyong Park
Joan Bardee
Amy Tsuruta
Lydia Fiedler
Libby Hickson

But just wait - because there's more! Did I mention this is the best month ever? My Sweet Petunia has invited dozens of your fave bloggers to participate in MISTI May-nia - which is a daily giveaway of Mini MISTIs every day in May! Those are some good odds, my people! My friend Iliana helped kick it off yesterday, and today, I get to give one away, along with sweet & talented Virginia Lu.

Here's the list so far:

May 01 - My Sweet Petunia

May 01 - Ilina Crouse

May 02 - Lydia Fiedler

May 02 - Virginia Lu

So what do you have to do to win? You have leave me a comment and tell me how old the oldest stamp you own is. That's it! I want to see who has the oldest stamp. Bonus points for telling me the manufacturer and the name.

Mini MISTI Giveaway by Understandblue

You know how much the MISTI has changed the stamping world. I have never been more grateful for a tool. And this generosity this month is just incredible. I'm so proud to call Iliana a friend. I can't wait for one of you to win the one from my blog.

To show you how I put together the card today, I made a quick video with a few tips for using long skinny stamps like the adorable airmail stripe I used here. So take a peek and then hop over to see Virginia!

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