Saturday, March 26, 2016

Explaining Things To Martians

When I was little, I had a conversation with my dad that I distinctly remember.

It was about explaining the concept of "left" and "right" to a Martian, and even to ourselves as bi-laterally symmetrical beings.

I was pretty young, so I was all OMG LEFT IS THE ONE ON THIS SIDE. I'm sure he laughed.

But it got pretty complicated pretty fast, actually. What if the Martian is a TRULY symmetrical being? Just a blob of something? What will left mean to it? What is their reference point? Even with bilateral symmetry it's weird to think about.

I should really have had a Salt Lake City resident handy for this conversation, since they have the insane street system (stifle yourself if you're yelling out - it's easy! It's a grid! Right now. Stifle. I'm serious. STIFLE.) in which every street  name is south or west or north or east, but unless you're from there you don't know what you are south, west, north or east OF! When they're all like "oh, it's easy, it's the TEMPLE" you yell at them BUT I DON'T KNOW WHERE THE TEMPLE IS SO HOW DO I KNOW WHERE I AM?

You don't. Until you go back home. Where things make sense.

But really - take a moment to explain left and right to yourself right now. Better yet - subject a small human to this thought and break its tiny brain forever.

Salt Lake City navigation for foreigners is exactly how a Martian will feel when you tell your little blobby friend to turn left. Left in reference to WHAT exactly?

Color is the same way - how do you communicate what a color is to a Martian? You're welcome for the insane brainworm I've now given you that will lead you to question everything in terms of how it could be explained to a Martian.

So this morning I was on an insane quest in the car and I was wondering how I would explain driving to a Martian.

This is what I came up with. You get into a 6,000 pound metal box and you make it go fast, slow, turn and stop with your arms and legs.

It's pretty weird when you think about us all maneuvering 6,000 pound metal boxes around with our arms and legs all day every day. It's quite a feat and I think we take it for granted, honestly. The amount of coordination it takes to do that without killing yourself is astonishing.

This wasn't a TOTALLY squirrel thought though - on the way to my quest, on the lightest Austin traffic day of the year - Good Friday - someone managed to flip their car on a nearly empty stretch of our southernmost expressway. That's what started the Martian avalanche in my brain.

 So you're welcome. It's my dad's fault.

(I've already lost you, I know because you are still stuck on left and right. Welcome to my world. Next up - Salt Lake City!)

Sometimes I feel like that's what it's like to explain stamping to people. It's very hard to tell people what I do. Let's take classes. "I teach stamping classes" to most people sounds like "I don't know what you just said."

People first think of postage stamps. And then they feel sorry for me, locked away in a room looking at postage stamps under a magnifying glass in a dusty library.

Then if you modify it with papercrafting, they think you are folding swans or gluing macaroni to construction paper.

It's just not easy to describe. To humans, much less to Martians.

That's why it's good to have a tribe. Your tribe speaks the same language and understands you.

Thank you, tribe. Now explain left and right to me.

I'm filling in for Audrie on the Inspiration Challenge on Splitcoast this weekend, and I thought it would be fun to feature a local friend and watercolor inspiration - Kathleen McElwaine.

I met Kathleen through a friend that I worked with at an image-based startup a few years ago. He was a very creative person, and introduced me to her when she was developing her portable watercolor kit you can see here - she wanted some feedback on it. I fell in love with it and it's what I take to all retreats and mobile painting expeditions like holidays with my family or at my sister's community garden. It has everything you need to make watercolor portable. Genius.

It was this kit that got her through her long commutes from Georgetown to her work at the University of Texas, and it's how she earned her nickname - the bus painting artist. Her work is now licensed on lots of different textiles, sold in local stores and online, and she has a studio in Georgetown where you can come paint with her. She also has step by step watercolor instruction books in her Etsy shop.

She is an awesome lady - kindhearted and creative, and her art has this whimsy I just love.

So I chose her for this week's challenge - look through her prints and be inspired. Use keyword or hashtag #IC538 when uploading to Splitcoast, Instagram, etc.

I, unlike Kathleen, can't draw, so I started with a stamp image and tried to use watercolor and pen in a way that reminded me of her. These deer from In the Meadow are so, so sweet, and such an iconic Texas image it was perfect for a tribute piece.

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I stamped the image in So Saffron with my mini MISTI, colored with this Koi Watercolor, and outlined with this marker. I hope I did her style justice.

I did a quick video for you of the process - this was truly a 5 minute card. And I think the less you fuss over things, the better they come out.

So big thanks to Kathleen for being our inspiration this week. Come play along if you want. If you are a NEW challenge player this week and reference this blog post in your Splitcoast gallery post, I will send you a surprise in the mail :).

PS - my friend Dana bought me the COOLEST thing - I'd been seeing these online and it was like she read my mind. You MUST have one of these! I store my glue upside down in it so it's ready to use. It sticks to any surface and has a ruler on top - they also have them for drinks and they have mini ones!  - I LOVE it so much I might get a few more! It's called the Hobby Holster! It's a crazy heat resistant silicone and you wouldn't believe the way it grips your desk! And yes, it comes in turquoise :).


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spoiler Alert - You Don't Need a Crockpot!

I realize, that once again, I'm broaching a topic that might get me killed like Karen Silkwood.

But the truth must be told, and it's my lot in life to tell it.

Despite what Pinterest says, you don't need a crockpot.

(Try to hold yourself together. I'll wait.)

My poor friend Vicki - who owns like 20 crockpots and has amazing crockpot parties, is having a heart attack right now. However, at her parties, she actually cooks like 12 different kinds of chili, each in their own crockpot. So Veee has a permanent, transferable lifetime crockpot exception to what I'm about to tell you.

I have a very tiny kitchen with the smallest amount of cabinets humanly possible. About 50% of the cabinet space is unreachable, which is a rant I'll indulge myself in later.

It's actually one of the reasons I like my kitchen - because it's open to the breakfast area and living room which is fun and makes it the brightest space in the house. And thankfully, I'm very anti-appliance so that helps.

But for a long time, I had a very nice crockpot. It was a huge one - I raved about it here - where I also shared my amazing pea soup recipe.

I followed all the Pinterest crockpot boards, the Crockin' Girls on Facebook, and regarded my crockpot as the magical shrine the internet told me it was.

Until I realized that that particular emperor has no clothes.

A crockpot is a large baking dish to which heat is applied.

That is all. There are no little fairies that make it cook your food more perfectly than the oven does. It's a baking dish that gets warm. People have been getting baking dishes warm for a long time.

So I tested all my favorite crockpot recipes in a baking dish in the oven to test my theory. For the record, the temperatures I use are 200 for low, 300 for high. That's it. Covered baking dish.

Here are the recipes I used, and each came out perfectly. One of these we eat nearly weekly - the Thai chicken.

Split Pea Soup
Mac and Geez
Whole Chicken
Thai Peanut Chicken
Crockpot shredded chicken

I have a start/stop timer on my oven so I can set it and forget it like the crockpot, and don't even start with me about the oven being more of a fire hazard than a crockpot. Everything that has power to it is a fire hazard. Your compost pile is a fire hazard. Let's not worry so much.

So I've reclaimed about 6 square feet of space in my cabinet with this revelation after selling my crockpot on Facebook.

I do still have my American-made 360 Cookware vapor seal cooker though. This little thing is amazing for smaller sides or prep work. It's so hard to find American made cookware, and so I was thrilled to find this after emptying my kitchen of all Chinese products after Spotty died. You can use it on their base or directly on the stove, so it's a multi-tasker.

But speaking of machines, I DO have a magic machine to tell you about.

This week at Splitcoast we had a Product Focus on Epson's scrapbooking printers. Lori got to play with the printer and told me to pick something to print on "anything I wanted." Now a few years ago I had taken a class with Golden where we ran ALL SORTS of things through Epson inkjet printers - fabric, canvas, even big things with sticks and other rough textures using Golden digital grounds. So I knew they could do amazing things. But one thing I'd never tried is cold press watercolor paper. So I sent her a free printable floral and dared her to print it in a light grey on cold press watercolor paper and send it to me to paint.

It worked like a charm! Up and down over all the texture, every section of the image was not only perfectly inked but waterproof.

AND, Lori has a great tip on how to test your printer ink for compatibility with Copics on her blog - I never knew this until this week. So smart.

So I just watercolored most of the image in Winsor & Newton Cotman Payne's Grey and then did one flower in blue and added a greeting from the Greetings Thinlits.

Epson Surecolor test by Understandblue
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One of the most common questions we get in the forums on Splitcoast is printer ink compatibility with different mediums, so it was very cool to see what all this printer could do.

Now I have some important breaking news for you.

Paper Pumpkin is celebrating both its birthday and the shipment of the MILLIONTH kit! So they are doing a little giveaway - if you are already a Paper Pumpkin subscriber or sign up to be one before April 10th, you will get an EXTRA, exclusive stamp set in the April kit! I can't wait to see what it is! You can buy a pre-paid subscription, or a monthly subscription, which can be paused and re-started. Subscribe with me here and get a little surprise in the mail! :)

And if you want to get your paws on one of Shannon West's #imbringingbirthdaysback stamps, just purchase the ULTIMATE bundle before March 31st, and I'll send you one!

Until the end of March, you'll get $155 worth of whatever you want for $99. You'll also get to attend my team retreat in July, which my celebrity chef is returning for. We are all looking forward to her amazing food! Oh, and the stamping I guess :).

And one last thing - recently I've gotten several orders where the customer chose "No Contact" - which means no information is shared with me at all - I don't get your name, your email address, nothing that allows me to thank you or send you a card. This makes me sad. So please know that I appreciate you and would love to send you a card! Feel free to email me if you were one of these. And in the future, click "Yes" on the second question here to let me thank you with a card :).

 So go forth into your weekend, free of crockpots, reveling in your spacious cabinets and full of stampy joy.

We will have a quiet Easter weekend as I prepare for my Salt Lake retreat and OnStage - are you coming? If so I am looking forward to stamping with you!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

When Life Gives You Limes (But Charges You For Lemons)

I have not darkened the door of a grocery store for nearly two years since Instacart came to Austin.

It's glorious. Grocery shopping just sucked so much time out of my day - I now can use that time for cooking with the delicious fresh ingredients Instacart delivers to my door.

But today - because I am making my world famous Irish stew for St. Patrick's Day, I broke the pattern and went to pick out my ingredients myself, mostly because my Instacart shopper (normally quite accurate) does not know the difference between a 1015 onion and a completely substandard regular onion, and I cannot subject my stew to the wrong kind of onion.

So I went to HEB.

I went super early this morning so as to avoid all the worst things about shopping (like the people) and encountered a situation which we must now discuss.

The angry person tipping point. Specifically - the unjustifiably angry person tipping point.

I see this a lot on the internet, but don't often get to experience it in real life (thankfully, because I work from home), so it was amusing to me in a scientific way to see it play out before my eyes.

Here's the situation.

There are people who believe that their entire lives have been an incredible sequence of micro-injustices, back-to-back - a relentless, day after day conspiracy of misery, and they ultimately land in a situation where they just cannot take it anymore (and by ultimately, I mean daily) and they HAVE to unload this anger on the nearest unsuspecting human.

This unfolded before my eyes at 7 AM at HEB.

I was in the self-check line, and my receipt didn't print, so I went to the self-check helper person and asked for a copy. As he was working on it, a woman appeared behind him with a giant palm tree in her cart, hand on hip, clearly SEETHING about something. She radiated this palpable anger that I think might actually have COOKED the chuck roast in my cart.

I smiled at her and said "Wow - I didn't know you could buy those here!". She glared at me until I could smell my own hair being singed. I averted my eyes, and closed my hand around my pepper spray.

Since the receipt process took a little longer than the nice young man expected it to, he turned to Seethy McAngryson and said "So sorry ma'am - this will take just a minute - can I help you with something?"

And like VOLDEMORT, this woman just explodes into a human fountain of rage on the poor guy, clearly after having held in the micro-injustices for far, far too long.

"YES YOU CAN" she barked.

"I BOUGHT limes, but I WAS CHARGED for lemons."

He and I both recoiled from the white hot rage this woman expelled - it was like Mount Angry had just erupted and shot lava all over the store and we were running for our lives from the molten hatred.

It was a ridiculously disproportionate response to what seemed like a) a fairly easy problem to solve and b) an awfully benign, friendly and previously not jaded young customer service agent who was totally unaware of the lemon/lime micro-aggression and certainly not part of the conspiracy that was depriving this woman of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I, as is my custom, dissolved into a hysterical fit of laughter at the ridiculousness of it all, which I don't believe really helped the situation any, but it was 100% involuntary and a great start to my day. I think plastic surgery should fix the eye holes she burned into me as this occurred.

The young man, who was too frightened to laugh, suggested she go to the customer service desk, whose employees he apparently despises.

Or he was just trying to save his own life.

He made the right choice.

I truly don't understand the philosophy of chaining all inconvenient or unpleasant things you've ever experienced together to make it seem like your whole life is terrible. If you get a cold, or have a flat, or God forbid - get charged for lemons when you're buying limes - you really don't have to Hoover up every other negative thing in your life to compound the lemons into a Greek tragedy at HEB at 7 AM. You really can just walk it off, get your 17 cents back and go forth into the day.

You can. I've done it.

You can also do the opposite - you can snowball all the really super awesome things that happen to you into a giant ball of happiness that you carry around and share with people.

The fact that it even involved lemons made it so much more poetic that I could not resist telling the story. I am 100% sure this poor creature has never made lemonade.

You make your own luck, as my dad often told me - and I do most definitely believe that.

So the universe gave me the perfect St. Patrick's Day story. :)

I actually wasn't going to blog or even make a card today, but how could I resist that timing?

So I took out my NEW favorite watercolors  - oh my goodness bless Kristina Werner for introducing me to these - Mijello Mission Gold Watercolor (crazy low price for them right now too) - and I used three colors just as a test for my first experience with them - to paint some four leaf clovers.

They are so easy to blend and move and the transparency is just gorgeous. I used Rose Opera (WOWZA do I love this) in the background, and Olive Green and Greenish yellow for the leaves and stems. I accented those with some of the Rose Opera and that's what creates that fun rust color. I used Strathmore Ready Cut watercolor cards - another Kristina recommendation - for the watercolor panel. 

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The stamp sets for the sentiment are Project Life Remember This and Concord & 9th Beautiful Words

And - it IS a lucky day to be you, by the way - my newest online class, featuring three duplicatable CAS designs with the Happy Home stamp set is now available here. This fun class features one super unexpected use for this set that I'm kind of proud of :).

Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of St. Patrick's day - and I hope you are too.

I hope you ball up all your happy moments and carry them around with today and always, instead of not making cherry limeade out of the limes you were charged lemon prices for. 

May the blessing of light be on you—
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.

And not like a volcano of doom. :)


Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Attack of the Average Recipe

I love to cook. And I'm super picky about who I get my recipes from, because some chefs clearly do not write or test their own recipes. #inagarten #jamieoliver

Some people are SUPER reliable and have thoroughly tested, always yummy recipes #altonbrown #marthastewart #giadaeventhoughitpainsmetosaythat

Twice in the last few weeks I've tried recipes that clearly weren't tested, and it made me quite sad. Especially since I am in the business of giving "recipes" for cards online - I would never tell people how to make a card I hadn't made myself - I'd be terrified it would be wrong, and also - that would mean I hadn't had the fun of making it myself. Just doesn't really make sense to me.

So since tomato season is coming up, I thought I'd share a recipe I've personally tested and loved, so as to correct the bad recipe juju in the universe. I made this last summer with the 80 million pounds of Sun Golds we grew.

Yellow Tomato Jam
(makes 3.5 pints or 7 half pints)
4 pounds Sungold
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice

Cut Sungold tomatoes in half. Combine tomatoes and sugar in non-reactive pot and stir. Let sit for at least one hour, or until the tomatoes release their juice. Prepare canning pot and jars and place on high heat; add lemon juice and bring to a boil. Boil 35-40 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have softened and syrup is thick.
Pour jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings. Process jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Remove jars from pot and let them cool on a kitchen towel. If jars don’t seal properly, tuck into fridge for use. The rest can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

I cut this in half and it made 2.5 half pints and is LIFE CHANGING. My favorite way to have it is on a grilled cheese, but it's also really great just on a toasted English muffin.

After you've had some of this delicious jam, I think you will feel super creative and want to make an adorable card in three minutes.

I am still obsessing over the stencil brushes, and I wanted to use them to create a hyper-realistic shadow out of the negative space of a die cut. And since the Easter Lamb was still on my desk after my class last week, he became the subject of my experiment - MUAHAHAHAHAHA. I even did surgery on him before performing experiments - I don't like greetings attached to my image stamps.

SQUEE - look how cute this is!!
Perfect Shadows with Stencil Brushes by Understandblue

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The stamp is Easter Lamb, and I cut him out with a die from Dies by Dave. Then I used that negative space as my stencil with the Clarity Stamp Stencil Brushes to make a perfect shadow, that covers the adorable box die from Mama Elephant (All Prettied Up) and spills onto the ground. The sentiment is from Grateful Bunch.This is inspired by Linda Callahan's sketch on Freshly Made Sketches.

I did this card in three minutes, and here's the video - enjoy!

He's such a cutie, and I think everyone should have a little baby lamb in a cardboard box. I feel quite certain that would bring about world peace.

Happy Daylight Savings Time, by the way! Yay for it not getting dark before dinner anymore! I will vote for anyone for president who decides THIS is the time we will always have. #moresunplease If you want to stick with the dark times all year long then we just can't be friends.

I opened registration for my summer retreat this week and I only have a few spots left, so you'd better hurry. We are in a different retreat center this time and my celebrity chef is returning to cook you three hot meals and amazing desserts! We also have a spa room with a masseuse you can book, and of course amazing classes, prizes and fellowship with some great humans. Registration details are here.

See you soon!


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

An Eggciting Idea - Granny Grub

This past weekend we had the modern equivalent of a barn raising - a family fence raising for my brother-in-law.

Fences are like evil spells that are cast upon a home - full of mystery and pain. Whose fence is it? No one knows. Who is supposed to pay for it when it falls down? No one knows. The person who finally caves first to the expensive, time consuming and painful spell gets pathetic revenge by putting the "pretty" side of the fence facing their yard. It's a small comfort though. No one gets joy from these wood fences. They are ugly at best and just a necessary evil.

So anyway, my in-laws came in to help build the fence and we went to dinner afterwards. And even though there was fried shrimp, fried green tomatoes, fried okra (gross) and fried everything else, somehow the topic turned to food.

My father in law and I discussed eggs. We both had eggs every day for breakfast growing up and both consider them to be the world's most perfect food. I honestly could probably eat only eggs most days.

My mother made eggs a few ways that I loved. Egg in the hole (newsflash - Pioneer woman didn't invent that), plain fried eggs (still a staple for me to this day, especially now that I've perfected cooking them on parchment paper and don't even have to wash a dish afterwards) and honestly - my favorite way - something that I call egg hash. She cooked a soft boiled egg, and chopped it up into crispy, shredded buttered toast.

I LOVED that dish. I credit that yumminess as being the reason I am a morning person. It's DELICIOUS. She always salted and peppered it perfectly - something that I find truly lacking in restaurant eggs. There is nothing grosser than a breakfast taco with unseasoned eggs in it. EGGS NEED SALT.

Jennifer McGuire changed my life when she introduced me to this amazing egg cooker.
VonShef Egg Maker
 I didn't know why she was so excited about it until the first time I used it. I am generally anti-appliance, but I will run out of this house in a fire with this amazing egg cooker. You set the doneness of the eggs with the amount of water you use, and it's always perfectly done if you're doing one egg or seven. They peel like a dream without all the rigmarole of boiling the eggs. It has made making that childhood favorite a joy. 

ANYWAY - this is all leading to my great idea.

Some days none of us want to adult. We just want to have our moms make breakfast for us and have other people making all of our decisions. Especially the ones that result in laundry being folded and put away.

So I was thinking with America's growing older population, and the rise in services like Instacart, Hello Fresh, Plated, and other services which generally indicate our inability to do anything our parents did to maintain our households, that we could come up with a new service, where we pay America's grandmothers to come over and make our breakfasts, lunches, and the pie crusts and bread none of us have time to make.

Let's face it - they are more skilled. And they have tons of free time!

And grannies like money too! Let's get together and have a winning combination where grannies get paid for what they do best, and we can stop telling ourselves that a Tootsie Pop and coffee is a good start to the workday.

I think I'd call this service Granny Grub or something equally cute. And let's face it - while she's there making you breakfast I BET she won't be able to stand the unfolded laundry. It will totally be worth the fee plus the accompanying lecture.

It's a rainy week here with some typical spring weather drama, so I decided to make a rainy card to match.

This sentiment is really something I believe in and recommend, so I love this image. It's from Technique Junkies. The background is done with Distress Inks and water, and then after that was all said and done, I overstamped the image with my MISTI. I love being able to stamp my image in a light ink, watercolor over it, and then make it crisp and perfect on top just by leaving the stamp in the MISTI. Makes me look like I know what I'm doing. :)

BYO Sunshine by Understand Blue - Distress Ink, Technique Junkies, and the MISTI

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I did a quick video on this background, and how I got the texture at the bottom and the mixing in the sky and at the horizon. You can see it here.

I feel like this card subconsciously goes with my egg theme with all that pretty yellow.

Please feel free to invest your life savings in my upstart Granny Grub venture. I appreciate you!

PS - if you placed an order with me this week and chose "No Contact" - your email address is not shared with me and I can't even say thank you. :( So to the person that placed an order which included Picture Perfect and a French language set - please contact me - I'd love to give you my Picture Perfect Online Class to go with your purchase!

PPS - my next retreat is the weekend of July 9th - registration will open soon, and it will fill up fast, so be on the lookout!

PPPS - I did a SUPER fun podcast interview with Amy Kunkle from Crazy BeYOUtiful about creating community, about working in the craft industry and all sorts of other topics here. I think you'll enjoy it as well as her other podcasts - she has a great conversational style and a lot of crafty wisdom to impart - this will be a podcast I subscribe to. You can also listen in the embedded player below. 


Friday, March 4, 2016

Will (Not) Work For Coffee

I was driving home from the post office the other day, with coffee, and I was thinking about a topic that comes up again and again in my line of work - which is community and social media management.

It's the idea of coffee as some sort of magical currency.

In all the other types of work I've done in my life, not once has anyone ever offered to pay me in coffee.

However, in both the digital world, and the art world, coffee is like the beads and spices of the 1400's.

When was the last time you called up your doctor and said "Hey Dr. Bones - I would love to buy you a coffee and have you look at this rash!" and Dr. Bones was all - "Man, I sure love coffee - I'd love to get paid one coffee for what other people pay me $800 for! I'll be right there!"

I'm going to bet never, ever.

Then there's the UBER powerful combination of coffee + brain picking. Those go like this:

"I'd LOVE to buy you coffee sometime and pick your brain on (insert topic here)."

Coffee alone is SO enticing, but coffee AND brain picking? I might run out of the house before I even get dressed!

It's high time for this bizarre custom to end. It's an hourly wage of roughly $2. $6 if you buy a fancy coffee with three toppings and four shots of espresso. So expressing outrage that people who fry nuggets for you only make $11 an hour while "paying" professional people for their time with $2 coffees is a wee bit hypocritical.

And I hold the coffee DRINKERS responsible for this, not the coffee BUYERS. If you let someone pay you in $2 hot brown bean water for your expertise, you are telling society that that is a going rate for professional services. The rat has pressed the lever and gotten his rat chow. So what the rat will do next time is - you guessed it - press the lever.

So instead of not drinking the Kool-aid, I strongly advise you not to drink the coffee as a professional of any kind. Use the money you earn from your work or your art to buy your own dang coffee.

This falls under the filter into which go all my activities. For me to spend my time on something, it has to do one of the following:

  • Be fun
  • Pay me
I do things which are not fun, but only if I'm getting paid. I also do fun things which pay me and fun things which do not pay me. My decision making process is super easy, and this means I never end up sitting in a boring meeting where someone is reading the minutes from the last boring meeting anymore without getting paid handsomely. I wrote an impassioned and, frankly, hilarious post about one of the things that birthed the construction of this filter in this blog post. Thank you boring art guilds for helping me build my fancy filter!

**Edited to add** What's so funny this week is that, just like what is described in Big Magic, this idea was not only on my mind, but was floating around the universe. As I was preparing this post, my friend Lani also wrote an article about it, probably after turning down 50 requests to get paid in coffee for her expertise. A group of us had discussed this hot (see what I did there?) topic passionately last year, and she circled back with an article. She has one acceptable scenario for the coffee in her article that I actually agree with - and that is that mentoring people is always good, and falls outside of the coffee as currency model I object to. So you can see her article here, along with other wise and hilarious musings - she's a certified People's Republic of Austin treasure.

I'm the host of this week's Mix-Ability challenge at Splitcoast, and you know how I love to avoid talking about the news by not really talking about the news, right? So I decided to ignore real life by making this week's challenge all about the PRIMARIES.


The challenge is to use two or more mediums but ONLY in the primary colors.

Here are the primaries, represented by cats, created by The Girl Who Wore Red.

That's pretty much everything you need to know about life in one picture. If only voting were this simple.

So I took my Clarity Stamp Stencil Brushes and did a soft progression of primaries in a taped off rectangle. Then I used my Happy Patterns stencils, and did three iterations of the diamond shape, each one a bit offset, in each of the same three colors - Daffodil Delight, Melon Mambo, Tempting Turquoise. Then I added two sentiments - one from So You (retired) and then Words of Truth.

What's nearly impossible to see here - you can see it at the bottom, is that I also used that stencil to apply translucent embossing paste to the card base just to continue the pattern. Sorry - I took the photo in bright sunlight. 

At first I only did one offset, but then I thought - why not do all three - and it ended up looking like those things you can only see with 3D glasses and I love it. Gloriously mind-boggling.

I think I'll be on this stencil kick for a bit - it's just too fun and easy. Although I do have another obsession you'll be seeing very soon :).

Hope you'll come play along with the challenge. No deadlines, very few rules - inspiration only :).


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