Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Thankful Life

As the end of the year drew nigh, I was saddened by some posts where people were wishing 2016 away for one reason or another.

Most disturbing was the people who were ready to write off an entire year of their lives because some celebrities whom they've never met had died.

I don't remember who said it to me when I was little, but I do remember one time when I said I wished I was older, that someone said "don't wish your life away."

It stuck with me, and later, after I'd experienced some of the things that made me understand what that meant, I really appreciated that advice.

Life is short. Make the most of it. Every minute counts, even if they aren't great. And no famous person really impacts those minutes. Yes, you liked their movies, yes, it's sad they're gone, but at the end of the day your sunrises and sunsets and highs and lows aren't affected, so try not to overestimate their shadow on your days on the planet - they are pretty inconsequential, all things considered.

I thought 2016, like every other year, was awesome, and I thought I'd share some of my favorite things from this year that made it memorable.

  • I discovered this quirky chef's videos. He has a strange, sing-song way of talking, but he is HYSTERICAL, and quietly gets in some really dry, funny statements while presenting great recipes. This one is so funny and one of my favorites. 
  • We started Crafty Chat at Online Card Classes. Two incredible women I admire so much made time in their busy lives to let you get to know some people in our industry a little better. 
  • My sister and I re-arranged her art room so that we could have crafty days there - no rules, just work on whatever. Having a sister is a great gift - having a sister who shares your love of art is priceless. 
  • I got this recipe from a woman who attended a social media class I taught. It's amazing. 
  • I got this recipe from my friend Bev - it's now a staple in my house.
  • I tried this recipe at New Year's to honor my friend Leslie who passed away last Christmas. It's divine. She love jalapeno poppers like I love the sun. I don't love them, but I love this, and so it's a compromise. She loved compromise and peace. 
  • I saw the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix - put this one on your list. 
  • I had two retreats with amazing friends - I treasured these weekends. 
  • I started my online classes
  • I got better at watercolor. 
  • I listened to these books, among others: Born With Teeth, Five Days at Memorial, Dead Wake, Going Clear, Troublemaker, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Ghettoside, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, A Man Called Ove, A Great Reckoning.      
  • I discovered some amazing art products: These brushes, these watercolors, these watercolors, these watercolor powders, these brushes, this glimmery paste, this masking paper
  • The mini MISTI and Memory MISTI were introduced. 
  • I went to CHA.
  • I went to OnStage in Phoenix. 
  • I earned a trip to the Mediterranean and Thailand through Stampin' Up!
  • I was published several places, including Modern Woman and USA Today. 
  • I found the Cuttlelola Dots Pen
  • Shannon West launched the #imbringingbirthdaysback campaign. 
  • I planted a Coral Bell. It's one of my favorite plants in my garden. During an unseasonable cold snap in December, it froze. I did not consider this to be a sign that the entire year was horrid. Instead, I'm waiting to see if it will be okay. I would like everyone to do the same with everything. Everything might be okay if we stop freaking out and just see what happens.
  • We had a great crop of tomatoes and peppers in our tiny yard. Every time I grow something I can eat it brings me great joy and gives me a lot of control that maybe the rest of life doesn't offer.
  • It was a rainy year - which I don't love even a little, actually - I hate it - but it cost us a lot less in water and air conditioning and there were fewer bugs. I still hate it, but it didn't ruin my year.
  • I found LulaRoe leggings. Don't pretend like this isn't the best thing to happen to work at home people ever or I'll have to pinch you. 
  • I started a "bless my house" routine where at different intervals I tackled drawers, cabinets or closets that needed attention. I ended the year much more organized than I started. I can't think in an environment that is closing in on me. I will never say I'm officially an organized person, but I will say that I can conquer clutter, because clutter freaks my beak. I love the short term clutter of art, but that has to end and be beaten back so I can start again.
  • Speaking of blessing your house - at one retreat I got to visit Magnolia Market, which was awesome. It's beautiful and peaceful and has pretty things. Oddly enough I bought some washi tape there that says "bless your home" which I didn't put together with the previous bullet until just now. 
  • Pokemon Go came into the world. It's such a fun, social activity - and I've seen tons more people in our parks and lots more kids outside as a result - that makes the world better for sure. 
  • I started brushing up on Spanish with this great lesson series - I wish I'd had this in college. I love languages (well, except for French and German) and I enjoy learning them on my walks.
  • I bought the single most useful kitchen tool ever
  • I started meal planning and freezing food - saved me so much time. 
  • It was actually 2015 when I found Instacart, but it has changed my life, and is the single biggest contributor to my ability to blog and create. I hope you have it in your area. I haven't been in a grocery store in more than two years, and I can't tell you how much money and time that has saved me.
I could go on and on, honestly - but it was a wonderful year, and no amount of politics or celebrities could tarnish it. 

I hope 2017 is twice as awesome. 

Today marks the beginning of the Occasions Mini Catalog AND the Sale-a-Bration catalog! They are both full of awesome, and we have an awesome starter bundle special too - add any two stamp sets - ANY PRICE - to the bundle for free. You have no obligation to "sell" anything and can join my awesome team Facebook group if you purchase it, so click here to get a heck of a deal. If you need the new catalogs, let me know.

I've been working on some new online classes out of the new catalog over the holiday, and two of them are already up on my class page, featuring the Easter Message stamp set - I have both a religious class and a non-religious class available now. I think you will love them both! They feature some fun new coloring techniques. 

But then I needed to work on some birthday cards for the new year, so I sat down and just played. I love the Thankful Life host set - the images are so crisp and layer perfectly. I decided to challenge myself and see if I could get all four images on the MISTI for making multiples - and I won the challenge! So first, here's the card I made, with the vase of flowers peeking in from the side. I used Birthday Blast for the sentiment and went with all grey to really make the flowers pop. 

Layering Stamps with the MISTI by UnderstandBlue

Just to show you how I pulled this off, I made you a video. It's a really quick card - you just have to take a few minutes to figure out how to set your MISTI up.

Strangely enough the stamp set name lined up with what I wanted to day today.

Funny how that works.



  1. Happy New Year - we have a lot to be grateful each day to the fullest! Blessing,

  2. I love this card. Thanks for the tips!

  3. This is absolutely beautiful! Love the grey vase, it makes the colorful flowers really stand out. Love this so much I just had to comment! (I also like your comments about the New Year. Very true!)

  4. Beautiful card!! I tried to go to the "awesome starter bundle" link but when I get there it says that they are closed for maintenance. Do you know if this is in error or if it isn't when will they be back up and running? THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP!

    1. Hi Barbara!! The website crashed this morning but it's up now! :)

  5. Lovely letter - great encouragement - fond memories - some same as mine - the visit to Phoenix Botanical Gardens, Onstage in Phoenix, Magnolia (what a treat that was). I so enjoy your blog every time you issue one. Thanks much.

  6. What a great post you wrote ! So far, I didn't check all the links, but what you say is so true !
    Thank you !
    Warm greetings from Belgium.

  7. I loved your blog and beautiful card. 2016 was great for me - new granddaughter, Grace Elizabeth.

  8. I so agree with your post. My year was not as amazing as yours but right up there. Thanks so much for the positive memories, I will try to do the same in the coming year...

  9. Chef John!!! He has a really really good recipe for crock pot pot roast; it tastes like the one my mom used to make but never showed me how to!

    you have mad mad skills with that MISTI, woman, and i'm SO relieved to know that all that stamping that i THOUGHT was going on the base of your MISTI is actually on a piece of scrap paper! WHEW!!

    2016 was wonderful here too--new daughter (in law)!!

  10. Loved this post...totally agree with is definitely too short to waste with negativity when there is so much positive in the world...yesterday I saw Kimberlystamps on IG and she made a positive jar for her family for this year and on new years eve they will read them...going to do the same.

  11. Thanks for this great positive post, Lydia!

  12. I am going to have to say that you are by far, the BEST blogger out there. Not only are you incredibly crafty - I love SU and all the other products you use - but you're also hilarious. <<< That says a lot coming from me since I am not known for having a sense of humor! I also appreciate your non-crafty ideas. I can't wait to try Instacart and that do-hickey (kitchen tool) from Amazon. Here's to a fantastic 2017, Lydia!

  13. Beautiful card and love this post, Lydia! Thanks for being a positive role model for all of us. Happy New Year!

  14. I am grateful to have found you from the Crafty Chat series. You really made 2016 a lot of fun and I know your sense of humor and irony will make 2017 even better.

  15. This post is so amazing - so uplifting and so full of hope!! Way to look for all the good that came about this year!! Such an example to me!!

  16. What a lovely post, Lydia. Thank you for sharing. I definitely want to try making the Thai Chili Sauce....yum!!! The "bless this house" routine is a brilliant idea!!! OMG...I am going to start that routine right now!! Also, thank you for introducing the Jokari Hands-Free Baggy Rack Clip Food Storage Bag Holder to looks like a must-have! Wish I had learned of it before the holidays....would have made great stocking stuffers. Will definitely use them for stuffers next year. ;) I adore your CAS card. It's my favorite card-making style. Love the bright colors on the flowers.

  17. What lovely thoughts, Lydia. Gratefulness is wonderful to have whether it's the close of the year or beginning a new one. Off to check some of your recipe links. Beautiful card too, as always! Hugs~

  18. I loved this post! Thanks for speaking out with your perspective!

  19. Thanks for sharing your highlights. You got my super excited with the Instacart business. Sadly, they are not in my area yet. But what a fabulous idea! I would gladly swap grocery shopping time for... just about anything else, but especially crafting time! :) And you got me excited to see all the CHA sneak peeks soon! Yay!

  20. Excellent, excellent post. So enjoyable to read. Thanks for the recipes too!



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