Tuesday, December 31, 2019

With 2019 In The Rearview - Seasons Givings Year 8 Blog Hop & Giveaway

Ahh - I can't believe its time for my favorite blog hop of the year already!

It's my favorite because it's my chance to thank you for supporting me this year. Thank you for your comments, your video views, for purchasing through my links, for sending me cards, and for encouraging me!

I'm very grateful to each and every one of you. I read every single comment on my blog, and it's so uplifting and inspiring, and keeps me feeling creative and energized, so thank you.

The way we give back to our readers for this event is through individual giveaways at each stop on the blog hop, and I have a really awesome one for one lucky commenter, and two other individual stamp set prizes! Details below!

You are going to see a lot of crafty inspiration on tonight's blog hop, so I thought I'd take a different approach and see if I could give you a gift that might help you with one of your New Year's Resolutions! Are you resolved to be more organized in this new year of a new decade?

Well I sat down and documented how I store and catalog my stamps, dies and stencils, which is something I finally crossed off my list in 2019 and I thought I'd share all that with you, with a video tutorial on how I use the software I use to store and retrieve my stamps while I'm designing.

I design cards by starting with a stamp image. I then search my entire inventory by keyword for the absolute perfect sentiment. Before I had this system, I was really under-utilizing all the diverse images and sentiments I have! This system absolutely increases the value of my crafty collection, because I have access to every sentiment, every image, every word die, every stencil pattern with just a few keystrokes. To find what I'm looking for by manually flipping through all my stamp sets would take HOURS, and now it just takes me seconds! The small amount of work on the front end is well worth the productivity gains.

First, I wanted something that matched the way I store my stamps completely. I store my stamps, dies and stencils in only three sizes of pockets, and two bins. I store the small stamps together, alphabetically by manufacturer, and within manufacturer, alphabetically.

Large stamps are together,  and filed the same way. Stencils are stored in the same pockets and bins I use for large stamps.

Dies are stored in a medium pocket, alphabetically within manufacturer, in two rows in the top of a Raskog cart.

Here's what I use - it's pretty simple.

On to the online organization! I tried ALL the apps prior to this one and none were that Goldilocks "just right" like this one is. 

I use the my beloved Airtable as a starting point. You can get a free Airtable account at this link. I customized it completely to my needs, so you'll see what I did in the video, but you can customize yours to your unique needs! Here's a screenshot. You'll see more in the video, but you can see I have a stamp set photo, link, all the sentiments in the set, themes and a link to the matching dies. I love it so much! It's available as a phone app and a desktop app - I type better on a real keyboard, so I put the stamp set names in on my phone and add the sentiments, etc. on my computer

So here's the video - stay tuned below for how you can win more than $300 worth of brand new stamps & dies from me, and the list of the other people participating in the hop and their prizes!

Airtable: Organize your stamps & dies
[ ART ]
#LETTERSFORHENRY - Unity Stamp Company
[ UNT ]
Small Stamp Storage Bins for 5x7 pockets
Large Stamp Storage Bins
Stamp Pocket Labels
Essentials by Ellen Storage...
[ ELH ]
Die Storage - Clear Storage Pockets...
[ CHC ]
XL Stamp Storage Pockets
[ ELH ]
Amazon.com: Kamenstein 5204110...
Amazon.com : One Step Hair Dryer and...
Amazon.com: SENSI-CARE Sensi-Care...

Fun, right? And easy once you see it all set up.

Before I go, I wanted to share a few of my life favorites I've added to My Favorite Things lists here.

  • A nurse from Kaiser in California shared this lifechanging adhesive remover spray with us this year. If you have been in the hospital and had a lot of things stuck all over you and had the skin irritation that comes with removing them - this is a lifesaver, and can prevent infection by preserving your skin - you spray it on and it instantly releases adhesive. 
  • This amazing hair dryer/styling tool. I decided to treat myself with a more expensive (really expensive) version for my birthday. It worked for two seconds and died. The replacement they sent me worked for two seconds and died. I did not try for a third and just got my money back. This new one at 1/10th the price is FANTASTIC. There's also a travel case for it. 
  • I shared this earlier, but if there was a fan club for this ratcheting paper towel holder, I'd be the president. Truly a one-handed paper towel dispenser and heavy duty and awesome.
Be sure and check out my other lists, especially if you like true crime podcasts or food, or crafty things

Want to know about my prize? I have a giant bundle of brand new stamps and dies for you! I have two stamp + die bundles, three standalone dies and NINE stamp sets - all from some of my favorite companies. But because I love surprises, I'm going to let my winner be surprised when it arrives. I'll only give you a peek at one of the stamp sets, which is one of my favorites. I brought this story over from the true crime community into the stamping community in 2018 with a little hashtag on myInstagram and this story on my blog (please read - it will touch your heart), and this year Unity brought it to life in a stamp set, and it makes me so happy. It's a story I think about daily. So this is one of the stamp sets I'm including.

In order to be eligible for my prize, all you have to do is leave me a comment with your favorite moment from 2019! I'll post the winner on my blog on January 6th, so get your comments in before then!

So as you head into the next decade, enjoy some inspiration from my friends, and some awesome separate giveaways at each hop!

 YOU ARE HERE >>> Lydia Fiedler  <<< YOU ARE HERE


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Holidays in Ink

I wanted to stop by with a VERY quick video today, and a message for whatever today looks like for you.

If it looks like Christmas - Merry Christmas.

If it's a time of year that's hard for you - I get it. I wish you a day of peace and quiet, or a movie, or a few hours with a good book, or a nap, a crafty day or just a day with your DND on on your phone and some Candy Crush.

Whatever it looks like - do it. And do it with no guilt. Life is short. Make every day what you want it to be, even if it's Christmas, and you feel like something is expected of you. I just expect you to have a day of happiness and peace, however that looks.

I've had a very busy few weeks, work-wise, and I might just sleep all day. I might find out what my phone actually does - as I just recently discovered it has a right or left-handed keyboard option that squinches the keyboard so you can type with one hand!

I might launch a project or two I've been wanting to launch for a while.

I might finalize the details of a very fun teaching event in Florida in the spring.

Or I might sleep. Maybe a coin toss is in order.

I am so thrilled to have tried out the new Atelier pigment fusion inks. They are so much fun and so unique!

Here are some of the things they do:
  • Use with Copics when dry.
  • Water reactive.
  • Watercolor with the inks - great blending. 
  • BUTTERY ink blending.
  • When used with water, the ink is just as vibrant when dry, so this is different from traditional watercolor. 
  • High pigment content.
  • They layer beautifully, since they are pigment, not dye. 
  • Crisp details when used to stamp because of the pigment content. 
  • Full line has reinkers.
So I was intrigued.

Whenever I try out a new medium, I like to film it so that I can document my results and reactions in real time, so I did that for a few minutes this week.

Water reactivity is pretty much my favorite, so I started with that.

First, I stamped the ornament from my friend Karen's beautiful first stamp set from WOW in Simon Says Stamp Intense Black ink. Then I applied gloss medium to the ornament to protect that from the color.

I used my craft mat and directly applied the ink to the mat and spritzed with water, before picking up the wet ink with my hot press watercolor paper with the image stamped on it.

While the ink was still wet, I flicked water onto it to test the reactivity - you'll see it develop in the video!

I cleaned off the ornament with water to make the details pop, and added these rainbow rhinestones at the end. The sentiment is from the same set.

I don't think I've ever watercolored with a pigment ink before. If so, I don't remember it! But one of the things that intrigued me about these Fusion inks is that you can also watercolor with them! So I wanted to see what the transparency and layering was like, so I used an ornament from the same set, and just used the reinker (shake well) and a fine water brush with them to layer the red and purple inks with water and I was amazed - not only does the ink watercolor and layer beautifully, but just in the red alone - there seems to be a big range in the color. So the red ink appears to be a warm red when applied very intensely with little water - but in the middle of the ornament where I added a ton more water, you can see that it appears as a cool pink! Magic! I added some of the purple in a few spots at the edges for interest. The sentiment is from the same set.
Here's the quick video for you showing you my process! Stay tuned below for probably my last recipe of the year.

Atelier Ink Pads
[ INK ]
Christmas Baubles by Karen Re tegui -...
[ WWM ]
Gloss Medium
[ BLIC ]
Gem Stickers | 300 Count | Holiday...
[ HNB ]
Simon Says Stamp Premium Ink Pad...
[ SSS ]
[ SSS ]
[ SSS ]
[ SSS ]
[ SSS ]
[ SSS ]
[ SSS ]
[ SSS ]
Inkon3 ATELIER MARILYN RED Fusion Ink...
[ SSS ]
VersaFine Clair Ink Pad, Nocturne -...
[ ELH | SSS ]
Fabriano Extra White Cold Press...
[ BLIC ]
Heavy Base Weight Card Stock- White
[ GNK ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ MSP | HA | SSS | ELH | MFT | UNT ]
Lawn Fawn STAMP SHAMMY Cleaner LF1045
[ SSS | ELH | CST | ART ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
Tombow MONO MULTI Liquid Glue Two...
[ SSS | MFT ]
LightView 2in1 LED Magnifier for...
[ BRG ]
Art Anthology BIG CRAFT MAT 24x36 311473
[ SSS ]
Mudder 10 Pack White Buffer Sanding...
Teflon Bone Folder - Ellen Hutson LLC
[ ELH | SSS ]
Crafter's Companion GEMINI...
[ SSS ]
Scor-Pal MINI SCOR-BUDDY Scoring...
[ SSS ]
Essentials by Ellen Storage...
[ ELH ]
Die Storage - Clear Storage Pockets...
[ CHC ]
XL Stamp Storage Pockets
[ ELH ]
Mermaid tidy towel case and glue...
[ ETS ]
Airtable: Organize your stamps & dies
[ ART ]

Aren't those fun? I can't wait to experiment a bit more.

Speaking of experimenting, I thought I'd share one more recipe before year end. After a failed chicken soup experiment in which I ended up calling my friend Mel for tips, I learned that Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat solves all the things. She told me to add lemon juice - and that made my bland soup perfect! So here you go!

Rotisserie Chicken Soup

1 Rotisserie Chicken, meat removed, bones reserved
2 long stalks fresh rosemary
Handful fresh thyme
Two long stalks fresh oregano
1 tsp. Cavender’s
⅛ tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. Sweet paprika
Juice of 2 lemons
3 carrots, sliced paper thin
4 ribs celery sliced thin
1 large sweet onion, diced.
1 large sweet onion rough chopped
1 TBS chicken base (Mel uses this one)
Salt to taste
Dried sweet basil  ¼ tsp ish.

Chop the herbs and divide. Put half into a stockpot with the bones of a rotisserie chicken, the
Cavender’s, chopped onion and a teaspoon salt. Boil for a while, then add basil and chicken base.
I boiled it for an hour or so. While that’s boiling for a few hours, saute veggies in olive oil with rest of
fresh herbs until soft - carrots al dente. Turn veggies off if needed to reduce chicken stock.
When reduced and delicious - adjust as needed - put strainer over pot with veggies and strain broth
into it. Bring to a boil and add matzoh balls or dumplings if desired. 

Who doesn't love a bowl of delicious chicken soup??

Hope you have a lovely, uniquely you day today. Merry Christmas!

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