Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Real Danger Lurking in Your Dryer Vent + Watercolor Video + Giveaway + Sale

*Compensated affiliate links used where possible at zero cost to you. No posts are ever sponsored or paid.*

Before I get to my terrifying true story about a dryer vent today, I wanted to let you know that I did something I'm pretty proud of, despite having an extremely chaotic 2019. I've started a lot of art projects that I meant to do daily, or monthly or whatever - you know - daily art journaling, temperature charts, art calendars. But I never finished any of them. Travel, work or life always intervened. Which is fine - at least I started.

But last year, I committed to do one watercolor painting per month for a secret Instagram account I had, documenting the last known place a missing person I had read about was seen.

And I did it. I finished the project, and I painted all twelve and posted them to Instagram. I never said who they were, and I hoped against hope that by the end of 2019, at least one of the 12 mysteries would be solved. Sadly, all 12 of these people - some children, some adults - are still missing.

I haven't decided what to do with these little paintings, but if you'd like to see them, and see if you know who they're about, you can see that account here.

On to the dryer vent. I saw a Facebook ad the other day trying to scare everyone to death about dryer lint setting their house on fire. Well I've got something scarier than lint to tell you about your dryer.

In the part of Texas where I live, the predominant tree is knobby little live oak trees that form a canopy across most neighborhoods. In this canopy, lives a critter called a Roof Rat. This is actually an adorable rat, with big round Mickey Mouse ears and a cute face. But you have to make sure they aren't finding their way into your attic and destroying everything, especially in winter when the little buggers get cold.

So one night, many years ago, after moving into this house with our previous cat, Spot, we were watching TV one night, and my husband's recliner, in which he sat with Spot on his lap, has a direct sightline to the hallway containing the laundry room. Suddenly, with no reaction from the cat, by the way, he sees a Roof Rat, galloping down the hallway straight towards him. We couldn't believe our eyes! We jumped up (cat still can't be bothered) and run after the rat, who runs into the laundry room, and back into the silver dryer vent from whence he came! There was a Tasmanian Devil style hole in the side of the vent, where he had punched through to enter the house after crawling in our dryer vent from the outside to get warm.

That was before I got a PhD in dryer vent technology. The vent we had just had a little flap that opened when hot air blew through it - the hot air being basically a welcome wagon for cold rodents, apparently. I called a company that came out and installed a varmint-proof vent (because it's not legal/code to put wire or anything over the opening because that can create a fire hazard) that has a strong magnet that holds it closed when the dryer is off - I can't even open it myself.

So next time you think dryer lint is your biggest problem - look into a magnetic dryer vent. You're welcome.

Anyway - I have a watercolor video for you today with some tips on using an underpainting technique to add color interest to your paintings. I'm using this stunning lemon stamp set I got in January but hadn't had a chance to work with yet. It's so pretty that I want you to have one! So I'm giving one away - stay tuned after the video!

I stamped the image in Fadeout Ink with the MISTI on cold press watercolor paper. Then I painted it with Daniel Smith Watercolor - all the colors I used are listed in the video. Such a fun and relaxing image to paint. And guess what? The entire store is on sale for 20% off through Sunday - click here for sale details and fine print, and use code HEART20. Enjoy :)

So do you want to see the world's cutest handmade mixing palette that I used in the video? And yes, it's a mouse. :) Check this out. She's on Etsy here.

And here's the video!

Pucker Up
[ PFS ]
Pucker Up Coordinating Die – Picket...
[ PFS ]
Сeramic palette LUCKY MOUSE for...
[ ETS ]
Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors
[ BLIC ]
Fadeout No Line coloring Detail Ink
[ INK ]
The Ultimate Mixing Palette: a World...
[ BLR ]
VersaFine Clair Ink Pad, Nocturne -...
[ ELH | SSS ]
Escoda Versatil Brushes, Travel Round...
[ UTR | BLIC | INK ]
Fabriano Extra White Cold Press...
[ BLIC ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ MSP | HA | SSS | ELH | MFT | UNT ]
Zots™ Singles • Medium | Therm O Web...
[ THR ]
Lawn Fawn STAMP SHAMMY Cleaner LF1045
[ SSS | ELH | CST | ART ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
Nesting Porcelain Bowls - BLICK art...
[ BLIC ]
My Favorite Watercolor Sketchbook
[ UTR ]
Tombow MONO MULTI Liquid Glue Two...
[ SSS | MFT ]
LightView 2in1 LED Magnifier for...
[ BRG ]
Airtable: Organize your stamps & dies
[ ART ]

Isn't that fun?

Do you want to win this stamp set? Just leave me a comment telling me if you've ever had an unexpected encounter with a critter in your home or yard!



  1. Yes! And yes it was a mouse. The first home we built was finished in winter. A mouse moved in through unfinished basement doors and windows before we did.
    Then here one found our doggie door and coming in at night. He can no longer use the doggie door.
    On a side note I’m like an elephant and afraid of mice. Like jump on chairs kinda crazy. Even though I know they can climb better than I can.

    Beautiful water coloring. Stinks no one was found. So scary.

    And beautiful card today.

  2. While camping last year at Calico Ghost Town we had rattlesnakes both nights cruise thru our campsite, my husband and others tried shooing it away and even using a shovel to move one away, the darn thing came back into camp.. That was my sign to go to bed.

  3. Had a rattlesnake a few year ago in the garage. All curled up in the corner and hissing! Called a Catch and Release snake service and got that guy a new place to take up residence far away from my home.

  4. OH god, I thought you were going to share another friggin snake story, glad it was a cute rat, and your lemons are lovely!...

  5. We live out in the country, so it's not uncommon for critters to find their way inside. I found a baby snake in my craft room once and we had a squirrel chew the wires to our satellite TV. That got a chuckle from the repair person I spoke with, although she said she had heard of this, but never knew it was a real possibility.

  6. Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks so much for the leaf tips!

  7. I took a look at your little drawings, and they are all so thoughtful and beautiful! I hope you do something wonderful with them all. Behind each one lies a certain sadness, some kind of feeling that a sad story has occurred at each location. One day, I hope you can do even more little paintings that carry a hidden joy, such as where people are found, or where a happy event took place. I love knowing that there are thoughtful, kind, conscientious makers and artists in the world.

  8. Moles! Unexpected and unwanted. I have to say that this is one of my favorite paintings of yours. It is just beautiful and I learned a lot as you explained it. Oh my goodness you are patient. And that’s why your work is so beautiful.

  9. As hubby was scooping sunflower seeds into a clear bird feeder, he scooped a shiny rat right up and into the feeder. Beautiful lemon and your 12 paintings are amazing!

  10. I have a raccoon in the neighborhood and he was climbing our (metal) deck posts and got onto our roof. I'm sure he was going to damage the roof or vent to try and get in. I had to lure him off the roof with cat food, what a thug! An adorable thug.

  11. Lydia! Why was your tribute painting account secret? They’re beautiful and haunting knowing their inspiration.
    These need to be in a gallery with the story of their people.
    Rats, mice and “cute” rodent is a destructive evil villain! I need one of those magnetic closures! Our vent is just angled downward, no screen or flap.
    I want those lemons. Pick me. 😁

  12. This is suburban California but we still have lots of critters: oppossums, raccooons, skunks even deer. There are some that we have adopted but only mice have actually made it into the house. They do love our garage though and one year an oppossum set himself up in our garage cabinets: once cabinet for a bathroom and one for a bedroom. He had a warm place plus cat food to fill his hungry belly. I felt bad chasing him off but my husband didn't appreciate having to clean the cabinets.

  13. The mice have used my dryer vent for entrance to the garage,
    and eventually the house. I put down pellets and that
    seemed to discourage them after a few of them got sick
    (or worse). Hasn't happened in a new years (knock on
    wood). Love your paint palette. Would love to win
    the stamp set. thanks for the offer.

  14. I was doing laundry one day in our old, 150 year old, drafty farmhouse, and I looked over to where I had an old crinoline underskirt hanging, and saw a fairly large tarantula caught in between the layers! After I squealed, jumped, and then got my heart back in my chest, I took the crinoline outside and let it go. We have them all over our back yard. I have quite a few stories about tarantulas and scorpions. And field mice and gopher rats. But those are for another time. :-)

  15. We had some critters build a humongous nest in out attic; and we had something crawl under our deck and die (because it couldn't get back out, and thus, we couldn't get under there without cutting a hole in the deck), which stunk up the basement and parts of the house so badly that I wanted to move!

  16. After remodeling our home (and storing everything in the garage), I went to look for something in the boxes in the garage. I opened one box and thought, "fur?", when whatever was inside jumped at my face, onto my head and scratched its way down the back of my head. Plop on the floor was a roan colored rat, probably protecting her nest. All I could think was, "what a waste of beautiful fur on a rat!". Thankfully no rabies reported in our county.

  17. Wow! Didn't realize how much of a difference under painting made, thanks! Yep, had a surprising visit at 11:00 am! (in the sunshine) from a family of four raccoons snacking on apples dropped from our trees!

  18. When I lived in Austin TX we had a HUGE millipede nesting in the dryer vent! Laundry isn’t a favorite chore but it has never before caused me to scream like I did. I still don’t like to clean out the dryer vent. Thanks for the tip on magnetic vents! LOVED your lemons and leaves painting process, thank you for sharing your tips and techniques and generous giveaway.

  19. Love your blog Lydia! Shortly after we moved to San Antonio, our dog was going nuts outside at night around the grill so I turned on the outside lights and opened the grill to see a tooth-baring, hissing roof rat from a Steven King horror film...had no idea what it was, but it was apparently pissed that I interrupted it's tasty clean up of the grill. Ran back inside with the dog and had nightmares all night.

  20. Yes, snakes! Well, not just a couple of them. We moved to the country in February 6 yrs. ago and didn't realize that there were 2 snake dens on our property. I decided to change the wood chips around the house to pine straw that May. I got greeted by a snake standing up and not happy. As I turned the corner I saw several of them. They were crawling down into a hole up against our house. I kept working since they didn't bother me. When Mike got home I wanted to show him, and there were about 10 or so all twisted up into a pretzel shape getting sun and keeping warm together. Weird! We ended up getting rid of several snakes and their dens, but it wasn't fun. BTW, thank you for the video. I learned a lot and I appreciate you sharing with us. Your card is simply Gorgeous and quite realistic!

  21. So pretty. I enjoyed watching you paint. Thanks for the info about the under painting. We live in the country so am always worried about fritters.

  22. My cat brought home a wonderful gift of a bird she captured. I didn't see the bird when I let her in the house. Of course the was only playing with the bird and let it go inside the house - hmmm.

  23. Beautiful!! I enjoyed the video and all the tips and information provided. I have had several encounters with critters. I've had moose, deer, and turkeys in my front yard. Years ago I had a possum that ran across my patio about the same time every evening. I named him Peppy! Recently, I had a mouse family set up home in my car.

  24. Lol, I live in Alaska. I have encounters all the time with critters both inside and out. Like the ermine in the pantry one winter... or the mama moose showing her twin calves how to eat the bark on my cherry tree in the yard... or the young moose jumping over my six foot garden fence but not figuring how to get out once he was done with my greens and called mom for help... but the FUNNIEST one is when my then-10-yr-old daughter had a young Norwegian Fjord/Quarter horse she was training and he was corralled at the bottom of our yard. He came from a large herd and loved other animals, dogs, cats, porcupines... brown bears! My daughter checked on Buck, all the time just by glancing out the large dining room windows. One evening in summer we were watching TV and during a commercial she popped up off the floor to look out the window and saw a young brown bear, who had come down the road, and her beloved Buck just about to touch noses over the corral fence! She shrieked, "BEAR!!" at the top of her lungs. Our screen door was open, so both horse and bear heard her shriek! She went storming out the screen door yelling at the bear to get away from her horse, but by that time both horse and bear had fled in opposite directions in terror at her shriek!! I doubt that bear ever approached another animal it had never seen before again. Buck was fine after my daughter gave him a talking to about what to be friendly with and what to stay away from!
    Life in Alaska is always interesting...


Every time you leave a comment, a new LOLcat is born. ALSO - don't panic if you don't see your comment right away - I moderate my comments to keep those spammers out, so your comment will show up in short order. Unless you're linking me to Russian brides or Nigerian princes.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...