Saturday, October 3, 2020

A Spooky Tale + Giveaway

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Now that it's October, it's time for scary stories. So I have a real life scary story from my misspent youth. 

A friend who will remain nameless lived on a street with an empty, we thought haunted, house. 

It actually turned out to be pretty creepy, although I don't think haunted. 

One day we had the extremely brilliant idea of going over there and checking it out. This day is burned into my memory. 

Now an important thing to note about Gen X kids is that we were all driving LITERAL junk cars. Cars that were 20 or more years old, that cost $5 and imperiled us at every turn. I drove a 1968 Cutlass Supreme - the color of toothpaste, that would die if I stopped at a stop sign. I had to hop out of the car, ballpoint pen in hand, pop the 300 pound hood, stick the ballpoint pen in the carburetor to hold the valve open, hop back in the car, start it, hop out, grab the pen, shut the hood, and drive off in shame. 

at every stop sign

The glamour. The endless glamour.

But, my point is - it imperiled us to drive these junkers when were doing nefarious things, like exploring an empty house with a deranged caretaker. PERHAPS THAT WAS MY DAD'S PLAN. 

So back to the house. We parked at my friend's house in another friend's junk car and walked over to the spooky house. Once inside, we scared ourselves half to death by opening closets, etc. It was VERY creepy and very abandoned.

I opened a cabinet in the spooky, empty living room, and I was astonished to see that the back of the cabinet had a sliding door. 

So, naturally, because teenagers don't know about murder and whatnot, I slid the back of the cabinet open. Only to see that it led to a secret room!!!! 

I screamed. My other friends came running. I SAID "THERE IS A SECRET ROOM."

Scared literally halfway to death, we did the rational, teenage thing and crawled through the cabinet to the secret room. I really have no idea why I'm alive. Also, I can't remember if I ever told my mom this story, so sorry mom - if you're reading this - we were dumb! 

Standing up in the small, secret room, the three of us see what was in it. 

Three suitcases. Sitting in the middle of this closet sized room. Large, medium and small. 

We were truly terrified at this point, but not so terrified that we didn't come up with the bright idea of looking in the suitcases. I was nominated to put one flat on the floor to open. I grabbed the handle to move it and the suitcase was HEAVY. Like really heavy. At that point we had had enough of this creepy house and we ran out of the secret room and the house, panicking and screaming. We came out through the backyard and were running around the corner of the house when suddenly a man appears screaming at us to get out of there. We looked back, and some pretty grungy dude in a wife beater WITH A SHOTGUN is yelling at us from the property next door.

We kept running - across the street to my friend's junk car - dive in and tell him to go - and the car doesn't start. We were screaming at him that he flooded it or somehow this was his fault, but it was just a terrible ancient car. Meanwhile, scary caretaker dude with the shotgun is closing the considerable distance between the scary house and the dead car! Just like in a movie, right when shotgun dude is about to step off the curb and cross the street and kill us all, the car starts, and my friend burns rubber and we drove off and went to regroup at Taco Bell. Enchiritos were the magical healing elixir of the 80s - just trust me on this.

I don't know if this is true or not, but we were later told the house was owned by a large soft drink company, which I will leave nameless, who paid the caretaker to look after it. I'd add, they should have fired him because clearly there were three bodies in suitcases in the secret room, but whatever.  

That plus Amityville Horror - and I'm done going in creepy houses. But since I KNOW how creepy they are in real life I absolutely can't resist them on cards. 


So I used my alcohol fineliners to color this amazingly detailed house image. No way could I do this without the fineliners! I did video this, and even edited it but at the end of the day it was boring - just a sped up coloring video where you couldn't see much detail, so I trashed it and spared you. 

I kept it super simple - six markers in a creepy color scheme. My favorite is the chimney and the black windows instead of lit windows! So fun! The sentiment is cut from this yummy black glitter paper with these alphabet dies.

You can use my coupon code on the fineliners - it's in the footer of this post.

A Spooky Day – Picket Fence Studios
[ PFS ]
CZ Design Wafer Dies Archie Jr Solid
[ SSS ]
Neutrals Glitter Paper Pack - Concord...
[ C&9 ]
Graphit — Marker Universe
[ MRK ]
My Sweet Petunia
[ MSP ]
Pre-Cut & Scored Cardstock
[ CTC ]
Art Anthology BIG CRAFT MAT 24x36 311473
[ SSS ]
Heavy Base Weight Card Stock- White
[ GNK ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
LightView 2in1 LED Magnifier for...
[ BRG ]
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 ]
Lawn Fawn STAMP SHAMMY Cleaner LF1045
[ SSS | CST ]
Airtable: Organize your stamps & dies
[ ART ]

This is part of a blog and Instagram hop today to celebrate my friend Erica's Instagram following! One lucky winner will get a $100 shopping spree here, and there are other prizes along the hop! I'm giving away the If You've Got It, Haunt It stamp set, because it felt appropriate! :) Just leave me a comment telling me the dumbest thing you ever did to be entered to win! I'll announce the winner next week.

Then stop by my friends for their giveaways, and check out Instagram for more chances as well. Also - new coupon code in the footer on stunning chalk paint.

15% off anything at Marker Universe or any of their other sites - Understandblue15.
10% off the whole store at A Colorful Life Designs - LydiaFan10
5% off at LBC here with code LYDIA5
Beautiful chalk paint at 20% off with code UNDERSTANDBLUE through 12/31
Phone stand for filming link below in the banner - 20% off sitewide with code UNDERSTANDBLUE


  1. What a terrific story! My first car was a big red Nova and it drove like a dream. Unfortunately a HUGE cement mixer type truck rammed me from behind and ended it's life. The next car died at every stoplight once it had been driven for longer than an hour. We have a funny newlywed-off to see the parents story that lives on because of that vehicle. Not as great a story as your creepy house story though. I imagine you are still wondering what was inside those cases! I LOVE your coloring on the spooky house! Stunning!

  2. Omg you have the best stories and I as I read that I totally heard your voice!!!! We had a creepy house like that way off in the “bushes” NEVER in a million years could I have gone in it... I’m a chicken and get scared way to easy. This is a great stamp set and I love your card!!! Creepy houses for the win!!!!

  3. Bloody hell, Lydia!! How in the heck were you not all murdered that day?!?!?! Ay ay ay! That was a hair raising read!

  4. What a fun Halloween card! Your wonderful colouring really brings the old house to life! Thanks for the inspiration! Take care! :)

  5. Lydia, first.. I love that stamp set... it has everything creepy halloweeny in it.. 2nd.. I loved your story even more........... I can really picture shotgun guy coming at you and the car won't start, just like in TWD.... I don't have a creepy story cause I was a cowardly mousy thing back then. :) Loveya. Gail

  6. Oh that is quite a story! I wonder what was in those suitcases, though I would go with bodies too ;) The dumbest thing a girlfriend and I did was hop in a car with a man we didn't know to go a few blocks to the store in the rain - AND back home. I am still amazed we are alive to tell the tale. Awesome card! Love the purple, gray and green as a perfectly creepy color combo.

  7. I love your creepy story! I love creepy houses too! Another important thing to remember about Gen X kids is that we were ALWAYS alone - the very definition of latchkey kids, and somebody in the group always had a younger sibling they begrudgingly had to tow along too. So one day, very late in the afternoon one summer, before we would be called home for dinner, we decided to sneak into a very creepy old warehouse that looked abandoned, that was on this lot about a block from my house. We lived along a river, and this riverfront stretch was peppered with a house here and there, a warehouse, a grassy field or two, a mixed bag of a lack of city planning. The warehouse belonged to a factory, further down the riverfront, that made baby cribs. We all snuck in to this warehouse that had to have been 100 years old when I was a kid. It STILL stands on that riverfront today. It was really creepy, and full of dusty old baby cribs and broken crib parts. We had some scary fun jumping in the cribs and freaking each other out. I don't know how, but one of the kids we were with got his big foot stuck between the bars of this old baby crib. We tried to bust him out. wiggle him out, take his shoe off, but couldn't free him. We had to go for help but like I said, we could have been a latchkey GANG! Nobody had a parent who was home. Doug was screaming, get me out, wait, don't leave me alone, and the late afternoon sun was starting to fade. Then Timmy remembered that his older brother was at baseball practice at the school, which was about six blocks from the warehouse. We were like 10, so Timmy's older brother was in 8th grade at St. Pete's. We RAN to the school, leaving Doug alone in the warehouse screaming in the near total darkness at this point. We were like 5 or 6 little kids, with somebody's little brother along too, and we rushed up to Ronnie, standing there on second base, all out of breath and shouting that Dougie was in danger at the warehouse. So, then the 5 of us, and the baseball team, and the coach, who was like a high school kid with a beat-up car, all rush to the warehouse. The old beater, the kids running, the kids on bikes, all racing to the river. We pushed our way into that warehouse like a mob, a chaotic rush of screaming kids, still with no flashlight, all beating and pounding on this crib that would not bust apart. If it had, it probably would have shot a splinter rocker into some kid's eye. Then we heard a GUNSHOT and we all hit the floor. I thought I would poop my pants, I kid you not! We look toward this broken light flickering in through the busted door, and there is this weird guy known in the neighborhood as Jim, with his giant German Shepherd, barking his head off. Jim came home from Vietnam in a wheelchair, and back then, that meant he was weird. He lived in a creepy old house across from the warehouse surrounded by grass about six feet high. "What the F is going on here!" he roared. Good grief, no wonder my dad told me to stay away from his house! Jim had this backpack on the back of his chair, and he pulled out a flashlight, and started shining it in all of our faces. No one uttered a word. except for Dougie, who is this big dumb kid in a little crib screaming Get me outta here! Jim looked at Doug, said, "You dumbazz kids," went to the crib and with his massive arms and barrel chest, easily busted him out. "Go home," he yelled and we all ran. But Jim wasn't so weird after that. Sometimes I'd see him in the grocery store and helped him get things down off the shelf. Sometimes I would come home from school and see him and my dad standing in the yard with a beer. His grass now was moved and Blitzer, the dog, would wag his tail at us when we rode by the house. We were pretty dumb kids back then . . or maybe we weren't.

  8. Love your spooky story and I can so relate to the ancient car issue. I’m a bit older than you so my car was a 1957 Dodge. It was so rusty that my dad was sure that it would fall to pieces if I tried going too fast! The best part-the wiper didn’t work so I tied a string to them and moved them through the side window. Needless to say, my friends and I prayed for no rain! Lol!
    I love this haunted house and I so love how you colored it. The black windows are perfect.
    Thanks for a fun post. I’ll be smiling at the memories all day!

  9. I've never been a fan of spooky houses.
    I look for safe and calm when I'm out.
    Do love the purple house wrapped in
    gauze. Cute card. thanks for sharing

    1. you ask about the dumbest thing
      I've ever done. I was on safari
      with my daughter. The guide
      said you can walk to the village
      from here - It's just over the
      hill. Several miles later we
      reached the village. Should
      have never accepted his idea of

  10. I've done a lot of dumb things in my life. I'm amazed I'm even still here to tell about it. ONE of the dumbest things I ever did when I was a teen, was go to the new release of Freddy Kruger at the movies with my friend, then right after, went to find her boyfriend. Who was out hunting. In a field in the middle of nowhere. Where it was pitch black. No cell phones, so he didn't know we were there. And he and his buddies had guns. We were out in a field, yelling for her boyfriend, in the middle of the night, and NO ONE knew where we were. I was 15, she was 16. I finally came to my senses, and told her we were never going to find him, and I was so scared I was about to pee my pants. I wanted to leave NOW! Yeah, we would never have found him, because the guys were all at another friends house drinking themselves silly! My Mom doesn't know, and will never know, if I can help it. And I'm 50 now! LOL! I kept imagining Freddy Kruger jumping out and ripping us to shreds!

  11. cute card and great story. and I laughed so hard at your card, as ditto here.

  12. Love your card and the story. It sounds like something my husband would have done (several times over I might add).

  13. So many similarities! My first new car was a 65 Cutlass Supreme, and I also owned a car that required a ballpoint pen! Wasn’t just you Gen Xers! Live your story—love your card!


  14. I love old house and secret rooms, but will not even explore if it is scary! I am too much of a fraidy cat and also have nightmares. I do, however, remember having my first car die everytime I had to stop (if I came to a stop light or stop sign, I moved it to neutral and kept one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake until I could go). I drove a 1979 Datsun with a stick shift. If it died, I had to push it off the street! Ah, the good ole days back in the early 80's!

    Have your tried using pure lavender oil? Mosquitos typically do not like it. I use a mix of lavender, lemon and peppermint essential oils to help with my allergies and when I go outside, the mosquitos do not bother me. Thanks for sharing your story and your cards. ~Kim in Austin, TX

  15. Haha, I had a 66 Chevy Impala in dark green. No crazy stories, I was convinced my dad was a mind reader so I stayed out of trouble.

  16. Love your spooky tale, dont think you would have her me in the house let alone the secret room.
    I am not generation x but still had an old banger. I use to have to hold it in 3rd and 5th gear otherwise it would pop out constantly. The handbrake once came off in my hand and the head gasket had gone so if you were sat in traffic it use to overheat. I would have all the windows down and the blowers on to try to whip the heat away the engine. It use to go through more water and oil than it did petrol
    Claire Mrs H's Crafty Corner

  17. Probably the dumbest thing I did was to go to a photographer's house to get some shots for my portfolio (I was trying to do print commercials during college). He had some outfits for me to try on... including one that was see-through. I put it on before realizing it was see-through. I was in the bathroom and told him I wasn't going to wear that one. He assured me it was just he and me there... which was NOT reassuring. I realized at that moment it was not a good situation, but being the nice girl I was... I didn't want to be rude or hurt his feelings. I somehow managed to get out of there safe and sound. But I did become a bit wiser after that experience.

  18. Great card! So scary then, so funny story now. Dumbest thing I did was try to hid from going to school in a window well. If you know what that is... can be seen from inside the house and also known to be a fave of black widow spiders! Duh! What was I thinking!?

  19. Love the way you colored your spooky house! And thanks for sharing your story!
    Dumbest thing I ever did... oh, there have been so many! But after your story, I am reminded of my own haunted house experience. A group of us in high school went into an abandoned house late one night to check it out. Nobody chased us with a shotgun, and we found no dead bodies... so, all in all, a pretty tame evening!

  20. I love your story! I’d have been so curious about what was inside those suitcases! Lol...I also enjoyed jumping out of the car with ink pen in hand. Look how far we’ve come 😉 your card is adorable! Thanks for sharing card and story!

  21. Oh my goodness Lydia I just love your reflections so much, but today was extra sauce! I love the card, your colors and mood, and I am sure there is a suitcase in that basement! I share your passion for all things creepy and love and cherish the simple memories. I'm not usually caught off guard, but once... when working the graveyard shift at the hospital. After a double shift I was walking through the large back parking lot straining to see where I had parked in the next lot, no one around, just me, tired and glad to be heading home. It was starting to rain and the ground was slippery and uneven because they were replacing the entire parking lot. Crushed concrete and holes everywhere where the medians and everything use to be, now just a narrow marked path for employees to reach their cars. However, being so late all work had ceased and the monster machinery sat lifeless casting huge dark shadows over the craters they had created by day. Walking quickly concentrating so hard to find my car when a man, dressed in all dark non medical clothing, jumped out from behind the huge machine and just stood staring at me motionless, saying nothing. With my heart pounding I dropped my lunch totes jumped up in the air with a karate sounding scream, twirled around, landing in a crouch with my arms bent in front of me like I was going to break a board. I just stared back motionless as well... the man who looked taller than an oak tree turned and took off running. I'm not sure how long I stood there in my crouch, it felt like an eternity. But I do know that I pulled so many muscles with my superhero defensive move that the next morning I could barely move. Incidentally I had no knowledge of any type of karate moves or defensive training, just possibly a recessed memory of some kung fu movie I had seen years ago. Honestly, I kinda wished the hospital had cameras, not to neccesarily ID my possible attacker, but to see how convincing I was. Happy Halloween Lydia.

  22. My husband and I used to watch scary movies all the time but in recent years, they bother me too much. Now he watches scary movies with our adult daughter. Love your card.

  23. LORT!! Firstly, I also drove a junker, a 1973 Oldsmobile Omega, that had so much rust it looked like it had been shot up with a shotgun. The gas gauge was ALWAYS wrong, so I would constantly put gas in it because running out of gas when it was freaking hot and 100% humidity SUCKED. Secondly, I LURVE how you colored this house! Legit I just went and bought more Graph-It Markers because I did not have this purple LOL So thank you for enabling me once again. <3

  24. Wow, Lydia! What a story! I'm sure i did some dumb stuff as a kid but nothing comes to mind that even comes close to that!Love your card!

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Awesome card. Definitely bodies!!!! Hugz

  27. Ugh, I don't think there's enough room on this blog for me to list all the dumb things I've done in my life...but the most recent ones involve putting my purse down inside my car trunk as I loaded groceries in it...and then closing the trunk with my purse and keys inside. AARGH!!!


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