Saturday, December 31, 2016

One Last Gift

Happy New Year!!!

As has been my New Year's Tradition, I'm part of the Seasons Givings blog hop tonight to ring in the new year. This is just a gathering of kind-hearted and generous bloggers and crafty companies who want to thank their readers with a gift.

Blogging has become one of my great joys in life and I've met so many wonderful people through their visits here - many of whom are now my closest friends.

So in the course of the year, your visits, your comments, your cards, your time spent on my YouTube Channel and Instagram bring me so much joy, and I'm very grateful to all of you that you choose to spend even one minute of your life here on my blog, so my small gifts today are really just the teeniest tiniest thank you ever.

Speaking of gift-giving, I think it's our duty as card makers not to let the non-cardmakers in our lives purchase cards under the soul-killing glare of fluorescent lights in their grocery store or Target. It's just not right.

So as part of our handmade only Christmas this year, I made card sets for the ladies.

I used these GORGEOUS tins (available for free with a $50 purchase during Sale-a-Bration, which begins January 4th) for the packaging. The lid is gold. These are so classy and elegant.

I stamped the included tabs with the Tin of Cards set.

Tin of cards by Understand Blue

I made four each of thank you, birthday and sympathy cards. When I make card sets, I want them to be simple (because I'm making a lot of them), clean and striking. So my favorite thing do do is use the Clarity Stamp stencil brushes for pretty background for a bold sentiment. On the thank you cards I used the Seasonal Decorative Masks, some masking tape and Crushed Olive Distress ink to make an angled background. The font is stunning, and comes from another Sale-A-Bration goodie, the stamp set So Very Much.

So Very Much by Understand Bluev

For the birthday cards, I wanted them a little more festive, so using a different stencil from the same set, I ink blended Peacock Feathers, Picked Raspberry and Mustard seed distress inks. I love to have my stencil images fade out towards the bottom, and the stencil brushes are dreamy for that. To add the look of foil without all the work, I added some 1/8" foil Rainbow Tape to dress it up just a bit. The sentiment is from Birthday Blast.

Birthday Blast by Understand Blue

For the sympathy card - I made each set of four a different color, using the TCW Mini Branches stencil and various inks. The sentiment is from Rose Wonder.

Rose Wonder Sympathy by Understand Blue

Now I have to tell you about my FAVORITE new thing - the Colorbox Cleaning Pad. I showed my team members this on my last live video and they loved it too. If you want to really remove ink before it stains your clear or cling stamps, this little guy is the way to go. It looks just like a firm foam inkpad, but it does not smell, is not greasy, and the cleaner in it is miraculous. Iliana told me about it - and it's as amazing as she said it was. She loves it so much she started selling it in her store - you can buy them here.

I'd say for favorite new crafty items, that cleaning pad and the stencil brushes are near the top of the 2016 list!  All the supplies I used are listed below.

Speaking of cleaning, everyone always asks me how I clean my stencil brushes. The honest answer is, I really don't. Here are a few of my brushes and I just designate one per "family" - I use my blue brush for all my blue inks, and just swipe the brush on my grid mat until it gets most of the ink off. I have other brushes for greens, purples, grey/black  and brown. If you want to rinse them off you can, but they'll need to dry completely before you use them again, which requires patience, which is why I don't do it.

So don't let your friends buy cards! With a MISTI and these brushes, a really nice gift can come together quickly.

So let's talk about gifts! I have lots of fun thank you gifts for you!

I will be giving away the following to one lucky reader!

Original MISTI Tool
Original MISTI Tool
Clarity Stamp Stencil Brushes
Clarity Stamp Stencil Brushes
Christmas Pines Stamp Set
Christmas Pines Stamp Set
Pretty Pines Thinlits
Pretty Pines Thinlits dies
1/4" handheld circle punch
1/4" handheld circle punch

A Package of My Favorite Blue Envelopes

All you have to do to be eligible to win this awesome prize package, is leave me a comment telling me your favorite thing that happened in 2016 so we can end the year with sweetness. 

And for my customers - anyone using the host code 2RDM4HTC by January 4th at noon central will be entered into a drawing for a set of stencil brushes as well. Stencil brushes for everyone!

Now go visit my awesome friends who are giving away billions of thank you gifts as well. I'm sandwiched between two dear friends - Lori and Jenn!

 Thank you again for spending time with me - I really appreciate you! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Universal Cuisine

Every time I eat Italian or Mexican food, I realize they are 100% identical in every way.

For example - enchiladas are Mexican lasagne. Sauce layer, flour layer, meat layer, cheese layer, repeat.

Pizza is an Italian tostada. Flour layer, sauce layer, meat layer, cheese layer, veggies optional.

A panini is an Italian quesadilla.

I'm surprised that Italians don't have a tamale-ish thing because polenta and masa are virtually identical.

If you break ALL Italian and Mexican food down to its components, not only is every DISH identical to every other dish in the cuisine, but it has a mirror in its cousin cuisine in Mexico or Italy.

You need a flour thing, a meat thing, a cheese thing, a sauce thing and some veggies. That's it. And whether it's square, tubular, grilled, fried, or floating in sauce - you can describe them all the same way.

As a matter of fact - explaining the difference between a soft taco and a burrito to an alien would be pretty tough, as would the difference between enchiladas and lasagne, because they're all made of exactly the same things!

You'd say - "okay - with a taco, you take a flour tortilla, and add meat, beans, lettuce, tomato and sauce, and then fold it and eat it."

"So what's a burrito?" asks the alien. You say "Well, you take a flour tortilla that's LARGER, and you add meat,  beans, lettuce, tomato and sauce, and then fold it and eat it." The alien, who has already decided you are a lower life form says "Well isn't that just a larger taco?" Smirking, you say "NO, dumb alien - it's FOLDED DIFFERENTLY."

Then it starts to dawn on you.

And you feel like a lower life form.

Minestrone and tortilla soup are pretty similar too.

And if you want to get out of the Italian realm, carne guisada is just Mexican stew.

It's funny how we all developed such similar base foods. The outliers are the Asian foods, but that's mostly because of the lack of cheese. Because I can make a successful argument that a flauta is a Mexican eggroll and vice versa. But Mexican and Italian are united by cheese.

As are we all. #Godblesscheese

I took this week off and I'm hoping to have time to play with new Occasions Catalog goodies. You can buy these starting on January 4th!

My sweet friend Iliana got me an amazing crafty Christmas present of a set of the Nuvo Glimmer Pastes and OH MY WORD are they amazing.

They dry much faster than some other pastes I've tried and the colors are gorgeous. Each one is named after a precious stone, and the card I'm showing you today is made with the Moonstone paste - a clear iridescent.
Brighter Days by Understand Blue

I took a background that I made while filming this video, and I added the Nuvo Paste background using the Seasonal Decorative Masks, because I wanted a raindrop look, even though the mask I think is really meant to be snow. I love the way it looks! My photos don't do justice to the sparkle. Then I used the Circle Framelits and cut the bottom from white cardstock, and cut another out of this beautiful handmade lemongrass wrapping paper I had out to wrap a gift with and glued that to the white. Then I cut three more circles - two out of Stick-It, and one out of this extra thin fun foam and adhered the stick it to the white circle, peeled the backing off and adhered the fun foam to that. I put the last circle of Stick-It to the back of the fun foam, peeled off the backing and stuck that to the card. I watercolored the girl from Beautiful You (available January 4th) with my Schmincke watercolors.

Now here is the tip on Stick-It. You HAVE to burnish it with your bone folder after you stick the first side to whatever you're adhering and before you remove the final release paper. I did NOT do this the first time I adhered it to the fun foam, which is a little slick, and so when I lifted the release paper - all the adhesive started to lift. It's at this point that people like to get on social media and rant that a product doesn't work - but the fact is, I was just using it wrong. I set it back down, went over it with my bone folder, and it worked perfectly. Operator error! I love the product for all tricky die cutting.

I really ended up loving the way this card looked. I had someone in mind when I was making it so I wanted it to be as pretty as it could be and I'm really pleased. I made a video for you where I show you a few different backgrounds on the paste that will show up in future blog posts. This one is in real time, because one of the things I wanted to show is how fast it dries, which is awesome, and different from other pastes I use. The colors are gorgeous.

Now before I go, I want to show you a project by my dad (you can read about him here) - it's a solunar calendar that he and I have been working on since 2005. There's more to things that affect the tides, crops, the movement of fish and game than just the full moon, which gets all the credit for everything. There are other solar and lunar events that people have used forever to predict certain things, and my dad came up with a way to display those in a universally legible format, but also in a way that serves the purposes of an actual annual calendar. Over the years that we've worked on this it's been fun to learn the patterns of these things I didn't know existed, and their important effects.

We started in a totally different format, different colors, different orientation - everything, and settled on this for the 2017 calendar. It has two pages, one is the calendar, and one is my dad's explanation of the patterns of events like eclipses, aphelions, perihelions, etc. and how they are displayed visually on the calendar.

So if that interests you, or you also have some scientific types in your family like I do who love to geek out about the space-time continuum, black holes, perihelions, quarks and whatnot, then you can go here to buy a calendar from my dad!

It turns out today that my card was exactly perfect for his calendar launch - a little earthling staring into the sky :).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...