Thursday, April 27, 2017

Absence < Presence

I have a high tolerance for pain.

I've had several surgeries, an ankle injury so bad in 2001 that the TSA TO THIS DAY pats that ankle down every time I go through the magic look-at-you-nekkid machine, and I get four allergy shots a week. None of that is NEARLY as big a deal as two bouts of the ABSENCE of pain I've had recently.

Three years ago, as detailed here, I made the mistake of picking up something I thought was a pistachio shell, and received a near-deadly sting, which left my arm BOTH numb and tingly for many months.

The numbness was the most uncomfortable and disturbing thing I've ever endured. So much more uncomfortable than pain, and I never got any break from it during the time it took for the toxins, which can be deadly, to fade out of my system. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. DO NOT PICK UP THINGS THAT LOOK LIKE PISTACHIOS WITHOUT YOUR GLASSES ON AND YOUR FULL ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN PLACE.

Right now, I'm experiencing something similar. I caught a weird cough in Ohio earlier this month. No sore throat, no fever, nothing but a cough. And by the time I got to Shreveport on the 8th - I had mysteriously lost my ability to taste and smell.


Absence of a sense is WAY worse than the presence of pain, believe me. I can't wait until it comes back. What's unnerving about not being able to smell is that you can't identify threats - I don't know if my food is spoiled, if there's dog poop in the neighborhood, if I've left the gas on. If you wanted to commit a perfect crime, first, infect someone with this ailment. Then, delete your browsing history for my blog, and then serve your victim some three year old milk or something. They will never be the wiser.

Actually, you shouldn't do that. That's mean. You'll get in a lot of trouble. I've been reading lots of non-fiction crime books lately and one guy said something like "criminals make 20 mistakes and only remember 19". No such thing as the perfect crime. Behave yourselves. I mean it.

ANYWAY - what brought all this to mind is that my neighbors are moving :(. Good neighbors are hard to find, and I will miss them and their pets. They were good, nice, quiet and drama-free neighbors. It's always scary to get new ones. What if they like to have loud parties? What if they have a barking dog? What if they are pyromaniacs or politicians? These are all the things I worry about - especially the politicians.

So that's another example of how the absence of something can be much worse than the presence of something. So cross your fingers for us, and for our current neighbors that they get new neighbors as awesome as us :).

In preparation for whoever will move in across the street, I thought I should make a card to welcome them to the neighborhood. Homes in our neighborhood sell lightning fast, so I know I don't have much time, and if I don't do it now, I'll be showing up at their door after they've lived here for three years with a welcome gift.

THE CUTEST host set of them all is in the new catalog and was perfect for the occasion. It's a builder set, so it's perfect for the MISTI, and all the little bibs and bobs that you can build the houses with are so adorable.
In the City Stamp set by UnderstandBlue

First, I stamped and masked the little lime green car, which I really hope my neighbors have, with Post-It tape. Then I stamped the houses so that the masked car would be in front. If I had been smart, I would have stamped the tree too, and masked it so that it was a little in front of that left-most house. Next time I play with this set there will be a lot more trees, as our neighborhood is very shady. With trees, I mean - not full of suspicious characters. Hopefully our new neighbors don't make it that kind of shady!

Each of these stamps has layers that you can stamp in different colors, and to me it ends up looking like a children's book illustration and I love it. And guess how many stamps come in this set?

sixty stamps
Yes, sixty! Great stamp set.

You can earn this one for free with your very first order in June - so don't miss out. If you want to do a Facebook party to earn this and other freebies, just contact me with the form on the right.

I'll be baking cookies for my new neighbors until then. :)

PS - Remember, if you want a starter kit, you do not have to wait until June to get all the new goodies - you can pre-order on May 2nd. The kit gives you a 20% discount, and is truly no strings attached. You'll be able to attend my team events in June and September, and will have access to my private FB group for challenges and inspiration. Check it out here.

Have a great weekend - I'm getting Google Fiber installed tomorrow, so I'll be able to post cat memes EVEN FASTER from now on!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Yes I Did Put Baby In The Corner!

There's always ONE stamp set in every new catalog that is "my" set. I can hear its little siren call over all the others - and it's always clear that it's my favorite - there are never two that are neck-and-neck.

This time - it's Birthday Delivery.

I sat there at the table at CentreStage, staring at the set, and the first card that popped into my mind was the one I'm sharing today.

I spent a lot of time in D-hall in my youth, as you know.

And I don't regret one second of any of it, because whatever I did to earn those mind-numbingly boring hours I would totally do again. So there, D-hall monitors - take that!

So when I saw the image of the little girl, I instantly knew I was going to put her in a corner. The image cried out for it. Cracks me up even looking at it in this post.
Baby in the corner by UnderstandBlue

I stamped her in black, and then colored her with Prismacolor Pencils. Because that obscures the lines, I left her set up in my MISTI and when I was done coloring her, I overstamped her on top of the colored image, and heat embossed it with clear to bring back the stamp detail. (Clear embossing because the black ink won't really cure on top of the waxy pencil, and you risk smudging.)

After she was finished, just took a ruler and drew the lines for the corner with a mechanical pencil, and then shaded the lines with a grey Prismacolor pencil.

I went back and forth among some real contenders for the sentiment - "Faith is trusting God even when you don't understand His plan" from Artistically Asian, and "Oh Snap!" from Mr. Funny Bones were both in the running.

But I settled on Rose Wonder instead. Hilarious.

What were YOU sent to the corner for when you were a kid? Anything fun? Anything you'd totally do again? :)

PS - my Altenew winner announcement is late! So sorry about that - I've traveled every week in April and I'm behind on life. But congratulations to my winner! Please contact me through the form on the right side of my blog and I'll give you redemption instructions, Julie!


Monday, April 24, 2017

A Paper Pumpkin Thing Blog Hop

Happy Monday!

I'm just back from working at a show in Boston this past weekend, and while I was there, my friend Pam asked me if I wanted to be part of a blog hop today featuring the Paper Pumpkin Kit for April, designed by Sara Douglass.

I actually had my kits with me on that trip - I love doing those in hotels to wind down from crazy days at shows - it is fun and relaxing to just CRAFT, without having to design anything, and also to come home from a trip with some cards I can mail.

This kit was really fun and different. It came in a super sassy black and white box, with accents of our new ink color - Lemon Lime Twist - that will be in the catalog in June. It was so punchy and high contrast and all the things I love. There was also a little watercolor and a lot of black and white - seriously - all my favorite things. Well - minus cats. Not sure if Sara is a cat person, despite the numerous cats I've photoshopped onto her during her #catvention presentations.

But I wanted to do something using the AMAZING envelopes that came in the kit. I love it when they give us fun envies, which is happening more and more often in these kits. This month takes the cake. Black and white and splattered with a fun striped inside.

I wanted to highlight Sara's adorable color choice with a card that popped into my head as soon as I saw the sneak peek of the box.

It just cried out for a little T-rex. :)

Paper Pumpkin alternate by UnderstandBlue

Isn't he the cutest??

I did a couple fun tricks to make this card.

First - I cut down the envelope to 4" x 5.25" so I could fit it on a card front, and put glue on the two open sides to seal it closed. Then, I lined up the "wild about you" sentiment in my MISTI until the edge of the white section went between the I and the L.

I stamped the sentiment first in black ink - so half the image shows in the white part - the other half doesn't show on the black envelope. I made sure the ink on the black side was dry, and then used my embossing buddy to be sure it wouldn't pick up stray embossing powder.

I used Post-It masking tape to mask the right side of the white rectangle which would normally be for your address, where the black part of my sentiment was. Then I re-inked the stamp in white ink, and embossed with white embossing to have the second half of the sentiment pop in white.

The T-Rex and the sentiment are from a set that will be in the new catalog called Pieces & Patterns - not available until June 1. It's completely adorable and perfect for this kit! (If you do not already have a demonstrator and would like a catalog when it comes out - fill out my catalog request form.)

To color the T-Rex, I just scribbled the blue and yellow pencils on top of each other on a scrap of watercolor paper, picked some up with a wet Aquapainter, and painted him. This is an easy way to get quick, blended color. Since I was fussy cutting him, I didn't even have to stay in the lines.

Watercolor Pencil Coloring tip by UnderstandBlue

Here's what the card kit looks like without a T-Rex. So fun. It came with four mini watercolor pencils and a little paintbrush as a gift.

I really hope we have more Sara-inspired card kits - this one was certainly a home run.

Paper Pumpkin is a monthly kit, featuring both cards and some 3D items - you can pre-pay for a kit, or get a subscription - just note that you have to be subscribed by the 10th of the month to get that month's kit. Each kit comes with paper, adhesive, stamps, ink and accessories - and your first kit comes with a clear block. It's $19.95 per month/kit - with free shipping.

Once the kit has shipped, refills become available while supplies last which contain all of that month's consumables (no stamp set or ink will be included).

So if you want to see some incredibly creative projects that are really outside of the Paper Pumpkin box, visit these lovely ladies to see what they've done with it.

We are giving away a very special prize to one visitor today - one of your very own Sara Thing Paper Pumpkin kits! If you leave a comment on all these designers' blogs, you will be entered to win this kit and put your own T-Rex on it :). Drawing closes on Saturday, April 29th at 9 PM EST. The winner will be announced on Monday, May 1, 2017.

The next blog on the hop is Andrea's! Hop on over!

Thanks for stopping by today. 


Friday, April 21, 2017

Twinkle, Twinkle

At CHA, I got to hang out with a woman I ADORE - Wendy Ramlakhan, the owner of Sugar Pea Designs. Wendy and I met when I was in Orlando years ago for a Stampin' Up! event - and she came over and had dinner with us, during which we all laughed so hard. The dinner in Phoenix was no different.

I think we even scared the cardinals. :)

Anyway, she is a delightful human being - you can see our Crafty Chat session with her here - it's great.

She brought one of her illustrators with her - Becky Pearce - who is also a delightful woman. We had so much fun. One of the cool things Wendy revealed in her Crafty Chat interview was that she chose her illustrators from children's books she saw at Barnes and Noble. It gives her images  a sweet and youthful style.

I think you could do an effective test to find out if someone is mentally unstable just by asking them: "Do you love children's book illustrators?" Yes or no - all no's have to be locked up in a hatch. I LOVE illustrated children's books. Everything from Edward Gorey, to Alice to Where the Wild Things Are. Some of my favorite art in the world is from children's books.

Today, I am guest hopping with Sugar Pea and My Sweet Petunia, and I chose an image that absolutely stole my heart - Twinkle, Twinkle. I love the love for her bear, her squeezing him tight, the fact that they are alone together, and the hopeful, wishful window. Children are often alone in children's books - off in imaginary worlds, or in places where their parents can't find them, like Oz or Wonderland. This image evokes all those worlds and stories, I think.

I had to call in reinforcements on this card - texting my friends Yoo-Rah and Kelli for advice on what to put in the window - a night sky or a blue sky - but the name of the stamp set won us over, and I had to go for stars.

So I stamped the image in Daffodil Delight and then did no-line watercolor on it. Then I colored the sky. As the last step, I stamped it again on label paper and masked off everything but the sky and then splattered white ink on it for the stars. So much fun.

But not as much fun as prizes! So if you comment on all the blogs in today's hop, you can win prizes from BOTH Sugar Pea and My Sweet Petunia. For MY blog, please leave me a comment telling me your favorite children's book!!

Here are all the stops on the hop! Enjoy the creations - these are some awesome artists.

 you are here >>>>>>Lydia Fiedler<<<<< you are here

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